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(both: kâr`əīts), form of Judaism, reputedly founded (8th cent.) in Persia by Anan ben DavidAnan ben David
, fl. 8th cent., Babylonian Jewish theologian, founder of the Ananites from whom the Karaites claim spiritual descent. He is said to have been a descendant of Bostanai ben Chaninai.
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 and originally known as Ananites. Its adherents were called Karaites after the 9th cent. The Karaites rejected the Talmudic interpretation of the Bible (see TalmudTalmud
[Aramaic from Heb.,=learning], in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries, in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere.
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), and they developed their own commentaries, which were in many respects more rigorous and ascetic than the Talmudic interpretations. In the 10th cent. they produced a splendid literature in both Arabic and Hebrew. The sect declined after the 12th cent., but remnants are still extant, notably in Israel and the United States.


See Karaite Anthology (ed. and tr. by L. Nemoy, 1952), Z. Ankori, Karaites in Byzantium: The Formative Years, 970–1100 (1957, repr. 1968); P. Birnbaum, ed., Karaite Studies (1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a small nationality living in the cities of the Crimean Oblast and several other oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR, in Trakai Raion of the Lithuanian SSR, and in Poland. Their language belongs to the Kipchak group of the Turkic languages. At the present time, the Karaites in the USSR speak mainly Russian, and their way of life and activities are not unlike those of the neighboring peoples. Religious Karaites belong to the Karaite sect, whose only holy book is the Old Testament.

The Karaites are considered to be the descendants of Turkic tribes in the Khazar Kaganate. After the defeat of the kaganate by Kievan princes in the tenth century, the Karaites remained in the Crimea. In the late 14th century some of the Karaites were resettled in Lithuania and the western regions of the Ukraine as prisoners of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Karaites have preserved a rich folklore, which reflects their historical ties with the Khazars.


Narody Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Gever relates, "In the Second Temple period several factions were formed amongst the people of Israel, including the Pharisees and those who did not accept their path." The Karaites did not accept the Oral Torah that was added over the generations.
The Karaites did not oppose interpretation and exposition of the Halakha since they wrote many interpretations on the Holy Scripture, which are not currently available.
Tatars and Karaites have their own shrines, and a strong ethnic presence, partly as a tourist attraction, while the Roma form larger but socially weaker groups.
of the Negev, Israel) is a history of the Karaite Jews of Eastern Galicia, which is now part of Ukraine.
Likewise, Professor Mitwisser, the world's most knowledgeable scholar about the surviving texts of an insignificant sliver of Jewish history, fails to assume his literary inheritance; he realizes that his half-written manuscript on the Karaites, who reject the Talmud and its tradition of rabbinic interpretation, leads nowhere.
Over the 13 centuries since Karaism was established, the group was scattered over the globe, with many Karaites eventually settling in the Middle East, mainly in Babylon and Egypt.
Now 60 Karaite families live among Trakai town's 7,000 people.
This is analogous to the situation with the Karaites later, some of whom who remain Jews till this day and others that have clearly left Jewishness entirely.
The law enumerates nine traditional religious communities: Latin Rite Catholics (Roman Catholics), Greek Rite Catholics, Evangelical Lutherans, Evangelical Reformed Churchgoers, Orthodox Christians (Moscow Patriarchate), Old Believers, Jews, Sunni Muslims, and Karaites.
Although we do not know when Rittangel began his sojourn among the Karaites, we do know when he ended it.
(12) He had become in effect "the overseer of the rabbinate." (13) The Church was helped in this not only by converts, but by Karaites and by other Jews who condemned Maimonides.