Karaism Homepage

As discussed elsewhere on this site Judaism is very diverse. Our Rabbinic Jewish community is committed to the notion that "a Jew is a Jew." We embrace all Jews as family from the "Ultra-Orthodox" to the Secular and non-religious: A Jew is a Jew. But who is Jewish?

Under the Rabbinic umbrela of Jewish division, usually summarized as Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist exists many sects and sub-divisions. All of these are accepted as "Rabbinic Judaism," the dominant form of our religion. In other words, each group maintains a connection with the teaching of the historic rabbis, as the Pharisees came to be known. As we will discuss, the traditional Judaism of the rabbis have survived many reforms and redefinitions.

Karaism on the other hand is not Rabbinic. It did not originate with the Rabbinic interpretations of Ezra and the Men of the Great Assembly during the period from the end of the Biblical prophets, since the early Second Temple period, to the early Hellenistic period, nor with transitions that were forced upon us following the disasters of the post-Second Temple first century CE, not yet with the Rabbinic reforms of the 18th and 19th century Jewish thinkers of the tumultuous Hashkalah period. Indeed the origins of the group remains uncertain, some seeking an attachment with Saducees while most acknowledge that no such connection existed. Their origins are much more recent than that.

Unlike traditional Judaism, Karaism considers the Tanach, the Hebrew Bible, to be the only authoritative source of Jewish doctrine. Without an established hierarchy each Karaite determines his/her own interpretations. While some Karaites consider the Talmud and related materials historically informative, they do so as they would any other historic commentary. Karaism likewise rejects the view that the Mishna was revealed to Moshe Rabbeinu at Mount Sinai. There are many other significant differences in beliefs and practices. In the following studies we will consider the history, beliefs, and practices of Karaism.

Section Directory

A Natural Born Jew: Patrilineal and Matrilineal Decent (includes text and video versions)
Origins of Qaraism (includes text and video versions)
Karaite Jews and Jesus
More to come!

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