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Hayim Lapin

The term “rabbis” generally refers to Jewish scholars and ritual specialists who flourished in Palestine and Babylonia, from the late 1st to the 6th centuries ce. Although some evidence for rabbis exists outside literary texts, most of our knowledge derives from rabbinic or Talmudic literature itself. This literature is undoubtedly rich, but also produced by and for a community of insiders. This makes drawing historiographical (especially chronological or biographical) conclusions problematic. Traditionally and in some older scholarship, rabbis were viewed as the leadership of the Jewish people, at least in Palestine and Mesopotamia, and were often thought to derive their authority from formal or informal imperial mandate. A more common view today recognizes that rabbis were a numerically small group with little or no official power, although there remains considerable debate over how influential or representative of a wider population rabbis may have been.The term “rabbis” refers to the Jewish scholars and ritual specialists in Palestine and .



Eyal Regev

Sadducees (צדוקים, Σαδδоυκαῖоς, Saddoukaioi), a religious and political group within Judaism attested in Judaea from the 2nd century bce to the 1st century ce. The Sadducees are described by Josephus and are mentioned in the New Testament and in rabbinic texts that pertain to the Second Temple period, usually as opponents of the Pharisees in matters concerning law or theology. They held legal views stricter than those of the Pharisees. Many of the high priests from Herod’s reign to 70 ce were Sadducees.The name of the Sadducees probably derives from the name of the high-priestly house of Zadok. Presumably, the Sadducees identified themselves as the successors of these ancient high priests. It is uncertain, however, whether any of the Sadducean high priests were of Zadokite descent. In any event, the name of the Sadducees also implies a sense of righteousness (zedek).Josephus mentions the Sadducees as one of the three Jewish “philosophies” (.


Alexander Jannaeus  

Katell Berthelot

Alexander Jannaeus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63 bce. He became high priest and king in 104/3 bce and waged numerous wars that were both defensive and meant to enlarge Judea’s borders. It was under his rule that Judea’s territory reached its maximum extension. Yet both Josephus’s works and rabbinic writings convey a rather negative record of his rule, mainly because of the violent suppression of his Judean opponents. He ruled for roughly twenty-eight years (from 104 to 76 bce) and left his kingdom to his wife, Salome Alexandra, who became the first Judean queen.Alexander Jannaeus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63bce—from 63 to 37bce they remained in charge to some extent, but under Roman supervision.1 Jannaeus was the son of John Hyrcanus.