What circumstances and issues gave rise to divisions in Jewish society of the Hellenistic era? Essay Example

Divisions in Jewish Society during the Hellenistic Era

2Some segments of Jewish society embraced the changes brought while, others resisted to different extents and this, together with class differences and religious conservatism therefore became a basis for division of the Jewish group. Three groups arose afterwards, namely the Pharisees, Essenes and Saducees. 1 Hellenistic and Jewish cultures clashed.

5. They recommended a withdrawn life in which a person would devote himself to religious contemplation. They had a greater emphasis on the messianic aspect of religion. Saducees were pro-Hellenism. They comprised the priestly, wealthy and aristocratic class that had close working relationships with the rulers. It was highly conservative with regard to religious matters and considered everything relating to worship as being highly sacrosanct.4 The Essenes on their part comprised of the more ascetic Jews3 Pharisees were politically conservative and opposed Hellenization as it was a wrongful acceptance of an alien culture. They called for the use of both the written and Oral Laws and emphasized resurrection and retribution.

References

Davies, William, Finkelstein,David and Katz, Steven. The Cambridge History of Judaism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

Feldman, Louis. Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2006

Lupovitch, Howard. Jews and Judaism in World History. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008

White, Michael. The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Retrieved on 22 August 2011 from

<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html>

1
Howard Lupovitch. Jews and Judaism in World History. (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008), p. 34

2
William Davies et al. The Cambridge History of Judaism. (Cambridge: CUP, 2006), p. 26

3
Louis Feldman. Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered. (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2006), pp. 8-10

4
Michael White. The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1998. Retrieved on 22 August 2011 from <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html, par.4

5
William Davies et al.
The Cambridge History of Judaism. (Cambridge: CUP, 2006), p. 26