Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings and collectively, prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have identified with it; the term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century to refer to a system of education based on the study of classical literature. However, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress, it views humans as responsible for the promotion and development of individuals and emphasizes a concern for man in relation to the world. In modern times, humanist movements are non-religious movements aligned with secularism, today humanism refers to a nontheistic life stance centred on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world; the word "humanism" is derived from the Latin concept humanitas.
It entered English in the nineteenth century. However, historians agree that the concept predates the label invented to describe it, encompassing the various meanings ascribed to humanitas, which included both benevolence toward one's fellow humans and the values imparted by bonae litterae or humane learning. In the second century AD, a Latin grammarian, Aulus Gellius, complained: Those who have spoken Latin and have used the language do not give to the word humanitas the meaning which it is thought to have, what the Greeks call φιλανθρωπία, signifying a kind of friendly spirit and good-feeling towards all men without distinction; those who earnestly desire and seek after these are most humanized. For the desire to pursue of that kind of knowledge, the training given by it, has been granted to humanity alone of all the animals, for that reason it is termed humanitas, or "humanity". Gellius says that in his day humanitas is used as a synonym for philanthropy – or kindness and benevolence toward one's fellow human beings.
Gellius maintains that this common usage is wrong, that model writers of Latin, such as Cicero and others, used the word only to mean what we might call "humane" or "polite" learning, or the Greek equivalent Paideia. Yet in seeking to restrict the meaning of humanitas to literary education this way, Gellius was not advocating a retreat from political engagement into some ivory tower, though it might look like that to us, he himself was involved in public affairs. According to legal historian Richard Bauman, Gellius was a judge as well as a grammarian and was an active participant the great contemporary debate on harsh punishments that accompanied the legal reforms of Antoninus Pius. "By assigning pride of place to Paideia in his comment on the etymology of humanitas, Gellius implies that the trained mind is best equipped to handle the problems troubling society."Gellius's writings fell into obscurity during the Middle Ages, but during the Italian Renaissance, Gellius became a favorite author.
Teachers and scholars of Greek and Latin grammar, rhetoric and poetry were called and called themselves "humanists". Modern scholars, point out that Cicero, most responsible for defining and popularizing the term humanitas, in fact used the word in both senses, as did his near contemporaries. For Cicero, a lawyer, what most distinguished humans from brutes was speech, allied to reason, could enable them to settle disputes and live together in concord and harmony under the rule of law, thus humanitas included two meanings from the outset and these continue in the modern derivative, which today can refer to both humanitarian benevolence and to a method of study and debate involving an accepted group of authors and a careful and accurate use of language. During the French Revolution, soon after, in Germany, humanism began to refer to an ethical philosophy centered on humankind, without attention to the transcendent or supernatural; the designation Religious Humanism refers to organized groups that sprang up during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
It is similar to Protestantism, although centered on human needs and abilities rather than the supernatural. In the Anglophone world, such modern, organized forms of humanism, which are rooted in the 18th-century Enlightenment, have to a considerable extent more or less detached themselves from the historic connection of humanism with classical learning and the liberal arts; the first Humanist Manifesto was issued by a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1933. Signatories included the philosopher John Dewey, they identified humanism as an ideology that espouses reason and social and economic justice, they called for science to replace dogma and the supernatural as the basis of morality and decision-making. In 1808 Bavarian educational commissioner Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer coined the term Humanismus to describe the new classical curriculum he planned to offer in German secondary schools, by 1836 the word "humanism" had been absorbed into the English language in this sense; the coinage gained universal acceptance in 1856, when
Renaissance humanism in Northern Europe
Renaissance Humanism came much to Germany and Northern Europe in general than to Italy, when it did, it encountered some resistance from the scholastic theology which reigned at the universities. Humanism may be dated from the invention of the printing press about 1450, its flourishing period began at the close of the 15th century and lasted only until about 1520, when it was absorbed by the more popular and powerful religious movement, the Reformation, as Italian Humanism was superseded by the papal counter-Reformation. Marked features distinguished the new culture north of the Alps from the culture of the Italians; the university and school played a much more important part than in the South according to Catholic historians. The representatives of the new scholarship were teachers. During the progress of the movement new universities sprang up, from Basel to Rostock. Again, in Germany, there were no princely patrons of arts and learning to be compared in intelligence and munificence to the Renaissance popes and the Medici.
Nor was the new culture here exclusive and aristocratic. It sought the general spread of intelligence, was active in the development of primary and grammar schools. In fact, when the currents of the Italian Renaissance began to set toward the North, a strong, intellectual current was pushing down from the flourishing schools conducted by the Brethren of the Common Life. In the Humanistic movement, the German people was far from being a slavish imitator, it made its own path. In the North, Humanism entered into the service of religious progress. German scholars were less brilliant and elegant, but more serious in their purpose and more exact in their scholarship than their Italian predecessors and contemporaries. In the South, the ancient classics absorbed the attention of the literati, it was not so in the North. There was no consuming passion to render the classics into German. Nor did Italian literature, with its relaxed moral attitude, find imitators in the North. Boccaccio’s Decameron was first translated into German by the physician, Henry Stainhowel, who died in 1482.
North of the Alps, attention was chiefly centred on the New Testaments. Greek and Hebrew were studied, not with the purpose of ministering to a cult of antiquity, but to reach the fountains of the Christian system more adequately. In this way, preparation was made for the work of the Protestant Reformation; this focus on translation was a feature of the Christian humanists who helped to launch the new, post-scholastic era, among them Erasmus and Luther. In so doing, they placed biblical texts above any human or institutional authority, an approach that emphasised the role of the reader in understanding a text for him or herself. Allied to the late medieval shift of scholarship from the monastery to the university, Christian humanism engendered a new freedom of expression though some of its proponents opposed that freedom of expression elsewhere, such as in their censure of the Anabaptists. What was true of the scholarship of Germany was true of its art; the painters, Albrecht Dürer, born and died at Nuremberg, 1471–1528, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1472–1553, for the most part Hans Holbein the Younger, 1497–1543, took little interest in mythology, apart from Cranach's nudes, were persuaded by the Reformation, though most continued to take commissions for traditional Catholic subjects.
Dürer and Holbein had close contacts with leading humanists. Cranach lived in Wittenberg after 1504 and painted portraits of Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon and other leaders of the German Reformation. Holbein made frontispieces and illustrations for Protestant books and painted portraits of Erasmus and Melanchthon. If any one individual more than another may be designated as the connecting link between the learning of Italy and Germany, it is Aeneas Sylvius. By his residence at the court of Frederick III and at Basel, as one of the secretaries of the council, he became a well-known character north of the Alps long before he was chosen pope; the mediation, was not effected by any single individual. The fame of the Renaissance was carried over the pathways of trade which led from Northern Italy to Augsburg, Nuremberg and other German cities; the visits of Frederick III and the campaigns of Charles VIII and the ascent of the throne of Naples by the princes of Aragon carried Germans and Spaniards to the greater centres of the peninsula.
A constant stream of pilgrims travelled to Rome and the Spanish popes drew to the city throngs of Spaniards. As the fame of Italian culture spread and artists began to travel to Venice and Rome, caught the inspiration of the new era. To the Italians, Germany was a land of barbarians, they despised the German people for their rudeness and intemperance in drinking. Aeneas was impressed by the beauty of Vienna, though it was quite small when compared to the greatest Italian cities. However, he found that the German princes and nobles cared more for horses and dogs than for poets and scholars and loved their wine-cellars better than the muses. Campanus, a witty poet of the papal court, sent as legate to the Diet of Regensburg by Pope Paul II, afterwards was made a bishop by Pope Pius II, abused Germany for its dirt, cold climate, sour wine and miserable fare, he lamented his unfortunate nose, which had to smell everything, praised his ears, which understood nothing. Johannes Santritter, himself being a German living in Italy, admitted that Italy was ahead of Germany in the humanities.
However, he contended that many Italians were jealous of German sc
Orthodox Judaism is a collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism. Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Written and Oral, as revealed by God on Mount Sinai and faithfully transmitted since. Orthodox Judaism therefore advocates a strict observance of Jewish Law, or Halakha, to be interpreted and determined only according to traditional methods and in adherence to the continuum of received precedent through the ages, it regards the entire halakhic system as grounded in immutable revelation beyond external and historical influence. More than any theoretical issue, obeying the dietary, purity and other laws of Halakha is the hallmark of Orthodoxy. Other key doctrines include belief in a future resurrection of the dead, divine reward and punishment for the righteous and the sinners, the Election of Israel, an eventual restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem under the Messiah. Orthodox Judaism is not a centralized denomination. Relations between its different subgroups are sometimes strained, the exact limits of Orthodoxy are subject to intense debate.
It may be divided between Ultra-Orthodox or "Haredi", more conservative and reclusive, Modern Orthodox Judaism, open to outer society. Each of those is itself formed of independent streams, they are uniformly exclusionist, regarding Orthodoxy as the only authentic form of Judaism and rejecting all competing non-Orthodox philosophies as illegitimate. While adhering to traditional beliefs, the movement is a modern phenomenon, it arose as a result of the breakdown of the autonomous Jewish community since the 18th century, was much shaped by a conscious struggle against the pressures of secularization and rival alternatives. The observant and theologically aware Orthodox are a definite minority among all Jews, but there are numerous semi- and non-practicing persons who are affiliated or identifying with the movement. In total, Orthodox Judaism is the largest Jewish religious group, estimated to have over 2 million practicing adherents and at least an equal number of nominal members or self-identifying supporters.
The earliest known mentioning of the term "Orthodox Jews" was made in the Berlinische Monatsschrift in 1795. The word "Orthodox" was borrowed from the general German Enlightenment discourse, used not to denote a specific religious group, but rather those Jews who opposed Enlightenment. During the early and mid-19th century, with the advent of the progressive movements among German Jews and early Reform Judaism, the title "Orthodox" became the epithet of the traditionalists who espoused conservative positions on the issues raised by modernization, they themselves disliked the alien, name, preferring titles like "Torah-true", declared they used it only for the sake of convenience. The Orthodox leader Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch referred to "the conviction designated as Orthodox Judaism". By the 1920s, the term became common and accepted in Eastern Europe, remains as such. Orthodoxy perceives itself ideologically as the only authentic continuation of Judaism throughout the ages, as it was until the crisis of modernity.
Its progressive opponents shared this view, regarding it as a fossilized remnant of the past and lending credit to their own rivals' ideology. Thus, the term "Orthodox" is used generically to refer to traditional synagogues, prayer rites, so forth. However, academic research has taken a more nuanced approach, noting that the formation of Orthodox ideology and organizational frameworks was itself a product of modernity, it was brought about by the need to defend and buttress the concept of tradition, in a world where it was not self-evident anymore. When deep secularization and the dismantlement of communal structures uprooted the old order of Jewish life, traditionalist elements united to form groups which had a distinct self-understanding. This, all that it entailed, constituted a great change, for the Orthodox had to adapt to the new circumstances no less than anyone else. "Orthodoxization" was a contingent process, drawing from local circumstances and dependent on the extent of threat sensed by its proponents: a sharply-delineated Orthodox identity appeared in Central Europe, in Germany and Hungary, by the 1860s.
Among the Jews of the Muslim lands, similar processes on a large scale only occurred around the 1970s, after they immigrated to Israel. Orthodoxy is described as conservative, ossifying a once-dynamic tradition due to the fear of legitimizing change. While this was not true, its defining feature was not the forbidding of change and "freezing" Jewish heritage in its tracks, but rather the need to adapt to being but one segment of Judaism in a modern world inhospitable to traditional practice. Orthodoxy developed as a variegated "spectrum of reactions" – as termed by Benjamin Brown – involving in many cases much accommodation and leniency. Scholars nowadays since the mid-1980s, research Orthodox Judaism as a field in i
Center for Inquiry
The Center for Inquiry is a nonprofit educational organization. Its primary mission is to foster a secular society based on science, freedom of inquiry, humanist values. CFI has a number of international branches. Center for Inquiry focuses on two primary subject areas: Investigation of Paranormal and Fringe Science Claims through the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Religion and Society through the Council for Secular HumanismCFI is active in promoting a scientific approach to medicine and health; the organization has been described as a non-governmental organization. In January 2016, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science announced that it was merging with the Center for Inquiry, with Robyn Blumner as the CEO of the combined organizations; the Center for Inquiry was established in 1991 by author Paul Kurtz. It brought together two organizations: the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and the Council for Secular Humanism. CSICOP and CSH had operated in tandem but were now formally affiliated under one umbrella.
By 1995 CFI had expanded into a new headquarters in Amherst, New York, in 1996 opened its first branch office in Los Angeles, CFI West named CFI Los Angeles. In the same year, CFI founded the Campus Freethought Alliance, organizing college students around its areas of interest. By 1997 CFI had begun expanding its efforts internationally through an association with Moscow State University. Between 2002 and 2003 CFI opened two new branches in New York City and Tampa, Florida in addition to expanding its west coast branch into a new building in Hollywood, California. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, CFI Los Angeles became home to the Steve Allen Theater, named after the former Tonight Show host and CFI supporter; this property was sold in 2017 and CFI Los Angeles is now located at 2535 W, Temple St. Los Angeles, CA 90026. In 2004, CFI continued to expand into cities across the United States with the creation of a network of community organizations called CFI Communities. In 2005 CFI once again expanded its Amherst headquarters with a new research wing.
Additionally, CFI was granted special consultative status with the United Nations the same year. Since 2006 CFI has been expanding with a series of new branches in cities across North America and around the world; these include new Centers for Inquiry in Toronto, Washington, D. C. Indianapolis, Grand Rapids and Austin, Texas; the branch in Washington is headquarters to CFI's Office of Public Policy, which represents CFI's interests on Capitol Hill. Their former affiliated organizations, the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, ceased to exist as independent organizations, have become programs of Center for Inquiry, since January 2015. In January 2016, CFI announced that it was merging with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, with Robyn Blumner as the CEO of the combined organizations. According to Paul Kurtz, in June 2009, being at odds with new CEO Ronald Lindsay, Kurtz was voted out as chairman. Kurtz has described the direction of CFI under Lindsay as "angry atheism" in contrast to his affirmative humanist philosophical approach.
According to Ronald Lindsay,"Paul Kurtz voluntarily resigned from his positions with CFI and all its affiliates, including his position as editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry." The Center for Inquiry Board Statement from 2010, thanks Kurtz for his "decades of service" and claims that "Much of CFI’s success is due to Paul Kurtz’s inspiration and leadership." The release states that with Kurtz's encouragement, new leadership was sought out, with the goal of transitioning Kurtz away from the CEO position. The Board according to CFI prior to 2010 had become concerned with Kurtz's "day-to-day management of the organization. In June 2008, the board appointed Dr. Ronald A. Lindsay president & CEO. In May 2010, the Board accepted Kurtz's resignation from CFI. Through the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, its journal, Skeptical Inquirer magazine, published by the Center for Inquiry, CSI evaluates claims of the paranormal, such as psychic phenomena, communication with the dead, alleged extraterrestrial visitations.
It explores the fringes and borderlands of the sciences, attempting to separate evidence-based research from pseudosciences. CSICOP was, alongside magician and prominent skeptic James Randi, sued by TV celebrity Uri Geller in the 1990s over claims made in the International Herald Tribune; the case ran for several years with Geller ordered to pay costs and other charges, was settled in 1995. The Independent Investigations Group, a volunteer group based at CFI Los Angeles, undertakes experimental testing of fringe claims, it offers a cash prize for successful demonstration of supernatural effects. The IIG Awards are presented for "scientific and critical thinking in mainstream entertainment". IIG has investigated, amongst other things, power bracelets, psychic detectives and a'telepathic wonder dog'; the Center promotes critical inquiry into social effects of the world religions. Since 1983 through its connection with Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, it has focused on such issues as fundamentalism in Christianity and Islam, humanistic alternatives to religious ethics, religious sources of political violence.
It has taken part in protests against religious persecution around the worl
Humanists UK, known from 1967 until May 2017 as the British Humanist Association, is a charitable organisation which promotes Humanism and aims to represent "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs" in the United Kingdom by campaigning on issues relating to humanism and human rights. It seeks to act as a representative body for non-religious people in the UK; the charity supports humanist and non-religious ceremonies in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, the Crown dependencies and maintains a national network of accredited celebrants for humanist funeral ceremonies and baby namings, in addition to a network of volunteers who provide like-minded support and comfort to non-religious people in hospitals and prisons. Its other charitable activities include providing free educational resources to teachers and institutions; the current President of Humanists UK is Professor Alice Roberts and the Chief Executive is Andrew Copson. The association has 70 affiliated regional and special interest groups and claims a total of 70,000 members and supporters.
Humanists UK has sections which run as staffed national humanist organisations in both Wales and Northern Ireland. Wales Humanists and Northern Ireland Humanists each have an advisory committee drawn from the membership and a development officer. Wales Humanists and Northern Ireland Humanists campaign on devolved issues in Cardiff and Belfast and work to expand the provision of humanist ceremonies, pastoral care, support for teachers in those countries; the organisation's Articles of Association sets out its aims as: The advancement of Humanism, namely a non-religious ethical lifestance the essential elements of which are a commitment to human wellbeing and a reliance on reason, experience and a naturalistic view of the world. The advancement of education and in particular the study of and the dissemination of knowledge about Humanism and about the arts and science as they relate to Humanism; the promotion of equality and non-discrimination and the protection of human rights as defined in international instruments to which the United Kingdom is party, in each case in particular as relates to religion and belief.
The promotion of understanding between people holding religious and non-religious beliefs so as to advance harmonious cooperation in society. The organisation wishes to build itself as a sustainable and nationally-recognised organisation as a voice for non-religious people; the organisation was founded in 1896 by American Stanton Coit as the Union of Ethical Societies, which brought together existing ethical societies in Britain. It changed its name to the Ethical Union in 1920 and was incorporated in 1928. In 1963 H. J. Blackham became the first Executive Director, the society became the British Humanist Association in 1967, during the Presidency of philosopher A. J. Ayer; this transition followed a decade of discussions which nearly prompted a merger of the Ethical Union with the Rationalist Press Association and the South Place Ethical Society. In 1963 the first two went as far as creating an umbrella Humanist Association of which Harold Blackham was the Executive Director. However, Humanists UK, the Rationalist Association and the South Place Ethical Society remain separate entities today and in 1967 the Union of Ethical Societies alone became the British Humanist Association.
In the 1960s, the organisation campaigned for reform of the 1944 Education Act's clauses on religion in schools and it was active in the campaign to legalise abortion and homosexuality. It supported repeal of Sunday Observance laws and the end of theatre censorship, the provision of family planning on the NHS and other reforms. More Humanists UK aimed to defend freedom of speech, support the elimination of world poverty and remove the privileges given to religious groups, it was claimed in 1977 that Humanists UK aimed "to make humanism available and meaningful to the millions who have no alternative belief." The local ethical societies united in 1896 had renamed themselves as humanist groups and their number grew over time, becoming today Humanists UK's network of affiliated local humanist groups. A network of celebrants able to conduct non-religious funerals, naming ceremonies and same sex affirmations was developed and continues today as Humanist Ceremonies. Social concerns persisted in Humanists UK's programme.
Humanists UK was a co-founder in 1969 of the Social Morality Council, which brought together believers and unbelievers concerned with moral education and with finding agreed solutions to moral problems in society. Humanists UK was active in arguing for the right to obtain an abortion, it has always sought an "open society". Humanists UK claimed that the rules on religious programming within the BBC constitute a "religious privilege" and reserve particular criticism for the Thought for the Day slot on Radio 4's Today programme. In April 2009 a "breakthrough" in Humanists UK's campaign saw Andrew Copson invited to participate as a humanist representative in the BBC's short-lived Standing Conference on Religion and Belief when it replaced the Central Religious Advisory Committee. In May 2017, the organisation renamed itself from British Humanist Association to Humanists UK, its chief executive, Andrew Copson, said that the change followed "a lon
Personism is an ethical philosophy of personhood as typified by the thought of the utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer. It amounts to a branch of secular humanism with an emphasis on certain rights-criteria. Personists believe. Michael Tooley provides the relevant definition of a person, saying it is a creature, "capable of desiring to continue as a subject of experience and other mental states". A worldview like secular humanism is personism when the empathy and values are extended to the extent that the creature is a person. A member of the human species may not fit the definition of “person” and thereby not receive all the rights bestowed to a person. Hence, such philosophers have engaged in arguing; this philosophy is supposedly open to the idea that such non-human persons as machines and extraterrestrial intelligences may be entitled to certain rights granted only to humans. Personism may have views in common with transhumanism. Singer argues that "...despite many individual exceptions, humanists have on the whole been unable to free themselves from one of the most central of these Christian dogmas: the prejudice of speciesism."Jaqueline Laing claims that Singer's philosophy has natural conclusions that contradict his own account as well as conflict with common philosophical intuition.
In one such feature of his philosophy, Singer argues that fetuses and newborn humans are not yet persons and do not, have the same rights as an adult human or any other person. Thus the right to life does not apply to fetuses according to Singer's preference utilitarianism as a non-person can not have preferences. On the other hand, Michael Tooley distinguished between creatures that only have the possibility of becoming a person as he defined it and a creature that has that capacity, is owed moral consideration accordingly. Personism holds that certain animals ought to have more rights than they possess, including a right to life. Animals that are self-aware, such as great apes, dolphins and elephants, would be recognized as having some of the rights of mentally competent adult humans. Singer himself is a vegetarian, advocates for vegetarianism, he adds that he is concerned with the rights of any creatures that exist, not with "potential" persons. Medical ethicists, characterized in their philosophy as personists, have argued for parents to be allowed to kill their newborn babies because they are not "actual persons" and have received criticism for that position.
Personism can refer to the actual philosophical topic of. Personism can refer to a form of poetry mentioned by Frank O'Hara in which the poem is written directly towards another person
Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish religious movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh alone as its supreme authority in Halakha and theology. It is distinct from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, which considers the Oral Torah, as codified in the Talmud and subsequent works, to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah. Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation; as a result, Karaite Jews do not accept as binding the written collections of the oral tradition in the Midrash or Talmud. When interpreting the Tanakh, Karaites strive to adhere to the plain or most obvious meaning of the text. By contrast, Rabbinic Judaism relies on the legal rulings of the Sanhedrin as they are codified in the Midrash and other sources to indicate the authentic meaning of the Torah. Karaite Judaism holds every interpretation of the Tanakh to the same scrutiny regardless of its source, teaches that it is the personal responsibility of every individual Jew to study the Torah, decide its correct meaning.
Karaites may consider arguments made in the Talmud and other works without exalting them above other viewpoints. According to Rabbi Abraham ibn Daud, in his Sefer HaQabbalah, the Karaite movement crystallized in Baghdad in the Gaonic period under the Abbasid Caliphate in what is present-day Iraq; this is the view universally accepted among Rabbinic Jews. However, some Arab scholars claim that Karaites were living in Egypt in the first half of the 7th century, based on a legal document that the Karaite community in Egypt had in its possession until the end of the 19th century, in which the first Islamic governor ordered the leaders of the Rabbinite community against interfering with Karaite practices or the way they celebrate their holidays, it was said to have been stamped by the palm of'Amr ibn al-'As, the first Islamic governor of Egypt, was dated 20 AH. Historians have argued over whether Karaism has a direct connection to anti-Rabbinic sects and views, such as those of the Sadducees, dating back to the end of the Second Temple period, or whether Karaism represents a novel emergence of similar views.
Karaites have always maintained that, while there are some similarities to the Sadducees, due to the rejection of Rabbinical authority and the Oral Law, there are major differences. The ancestors of the Karaites were a group called Benei Ṣedeq during the Second Temple period. Karaites at one time made up a significant proportion of the Jewish population. Estimates of the Karaite population are difficult to make because they believe on the basis of Genesis 32 that counting Jews is forbidden. In the 21st century, some 30,000–50,000 are thought to reside in Israel, with smaller communities in Turkey and the United States. Another estimate holds that, of the 50,000 worldwide, more than 40,000 descend from those who made aliyah from Egypt and Iraq to Israel; the largest Karaite community today resides in the Israeli city of Ashdod. Arguments amongst Jewish sects regarding the validity of the Oral Law date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries BCE. Accordingly, some scholars trace the origin of Karaism to those who rejected the Talmudic tradition as an innovation.
Judah Halevi, an 11th-century Jewish philosopher and rabbi, wrote a defense for Judaism entitled Kuzari, placing the origins of Karaism in the first and second centuries BCE, during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus, king of Judaea from 103 to 76 BCE: After him came Judah b. Tabbāi and Simon b. Shētaḥ, with the friends of both. At this period arose the doctrine of the Karaites in consequence of an incident between the Sages and King Jannai, a priest, his mother was under suspicion of being a'profane' woman. One of the Sages alluded to this, saying to him:'Be satisfied, O king Jannai, with the royal crown, but leave the priestly crown to the seed of Aaron.' His friends prejudiced him against the Sages, advising him to browbeat and scatter or kill them. He replied:'If I destroy the Sages what will become of our Law?"There is the written law,' they replied, whoever wishes to study it may come and do so. He followed their advice and expelled the Sages and among them Simon b. Shētaḥ, his son-in-law. Rabbinism was laid low for some time.
The other party tried to establish a law built on their own conception, but failed, till Simon b. Shētaḥ returned with his disciples from Alexandria, restored tradition to its former condition. Karaism had, taken root among people who rejected the oral law, called all kinds of proofs to their aid, as we see to-day; as regards the Sādōcaeans and Boēthosians, they are the sectarians who are anathemised in our prayer. Abraham Geiger, a 19th-century German scholar who founded Reform Judaism, posited a connection between the Karaites and a remnant of the Sadducees, the 1st-century Jewish sect that followed the Hebrew Bible and rejected the Pharisees' notion of an Oral Torah before it was written. Geiger's view is based on comparison between Karaite and Sadducee halakha: for example, a minority in Karaite Judaism do not believe in a final resurrection or after-life, a position held by the Sadducees; the British theologian John Gill noted, In the times of John Hyrcanus, Alexander Janneus his son, sprung up the sect of the Karaites, in oppositio