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The theory, loudly proclaimed by E.P. Sanders, never sat well with me. He argued that all Judaisms in the first century shared a common core and that all Israel would have a place in the world to come. Well, this is the rabbinic view from much later. But, as Mark Adam Elliott demonstrates with incredible thoroughness in this book, the evidence from texts that actually existed in the first century shows that universalism in Israel was not common. The Essenes and the communities behind the Pseudepigrapha held to the idea of a remnant, that only certain ones would be saved. Different communities had different criteria for getting into the remnant. Elliott's book is more than a defense of a theory about 1st century Judaism, it is an excellent commentary on selected portion from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Pseudepigrapha.
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