The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of Their Faith, 3rd ed. (1962 Finkelstein), book

From 4 Enoch: The Online Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism
Jump to: navigation, search

The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of Their Faith (1962) is the 3rd revised edition of The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of Their Faith (1938 Finkelstein), book.


In Finkelstein's own words this text is "a comprehensive survey of the economic, social, and political factors which helped to determine the course of Jewish thought in the biblical and post-biblical periods" (1). The first volume addresses cultural issues; the second is more historical in orientation. Finkelstein does more than merely quote Josephus on the Pharisees; he interprets them from the perspective of the social sciences. Finkelstein argues that the prophetic, Pharisaic, and rabbinic traditions were the product of a battle between the landed Jewish aristocracy and the larger unlanded groups. As such this can be viewed as a text written from a Marxist perspective, wedding ideology and sociology. The social clashes took over 1500 years and resulted in a religious tradition that has dramatically impacted other traditions such as Christianity and Islam. -- Ronald Ruark, University of Michigan


Published in Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962.

Table of contents

    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Palestine and Its Divisions
    • 3. Some Typical Variations of Custom
    • 4. The Customs of Jericho
    • 5. The Origin of the Pharisees
    • 6. The Urbanity of the Pharisees
    • 7. The Social Background of the Pharisaic Legislation
    • 8. The Doctrine of the Resurrection and Immortality
    • 9. The Angels
    • 10. The Simple Life
    • 11. Providence, Determinism and Free Will
    • 12. The Plebeian Paradox
    • 13. The Oral Law
    • 14. Reverence for Man
    • 15. The Prophetic Ideal of Human Equality
    • 16. The Origin of the Prophetic Doctrine of Peace
    • 17. The Doctrine of Peace and the Prophetic Movement
    • 18. The Ideals of Peace and Human Equality During the Exile
    • 19. Social and Political Conflict Under the Persian Rule
    • 20. The Struggle Against Assimilation: Judaism Becomes the Synagogue
    • 21. Hellenists, Hasideans and Pharisees

External links