Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Are there any Jewish sects which regard the Oral Law, Talmud and other interpretations of Tanach as unlawful addition to the religion? If yes who are they and what are their beliefs?

share|improve this question
    
Define innovation. –  Double AA Mar 10 '13 at 4:39
5  
    
@DoubleAA Adding new things to religion which are not mandated by the tanach like adding personal interpretations of verses and clubbing them with the Tanach for practical purposes –  Ali Mar 10 '13 at 4:43
    
@DoubleAA are u sure there is only one? and please answer the question if you know the answer. –  Ali Mar 10 '13 at 4:44
1  
I'm not interested in arguing about sources of revelation; I am just trying to understand your earlier comment. –  Monica Cellio Mar 10 '13 at 5:02
show 3 more comments

2 Answers 2

Currently, there exists a small Karaite community which claims to follow only the written law from teh tanach. On a website purporting to represent them, they give a history which lists other sects which, over history, have mirrored their beliefs (including "Sadducees, Boethusians, Ananites").

It is important to note two other points, though. One is the claim that, institutionally, Karaites and other seemingly strict-text groups have incorporated the practices, understandings and traditions of other groups. See here. The other comes only anecdotally from my conversations with Karaites over the years. They say that they DO have an oral law, but one that is local to each community. When the tanach text refers to unwritten laws of ritual slaughter, the Karaite wise man of each village institutes, based on his own understanding, what those laws are. There is no over-arching sectarian definition of the traditions and unwritten rules, but they exist, group by group.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 what about samaritans , esseenes etc please mention and explain them too –  Ali Mar 10 '13 at 13:25
    
the essenes are explained on the linked website. Samaritans may or may not even be Jewish and don't share all the Tanachic(al?) texts, let alone the beliefs that come with them, with the Karaite-type groups. And the Samaritans DO have codified sectarian law based on human interpretation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritans –  Danno Mar 10 '13 at 13:33
    
thanks they do have their Torah called as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan_Pentateuch infact they claim to be original Jews of bni Israel and Based on the Samaritan Torah, Samaritans assert their worship is the true religion of the ancient Israelites prior to the Babylonian Exile, preserved by those who remained in the Land of Israel, as opposed to Judaism, which they assert is a related but altered and amended religion, brought back by those returning from exile. –  Ali Mar 10 '13 at 14:55
    
they do claim all that. They also claim that Jerusalem isn't a holy city. So? –  Danno Mar 10 '13 at 16:05
1  
I don't view this question as asking for a comprehensive review of the theological positions made by other groups (when those facts are readily available elsewhere) -- simply about their existence in order to direct research. If you want to know details, look up the various cited sources and read about them. –  Danno Mar 10 '13 at 16:09
show 2 more comments

The Rambam discusses this, and is very severe about someone who does so from his own ideas (in contrast to a child who was raised this way):

Rambam - Shoftim - Mamrim - Chapter 3

Halacha 1

A person who does not acknowledge validity of the Oral Law is not the rebellious elder mentioned in the Torah. Instead, he is one of the heretics and he should be put to death by any person.

Halacha 2

Since it has become known that such a person denies the Oral Law, he may be pushed into a pit and may not be helped out. He is like all the rest of the heretics who say that the Torah is not Divine in origin, those who inform on their fellow Jews, and the apostates. All of these are not considered as members of the Jewish people. There is no need for witnesses, a warning, or judges for them to be executed. Instead, whoever kills them performs a great mitzvah and removes an obstacle from people at large.

Halacha 3

To whom does the above apply? To a person who denied the Oral Law consciously, according to his perception of things. He follows after his frivolous thoughts and his capricious heart and denies the Oral Law first, as did Tzadok and Beitus and those who erred in following them.

The children of these errant people and their grandchildren whose parents led them away and they were born among these Karaities and raised according to their conception, they are considered as a children captured and raised by them. Such a child may not be eager to follow the path of mitzvot, for it is as if he was compelled not to. Even if later, he hears that he is Jewish and saw Jews and their faith, he is still considered as one who was compelled against observance, for he was raised according to their mistaken path. This applies to those who we mentioned who follow the erroneous Karaite path of their ancestors. Therefore it is appropriate to motivate them to repent and draw them to the power of the Torah with words of peace.

share|improve this answer
    
this answer does not even begin to answer my question. –  Ali Mar 10 '13 at 7:18
2  
@Ali Sure it does. It mentions that such sects exist, and that Judaism is very disapproving of them. There is another Rambam quotes that I'm looking for that favorably compares the Karaites to the Sadducees. –  Ariel Mar 10 '13 at 7:29
    
@Ali I could not find it. But anyway, those are the two other sects: The Sadducess (who no longer exist), and the Karaites who exist in small numbers. –  Ariel Mar 10 '13 at 7:42
    
Edit: I still can not find the comparison, but I believe it was actually between Karaites and Samaritans, not Sadducees. Unlike Karaites the Samaritans are considered like non-Jews entirely. A small number of Samaritans exist today. –  Ariel Mar 10 '13 at 8:18
    
you answered what was not asked and you did not answer what was asked. You should've mentioned about saducess etc in the answer @Ariel –  Ali Mar 10 '13 at 8:27
show 4 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.