Posts Tagged Sadducees

17. Passover – Pentecost Clarity I

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.

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16. Passover – Neo-Aristocratic Practice

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.

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15. Passover – Aristocratic Practice II

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.,2 i.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.”3 Important 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.

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14. Passover – Aristocratic Practice I

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),3 show 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).

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11. Passover – Sadducees & Pharisees II

In our first installment titled 10. 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.2 Their conflict with the Sadducees was in force from the time of the Hasmonaean revolt.

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10. Passover – Sadducees & Pharisees I

With the proper historical and cultural context in hand per our previous posts dealing with “The Dark Period,” we shall now turn our attention toward the two leading Jewish religious parties: the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

These two religious groups held opposing interpretations for בין הערבים (byn ha-arabim; between the evenings), for the day on which the Passover was eaten, and for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.

The Sadducees reflected the Aristocratic view while the Pharisees carried on the Hasidic tradition.

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8. Passover – The Dark Period I

How did such radically different views for the expression בין הערבים (byn ha-arabim), the Passover supper, and the seven days of Unleavened Bread come into existence among the Jews?

To fully understand this dispute we must begin with an examination of the historical and cultural context wherein the division of views took root in Judaism.

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