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Definition of KARAISM
: a Jewish doctrine originating in Baghdad in the eighth century that rejects rabbinism and talmudism and bases its tenets on Scripture alone
Origin of KARAISM
Late Hebrew qĕrāīm Karaites, from Hebrew qārā to read
First Known Use: circa 1883
Jewish religious movement that denied the authenticity of the oral law and defended the Hebrew Bible as the only basis of doctrine and practice. It originated in 8th-century Persia, where its members were called Ananites after Anan ben David, who worked out a code of life independent of the Talmud. Members later adopted the name Karaites from the Hebrew qara (to read), emphasizing their reliance on a personal reading of the Bible. The movement spread through Egypt and Syria, winning only small numbers of followers and enduring many schisms. It still has about 10,000 members in Israel.