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In Quest of the Historical Pharisees

Edited by Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton

In Quest of the Historical Pharisees
Paperback, 548 pages $39.95
Published: 1st May 2007
ISBN: 9781932792720
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Biblical Studies, Ancient History & Archaeology

This work sketches the many portraits of the Pharisees that emerge from ancient sources. Based upon the Gospels, the writings of Paul, Josephus, the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and archeology, the volume profiles the Pharisees and explores the relationship between the Pharisees and the Judaic religious system foreshadowed by the library of Qumran. A great virtue of this study is that no attempt is made to homogenize the distinct pictures or reconstruct a singular account of the Pharisees; instead, by carefully considering the sources, the chapters allow different pictures of the Pharisees to stand side by side.



Chapter 1 Josephus's Pharisees: The Narratives
--Steve Mason

Chapter 2 Josephus's Pharisees: The Philosophy
--Steve Mason

Chapter 3 Matthew's and Mark's Pharisees
--Martin Pickup

Chapter 4 Luke's Pharisees
--Amy-Jill Levine

Chapter 5 John's Pharisees
--Raimo Hakola and Adele Reinhartz

Chapter 6 Paul and the Pharisees
--Bruce Chilton

Chapter 7 Paul and Gamaliel
--Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner

Chapter 8 The Pharisees and the Dead Sea Scrolls
--James C. VanderKam

Chapter 9 Archaeology and the Pharisees
--James F. Strange


Chapter 10 The Pharisees and the Sadducees in the Earliest Rabbinic Documents
--Jack N. Lightstone

Chapter 11 The Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees before 70 CE: An Overview
--Jacob Neusner

Chapter 12 The Pharisaic Agenda: Laws Attributed in the Mishnah and the Tosefta to Pre-70 Pharisees
--Jacob Neusner

Chapter 13 The Pre-70 Pharisees after 70 and after 140
--Jacob Neusner


Chapter 14 The German Theological Tradition
--Susannah Heschel

Chapter 15 The Anglo-American Theological Tradition to 1970
--Jacob Neusner

Chapter 16 The Debate with E. P. Saunders since 1970
--Jacob Neusner


Chapter 17 What Do We Really Know about the Pharisees, and How Do We Know It?
--William Scott Green

Journal and Series Abbreviations
About the Contributors

"Whether as parents, foils, or both, the Pharisees have always been a focus of interest for anyone interested in the genesis of Christianity or of rabbinic Judaism. This volume allows serious readers an opportunity to learn the sources, to follow the debates, and so to understand and assess a revolution in historical and theological scholarship."

--Daniel R. Schwartz, Professor of Ancient Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


"This is an important book in so many ways. It demonstrates eloquently that "what we can't show, we don't know"-that much of what we assert about Pharisees is simply not supported by the evidence. But it also reminds us that "objective" description is not a matter of either choosing or amalgamating sources, but of realizing that how the Pharisees were perceived and presented is indeed also some part of who they were. We also see how interpretation reveals the interpreter as well as the text: in these assured and well-informed analyses, we also discern the moral and intellectual character of the scholar. Not least, we are confronted with those other Pharisees-of Jewish and Christian mythology and contemporary critical controversy, who long outlived their historical counterparts but who still haunt and fascinate us."

--Philip Davies, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield



"This is a provocative and engaging study that invites the reader to wrestle with the complexity of the sources and to come to their own synthetic conclusions. In the hands of ordinary most-modernists, such a de-centered approach to a historical question might be counterproductive, but in the hands of the learned colleagues Neusner and Chilton have here assembled, the exercise becomes a very effective way of enabling contemporary students to wrestle with difficulties of the ancient sources."

--Harry Attridge, Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Divinity School, Yale University



Jacob Neusner was Research Professor of Theology and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College.

Bruce Chilton is Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College in Annandale, New York. He is the author or editor of several volumes, including The Targums: A Critical Introduction.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 548 pages
 9in x 6in

  REL006100, REL006710, REL040000
 Baylor University Press

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