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(Hebrew: "storage room') A designated place, often in a synagogue, for storing worn out, damaged or defective Hebrew writings and ritual articles which cannot be destroyed because of their holiness.


A popular alternative form of Christianity widespread in the Roman Empire before Constantine, and adopted in various forms. Taking its name from the Greek word for "knowledge," it taught that its adherents could receive secret knowledge from God. Its most characteristic belief was a "dualism" emphasizing that the world and matter were inherently evil and that the holy spirit alone was good.


Texts written in the style of first hand accounts of the events taking place during and following the time of Jesus. Popularly attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Extended by some to include the Acts of the Apostles, attributed to Luke.



Terms for Jewish ritual and civil law (e.g., Sabbath observance, tithing, contracts, etc.) and the texts concerned with them; disagreement on these matters are thought by some to have caused the Judaean Desert sect to secede from Israel, although this presupposes such a sect actually existed.


"Pietists", "pious ones"; a religious sect of Jews devoted to strict observance of the law and opposed to the adoption of aspects of Greek culture by other Jews. They were the forerunners of both the Pharisees and the Essenes. They are first supported the Maccabean movement, but subsequently opposed it, regarding it as too political. It arose before the outbreak of the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes (167 BCE), and continued to exist well into the time of the Hasmonaean dynasty.


A family (a dynasty) of Jewish patriots to which the Maccabees belonged; period of Jewish history from the Maccabean Revolt (ca.167 BCE) to the Roman conquest of Judaea (ca. 67 BCE). Sometimes the period is extended as 167-30 BCE. The dynasty included Judas Maccabaeus, Jonathan, Simon, John Hyrcanus, Aristobolus I, Alexander Jannaeus, Alexandra Salome, Hyrcanus II, and Aristobolus II.


Mystical Jewish writings composed during the first few centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple, and characterized by descriptions of the "palaces" or "halls" (Hebrew, hekhalot) to be encountered by those (mystics) worthy of beholding the "Divine Chariot" (merkabah) of the Lord described in the Book of Ezekiel.


That mixture of Greek and Near Eastern culture that began to develop after the conquests of Alexander the Great. (ca. 332 BCE). This movement was still very device at the time of Jewish Revolt in 66 CE.


Religious scholars specializing in the study of heresies. They collected the works, and wrote detailed descriptions of the beliefs, of sectarians primarily to refute them.


Associated especially with Herod the Great's reign 37-4BCE; a period of Jewish history from 30 BCE - 70 CE

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