E.P. Sanders' 'common Judaism,' Jesus, and the Pharisees: review article of 'Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah' and 'Judaism: Practice and Belief' by E.P. Sanders.
Having already accomplished one great achievement in 1977 with his (admittedly not uncontested) Paul and Palestinian Judaism, E. P. Sanders has in the last ten years produced one important book after another in rapid succession: in 1983 Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People (pp. 227); in 1985 Jesus and Judaism (pp. 444), which likewise became a standard work; in 1989 Studying the Synoptic Gospels (pp. 374), co-authored with Margaret Davies; just one year later in 1990, five studies under the title Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah (pp. 404); and two years after that in 1992, the once again monumental Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE-66CE (pp. 580) - to say nothing of shorter studies like People from the Bible (with Martin Woodrow, 1987) and the brief biography of Paul in the Past Masters series (1991). A new book on Jesus which summarizes the results of previous research has just come from his productive pen: The Historical Figure of Jesus (1993; pp. 336). This, however, could not be taken into account here.
What other New Testament scholar could create such an imposing oeuvre within a decade? Sanders is surpassed in this regard only by that learned Jewish scholar whom he frequently cites in his works - or at least in those which deal with Judaism - not seldom critically.
The two monographs from 1990 and 1992, Jewish Law and Judaism, belong together closely in terms of subject matter. Together with the big book on Paul and the first book on Jesus, they form an impressive [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] which presents in a definitive way the author's view of Judaism at the time of the emergence of Christianity.
All four books are held together by a series of questions which Sanders has set himself to solve. In the introduction to his book on Jesus he names as goals, dependent on the result of his Pauline studies, the determination of (a) Jesus' intention and (b) his relationship to his Jewish contemporaries. Bound up with these are questions about (c) the reason for Jesus' death and (d) the emergence of Christianity as a religion with its own pattern. Before such questions could be answered, however, it was necessary to determine the fundamental data of the times.
The foundation of Sanders' work is his book Paul and Palestinian Judaism. In it he establishes the framework within which Jesus, Paul, the first Christians, and their Jewish contemporaries moved. Accordingly the chronological end-points span a longer period: 200 BC until AD 200. Here the primary concern was to discover the common basis - assuming there was one - of the various forms of Palestinian Judaism of the period. Sanders concentrated on the complex of 'getting in and staying in', for he believes that in this way it is possible 'to discover whether or not there were common perceptions about what was required for someone to be properly Jewish.'(1) Thus already in his first major work the issue is "lowest-common-denominator" Judaism' (ibid.) - in short, 'common Judaism.' Sanders thinks he has found this in the concept of 'covenantal nomism', which - and everything depends on this - needed to be accepted as sufficient(2) by every relevant group in society.(3)
What remains problematic with Sanders' answers - which explain both getting in to the covenant by means of election and staying in by means of the law in terms of covenantal nomism - is that they do not make it possible to ascribe any positive will to this pattern of religion. In his book on Jesus, Sanders rightly asks about the intention of Jesus' deeds and words. But he fails to pose this same question to those who held to the conception of contemporary Jewish religion that he has worked out. Did they all want the same thing?
Sanders presents in his books a clearly outlined position, which he then documents with carefully - if sometimes also one-sidedly - chosen sources. The positive thing to be noted here is that the source material is not of secondary origin, but rests upon a wide reading of a kind which can no longer simply be assumed among New Testament scholars today. The entire work of Josephus, Philo's law passages, Qumran, selected pseudepigrapha, the Mishnah, and the Tosefta all stand in the background and are consulted on individual problems. This makes reading Sanders rewarding.
There is, however, another side to this work in the sources: lengthy and detailed arguments. Three of the five chapters in Jewish Law were originally written as detailed pilot studies for the book on Judaism in the hopes that, the preliminary work being done, the second book might be 'an introduction to Jewish religious practice in no more than 200 pages' (Judaism, ix). The final product is in fact almost three times this length, in order to make room for full discussions of the sources.
Our experience in reviewing Sanders' work has been similar. Although the original version of this article had to be shortened by a third to meet space constraints, the need to discuss the primary evidence still remains. The issues involved are too complicated - and too important - to risk resorting to mere assertions. This is especially true of issues whose immediate relevance to New Testament studies may not always be fully appreciated, and which thus confront non-specialists with the temptation of merely relying on the experts, or perhaps of trying to mediate between them (for example, Neusner versus Sanders). Therefore in the second and third sections below (pp. 17-41 and 41-51), we discuss in detail selected issues raised by Sanders' studies on the two questions, 'Did the Pharisees Have Oral Law?' and 'Did the Pharisees Eat Ordinary Food in Purity?' (Jewish Law, chapters 2 and 3, respectively).(4) Section four is then devoted to Judaism (below, pp. 51-67), with special attention to the historical questions raised by Sanders' picture of the priestly aristocracy and the Pharisees.
If there is a consistent theme to our reflections, it is that, at almost every turn, Sanders has underestimated the influence of the Pharisees on Jewish society during the period he covers. This comes to the fore especially in his treatment of the Pharisaic halakhah, which he reduces to a group-specific concern, as well as in the way he deals with Josephus' statements about the Pharisees. As a consequence of this marginalizing of the Pharisees, there emerges what might be called a 'Sadducean tendency' in Sanders' presentation of 'common Judaism' as a religion of the temple and the priesthood. Without necessarily meaning to imply that the one has been caused by the other, it is worth noting that this 'Sadducean' emphasis in Sanders' historical work is by no means inconsistent with the author's self-confessed 'liberal' approach to theology.(5) At any rate, a thoroughly modern distancing from future eschatology and its implications is evident. This is seen in Sanders' relatively unsympathetic judgement of the Essenes, in his underestimate of the eschatological people's movements of which Josephus reports (the Zealots, for example), and in the negative judgement of 4 Ezra already in his big book on Paul.(6)
We open our review by inviting the reader to consider some of the problems associated with placing both Jesus and his opponents within the framework of a largely harmonious 'common Judaism'.
I. JESUS, THE LAW, AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY
In Jesus and Judaism the question of 'Jesus and the law' was dealt with only briefly (245-69). In the first chapter of Jewish Law(7) Sanders makes up for this, in that he deals with ten topics relevant to Jesus and the law - 'Sabbath', 'food', 'purity', 'offerings', 'tithes', 'temple tax', 'oaths and vows', 'blasphemy', 'worship at home and synagogue', and 'fasting' - and also goes very briefly into conflict over the law among Essenes and Pharisees, before drawing conclusions. For a proper understanding of this first chapter, then, one must have constant recourse to Sanders' book on Jesus.
The author emphasizes right at the beginning that he regards the disputes about the Sabbath and purity as 'ideal scenes' in Bultmann's sense - that is, as non-historical - and accepts only a few logia at best as authentic. Nevertheless, he goes into the synoptic reports of dispute between Jesus and the Pharisees, without being convinced of the historicity of such discussions, since in previous research, Jesus' conflict with the Pharisees over legal issues has been overemphasized and designated as one of the main factors that led to the crucifixion. This is precisely the opinion Sanders wants to refute.
Sanders is certainly right here. Jesus was not condemned primarily for his controversies with the Pharisees or scribes over Sabbath halakhah or purity regulations, in spite of the remark in Mark 3: 6 (see also 12: 13). The same result emerges from the passion narratives of all the Gospels. Here the 'chief priests' appear united in purpose as the driving force for Jesus' elimination, and the Pharisees recede far into the background.
Jesus was crucified primarily for his messianic claim, which also manifested itself in symbolic acts (Mark 2: 16, 19, 24-25; 3: 4) and publicly displayed freedom in relation to the law and the 'tradition of the elders' (Mark 7: 3, 5, 19; cf. Matt. 15: 2-3, 11).(8) In his book on Jesus, Sanders already spoke of him as an 'eschatological prophet'; and as grounds for Jesus' condemnation he thought especially of the so-called Cleansing of the Temple and Jesus' words against the sanctuary,(9) together with his proclamation of the coming reign of God in the sense of a 'restoration of Israel'. However, as Isa. 61: 1 and the new texts from 4Q demonstrate, 'eschatological prophet' and 'Messiah' stand closer to one another than Sanders allows (see below, n. 29). The charges, the inscription on the cross, and the formula of the crucified Messiah speak for themselves here; likewise the rapid emergence, immediately after Easter, of a massive 'Christology' at whose midpoint stands the title 'Messiah', which very quickly became a proper name.(10)
In view of this christological development immediately following his death, it is scarcely possible that Jesus appeared on the scene as merely one prophet like many others (which is the impression one might get from reading Sanders). That remains as improbable as Morton Smith's view that he was a fanatical libertine and antinomian.(11) Although Sanders otherwise very much trusts the historical judgement of this highly individual scholar, especially as concerns his portrait of the Pharisees,(12) he does not deal with the thesis about Jesus' antinomianism, which is decisive for Smith.
But Jesus was also certainly not a 'teacher of the law' in the strict sense familiar in his day (cf. Jewish Law, 94), and therefore it was not primarily the 'halakhic controversies' which provoked his death. At this point Sanders is certainly right.
The correctness of Sanders' thesis 'that Jesus did not seriously challenge the law as it was practised in this day' (Jewish Law, 96, italics added) depends on what he understands by 'seriously' and on what we really know about what was 'practised in his day'. Perhaps the author judges matters too self-confidently here - as did his opponents before him - when in fact the historical problem is more complicated. As a starting point, Wellhausen's famous sentence is correct: 'Jesus was not a Christian, but a Jew.'(13) He would not have met with such approval in Galilee nor in Jerusalem with the festival pilgrims if he himself had preached bare antinomianism as an overt transgressor of the law. He must have shared at least the popular consensus of 'common Judaism' as the self-evident foundation for the life of the Jewish people in Palestine. Otherwise he could not have appeared in public at all. However, isolated and, at times, very critical remarks about the law are not to be excluded: they are very probable.
Furthermore, if Jesus had been a religious 'eccentric' without any following or support (compare Jesus b. Ananias, below, pp. 13-14), it would not have been necessary to get rid of him so quickly as a public threat. Nor would he have set in motion in Palestine itself such a dynamic and expansive movement as early Christianity. Jesus' entrance into public ministry cannot be so radically separated from its immediate effects - that is, the emergence of the earliest Church - as has frequently been done since F. C. Baur and especially by Bultmann.(14)
Nevertheless, as has already been said, Sanders would like to follow Bultmann in regarding the disputes over legal questions as non-historical 'ideal scenes' which transpose later church situations back into the time of Jesus. But do not such 'ideal scenes' rather serve to reproduce Jesus' typical modes of behaviour and reactions summarized in one exemplary scene? For in Mark especially, everything is as a rule explained only once, paradigmatically (repetitions are few in Mark, in contrast to Matthew and Luke); by no means everything can be explained as a mere creation of the Church. So far as we know, healing on the Sabbath, and moreover in a synagogue, no longer played any role in the later 'Hellenistic' churches where, according to Bultmann, these scenes are supposed to have originated. And this holds all the more for tithes, gifts for the temple, handwashing, and other questions of ritual purity, as well as for other topics which Sanders enumerates.
Conversely, burning issues which, according to Paul and Acts, were controversial in the exchange between the 'Hellenistic' mission churches and the motherland - issues like circumcision, table fellowship with the uncircumcised, eating consecrated meat, and drinking libation-wine - are not addressed in the Gospels. The widespread superstition that the Gospels deal primarily with problems of their immediate present frequently leads ad absurdum.
On the question of Jesus and the law it must also not be overlooked that Jesus' stance towards the individual concrete regulations of the law could be judged quite differently depending on the contemporary observer's own position. The consensus of a 'common Judaism' as a sufficient standard of judgement within Judaism, on which Sanders bases his two works, is not unproblematic as an inner-Jewish phenomenon. For the consensus came to the fore, above all, in Judaism's apologetic demarcation over against those outside. It is therefore especially emphasized in the apologetic works of Philo and Josephus (especially in Against Apion), on which Sanders largely relies.
On the inside, by contrast, there were sometimes bitter fights, precisely over the concrete halakhah. The letter 4QMMT proves that some mishnaic controversies were already virulent towards the end of the second century BC.(15) And at the end of this epoch stands the bloody feud between the two rival schools of Hillel and Shammai over the Eighteen Halakhot (or 'Decrees') in the year AD 66 (see below, p. 40). It should not be assumed that the fights over the proper interpretation of the Torah were any less bitter during the intervening centuries. Typical of such controversies, which in extreme cases could even lead to executions or lynch murders,(16) is that which led to the stoning of James the Lord's brother and other Jewish Christians under the Sadducean high priest Ananus II, son of the Ananus (Annas) of the passion story. By convening the court ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]), the younger Ananus had James condemned to death and executed as a lawbreaker.(17) An opposing group of Jerusalem residents who were strict about the laws, and who may have been Pharisees according to Sanders,(18) protested against the illegal procedure and had Ananus deposed by King Agrippa II. The [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] of the accusation remains fundamentally puzzling. Were the legally strict 'James the Just' and the Jewish Christians stoned with him worse 'lawbreakers' than Jesus, on whom, according to the Synoptics and more precisely Mark and Matthew,(19) the judgement for blasphemy was passed only ad hoc? As Sanders rightly stresses, this judgement on account of blasphemy cannot be adequately grounded in Jewish legal regulations according to our fragmentary knowledge of them.(20)
The nearest parallel to the trial of James is the charge against Stephen about thirty years earlier. (By contrast Acts 12: 1-4 and 1 Thess. 2: 14-15 can be passed over, for here the law is not mentioned expressis verbis, though naturally it must have played a role here as well.) Sanders himself refers to the proceedings against Stephen;(21) but he limits the 'blasphemous words against Moses and God' and the 'words against this holy place and the law' to words 'against the temple, and consequently against the law',(22) even though according to the 'false witnesses', the first martyr is supposed to have claimed that 'Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us' (Acts 7: 14). In other words, in Stephen's case Sanders reduces the problem to mere threats against the temple, which according to him already stood behind the charge against Jesus in Mark 14: 58(23) and behind the so-called 'Cleansing of the Temple', which was in reality Jesus' way of announcing 'that the end was at hand and that the temple would be destroyed, so that the new and perfect temple might arise'.(24)
With this, the thorny issue of Jesus (and Stephen) and the law is brushed aside.(25) But has not Sanders thereby wandered too far from the incident recounted in Mark 11: 15-17? Here the point is precisely not the destruction of the old temple and the erecting of the new eschatological temple,(26) but rather a symbolic protest against selling doves and changing money in the temple. The incident recalls the concluding promise of the book of Zechariah (14: 21b): 'And there shall no longer be traders in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.'(27) And so, on the surface the action was directed primarily against the fusion of sacrifice and profit in the temple. Like the scene of the Entry to Jerusalem which recalls Zech. 9: 9, this symbolic act may also have been messianically motivated and may, together with other grievances, have contributed a little later to the deadly charge brought by the members of the priestly hierarchy before the prefect that Jesus was making messianic, that is, in political terms, 'royal' claims.(28)
If Jesus' symbolic action against the temple, which is so important for Sanders - operating perhaps in conjunction with his messianic preaching about the temple's end and renewal - attracted the deadly hatred of the members of the hierarchy in Jerusalem, is it not then also possible that Jesus, as a charismatic religious 'outsider', could already have provoked in an analogous way the anger of respected religious authorities and pious scholars in Galilee? This he may have done through: (a) isolated critical words and actions which had an impact on the commandments - commandments on issues like the Sabbath, obligations to parents, ritual purity, pollution through food, divorce, and the ius talionis; (b) aggressive sentences like those in the antitheses of Matt. 5: 21-48; and not least (c) his unconditional acceptance of notorious sinners. In any case, it is unlikely that Jesus' posture towards the law was largely unproblematic. Yet this idea is the foundation on which Sanders builds his vast work. In order to maintain his thesis, Sanders must view critically Jesus' disputes as they are reported in the Synoptics.
From Jesus' messianic claim, which should no longer be denied,(29) comes a dual course of eschatologically motivated controversy. One part of the controversy is directed against the temple, the priests, and the cult: roughly speaking, one could call this the primarily anti-Sadducean line. The other part is directed against trends which stand in the closest connection with the temple cult and are likewise of priestly inspiration, namely Pharisaic teaching and practical piety. This went beyond the literal wording of the Torah and, among other things, tried to make the ideal degree of holiness required for the temple, in attenuated form, the task of every individual Israelite. It is therefore only consistent when Sanders radically contests this very tendency, which binds the priestly Sadducees with the Pharisaic priests and laypeople, by answering an unambiguous 'no' to the question of the third chapter, 'Did the Pharisees Eat Ordinary Food in Purity?' (Jewish Law, 131-254). Already in his preface he explained:
I argue that the special pharisaic traditions did not have the same status as the written law, that the Pharisees did not eat ordinary food in priestly purity, and that in the Diaspora Jews went their own way with regard to food, purity and donations to the temple, rather than basing their behaviour on Palestinian rules (Jewish Law, vii).
It is essential that the first two points should be right if Sanders' picture of Jesus and the law, and with it his picture of Jesus and contemporary Judaism, is to be maintained.
We would argue, however, that the evangelists have not made up Jesus' controversies with the scribes and Pharisees. Nor can they simply be laid at the door of the later Church (one would then have to ask: which one?). The earliest community of disciples in Jerusalem and Galilee may also have experienced such conflicts. Yet the Church did not simply freely invent 'ideal scenes' in the Gospels, but rather formed them on the basis of concrete memory. For she still knew that such conflicts went back to Jesus' provocative behaviour in word and deed, which in our view hangs together with his claim to messianic authority. In favour of the reliability of the tradition we have the fact - emphasized by Sanders himself - that individual scenes and words have been preserved in which Jesus affirms the institutions of the sacrificial cult and the duties of the priesthood. He refers here to Matt. 5: 23-24 and Mark 1: 40-44.(30) One could furthermore recall Jesus' visits to the Jerusalem festivals and his celebration of Passover with his disciples (cf. Luke 13: 1; 18: 9-14).
On the other hand, it is clear that in the Synoptics the temple and its cult, as well as the purity and food laws, play only a rather marginal role - the temple only as the location of Jesus' teaching and, once, as the scene of an act of protest, the latter in a context critical of the temple. We are met with a similar critical distance in Mark 7, where one cannot a limine deny Jesus the saying of Mark 7: 15 nor his polemic against the Pharisaic paradosis in Mark 7: 5-13. That his message sounds so different from the scholarly casuistry of the Mishnah is as little an accident as the fact that the synoptic tradition concentrates Jesus' interpretation of the law in the double love command (both in Mark and in [Q.sup.31]), or in the command to love one's enemies, which in Matt. 5: 43-47 stands as the climax at the end of the antitheses. The well-known parallels of Aqiba and Hillel show at the same time the essential difference from the early Christian view, which in nuce doubtless goes back to the Torah interpretation of Jesus himself.(32) Sanders refers to the double love command in Deut. 6: 5 and Lev. 19: 18 in order to provide grounds for the maxim which summarizes the result of his first investigation: 'The synoptic Jesus lived as a law-abiding Jew.'(33)
Yet even Sanders cannot avoid the conclusion that Jesus caused offence to his contemporaries - offence which led to his death. He sees the grounds for this offence almost exclusively in Jesus' offer to sinners of participation in God's kingly rule without the prerequisite of turning back to the Torah. Also to be reckoned here - even according to Sanders, though with qualifications - are Jesus' call to discipleship, which in concrete cases neutralized the commandment of piety towards parents; his anti-family utterances in general; and finally his prohibition of divorce which was even more strict than the law required.(34) But in that case Jesus' 'minor infringements' acquire a totally different significance, precisely because of a point that Sanders himself rightly emphasizes: 'The view that the law is unitary - it was all given by God to Israel, and all parts are thus equally binding - was so common in Judaism, that Jesus must have known it...' (Jesus, 247).
Had Jesus remained a carpenter, his eccentricities would indeed scarcely have caused him difficulties; on the contrary, his behaviour would have been at least in some degree an example of Jewish piety. But the fact that he, as an uneducated person(35) who did not belong to the 'religious establishment', had with him a regular group of adherents whom he also sent out with his message,(36) together with the fact that he appeared on the scene as a teacher and drew the masses of ordinary people - all this made him interesting and suspect at the same time. All this also, however, gave his symbolic acts their paradigmatic character.
The case of Jesus b. Ananias, whom Sanders draws in for comparison, proves instructive here (Josephus, War 6. 300-309; cf. Jesus, 302-303; Jewish Law, 94). He appeared on the scene in AD 62 and preached his words of woe 'against Jerusalem and the temple', 'against the bridegroom and the bride', and 'against all the people' (War 6. 301). For this he was interrogated with blows by some of the leading citizens of Jerusalem, then handed over by the accountable Jewish authorities ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) to the procurator. The procurator had him scourged to the bone, but then released him because he saw him as a maniac who had no following and did not seek one. Josephus explicitly mentions that during the entire seven years of his activity he did not approach or talk to any of the citizens of Jerusalem, but shouted out his woes over Jerusalem on his own. His isolation among the people protected him. Jesus of Nazareth, by contrast, was put in danger by his influence on the common people and by the following which developed around him. And that, in turn, made everything that Jesus did and taught others to do increasingly a matter of public concern. This is true not least of his critical utterances on questions of the law, for it is not teaching alone, but much more instigation to action, which is decisive for Jewish legal sensibilities (cf. m. Sanh. 11: 2-3 and below on this passage, pp. 25-26). Therefore Jesus' behaviour on the Sabbath, taken in the context of the rest of his activity and preaching, can and indeed must have been provocative to the religious authorities. He was not such a harmless representative of 'common Judaism' as he might appear in Sanders' works.
A further point must be considered. Sanders himself is fully aware that we know only fragmentarily the details of the Pharisaic interpretation of the law before AD 70. Exactly what material from the Mishnah and other Tannaitic texts was in force before AD 70 is debated. In questions of dating and attribution, Sanders for the most part follows the arrangement of Neusner in relying mainly on the discussions of the schools of Hillel and Shammai and a few other traditions passed on by name (cf. Jewish Law, 5). But in our view it is precisely the anonymous traditions in the Mishnah - that is, those accepted without question - which deserve the greatest attention.
Yet even on the basis of these Tannaitic sources we can grasp only with difficulty the degree of the concrete offence which Jesus, through his words and deeds, caused his opponents, who were well-versed in, and zealous for, the law - offence in view of the Sabbath, purity regulations, acceptance of sinners without a return to the Torah, and indeed Jesus' whole preaching of the dawning, present reign of God(37) without any reference to the prevailing traditional understanding of the Torah. It seems to us that 'zeal for the law'(38) must have been greater in the period between Herod and the Jewish War than it was after the two devastating catastrophes that led to the renunciation of all zealot-like expectation at the time of the redaction of the Mishnah by Judah the Patriarch. The scandals which Jesus caused through his independent(39) understanding of the law can be separated neither from his 'self-claim' - which Sanders rightly emphasizes and which we see as messianic - nor from his final fatal provocations at the Passover festival in Jerusalem. These scandals do not seem to have been as minor as one might assume from reading Sanders' very instructive and scholarly comments, even if the scandals of themselves are not yet sufficient to explain Jesus' arrest and execution in Jerusalem. Such factors are joined by an additional motif fundamental for understanding Jesus and the early Church, namely the question of the Messiah.
Jesus' attitude towards the Torah and the temple possesses, over against that of all other Jewish groups, an unmistakable, original stamp. He thereby brings something really new, and he continues this new thing in the Church made up of his disciples. Both Jesus and the Church fall outside the framework provided by the idea - valued so highly by Sanders - of a harmonious 'common Judaism'. After all, it is no accident that the movement initiated by Jesus opened itself step by step to an increasingly 'law-free' Gentile mission just a short time after his death. Nor is it an accident that the three 'pillars' at the Apostolic Council about eighteen years later, who were closely associated with Jesus, acknowledged uncircumcised Gentile Christians who were not under obligation to the Torah as full members of the Church, destined to experience eschatological salvation. Must that not also ultimately have something to do with Jesus' attitude? Ex nihilo nihil fit - or, to take up the illustration which Sanders himself uses (and rejects): from our historical distance, we must conclude from the smoke that there is also a fire.(40) The persecutions of the early Palestinian Church were connected with this partially critical attitude toward Torah and cult, as well as with Christology (this whole complex cannot be torn apart).(41) Jesus himself provided the first impetus for persecution. Early Christianity's relatively quick break with Sanders' 'common Judaism', despite the fact that it rested entirely on Jewish roots, is a phenomenon which we believe ultimately goes back historically and theologically to Jesus' words and deeds, in combination with his claim to have been sent from God. This development is without analogy in Palestinian Judaism.
Finally, the radical historical scepticism which Sanders repeatedly expresses brings up a fundamental problem. The far-reaching reduction of the Jesus tradition which Sanders advocates, especially with regard to Jesus' words, raises the question: How, in view of the very little which still remains after the exclusion of all 'ideal scenes' and similar creations of the Church, can any reasonable criteria at all be produced which can distinguish authentic Jesus material from inauthentic? Since the days of D. F. Strauss and Bruno Bauer it has become clear that, with the rise of radical criticism, judgements that line up with the relative accidents of personal taste and a scholar's own research interests have become not fewer, but more numerous. Instead of orthodoxy's dogmatic picture of Christ we have the numerous, often contradictory, liberal speculations regarding the man from Nazareth: they have not always brought us closer to the historical truth.
To be sure, compared with others, this accusation applies to Sanders only in a qualified way. In his book on Jesus he makes an effort to find plausible grounds and tries to weigh evidence. However, the harmonizing tendency to place Jesus within a largely problem-free 'common Judaism' and to make him a Jew devoted to the Torah like others leads repeatedly to one-sided judgements.
Nevertheless, the first of these five studies is still required reading for everyone concerned with the controverted question of the synoptic Jesus and the law. The critical reader can learn from it that the problem is substantially more complicated than is generally acknowledged. Sanders puts his finger on questions that remain open, even though his answers need to be scrutinized critically.
II. THE PHARISEES AND THE 'ORAL LAW'
(i) Words of the Scribes, Halakhah and Torah
The second study turns to the question, 'Did the Pharisees Have Oral Law?' (Jewish Law, 97-130). Sanders here takes up a theme which is fundamental to the self-understanding and the historical significance of the Pharisees. At the same time he answers an essential question of the subsequent larger work on Judaism. Here again, future research cannot afford to pass over his reflections.(42)
The usual view among both Jews and Christians has previously been that the Pharisees (and later the rabbis) knew two forms of the Torah, a written form and an oral form of the same status, which according to m. Abot 1:1 were both traced back to Moses on Sinai without differentiation.
Over against this popular view Sanders attempts to show that while there was indeed, according to Josephus and the New Testament, an oral tradition in addition to the written Torah, this tradition did not have equal standing next to the written Torah. Rather, it was subordinate to the written Torah in authority and therefore not binding for all. The Sadducees especially rejected the equal status of this oral tradition, according to Josephus, and appealed only to the wording of the written Torah, although in daily life even they observed those traditions without which a life according to the Torah would not have been possible. Sanders wants to ascribe these traditions which were kept by all to his postulated pre-Pharisaic 'common Judaism', which developed and became established uninfluenced by the exclusively Pharisaic oral tradition.
In his devaluation of the Pharisaic 'oral tradition' Sanders takes a position which Jacob Neusner has also taken, at least in some of his publications.(43) Neusner pointed out that in the earliest rabbinic literature, the 'words of the sages' are clearly differentiated from statements of the text of the Torah and are not equal with them in authority, so that the formulaic equation of 'oral' and 'written' Torah must be seen as relatively late and therefore as without significance for the Pharisees before AD 70. Sanders thinks he can prove this by examining 'all the instances of "words of the scribes", "halakah", "receive a tradition", and "halakah given to Moses on Sinai" which occur in the Mishnah and Tosefta' to see if they indicate 'oral law'. If they do not, then it will have been proved that 'the Pharisees did not regard their own traditions as equal to the law of Moses' (Jewish Law, 115). Readers of Sanders' first study should have no doubts that this will in fact be the result of his second (cf. Jewish Law, 123, 125-28), for in the first study Sanders toned down the conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees by pointing out that the Pharisees did not force their group's specific teachings upon others and generally exercised great tolerance in halakhic matters (see Jewish Law, 12, 35-36).
The real significance of this apparently tangential question about the status of Pharisaic halakhah in the first century AD for Sanders' overall work is shown in the following citation:
Christian scholars have also seen the rabbinic movement as heir to Pharisaism, and the more anti-Jewish of them have been especially keen to maintain that Judaism in Jesus' day was dominated by the Pharisees. If the Pharisees were in charge, they were at least indirectly responsible for Jesus' death. Jesus was killed because he believed in grace and mercy. Therefore he was opposed by people who opposed those qualities; these were the Pharisees. Their form of Judaism, which continues to this very day, was wretched, being based on self-righteousness and the petty bookkeeping of small merchants (Judaism, 400).
Sanders' concern is apologetic and is directed against the anti-Judaism which he thinks is traditional in New Testament scholarship, not least in Germany. Its roots are (a) a false picture of Jewish soteriology - this he tried to refute in Paul and Palestinian Judaism; (b) the supposed enmity of the Pharisees against Jesus which is reflected in the Gospels; and (c) the resulting involvement of the Pharisees in Jesus' condemnation and execution: key passages in the two books reviewed here, as well as in Jesus and Judaism, are dedicated to refuting the last two points. If the Pharisees did not give their halakhah any binding status,(44) then the second accusation can be dropped; if they wielded no power in the society or in the legal system, then the third point falls away too. And that is precisely the result of Jewish Law and Judaism.
In our criticism we shall limit ourselves for the most part to the way in which Sanders deals with the question of tracing 'oral law' back to Moses, since here it can be shown that, in order to diminish the significance of the halakhah for Pharisaism, Sanders continually operates with a misleading concept of 'oral law' which he can then refute relatively easily. The question, as he puts it, is whether the Pharisees possessed traditions 'which they knew were non-biblical, but which they regarded as being equal in age and authority to the written law'.(45) But the coordination of 'age and authority' is not fundamental to Pharisaism, even if the Pharisees did trace some individual traditions directly back to Moses. On the contrary, they knew of decisions which first became necessary only a long time after Moses, but which nevertheless corresponded with the intention of the giving of the law on Sinai and were therefore to be kept. They were 'equal in authority' but not in age!(46)
Historically more appropriate is P. Schafer's position, limiting the origin of the formal doctrine of the 'two torahs' (oral and written) 'to Tannaitic times, i.e. in the period of Yavneh at the earliest, and towards the end of the 'second century AD at the latest'.(47) However, this does not exclude the possibility that the first steps towards the juxtaposition of 'oral' and 'written' Torah were taken already before AD 70. This is suggested by three mishnaic traditions,(48) one of which is supposed to stem from the time of the Second Temple. In this mishnah, m. Peah 2: 6, a previously unprecedented case was decided by appeal to a 'halakhah [given] to Moses from Sinai' which was unknown to most of the scribes assembled in the temple's Chamber of Hewn Stone. The 'authorizing' of this halakhah on the basis' of its origin and age is carried out as if it had actually been given 'through (and from the time of) Moses'. Both the oral character of this halakhah and its validity are presupposed. With this as a precedent, future generations will know how they should conduct themselves in this kind of situation.(49)
Halakhah which is traced back to Moses needs no scriptural proof; in fact, proof is sometimes rejected polemically. This is shown by a controversy between R. Eleazar b. Azariah and R. Aqiba in which the question was whether a certain sacrificial regulation needs to be substantiated exegetically if it has been passed down as 'halakhah of Moses from Sinai'.(50) Both teachers agree on the content of the halakhah in question (a half log of oil for the thanksgiving offering), but they discuss the correct way of deriving it. The interesting thing here is that the distinction which Sanders stresses so strongly between tradition without scriptural support, on the one hand, and scriptural interpretation in the rabbinic texts on the other, often cannot be made at all, because many of the halakhot found in the Mishnah without any scriptural support are bound up with the written Torah in the halakhic midrashim. Whether this 'exegeticalizing' was undertaken before, during, or after the introduction of a given custom is not a question which can be settled with blanket statements. But it is more probable that religious practice in the temple and in daily life came increasingly to form an established tradition, which then in Tannaitic times was fused with scripture formally as well. Exegesis thereby tried to provide an explanation for what previously had been practised more unconsciously without a clear exegetical method, namely, the extension of the Torah to new questions as they arose. Even the ancient tradition which cannot be derived exegetically in any easily recognizable way nevertheless emerged as the result of regular involvement with the Torah as the source of all knowledge.(51)
The following was transmitted by R. Zeir in the name of the greatest early Amoraic haggadist, R. Yohanan:
When a halakhah is transmitted to you and you do not know its kind [i.e. its origin], do not turn it in another direction [i.e. do not let it come into conflict with another halakhah]; for many halakhot were said to Moses on Sinai and all of them are embodied in the Mishnah (y. Peah 17a [2: 6]).
The pupil is thereby told that a transmitted halakhah is still in force even when its exact origin cannot be established, for all halakhah flows from the same source, the revelation at Sinai. Here R. Yohanan no longer distinguishes between oral and written Torah, since in the third century it was already a generally acknowledged conviction that all halakhah is indebted to Moses in an ultimate sense (which, however, was not meant 'historically'). Therefore R. Yohanan can also say, 'If you can trace the chain of transmission behind an oral tradition back to Moses, do so' (y. Shah. 3a [1: 2]), But this does not yet say that the validity of a teaching is dependent on its Mosaic origin, since all the later Halakhic 'discoveries' (i.e. innovations) also come from one and the same source.(52)
Two Tosefta texts with similar formulae trace customs or discussions back 'to Moses at Sinai' (cf. Jewish Law, 122-23). One deals with a custom associated with the Feast of Tabernacles during the Second Temple period which was disputed between the high-priestly clan of the Boethusians (see below, p. 60) and the common people.(53) The other text deals with a discussion between the pupils of Hillel and Shammai.(54)
These various formulations referring to 'Moses at Sinai' presuppose, as P. Schafer rightly stresses, 'a principle of tradition similar to that formulated in the maxim of m. Abot 1: 1'.(55) We believe they show that Sanders has drawn the wrong conclusion from an observation that is right in itself: 'The few' minor traditions or halakot which are traced back to Moses serve to refute the idea that the Pharisees ascribed their major distinguishing practices to him' (Jewish Law, 123). We agree that the Pharisees did not trace every individual halakhah back to Moses 'historically', but posit a different explanation: the Pharisees were already convinced of the authoritative legal force of their halakhah, and therefore did not need to trace Mosaic origin in every instance. Nevertheless, the formulae just mentioned show that the Pharisees considered the tracing of Mosaic origin to be entirely possible in concrete cases. The reference back to Moses, then, involves more than simply casual remarks thrown self-consciously into a rabbinic discussion: 'I already knew the answer: it's as old as Moses' (Sanders' paraphrase, Jewish Law, 124). The allusion to Moses was meant more seriously. For if it was possible in individual cases to use a special tradition to trace unknown halakhot back to the time of the revelation at Sinai, and, so to speak, to authorize them as ancient and 'Mosaic', then the same practice was just as possible with regard to rules which the Pharisaic sages acknowledged fundamentally and universally, such as erub arid handwashing (to which Sanders gives special attention), even if their age and origin was seldom discussed explicitly.(56) That which was acknowledged as self-evident needed no further justification.
We turn now to the case of the 'words of the scribes' ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]). From the examples Sanders cites (Jewish Law, 115-17), it is not always clear that the 'words of the scribes' are fundamentally inferior to the 'words of the Torah'.(57) Rather, a close connection often becomes clear.
For example, in m. Parah 11: 6 (cf. t. Parah 11: 5) the two expressions 'words of the Torah' and 'words of the scribes' appear next to one another in coordination. Even if the two are in different categories, it is striking that they nevertheless stand together as authoritative halakhot. No privileging of the 'words of the Torah' is immediately evident.
In t. Nid. 9: 14, by contrast, the formula 'words of the scribes' is used to make a distinction within the complex system of rules. A less strict rule with regard to impurity is justified with the comment that - in a particular, highly artificial case (cf. b. Nid. 69b) - the impurity of the corpses of a man with a bodily discharge, a woman with a bodily discharge, a menstruant, a woman who has given birth, or a leper (all unclean according to biblical law when they are still living) derives 'only from the words of the scribes'. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the decreed impurity remains without consequences: the contaminated heave-offering must be burned, not eaten (cf. Lev. 7: 17, 19; 19: 6), even if the scribes alone have made a ruling about this case. From this it may be concluded that the sages thought that the heave-offering, although it was contaminated only according to the words of the scribes, would nevertheless place the priest who ate of it under the same penalty of separation from his people as was threatened in the biblical laws which command the burning of the contaminated flesh of the offerings (Lev. 7: 18; 19: 7-8; cf. 22: 8-9). Therefore the passage says more than Sanders concludes - 'Those who are impure only according to the words of the scribes do not render the sanctuary and the holy things in it impure' (Jewish Law, 116): the polluted heave-offering can indeed render impure the priests who eat of it!
In questions of purity for which the principle (iqqar) derives from the Torah, but the allowable amount (siur) of impurity derives from the 'words of the scribes' (cf. t. Miqw. 5: 4), the latter is to be applied whenever it can be to reach a decision about purity or impurity; only in doubtful cases does the decision revert to the literal wording of the Torah (which of course dictates impurity without qualifications). But if the scribes can establish concrete usage, then their directives come effectively very near to the Torah. Without the correct practical instructions the Torah could not be followed at all. Therefore in this case, which is only one example of many, the written Torah and its interpretation in terms of a binding rule of usage are nearly identical.
We find another conspicuous parallelism in the important text t. Ed. 1: 1 (Z. 454), where the words of the Torah and of the scribes are subsumed under the citation from Amos 8: 11-12.(58) The agreement of scripture and tradition is the prerequisite for the 'words of the Lord' to maintain their validity into the future. The whole Mishnah tractate Eduyot shows just how important the agreement of the schools of Hillel and Shammai was considered to be. Here not only group interests are addressed, but fundamental problems of 'soteriology' within the covenantal nomism which Sanders has proclaimed. If keeping the law is seen as a covenant obligation from the human side, then everything depends on knowing precisely what this obligation means here and now.
Clearly the rabbis in all these cases were fully aware that their own traditions could be differentiated from the commands of the Torah.(59) Nevertheless, they tended not to weaken the authority of the former, but rather to strengthen it.
In t. Taan. 2: 6 (Z. 217) fasting is prohibited on biblical Sabbaths and festivals but allowed on the days immediately before and after them, whereas in m. Taan. 2: 8 fasting is prohibited not only on the notable days listed in the Scroll of Fasting (special days in addition to biblical Sabbaths and festivals),(60) but also on the day before (so R. Yose). This stricter guarding of the days listed in the Scroll of Fasting is justified with the comment that, in contrast to the 'words of the Torah', the 'words of the scribes', which established the days in the Scroll of Fasting, require 'buttressing' ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED], t. Taan. 2: 6; see also t. Yebam. 2: 4 [Z. 243]). This formula occurs also in later literature, when the doctrine of the two torot had long since become self-evident.(61)
The stricter guarding of the decisions of the scribes as compared with the biblical regulations is made especially clear in m. Sanh. 11: 2-3 (cf. Jewish Law, 117; 114). In the proceedings (which are theoretical and somewhat removed from reality) against an elder who is supposed to be punished with death by strangling because he rebelled against the decision of the Bet Din, the controversial matter must finally be tried by 'the High Court that was in the Chamber of Hewn Stone' (in the temple) - that is, the court 'from which Torah goes forth to all Israel' (m. Sanh. 11: 2; cf. Isa. 2: 3). The text offered (not very appropriately) as scriptural proof is Deut. 17: 8-13, though now the High Court has taken the place of the priest as judge. If the elder, after being instructed by the court about the correct halakhah, nevertheless continues to give wrong decisions concerning what should be done (see above, p. 14) and, in so doing, to 'act presumptuously' himself (i.e. 'by not listening to the [court]': cf. Deut. 17: 12), he has forfeited his life. The conclusion reads: '[Rebellion] against the words of the scribes weighs heavier than [rebellion] against the words of the Torah' (m. Sanh. 11: 3), which is then illustrated in a peculiar way from the command to wear phylacteries. With this difficult mishnaic text, the idealized supreme authority of the highest rabbinic court documents that its directives must be strengthened in comparison with those of the written Torah, which are more 'banal' in that they are accessible to everybody. The commentary by S. Krauss suggests that even though one should perhaps not make a doctrine out of it, the passage nevertheless shows that 'there is a case where the transgression of a command of the soferim is judged more strictly than the transgression of a Mosaic command', namely when the eider in question 'gives a fully valid ruling...in a rabbinic matter' which deviates from the teaching which has already been declared binding.(62) In this case he forfeits his life, and his sentence is to be announced publicly in every place (m. Sanh. 11: 4).
The last step is taken by the early Amoraim: here allegorical interpretation of the Song of Solomon plays a special role. In y. Ber. 3b (1: 7)(63) two almost identical-sounding sayings are attributed to the famous haggadist R. Yohanan. The first runs: 'The words of the scribes are [closely] related (dodim) to the words of Torah and dear (habibim, cf. m. Abot 3: 15) like the words of Torah; [for it says,] "Your palate (or 'mouth') [= the words of the scribes] is like the best wine [= the written Torah]'" (Cant. 7: 10; ET 7: 9). The immediately following parallel is similar: 'The words of the scribes are [closely] related to the words of Torah, and more dear than the words of Torah. For [it says,] "the things you love [[HEBREW TEXT OMITTED], again referring to the words of the scribes] are better than wine [= the written Torah]'" (Cant. 1: 2).(64) Shortly thereafter follows a citation of the Tanna R. Ishmael (b. Elisha, died c. 135): 'The words of the Torah contain some prohibitions, permissions, leniencies, and stringencies. But the words of the scribes are all stringencies.' Here again the example of phylacteries from m. Sanh. 11: 3 is appealed to for support.
It is certainly true that the Pharisees and the early Tannaim differentiated between their decisions or the 'words of the scribes' and the written Torah. But that does not necessarily say anything about the authority of the former. For there was at the same time a strong tendency to place the oral and the written in parallel, in order thus to enhance the authority of the Pharisaic or later rabbinic scribes together with the authority of the oral tradition.(65) The well-known formula of tradition as the 'fence around the Torah' is also to be understood along these lines.(66)
By the early Tannaitic period at the latest, the concept of the two torot was so firmly established that it could be applied to the differences between Hillel and Shammai detached from its original context.(67) The early Amoraim then had no further reservations about increasingly placing the oral Torah over the written Torah in status. This is a consistent development which unfolded in stages, but whose beginnings certainly reach back to the period long before AD 70. The use of the expression 'Torah' in m. Abot, in which the distinction between written and oral Torah is practically set aside (already in 1: 1 ff. the reference is primarily to the oral Torah), similarly shows that around AD 200 the separate categories so stressed by Sanders had long since been completely permeated.(68) It is thereby clear from the start that 'Torah' - as already in the Old Testament texts - is not bound fundamentally and one-sidedly to the letters of the written word; rather, in interacting with the Torah, a creative element must always come into play if the Torah is to remain the comprehensive guide to life for the people of God.(69) The rabbis were fully aware of this.
In the well-known mishnah Hagigah 1: 8 three types of halakhot are differentiated: those that 'hover in the air', i.e. that have no scriptural support; those that are 'as mountains hanging by a hair', i.e. that finds only scanty support in the scripture (miqra'); and those that have ample scriptural support. The last include the halakhot of civil law, the temple service, purity and impurity, and the forbidden degrees of consanguineous marriage. These are considered the 'essentials' (gufe) 'of the Torah' (so m. Hag. 1: 8) or 'of the halakhah' (so t. Erub. 11 : 24 [Z. 154]) - the two expressions are here interchangeable.(70) The formulation in t. Erub. 11 (8): 24, which we consider older, adds to the four areas of law covered in m. Hag. 1: 8 four more concerning 'valuations, things declared herem, things declared sacred, and the second tithe' (see also t. Hag. 1: 9 [Z. 233]). Tosefta Erubin closes the section (and the tractate) with a dictum of Abba Yose b. Hanan,(71) who lived at the end of the Second Temple period: 'These eight branches of the Torah are the essentials of the halakhot.' M. Hag. 1: 8 does not deny that the halakhah which is independent of scripture is part of the Torah.(72) On the contrary, the formula about 'essentials' makes it clear that the release from vows, which 'hovers in the air' because it cannot find support in a scriptural citation, nevertheless belongs to the Torah, even if not to its essentials!
Sanders, by contrast, finds expressed in this passage a qualitative difference between the 'essentials of the Law' and the independent halakhot, whose relevant is limited by their not being based on exegesis (cf. Jewish Law, 119, and especially the summary, 129 item 7). This faulty interpretation rests on the unproven assumption that reference to scripture is decisive for the status of a halakhic instruction.(73) Actually, the halakhot which can be grounded in the scripture form, so to speak, only the 'middle of the Torah' as that principle on which the halakhah is to orient itself when it encounters questions which were not at all envisaged in scripture itself. This broader meaning of Torah holds above all for the usage in the Haggadah; it is not yet so strongly represented in the Mishnah and Tosefta, the text collections on which Sanders solely relies in this study.(74)
(ii) Josephus and the Oral Tradition of the Pharisees
The decisive information for understanding the rabbinic statements is given by Josephus in his report about the Pharisees which follows the story of their conflict with John Hyrcanus.(75) This passage must be discussed here, because in Sanders' chapter on 'oral law', Josephus' reports are considered only briefly in the introduction (Jewish Law, 99-102, 107-108), and then play no role in the final summary and conclusions; Sanders draws conclusions based on his interpretation of the rabbinic passages alone. It is therefore worthwhile comparing the decisive sentences of Sanders' concluding section with those of Josephus:
If this view [i.e. 'that the early Rabbis did not equate their own rules with the Law which had been decreed by God'] is correct and can be applied to the pre-70 Pharisees, as appears to be the case, it means that they were self-conscious when they introduced innovations. They did not think of their own customs, though hallowed by usage, as law, but rather kept them separate. Despite their willingness to introduce new traditions consciously, they were also deeply conservative and intended not to change the biblical law [but cf. the prosbul! Hengel/Deines]. They interpreted it and they also followed rules in addition to it. Their interpretations - when they agreed on them - they regarded as correct, and doubtless they tried to have them enforced in society as a whole. Their traditions were their own: they made them Pharisees (Jewish Law, 128).
By contrast, Josephus writes:
The Pharisees handed down ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) to the people ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) certain legal regulations ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) from the tradition of the fathers ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED](76)) which are not written in the laws ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) of Moses. For this reason the group of the Sadducees reject them, saying that only those regulations ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) should be considered valid which are written down, but that those which are [only] from the tradition of the fathers ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) do not need to be kept. [Sanders cites the passage only to this point, cf. Jewish Law, 99.] And concerning these matters there came to be controversies and serious difficulties between them. The Sadducees persuaded the wealthy alone but did not have the common people as followers, whereas the Pharisees had the masses as allies (Ant. 13. 297-98).
Josephus does not here reflect the situation at the time of the writing of the Antiquities, since after AD 70 the Sadducees ceased to exist as a religious party. What is reflected here is rather a fundamental conflict between the two most important religio-political parties of Palestinian Judaism from the Hasmonean period until the destruction of Jerusalem. The basic meaning of this text written by a contemporary who knew the relationships of the parties should not be challenged, as it has been by Morton Smith, Neusner, and, to a limited extent, by Sanders as well.(77) An essential pointer is provided by the statement that, unlike the Essenes, the Pharisees did not hand down the [GREEK TEXT OMITTED](78) from the 'tradition of the fathers' for the esoteric striving after perfection within their own group, but rather for the whole people, [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. Behind this stands their fundamental idea of educating the people in the law. The commands 'from the tradition' of the fathers stand next to the laws of Moses passed down in written form, which the Sadducees declare as exclusively binding. The Essenes as a third group(79) relied, by contrast, on additional secret revelatory writings and regulations (War 2. 141-42) next to the law of Moses and the prophetic writings (cf. 2. 136, 159).
It is difficult to determine to what degree the [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] of the Pharisees consisted of additional commands that had no scriptural support, or of commands for which scriptural grounds could be found through an (occasionally far-fetched) interpretation. Even in ancient times tradition and interpretation could often not be neatly separated.(80) It is not for nothing that Josephus repeatedly emphasizes the Pharisees' [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] in the interpretation of the Torah.
Both tradition and exegesis help to point out the importance which scholarship must have had for the Pharisees.(81) They were a highly intellectual group for whom scriptural interpretation and the preservation and elaboration of the oral legal tradition went together and formed the most important tasks. In other passages Josephus and the Synoptics point additionally to their particular eschatology and their other specific forms of piety.(82) It is therefore no wonder that the Pharisees were especially interested in introducing the institution of the synagogue as a place for worship and teaching, as is attested first in the Egyptian Diaspora and then in Palestine in the second half of the first century BC, i.e. in the Herodian period.(83)
Sanders disputes that Pharisaic influence was determinative in the development of the synagogue in Palestine (Judaism, 450; cf. Jewish Law, 79-80). He thinks instead that non-Pharisaic priests and Levites were largely responsible for this institution. For this he has only a few questionable references.(84) He does not discuss the basic question as to why synagogues are attested in Jewish Palestine only from the Herodian period, perhaps because the explanation lies so close at hand: the priestly aristocracy in the pre-Herodian period had no interest in creating competition for the temple service by means of the synagogue service. Even the neutral Palestinian designation [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) instead of the older [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] of the Diaspora ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED], cf. Isa. 56: 7) shows the sensitivity with respect to the dominant position of the temple. At any rate, the Synoptic Gospels (and Acts) know nothing of priests in synagogues. On the other hand, they testify unanimously that the Pharisees and the scribes associated with them played an important role in them (cf. Luke 11: 43 par. Matt. 23: 6 [Q]).(85)
In his speech in defence of the Ionian Jews before Marcus Agrippa, the friend and delegate of Augustus, Herod's adviser Nicolas of Damascus describes the Jewish synagogue service (Ant. 16. 43-46) which both Josephus and Nicolas knew from Palestine as well as from the Diaspora. In the synagogue service, the precepts ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) which guide Jewish life are openly proclaimed and taught. This involves the study of customs and law, [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], which may be taken as a reference to the written law and the oral tradition. Furthermore, the rest of the description of the service, with emphasis on the study of customs and law 'through which we can avoid committing sins', is reminiscent of Pharisaic tendencies and makes the role of such tendencies in popular Jewish culture understandable.(86) Both Josephus and Nicolas knew above all the Jerusalem synagogues.
Also attributable to Pharisaic influence, mediated through synagogue teaching, are the numerous miqva'ot which suddenly appear at about the same time as the synagogue from the middle of the first century BC, as well as the stone vessels which appear a little later; both demonstrate the wide dissemination of the Pharisaic purity halakhah. Something similar could be said of reburial in ossuaries, which presupposes the expectation of resurrection.(87) The fact that we possess no archaeological or literary attestation of these customs and institutions from Palestine before the emergence of the Pharisaic party in the second half of the second century BC speaks against their priestly origin. The decisive impetus for this development may have come during the reign of Queen Salome Alexandra (76-67 BC; see below, p. 57).
Taken together, these data confirm the historical reliability of Josephus' report regarding the popular appeal of this intellectual fellowship, in which scribes stood at the top. When Sanders in his two works keeps repeating, to the point of tiring the reader, that the Pharisees did not 'govern' or 'control'(88) the people in the period between 63 BC and AD 66, he is, of course, right. There were no Pharisaic 'Torah police' who continually monitored whether the law was being kept.
However, in the decisive text Ant. 13. 298, Josephus does not say that the Pharisees controlled or even governed the people, but rather that they managed to win the masses as 'allies' in their exchange with the Sadducees ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]). The sympathies of the common people were on the side of the Pharisees in this dispute. And this appears to us to have been the case continuously (with certain fluctuations depending on the situation) during the entire period between John Hyrcanus (135/4-104 BC) and AD 70. It is also the historical presupposition of the religious renewal, including the formation of the rabbinate, which took place in Yavneh after the catastrophe under Pharisaic leadership. As in the question of Jesus, the law, and early Christianity, the maxim holds here as well: ex nihilo nihil fit! We shall have to consider this again more closely when discussing the portrait of the Pharisees in Sanders' Judaism. Here it is enough to mention the fact that Josephus repeatedly points out the much greater influence of the Pharisees on the masses, and there is no reason to doubt his testimony.
One example must suffice to illustrate the point. The perfectly straightforward text Life 197, which concerns the delegation of four men sent to Galilee in an attempt to relieve Josephus of his command, reflects the Pharisees' influence accurately: three of the four delegates were Pharisees (Jonathan and Ananias 'from the lower ranks' of the populace [[GREEK TEXT OMITTED]], and Jozar from a priestly family), while only the last delegate, a descendant of high priests, was not a Pharisee. Their leader and spokesman Jonathan was a Pharisaic layman from the common people; by contrast the high priestly delegate had the least significance.(89) The way Sanders deals with this text is symptomatic. He believes that the Pharisees regained influence suddenly, only after the outbreak of revolt in AD 66 (cf. Judaism, 386). Life 197 is supposed to provide some of the evidence for this: 'We do learn [from Josephus] that during the revolt common people [such as the Pharisees Jonathan and Ananias] were sometimes given places of responsibility, but this highlights the normal situation: they were generally disregarded, except when they formed large groups' (Judaism, 48; cf. 171-72). But the revolt did not entail such a radical restructuring of the power relationships as Sanders suggests. Even after the outbreak of revolt, leaders of the party of 'moderates' who wanted to keep the peace (cf. War 2. 649-50) included, in addition to the Pharisee Simon b. Gamaliel, two enterprising Sadducean high priests, namely Ananus (Annas) II, the 'murderer' of James, and Jesus b. Gamalas (cf. Life 193). If Sanders did not so persistently ignore or reinterpret the New Testament reports about the Pharisees, he would see that Life 197 yields precisely the same picture as the New Testament and Talmudic reports.
(iii) The 'Tradition of the Fathers'
The crucial concept for understanding the Pharisees as well as their authority with the people is the [GREEK TEXT OMITTED].(90) The [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] here are not only the Pharisaic scribes of the preceding two generations, but rather in an a-historical, anachronistic sense, the carriers of the oral tradition, whether it be halakhic regulations or special, not immediately self-evident exegetical traditions. Again, the two cannot be strictly separated.
As shown above, in individual cases oral traditions were already traced back to Moses at a fairly early date.(91) In the late Tannaitic or early Amoraic periods this occurred in an all-inclusive manner, but not in a historicizing sense, so that Moses marks only the unsurpassable beginning. Other traditions and decisions were traced back apparently arbitrarily to biblical authorities like Samuel, David, Solomon, and the prophets, as well as to Ezra or anonymous elders, presumably of the legendary Great Synagogue. Next to these stand the great teachers of the early Pharisaic period who are listed in the beginning of m. Abot.(92) Halakhah could even be founded on events of recent history (Scroll of Fasting). Memory and imagination were here woven into one. Nevertheless, it seems as though an effort was made to associate certain customs with appropriate biblical stories and characters, or with later historical events: that character was named initiator of a custom who was thought to fit the role most closely.(93)
The attribution of individual customs and decisions to biblical characters from Moses to Ezra and on to the actual Pharisaic 'fathers' confirms the observation made above (p. 22) that the idea that the entire body of teaching was already given to Moses on Sinai may not be pressed in any historicizing manner: the process of revelation stretches through the entirety of Old Testament history, and up to the rabbis themselves; the teachings of the rabbis were first 'received' by the prophets, but also in part first begin with the rabbis. One could perhaps say that everything that was and is necessary for making concrete decisions in the on-going history of Israel was already given with the revelation on Sinai, even if each generation had to discover anew what especially applies to it. Every new decision is therefore already an old one, because like the prophetic and hagiographic tradition, it receives its dignity and legitimacy through the fundamental Sinai revelation.(94)
The postulated great age of the tradition underscored its authority. At the same time the Pharisees' claim to be the carriers and continuers of this tradition worked in combination with their [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] in scriptural interpretation and their strict manner of life to strengthen their authority in the eyes of the people. Indeed, the Pharisees understood themselves as heirs of the prophets, so that the competence which legitimated the prophets also characterized them.(95) Neither the esoteric Essenes nor the arrogant aristocratic Sadducees could keep up with the Pharisees here. In talking about the Pharisees, however, it will be necessary to differentiate between the relatively small group of leaders who were learned in the scriptures (hakhamim or soferim), the cadre of perushim/perishayya or haberim who were likewise educated in the law, and the large circle of those who more or less sympathized.(96)
The Sadducean interpretation of the law focused on the literal wording of the Torah and therefore naturally required a much lower expenditure of scholarly effort than the interpretation of the Pharisaic scribes. This fits the conservative behaviour of the largely priestly heredity nobility which was above all concerned with keeping its social and political privileges. How the presumably relatively simple Sadducean exposition of the law looked we do not know. The Sadducean 'book of decisions' ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) mentioned in the Scroll of Fasting remains a puzzle.(97) That the Sadducees urged harsher punishments for convictions than all other Jews (so Josephus(98)) results from their holding fast to the literal wording of the Torah, and contrasts with the Pharisaic tendency to leniency as evidenced in the Mishnah tractate Sanhedrin.
(iv) Pharisaic Diversity
Peter J. Tomson makes a further important point in his review of Jewish Law: 'Sanders often seems to operate with an abstract image of the Pharisees as a rigid, monolithic sect whose law tradition had a restricted, almost private character.'(99) He notes the 'inner-Pharisaic dissent and pluriformity' only 'in passing' (ibid.),(100) and thus underestimates it. Precisely because the Pharisees were the most influential religious party with a broad following among the people, one must, in our view, speak of various groups among them which also resisted each other. One could, for example, regard the schools of Hillel and Shammai as the 'right' and 'left' wings of the party, whose controversies also had national political significance, as seen especially in the strife regarding the anti-Gentile Eighteen Decrees at the outbreak of the Jewish War in AD 66.(101) There were also overlaps with the Zealot movement, which was founded by Judas the Galilean and by the Pharisee Saddok, and which followed the Pharisaic halakhah except when it came to the struggle for complete political freedom.(102) The Pharisees and their sympathizers obviously did not have any unified political position, and the 'liberal' wing of the House of Hillel under the leadership of Yohanan b. Zakkai and later Gamaliel II, son of the Gamaliel I of the Life, had to go to great lengths at Yavneh to avoid a division into 'two Torahs' stemming from the two Houses.
It must not be forgotten that the Pharisees, despite their changing fortunes, remained an identifiable party for 200 years, from their consolidation under the Hasmoneans Jonathan and Simon until the destruction of Jerusalem. Change proved more disruptive for the Sadducean nobility, who were often severely shaken during this period, and whose leadership was repeatedly the target of deportations and mass executions (see below, pp. 55-60). The stormy and often bloody history of these two groups, which is full of internal and external tensions, is too rarely visible in Sanders' two volumes as a consequence of his harmonizing, ideal picture of an unchanging 'common Judaism'.
III. THE PHARISEES AND THE COMMANDS OF RITUAL PURITY
Sanders' chapter on the question, 'Did the Pharisees Eat Ordinary Food in Purity?' is the longest in Jewish Law (131-254). Its topic is actually much broader than the title suggests. Sanders wishes to challenge the prevailing opinion 'that the Pharisees ate ordinary food at their own tables as if they were priests in the temple' (131); but as a means to this end he covers, in his longest subsection, all sorts of additional purity topics that might shed light on the primary question of whether or not the lay Pharisees tried to imitate 'priestly purity'(103) as suggested by G. Alon and others, and especially by the more analytical studies of J. Neusner. Sanders is 'searching for the Pharisees' (cf. 244), using the rabbinic passages which Neusner has deemed Pharisaic to do so.
Because of the number of purity topics discussed,(104) Sanders is, at the end of his essay, in a position to evaluate not only Neusner's specific thesis that the Pharisees defined themselves as a 'pure food club', but also the proposal that they may have been a 'purity club' in some more general sense (cf. Jewish Law, 242). For Sanders, the Pharisees were neither of these. While they did follow a special purity halakhah, it was not the main signification of party membership, nor the 'essence' or 'centre' of Pharisaism. Sanders locates this instead in the 'study and application of the law' (244; cf. 236). He is aware, however, that much more could be said, and he concedes that he does not intend his essay as 'a full and well-balanced description of "pharisaic legal topics"' (244). Nevertheless, within his limits, he has performed a substantial service. No other New Testament scholar in recent times has presented such a thorough and informative study of this topic, whose importance has been notoriously underestimated by theologians.
Before Sanders turns to Neusner and the rabbinic evidence for Pharisaism, he first presents a very useful overview of the biblical purity laws (Jewish Law, 134-51), followed by a discussion of the older secondary literature (152-66).(105)
The detailed discussion of Neusner that comes next (Jewish Law, 166 -84) begins with (ironic?) praise for Neusner's tradition-historical work, but then rightly criticizes his slighting of the anonymous tradition (167)- Sanders draws special attention to Neusner's method of studying the rabbinic traditions about the Pharisees by concentrating on passages which include either the name of a known Pharisee or a reference to the Pharisaic schools of Hillel and Shammai (cf. 153, 166, 168). The weakness of this method is that the concentration on this material is useful for highlighting the topics they discussed, but provides no help in discovering 'pharisaic law' defined as that which determined what a majority of Pharisees actually did, 'since most of the Houses material consists of unresolved disagreements' (171, italics original). The results of research based primarily on the disputes between the schools are destined to be uncertain from the start: 'unresolved disagreements' are poor indicators of valid 'pharisaic law'. This weakness affects Neusner's work more than it does the more subtle procedure of Sanders, who is correctly more interested in the topics the two schools discussed, as potentially indicative of what sorts of laws they wished to apply to themselves (and their food) - i.e. priestly or lay?; biblical or extra-biblical? - than in the detailed intra-Pharisaic disagreements about how these laws and rules were to be applied.(106)
Sanders is certainly right to judge as 'erroneous and seriously misleading' (Jewish Law, 177) Neusner's oft-repeated opinion that approximately 67 per cent of the debates between the schools 'directly or indirectly pertain to table-fellowship'.(107) But one should also be cautious in trusting the analytical work of one who errors so seriously in his conclusions. Given the difficulty of judging the Pharisaic material in the sources, can the extent of the Pharisaic aspiration for ritual purity outside the temple in analogy to the priests still be determined with any degree of certainty? If Neusner tends to make too much of ritual purity, then Sanders' tendency, which seems to be apologetically motivated, is to tone down the Pharisees' great interest in the minutiae of the purity regulations by limiting purity mostly to the temple and the priests. The connection between purity and holiness as that which God demands of the entire people is thereby given insufficient attention, in keeping with an overall description of 'common Judaism' which in fact never attempts to describe any of its positive goals (see above, p. 2 n. 2; p. 3).
We would agree with Sanders against Neusner that defining the Pharisees as a 'sect' is not justified (Jewish Law, 178-79, 240-42, 328). As Sanders points out, 'Sectarianism in the Judaism of the second temple period usually implies soteriological exclusivism' (242). The Pharisees were not 'sectarian' in this sense. In contrast to the Essenes, they had a positive relationship to the people and wanted to lead them to the Torah.(108) Therefore they had the sympathy of the people, and there is no indication that the Essenes or Sadducees ever approached the Pharisees in popularity (cf. Judaism, 402).
At the same time the Pharisees were a movement with intellectual claims. This means they possessed a character which was elitist (even if not soteriologically exclusivist), and in line with this the rabbinic and Christian sources, together with Josephus, testify 'that they mastered the law and its interpretation' (Jewish Law, 236). Their high regard for their oral tradition, which kept growing through the discussions in their houses of learning, and their [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] in the interpretation and observance of the Torah, brought with them some degree of exclusivism, and a corresponding antipathy towards those who were uneducated in the Torah.(109) Consistent with this picture are the many indications of Pharisaic (or rabbinic) conflict with, and distancing from, the 'amme ha-'arets. These may for the most part go back to the second century AD, when the heirs of Pharisaism strove for complete spiritual rulership over the people; but they were also certainly a factor before AD 70 as well.(110)
However, against a strict soteriological exclusivism on the part of the Pharisees we have m. Sanh. 10: 1, as well as the statement of the ex-Pharisee Paul in Rom. 11: 25-26. On the other hand, the seriousness of a final judgement with a double outcome is seen in the latest book canonized by the Pharisees, namely in Daniel 12: 1-3.(111) Perhaps the question about having a share in the world to come was a controversial one for the Pharisees at various times, with no completely successful resolution of the tensions: even the well-known maxim that 'all Israelites have a share in the word to come' from m. Sanh. 10: 1a is immediately qualified in 10: 1b-4.
We must furthermore assume that between 167 BC and AD 70 inner-Jewish conflicts were carried out more rigorously and perhaps also more fanatically than after 70, and especially after 135, when the high toll in blood exacted by the two wars and the consequent physical threat to the existence of the people led them to renounce inner-Jewish demarcations.(112) Solidarity of the survivors became more important than theological and halakhic differences, and made people more indulgent of laxities in the praxis pietatis.
It is conceivable that the Pharisees' conflict with the movement that Jesus himself began has something to do with the fact that this was from the start, despite its similar eschatology and numerous points of contact with Pharisaic piety, a movement of the 'am ha-'arets (cf. John 7: 49), in which the purity and food laws performed, in contrast to the Pharisees, no function of self-identification.(113)
We move now to consider Sanders' treatment of Pharisaic purity debates (Jewish Law, 184-236). While Sanders thinks purity does not play the role in the Pharisaic material which Neusner would have us believe, even he must concede that 'it is important, and the Pharisees were interested in it' (184). We think the truth lies between the two - that is, Sanders' own sentence needs to be modified to read 'very important' and 'very interested'. The Mishnah's two longest divisions concern 'Purities' (Tohorot) and 'Hallowed Things' (Qodashim), and this provides some indication of the importance which purity laws and the associated questions about the sanctuary still had as late as AD 200. Therefore the importance of purity laws, which are always (though not exclusively) concerned with the temple and its personnel, for the Tannaim and especially for the Pharisees before AD 70, must not be underestimated. On the contrary, these concerns must have been all the more pressing while the temple still stood.
However, when Sanders plays down the Pharisees' conspicuous extension of corpse and midras-impurity as merely 'minor gestures towards extra purity',(114) and proposes as a motive behind this only the banal idea: 'to be pure, because purity is good',(115) he fails to demonstrate a proper historical appreciation of the deeply religious, theological motivation behind the Pharisees' aspiration for purity. This lies in the oft-repeated summons of God to his people, 'be holy, for I am holy'.(116) This demand for holiness does not apply to the temple area and its personnel alone, but in descending degrees also to all Jerusalem, the entire people, and the entire land entrusted to them by God (cf. m. Kel. 1: 6-9). Sanders himself is well aware of this when he speaks of 'concentric circles of purity' (Jewish Law, 191).
Of course the Pharisees did not want to 'imitate' the various states of purity required of cultic personnel inside or outside the temple in the sense of being put on the same level with the priests. This would have been against the literal wording of the Torah, which sets boundaries in descending order of purity between priests, Levites, and the laity. But since the basic obligation to be holy applied to the entire people, the Pharisees wanted to deduce what was involved from scripture and tradition, and then live this out as an example for the rest. That they happened in the process to extend, for example, corpse-impurity through the phenomenon of 'overshadowing', or menstrual and zab-impurity through the phenomenon of 'midras', is part and parcel of the phenomenon of the 'fence around the Torah', that is, the guarding of the Torah against transgressions through an increasingly precise system of casuistic rules. The means of removing the various degrees of impurity through handwashing, immersion pools, and the purifying water made from the ashes of the red heifer may be understood in the same context.
Precisely because the Pharisees fully acknowledged the unique office and task of the priests and the necessity of the cultic procedures they performed - after all, scripture and tradition allowed no other way - they saw that everything depended on a comprehensive system for ensuring that impurity was kept away from the priests, the temple, and the agricultural gifts intended for cultic personnel (as Sanders acknowledges). This exactitude also applied to the collection and storage of the gifts. Hence their precision in the question of tithing and the command of the second tithe in doubtful cases.
The big unknown is the age of the detailed regulations as they appear in the two oldest corpora, the Mishnah and the Tosefta, and also in the oldest commentary, Sifra (which recedes too far into the background in Sanders' work(117)). It is probably safe to assume that a large proportion of the rabbinic regulations which have to do with the temple and its concrete business go back to the time before AD 70 and are even older than the discussions of the two schools, which as a rule only take up pre-existing problems and frequently leave them undecided.(118) Nevertheless, the difficulty which confronts an investigation like the one Sanders has undertaken is that we know precious little about tradition and interpretation between the time of the books of Chronicles towards the end of the fourth century and the Qumran Essenes from the middle of the second century BC - and this means precious little about the prehistory of the Pharisees and the possibility of distinguishing between older 'common law' (as Sanders understands this) and specifically Pharisaic exegesis and tradition. And what we do know, we owe to accidental factors of preservation. Above all we do not know how tradition and the interpretation of the law were affected by the serious crisis of Hellenization beginning in 175, the desecration of the temple in 167, and the subsequent hard-fought Maccabean restoration from the rededication of the temple in Kislev 164 until the achievement of independence in 142/1 BC. The effect during this period on purity laws and the stipulations that went along with the cult was probably much the same as in the case of the prohibition of images, which, as we know, became much more strict during this period, only to be relaxed again in the Amoraic period. The desecration of the temple and the subsequent renewal of the cult constituted a deep rift, comparable only with the catastrophe of the exile (cf. Dan. 12: 1).
It seems to us likely that a good many of those generally acknowledged, anonymous regulations of the Mishnah which Sanders counts as part of 'common law' in fact go back to the hasidic, early Pharisaic period, when the Pharisees, as partisans of the Maccabees, were even more closely connected with the temple. The book of Judith, for example, is indebted to a national hasidic piety which one could legitimately describe as early Pharisaic. When it is presupposed in Judith 11: 13 that the agricultural gifts which have been set aside for the priests are already ritually pure before being transported to Jerusalem,(119) we may very well be dealing with a hasidic innovation which was instituted after the renewal of the cult and the liberation of the land. The book's piety, which snows ascetic tendencies,(120) corresponds with a proto-Pharisaic milieu; the book came into being near the end of the second century BC at the earliest.
The author of the Letter of Aristeas, which was written at about the same time as Judith, provides us with the first mention of the commands concerning sisit, mezuzot, and tefillin (Ep. Arist. 158-59). These customs certainly do not come from the Diaspora, and in the second century they must already have been somewhat widespread.(121) There is therefore no reason to follow Sanders in thinking that the custom of handwashing was originally a pagan ritual which was then taken over by the Pharisees from the Diaspora.(122) Indeed, in the Letter of Aristeas it is precisely the seventy-two elders from Jerusalem who do it.(123)
Nevertheless, since Sanders always tries, when possible, to minimize the influence of the Pharisees, he basically has to ascribe as much as he can to the older, totally vague 'common law', or to his idealized 'common Judaism'. This he cannot prove. This typical procedure can also be seen in the way he restricts the Pharisees' efforts towards purity.
Thus it is an essential thesis for Sanders that the Pharisees were not in a position to eat their ordinary food in the same state of purity as the priests were in when they ate the heave-offering (terumah), since for economic reasons alone the Pharisees could not afford to live separately from their wives during menstruation. But we do not know how often the ordinary priests received a share of the heave-offering and other consecrated gifts during the roughly forty-six weeks in the year when they did not serve in the temple, but rather lived in their villages; and consequently we cannot know whether this was enough to live on. Nor do we know how the ordinary priests conducted themselves when their wives were menstruating. Even in their case a complete separation from their wives at the table and in bed during the critical period is never mentioned. We know practically nothing about the daily life of ordinary priests in the villages of Judea. But daily life for them will scarcely have been different from that of Pharisees who were not scribes, whose lives were filled with manual labour or some other trade. Sanders posits too great a difference here.
On the other hand, Pharisaic scribes who lived in Jerusalem year-round and used the temple and its courts as a place for teaching were concerned about being able to enter the temple area at any time. They therefore had to make a regular effort to maintain the requisite purity in a certain analogy to the priests, though the strictness of this effort may have varied from individual to individual. In contrast to Sanders, we think that the Pharisees possessed some followers at least among the lower ranks of the priesthood. This is shown by the Pharisees' minute knowledge of the commandments relating to the cult and their pronounced interest in the temple. It is conceivable that among the temple personnel there was even a Pharisaic 'faction' with its own way of forming and passing down tradition. The Qumran Essenes exhibited an analogous but much more rigorous striving for purity, and they, too, succeeded in involving the laity from 'Israel'.
Therefore the question of purity, in daily life and outside Jerusalem, cannot have been one of relative indifference to the Pharisees. On the contrary, this question, and its casuistic answer in points of detail, formed one of the pillars in the Pharisaic effort to sanctify all of life according to God's commandment, and to invite - though not to 'coerce' - all Israel to such sanctification through their own example.
IV. JUDAISM: PRACTICE AND BELIEF
(i) Contents and Organization
Originally we intended to review only Jewish Law, but it appears impossible to do justice to that work without considering the more comprehensive work on Judaism for which Jewish Law prepared the way. Since Judaism shows more clearly than many other books of its kind where the critical points lie and where future research must begin, we will focus our attention here.
The work is simply and appropriately organized in three parts and twenty-two chapters. While these cannot all be rehearsed here, a few comments on the contents are in order. After a forty-three page presentation of the historical context, which is too short and tends to oversimplify,(124) there follows a second part which presents the main theme under the heading of 'Common Judaism' (45-303)(125) This is divided into ten chapters, with five chapters, as well as the book's only two excursuses, devoted to the temple, its personnel, and associated furnishings and taxes.(126) In other words, in these 116 pages - just under half the section on 'Common Judaism' - Judaism is presented as a temple religion. This comes as no surprise, since the definition of 'common Judaism', in dependence on Morton Smith, is 'what the priests and the people agreed on' (47). It is therefore already clear what role the priests have to play in order for Sanders' picture to be correct. In the midst of these chapters comes one on 'The Common People: Daily Life and Annual Festivals' (119-45), where again the greater part of the chapter is dedicated to participation in the annual festivals in the temple (125-43). Daily religious life outside Jerusalem is only inadequately dealt with.
The third and final part is devoted to the groups and parties: aristocrats and Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and other pietists.(127) The question about power in Jewish society which has interested Sanders since his book on Jesus forms the conclusion: 'Who Ran What?' - and the question is answered uncompromisingly against the Pharisees and in favour of the priestly aristocracy. (128)
As far as the overall plan of the book goes, the temporal limitation to the period 63 BC - AD 66 is most difficult to understand. These dates mark the epoch from the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey to the outbreak of the Jewish War. The more usual historical framework beginning with the Hellenistic reform in 175 BC and ending with the third and final revolt against Rome in AD 135/36 would have been more appropriate, since the decisive developments took place before and after the end-points Sanders has chosen. By 63 BC the major Jewish religious parties were already fully formed. The struggle for religious and political power (and the two cannot be separated) had already been going on for decades by that time, and just prior to this the Pharisees had come to power under Salome Alexandra (76-67 BC).(129) Pompey's attack was a response to the power struggle between her two sons that broke out after her death, in which the Roman general was called in as referee by three different Jewish delegations: one each for Salome's two sons Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, and a third that rejected the Hasmonean priestly monarchy and requested the re-establishment of the old high-priestly constitution without a king. By all appearances this third group was appointed by the pharisees.(130)
If the situation was already complicated at the beginning of the epoch described by Sanders, this is no less true at its close in AD 66 at the start of the Jewish War, when the Jewish people, the priesthood, and the religious parties fought each other and could only unite provisionally under the approach of a common enemy. The best biographical example of this is Josephus' multiple change of fronts as described in the Life and the War.(131)
Instead of speaking of an ideal and harmonious 'common Judaism', it would be much more appropriate to proceed from the idea, not of diverse 'Judaisms', as is currently fashionable, but of a 'complex Judaism' which formed a stable community only over against the outside and in difficult conflict situations (and not always even then), but which on the inside constantly had to seek workable compromises in order to face foreign rule as a nation. The credit for having sought and maintained this compromise again and again should be given to two groups, the moderate wing of the Pharisees and the leading families of the priestly aristocracy, who were increasingly forced to negotiate a pragmatic policy with each other.(132) The gradual breakdown of this capacity for compromise and an increasing radicalization on both sides, as well as among the people, from about the end of the fifties AD led eventually to the catastrophe of the Jewish War.
Nevertheless, the accomplishment of this 'complex Judaism' in Palestine - an accomplishment unparalleled in world history - is that it remained spiritually fruitful during that tense and tragic epoch. It was therefore possible for the moderate, Hillelite wing of the Pharisees to preserve the Jewish community in Judea through the first and hardly less disastrous second catastrophes, and to renew it in such a way that it could continue through history down to the present. In Sanders' apologetic, harmonizing presentation of a relatively peaceful and conflict-free 'common Judaism' devoted to the temple and the priesthood, this unique 'Pharisaic' accomplishment is not given the prominence it deserves. The picture he paints is one of the absolute preponderance of the temple and the priesthood, with the priests extremely active in the areas of scriptural interpretation and the administration of justice, and the Pharisees in a completely marginal role. But how, given this picture, are we to suppose that Palestinian Judaism overcame the catastrophe of the destruction of the temple and renewed itself?
Sanders' selective manner of presentation is also shown by the little attention given to the eschatological expectation as compared with the thorough coverage of the temple, the cult, and the priesthood.(133) Yet between 167 BC and AD 135 this expectation left its mark on the masses in Jewish Palestine and therefore was a driving factor in the complicated and sometimes contradictory events of those three centuries. The expectation of the end-time uniquely affected world history - Christianity came out of it. On the other hand, it was also largely responsible for the three Jewish revolts between AD 66 and 135/6. Typical of the underappreciation of eschatology in Sanders' Judaism is the fact that the book of Daniel shows up only six times in the index,(134) although it - born in the time of the Maccabean emergency - was one of the most influential books of all during the period under consideration. Also neglected are such important messianic texts as Isa. 11: 1 ff. and Numbers 24, as well as the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch and 4 Ezra. While the Torah fills eight columns in the index, the latter prophets fill just one, In Qumran and in early Christianity, but also in the Pharisaically-conditioned Judaism of that time, the Bible was certainly read with other eyes.
Nevertheless, despite all the one-sidedness which needs to be criticized, it is to Sanders' credit that he so stresses the significance of the temple and all that goes with it. Chapters 5-10 of Part II may well be the best presentation of the temple, its cult, and the priesthood which has appeared for a long while. Sanders writes in a lively style and conveys a very concrete picture of this institution. The same could be said of his two chapters on the Essenes.
(ii) On the History of the Priestly Aristocracy
As we have already indicated, Sanders' presentation of the role and political power of the priestly aristocracy is too one-sided, especially in contrast to his rather uninfluential Pharisees. Above all, his presentation does not make clear that the priestly aristocracy during this period was often radically altered by violent upheavals and political intervention, and was therefore anything but 'unified'.
The most important argument against Sanders is that the inner continuity which is so necessary to his picture is even more difficult to prove in the case of the priestly aristocrats and the largely identical Sadducees (see Judaism, 318-19) than it is in the case of the Pharisees. We begin this section, therefore, with a review of some of the history that shows the changing fortunes of both groups, but especially of the priestly aristocracy. Our sketch contradicts Sanders' picture at several points, without going into all his arguments because of space constraints.
The problems of high-priestly discontinuity begin as early as the split among the Zadokite Oniads in 175 BC, when the high priest Onias III was held captive in Antioch, while in Jerusalem the Hellenistic 'reform' was introduced by his brother Jason who had supplanted him. Jason in turn soon had to yield the high priesthood to the more radical Menelaus (cf. 2 Macc. 4: 26) from the non-Zadokite priestly order of Bilga, who was associated with the powerful lay family of the Tobiads.(135) At that time the priestly nobility largely destroyed itself and, at the end of this carnage, the family of the Hasmoneans from the lower ranks of the priesthood came to power and took over the chief priesthood in 153/152 BC with Jonathan as high priest. The founding of a competing temple by Onias IV in Egyptian Leontopolis was likewise bound up with a weakening of the Zadokites. The same goes for the exodus of the Zadokite Teacher of Righteousness, who in terms of his strict eschatologically conditioned piety stood with the opposing hasidic wing: family tradition and religious orientation need not always be identical.
It is no wonder, then, that the early Hasmonean high priests from Jonathan until John Hyrcanus at first relied above all on the moderate Hasideans who were loyal to them and who, with their strictness about the law and their eschatology, were already gaining more and more influence among the people. The turning point came under John Hyrcanus, when the young Jewish temple state, as a result of John's expansionist policy and the recruitment of pagan mercenaries, threatened to develop into a secular Hellenistic monarchy. As Sanders himself writes, even at this early point there was a Pharisaic 'uprising' or 'insurrection' ([Greek text omitted]) against Hyrcanus I, and their questioning of his ancestry shows that their criticism was based on considerations of the Torah and priestly purity.(136)
For support against the new pious opposition led by Pharisaic scribes, first John Hyrcanus and then Alexander Jannaeus depended on the new military and feudal nobility, who had become rich through the successful wars of conquest,(137) and who recruited followers from both the priests and the laity. Although these forces were indeed in the minority in terms of numbers, they were relatively strong militarily. Nevertheless, the Pharisaic rebellion against Alexander Jannaeus failed, not because of the military weakness of the rebels, but because of their lack of political astuteness: radical Pharisaic opponents of the Hasmoneans called the Seleucid Demetrius III into the country and thereby awakened old fears in pious circles, so that some of the rebels went over to Alexander Jannaeus. This event illustrates that political conviction, in this case enmity towards the Hasmoneans, and religious conviction, namely sympathy for Pharisaic Torah interpretation and eschatology, were not simply one and the same. Rather, the attitude of the 'pious' towards the Hasmoneans was irresolute and lacking unity, and always dependent on the current national situation.(138) Political sensitivity is also reflected in the rabbinic reports about the Hasmoneans, which stereotypically associate all positive memories with 'Yohanan the High Priest' or with Salome Alexandra, while the negative experiences are pinned on 'King Jannaeus', over against whom is set Simeon b. Shetach as a Pharisaic idol.(139)
The advice of the dying Jannaeus to his wife Salome Alexandra that she should rely on the Pharisees in the future in order to maintain the dynasty sheds light on the actual power relationships and the sympathies of the people. The Pharisees' transition to power led to revenge on their former enemies and their decimation. The Sadducean leadership never completely recovered from this blow. The rabbinic sources praise the region of Alexandra as a time of 'paradise', which remained unforgotten in the following centuries. The report of Josephus (which relies principally on Nicolas of Damascus) and the rabbinic legends confirm one another here, despite their differences.
After the death of Queen Alexandra, the Pharisees did not rapidly lose their influence again, as Sanders would have us believe; rather, they exercised their influence at least partly upon the unambitious Hyrcanus II, in whom they apparently saw the lesser evil as compared with his brother Aristobulus II, who depended completely upon the military nobility for his support. Nevertheless, the military alliance mediated by Antipater between Hyrcanus II and the Nabatean king Aretas III against Aristobulus II probably led to a renewed break with, or within, the 'people's party'.(140)
The Pharisees' break with Hyrcanus II is also reflected in the third delegation to Pompey (see above, p. 53). The already hard-hit Sadducean party was completely decimated by Pompey's conquest of the temple, in which the followers of Aristobulus II had taken up positions: the defenders and the temple personnel who were on duty were either killed or dragged away as prisoners.(141)
After the loss of independence to the Romans, the weak Hyrcanus II was all the more dependent on the loyalty of the Pharisees. The fact that they continued to play a role in the most important organ of the constitution next to the chief priesthood, namely the Sanhedrin, is shown by the accusation of the Pharisee Samaias against the young Herod (Ant. 14. 171-76). The complete devaluation of the Sanhedrin by Sanders, who even denies that it existed at all,(142) seems unjustified to us, since given the unity of national and civil law and religious law in the Torah, no ruler could get along without an institution of this sort. Even Herod could not do without it entirely, though he was willing to take all sorts of liberties with penal justice. Pharisaic scribes were represented in the Sanhedrin until the break with John Hyrcanus, and from the reign of Salome Alexandra, in varying numbers.(143) However, this does not exclude the possibility that the constitution of the organization under the various rulers changed repeatedly and to some degree essentially, and that in concrete cases it could also occasionally be bypassed.
The invasion of the Parthians twenty-three years after Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem and the associated banishment of Hyrcanus II, as well as the installation of Antigonus as high priest and king (40-37 BC), changed the constellation of the parties again for a brief period in favour of the Sadducees; but the situation changed again with the victory of Herod, who took cruel revenge on the followers of his rival Antigonus: the heads of the old Sadducean party, which was obligated to Antigonus, were either executed or driven into exile, and the new king confiscated their possessions.(144) The Pharisaic leaders Pollion and his disciple Samaias, by contrast, had recommended surrendering the city to Herod, and this at first gave them some influence. The new ruler had to cooperate with his subjects and take their religious convictions into account. Accordingly Herod later tolerated the refusal by Pollion, Samaias, and their disciples, as well as by the Essenes, whom he regarded highly, to swear an oath of allegiance to him (Ant. 15. 370-71). Another passage mentions 'over six thousand' Pharisees who refused to take the oath (Ant. 17. 42; see above, n. 85), for which they were punished only with a fine, which was then paid by the king's sister-in-law, the wife of his youngest brother Pheroras; and this, in turn, led to a crisis in the royal family.(145) The influence of the Pharisees and their messianic speculations had reached as far as the royal harem.
By contrast, the power relationships in the priestly nobility changed fundamentally during Herod's reign. For example, the Sadducees are not mentioned at all by Josephus during this period.(146) Furthermore, the appointment to the office of high priest first of the Babylonian Jew Ananel,(147) and later of Simon son of Boethus from Alexandria, whose daughter Herod married (Ant. 15. 320-22), was a severe insult and setback for the native Palestinian high-priestly nobility. This Alexandrian family of the Boethusians formed their own clan, which is often mentioned in the rabbinic sources but is totally passed over by Sanders. It is significant that the Boethusians had to give up their power to the family of Annas (which was later to become influential) at the beginning of the rule of the procurators, when Herod was no longer around to support them,(148) but regained it during the reign of Agrippa I.(149) It may therefore be suspected that in the absence of powerful native chief priests under Herod, the influence of the Pharisees on the lower ranks of the priesthood became stronger, because the Pharisaic conditioning of popular piety offered the strongest form of backing against Herod's new attempts to enforce a foreign influence in the chief priesthood. During Herod's reign too, the Pharisaic tradition, which was fundamental if also controversial for later times, began to develop in the form of the antithetical figures of Hillel and Shammai, so that later rabbinic schemes of history could divide time into the periods from Moses to Ezra, Ezra to Hillel, and the epoch since Hillel.
Sanders disputes all this. Popular piety is in his presentation conditioned by the priests and Levites alone. They were not the only experts in questions of the law, of course, but they were the most influential, because they were the ones legitimated by the scriptures. Since Sanders at the same time completely separates the professional 'scribes' from the Pharisees, and since he makes the priests and Levites the synagogue rulers (see above, pp. 32-33), teachers, lawyers, secretaries, and public administrators in all the cities and villages - thus ascribing to them the functions which previous research generally ascribed to the Pharisaic scribes (see Judaism, 170-71) - it is clear for him that they were the experts in questions of the law for the populace, whereas the Pharisees could only discuss their (practically meaningless) private opinions among themselves.
In order to establish this creation of his fantasy, Sanders minimizes on the one hand all references that point to a criticism of the priests from the side of the people, while on the other hand he operates continually with a figure of approximately 18,000-20,000 priests and Levites (from Josephus, Apion 2. 108) whom he sets over against the 6,000 Pharisees. But in the same document, Josephus cites pseudo-Hecataeus (second century BC), who speaks of only about 1,500 priests 'who receive a tithe of the revenue and administer public affairs' (Apion 1. 188). Even if the higher figure of Josephus were the more reliable (it is textually uncertain, preserved only in Latin(150)), this would prove neither that priests never did any farming, nor that all of them were 'scribes'. If there were among the priests large landowners like Josephus (Life 422), we may assume that there were also ordinary priests on the land with smaller holdings.(151) Furthermore we possess reports that some priests earned their living as craftsmen or merchants.(152) Sanders ignores the fact that these approximately 20,000 priests and Levites were distributed among a multiplicity of political, religious, and social orientations. There were Essene priests, Pharisaic priests, and priestly prophets like John the Baptist, as well as completely uneducated priests who did not associate any special ambitions with their priestly descent (cf. War 4. 155 ff.).
Also misleading is Sanders' claim that the Pharisees were for the most part small farmers who had to work hard six days a week, while the priests and Levites outside their few weeks of temple duty had lots of free time to see to the religious and administrative needs of the people. In his view there were only a few Pharisaic professional scribes, and only within their own group did they have any significance. The rest were mere amateurs, inferior to the priestly professionals; their 'weekend scholarship' could not stand up to that of the leisured priests. Thus Sanders writes,
I think it is unreasonable to suppose that the small number of Pharisees, most of whom probably worked from dawn to dusk six days a week, also served their communities as lawyers and scribes, while the large number of priests and Levites, who were on duty in the temple only a few weeks a year, who could not farm, and who were educated in the law, did nothing (Judaism, 181-82; see also 471-72).
A 'comparison' of this sort is bound to lead to caricature! Therefore it is worth repeating that in our view the Pharisees, as a movement of the people, continued to gain influence from the second century BC onwards, so that their formative role in society cannot simply be limited to the nine years of 'paradise' under Queen Salome Alexandra. This is shown also by the archeological evidence of immersion pools, stone vessels, ossuaries, and synagogues to which we have already called attention.(153) The families of the Sadducean priestly nobility which had been newly constituted under Herod had to adjust to these changes and find a workable compromise with the Pharisees. Possibly a good many of those anonymous, generally recognized stipulations in the Mishnah which have to do with the temple, its personnel, the offerings and their purity go back to this compromise. At any rate, there is no indication that the reintroduction of the Pharisaic halakhah which was carried out by Salome Alexandra (see above n. 143) was ever rescinded! Even if the 'new' Sadducees (and the Boethusians) did not acknowledge this 'Pharisaic halakhah'(154) as binding, it was at least tolerated as 'custom' and practised, so that peace was preserved among the people despite the considerable religious and social differences.
It was a fateful resolution when Claudius Caesar decided after the premature death of Agrippa I in AD 44 to transform Judea into a province again under a Roman procurator.(155) For this renewed change of status made the carefully balanced compromise falter, and party strife broke out. The reconsolidated wealthy families of the priestly aristocracy felt their newly won power threatened; yet it was precisely the misuse of this power which, in combination with other factors, led to the catastrophe of the Jewish War. The constant changing of the high priest after Caiaphas was deposed in AD 37 had undermined the authority of the high-priestly office, and this led to increasing tensions among the families contending for that office.(156) Josephus, who describes the conditions as an eye-witness, certainly does not exaggerate here: the situation in Judea between 63 BC and AD 66 was never as peaceful as Sanders would have it for the sake of his ideal. It must not be forgotten that, as an apologist, Josephus often reported superficially, and simplified the complex relationships with an eye to his Graeco-Roman readership, since they were interested neither in the religious details nor in the viewpoint or situation of the common people. Nevertheless, at points Josephus brings out clearly enough the suffering of the populace even before the outbreak of hostilities.
There is a further problem which likewise stems from the reign of Herod and which aggravated and complicated the situation in Judea. It was not simply Pharisees and Sadducees, the aristocracy, the middle class, and the landless proletariat, who stood over against each other during this period. Rather, there were many religious, political, and social points of intersection which we can grasp only very incompletely owing to the fortuitous and fragmentary nature of our sources. We can give only a few indications of this here.
Jerusalem - not least on account of Herod's temple - had become the Roman empire's most important pilgrimage city, with a large proportion of the population dependent economically on the temple and on the festival pilgrims from the Diaspora. People there were therefore more moderate, averse to any radicalism that might be bad for business, and open to a peaceful coexistence which included the foreigners from the eastern and western Diaspora. For this reason there was a stronger dependence on the local aristocracy in Jerusalem than in the country; this may have played a role in the trial of Jesus and in the prehistory and early phases of the Jewish War. The more worldly city population stood in contrast to the more radical country people in Judea, Galilee, and Idumea, and they allowed themselves to be drawn into open revolt only with difficulty.
The decisive impetus for revolt came from a split in the Sadducean priestly aristocracy itself, as the temple captain Eleazar, who was a son of the wealthy high priest Ananias and in charge of the temple guard, made common cause with the Sicarii.(157) The analogy on the Pharisaic side is the bloody promulgation of the Eighteen Decrees by the Shammaites against the Hillelites (see above, n. 101).(158) This shows that political, social, and religious ruptures could always divide up the city and the country, as well as the two main parties, in new ways that created ever-changing constellations and coalitions of power.
The Same basic phenomenon had already been at work since the time of Herod. The 'court Pharisees' who were able to influence the royal harem in Herod's time (see above, p. 59) may be contrasted with the two teachers who, as Sanders agrees, were also Pharisees (Judaism, 385, 402-403, 408), and who, near the end of Herod's life, incited their disciples to pull down the golden eagle from the temple, paying for it with their lives (War I. 648-55; Ant. 17. 149-67). The partly eschatologically motivated unrest after Herod's death shows how great the religiously conditioned political and social tensions were in Judea even at that time. The fact that the Pharisees, as the 'people's party', could not withdraw from these tensions is shown by the co-rounding (as mentioned above) of the 'fourth party' by the Pharisee Saddok together with Judas the Galilean.(159) On the other side stand the representatives of the moderate Pharisaic wing in Jerusalem, for the most part identical with the 'Hillelites'. They include Gamaliel I and his son Simon, whose paramount importance Josephus emphasizes, but also Yohanan b. Zakkai, Hanina the Prefect of the Priests, and others whom one might add to this group. The fact that Josephus mentions relatively few Pharisees by name is to be explained not by their insignificance, but by the fact that, outside the high priests and the leaders of parties, he does not mention many names at all.
The Pharisaic-scribal 'establishment' in Jerusalem belonged in part to the priestly class. It was often quite well off, or recruited a good many of its members from the middle class of merchants and craftsmen. The increasingly difficult situation under the prefects and procurators forced the eminent priestly families and the leading Pharisaic scribes to cooperate and to be ready to compromise. Both sides wanted to avoid if possible large disturbances which might provoke Roman intervention. The numerous stories of high priests(160) being deposed - partly because they were too indulgent of the people, partly because they were rejected by them - show that they, too, had to be on their guard. Joseph Caiaphas, who held the office for nineteen years between AD 18 and 37, must have been a great diplomat and have got on well with the Pharisees. The same may have been true of his father-in-law Annas, who lasted nine years from AD 6-15. The 'important people in Jerusalem'(161) who are frequently mentioned in the rabbinic literature appear, at least in part, to have been among those who sympathized with the Pharisees. This cooperation of the moderate leaders of Jerusalem, among whom were numbered priests and leading Pharisaic scribes, continued after the surprising victory over Cestius Gallus, though the balance of the influence remained with the Pharisees, as is shown by the composition of the four-member delegation to Galilee (see above, p. 35).
Another official delegation mentioned by Josephus at the beginning of the war points in the same direction. In War 2. 451 he mentions three men who went to accept the surrender of the Romans under Metilius who had been surrounded in Jerusalem: Gorion son of Nicomedes, Ananias son of Sadok, and Judas son of Jonathan. The first of these is possibly identical with Naqdimon b. Gorion (see n. 161), who was at least close to the Pharisees. The second, Ananias son of Sadok, is identical with the Ananias of the Galilee delegation whom we have already met in Life 197 (cf. War, 2. 628) - that is, a lay Pharisee well educated in the scriptures. The third, Judas son of Jonathan, also appears in War 2. 628 as a member of the Galilee delegation; he is in fact identical with the leader of that delegation (called simply 'Jonathan' in Life 197(162)), and is likewise a non-priestly Pharisee educated in the scriptures.
Thus in his reports about the Pharisees, Josephus gives a completely accurate rendering of the real situation, and his picture corresponds with that of the New Testament and the early rabbinic literature. The argument that Josephus does not mention the Pharisees for long stretches in his work says nothing at all: they appear at the decisive points under Hyrcanus, Jannaeus, and Salome, repeatedly under Herod and at the beginning of the rule of the procurators, and then again at the outbreak of the Jewish War - forty-four times in all; the Sadducees by contrast only thirteen times, the Essenes twenty. That speaks for itself. In addition they are in view several times when the party name does not appear.(163) Josephus is not a careful historian by modern standards; but he is also no novelist, who constantly invents facts. By ancient standards he is relatively reliable. Because Josephus does not report continuously, but mostly strings episodes together one after another, showing moreover a primary interest in the rulers, we cannot expect him to deliver an exhaustive report about the Pharisees. But what he does say is clear enough and speaks for itself. That Josephus in the apology Against Apion emphasizes the importance of the priests (cf. Judaism, 488-90) is not to be explained simply by reference to his own priestly descent (even though this is the response Sanders says he usually gets from his interlocutors, cf. 489), but much more in terms of his apologetic interests and non-Jewish readership: ancient priestly wisdom from the Orient had something especially honourable about it for the Romans and Greeks. Josephus keeps silent about the parties here on purpose, for he wants to demonstrate the positive unity of Judaism, which was heavily afflicted. But did the parties therefore not exist? The apologetic purpose determined the selection of material, especially when it came to omissions; but it did not create the material.
The same goes for modern apologies. The person who wants to convince must not write untruth, but must present a well-composed picture in the right light. Sometimes it is the omissions which first betray the apologist who gladly overlooks what does not suit his purpose.
Of course one can present Palestinian Judaism with primary focus on the 'common Judaism' shared by all, and it is to Sanders' credit that he has done so against the prevailing tendency to make too much of the religious and social differences among the groups. In this sense his two volumes supplement and correct present research in an important way. Most valuable is his presentation of the temple cult and of the Essenes, who - even for him - as a 'sect' fall out of the harmonic picture of 'common Judaism' most strikingly.
Nevertheless, Sanders' presentation of Judaism describes it only as it looked from the outside. In Palestine itself, people noticed much more acutely the considerable differences and tensions, and these were the people who determined the spiritual development of Judaism (and earliest Christianity) with its unique religious creativity. This picture would have been even more diverse had Sanders taken into account Diaspora Judaism in its various manifestations. But then he would have had to write four volumes.
In closing, a few remarks on Sanders as polemicist. His procedure in all his books is the same. For each of the themes he works on, he chooses a small number of authors with whom he then debates. Usually these are positions from which he plans to distance himself, and whose weaknesses he therefore strongly emphasizes. Yet one sometimes suspects that he chooses his 'opponents' too carefully; either he looks for those who tend to be one-sided and therefore easy to attack or, more problematically, he caricatures their position to make it look ridiculous.(164)
Joachim Jeremias has been the special target of this dubious procedure ever since the publication of Sanders' Paul and Palestinian Judaism, and the at times injurious polemic against a scholar of such importance and integrity ultimately comes back on Sanders himself.(165) It also does not show very much historical understanding when one attacks an author who was born in 1900, and was about forty years one's senior, for not yet knowing and using modern insights and methods in the critical historical analysis of rabbinic texts.
The same holds mutatis mutandis for Sanders' judgement of such a helpful work as the one by Paul Billerbeck (4 April 1853-23 December 1932), who was himself - as was his teacher H. L. Strack - a decided opponent of anti-Semitism, and who in our opinion did more to spread the knowledge of rabbinic texts in academic theology than any other Christian theologian, including Sanders. We should be thankful if we as scholars know more today - in some respects, at least - than past generations, and thankful if our understanding of Judaism has changed in many respects owing to the terrible historical experiences in Germany in particular.
Nevertheless, the accomplishment of scholars like Billerbeck or Jeremias - and also Schlatter - is that they showed that a thorough knowledge of Judaism, not least rabbinic Judaism, is one of the non-negotiable requirements in the field of New Testament study. Over against the history of religions tradition which began with W. Bousset and was continued by Rudolf Bultmann and his pupils, whose historical picture of Judaism was based almost entirely on the sources written in Greek, scholars like Strack and Billerbeck and 'Jeremias & co.'(166) were among the first who responded to the appeal of the 'Wissenschaft des Judentums' which was then beginning to blossom, and they thereby helped New Testament scholarship discover the deficits in its knowledge. The large-scale scholarly project of the Giessen Mishnah, in which Christian and individual Jewish researchers participated, is a fruit of this mutual influence and cooperation.(167) At the beginning of this century, and then again in the early twenties, a fruitful conversation began in Germany between Christian and Jewish scholarship, though unfortunately it was broken off much too early through brutal violence (and Christian failure). Our privileged generation therefore has no occasion for pride or false confidence. Rather, we have good reason to learn self-critically from the mistakes of the past.
Nevertheless, these critical remarks should not be our last. The two works from Sanders' tetrabiblos which have been reviewed here are two stimulating and important scholarly investigations, which deserve to be highly regarded and read in the future next to the big standard works. Our criticism of their picture of the Pharisees and of 'common Judaism' is not intended to minimize the accomplishment of the author. On the contrary, it is intended to lay these two opera magna on the hearts of readers interested in Judaism and early Christianity, but at the same time to encourage parallel reading in Josephus and the Mishnah and the formation of an independent opinion.
Our last word is therefore a double imperative which we mean in an entirely positive sense: tolle, lege! ... both Sanders and the sources.
MARTIN HENGEL AND ROLAND DEINES
1 From the new preface to the German edition: E. P. Sanders, Paulus und das palastinische Judentum, SUNT 17 (tr. J. Wehnert) (Gottingen, 1985), xi. Professor Sanders has kindly provided the original English draft of this preface for comparison.
2 Here it must be asked critically, especially with regard to Sanders' most recent book on Judaism: sufficient for what? For 'staying in'? Is a pattern of religion adequately described when only the absolute minimum goal of 'staying in' has been kept in view? No religion, certainly not its active and especially successful representatives (here the problem of the Pharisees comes up), can rest content with such a minimal goal, which indeed amounts to nothing more than maintenance of the status quo. Rather, a pattern of religion must be described primarily according to what it wants, why it wants it, and with what means it seeks to achieve this. Therefore what Sanders relates is more a picture of Judaism as it appears to the outside observer, the non-Jew, whether ancient or modern.
3 On this cf. Jesus, 336-37: Jesus accepted 'covenantal nomism' (see also Jewish Law, 90); likewise the Pharisees (Judaism, 417-18; cf. Jewish Law, 85-87) and the other religious groups among the Jewish people (Judaism, 457).
4 Unfortunately we must pass over Sanders' very instructive fourth chapter on 'Purity, Food and Offerings in the Greek-Speaking Diaspora' (Jewish Law, 255-308). Also not covered in this review is Sanders' polemical fifth chapter on 'Jacob Neusner and the Philosophy of the Mishnah' (309-31). (We do, however, consider the subject of 'Sanders as polemicist' briefly in our conclusion.) Neusner has answered Sanders no less polemically: see 'Mr. Sanders' Pharisees - and Mine: A Response to E. P. Sanders, Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah', SJT 44 (1991), 73-95 (reprinted with additions in id., Judaic Law from Jesus to the Mishnah. A Systematic Reply to Professor E. P. Sanders (Atlanta, 1993), 247-73); id., 'Mr. Maccoby's Red Cow, Mr. Sanders' Pharisees - and Mine', JSJ 23 (1992), 81-98. A review of Sanders' Judaism is included in Neusner, Judaic Law, 275-95.
5 See Jesus, 334: 'I am a liberal, modern, secularized Protestant, brought up in a church dominated by low christology and the social gospel.' On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine even a first-century Sadducee denying the existence of ultimate truth. For Sanders' thoughts on this topic, see, in Paul and Palestinian Judaism, the index entry under 'Truth, ultimate', and the references there given to pp. 30, 32 and 430.
6 Cf. Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 409-18. According to Sanders, 4 Ezra is the document that shows what is left of Judaism after covenantal nomism has collapsed, namely 'a religion of individual self-righteousness' or 'legalistic perfectionism' (409). Here he does this impressive work an injustice.
7 'The Synoptic Jesus and the Law', Jewish Law, 1-96.
8 On the messianic significance of the healings and gleaning on the Sabbath see H. Gese, 'The Law', in Essays on Biblical Theology, tr. K. Crim (Minneapolis, 1981), 60-92 (85-89).
9 Jewish Law, 94; cf. Jesus, 61-90, 301-302, 318.
10 See M. Hengel, 'Jesus der Messias Israels. Zum Streit uber das "messianische Sendungsbewusstsein" Jesu', in I. Gruenwald et al. (eds.), Messiah and Christos, TSAJ 32 (FS D. Flusser, Tubingen, 1992), 155-76. On this see now the messianic text 4Q521 edited by E. Puech, 'Une Apocalypse messianique', RevQ 15 (1991/92), 474-519; and further 11QMelch ii 18 (= 11Q13); 4Q[D.sup.e]9 ii 14 (= 4Q270).
11 M. Smith, Jesus the Magician (New York/London, 1978). On this theme see now G. H. Twelftree, Jesus the Exorcist, WUNT II/54 (Tubingen, 1993). This new investigation sees Jesus' exorcisms as part of his eschatological messianic activity.
12 For Sanders' general evaluation of Smith's case on Jesus and miracles see Jesus, 5-8, 164-73. Sanders takes over from Smith the latter's definition of 'normative Judaism' as 'whatever the priests and the masses found religiously adequate, which in most cases was simply the biblical law' (Jesus, 195; see also 193 with 389 n. 74). Similarly in Jewish Law, 101, Sanders' marginalizing of the Pharisees depends on Smith; the corresponding note (345 n. 16) lists Smith's other followers: J. Neusner, S. J. D. Cohen, and M. Goodman. See also Judaism, 48, 401 with 535 n. 45, 410-12, 448-49.
13 J. Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien (Berlin, [1911.sup.2]; reprinted in id., Evangelienkommentare, with an introduction by M. Hengel (v-xii); Berlin/New York, 1987, 1-176), 102. But see 103: 'In fact wherever it matters, Jesus stands totally unconstrained and free with respect to the law, without rebelling against it... .'
14 Against this tendency, see Wellhausen, Einleitung, 103: 'The parting [of Christianity from Judaism] occurred first through the crucifixion, and for practical purposes first through Paul. But it lay in the consequence of Jesus' own teaching and his own behaviour.'
15 The long-awaited critical edition has just appeared: E. Qimron and J. Strugnell (eds.), Qumran Cave 4, V: Miqsat Ma'ase ha-Torah, DJD 10 (Oxford 1994). Sanders had not been able to consult the original; nevertheless in Jewish Law (though surprisingly no longer in Judaism) he mentions 4QMMT repeatedly. He sees it as evidence that 'the Jerusalem authorities ... have accepted the pharisaic rule' at the time of its composition (Jewish Law, 37: the issue is the ritual of the red heifer; see also 93, 336 n. 12, 346 n. 18). In Sanders' view, however, this Pharisaic influence on the official cult was only possible at the outset of the reign of John Hyrcanus and then once again during the reign of Salome Alexandra (Jewish Law, 101), but never in New Testament times (this also explains why Sanders does not deal with 4QMMT in Judaism).
16 Cf. Acts 6-7 (Stephen); 9: 1-2, 23-25 (Paul in Damascus as persecutor and persecuted); 20: 3; 23: 12-15; 2 Cor. 11: 26, and the mention of the Zealots as vigilantes in m. Sanh. 9: 6 (cf. War 2. 254-55). Sanders tones down these conflicts as well (cf. Jesus, 281-87), in that he limits the conflict between the Jewish authorities and the Jewish confessors of Jesus as Messiah to the issue of the admission of Gentiles, which the former probably regarded as a threat to Jewish identity. He also argues that the early Christians only thought they were being persecuted for Jesus' sake because they were used to doing everything else 'in his name', when in fact the real reasons for the persecution from the perspective of the Jewish leadership remain largely unknown to us (284). On the other hand, regarding Paul the Pharisee and persecutor of Christians, even Sanders cannot help but concede that 'if the chief priests were against Jesus and his followers, many loyal Jews, including Pharisees zealous for the law, may well have followed their lead' (287).
17 Ant. 20. 200: ... [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. On this see Jesus, 284; cf. 316. Sanders usually fails to mention the decisive reason for James' execution. In Jesus, 285, he briefly considers the charge that James was a lawbreaker, but dismisses it as probably 'trumped up'. He adds: 'In all probability a reasonable charge of being against the law could not have been levelled at the Jerusalem apostles.' In Jewish Law he does not consider the incident at all, while in Judaism, 469, he deals only with the judicial authority of the high priest. Here, incidentally, Sanders' 'and probably others' (469, italics added) contradicts the unambiguous [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] of Josephus.
18 Cf. Judaism, 419 with 536 n. 13; 469.
19 Mark 14: 63-64 par. Matt. 26: 65. Compare, by contrast, the more reserved Luke 22: 71: the 'blasphemy' which is lacking there is made up for in the Stephen story, [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] (Acts 6: 11). In Luke 23: 2 political charges before Pilate are added.
20 Jewish Law, 57-67 (see already Jesus, 296-98). The sentence 'I have discovered no rabbinic passages attributed to Pharisees which deal with blasphemy' (60) is certainly questionable, because Sanders' principle of selection regarding what may or may not be Pharisaic in early rabbinic texts is too one-sided (see below, pp. 14, 47-49). The argumentum e silentio should be used much more sparingly and cautiously: [p.sup.e]rusim are in any case only seldom mentioned in rabbinic literature, and the word sometimes rather means radical, pious 'separatists' (b. Sotah 22b; see also Jesus, 49-50). On the problem of the charge against Jesus see also Hengel, 'Jesus der Messias' (n. 10), 168-69; A. Strobel, Die Stunde der Wahrheit, WUNT I/21 (Tubingen, 1980), 66-94.
21 Nevertheless only in Jesus, 284; cf. 72, 75, 268-69; not in Jewish Law.
22 Jesus, 284, italics added; cf. Acts 6: 11, 13-14.
23 Cf. Mark 13: 1-2 and Acts 6: 14a.
24 Jesus, 75; cf. 369, 71.
25 Sanders says as much himself: cf. Jewish Law, 1.
26 This is alluded to only in the christological riddle of John 2: 19-22.
27 Cf. Jesus, 67-68. The ritual interpretation which Sanders gives this passage is by no means necessary.
28 Cf. Jewish Law, 66-67, where Sanders' brief presentation differs from that in Jesus, 61-71.
29 Sanders' view seems to be that Jesus' disciples thought that he was the Messiah, while Jesus himself never made his claims clear; cf. Jesus, 233-34, 307-308, 321-22.
30 Jewish Law, 2, 42-43, 90; cf. Jesus, 49, 67, 207.
31 Mark 12: 28-34; Luke 10: 25-28. Matt. 22: 35-40 indeed mostly follows Mark, but nevertheless evidences conspicuous agreements with Luke which can best be explained by Q.
32 On this see M. Hengel, 'Zur matthaischen Bergpredigt und ihrem judischen Hintergrund', TRu 52 (1987), 327-400 (390-95).
33 Jewish Law, 90, cf. 4-5. See, against this, the monograph by A. Nissen which is still worth reading despite all its shortcomings, Gott und der Nachste im antiken Judentum, WUNT I/15 (Tubingen, 1974).
34 Cf. Jesus, 252-55 (on Matt. 8: 21-22 par. Luke 9: 59-60). In the case of Jesus' rejection of divorce, Sanders does not consider the offence which Jesus' answer must have given those who were strict about the law: if remarriage after a divorce means adultery, then this means that the Mosaic permission of divorce is permission for adultery (cf. Matt. 19: 9)! The argument which Sanders often uses: 'It is a general principle that greater stringency than the law requires is not illegal' (Jesus, 256, 260, passim) does not hold so universally as he presupposes, especially when the literal keeping of the law implies concrete sin. We question whether one can comment on Jesus' position on divorce with the words: 'In forbidding divorce Jesus did not directly defy the Mosaic law' (256).
35 Cf. Mark 6: 2-3; Acts 4: 13; John 7: 47-49.
36 Cf. Mark 6: 7 parr. and M. Hengel, The Charismatic Leader and His Followers, tr. J. C. G. Greig (Edinburgh, 1981), 73-80; id., 'The Origins of the Christian Mission', in Between Jesus and Paul, tr. J. Bowden (London/Philadelphia, 1983), 48-64.
37 Sanders sees God's kingdom too one-sidedly as a future reality in the sense of the traditional restoration of the people of God: see Jesus, 152-56, 228-37, 319.
38 Cf. Acts 21: 20; Phil. 3: 6 and M. Hengel, The Zealots, tr. D. Smith (Edinburgh, 1989), 146-228. Sanders considers this point in passing only in Judaism, 239-40; here he contradicts his harmonizing, peaceful picture of Judaism. See below, n. 159.
39 An independence of which Sanders is fully aware, cf. Jesus, 249: 'What is lacking from ancient Judaism is a parallel to the attitude attributed to Jesus: that he saw himself as sovereign over the law and as being able to decide that parts of it need not be obeyed.' Would this sovereignty not also have called forth bitter opposition?
40 To be sure, Sanders would like to dispute this, cf. Jesus, 265, passim (see the index, under 'causes inferred from results'); Jewish Law, 1. He repeatedly poses the question of how it could have been possible that Jesus taught the annulling of the food laws and freedom with respect to the Sabbath, when in fact it took his disciples and the early Church decades to struggle through to the same viewpoint (cf. Jesus, 249-50, 264, 268). Yet there need be no conflict here. The issue for Jesus was not - as the neo-Protestant interpretation of Jesus believed - a general abrogation of the law, but a relative 'messianic' freedom in a concrete context and with a view to the dawning reign of God. This non-doctrinaire freedom effected in the early Church from the beginning onwards a tendency, to which, in the end, even the legally-strict James the Lord's brother could not close his mind. Without this 'tendency' it would never have come to a law-free Gentile mission.
41 Acts 4: 1-8: 3; 12: 1 ff.; 1 Thess. 2: 14; Mark 13: 9 parr.; John 16: 1-2; Ant. 20. 200.
42 The standard essay on the topic is still P. Schafer, 'Das "Dogma" von der mundlichen Torah im rabbinischen Judentum', in id., Studien zur Geschichte und Theologie des rabbinischen Judentums, AGJU 15 (Leiden, 1978), 153-97. Now see also G. Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch (Munich, [1992.sup.8]), 41-54; ET: H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, tr. M. Bockmuehl from the [1982.sup.7] edn. (Edinburgh, 1991/Minneapolis, 1992), 35-49. Throughout the discussion which follows we will do well to keep in mind the penetrating comments of K. Muller, 'Beobachtungen zum Verhaltnis yon Tora und Halacha in fruhjudischen Quellen', in I. Broer (ed.), Jesus und das judische Gesetz (Stuttgart, 1992), 105-35 (105-106): 'It is an error to want to assume that commands and prohibitions always had to be the direct product of the established wording of the Torah. It is not at all the case that the one who consults the text of the Torah knows the law. From the beginning, and in the conviction of all early Jewish orientations which have yet been identified, the literal wording of the Torah is never enough to guarantee what the same Torah promises again and again: a successful life in an authentically "Jewish" sense' (italics original). After an overview of the halakhah in the Qumran Temple Scroll, Muller writes - and this holds without qualification for the Pharisaic halakhah as well - 'Halakhah does not emerge from mere commentary on the text of the Torah, but from the situationally-bound further development of its substance, whether it be in agreement with the literal wording of the Torah or not' (108, italics original).
43 Cf. Sanders, Jewish Law, 110-15, and Neusner's response in Judaic Law (n. 4), 262-63.
44 With this claim Sanders creates a basis for reconciling the Pharisees with the Sadducees and the 'amme ha-'arets into a 'common Judaism'. For if the halakhah is not binding (or is left hanging in the balance), then those who act otherwise are not 'sinners' (Sanders' terminology is often misleading: see the review of Judaism by S. Stern, JJS 43 (1992), 307-10 (308)) so long as they observe the major biblical laws. Since according to Sanders almost everybody did that (here his unduly positive picture of the piety of the 'ordinary people' has its effects), there was also no occasion for some Jewish groups to brand others as outcasts (see Jewish Law, 128).
45 Jewish Law, 98, italics original; cf. 107, 109. According to Sanders, a further criterion for Pharisaic halakhah is that it counts as such only if it was not also shared by other groups. Against this see the review of Jewish Law by P. J. Tomson, JSJ 22 (1991), 274-83 (276, 278-79).
46 In addition Sanders sets the oral law over against the written law as if the latter were an established unity, equally binding for all. In so doing he fails to notice that in dealing with the written Torah, various parts are given different weight, i.e. not all written laws were kept during the centuries around the turn of the era. Cf. J. Neusner, 'Schrift und Tradition im Judentum unter besonderer Berucksichtigung der Mischna', Kairos 23 (1981), 51-66 (64).
47 Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 183.
48 The issue in each case is the expression 'a halakhah given to Moses from Sinai' (cf. m. Peah 2: 6; m. Ed. 8: 7; m. Yad. 4: 3 = t. Yad. 2: 16). Sanders writes: 'It is these halakot which, above all others, are held to prove the theory of pharisaic oral law' (Jewish Law, 122). See Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 184-85.
49 The tracing of a halakhah back to Moses is to be understood as a polemic reaction which appeared necessary in certain cases, but which was not the rule. In the beginning, the Pharisaic 'tradition of the fathers' (see below, n. 59 and pp. 36-39) did not yet need to be 'Moses-ized' in order to be valid. Therefore, behind the increasing practice of tracing traditions back to Moses, a tendency to draw boundaries is to be seen: he alone is the authoritative lawgiver for Israel, and not figures like Enoch, Noah, or the Patriarchs.
50 Sifra, Tsav pereq 11: 4-6 (to Lev. 7: 12, Weiss (ed.), 35a) par. b. Men. 89a, cited by C. Albeck, Einfuhrung in die Mischna, SJ 6 (Berlin/New York, 1971), 39-40. Cf. S. Safrai, 'Halakha', in S. Safrai (ed.), The Literature of the Sages, CRINT II/3a (Assen, 1987), 121-209 (184); and the ET in Sifra. An Analytical Translation, tr. J. Neusner, 3 vols., BJS 138-140 (Atlanta, 1988), 2. 57. R. Eleazar b. Azariah mentions the halakhah referred to above in the context of two others, namely the quarter log of oil in the sacrifice of a Nazirite, and the standard eleven days between one menstrual period and another. The point is: just as these two halakhot qualify without dispute as 'halakhah of Moses from Sinai', so do the halakhah for which Aqiba sought exegetical grounds - a practice which was rejected as 'innovation'.
51 On this see now J. Neusner, 'The Role of Scripture in the Torah - is Judaism a "Biblical Religion"?', in H. Merklein et al. (eds.), Bibel in judischer und christlicher Tradition, BBB 88 (FS J. Maier, Frankfurt/Main, 1993), 192-211 (196); and G. Stemberger, 'Zum Verstandnis der Schrift im rabbinischen Judentum', ibid., 212-25 (213-16).
52 Cf. y. Peah 17a (2: 6): R. Joshua b. Levi (c.AD 250) said, 'All words: Scripture, Mishnah, tradition, Talmud, Haggadah - even that which a learned student someday in the future will recite before his master - were already said to Moses on Sinai' (cited by Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 166-67). Cf. S. Safrai, 'Oral Tora', in The Literature of the Sages (n. 50), 35-121 (56-60).
53 t. Sukk. 3: 1 Zuckermandel (ed.) (hereafter: Z.), 195: '[Beating] the willow branch is a halakhah of Moses from Sinai.'
54 t. Peah 3: 2 (Z. 21). Eleazar b. Azariah remarks about the topic under discussion: [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED].
55 Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 185.
56 But see below, n. 93: erub and handwashing are traced back to Solomon.
57 Stern in his review of Judaism (n. 44) also questions whether the material presented by Sanders really proves that the oral tradition was less binding (cf. 310).
58 Cited by Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 60-61. Sanders lists this passage together with t. T. Yom 1: 10 and t. Kelim B.B. 7: 7; he merely says that in these passages 'the relative weight of the phrase [i.e. 'words of the scribes'] cannot be determined' (Jewish Law, 115).
59 But this does not mean that rabbinic traditions were less binding; they could simply be refuted more easily. Later decisions always stood in danger of being rejected by a reference to the written Torah. Inner-Jewish dissidents almost always used a sola scriptura argument to get away from tradition; that holds for the Sadducees (see Jewish Law, 107), Jesus (cf. Mark 7: 8-13), and the Jewish Christians, but also for the Samaritans and, later, the Karaites. Therefore special means of protecting the rabbinic traditions had to be created (cf. D. Sperber, A Commentary on Derech Erez Zuta. Chapters Five to Eight (Ramat Gan, 1990), 166, 175). If the halakhah were really so non-binding as Sanders would have it, then it is totally puzzling why the rabbis tried so hard to invest their traditions with weight and authority. This effort is understandable only on the assumption that keeping them meant something 'soteriologically'.
60 Certainly nobody thought of teaching that the special days listed in the Scroll of Fasting are a halakhah which goes back to Moses, since the days call to mind historical events of the Hasmonean and Roman periods. This, too, is a clear indication that the binding authority of a halakhah has nothing to do with its 'historically provable' Mosaic origin. On this early Tannaitic document, whose original form certainly predates 70, see H. Liechtenstein, 'Die Fastenrolle. Eine Untersuchung zur judisch-hellenistischen Geschichte', HUCA 8-9 (1931/32), 257-351; H. Mantel, 'Fastenrolle', TRE 11 (1983), 59-61 (literature). Mantel sees the Scroll of Fasting as documentation of 'the gradual rise of Pharisaism' (61). It is also the document of the national political interest of the Pharisees between the Maccabean period and AD 70. See further Strack/Stemberger, Introduction (n. 42), 39-40.
61 Cf. b. Erub. 3a; 76a; 85b; b. Yebam. 36b; b. Ketub. 56a; 83b; 84a; b. B. Mes. 55b; b. Zebah 101a. Behind this Amoraic view stands the older one passed down as baraita in b. Ber. 4b and b. Erub. 21b, according to which the pupil has to deal with the words of the scribes more carefully than with the words of the Torah, since the one who transgresses the words of the scribes (or sages) is deserving of death. Cf. the similar statement in Der. Er. Zut. 8: 10 (in Sperber, Commentary (n. 59), 138).
62 Die Mischna IV/4-5: Sanhedrin-Makkot tr. and commentary by S. Krauss (Giessen, 1933), 300-301 (Sanh. 11: 2 (f) nn. 1, 3).
63 i.e. the gemara to m. Ber. 1: 3 (end: the story of R. Tarfon). Text: P. Schafer and H.-J. Becker, (eds.), Synopse zum Talmud Yerushalmi, vol. I/1-2, TSAJ 31 (Tubingen, 1991), P. 26 [sections] 1,7/2 (R. Yohanan) and 1,7/3 (R. Ishmael). Translations: Billerbeck 1. 692; Der Jerusalemer Talmud in deutscher Ubersetzung, vol. 1: Berakhoth, tr. C. Horowitz (Tubingen, 1975), 26-27 (gemara to halakhah 4); J. Neusner (ed.), The Talmud of the Land of Israel, vol. 1: Berakhot, tr. T. Zahavy (Chicago, 1989), 39 (1: 3).
64 According to m. Abod. Zar. 2: 5 end (parr. t. Parah 10: 3; y. Abod. Zar. 41c [2: 8], this question appears to have been debated already between R. Ishmael and his teacher R. Joshua. Further discussions about whether the written or the oral Torah is the more 'loved' are to be found in y. Peah 17a (2: 6); y. Hag. 76d (1: 8), passim. Here the oral Torah always has priority, because it constitutes Israel's special place among the peoples. Behind this stands the debate with the Christian use of the Old Testament which reaches far back into the first century AD; cf. Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 164-79.
65 Cf. Muller, 'Beobachtungen' (n. 42), 127-30. Muller thinks that the halakhah was itself seen as Torah even in the first phase of the tradition's formation.
66 Aqiba m. Abot 3: 13 (Danby 3: 14): [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]; cf. 1: 1, m. Ber. 1: 1, and Billerbeck 1. 693-94. According to b. Ber. 4b (baraita), the sages made a fence around their words ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) in order to keep people from transgression. Eccl. 10: 8 is appealed to for biblical support; see y. Ber. 3b (1: 7). The Qumran polemic against the 'builders of the wall' who appeared as preachers of lies (CD4: 19; 8: 12, 18 par. 19: 24, 31), by which the Pharisees are most likely meant, suggests that the first stages of guarding the biblical commandments through the halakhah go back to the second century BC. The polemic of the Qumran texts against the Pharisees - a theme whose significance Sanders does not see at all (cf. Judaism, 186) - confirms not only the broad dissemination of Pharisaic halakhah, but also its influence on large sectors of the population. On this see the brief contribution by L. H. Schiffman, 'New Light on the Pharisees', in H. Shanks (ed.), Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York, 1992), 217-24.
67 Cf. t. Sot. 14: 9; t. Hag. 2: 9 (Z. 235: the addition 'and there came to be two torot' is lacking in the Erfurt and London MSS); on this see Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 195-96, 203. The halakhic controversies were regarded as so serious that bringing them to an end would be considered a 'messianic' act. However, the original context of the concept of two Torahs was the parallelism of the oral and written Torah, cf. b. Shab. 31a (with parr.); Sifre Deut. [section] 351; Midrash Tannaim to Deut. 33: 10; and Schafer, 'Dogma', 179-83.
68 Cf. the expression [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] in m. Abot 1: 1 and the corresponding [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] (1: 3) or [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] (1 : 4 ff.) in connection with the following tradents. See also W. Bacher, Die exegetische Terminologie der judischen Traditionsliteratur, I: Die bibelexegetische Terminologie der Tannaiten (Leipzig, 1899; repr. Hildesheim, 1990), 106; B. T. Viviano, Study as Worship. Aboth and the New Testament, SJLA 26 (Leiden, 1978), 4-5.
69 Cf. Gese, 'Law' (n. 8), 61-63, 75-80, 84-85. The increasing 'sapientializing' of the Torah from the fourth century BC was possible because 'knowledge' was bound up with the Torah from the start.
70 Further references in Bacher, Terminologie (n. 68), 11-12. For almost every passage there is a parallel or alternate reading which reads [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] instead of [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]. Sifra says of the beginning of the Holiness Code in Lev. 19: 2 that it was 'stated in the assembly of all Israel...because most of the essentials of the Torah depend upon it' (Sifra, Qedoshim parasha 1: 1, Weiss (ed.), 86c; cf. ET Neusner (n. 50), 3. 87).
71 Cf. Safrai, 'Halakha' (n. 50), 156.
72 'Additional "traditions"' (so Sanders, Jewish Law, 119) are not at all what m. Hag. 1: 8 has in view. Both the 'essentials' as well as the rules that 'have nothing (or little) to support them' are halakhot, i.e. they belong to Torah.
73 On the contrary, a halakhah can be valid even when it runs counter to the meaning of the scripture. This procedure lies behind the prosbul attributed to Hillel. The custom as we have it in m. Shebi. 10: 3-4 is first recorded without any attempt to harmonize it with the literal wording of the command to remit debts every seventh year in Deut. 15: 2-3; harmonization came later, in Sifre Deut. [section] 113. The prosbul was certainly practised before AD 70, as Sanders himself makes clear (Jewish Law, 8 with 333-34 n. 2; Judaism, 427-28). However, Sanders' other remarks on this topic are more than forced. For the prosbul is a clear example of a Pharisaic practice that possessed judicial force; Sanders must at all costs present it as an exception and a special case (esp. Judaism, 427; cf. 470). For later times, see b. Sotah 16a and Bacher, Terminologie (n. 68), 144.
74 On this see the 1994 Tubingen dissertation by F. Avemarie, 'Tora und Leben. Untersuchung zur Heilsbedeutung der Tora in der fruhen rabbinischen Literatur (2.-5. Jahrhundert)'.
75 Ant. 13. 297-298; cf. Schafer, 'Dogma' (n. 42), 189 ff.; id., 'Der vorrabbinische Pharisaismus', in M. Hengel and U. Heckel (eds.), Paulus und das antike Judentum, WUNT 1/58 (Tubingen, 1991), 125-75 (136-37).
76 Josephus uses [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] often, in contrast with the LXX; yet only in Ant. 13. 297 does [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] have the meaning 'tradition': cf. S. Mason, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees, SPB 39 (Leiden, 1991), 235-40.
77 Cf. Jewish Law, 100-101 with 345 n. 16; Judaism, 389-90, 393-94, 410-11 passim; Jesus, 312-17.
78 In the LXX the word [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] serves more than forty times as the translation of [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED], seven times for [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] and once (Dan. 6: 5 Th.) for the Aramaic [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]. In the 'Pseudepigrapha it appears only twice, in Ep. Arist. 10 and 127, as a circumlocution for the Jewish law. For the usage in Josephus, see Mason, Josephus (n. 76), 230-31, 240-45. Ant. 13. 297-98 is the only passage where Josephus speaks of Pharisaic [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. Elsewhere he uses the word regularly to designate the written laws ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]). Therefore in this passage Josephus explains what the Pharisees understood by [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] (in contrast to the usual meaning): ordinances that came not from the law of Moses, but from the 'tradition of the fathers'.
79 Josephus gave a full account of them in War 2. 119-61; cf. Ant. 13. 171; 18. 11, 18-22.
80 Cf. L. H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition. A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Hoboken, NJ, 1991), 186-87.
81 Cf. Jewish Law, 125, where Sanders draws in the Hellenistic concept of tradition for comparison with the Pharisaic attitude: 'This view of pharisaic tradition places the party in the mainstream of thought in the Hellenistic period, which venerated tradition but did not consider it the equivalent of law.' Here again Sanders tones down his statement to avoid endangering his preformed opinion. However, the issue is not the contrast of law and tradition. Rather, 'the test of any single teacher's competence was his degree of faithfulness to the school's foundational principles' (Mason, Josephus (n. 76), 235); in other words, the issue is the legitimacy of the teachers. On the significance of the Pharisaic house of learning, see also M. Hengel with R. Deines, The Pre-Christian Paul, tr. J. Bowden (London, 1981), 28-29, 40-42. On the emergence of the houses of learning as a reaction to the Hellenistic challenge, see M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism, tr. J. Bowden (London, 1974), 78-83. See also B. T. Viviano, Study as Worship (n. 68), 9, 111-57; and R. Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer, WUNT II/7 (Tubingen, 1988(3)), 151-53, 163-82.
82 Cf. Ant. 18. 12-14; War 2. 162-63; Mark 7: 3-4, 11-12; Matt. 23: 16-29 (partly parallel with Luke 11: 37-44, i.e. a portion of the woes against the Pharisees goes back to Q and therefore to the period before 50); Acts 23: 6-9. Cf. Sanders' chapter on the 'Theology and Practice' of the Pharisees in Judaism, 413-51, which, however, does not consider anything like Pharisaic eschatology.
83 M. Hengel, 'Proseuche und Synagoge', in G. Jeremias et al. (eds.), Tradition und Glaube, FS K. G. Kuhn (Gottingen, 1971), 157-84 (179-81); id., Pre-Christian Paul (n. 81) 56-57; R. Deines, Judische Steingefasse und pharisaische Frommigkeit. Ein archaologisch-historischer Beitrag zum Verstandnis von Joh 2,6 und der judischen Reinheitshalacha zur Zeit Jesu, WUNT II/52 (Tubingen, 1993), 4-11.
84 The Theodotus inscription (Jewish Law, 77 (with 341 n. 28), 79; Judaism, 176-77, 450); Philo, Hypothetica 7.13 (Jewish Law, 78-79): a priest or an elder led the synagogue service. In addition he mentions a synagogue inscription from Sardis from the fourth century AD ('a small bit of evidence that priests retained their identities and teaching role' (Jewish Law, 343 n. 33)). Sanders does not consider the possibility that the Pharisees were relatively well represented at least among the lower ranks of the priesthood and the Levites (cf. Judaism, 412: 'There was only a small overlap: a few priests and Levites were Pharisees'). Sanders furthermore overlooks the important fact that no priest was necessary for holding a synagogue service; only the blessing at the end had to remain reserved for them on the basis of Num. 6:23 (cf. m. Ber. 5: 4; m. Meg. 4: 3, 5-7). By contrast the Qumran community required the presence of a priest whenever at least ten men were assembled, cf. CD 13: 2; 1QS 6: 3-4. If the synagogue were originally an establishment dominated by priests, then it remains inexplicable why they gave up all their special privileges in it.
85 Cf. further Mark 12: 38-39; Matt. 23: 2; Luke 20: 46. Both Mark and the Q tradition clearly point to a time before AD 70, Q even to a time between 40 and 50. So even if these words of Jesus were inauthentic (which we do not believe), they would nevertheless provide evidence of the situation in Jewish society before 70 which would need to be taken seriously. According to the indexes of Jewish Law and Judaism, Sanders does not consider these references with the exception of Matt. 23: 2, and he tries to deprive this verse of its force: 'Conceivably a learned pharisaic layman of moderate means might assume the leading role in a given synagogue. We should, however, doubt the impression given by Matth. 23.2 that synagogues were generally dominated by Pharisees' (Jewish Law, 80). Another of Sanders' arguments is that the 6,000 Pharisees mentioned by Josephus (Ant. 17. 42; cf. Jewish Law, 80) would not have been enough to oversee and run the synagogues. Yet this is not a question of personal, organized, full-time 'overseeing' and 'running' of the synagogues, but rather a question primarily of spiritual influence, of sympathies and tendencies. In this area Sanders underestimates the potential of 6,000 experts in the law who were highly motivated and convinced of being right. (With an adult male population of about 200,000 in Jewish Palestine - assuming a total population of about 800,000 - Pharisees numbering 6,000 would still be 3 per cent.) On the other hand, Sanders overestimates the magnitude of the tasks and constantly overlooks the fact that the number mentioned by Josephus refers only to those Pharisees who refused to swear allegiance to Herod. But this means that we do not know how many Pharisees there really were. Furthermore, the regular group of actual Pharisees were only the core - today one might say the ideologically-schooled 'leadership cadre' - of a much larger segment of the populace who sympathized with them. For the significance of the number 6,000, compare the figures given for the defenders of Jerusalem in War 5. 248-50: Simon b. Gioras had 10,000 men, John of Gischala 6,000, while the actual Zealots were only 2,400 strong; in addition there were 5,000 Idumaeans. From these figures it emerges that 6,000 Pharisees were a force to be reckoned with, who could indeed exert influence. See below, pp. 57-60.
86 In addition, the Theodotus inscription (CIJ II, no. 1404) gives the purpose for which the building was erected as 'the reading of the law and the teaching of the commandments' (... [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]), where the doubling of the expression can be taken as pointing to the Pharisaic tradition. See, despite the objections raised by Sanders in Judaism, 450-51, M. Hengel, 'Between Jesus and Paul: The "Hellenists", the "Seven" and Stephen (Acts 6. 1-15; 7.54-8.3)', in id., Between Jesus and Paul (n. 36), 1-29 (17-18); id., Pre-Christian Paul (n. 81), 56-57; Deines, Steingefasse (n. 83), 71-72. Also the statement of Ant. 18. 15 that 'all prayers ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) ... are performed according to their exposition' is relevant not only to the temple cult, but also to the synagogue service, which was influenced by the temple liturgy.
87 Cf. Deines, Steingefasse (n. 83), 4-7, 243-46, passim.
88 'Controlled' is one of Sanders' favourite words; he uses it an uncountable number of times, cf. Jewish Law, 101, 116, 345 n. 16; Judaism, 388-402, 411-12, 449, passim.
89 The report about the delegation stretches from Life 195-332; cf. also Life 191-92, the portrayal of the Pharisee Simon b. Gamaliel and his influence. Josephus mentions him in the War as well, but there he is silent about Simon's party allegiance (War 4. 159); the same goes for the delegation of four, which he similarly touches only briefly (War 2. 628). Without the very differently composed text of the Life, which came about only through 'accidental' circumstances in the life of Josephus, we would know nothing of the Pharisaism of Simon and three of the delegates. That shows again how fragmentary our tradition is, but also how little worth Josephus lays on party allegiance. But if this is so, then the most important argument of Sanders - namely that in Josephus, the Pharisees play no appreciable role as a movement in the epoch between 63 BC and AD 66 - also comes to nothing. The argumentum e silentio leads here, as so often, into error.
90 Mark and Matthew speak of the [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] (Mark 7: 5 par. Matt. 15: 2). The expression [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] or [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] also occasionally appears in the rabbinic literature, cf. y. Ber. 3b (1: 7 (ET 1: 3)): 'the words of the elders are more stringent than the words of the prophets' (R. Tanhum b. Hiyya, third generation Amora). In b. Shab. 23a the sages apply Deut 32:7 ('ask your elders ...') to their own halakhah which is not derivable from the scripture. See also below, n. 93.
91 See above, pp. 19-23, and further Albeck, Einfuhrung (n. 50), 35-45. In view of the detailed description of the laws concerning the sabbath year in Lev. 25: 1-7, Sifra, Behar parasha 1: 1 (to Lev. 25: 1; Weiss (ed.), 105a; cf. ET Neusner (n. 50), 3. 293) asks whether also in other cases the major regulations and their details were announced at Sinai. The answer reads: 'All commands together with their major regulations ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) and their details ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) were announced from Sinai' (cited by Albeck, 36-37 n. 69). Compare the parallel in Sifra, Behuqqotai pereq 8: 12 (to Lev. 26: 46; Weiss (ed.), 112c; cf. ET Neusner, 3. 375 (8: 14-15)). Lev. 26: 46 ('these are the statutes and ordinances and Torahs') is here interpreted as follows: "'... and Torahs": this teaches that two Torahs were given to Israel, one in writing, the other oral'. The concluding summary runs: '... the Torah was given through Moses at Sinai, together with its halakhot ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]), details ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]), and amplifications ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED])' - though only in oral and not in written form. See also b. Nid. 45a, a legendary baraita cited as a saying of Aqiba's pupils before their teacher: 'As all the Torah is a halakhah that was handed to Moses at Sinai, so is the law that a [non-virgin] girl under the age of three years is fit for the priesthood a halakhah that was handed to Moses on Sinai.' In other words, the halakhah which exists only in oral form is just as binding as the written.
92 Missing here are the priests: Ezra, Simeon the Just (in. Abot 1: 2), and Yose b. Yoezer (1: 4) were indeed priests, but Abot is silent about this. Possibly there were more priests among the sages than we know about. The chain of tradition in m. Abot 1: 1 ff. nevertheless claims that the sages named therein are the rightful successors of Moses and the prophets, not on account of their priestly descent, but rather because they guard and develop the traditions which had kept a fence around the Torah since ancient times. Cf. Viviano, Study as Worship (n. 68), 5, and M. Hengel, "'Schriftauslegung" und "Schriftwerdung" in der Zeit des zweiten Tempels', in M. Hengel and H. Lohr (eds.), Schriftauslegung im antiken Judentum und im Urchristentum, WUNT 1/73 (Tubingen, 1994), 1-71.
93 Ordinances of this type are reported already in the Old Testament, e.g. I Sam. 30: 24-25 (attributed to David). Many examples from the rabbinic literature are given by Albeck, Einfuhrung (n. 50), 42-52. Since there is no ET of this work (and since the German translation of the Hebrew original is not particularly easy to use), it will not be superfluous to provide a guide to a few of Albeck's examples here. According to t. Taan. 4 (3): 2 (Z. 219), Moses ordained ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) eight courses for the priesthood; David and Samuel increased the number to twenty-four, and the prophets in Jerusalem installed additionally the lay representation groups ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) (this and other examples for Moses in Albeck, 44 ff.). See further Albeck, 48-49, on the statutes attributed to Joshua, which have to do with life in the land (b. B. Qam. 81b-82a); ibid., 50, on Samuel and David; 50-51 on Solomon, of whom it is said, based on Eccl. 12: 9, that he supplied the Torah with handles, i.e. interpreted it in such a way that the people could get hold of it and practise it (see Eccl. 12: 9, 'he taught the people knowledge'). In b. Erub. 21b, the custom of erub is traced back to Solomon. In addition he instituted the cleansing of hands (for the priests) before the eating of sacrifices (b. Shah. 15a). Further Albeck, 51-52, for the ordinances of the prophets, among whom Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are often singled out because they form the bridge to Ezra and the elders who followed him; cf. m. Yad. 4: 3, where rules of the prophets precede those of the elders. In this case 'elders' means the elders from the time of Ezra and later, whereas in 4:2 the seventy-two elders of the academy of Yavneh are in view (cf. 3: 5 and b. B. Qam. 82a (baraita)). According to Mekilta, Wayisa to Exod. 15:23 (Lauterbach (ed.), II, 90) the prophets and the elders (the parallel in b. B. Qam. 82a mentions only the prophets) instituted reading of the Torah on the Sabbath, Monday, and Thursday, after Moses is already supposed to have decreed the reading on the Sabbath, festival days, and the new moon (references in Albeck, 42-43). Compare y. Meg. 75a (4: 1): Moses ordered the reading of the Torah on festival days and Sabbath mornings; Ezra ordered it on Monday, Thursday, and Sabbath afternoons. On the ordinances of the prophets see further t. Taan. 4 (3): 5 (Z. 219): they determined the right of families to supply wood for the altar (cf. m. Taan. 4: 5). Justification for this is found in Neh. 10: 34 and Ezra 7: 10, against the sense of the text. In t. Erub. 11 (8): 22 (Z. 154) (cf. y. Erub. 26d (10: 12) and b. Erub. 104b), the prophets allowed the returnees from the exile to draw water from a particular well on festival days. Similarly in m. Erub. 8: 7, R. Judah passes on a decision of the elders ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) which allows water to be drawn from a particular water-channel on the Sabbath.
94 In b. Tem. 15b-16a there is an attempt to combine or reconcile an older point of view, which simply assumed that halakhot were part of the tradition of the elders, with a newer point of view, according to which the entire halakhah went back to Moses on Sinai: as a consequence of the great grief over Moses after his death, the people forgot many halakhot which then had to be rediscovered in the course of time.
95 Cf. Matt. 23: 29. In b. B. Bat. 14b-15a, the men of the Great Synagogue are the writers or final redactors of the twelve minor prophets, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Esther. The beginnings of this view are to be found already in Ben Sira and the hasidic [HEBREW TEXT OMITTED] of the Maccabean period in the book of Daniel; see Hengel, 'Schriftauslegung' (n. 92). On the name of the Pharisees and the claim which may lie behind it, as well as on the meaning of [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], see A. I. Baumgarten, 'The Name of the Pharisees', JBL 102 (1983), 411-28.
96 By contrast, Sanders fundamentally disputes the character of the Pharisees as a movement of the people. In his view they are lay exegetes who discuss the proper interpretation of the law in small groups and live accordingly (see below, p. 62). They are not identical with the haberim ('associates'), though there is an overlap between the two groups that is not entirely clear (cf. Jesus, 20, 187, 390 n. 94). Only to the haberim (and later to the rabbis), as distinct from the Pharisees, does Sanders ascribe the view 'that the laity (or at least some of them) should eat food in a state of semi-priestly purity' (Jesus, 187). For these (small) groups, washing hands before eating (for example) was typical (cf. 186); but not for the Pharisees. In connection with Mark 7:3 Sanders speaks of haberim, although the text is talking about Pharisees; he thereby makes the same mistake of which he so gladly accuses others (Jesus, 185-87). In Jewish Law he brings the haberim closer to the Pharisees (see 154-55, 202, 208, 233, 250), but in exchange he consistently avoids saying what he acknowledged earlier in his book on Jesus (20, 180-81), namely that the purity regulations of the haberim were derived from those of the priests in the temple. From m. Dem. 2: 3, the key passage for Sanders' entire interpretation, he even wants to get the idea that the majority of sages expressly rejected the idea that a haber should live like a priest (Jewish Law, 155; see also 34 and Jesus, 187). But this argumentation is misleading. His remarks on the haberim in Judaism are likewise very imprecise, cf. 440-43, 460.
97 On this see J. M. Baumgarten, 'The Unwritten Law in the Pre-Rabbinic Period', JSJ 3 (1972), 7-29 (16-17).
98 Ant. 20. 199; on the death penalty cf. 13. 294 and Strobel, Stunde der Wahrheit (n. 20), 46-61.
99 Tomson (n. 45), 278.
100 Tomson refers to Jewish Law, 31-32, 35-36; see also 87-88 and Judaism, 385. In his two chapters on the Pharisees, their history and theology (Judaism, 380-451), Sanders never discusses differing orientations or political viewpoints. This is part of the price of reducing Pharisaism to mere private piety after 63 BC, as proposed earlier by J. Neusner (From Politics to Piety (Englewood Cliffs, 1973)); cf. Sanders, Judaism, 383-88.
101 Cf. Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 189-90, 197-206, 358-62; P. J. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law, CRINT III/I (Assen, 1990), 173-76 (further literature: 173 n. 124). Sanders deals with the controversies between the two schools only in connection with questions of purity; see Jewish Law, 239. On the Eighteen Decrees see Jewish Law, 87-88, 224-27 (the mention in Judaism, 73, is only an aside). The decreeing of 'eighteen things' by the Shammaites, who happened to outnumber the Hillelites when it came to a vote on a certain fateful 'day' near the end of the Second Temple period (cf. m. Shah. 1: 4), is supposed to have involved the Shammaites in threatened or actual slaughter of the Hillelites according to the baraita in y. Shah. 1: 4 (3c). According to Sanders, however, conflict stories of this sort are part of a developing tradition which stems not from actual incidents of intra-Pharisaic violence ('The Shammaites and Hillelites did not actually kill one another' (Jewish Law, 88; cf. 227)), but from a projection of the concerns of post-70 Hillelites into the pre-70 period. After 70, when the Hillelites were in the majority, they had to explain why so many pre-70 Shammaite practices were still current as generally valid halakhah. 'Thus they attributed the numerous Shammaite practices which stemmed from before 70 to coercion and force' (Jewish Law, 88). As an historical explanation this is completely inadequate.
102 Jos. Ant. 18. 4-10, 23. See Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 80-82, 86-88, 186 ff.; Deines, Steingefasse (n. 83), 117, 128-29. In War 2. 56, Josephus mentions Judas but keeps silent about the Pharisee Saddok; see above, n. 89.
103 In addition to the terms 'priestly' or 'ritual' purity, Sanders offers the alternative expression 'peace-offering purity' (Jewish Law, 137, 149) to designate the degree of purity required in Lev. 7: 19-21 of lay people who intend to eat their share of the peace offering outside the temple (cf. 135; 10-11). The question he addresses is, 'Did Pharisees ordinarily eat in this state of purity?' (137).
104 Specifically: corpse-impurity, the purity of tithes and offerings, gnatimpurity, midras-impurity, menstruation and childbirth-impurity, zabim and zabot, utensils, immersion pools, handwashing, and - finally - eating ordinary food in purity ('Pharisaic Purity Debates', Jewish Law, 184-236).
105 Sanders devotes special attention to the works of L. Finkelstein, E. Rivkin, and G. Alon. The criticism that he did not do justice to Alon has already been raised in the review by Tomson (n. 45), 277-78. Over against what he calls Alon's 'traditional talmudic' position, Sanders sets the position of A. Buchler (Der galildische 'Am-Ha'ares des zweiten Jahrhunderts (Vienna 1906; repr. Hildesheim 1968)), who claimed that the imposition of priestly laws on the laity came only after the second revolt (cf. Jewish Law, 162). But Sanders here overlooks the fact that Buchler's work had the apologetic intention of cutting the ground from underneath the contemporary Protestant presentation of Judaism (Wellhausen, Schurer, Bousset, Harnack). He also completely ignores A. Oppenheimer's important monograph on the 'amme ha-'arets (The 'Am Ha-Aretz. A Study in the Social History of the Jewish People in the Hellenistic-Roman Period, ALGHJ 8 (Leiden, 1977)), although it interacts critically with Buchler's theses and shows their apologetic tendencies (6-10, 156 ff., passim). For further criticism of Buchler, see Sperber, Commentary (n. 59), 56-57, 167.
106 Intra-Pharisaic debates very often have to do with how to carry out, in all sorts of special cases, an already established halakhah which does not even need to be mentioned explicitly. Thus, for example, at the beginning of m. Erubin, the custom of preparing and placing the erub (or the shittuf) is presupposed - although there is nothing about this in the Torah - and the discussion of the two Pharisaic Houses and later Tannaim moves directly to the question of valid and invalid constructions for an 'alley entry', whose utility in connection with the placing of erubs or shittufs does not become apparent until 6:8 (cf. 7: 6). About alley-entry construction (and much else) there are differing opinions, which may in part be allowed to persist because they do not have the same binding character as the foundational halakhah. When multiple interpretations continue to exist side by side without the prospect of a final decision, the keeping of one of them cannot be decreed; individuals were allowed some latitude in how they carried out the halakhah. But this does not mean that the halakhah could therefore be disregarded! There is a qualitative difference between those who keep the halakhah according to either the School of Hillel or the School of Shammai (but nevertheless keep it), and those who think they need not follow this statute at all. In addition, the differences between the two schools often make a difference in how the halakhah is kept only when it comes to the most minute details, so that any disagreements here are far outweighed by agreement about the basic procedure to be followed. The important thing was that an individual knew why he did it this way and not the other. A Hillelite therefore accepted the practice of the Shammaites, and most of the time (even if less willingly) a Shammaite that of the Hillelites (cf. J. Neusner, The Rabbinit Traditions about the Pharisees before 70, 3 vols. (Leiden, 1971), 2. 2-3); but they did not accept it when someone completely disregarded the practice of both.
107 Neusner, Rabbinic Traditions, (n. 106), 3. 297; of. his German essay collection, Das pharisaische und talmudische Judentum. Neue Wege zu seinem Verstandnis, TSAJ 4 (Tubingen, 1984), 49.
108 Cf. e.g. the maxim of Hillel in m. Abot 1: 12: '...loving people and drawing them near to the Torah'; see also Shammai in 1: 15. A comparison of Hillel's saying in m. Abot 2:4 (Danby 2: 5) with 4QMMT shows the difference between the Pharisees and the Essenes in this regard: Hillel warns against separating oneself from the congregation ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]), while the writers of 4QMMT (=4Q 397, line 7) boast: 'we have separated ourselves from the multitude of the peo[ple]' ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]); text in Qimron/Strugnell (n. 15), 58-59.
109 Cf. Hillel in m. Abot 2: 5: 'a coarse person ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) will never fear sin, nor will an am haares ever be pious' (tr. Neusner; Danby 2: 6); and the prayer of R. Judah b. Ilai: 'Praised [be Thou, O Lord...] who did not make me a boor ([HEBREW TEXT OMITTED]) (t. Ber. 7: 18 (Z. 16)). Cf. Billerbeck 3. 611; m. Qid. 1: 10.
110 On this see the well-known passages about the hatred of the 'amme ha-'arets towards the sages, as collected by Oppenheimer, 'Am Ha-Aretz (n. 105), 172-88, where the relationship of the Pharisees to the 'amme ha-'arets is also depicted. L. I. Levine, The Rabbinic Class of Roman Palestine in Late Antiquity (Jerusalem/New York, 1989), 112-27, has determined that most Tannaitic references reflect an extremely critical relationship between the sages and the 'amme ha-'arets, 'with whom all social contact was forbidden' (112). This began to change only gradually from the middle of the third century AD. Levine sees the main problem as the sages' arrogance towards the uninstructed and their 'religious laxity' (120). It is scarcely conceivable that these problems first emerged only in the second century AD.
111 See Isa. 66: 22-24 (also 24: 22-23; 26: 19), a passage which has had an influence on Dan. 12: 1-3. The Tanna Zechariah b. Kabutal (active already before AD 70) says that many times on the eve of the Day of Atonement he used to read to the high priest from the book of Daniel (m. Yoma 1:6).
112 For the changed situation after 70, cf. Levine, Rabbinic Class (n. 110), 117. On the other hand, what G. F. Moore describes as a generally observable religious and social phenomenon seems to us to apply especially well to the situation before 70: 'In all sects, and in every ecclesiola in ecclesia, it is the peculiarities in doctrine, observance, or piety, that are uppermost in the minds of the members; what they have in common with the great body is no doubt taken for granted, but, so to speak, lies in the sectarian subconsciousness' (Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era, 3 vols. (Cambridge, MA, 1927-1930), 2. 161).
113 Although Sanders does not think the Pharisees defined themselves primarily by their special purity halakhah, he does concede that handwashing seems to have been an issue of Pharisaic 'self-identity' (Jewish Law, 232). The same can be said of their exclusive group meals on Sabbaths and festivals, as well as of other occasions of restricted table fellowship and trade with ordinary people (240).
114 Jewish Law. 235. Although according to Sanders the Pharisees did not in fact avoid midras-impurity during the most obvious time for contracting it (i.e. when their wives were menstruating), their efforts to do a little more than others to avoid it may still be called 'a minor gesture towards living like priests' (234). (For similar statements regarding corpse-impurity, cf. 192, 232.) However, Sanders concedes that the Pharisees probably did not think of their own gestures towards extra purity as 'minor' in the sense of being 'trivial' compared with the purity of priests (235).
115 Jewish Law, 235. Sanders sometimes puts it more strongly: 'I think it is most likely that the Pharisees had a desire for purity for its own sake. Purity symbolized not just the priesthood, but Godliness' (192, italics original). Nevertheless, this formulation is not beyond criticism. Despite repeated allusions to 'purity for its own sake', Sanders' presentation of Pharisaic purity aspirations never gets beyond the idea of purity as some sort of option for the super-pious. However, it is not at all clear that the Pharisees' concern with their own purity (as distinguished from that of the priests) was as 'private' as Sanders suggests (cf. Tomson, above, n. 99); nor is it clear that it was largely for 'self-identification', giving the Pharisees 'the feeling of being stricter and holier than most' (Jewish Law, 240).
116 Lev. 11: 45; cf. 44, where the same statement appears as a warning about the constant possibility of defilement through swarming creatures. See also Lev. 19: 2; 20: 7, 26; 21: 6-8; Num. 15: 40. Cf. Sanders himself in Paul and Palestinian Judaism on 'Studying and doing and the presence of God' (217-23): 'Thus we see that studying and doing the Torah are connected with the feeling of the presence of God. To study the Torah is to be in the presence of God who gave it, while the observance of the halakot inculcates the feeling of the presence of God' (222). By 'halakot' in this context Sanders has in mind especially the 'regular and systematic prayer...prescribed by the halakah' (220). However, life in the presence of God also requires a holiness which comes to expression in ritual purity, cf. Exod. 19: 10, 14-15. The rabbi's confidence 'of God's presence and accessibility', to which Sanders calls attention (223), also required an extension of the purity halakhah to daily life: wherever one prayed, studied the Torah, or was in any way involved in worship in the broadest sense of the term, there was a demand for purity. The fact that the synagogues had miqva'ot associated with them is only one indication of this (cf. Judaism, 223). Another is the common association of miqva'ot with oil-presses: oil, which is especially susceptible to impurity, should be extracted in a state of purity. For Sanders' limitation of the significance of purity in daily life, see also Deines, Steingefasse (n. 83), 166-74.
117 Cf. the indexes: there are only two references to Sifra in Jewish Law (cf. 394); three in Judaism (cf. 574). The other halakhic midrashim are also almost never referred to.
118 Here are just a few examples: (1) In m. Sheqal. 2:3 the different rules of the two schools stand one after the other; they are assimilated to one another only by means of the harmonizing, anonymous supplement which follows. (2) To the differing judgements of the schools in m. Sheqal. 8: 6 is added that of R. Eliezer b. Hyrcanus in 8: 7; the closing judgement of Aqiba decides the matter with a compromise. (3) In m. Besah 2: 4. par. m. Hag. 2: 2-3; t. Hag. 2: 10, the practice of laying hands on the sacrificial animal on a festival day is discussed controversially between the schools; cf. also m. Hag. 2: 4; m. Zebah. 4: 1 par. t. Zebah. 4: 9; t. Ed. 2: 6. Nevertheless, the number of questions left open is surprisingly low; the unambiguous, anonymous stipulations dominate in the realm of temple cult procedures.
On the significance in rabbinic thought of special traditions or the opinions of named individuals, see m. Ed. 1: 4-6: recording the names helps identify a tradition's origin, and makes it possible to reopen the case if need be.
119 Sanders deals repeatedly with this important passage, which is, after Isa. 66: 20 (where an eschatological occurrence is in view), the oldest written evidence of efforts above and beyond the explicit wording of the Torah to harvest and transport the gifts for the priests in the greatest possible purity. However, since for Sanders what counts as 'Pharisaic' is only what the Pharisees themselves consciously created as 'law', the regulations reflected in Judith, a book he considers pre-Pharisaic, are irrelevant for describing the Pharisees (cf. Jewish Law, 30, 35; with modifications 136, 150, 194). This judgement also fits Sanders' view that the Pharisees had no special interest in questions of purity which went decisively beyond what was 'common'. But here again the question arises: If the priests are responsible for everything, why did they only begin at such a late date as the book of Judith to show some concern about the purity of their food? In fact we have no evidence of a sanctification movement within the priesthood which also involved the laity (who had to handle the food). It is also perhaps not accidental that no copy of Judith has been found at Qumran. Unless we want to chase phantoms, we must continue to assume that it was above all the Pharisees who made purity in daily life into a national issue. In the same vein, Judith 11: 14 does not point to the priests: the 'council of the elders' in Jerusalem are supposed to decide whether the priests' heave-offering may be eaten by the laity in the outlying towns during the emergency. The book also seeks to show that God is with those who live in complete purity (cf. 8: 6; 12: 7-9), including the purity of food and utensils (10: 5; 12: 1-2, 9).
120 E.g. fasting in Judith 8: 6; on this see Albeck, Einfuhrung (n, 50), 32.
121 Cf. Jewish Law, 71-72 (with 339 n. 9), and the Qumran finds of tefillin (IQ13; 4Q128-148; 5Q8; 8Q13) and mezuzot (4Q149-55). The literature on these findings is now collected in A. S. van der Woude, 'Funfzehn Jahre Qumranforschung (1974-1988) (Fortsetzung)', TRu 55 (1990), 245-307 (251-52, 304-307). On tefillin (or phylacteries) see also above, p. 26.
122 Cf. Jewish Law, 30, 260-61; Judaism, 223,230.
123 Ep. Arist. 305-306. However, it is surely a bit exaggerated to describe the practice as [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] (305); cf. Mark 7:3 [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. For discussions of handwashing see also Sperber, Commentary (n. 59), 163-68, and M. van Loopik, The Ways of the Sages and the Way of the World, TSAJ 26 (Tubingen, 1991), 295-96, regarding the interpretation of Der. Er. Zut. 8:9 (12): 'Any scholar who is negligent in [the observance of] washing his hands is shameful' (Sperber, 138).
124 Sanders explains that he did not intend the same detail here as elsewhere, cf. Judaism, ix.
125 Sandwiched between Parts II and III on pp. 306-14 are six separate plans or artist's reconstructions of the Jerusalem temple, which for their part demonstrate the paramount importance which Sanders assigns to the temple, its cult and personnel for the Judaism of his period. The book also contains several photographs between pp. 220 and 221, which illustrate the synagogue at Gamla, various types of immersion pools, and Jewish clothing.
126 Chapters 5-10, not counting chapter 8. The first chapter of Part II is appropriately entitled 'Common Judaism and the Temple' (47-72), and ends with an excursus on 'Gentiles, Purity and the Temple' (72-76). Two chapters are devoted to the cultic personnel both on and off duty - ch. 6: 'The Ordinary Priests and the Levites: At Work in the Temple' (77-92, with an excursus on 'The Priestly Vestments' (92-102)); and ch. 10: 'The Priests and Levites Outside the Temple' (170-89). In between come ch. 7, 'Sacrifices' (103-18) and ch. 9, 'Tithes and Taxes' (146-69).
127 In the last category of 'other pietists' Sanders places the group responsible for the Psalms of Solomon, for which a Pharisaic origin is expressly denied (453).
128 The book is filled out by a brief Epilogue (491-94), endnotes (which are extremely frustrating to use), a bibliography which is on the short side, and indexes of names and passages. It is unfortunate that there is no subject index (in contrast to Jewish Law), all the more so because the table of contents fails to list any of the book's many subheadings. A table of contents which amounts to one page is too little for a book of 580 pages, especially one that would claim to stand next to the new Schurer and the CRINT volumes as a standard reference work. M. J. Cook and M. Goodman offer the same complaint in their otherwise very positive reviews: see Cook in JBL 113 (1994), 141-42 (142); and Goodman in SJT 47 (1994), 89-95 (94).
129 Sanders repeatedly points out the significance of this brief period under Salome Alexandra (cf. Jewish Law, 86, 101-102; Judaism, 280, 382-84, passim). But he stresses just as decisively that this phase of Pharisaic influence ended abruptly with her death and with the coming of the Romans, so that we must proceed from the assumption of a completely altered situation for the period 63 BC-AD 66 (e.g. Jewish Law, 89).
130 cf. Jos. Ant. 14. 41-45 and the interesting (because earlier) report in Diodorus Siculus 40. 2; on this see M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 1981(3)), 185-87.
131 On this see Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 358 ff., 380 ff., and the seldom noticed references in S. Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine (New York, 1965(2)), 179-84 to Shir ha-Shirim Zuta and other rabbinic passages which, despite all the puzzles, have something in common with the reports in Josephus. Unfortunately Sanders passes over all 'historical' rabbinic reports of this sort.
132 Cf. e.g.t.Abod. Zar. 3: 10: The Pharisee Gamaliel I married off his daughter to Simeon b. Nathaniel the priest only on the condition that she be allowed to continue following her own customs regarding the purity of food. In m. Abot 2: 8, 9, 13, the same Simeon is a disciple of Yohanan b. Zakkai. This shows, despite all the remaining uncertainties (on which see Neusner, Rabbinic Traditions, (n. 106), 1. 358, 374-75), that the facility for compromise between the Pharisees, on the one hand, and the priests or the 'amme ha-'arets on the other was considerable, and that the boundaries were permeable, occasionally even fluid.
133 The eschatological expectation is not dealt with until the end of Part II - like the doctrine of 'last things' in a textbook on dogmatics - under the heading of 'Hopes for the Future'. The treatment is very general and comes to only twenty-five pages, although this expectation lay at the heart of the Jewish theology (or theologies) of the period. See also above, p. 4.
134 (and five times in Jewish Law). From Daniel 12, only v. 2 is mentioned-once - in connection with the Sadducean denial of the resurrection (Judaism, 333; the index mistakenly gives the reference as 12: 1); otherwise this important chapter is not mentioned at all. On this see Hengel, 'Schriftauslegung' (n. 92), and above, n. 111.
135 For the details see Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism (n. 81), 72-73, 270-72, 277-83.
136 Cf. Jos. War I. 67; Ant. 13. 288, 292, 299; Sanders, Jewish Law, 86, 101; Judaism, 27, 380; and Diodorus 40.2 (above, n. 130).
137 Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism (n. 81), 226.
138 Cf. D. R. Schwartz, Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity, WUNT 1/60 (Tubingen, 1992), 46-47. He refers to coins of Alexander Jannaeus which originally bore the Greek little of King but were later restruck, so that they carried only the Hebrew title of High Priest. This may be an indication that the king stopped using the title as a certain point as a consequence of Pharisaic opposition. On the coins see also E. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in Age of Jesus Christ (175 BC-AD 135), rev. and ed. G. Vermes, F. Millar, et al., 3 parts in 4 vols. (Edinburgh, 1973-1987), 1. 227, 604.
139 On this see M. Hengel, Rabbinische Legende und fruhpharisaische Geschichte. Schimeon b. Schetach und die achtzig Hexen von Askalon, AHAW. PH 1984 (Heidelberg, 1984), 21 ff., 31, 36-38.
140 Cf. Jos. Ant. 14. 19-21. The citizens of Jerusalem joined Hyrcanus' side and assisted the Arab Aretas in besieging Aristobulus in the temple, but since the action took place during Passover, many of the Jews 'of best repute' [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] fled to Egypt (14. 21; Josephus' source here is Nicolas of Damascus). The same expression is used in 14. 43; in both instances we could be dealing with followers of the Pharisees. For further evidence of divisions among the people, see 14. 22-25: the charismatic man of prayer Onias refused to curse Aristobulus and the priests in the temple when pressured to do so by the opposing Jewish camp, and he paid for it with his life. Apparently it was taken for granted that he belonged to the opposition against Aristobulus.
141 Cf. Jos. Ant. 14. 58-74; Philo, Leg. Gai. 23.
142 Judaism. 472-81, esp. 475 (cf. already Jesus, 285, 299-300, 312-15). L.L. Grabbe-(JTS, NS, 44 (1993), 643-44) characterizes Sanders' discussion of the Sanhedrin as 'disorganized and confused' (644). In this section Sanders refers above all to M. Goodman, The Ruling Class of Judaea. The Origins of the Jewish Revolt Against Rome, AD 66-70 (Cambridge/New York, 1987) and to the dissertation of Goodman's student J. S. McLaren, Power and Politics in Palestine. The Jews and the Governing of their Land 100 BC-AD 70, JSNTSup 63 (Sheffield, 1991); on the latter see Judaism, 472, 481, and G. Baumbach, ZAW 105 (1993), 317.
143 This is precisely what Sanders contests on the basis of the deceptive argumentum e silentio: 'Our only source for this period, Josephus, says nothing at all about any legislative or judicial body. Scholars imagine one' (Judaism, 476). What Josephus reports is that the Pharisees could pronounce the death sentence and have it carried out (War I. 113), and that they had other judicial powers (Ant. 13. 409). Furthermore the Queen 'commanded the people to obey them', and she restored the 'regulations introduced by the Pharisees in accordance with the tradition of their fathers' which had been abolished since John Hyrcanus' break with the Pharisees (Ant. 13.408). Here the word 'Synedrion' never occurs, but how else are the Pharisees supposed to have exercised their power and rule? Surely not as an anarchistic, revolutionary cell-group, but through an official council in agreement with their Torah and tradition. In addition, in the rabbinic literature we have copious testimony for this epoch, which in part greatly exaggerates but nevertheless is not simply invented. At any rate, in the Scroll of Fasting, a very early document, the replacement of the Sadducees by the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin is mentioned; cf. Hengel, 'Rabbinische Legende' (n. 139), 36-41; Schurer (rev. edn.; n. 138), 1.230.
144 Cf. Jos. War. I. 358; Ant. 15. 1-6. The divergent account in Ant. 14. 175 says that Herod killed 'all the...members of the Synhedrion with the exception of Samaias', whereas according to Ant. 15. 6 those killed were only 'forty-five of the leading men of Antigonus' party'. Sanders interprets the latter statement as referring to 'all the members of Antigonus' council' (Judaism, 478, italics added), but we think this could very well refer to the partisans of Antigonus within the larger body of the Sanhedrin. Sanders' argument against the existence of a Sanhedrin at the time of Hyrcanus II and Antigonus is misleading, because the position which he constructs as the alternative to his own is one which no one seriously holds today (cf. e.g. 477, esp. item (2)). Although he thinks Antigonus' council and other principal supporters were all killed (478), he does not draw out the consequences of this decimation for the Sadducean nobility. Cf. Herod's proceedings against the Sons of Baba, who were loyal to Antigonus (Ant. 15.260-66). See also the Abba inscription, which provides an insight into the fate of a probably Sadducean member of the high-priestly family of Aaron: E. Rosenthal, 'The Giv'at ha-Mivtar Inscription', IEJ 23 (1973), 72-81; J. Naveh, 'An Aramaic Tomb Inscription Written in Paleo-Hebrew Script', ibid. 82-91; M. Sokoloff, 'The Giv'at ha-Mivtar Aramaic Tomb Inscription in Paleo-Hebrew Script and its Historical Implications', Immanuel 10 (1980), 38-46 (literature).
145 Ant. 17. 41-49 (cf. War 1. 571). It is debated whether the two divergent reports of the Pharisees' refusal to take the oath of allegiance to Herod are dealing with the same incident. A. Schalit, Konig Herodes, SJ 4 (Berlin, 1969), 316-19, is convinced - probably correctly - of two different episodes.
146 The period of silence is even longer than Herod's reign, running from the mention of the Sadducees during the reign of Hyrcanus I (Ant. 13. 298) to the report on the parties before the transformation of Judea into a Roman province (Ant. 18. 11).
147 Jos. Ant. 15. 22, 34. Ananel was deposed in favour of the Hasmonean Aristobulus III (15. 39-41), but installed again after Aristobulus was murdered (15. 56). According to 15.40, Ananel was of a (Zadokite) high-priestly family.
148 The last of the line to be deposed was the high priest Joazar (Ant. 18. 26 (cf. 17. 339)), a son of Boethus (18. 3), and brother of Herod's wife Mariamme II (17. 164). On the Boethusians see Schurer (rev. edn.; n. 138), 2. 229, 231, 234; J. Le Moyne, Les Sadduceens (Paris, 1972), index, 442-43, s. v. 'Boethusiens'; J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, tr. F. H. and C. H. Cave (London, 1969), 194, 230; Goodman, Ruling Class (n. 142), 42-43, 139-40, 144-45, 192.
149 Cf. Jos. Ant. 19. 297; L. H. Feldman, Josephus, on this passage (LCL 9, pp. 354-57, with notes); and Schwartz, Studies (n. 138), 70, 116, 185-89, though we ourselves favour the opinion of M. Stern referred to there.
150 Apion 2. 108: ...sint tribus quattuor sacerdotum et harum tribuum singulae habeant hominum plusquam quinque milia.... Elsewhere Josephus speaks of twenty-four 'courses' within the priesthood: Life 2 (but cf. Ezra 2: 36 and Neh. 7: 39). On the various statements regarding the number of priests see Jeremias, Jerusalem (n. 148), 199-200, who proceeds from the statement in Ep. Arist. 95 and comes up, by means of a questionable calculation, with a figure of about 18,000.
151 Cf. 1 Macc. 2: 1, 28=Ant. 12. 268, 271; and earlier, 1 Kings 2: 26; Amos 7: 17; and Neh. 13: 10. The Levite Barnabas also possessed a field which, when sold, apparently brought a considerable sum (Acts 4: 36-37). The concept that the tribe of Levi did not receive a share of the land is thereby shown to have been an idealized one. Hecataeus as well (in Diodorus 40. 3. 7; see Stern, Greek and Latin Authors (n. 130), 1. 27) assumes priestly possession of land in his ideal presentation, and Stern comments that this account quite possibly 'reflects the actual economic conditions prevailing in Judaea in the Hellenistic Age' (ibid., 32). In the Hellenistic period and under the Hasmoneans, priests sometimes got rich: this involves land ownership above all. Goodman in his review (n. 128) also questions 'why Sanders insists so frequently, and without positive evidence, that priests were forbidden to work the land' (93).
152 Cf. Jeremias, Jerusalem (n. 148), 192 n. 141; 206-207; Ant. 15. 390; t. Yoma 1: 6 (Z. 180).
153 See above, n. 87. Sanders in part uses the same evidence for his own theses; cf. the criticism in Deines, Steingefasse (n. 83), 96, passim.
154 Against Sanders, 'Pharisaic' here does not mean regulations which the Pharisees 'created' or 'invented', but rather those which the Pharisees saw as binding, regardless of their origin, and which they therefore made an effort to keep (cf. Judaism, 465: the material compiled here should be interpreted quite differently than it is by Sanders). Without a doubt, they put the purity laws in a different class than actual civil jurisdiction; but the binding nature of a halakhah may not be made dependent - as it is by Sanders - on whether or not there were associated juristic penalties, either real or threatened. In any case the most important threat was that of divine retribution.
155 Before Agrippa and Claudius Caesar, the highest Roman official of equestrian descent in Judea, as in Egypt, had the title 'praefectus'. The common title 'procurator' was a step down from this. Perhaps Claudius did not want his freedmen to carry the title praefectus Caesaris. But freedmen had already for some time been serving as procurators responsible for finances and other areas, even in the provincial administrations.
156 Confirmation of the tensions caused by the high-priestly families is found in the lament passed down in t. Men. 13: 21 (Z. 533) par. b. Pes. 57a. Sanders, who mentions only the Bavli passage, comments on it as follows: 'The chief priests of this generation - 59-66 CE - were not well-loved. They were harsh, they were callous, and they allowed their greed to get the better of them. I nevertheless note that many of them tried to fulfil the public responsibilities that their birth laid upon them, by keeping the Jewish citizenry and the Roman troops apart' (Judaism, 331).
157 See Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 358-64.
158 A rabbinic report from Sifre Zuta (J. N. Epstein (ed.), 'Sifre Zutta Parashat Para', Tarbiz 1/1 (1929), 46-78 (70): folio 4 recto, line 17) makes the Idumeans disciples of the House of Shammai; cf. Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 402, and Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine (n. 131), 182-83.
159 See above, p. 40. The significance and consequences of this event is underestimated by Sanders, who also neglects as a religio-political force the 'zeal for the law and the sanctuary' which had been virulent since the time of the Maccabees. On the topic of 'zeal', see Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 146-228. Sanders has apparently ignored this book, which was the first thorough monograph on the subject; it does not appear in the bibliographies of any of his major works.
160 Cf. the list in Schurer (rev. edn.; n. 138), 2. 229-32; and Judaism, 319-27.
161 Cf. y. Hag. 77b (2: 1) (cf. ET Neusner (n. 63), vol. 20 (1986), 47), where the story is told of a party thrown in Jerusalem by Elisha's father Abuya, who was one of the 'important people in Jerusalem'. This allows a glimpse into the social structure of the Jerusalem upper class in the decades immediately before the outbreak of the war. The story tells of a direct encounter between pious zeal and wealthy vanity. Josephus, as a Pharisee, also belonged to Jerusalem's upper class. Another of these 'important people' is Naqdimon b. Gorion, who was famous for his fabulous wealth and is often mentioned in the rabbinic literature; see the references in Billerbeck 2. 412-17 (e.g.b. Git. 56a; b. Taan. 19b). He is possibly identical with the Gorion son of Nicomedes mentioned by Josephus in War 2. 451; cf. Hengel, Zealots (n. 38), 367. It is difficult to form a judgement on the possible identity of this Naqdimon with the Pharisee and Jewish archon Nicodemus from John 3: 1; see M. Hengel, The Johannine Question, tr. J. Bowden (London, 1989), 217-18, n. 93.
162 The fact that he is called 'Jonathan' in Life 197 and not 'Judas son of Jonathan' as in War 2. 451, 628, may be due to a reversal of the names of father and son, so that the texts in the War should actually have read: 'Jonathan son of Judas'; a similar reversal also apparently occurred in the case of Gorion son of Nicomedes (compare the name in the rabbinic accounts). The explanation could be that in War 2. 628, Josephus mentions the father's name first when identifying the first delegate, Joesdrus son of Nomicus [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], and this order was then reversed in the case of the fourth name through an error in copying.
163 Most of these examples we have met before: (1) the anti-king third Jewish delegation to Pompey in Ant. 14. 41 (see above, n. 130); (2) the teachers in the golden eagle episode in War I. 648-55 and Ant. 17. 149-67 (see above, p. 64); (3) the Jerusalem residents who protested against the execution of James the Lord's brother by Ananus II in Ant. 20. 201 (see above, pp. 8-9); and (4) the members of the Galilee delegation in War 2. 451, 628 (cf. Life 197). Additional examples include: (5) the legally-strict Simon, who wanted to exclude Agrippa I from the temple on account of ritual impurity (Ant. 19. 332-34); and (6) the Galilean Eleazar, who persuaded Izates, King of Adiabene, to be circumcised and become a full proselyte (Ant. 20. 42-48).
Goodman (n. 128), 94, and Grabbe (n. 142), 643, criticize the approach (shared by Sanders, ourselves, and others) that sees Pharisees in some narratives of Josephus in which the party name does not appear. Goodman objects to Sanders finding Pharisees in incidents (2) and (3) and Grabbe objects to (2); but their objections do not seem compelling.
164 See, for example, Jesus, 290, 326-27: Sanders especially likes to caricature positions on the Pharisees, in order to dismiss them as 'incredible'. Similarly in Judaism, 172-73.
165 Cf. the debate between Sanders and B. F. Meyer, sparked off by an article of the former in the W. R. Farmer Festschrift which he himself edited ('Jesus and the Kingdom: The Restoration of Israel and the New People of God', in Jesus, the Gospels, and the Church (Macon, 1987), 225-39). See the criticism by Meyer, 'A Caricature of Joachim Jeremias and His Work', JBL 100 (1991), 451-62; and Sanders' reply, 'Defending the Indefensible', ibid. 463-77.
166 Sanders' expression (Jewish Law, 36). Goodman believes that 'frequent polemic against earlier influential scholarship....was probably unavoidable' in Sanders' Judaism. However, Goodman seems to limit the drawbacks of such polemic largely to matters of style and presentation: '...it is undeniably less than helpful in [Sanders'] attempt to produce a clear picture which students can easily grasp' (review of Judaism (n. 128), 95).
167 On this see G. Kittel, Die Probleme des palastinischen Spatjudentums und das Urchristentum, BWANT 37 (Stuttgart, 1926), 21 n. 1. Cf. the section on the proper way of working with rabbinic sources, which is still eminently worth reading even today (5-21). That this scholar then personally failed miserably after 1933 does not impair the truth in substance of this earlier work. On Kittel's life and his behaviour during the time of National Socialist rule, see L. Siegele-Wenschkewitz, Neutestamentliche Theologie vor der Judenfrage. Gerhard Kittels theologische Arbeit im Wandel deutscher Geschichte (Munich, 1980); R. P. Ericksen, Theologians under Hitler (New Haven/London, 1985), 29-78.
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|Author:||Hengel, Martin; Deines, Roland|
|Publication:||The Journal of Theological Studies|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1995|
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