Certainly the asceticism and ritualism might so be interpreted, for there was among the Jews of the Dispersion an increasing tendency to asceticism, by way of protest against the excesses of the Gentiles.
But Yahwism, like Islam, had its sects and tendencies, and the opponents to the stricter ritualism always had followers.
With the later High Church movement, usually described as Ritualism, he had less sympathy.
Magee took a prominent part in the Ritual controversy, opposing what he conceived to be romanizing excess in ritual, as well as the endeavour of the opposite party to "put down Ritualism," as Disraeli expressed it, by the operation of the civil law.
At all events, if these writings have many old elements and may be used to illustrate the background of the New Testament, they illustrate not only the excessive legalism and ritualism against which early Christianity contended, but also the more spiritual and ethical side of Judaism.