Sects and Sectarianism in Jewish History

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Editor: Sacha Stern
Sects and sectarianism are popular themes in Jewish history, but the meaning of these terms is elusive, often raising more problems than solutions. This volume, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of scholars, examines several Jewish groups from Antiquity to the present day that have been traditionally identified as ‘sects’ or as ‘sectarian’, including most famously the Qumran community and the Qaraites. It questions whether ‘sect’ and ‘sectarianism’ are appropriate or effective as historical categories for the interpretation of social and religious movements in Jewish history.
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Biographical Note

Sacha Stern, D.Phil (1992) in Jewish Studies, University of Oxford, is Professor of Rabbinic Judaism at University College London. He is the author of Calendar and Community (Oxford, 2001) and Time and Process in Ancient Judaism (Oxford, 2003).

Table of contents

PART ONE: ANCIENT
Prologue: How Do We Know When We Are On To Something?
Albert I. Baumgarten
Religious Variety and the Temple in the Late Second Temple Period and its Aftermath
Martin Goodman
The ‘Sectarian’ Calendar of Qumran
Sacha Stern
Defining Sectarian by ‘Non-Sectarian’ Narratives in Qumran
Ida Fröhlich
The Nazoraeans as a ‘Sect’ in ‘Sectarian’ Judaism? A Reconsideration of the Current View via the Narrative of Acts and the Meaning of Hairesis
Joan E. Taylor
Legal Realism and the Fashioning of Sectarians in Jewish Antiquity
Christine Hayes
PART TWO: MEDIEVAL AND MODERN
The Qaraites as Sect: The Tyranny of a Construct
Marina Rustow
The Hasideans and the Ancient Jewish ‘Sects’: a Seventeenth-Century Controversy
Francis Schmidt
Jews for Jesus: Occupying Jewish Time and Space
Elliot Cohen
PART THREE: THEORY AND PRACTICE
Is a Historical Comparative Sociology of (Ancient Jewish) Sects Possible?
David J. Chalcraft
Weber-Foucault-Nietzsche: Uncertain Legacies for the Sociology of Religion
Paul-François Tremlett

Readership

All those interested in Jewish history, with particular attention to Second Temple Judaism, Qumran, and Qaraites, as well as those interested in social history and sociology of religion.

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