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Sadducees and Essenes after 70 CE

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Chapter Summary

Among students of Jewish history it is a commonplace that Judaism in the land of Israel after 70 CE was radically transformed by the traumatic experience of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the mid-second century Justin Martyr similarly assumed that various different groups existed within Judaism in his own day, although he did not name Sadducees or Essenes. The Qumran sectarians could claim that the Temple's destruction vindicated their view that the priests had been wicked, since it proved divine displeasure. There is much evidence in the New Testament and patristic sources that many Christians in the first two centuries attacked Judaism as part of the process of the self-definition of the Church, but tannaitic sources for the most part ignore Christianity.

Keywords: Christianity; Essenes; Israel; Jerusalem; Judaism; New Testament; Qumran; Sadducees



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