chapter  6
23 Pages

Sectarianism and political strife in response to imperial rule

ByJeremiah W. Cataldo

Under the Greek Empire, for instance, the Pharisees and Sadducees were given a relatively free reign to govern the affairs of the Jewish community. When Judah was conquered in 597 BCE and when it fell in 586 BCE, at which point the Jerusalem temple was destroyed, Judeans lived in the territory under foreign imperial rule well past the 1st century CE. In the midst, or perhaps because of, all the political strife under foreign imperial powers, rabbinic Judaism began establishing roots as a central institution of Jewish culture. According to J. D. Crossan, the philosophical and social attitudes and actions that emerged among the different sects within Judaea under Roman rule must be interpreted within the larger framework of Roman imperial theology. The members of the sect might flee to the desert or some other isolated place. Or they might live among, but not with, their nonsectarian co-religionists.