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Chapter Summary

Since the beginning of modern research into Israelite history, scholars have been intrigued by the divisions in Israelite society that run continually through events from prehistoric times until our day. This is the introductory chapter of the book, which discusses one well-known and intriguing schism that occurred in the last period of the Second Temple. The chapter defines 'cult', which is the main element of the book and is a complex issue. The book is founded upon the generally accepted premise that the disputes before 70 C.E. between the particular groups or sects in Israel were of a halakhic and not a theological nature; nor were different apocalyptic beliefs the trigger for division. The chapter also outlines the content available in other chapters of the book.

Keywords: halakhic disputes; Israelite cult; Israelite history; Second Temple



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