As found with the celebration of Passover, there existed a great debate among the various Jewish factions, beginning in about the second century B.C.E., with regard to just how and when one was to count to the Khag of Shabuath (Weeks), also called Pentecost.
This debate was sparked by the fact that there is no direct statement found in Scriptures telling us exactly on which date one is to keep the Festival of Weeks.
A late innovation of the Aristocratic understanding of בין חערבים (byn ha-arabim) arose sometime after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., becoming clearly manifested in records by the 8th century C.E.
This new interpretation (System C) was built under the heavy influence of the Talmudists (spiritual offshoots of the Pharisees). It flourished primarily among the Karaites and neo (later)-Samaritans but was also practiced by some less well-known groups.
Like those of the Aristocratic school (System A), these neo (later)-Aristocratic groups (System C) understood byn ha-arabim as the period of twilight that follows sunset.
There is little doubt that the ancient Samaritans reflected the Sadducean position with regard to the timing of byn ha-arabim (twilight after sunset).
To support this detail, we retain one piece of evidence from an ancient Samaritan writer, Ezekielos the Tragedian, in his work titled ἐζαγωγή (Exagoge; Deliverance).1
This work was composed sometime between the first part of the second century until about 90 B.C.E.,2i.e., as early as the outbreak of the Hasmonaean Revolt or as late as the first decade of the next century.
Clement of Alexandria calls Ezekielos “the poet of Jewish tragedies.”3Important fragments of the Exagoge have survived in the works of Eusebius.4
Internal evidence from this tragic drama reveals that the author belonged to the ancient Samaritan sect, which used the Aristocratic method.5 As we shall demonstrate, the ancient Samaritans held that byn ha-arabim begins the day and that the entire Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread lasts only seven days, beginning with the 14th.
The Aristocratic understanding (System A) of “בין חערבים (byn ha-arabim)” was represented by the Jews called Sadducees, the Boethusian Sadducees, and by the ancient Samaritans.
Moreover, the Aristocratic practice was utilized by Yahushua the messiah, his apostles, and the early assemblies that followed him.1
Very few writings which discuss just how to observe Passover have come down to us directly from any acknowledged Sadducean, Boethusian, or ancient Samaritan source. So, for an acquaintance with their opinions, we are mainly dependent upon their antagonists.2
These antagonists, and records which are derived from the later variations of this view (as demonstrated by the neo-Samaritans and Karaites),3show that, contrary to the Hasidic views, the Aristocratic approach understood that the first ערב (arab; intermixing of light and dark) occurred at sunset and the second at deep twilight (the setting of darkness).