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Josephus on ancient jewish groups from a social scientific perspective

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Chapter Summary

Josephus’ comments on the ‘philosophies’ prevalent among ancient Jews have been subject to much criticism. This chapter offers an indirect defense of the accuracy of Josephus’ comments. It shows the keenness of Josephus’ insight into the social and religious dynamics of his era. First, it offers a model of how dissident religious groups, which author chooses to call sects, arise. This model will be based on examples other than ancient Judaism. To the extent possible, it was elaborated without any conscious reference to the groups of the Second Temple era. Secondly, it shows how this model illuminates numerous comments on the Jewish groups of the Second Temple era made by Josephus. When a set of sources is made more meaningful by analysis in the light of an independent model, author believes that to be indirect confirmation of the accuracy of the information conveyed by those sources.

Keywords: Jewish groups; Josephus; Judaism; religious groups; Second Temple era; social dynamics

10.1163/ej.9789004153899.i-312.5
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004153899.i-312.5
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