Two Other Ancient Jewish Sects

In my previous post I talked about two of the known Jewish sects from the days of Jesus in Palestine.  The idea that there are specifically four sects comes to us from the late-first-century Jewish historian Josephus, whose many volumes of writings (e.g., on the Jewish War and on Jewish Antiquities – the latter a history of the Jewish people from biblical times up to his own day) are our principal source of information about Judaism at the time.  In addition to the Pharisees and Sadducees, Josephus mentions the “Essenes” and a “Fourth Philosophy.”  Here is a summary of what these groups stood for, again taken from my introductory textbook on the New Testament.  (The reason I’m giving this information: it is the background to my discussion of the afterlife in Judaism at the time of Jesus.)   ************************************************************** Essenes The Essenes are the one Jewish sect not mentioned in the New Testament. Ironically, they are also the group about which we are best informed. This is because the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were evidently [...]