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).
In this second and final half of our discussion we will now look to the ancient records that demonstrate the Hasidic view regarding Passover.
The Book of Jubilees The Book of Jubilees, originally composed in Hebrew by the Hasidim in the late second century B.C.E.,1gives us the earliest representation of the Hasidic argument. To date, the most complete version of this text is found in the Ethiopian edition. It reports:
In our first installment titled10. Passover – Sadducees & Pharisees I, we discussed the religious philosophy of the Sadducees. With our second installment we will proceed to address the viewpoint of the Pharisees and their power struggle with the Sadducees.
It is within the framework of the evolving political and religious conflict between the Sadducees and Pharisees that we can understand just how and why the Pharisees ultimately became victorious in the officially recognized practice of Passover and Unleavened Bread which we have labeled “Hasidic System B.”
The Pharisees The “Hasidic System B” Passover and Unleavened Bread method originated among the early Hasidim but became dominant as a religious practice because of the political power of their spiritual descendants, the Pharisees.1
From Pharisaism derived what is now called Orthodox Judaism.2Their conflict with the Sadducees was in force from the time of the Hasmonaean revolt.
Did Yahushua the messiah in fact commit blasphemy, an alleged scriptural crime whereby he was convicted and sentenced to death by the religious leaders of Judaea?
Was there actually any scriptural basis for the extreme hatred of Yahushua by these religious leaders resulting in their wanting Yahushua dead?
To those religious leaders who were eventually responsible for Yahushua’s conviction and death sentence, the messiah had this to say:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Are there any facts to indicate that Yahushua did in fact commit the scriptural crime of “blasphemy” thereby justifying his execution?
If you’re interesting in finding the answers you might want to continue reading as we proceed with our investigation.