Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel

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Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel. By Gabriele Boccaccini. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002, xvii + 230 pp., $24.00 paper.

The author is professor of New Testament and second Temple Judaism at the University of Michigan. He has argued in previous publications that Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism were parallel developments from "middle Judaism" (Middle Judaism [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991]) and that the residents of Qumran were a splinter group from the larger Essene movement, which itself split from the Zadokite priestly group due to its adherence to Enochic traditions (Beyond the Essene Hypothesis [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998]). The present work presents a typology of intellectual developments in Judaism during the time of Rabbinic roots, from the Babylonian exile to the Maccabees. A projected study will deal similarly with what the author refers to as the period of Rabbinic origins, from the days of the Maccabees to the redaction of the Mishnah. The author writes from the methodological perspective of "intellectual history," which he learned at Florence and Turin from Italian scholars Eugenio Garin and Paolo Sacchi (pp. 26 ff.). The result is a radically different view of Rabbinic roots and origins than one finds in m. Abot.

In Roots Boccaccini attempts to reconstruct the trajectories of the Zadokite, Enochic, and sapiential traditions by discovering and developing "chains of documents" or "communities of texts" which link the individual traditions (pp. 31-32). In his view, during the post-exilic period the Zadokite faction usurped the remnants of the house of David and the other priestly lines and became the rulers of Israel (pp. 43-72). The priestly Enochic faction opposed the Zadokite concept of order and stability due to Enochic traditions on the supernatural origin and end of evil (pp. …