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The Social Profile Of The Pharisees

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an outline of the task of describing the social profile of the Pharisees, starting mainly from Saldarini and, in addition, from Albert Baumgarten's insightful study on The Flourishing of Jewish Sects in the Maccabean Era. It addresses the question of power and influence, and the question of organization. The New Testament and Josephus view the Pharisees and their interaction with Jewish society as a similar phenomenon, which obviously needs no further explanation. The Pharisees existed as an identifiable entity and already in the first century formed a "historical individuality," following Weber's terminology. Scholars who have dealt with the social profile of the Pharisees, and many others as well, have opted mainly for the first solution, seeing Pharisaism as a closed sect or movement.

Keywords: historical individuality; New Testament; Pharisees; social profile



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