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Which Judean Philosophy Matches You?

The historian Flavius Josephus wrote of the different Judean "philosophies" of first-century CE Jews prior to the First Great Jewish-Roman War. For students of this era this quiz will help you recognize which group would have aligned closest to your beliefs.

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  1. Do you see yourself as elite, popular among common people, an outsider, or a fighter?

    Huffington Post
  2. Do you believe in life after death?

    Wikimedia Commons
    Yes, strongly, with specific expectations!
    Yes, with vague expectations.
    Who cares! We live for today!
  3. Do you believe in a future resurrection of the dead?

    The Gospel Coalition
    I believe in a spiritual existence.
    My goal is to avoid death.
  4. Are you an expert student of the Bible?

    Atheism Network
    Yes! All of it.
    Yes, but specific parts only.
    Religious deeds matter more than knowing texts.
    I'm too busy for that!
  5. Do humans have free will or are we guided by fate?

    Paul Altobelli
    We're utterly free!
    Reality is that both are mysteriously true.
    Everything is predetermined by fate.
    Who cares? Live, don't ask questions!
  6. Do you believe in spirit? angels?
    Also yes, so remain holy.
    This question isn't practical.
  7. Is ritual important?
    It's a life-style!
    It's important.
    It has value.
    We've got more important things to debate right now!
  8. If your home town, state, or country was occupied by a foreign power, what would you do?

    Make the best of it by cooperating.
    Play a smart, political, semi-subversive game with them.
    I would retreat to a private life of personal piety.
    Of course we must fight! Now!

Which Judean Philosophy Matches You?

You got: You're a Pharisee!

According to Josephus you're popular among the common people, but you aren't necessarily as powerful as the elite. You may despise Roman occupation, but you're careful in how you show it. You believe that Torah, the prophets, and the writings, along with your people's oral traditions, all have value. Ritual purity matters as part of every day life, yet you still live in the real world. You believe in angels and spirits. You anticipate life-after-death. You hope for the resurrection of the dead someday. While fate does guide humans, we also have free will, to a degree.

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You got: You're a Sadducee!

According to Josephus you're part of the comfortable elite. You're cozy with the Romans, so no reason to upset them! You affirm Torah, but do not find the same value in the prophets, writings, and your people's oral traditions. Ritual matters, but its not everything. You don't believe in angels or spirits, life-after-death, or resurrection. You do believe human free will determines what happens, not fate.

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You got: You're an Essene!

According to Josephus you're a spiritual person, a pious man (or woman), who doesn't bother with earthly concerns such as Roman occupation. You embrace Torah and other writings, but most importantly you give yourself to holy practices all day, every day. You believe in angels and spirits. You anticipate life-after-death, though a disembodied existence may be preferable to "resurrection". In the end, fate determines all things anyway.

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You got: You're (what we might call) a Zealot!

Beliefs are important, but action matters more. And you know what, why debate these silly doctrines when the Romans are squeezing us with their lavish taxes, infringing upon our culture. Let's agree to disagree on these matters, except this: Rome must be defeated!!!

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