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(673 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
Pharisees were members of one of the group movements that characterized early Judaism (Essenes; Sadducees). The name, first found in Phil. 3:5 and based on Aram. pĕrîšayyâ (= Heb. pĕrûšîm, “separated ones”), might well have been first used by others to denote separatists, but the Pharisees themselves could also adopt it in the sense of holy or abstemious ones. 1. Sources We have no reliable sources dating from the period before a.d. 70. For sources we are dependent on Josephus (ca. 37–ca. 100, J.W.  and Ant. ), primitive Christian writings (Paul, the Gospels, and A…


(360 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
The term “Sadducees” (Gk. saddoukaioi, Heb. ṣaddûqîm, Aram. ṣadduqayya, thought to derive from David’s high priest, Zadok [ ṣādôq], see 2 Sam. 15:24–29) is used for members of a party of priests and nobles in Jerusalem. We have references to them, at times under the name “Boethusians,” only occasionally in Josephus and early Christian and rabbinic writings, mostly hostile. Only within limits, then, can we reconstruct their history and character. Historically important is the question of power in the political and religious life of Palestinian Judaism fro…


(2,572 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
The seventh day of the week as a day of rest is one of the basic religious and social institutions of Judaism and, along with circumcision, a chief mark of Jewish identity. 1. Term In both biblical and postbiblical texts the usual term is šabbāt. We also find šabbātôn (also meaning “seventh year”) and the combination šabbat šabbātôn, “Sabbath of complete rest,” which can refer to the Sabbath year or to the Day of Atonement. 2. Origin We have no clear knowledge of the origin of the term, which is etymologically obscure. Some derive it from the Heb. verb šbt (cease, celebrate), other…

Herod, Herodians

(598 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
1. Herod the Great (“the Elder,” according to Josephus Ant.  18.130), the founder of the last Jewish dynasty, derived on his father’s side from Idumeans, who had been forcibly Judaized, and on his mother’s side from Nabateans. He was born in 73 b.c. Already in his youth he was given political appointments by his father Antipater, one of the highest officials in the Hasmonaean kingdom. In 47 b.c. he became military commander in Judea. Like his father, he exploited power struggles between the Hasmonaean br…


(461 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
The Hasmonaeans (also sometimes called the Maccabees) were the last Jewish ruling family. Under the Hasmonaeans the Jews in Palestine enjoyed a period of political independence in the second and first centuries b.c. The Hasmonaean name occurs for the first time in Josephus (Asamonaioi), and later it is common in the rabbinic writings (beth/bĕnê ḥašmonai). The derivation is uncertain. Josephus ( Ant.  12.265; J.W.  1.36) refers to an ancestor of the same name, but more likely it arises from an association with the place Heshmon (Josh. 15:27) or Hashmonah (Num. 33:29–30). The fami…


(675 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
1. The name “Enoch” (or “Hanoch,” both from Gk. Henōch, Heb. ḥănôk) is of uncertain meaning, perhaps “follower” or “initiate.” It is used in the Bible for various figures in Genesis 1–11 and the story of the patriarchs: (1) the eldest son of Cain and builder of the first city, of the same name (Gen. 4:17–18); (2) the son of Jared, descendant of Seth (see 2); (3) the son of Midian, grandson of Abraham (Gen. 25:4; 1 Chr. 1:33); and (4) the eldest son of Reuben, grandson of Jacob (Gen. 46:9; Exod. 6:14; 1 Chr. 5:3), and founder of the family of the Hanochites (Num. 26:5). 2. Jewish piety connected…

High Priest

(444 words)

Author(s): Schaller, Berndt
The office of high priest, directing the cult and its personnel, was one of the religious institutions of Israel (§1), as it was of most ancient societies. 1. We have no documentation from the earliest period. The oldest references come from the age of the monarchy (Amos 7:10–15; 1 Sam. 14:3; 21:1–9; 2 Kgs. 12:7; 16:10–16), but with no specific description of the office. Postexilic texts first include the titles hakkōhēn haggādôl (Lev. 21:10; Num. 35:25–28; Hag. 1:1) and kōhēn hārōʾš (2 Chr. 19:11 etc.). The tasks are set forth (atonement of the whole congregation, Lev. 4:16–20),…