Judaism’s Ancient Revolution https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/uncategorized/2014/11/3324/

November 18, 2014 | Philip Jenkins
About the author:

In the 2nd century BCE, after centuries of living in a province of one or another empire, Jews won themselves a powerful independent kingdom. In the ensuing period under the Maccabeans, Judaism, too, underwent a major internal change. According to most scholars, this is when such notions as the afterlife, the apocalypse, and martyrdom first appeared in Jewish writings, and also when the major sects of the first century CE—Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes—came into existence. Nor was that all, according to Philip Jenkins:

During the Second Temple period [516 BCE – 70 CE], we see a shift from a religion based wholly on the collective (people or family) to the individual. That meant at least some movement from the public sacrificial cult to more individual and even private forms of practice, in which people prayed, studied and meditated. Linked to that were new concepts of divine justice, of theodicy. In the new vision, God rewarded and punished individuals rather than collective groups, and punished individuals according to their own sins, not those of ancestors.

Read more on Patheos: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2014/11/revolutionary-years-2/