by Douglas Reed
After the death of Jesus the Pharisees, according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia, found “a supporter and friend” in the last Herodian king of Judea, Agrippa I. Agrippa helped dispose of the Sadducees, who disappeared from the Judean scene, leaving all affairs there in the hands of the Pharisees (whose complaint about the Idumean line, therefore, seems to have little ground). They were thus left all-powerful in
During the few remaining years of the tiny and riven province the Pharisees once more revised “the Law,” those “commandments of men” which Jesus had most scathingly attacked. Dr. Kastein says, “Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view … Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and the thought of the Jew for all the future…. It makes ‘separatism' its chief characteristic.”
Thus, in the immediate sequel to Jesus's life and arraignment of the “commandments of men,” the Pharisees, like the Levites earlier, intensified the racial and tribal nature and rigour of the Law; the creed of destruction, enslavement and dominion was sharpened on the eve of the people's final dispersion.
Dr. Kastein's words are of especial interest. He had earlier stated (as quoted) that after the infliction of the “New Covenant” on the Judahites by Nehemiah, the Torah received a “final” editing, and that “no word” of it was thereafter to be changed. Moreover, at the time of this Pharisaic “reconstruction” the Old Testament had already been translated into Greek, so that further changes made by the Pharisees could only have been in the original.
It seems more probable that Dr. Kastein's statement refers to the Talmud, the immense continuation of the Torah which was apparently begun during the last years of
In AD 70, perhaps thirty-five years after the death of Jesus, all fell to pieces. The confusion and disorder in Judea were incurable and
Pharisees, who had originally invited Roman intervention and were supreme in
Other peoples of
Dr. Kastein calls the seventy years which ended with the Roman destruction of