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.
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
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.