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Question: "Who were the Sadducees and the Pharisees?

" Answer: The Gospels refer often to the Sadducees and Pharisees, as Jesus was in constant conflict with them. The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Israel. There are many similarities between the two groups but important differences between them as well. The Sadducees: During the time of Christ and the New Testament era, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They worked hard to keep the peace by agreeing with the decisions of Rome (Israel at this time was under Roman control), and they seemed to be more concerned with politics than religion. Because they were accommodating to Rome and were the wealthy upper class, they did not relate well to the common man, nor did the common man hold them in high opinion. The common man related better to those who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. Though the Sadducees held the majority of seats in the Sanhedrin, history indicates that much of the time they had to go along with the ideas of the Pharisaic minority, because the Pharisees were popular with the masses. Religiously, the Sadducees were more conservative in one main area of doctrine. The Pharisees gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God, while the Sadducees considered only the written Word to be from God. The Sadducees preserved the authority of the written Word of God, especially the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). While they could be commended for this, they definitely were not perfect in their doctrinal views. The following is a brief list of beliefs they held that contradict Scripture: 1. They were extremely self-sufficient to the point of denying God's involvement in everyday life. 2. They denied any resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18-27; Acts 23:8). 3. They denied any afterlife, holding that the soul perished at death, and therefore denying any penalty or reward after the earthly life. 4. They denied the existence of a spiritual world, i.e., angels and demons (Acts 23:8). Because the Sadducees were more concerned with politics than religion, they were unconcerned with Jesus until they became afraid He might bring unwanted Roman attention. It was at this point that the Sadducees and Pharisees united and conspired to put Christ to death (John 11:48-50; Mark 14:53; 15:1). Other mentions of the Sadducees are found in Acts 4:1 and Acts 5:17, and the Sadducees are implicated in the death of James by the historian Josephus (Acts 12:1-2). The Sadducees ceased to exist in A.D. 70. Since this party existed because of their political and priestly ties, when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70, the Sadducees were also destroyed. The Pharisees: In contrast to the Sadducees, the Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen, and therefore were in contact with the common man. The Pharisees were held in much higher esteem by the common man than the Sadducees. Though they were a minority in the Sanhedrin and held a minority number of positions as priests, they seemed to control the decision making of the Sanhedrin far more than the Sadducees did, again because they had the support of the people. Religiously, they accepted the written Word as inspired by God. At the time of Christ's earthly ministry, this would have been what is now our Old Testament. But they also gave equal authority to oral tradition and attempted to defend this position by saying it went all the way back to Moses. Evolving over the centuries, these traditions added to God's Word, which is forbidden (Deuteronomy 4:2), and the Pharisees sought to strictly obey these traditions along with the Old Testament. The Gospels abound with examples of the Pharisees treating these traditions as equal to God's Word (Matthew 9:14; 15:1-9; 23:5; 23:16, 23, Mark 7:1-23; Luke 11:42). However, they did remain true to God's Word in reference to certain other important doctrines. In contrast to the Sadducees, they believed the following: 1. They believed that God controlled all things, yet decisions made by individuals also contributed to the course of a person's life. 2. They believed in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6). 3. They believed in an afterlife, with appropriate reward and punishment on an individual basis. 4. They believed in the existence of angels and demons (Acts 23:8). Though the Pharisees were rivals of the Sadducees, they managed to set aside their differences on one occasionthe trial of Christ. It was at this point that the Sadducees and Pharisees united to put Christ to death (Mark 14:53; 15:1; John 11:48-50).

While the Sadducees ceased to exist after the destruction of Jerusalem, the Pharisees, who were more concerned with religion than politics, continued to exist. In fact, the Pharisees were against the rebellion that brought on Jerusalem's destruction in A.D. 70, and they were the first to make peace with the Romans afterward. The Pharisees were also responsible for the compilation of the Mishnah, an important document with reference to the continuation of Judaism beyond the destruction of the temple. Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees earned numerous rebukes from Jesus. Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from the Pharisees and Sadducees is to not be like them. Unlike the Sadducees, we are to believe everything the Bible says, including the miraculous and the afterlife. Unlike the Pharisees, we are not to treat traditions as having equal authority as Scripture, and we are not to allow our relationship with God to be reduced to a legalistic list of rules and rituals.

Question: Who were the Pharisees? Answer: The Pharisees were a prominent "sect" of the Jews. There were numerous classes, some closer to the true law of Moses, others extremely distant. The name Pharisee basically means separatists. Most of the Pharisees were enemies of Christ and the apostles (Matt. 21: 33-46; Luke 12: 1). The Pharisees were legalists. The Pharisees were very concerned about keeping the minute areas of the law (Matt. 23: 23). Christ did not condemn this; rather He endorsed it (Ibid.). The problem with the Pharisees was in their preoccupation with the minute, they had forgotten the " weightier matters of the law" (Ibid.). Jesus said, "...these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." The Pharisees said, but they often did not do (Matt. 23: 3). Did works to be seen of men. Pretension was a common trait of the Pharisees. Jesus said of them, "But all their works they do for to be seen of men" (Matt. 23: 5). They loved attention and religious titles (Matt. 23: 6-9). The Pharisees made void the commandments of God. The Pharisees were often more concerned about keeping their own traditions than God's law. Hear Jesus, "Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition" (Mk. 7: 9). They made void God's commandments and rendered their worship vain (Mk. 7: 7, 13) Jesus had many severe confrontations with the Pharisees. On one occasion Jesus said, "let them alone, they be blind leaders of the blind..." (Matt. 15: 14). Be it known, however, that Jesus never rebuked any for sincerely keeping His commandments or for teaching God's law, in its purity, to others. Jesus never discouraged good works, but rather endorsed such (Matt. 23: 1-3). The motives of the Pharisees were wrong (Luke 12: 1). Pharisees {fair' - i - seez} General Information The Pharisees were a major Jewish sect from the 2d century BC to the 2d century AD. The seeds of Pharisaism were planted during the Babylonian Captivity (587 - 536 BC), and a clearly defined party emerged during the revolt of the Maccabees (167 - 165 BC) against the Seleucid rulers of Syria - Palestine. The origin of the name Pharisees is uncertain; one suggestion renders it as "those separated," meaning separation from impurity and defilement. The name first appeared during the reign of John Hyrcanus (135 - 105 BC), whom the Pharisees opposed because of his assumption of both the royal and high - priestly titles and because of the general secularism of the court. The Pharisees' chief rival sect was the Sadducees. Whereas the Sadducees were drawn mainly from the conservative and aristocratic priestly class, the Pharisees tended to be middle class and open to religious innovation.In the interpretation of the law the Pharisees differed from the Sadducees in their use of oral legal tradition to supplement the Torah, although their interpretations, once given, were scrupulously adhered to. Pharisaic emphasis on divine providence led to a marked fatalism, and they adopted a belief in resurrection and an elaborate angelology, all of which was rejected by the Sadducees. The struggle for power between the two groups led to rancor and, in some cases, violence. In the New Testament the Pharisees appear as Jesus' most vocal critics. Their insistence on ritual observance of the letter rather than the spirit of the law evoked strong denunciation by Jesus; he called them "white washed tombs" (Matt. 23:27) and self - righteous lovers of display (Matt. 6:1 - 6, 16 - 18). The Pharisees are portrayed as plotting to destroy Jesus (Matt. 12:14), although they do not figure in the accounts of his arrest

and trial. Despite Jesus' attacks on the Pharisees - which were possibly on unrepresentative members of the sect - he shared many beliefs with them, including the resurrection of the dead. The Pharisees held the Jews together after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect continued into the 2d century, working on the redaction of the Talmud and looking for the restoration of Israel through divine intervention. Douglas Ezell Bibliography I Abrahams, Studies in Pharisees and the Gospels (1917 - 24); A Finkel, The Pharisees and the Teacher of Nazareth (1964); L Finkelstein, The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of Their Faith (1962); D S Russell, Between the Testaments (1960).

Pharisees Advanced Information The Pharisees were an important Jewish group which flourished in Palestine from the late second century B.C. to the late first century A.D. Sources Virtually all our knowledge about the Pharisees is derived from three sets of sources: the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War (ca. A.D. 75), The Antiquities of the Jews (ca. A.D. 94), and Life (ca. A.D. 101); the various compilations of the rabbis (ca. A.D. 200 and later); and the NT. Other works, parts of the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, or the Dead Sea Scrolls, may also contain information concerning the Pharisees. But since the Pharisees are never explicitly mentioned in these works, their use in constructing a picture of the Pharisees is heavily dependent on prior assumptions which are at best speculative. It should be noted, however, that even the use of the explicit sources is problematical. Most of the NT is written from a point of view that is antagonistic to the tenets of Pharisaism. The rabbinic traditions about the Pharisees are also shaped by polemical forces and are often anachronistic. The value of Josephus's information (traditionally regarded as the most helpful) is diminished by recent studies which suggest that Josephus was not a Pharisee before A.D. 70 and that his eventual conversion was motivated more by political realities than by careful study of the different Jewish sects. It certainly cannot be denied that Josephus's descriptions of the Pharisees are superficial. In short, therefore, our sources provide neither a complete nor a straightforward picture of the Pharisees. Name Various etymologies have been proposed for the name "Pharisee." The only one to receive general approval is that which derives the name from the Aramaic passive participle peris, perisayya, meaning "separated." The consensus is that the Pharisees regarded themselves, or were regarded, as the "separated ones." From what or whom they were separated is not as clear. The Hasmonean rulers, the Gentiles, the common people, and non-Pharisaic Jews in general have all been suggested as possibilities. Present evidence seems to favor the last two options. Nature and Influence The fundamental issue in Pharisaic studies is the twofold question of the nature of the group and its influence within broader Judaism. Two basic positions have been taken on this question. The traditional view holds that the Pharisees were the creators and shapers of late second temple Judaism. They were not so much a sect as a dominant party within Judaism. According to the traditional view, although not all Pharisees were legal experts, Pharisaism was the ideology of the vast majority of the scribes and lawyers. Thus, as a group the Pharisees were the guardians and interpreters of the law. Jewish institutions associated with the law, such as the synagogue and the Sanhedrin, were Pharisaic institutions. While disagreeing over whether the Pharisees were primarily politically or religiously oriented, proponents of the traditional view agree that the Pharisees commanded the loyalty of the masses in both spheres. Indeed, most proponents of the traditional view would accept Elias Bickerman's dictum: "Judaism of the postMaccabean period is Pharisaic." The second point of view is a relatively recent development. Proponents of this position argue that when the inherent limitations and tendencies of our sources are taken into account, the Pharisees come across not as the creators and shapers of Judaism but merely as one of its many expressions. In essence, according to this view, the Pharisees were a

rather tightly knit sect organized around the observance of purity and tithing laws; on most other issues the Pharisees reflected the range of views present within Judaism. Since Josephus and the Gospels carefully distinguish between the Pharisees and the scribes, scholars of this persuasion argue that it is better not to confuse Pharisaism with the ideology of the scribes. Pharisaism must be seen as a movement which drew from all walks of life. There were Pharisees who were political and religious leaders, but their positions of influence were due to other factors besides sectarian affiliation. Proponents of this second view posit that the Judaism of Christ's day was much more dynamic and variegated than the traditional view allows and that the Pharisees were only one of several sects that influenced the development of Judaism. Of course, not all scholars subscribe to one of these two views; many hold mediating positions. Nevertheless, these two views constitute the foundations upon which the modern study of Pharisaism is based. History The origin of the Pharisaic movement is shrouded in mystery. According to Josephus, the Pharisees first became a significant force in Jewish affairs during the reign of Hyrcanus I (134-104 B.C.). In an earlier work, however, Josephus places the rise of the Pharisees much later, during the reign of Salome Alexandra (76-67 B.C.). Some scholars who view the Pharisees as the shapers of late second temple Judaism have sought to trace the beginnings of the group back to the time of Ezra and beyond. But such reconstructions are speculative at best. It is more likely that the Pharisees were one of several groups to grow out of the revival and resistance movement of the Maccabean period (ca. 166-160 B.C.). Whatever its origins, the Pharisaic movement seems to have undergone a two-stage development. During the reign of Salome Alexandra the Pharisees as a group were heavily involved in politics and national policy making. Sometime after this, possibly when Herod the Great rose to power (37 B.C.), the Pharisees withdrew from politics. Individual Pharisees remained politically involved, but there was no longer any official Pharisaic political agenda. This seems to have been the situation during the time of Christ. The Pharisees were divided over the issue of Roman rule. Josephus tells us that a Pharisee named Zaddok was instrumental in forming a "fourth philosophy" which was violently opposed to Roman rule. Elsewhere, however, Josephus records that at a later time certain well-placed Pharisees sought to forestall the Jews' rush toward revolt against the empire. It is impossible to tell which tendency reflected the conviction of the majority of the Pharisees. After the Jewish revolt of A.D. 70 many scholars with Pharisaic leanings gathered at the city of Jamnia to form a school for the preservation and redefinition of Judaism. There is evidence that the Jamnia school was not exclusively Pharisaic. Nevertheless, it can be safely said that the Pharisees were the single most powerful sectarian element at Jamnia. Thus they played an important role at the beginning of the century-long process which transformed second temple Judaism into rabbinic Judaism. Beliefs The Pharisees were strongly committed to the daily application and observance of the law. This means they accepted the traditional elaborations of the law which made daily application possible. They believed, moreover, in the existence of spirits and angels, the resurrection, and the coming of a Messiah. They also maintained that the human will enjoyed a limited freedom within the sovereign plan of God. Yet there is little evidence to suggest that these were distinctively Pharisaic beliefs. To the best of our knowledge these beliefs were the common heritage of most Jews. To some scholars this fact is proof that the Pharisees were the dominant religious force in Judaism; to others it is only another indication that the Pharisees' distinguishing mark was nothing but the scrupulous observance of purity and tithing laws. The Pharisees and Jesus The NT does not present a simple picture of the relationship between the Pharisees and Jesus. Pharisees warn Jesus of a plot against his life (Luke 13:31); in spite of their dietary scruples they invite him for meals (Luke 7:36-50; 14:1); some of them even believe in Jesus (John 3:1; 7:45-53; 9:13-38); later, Pharisees are instrumental in ensuring the survival of Jesus' followers (Acts 5:34; 23:6-9). Nevertheless, Pharisaic opposition to Jesus is a persistent theme in all four Gospels. This opposition has been explained differently by those who hold differing views on the nature and influence of the Pharisees. Those who see the Pharisees as a class of political leaders posit that Jesus came to be understood as a political liability or threat. Those who understand the Pharisees as a society of legal and religious experts suggest that Jesus became viewed as a dangerous rival, a false teacher with antinomian tendencies. To the extent that there were Pharisaic leaders and

scribes, both these factors probably played a part. Yet other scholars point out that according to the Gospels the disputes between Jesus and the Pharisees centered primarily on the validity and application of purity, tithing, and sabbath laws (e.g., Matt. 12:2, 12-14; 15:1-12; Mark 2:16; Luke 11:39-42). In the light of this evidence it would seem that at least part of the Pharisaic opposition to Jesus was occasioned by the obvious disparity between Jesus' claims about himself and his disregard for observances regarded by the Pharisees as necessary marks of piety. In the end, the Pharisees could not reconcile Jesus, his actions and his claims, with their own understanding of piety and godliness. S Taylor (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary) Bibliography J. Bowker, Jesus and the Pharisees; E. Rivkin, "Defining the Pharisees; The Tannaitic Sources," HUCA 40-41:20549, and A Hidden Revolution; L. Finkelstein, The Pharisees: The Sociological Background of Their Faith, 2 vols.; R. T. Herford, The Pharisees; E. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ; H. D. Mantel, "The Sadducees and the Pharisees," in The World History of the Jewish People, VIII; M. Avi-Yonah and Z. Baras, eds., Society and Religion in the Second Temple Period; J. Neusner, From Politics to Piety: The Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism.

Pharisees Advanced Information The Pharisees were separatists (Heb. persahin, from parash, "to separate"). They were probably the successors of the Assideans (i.e., the "pious"), a party that originated in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes in revolt against his heathenizing policy. The first mention of them is in a description by Josephus of the three sects or schools into which the Jews were divided (B.C. 145). The other two sects were the Essenes and the Sadducees. In the time of our Lord they were the popular party (John 7:48). They were extremely accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses (Matt. 9:14; 23:15; Luke 11:39; 18:12). Paul, when brought before the council of Jerusalem, professed himself a Pharisee (Acts 23:6-8; 26:4, 5). There was much that was sound in their creed, yet their system of religion was a form and nothing more. Theirs was a very lax morality (Matt. 5:20; 15:4, 8; 23:3, 14, 23, 25; John 8:7). On the first notice of them in the New Testament (Matt. 3:7), they are ranked by our Lord with the Sadducees as a "generation of vipers." They were noted for their self-righteousness and their pride (Matt. 9:11; Luke 7: 39; 18: 11, 12). They were frequently rebuked by our Lord (Matt. 12:39; 16:1-4). From the very beginning of his ministry the Pharisees showed themselves bitter and persistent enemies of our Lord. They could not bear his doctrines, and they sought by every means to destroy his influence among the people. Who were the Pharisees?: The Pharisees were an important, powerful, and popular group of religious leaders among the Jews of Palestine. Their name might come from the Hebrew for separate ones or perhaps interpreters. Their origin is unknown but they are believed to have been very popular with the people. Josephus identifies some Jewish priests as Pharisees, so they should be regarded as a faction or interest group not necessarily opposed to the religious leadership. When did the Pharisees live?: As a distinct group, the Pharisees existed between the second century BCE and the first century CE. The current Jewish concept of rabbi is generally traced back to the Pharisees, as opposed to other Jewish religious authorities of the era, so it appears that the Pharisees disappeared after the diaspora and became the rabbis. Where did the Pharisees live?: The Pharisees appear to have only existed in Palestine, influencing Jewish life and religion there. According to Josephus, around six thousand Pharisees existed in first century Palestine. We only know of two people who claimed to be Pharisees, though: Josephus and Paul. Its possible that the Pharisees existed outside of Roman Palestine and were created as part of an effort help Jews maintain a religious way of life in the face of Hellenistic culture. What did the Pharisees do?:

Information about the Pharisees comes from 3 sources: Josephus (considered generally accurate), the New Testament (not very accurate), and rabbinic literature (somewhat accurate). The Pharisees were probably a sectarian group (how one joined is unknown) faithful to their own traditions. The adhered to both the written and the oral law, emphasized ritual purity, and were popular and influential. Adherence to the oral law may have been their most distinctive feature. Why were the Pharisees important?: The Pharisees are perhaps best known today because of their appearance in the New Testament. The New Testament portrays the Pharisees as legalistic, hypocritical, and jealous of Jesus popularity. While the latter may be theoretically plausible, the first two are not accurate or fair. Pharisees are the villains in gospel literature and, as such, are portrayed negatively because they need to be. The Pharisees were important to the development of modern Judaism, however. The other two main factions of Judaism of the time Sadducees and Essenes disappeared entirely. Pharisees dont exist anymore either, but their characteristics appear to have been taken on by modern rabbis. Attacks on Pharisees can, therefore, be regarded as attacks on Judaism itself. The beliefs of the Pharisees are certainly more similar to those of modern Judaism than the beliefs of other ancient Jewish groups. One important characteristic was their insistence that God is in charge of history, and therefore it would be wrong to rebel against foreign domination. However much that domination might infringe on religion, the presence of those rulers is due to the will of God and must be endured until the coming of the Messiah.