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Re: orion Several

With the return of ill will to the list I am reluctant to join the
discussion (isn't is remarkable, that as soon as the discussion turns to
certain issues ill will returns).
Nevertheless... on varieties of sectarianism: B. Wilson proposed a
distinction which I have found helpful and am happy to recommend to others
- between what he called reformist and introversionist sects. Pharisees
and Sadducees among ancient Jews would fit the former category, Qumran
definitely in the latter. As the names imply, the distinction has to do
with the extent to which a group writes off all other Jews as hopelessly
lost and not worth the trouble to save. Nonetheless, I would argue,
Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and (sorry to touch a sore nerve;
please overlook the "and" if it offends you) Qumran were all sects as I
would understand the term. At the very least, Josephus included Pharisees,
Sadducees and Essenes within the framework of Jewish philosophies he
presented. The crucial characteristic which makes them all sects, as I
would employ the latter term, (even if our information on the Sadducees is
so limited that I cannot prove the point in their case) is purity rituals
by which non-sectarian Jews are treated as outsiders (boundary marking). 
Al Baumgarten
Bar Ilan University