By Jacob Neusner

This paintings sketches the various pics of the Pharisees that emerge from historical assets. dependent upon the Gospels, the writings of Paul, Josephus, the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and archeology, the amount profiles the Pharisees and explores the connection among the Pharisees and the Judaic non secular process foreshadowed through the library of Qumran. a superb advantage of this examine is that no test is made to homogenize the special photos or reconstruct a unique account of the Pharisees; as an alternative, by way of conscientiously contemplating the assets, the chapters enable varied photos of the Pharisees to face facet by means of aspect.

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This hardheaded appraisal of “those reputed to be the most pious and most scrupulous about the laws” is patently disparaging, and yet Josephus as narrator does nothing to ameliorate it. 405–406). The fuller narrative here vis-à-vis War thus creates a significantly different atmosphere. Whereas the Pharisees’ growth appeared sudden in the War, minimally explained as if the pious Alexandra had simply been duped by an unscrupulous band, in the Antiquities the Pharisees’ popular influence has been a central concern to the Hasmoneans all along.

Against the old scholarly view that this connection with the Pharisees contradicts War’s isolation of Judas’s rebel philosophy and newly dignifies the rebels,49 Josephus’s language implies the opposite relationship: it is rather the Pharisees who are tainted by their new association with rebels. Josephus’s rejection of rebellion and stasis does not abate in his later writings: he writes as the aristocrat who, like Plutarch, is ever alert to prevent civil strife and unrest (cf. Life 17–22 et passim).

When he does mention them as players in the narrative it is usually to express annoyance at their influence and tactics. He retains the last word over his own mischievous Pharisee opponents in Galilee, however, in the self-aggrandizing Life. Although my aim has been to construct an adequate synthesis of the Pharisees in Josephus’s narratives, if this interpretation is successful it obviously undermines hypotheses about the historical Pharisees that are based on significantly different interpretations of Josephus.

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