Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-w6m4b Total loading time: 0.379 Render date: 2022-06-29T02:12:05.726Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

The Attraction of Aristocratic Women to Pharisaism During the Second Temple Period*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2011

Tal Ilan
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Unlike Christianity, which regards the word “Pharisee” as synonymous with “hypocrite,” “legalist,” and “petty-bourgeois,” Jews have always understood Pharisaism as the correct and trustworthy side of Judaism. Since the eighteenth century, all disputants who participated in the great controversies and schisms within Judaism have claimed to represent the true heirs of the Pharisees. For example, adherents of the strong anti-Hasidic movement initiated by R. Eliyahu of Vilna in the second half of the eighteenth century, who are usually referred to in literature by the negative appellation “opposers” (םירננחמ), referred to themselves by the positive title “Pharisees” (םישורפ). When the Reform movement was founded in Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century, with the goal of reforming the Jewish religion to make it more “modern” and acceptable to its neighbors, the reformers perceived themselves as the true heirs of the Pharisees. In his important study of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Abraham Geiger, one of the founders, of Wissenschaft des Judentums and an important spokesman for the radical wing of the Reform movement, formulated the view of the flexible open-minded Pharisees, who reformed Judaism to the point of contradicting the laws set out in the Pentateuch, in order to accommodate them to their changing needs. Geiger's opponents easily produced evidence that negated his findings and proved beyond doubt that they, in their conservative strain, were the real heirs of Pharisaism. To his opponents, Geiger was a representative of the detestable Sadducees or their later counterparts, the Karaites.

Research Articles
Copyright © President and Fellows of Harvard College 1995

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 von Harnack, Adolf, What is Christianity? (1900; reprinted New York: Harper & Row, 1957) 48Google Scholar.

2 For example, Schürer, Emil, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 BC–AD 135) (eds. Vermes, Geza, Millar, Fergus, and Black, Matthew; 3 vols.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973–87) 2. 388Google Scholar.

3 Weber, Max, Ancient Judaism (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1952) 388Google Scholar.

4 On disputes between Jews and Christians on the essence of Pharisaism, see Schwartz, Daniel R., Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity (WUNT 60; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1992) 6670Google Scholar.

5 See Mitnaggedim,EncJud 12 (1971) 161Google Scholar.

6 Hisdai, Yaaqov, “The Origins of the Conflict Between Hasidim and Mitnagdim,” in Safran, Bezalel, ed., Hasidism: Continuity or Innovation? (Harvard Judaic Texts and Monographs 5; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988) 2745Google Scholar, esp. 39–44.

7 Philipson, David (The Reform Movement in Judaism [Cincinnati: Ktav, 1907] 5Google Scholar) says, “In a word, Reform Judaism… considers itself too a link in the chain of Jewish tradition, the product of this modern age, as Talmudism was of its age.”

8 On Geiger, see Wiener, Max, Abraham Geiger and Liberal Judaism: The Challenge of the Nineteenth Century (trans. Schlochauer, Ernst J.; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962)Google Scholar.

9 Geiger, Abraham, Urschrift und Übersetzung der Bibel in ihrer Abhängigkeit von der inneren Entwicklung des Judenthums (Breslau: Hainauer, 1857) esp. 101–58Google Scholar. For further bibliography on the identification of the reformers with the Pharisees, see Schwartz, Jewish Background, 74–79.

10 Eiger's, Solomon letter, in Tiktin, Solomon A., ed., Darstellung des Sachverhältnisses in seiner hiesigen Rabbinatsangelegenheit (Breslau: Richter, 1842) 25Google Scholar.

11 Alon, Gedalyahu, Jews, Judaism and the Classical World (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1977) 1847Google Scholar.

12 A recent revised edition of Neusner's old theory is his “Josephus' Pharisees—A Complete Repetoire,” in Feldman, Louis H. and Hata, Gohei, eds., Josephus, Judaism and Christianity (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987) 274–92Google Scholar.

13 Schwartz, Daniel R., “Josephus and Nicolaus on the Pharisees,JSJ 14 (1983) 157–71Google Scholar.

14 See for example, Rivkin, Ellis, A Hidden Revolution: The Pharisees' Search for the Kingdom Within (Nashville: Abingdon, 1978)Google Scholar.

15 This idea certainly is found in early Christian works; see Schürer, History of the Jewish People, 402–3; Pfeiffer, Robert H., History of New Testament Times (New York: Harper, 1949) 44Google Scholar; Moore, George F., Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era (3 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964) 1. 83Google Scholar7. The idea also is voiced by many Jewish historians such as Roth, Cecil, A Short History of the Jewish People (London: East & West, 1969) 112Google Scholar; Neusner, Jacob, From Politics to Piety: The Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism (Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1973) 143–54Google Scholar; Safrai, Shmuel, “The Era of the Mishnah and Talmud (70–640),” in Ben-Sasson, Haim H., ed., A History of the Jewish People (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976) 325–26Google Scholar; Zeitlin, Solomon, The Rise and Fall of the Judaean State (3 vols.; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1962–78) 3. 155–58Google Scholar; Herr, Moshe David, A History of Eretz Israel: The Roman Period (10 vols.; Jerusalem: Keter, 1984) 4. 290 [Hebrew]Google Scholar.

16 Cohen, Shaye J. D., “The Significance of Yavneh—Pharisees, Rabbis, and the End of Jewish Sectarianism,HUCA 55 (1984) 2753Google Scholar.

17 See for example the titles of Segal, Alan F., The Other Judaisms of Late Antiquity (BJS 127; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987)Google Scholar; Cohen, Gerson D., Studies in the Variety of Rabbinic Cultures (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1991)Google Scholar.

18 See recently, Saldarini, Antony J., Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1989)Google Scholar.

19 For example, Levine, Israel L., The Rabbinic Class of Roman Palestine in Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Yad ben Ẓvi, 1985)Google Scholar.

20 Hauptman, Judith, “Women's Liberation in the Talmudic Period: An Assessment,Conservative Judaism 26 (1972) 2428Google Scholar. And see more recently, and in a more sophisticated style, but by no means with a new message, Boyarin, Daniel, Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993) 227–45Google Scholar.

21 See Wegner, Judith R., Chattel or Person: The Status of Women in the Mishnah (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988)Google Scholar.

22 Kraemer, Ross S., Her Share of the Blessings: Women's Religions among Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Greco-Roman World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 93105Google Scholar.

23 Kraemer, Ross S., “A New Inscription from Malta and the Question of Women Elders in Diaspora Jewish Communities,HTR 78 (1985) 431–38Google Scholar; idem, “Hellenistic Jewish Women: The Epigraphic Evidence,” SBLASP 24 (1986) 183–200; idem, “Non Literary Evidence for Jewish Women in Rome and Egypt,” Helios 13 (1987) 85–101; idem, “Monastic Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Egypt: Philo on the Therapeutrides,” Signs 14 (1989) 342–70; and idem, “Jewish Women in the Diaspora World of Late Antiquity,” in Judith R. Baskin, ed., Jewish Women in Historical Perspective (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991) 43–67.

24 Josephus Ant. 17.41–43 (LCL; ed. and trans. Ralph Marcus; 10 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963) 8. 391–93, adapted.

25 I have written on Nicolaus's treatment of royal women in “Josephus and Nicolaus on Women,” in H. Cancik, Hermann Lichtenberger, and Peter Schäfer, eds., Geschichte—Tradition—Reflexion (forthcoming).

26 Josephus Ant. 13.288, 401–2; and 18.5, apparently not based on Nicolaus.

27 See Schwartz, “Josephus and Nicolaus,” 158–62; and recently Mason, Steven, Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees: A Composition-Critical Study (Leiden: Brill, 1991) 222–29Google Scholar; 250–51; 300–306.

28 Sanders, E. P., Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE–66 CE (London: SCM and Philadelphia: Trinity, 1992) 458–90Google Scholar.

29 Schwartz, “Josephus and Nicolaus,” 158–59; Schwartz does not refer specifically to the women.

30 Mason, Flavius Josephus, 375.

31 Josephus Ant. 16.194 (ET 8. 391).

33 Even Cohen (“Significance of Yavneh,” 50) concedes this.

34 Neusner, Jacob, Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees Before 70 (3 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1971) 1. 67Google Scholar.

35 t. Yoma 5.8.

36 t. Para 3.8.

37 m. Soṭa 9.9.

38 See Sanders, Judaism, 399–402.

39 Josephus Ant. 18.17.

40 Smith, Morton, “Palestinian Judaism in the First Century,” in Davis, Moshe, ed., Israel: Its Role in Civilization (New York: Harper, 1956) 7178Google Scholar.

41 Schwartz, “Josephus and Nicolaus,” 158–62.

42 t. Nid. 5.2.

43 t. Nid. 5.3; it has been suggested by Cohen (“Significance of Yavneh,” 32–33) that this second excerpt refers to Temple times, demonstrating the unique case of the specific woman, while the former refers to sadducean women of the time of the tannaitic sages. Jacob Neusner has demonstrated (Reading and Believing: Ancient Judaism and Contemporary Gullibility [BJS 113; Atlanta: Scholars Press, [1986] 83–85), however, that it is not methodologically sound to accept this evidence at face value and identify chronological strata on the basis of such source material.

44 Sanders, Judaism, 399–402.

45 m. Soṭa 3.4.

48 See for example, Rivkin, Ellis, “Defining the Pharisees: The Tannaitic Sources,HUCA 40–41 (1970) 240–41Google Scholar.

49 Josephus Bell. 1.111 (LCL; trans. Thackaray, H. St. J.; 10 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927) 2. 53Google Scholar.

50 Josephus Ant. 13.401; The text goes on to state: “These men, he assured her, had so much influence with their fellow Jews that they could injure those whom they hated and help those to whom they were friendly; for they had the complete confidence of the masses when they spoke harshly of any person, even when they did so out of envy” (ET 7. 429). Schwartz claimed (“Josephus and Nicolaus,” 159) that this is one of the most obvious Nicolean texts on the Pharisees. If that were true, then my claim that the advice Yannai gave his wife comes from another source is less likely. Josephus himself, however, could have inserted a statement he found in Nicolaus as part of Yannai's advice.

51 b. Soṭa 22b; compare Numbers 25.

52 Probably based on Nicolaus of Damascus; see Schwartz, “Josephus and Nicolaus,” 159.

53 Josephus Ant. 13.372–83; curiously, Josephus never identifies Yannai's opponents by name. The identification of these opponents with the Pharisees is usually argued along the following lines: The insurrection against Yannai was initiated on the feast of Sukkoth, when the entire people pelted the king with their citrons because he failed to perform the sacrifice in a satisfactory manner (Ant. 13.372). The same incident is recorded in rabbinic literature; the high priest who is pelted by the mob is not identified by name but only by denomination as a Sadducee (b. Sukk. 48b). This text is another episode found both in rabbinic literature and Josephus's Antiquities but not in the Jewish War. The opponents of the sadducean approach are identified in this text as םעה, a designation the rabbis usually reserved for the allies of the Pharisees (see Cohen, “Significance of Yavneh,” 41). Further, Yannai's opponents can be identified as Pharisees from the qumranic Pesher Nahum, the only qumranic document whose historical allusions are not contested. The Raging Lion in this text (=Yannai) is said to have crucified his opponents, the חוקלחה ישרור, usually identified as Pharisees. See Flusser, David, “Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes in Pesher Nahum,” in Dorman, Menahem, Safrai, Shmuel, and Stern, Menahem, eds., In Memory of Gedaliahu Alon: Essays in Jewish History and Philology (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1970) 133–68Google Scholar [Hebrew].

54 Josephus Ant. 16.68; 207.

55 Ibid., 15.362.

56 Ibid., 16.195–99.

57 Ibid., 15.369–70; 17.42; see Schwartz's summation of the topic with a bibliography in “Josephus and Nicolaus,” 160 n. 12.

58 Other possible reasons for this have been discussed elsewhere, see Rivkin, “Defining the Pharisees,” 205–49; Cohen, “Significance of Yavneh,” 36–42.

59 On an abstinent woman in rabbinic literature and the hypocrisy assigned to her see Lieberman, Saul, “Sin and its Punishment—A Study in Jewish and Christian Visions of Hell,” in Lieberman, Saul et al. , eds., Louis Ginzberg Jubilee Volume (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1945) 254Google Scholar [Hebrew].

60 Sifra Lev. Beḥuqotai 1.1; Sifre Deut. 42.

61 b. Ber. 48a.

62 See Schwartz, Daniel R., “KATA TOUTON TON KAIPON: Josephus' Source on Agrippa II,JQR 72 (1981–82) 266–67Google Scholar. Schwartz refers to the work of Efron, Joshua (Studies on the Hasmonean Period [Leiden: Brill, 1987] 153–61Google Scholar), but Efron makes a distinction between Yannai of the Babylonian Talmud and Yannai of other rabbinic compilations. I find this distinction untenable.

63 Josephus Ant. 20.17–96.

64 Schiffman, Lawrence H. discusses (“The Conversion of the Royal House of Adiabene in Josephus and Rabbinic Sources,” in Feldman, Louis H. and Hata, Gohei, eds., Josephus, Judaism and Christianity [Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987] 293312Google Scholar) Helene's conversion in light of rabbinic traditions. The Pharisaic aspect of the conversion process described in rabbinic literature, however, is not suggested.

65 m. Nazir 3.6.

66 t. Sukk. 1.1.

67 m. Yoma 3.10.

68 On the conversion source in Gen. R. 46.19, which mentions an unnamed queen (obviously Helene in the original), see Schiffman (“The Conversion,” 301–2), who rightly claims that the author of this tradition shows no indication that he knew the true identity of this woman.

69 Schiffman, (“The Conversion,” 297–98) claims that the entire source in Josephus is a bios composition whose subject is Izates.

70 m. Yoma 3.10; t. Peʾa 4.18.

71 Josephus Ant. 15.320–22; see Stern, Menahem, “Aspects of Jewish Society—The Priesthood and Other Classes,” in Safrai, Shmuel and Stern, Menahem, eds., The Jewish People in the First Century (2 vols.; CRINT 1; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974–76) 2. 604–6Google Scholar.

72 m. Yebamot 6.4.

73 Josephus Bell. 4.160; 238–70; 316; idem, Vit. 193; 204.

74 Compare b. B. Batra 21a and y. Ketub. 8.11, 32c; on these traditions and their historical worth see Goodblatt, David, “The Talmudic Sources on the Origins of Organized Jewish Education,Studies in the History of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel 5 (1980) 89102Google Scholar [Hebrew].

75 m. Yoma 3.9.

76 Three more times in tannaitic collections, t. Yoma 1.14; Sifra Lev. Emor 2:6; Sifre Deut. 281; once in the Palestinian Talmud, y. Ketub. 5.13, 30b; once or twice in Lam. R. 1.47; 49 (?); and five times in the Babylonian Talmud, b. Yoma 18a; b. Sukk. 52b; b. Yebamot 61a; b. Ketub. 104a; b. Git. 56a.

77 b. Yebamot 61a.

78 b. Giṭ. 56a; this tradition has been discussed in detail by Cohen, Naomi G., “The Theological Stratum in the Martha b. Boethus Tradition: An Explication of the Text in Gittin 56a,HTR 69 (1976) 187–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

79 See below.

80 Josephus Bell. 4.316–25.

81 On the alliances of the war and their social implications see Goodman, Martin, The Ruling Class of Judaea (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

82 Josephus Ant. 20.199.

83 On this story see Visotzky, Burton, “Most Tender and Fairest of Women: A Study in the Transmission of Aggadah,HTR 76 (1983) 403–18Google Scholar; Meir, Ofra, “The Story as a Hermeneutic Device,Association of Jewish Studies Review 7–8 (1981–82) 231–62Google Scholar.

84 t. Ketub. 5.9–10; Sifre Deut. 305.

85 y. Taʿanit 4.2, 68a; b. Giṭ. 56a; Gen. R. 41.1; 98.8; Lam. R. 1.31; Eccl. R. 7.11; Avot de-Rabbi Natan (A) 6; ibid., (B) 13.

86 t. Ketub. 5.9–10.

87 Sifre Deut. 305.

88 Josephus Bell. 2.451.

89 Ibid., 4.358 (ET 3. 105).

90 See, for example, my article with Price, Jonathan, “Seven Onomastic Problems in Josephus's Bellum Judaica,JQR 84 (1993–94) 202.Google Scholar

91 This preoccupation has been noted in the past, for example, see Herr (Eretz Israel, 291), but the relationship to the information in Josephus has been ignored.

92 For example, the identification of the Sadducees as a high-priestly party is one of the pillars of Second Temple historiography. The evidence for this identification is no less tentative. The two priests Josephus identifies as Sadducees are John Hyrcanus (Ant. 13.296), who had previously supported the Pharisees (and who, according to rabbinic literature, turned Sadducee at the end of his days; b. Ber. 29a), and Ananus (Josephus Ant. 20.199). Josephus also mentions a certain Jonathan (Ant. 13.293) as a Sadducee, but we have no way of knowing whether he was a priest. Josephus does claim that the wealthy supported the Sadducees (Ant. 13.298; 18.17), but he does not necessarily identify them with priests. In fact we seem to know more priests who are Pharisees than Sadducees, for example, Josephus himself (Vit. 12). Beside John Hyrcanus, rabbinic literature mentions only a few anonymous Sadducee priests: a priest whom the people pelted with citrons on Sukkot (see above, n. 53); and a priest who burnt incense on Yom Kippur in conjunction with sadducean ruling and died (b. Yoma 19b). The rabbis, however, all agree that the Pharisees ran the Temple. In Acts 4:15 and 5:17 the Sadducees are twice mentioned together with the priests, but that is as close as the identification gets. The identification is based on this meager information, in addition to the name of the group—Sadducees, perhaps derived from the name of the high-priestly family—Zadoq. In light of this data, the rulings of the Sadducees are interpreted as priestly, see for example, Schwartz, Daniel R., “Law and Truth: On Qumran-Sadducean and Rabbinic Views of Law,” in Dimant, Devorah and Rappaport, Uriel, eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls—Forty Years of Research (Leiden: Brill, 1992) 229–40Google Scholar.

93 See y. B. Batra 8.1, 16a; and Rivkin, “Defining the Pharisees,” 210.

94 t. Yad. 2.20.

95 The literature is enormous. The foremost publication on the topic, which is still superior to all that was published subsequently, is Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schüssler, In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Beginnings (New York: Crossroad, 1982)Google Scholar; on the Jesus movement, see pp. 105–59; for Paul's movement, see pp. 160–204.

96 Luke 8:3.

97 Acts 12:12.

98 For a survey of this relationship, see my introduction in Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine: An Inquiry into Image and Status (Texte und Studien zum antiken Judentum 44; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1995) 314Google Scholar.

99 Schüssler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her, 122–30.

100 Schottroff, Luise, “Frauen in der Nachfolge Jesu in neutestamentlicher Zeit,” in Willy Schottroff and Wolfgang Stegemann, eds., Traditionen der Befreiung, vol. 2: Frauen in der Bibel (München: Kaiser, 1980) 106Google Scholar.

101 Swidler, Leonard J., Biblical Affirmations of Women (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1979) 173–76Google Scholar.

102 Brooten, Bernadette J., “Early Christian Women and their Cultural Context: Issues of Method in Historical Reconstruction,” in Collins, Adele Yarbro, ed., Feminist Perspectives on Biblical Scholarship (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1985) 74Google Scholar.

103 Other oppositional and marginal cults and associations attracted women in the ancient world, and if pursued further, would probably conform to this model. For example, the Egyptian cult of Isis was a subversive, oppositional religious movement in Rome, which the authorities fought with legislation, and which attracted many women, although men also participated in it; see Heyob, Sharon K., The Cult of Isis among Women in the Graeco-Roman World (Leiden: Brill, 1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Heyob contends that women were not the majority of Isis initiates but were more numerous in Rome than elsewhere. At the same time they served only as secondary priests in the cult. An investigation of the movement in light of my model would probably test positively. Many women took part in Montanism, an opposition movement within Christianity, see Klawiter, Fredrick C., “The Role of Martyrdom and Persecution in Developing the Priestly Authority of Women in Early Christianity: The Case of Montanism,CH 49 (1980) 251–61Google Scholar. His explanations are different from mine, but he shows that in the past Montanism had not been considered attractive to women because of the misogynistic writings of one of its members, Tertullian (p. 251). This certainly fits the Pharisee model. Similarly, the subversive gnostic movements counted many women among their adherents; see King, Karen, ed., Images of the Feminine in Gnosticism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988)Google Scholar. In this volume, James E. Goehring makes a sociological claim similar to mine, (“Libertine or Liberated: Women in So-called Libertine Gnostic Communities,” 329–344), and see p. 329: “It has been recognized that women found opportunities in gnostic communities that were closed to them in the ‘orthodox’ church.” Goehring gives examples of medieval Christian movements that could also fit into this model (pp. 331–32). Modern religious and political movements could probably also fit the bill. This model may even explain the attraction of gentile women to Judaism in the Diaspora (see, for example, Josephus Bell. 2.560, who claims that all the women in Damascus were attracted to Judaism).

104 Josephus Ant. 13.171–73.

105 Josephus Bell. 2.166.

106 See Neusner, Jacob, A History of the Mishnaic Law of Women (5 vols.; SJLA 33; Leiden: Brill, 1988) 5. 1272Google Scholar.

107 See Wegner, Chattel or Person, 1–198.

108 Hauptman's work is still in its formative stages. She has given numerous talks on the topic. I attended one at the Association for Jewish Studies conference in Boston, December 1992, and one at the Jewish Law Association in Jerusalem, June 1994. For the present, the following publications are good examples: “Mishnah Gittin as a Pietist Document,” in Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1990) 3. 1.2330Google Scholar [Hebrew]; idem, “Maternal Dissent: Women and Procreation in the Mishna,” Tikkun 6 (1991) 81–82; 94–95; idem, “Women's Voluntary Performance of Commandments from which They Are Exempt,” in Proceedings of the Eleventh World Congress of Jewish Studies (4 vols.; Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1994) 3. 1.161–68 [Hebrew].

109 t. Sukk. 1.1.

110 m. Sukk. 1.1.

111 Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmaʾel Bo 17.

112 Perhaps the Pauline and deutero-Pauline legislation about women in Christianity follows the same pattern. Wire, Antoinette C. suggests (The Corinthian Women Prophets: A Reconstruction through Pauls's Rhetoric [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990])Google Scholar that Paul's legislation on women in his First Epistle to the Corinthians came to check the strong position that women attained in Corinth. If she is correct, this may also explain some of the anti-feminist backlash evident in the move from Tosefta to Mishnah. I am not certain, however, that the comparison is relevant in this case.

113 t. Ketub. 12.1.

114 y. Ketub. 8.11; b. Ketub. 82b.

115 Neusner, Rabbinic Traditions, 1. 94.

116 Josephus Bell. 2.120–21; Philo Hypothetica 11.14.

117 For the similarities in their description, see Philo of Alexandria (trans. Colson, Francis H.; LCL; 10 vols.; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941) 9. 514–15Google Scholar. For the assumption that both Philo and Josephus used Nicolaus of Damascus for their description of the Essenes, see Wacholder, Ben Zion, Nicolaus of Damascus (University of California Publications in History 75; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962) 7072Google Scholar.

118 Philo Vit. Cont.; on the female members of the Therapeutic sect, see Kraemer, “Monastic Jewish Women,” 342–70.

119 For a fairly recent summary see Beall, Todd S., Josephus' Description of the Essenes Illustrated by the Dead Sea Scrolls (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) 16CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also Sanders, James A., “The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Quarter Century of Study,BA 36 (1973) 120–25Google Scholar.

120 See Sanders, “Dead Sea Scrolls,” 118–19; 125.

121 After completing this article I came across Schuller, Eileen M., “Women in the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Wise, Michael O. et al. , eds., Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet of Qumran Site: Present Realities and Future Prospects (Annals of the New York Academy of Science 722; New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1994) 115–31Google Scholar. I agree with Schuller's view and hope this article will provide support for her thesis. See also Cansdale, Lena, “Women Members in the Yahad According to the Qumran Scrolls,” Proceedings of the Eleventh World Congress of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1994) 1. 215–22Google Scholar.

122 On the latter, see Lawrence H. Schiffman, “Laws Pertaining to Women in the Temple Scroll,” in Dimant and Rappaport, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 210–28. Schiffman concludes that “The views of the Temple Scroll on matters relating to women are extremely conservative. The text does not advocate a revision of previous norms…,[but rather] calls for the continued observance of ancient laws” (228). In other words, the text lets the Bible speak and is not interested in legislating on this topic.

123 For a summary of the discussion, see Vermes, Geza, “Sectarian Matrimonial Halakhah in the Damascus Rule,JJS 25 (1974) 197202CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

124 See, for example, de Vaux, Roland, Archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973) 128–29Google Scholar; see also Stegemann, Hartmut, “The Qumran Essenes: Local Members of the Main Jewish Union in Late Second Temple Times,” in Barrera, Julio T. and Montaner, Luis V., eds., The Madrid Qumran Congress (2 vols; Leiden: Brill, 1992) 1. 126–34Google Scholar; Baumgarten, Joseph M., “The Qumran-Essene Restraints on Marriage,” in Schiffman, Lawrence H., ed., Archaeology and History in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The New York University Conference in Memory of Yigael Yadin (Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Supplement Series 8; Sheffield: JSOT, 1990) 1324Google Scholar.

125 Eisenman, Richard H. and Wise, Michael, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (Shaftsbury, Dorset and Rockport, MA: Element, 1992) 207 (=4Q274 1:7)Google Scholar.

126 Baumgarten, Joseph M., “4Q502, Marriage or Golden Age Ritual?JJS 34 (1983) 125–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

127 Schuller, “Women,” 122–23.

128 1QSa 1.9–11.

129 Richardson, Neil H., “Some Notes on 1QSa,JBL 76 (1957) 108–22Google Scholar; he was preceded by Barthelemy, D., Discoveries in the Judean Desert [11 vols.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955] 1. 113Google Scholar), but his note is only an interpretation of the text, without a historical assessment.

130 Baumgarten, Joseph M., “On the Testimony of Women in 1QSa,JBL 76 (1957) 266–69Google Scholar.

131 For example, an emendation is found in the text of Licht, Jacob, The Rule Scroll (Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 1965) 257Google Scholar [Hebrew]. The original reading is mentioned only in the footnotes. The new English translation of the scroll by Geza Vermes (The Dead Sea Scrolls in English [London: Penguin, 1987] 101) does not even hint that the subject of the original sentence was feminine. Thus Cansdale (“Women Members,” 218), who used Vermes's translation rather than the original, was ignorant of the fact that 1QSa 11 refers to women's testimony and used the text only as a measure for the age of marriage in the sect.

132 Brooten, Bernadette J., Women Leaders in the Ancient Synagogue (BJS 36; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1982) 3032Google Scholar.

133 Brooten, Women Leaders, 32.

134 The discovery of “The Wiles of the Wicked Woman” in the sect's library (see Allegro, John, “The Wiles of the Wicked Woman: A Sapiental Work from Qumran's Fourth Cave,PEQ 96 [1964] 5355CrossRefGoogle Scholar) is not strong evidence for misogyny since it was not composed by the sect, and was kept in their library together with other misogynist compositions like the Book of Ben Sira.

135 CD 16.10–12.

136 I wish to thank my colleague, Esther Chazon, for drawing my attention to this second, relevant text.

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Attraction of Aristocratic Women to Pharisaism During the Second Temple Period*
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Attraction of Aristocratic Women to Pharisaism During the Second Temple Period*
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Attraction of Aristocratic Women to Pharisaism During the Second Temple Period*
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *