Talking about Karaites leads immediately to the need of a better understanding of their relations with Sadduceans and Samaritans. The thesis here quoted gives us some elements for proper understanding of the composition of Israelitic world, beyond the narrow dimension of Jews and creating space for the understanding that in past time Talmudic Judaism was not so hegemonic as now it appears.
Looking inside, for instance, we may discover that a main part of the Israelitic Galut all around the Mediterranean Sea was not composed by Jews, but mainly by “Samaritans” as another short essay we quote here through the image of the journal that hosted the article about Nomia, a woman whose family was divided between Sicily and Croatia.
Anyway, we should recognize also that “Samaritan” is not but a word which entered in use in recent literature, as the Samaritans themselves were used not to refer with this word but, more easily, as Sons of Israel. The interview we realized with Benyamim Sedaka during his visit in Sicily (October 25-26, 2016) seems very interesting through this perspective, that is a point of view which tries to regenerate the understanding of the mystical thought of Israel not as something that will lead a nation to win and finally triumph over the others, but as a people of priest, as in Isaiah 61:6, the Minister of the Highest. Recognizing Jesus as a reformer of the Hebrew doctrine, as well as Mohammed as a prophet whose aim was (and still it is) to restore the doctrine to the purity when it was in the hands of Abraham, the Karaite approach seems to be the perfect driver into modernity of contemporary world.
As the Samaritans have the schism inside their heart, as well they live in present time mainly in Cholon, South of Tel-Aviv, in Israel, but another settlement is in the Palestinian side, as far their sacred place – Mount Garizim – stands there.
According to the sources, Karaites are linked to Sadducean. Al-Kirkisani even refers to Karaite source to the opposition to the followers of Jeroboam, who would have been the early Rabbanites. This statement is not recognized by the main part of Hebrew, anyway the middle-age polemic between Saadia Gaon and Abraham ibn Daud is to be mentioned for a better understanding. I is interesting to note that the link between Karaite and Sadduceans is referred by the adversary of Karaites, Saadia, when he remarks that Sadduceans entered with Anan ben David – the founder of Karaism – as far as there was the fight for the legitimate Exilarch.
After all, we all are in a existential condition of exile. Even the words “existence” and “exile” show to own the same roots. Israel allow us to understand and to reflect, simultaneously in real, allegoric, symbolic and eschatological meaning, about the possibility of our world and, after all, of our soul.
If you are among the ones who dare this kind of deep reflection, if you dare to think that we don’t need for intermediaries of power to get the right to feel the inner spiritual life, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A note on Karaism:
During the 9th century C.E., inside the Exilarchate, emerged the group of the Karaites (literally, People of the Scripture, so called becuase of the verb Qarah, to read), that denied the sacred meaning of the Talmud, which they consider as mere moral teachings. Therefore, Karaites were distinguished from the Rabbanites or Rabbinical Judaism.
This kind of approach, showing these currents into a permanent fight (at last won by the Rabbanites) today is the dominant one. A deeper glance seems to say that this kind of idea is largely dominated by a thesis more than an objective reason.
As Marina Rustow wrote in The Genizah and Jewish communal history (2011, Oxford University Press), quoting Zvi Ankor, Rabbanite and Qaraite were not different tribes: they married each other and Qaraism was considered not a heresy but a madhaw, a school of the law. It was after 1020, when the Qaraites were admitted to the Fatimid court, that the differences were exacerbated.
In another book (Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate), working on the Cairo Genizah documents, Marina Rustow demonstrates the diffusion of Qaraism in the age of Fatimidian Caliphate, talking about an extension from all around the Mediterranean, including Maghreb and Sicily. But the sunset of the Arab hegemony was also the sunset of Qaraite influence in Jewish world.
According to the Karaites, this movement at one time attracted as much as 40 percent of the Jewish people. Today, Karaites are a very small minority, and most Rabbinical Jews do not even know that they exist.
Now, it seems to be very important restore a better understanding of Qaraism not as a different kind of Judaism, but a part of Judaism, as always it has been, being that part which represents the inner side, open to Jesus reform (the elective priesthood) and to Mohammed prophecy (with the promise of a progressive revelation, according to the evolution of human kind). Through these keys, Qaraism manifests itself as the perfect synthesis of the main doctrines of the Elder Masters, and we still have need for such kind of emancipation ideas.