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Secret Groups in Ancient Judaism$
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Michael E. Stone

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190842383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190842383.001.0001

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Initiation and Graded Revelation

Initiation and Graded Revelation

(p.78) Chapter 5 Initiation and Graded Revelation
Secret Groups in Ancient Judaism

Michael E. Stone

Oxford University Press

Initiation procedures were determined by the need to maintain secrecy, and this led to repeated testing of new members, gradual admission, and gradual teaching of secrets. Annual reassessment was often performed within certain groups. The dynamic engendered by the secret knowledge begets the hierarchical structure. Both features are prominent in the Qumran community. In some cases, secrets and knowledge were kept by only a select handful of people or just one person. Details of hierarchies and different levels of ascension and knowledge are discussed. Similarities and differences in practices among the different groups are examined. We also look at the ancient texts and what they reveal about these groups.

Keywords:   hierarchy, admission, social structure, knowledge, maskil’s role, initiation, revelation

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