THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PHARISAIC IDEA OF LAW AS A SACRED COSMOS BY HERBERT BASSER Toronto, Ontario A considerable number of scholars have examined the rise and success of the Pharisees'). The assertion that Judaism was fossilized by Pharisaic doctrine did not withstand the test of scholarly in- vestigation. Others became so involved in apologetics that they lost sight of the spiritual, numinous and mystic impact with which the Pharisees made law into religion, not religion into law. Certain philosophical and methodological stumbling blocks may account for some common oversights. Scholars of the previous generation trac- ed the evolution of primitive Semitic notions. These primitive ideas were said to have slowly evolved into the highest achievement of the Israelite prophets. They considered the moral grandeur of the pro- phets to be unparalleled in religious history. The recurrence of a purely moral and ethical religion has been hampered by our conti- nuing to use Stoical allegories to interpret Scripture. These methods force the 'primitive' Bible to yield all desired truths while obscuring the lofty ideals of morality. Christianity is nothing but Hellenized Judaism while Judaism itself assimilated ancient superstition and remains unchanged since the days of the New Testament.
Journal for the Study of Judaism – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1985
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