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❚ EXAMPLE OF A ‘CHAIN’ OF OPINION IN MISHNAH SOTAH 9.10–15

In all probability the number of Pharisees, even in the early first century, was quite small, though ancient opinions differ. Josephus speaks of there being 6,000 – but he writes from a pro-Pharisaic position, and from a period in the late first century when Rabbinic Judaism was for the first time the dominant form of the religion. Elsewhere in the Mishnah it is recorded that all the Pharisees met in a house in Jerusalem – suggesting many fewer than Josephus’s figure!19