Sects and Sectarianism in Jewish History


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


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.