Pharisees vs sadducees in the bible

As you read the different stories of Jesus' life in the New Testament what we often call the Gospelsyou'll quickly notice that many people were opposed to Jesus' teaching and public ministry. These people are often labeled in the Scriptures as the "religious leaders" or the "teachers of the law. There were quite a few differences between those two groups. However, we'll need to start with their similarities in order to understand the differences more clearly.

As mentioned above, both the Pharisees and Sadducees were religious leaders of the Jewish people during Jesus' day.

That's important because most of the Jewish people during that time believed their religious practices held sway over every part of their lives. Therefore, the Pharisees and Sadducees each held a lot of power and influence over not just the religious lives of the Jewish people, but their finances, their work habits, their family lives, and more.

Neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees were priests. They did not take part in the actual running of the temple, the offering of sacrifices, or the administration of other religious duties. Instead, both the Pharisees and Sadducees were "experts in the law" -- meaning, they were experts on the Jewish Scriptures also known as the Old Testament today.

Actually, the expertise of the Pharisees and Sadducees went beyond the Scriptures themselves. They were also experts on what it meant to interpret the laws of the Old Testament. As an example, while the Ten Commandments made it clear that God's people should not work on the Sabbath, people began to question what it actually meant to "work. Similarly, was it against God's law to plant a garden on the Sabbath, which could be interpreted as farming?

pharisees vs sadducees in the bible

Given these questions, the Pharisees and Sadducees both made it their business to create hundreds of extra instructions and stipulations based on their interpretations of God's laws.

Of course, both groups didn't always agree on how the Scriptures should be interpreted. The main difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was their differing opinions on the supernatural aspects of religion. To put things simply, the Pharisees believed in the supernatural -- angels, demons, heaven, hell, and so on -- while the Sadducees did not. In this way, the Sadducees were largely secular in their practice of religion.

They denied the idea of being resurrected from the grave after death see Matthew In fact, they denied any notion of an afterlife, which means they rejected the concepts of eternal blessing or eternal punishment; they believed this life is all there is. The Sadducees also scoffed at the idea of spiritual beings such as angels and demons see Acts The Pharisees, on the other hand, were much more invested in the religious aspects of their religion.

They took the Old Testament Scriptures literally, which meant they very much believed in angels and other spiritual beings, and they were completely invested in the promise of an afterlife for God's chosen people. The other large difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was one of status or standing. Most of the Sadducees were aristocratic. They came from families of noble birth who were very well connected in the political landscape of their day.

We might call them "old money" in modern terminology.

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Because of this, the Sadducees were typically well connected with the ruling authorities among the Roman Government. They held a great deal of political power. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were more closely connected with the common people of the Jewish culture.

They were typically merchants or business owners who had become wealthy enough to turn their attention to studying and interpreting the Scriptures -- "new money," in other words. Whereas the Sadducees had a lot of political power because of their connections with Rome, the Pharisees had a lot of power because of their influence over the masses of people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Despite these differences, both the Pharisees and Sadducees were able to join forces against someone they both perceived to be a threat: Jesus Christ.

And both were instrumental in working the Romans and the people to push for Jesus' death on the cross.Of the various factions that emerged under Hasmoneanrule, three are of particular interest: the Pharisees, Sadducees, andEssenes. The most important of the three were the Pharisees because they are the spiritual fathers of modern Judaism. Their main distinguishing characteristic was a belief in an Oral Law that God gave to Moses at Sinai along with the Torah.

The Torahor Written Lawwas akin to the U. Constitution in the sense that it set down a series of laws that were open to interpretation. The Pharisees believed that God also gave Moses the knowledge of what these laws meant and how they should be applied. This oral tradition was codified and written down roughly three centuries later in what is known as the Talmud.

The Pharisees also maintained that an after-life existed and that God punished the wicked and rewarded the righteous in the world to come. They also believed in a messiah who would herald an era of world peace. Pharisees were in a sense blue-collar Jews who adhered to the tenets developed after the destruction of the Temple ; that is, such things as individual prayer and assembly in synagogues.

The Sadducees were elitists who wanted to maintain the priestly caste, but they were also liberal in their willingness to incorporate Hellenism into their lives, something the Pharisees opposed. The Sadducees rejected the idea of the Oral Law and insisted on a literal interpretation of the Written Law ; consequently, they did not believe in an after life, since it is not mentioned in the Torah.

The main focus ofSadducee life was rituals associated with the Temple. The Sadducees disappeared around 70 A. None of the writings of the Sadducees has survived, so the little we know about them comes from their Pharisaic opponents. These two "parties" served in the Great Sanhedrina kind of Jewish Supreme Court made up of 71 members whose responsibility was to interpret civil and religious laws.

A third faction, the Essenesemerged out of disgust with the other two. This sect believed the others had corrupted the city and the Temple. They moved out of Jerusalem and lived a monastic life in the desert, adopting strict dietary laws and a commitment to celibacy. The Essenes are particularly interesting to scholars because they are believed to be an offshoot of the group that lived in Qumrannear the Dead Sea.

Ina Bedouin shepherd stumbled into a cave containing various ancient artifacts and jars containing manuscripts describing the beliefs of the sect and events of the time. The most important documents, often only parchment fragments that had to be meticulously restored, were the earliest known copies of the Old Testament.

The similarity of the substance of the material found in the scrolls to that in the modern scriptures has confirmed the authenticity of the Bible used today.

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Sources : Mitchell G. Chart courtesy of Prof. Eliezer Segal. Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library. Social Class. Emphasis on priestly obligations. Application of priestly laws to non-priests. Attitude Toward:. Opposed usurpation of priesthood by non-Zadokites. Free will. Sophisticated scholarly interpretations.

Oral Torah.The term Pharisee is often used nowadays to correlate someone with legalism. We know the Pharisees were a group of over-zealous religious people who opposed Jesus and His claims to being the Son of God. But who exactly were the Pharisees? They were leaders of the synagogue who took charge of the spiritual matters of the Jews during Jesus' time. They were known to be very prominent in Jews' theistic culture- much like priests and pastors have a certain level of popularity and influence today.

But many of the Pharisees abused that influence and used it at various occasions for personal gain. Being a Pharisee did not only mean spiritual leadership but even political. Being a strong influencer amongst the Jewish people, Roman government would often have a political agenda be coursed through groups of Pharisees in exchange for some favors given to them. But the Pharisees weren't the only religious group during Jesus' time.

There was another group called the Sadducees. Though similar to the Pharisees in many ways, the Sadducees were also different in other aspects. The Sadducees, for instance, had more direct participation in politics and governance whereas Pharisees would often use the voice of the masses to manipulate government to their own bidding. Sadducees were almost always from a high-end class. Most of the seventy seats held by the Sandherin were held by Sadducees.

Pharisees were more financially better-off than most of the common people but they weren't as rich as the Sadducees.

This made them more "relatable" to common folk and gave them more popularity than most. Pharisees and Sadducees had this in common- they were experts in the law and very scholarly in their approach to cultivating a relationship with God. Sadly, many times they would miss the point and focus too much on works and ritual than they did on growing a loving relationship with a God who desires covenant relationship. This is where the idea of Pharisaical mindsets being linked strongly to legalism came from.

Pharisees and Sadducees would often distort God's Word and try to convince us that salvation and favor from the Lord could only be earned, not freely received. However, not all Pharisees were bad. The Bible does account the conversion of some Pharisees from legalistic doctrine to more grace and faith-lead living. One of them was Nicodemus who met privately with Jesus and was taught the concept of being born again through the regeneration power that comes only through Christ.

Another notable Pharisee is Joseph of Arimathea who was most well known for being the kind donor of Jesus' tomb. Overall, Pharisees held an important role in Jewish culture and many of their actions influenced the move of God in His people both good and bad. Do you want award-winning journalism with a Christian worldviewdelivered to your inbox?

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Difference Between Sadducees and Pharisees

Pakistan: Police drop charges against Muslim man who kidnapped, shackled Christian girl in cattle pen.John Condemns the Pharisees and Sadducees. When John saw the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism he denounced them without hesitation:. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father: for I say unto you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. The Pharisees were a wealthy religious sect of the Jews, who valued the traditions of Jewish sages over the Word of God.

These traditions became rules that they meticulously followed and commanded others to follow. They wore very religious looking clothing, and said long and loud prayers drawing attention to themselves. They were lovers of money and despised foreignersthe poor, shepherds, women, and many more whom God loves.

They also considered themselves blessed and going to heaven with certainty because of being Jews. Painting of a Pharisee. The Sadducees were another wealthy religious sect of the Jews, who also did not respect and value the Word of God over there own convictions. They were the most liberal of Jews, and were very influential and powerful. They hated John the most, as well as Jesus and his followers.

John the Baptist was born about 5 BC, and now about 26 A. He was preaching to everyone that they should repent and turn from wickedness and prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah. His message was a cry for repentance, that the time was at hand for people to prepare for the coming of the King. Related Content.

Toggle navigation. Coast Map of Israel's S. John Condemns the Pharisees and Sadducees When John saw the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism he denounced them without hesitation: "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Painting of a Pharisee The Sadducees were another wealthy religious sect of the Jews, who also did not respect and value the Word of God over there own convictions. John's Appearance Mat ; Mk John and the Pharisees and Sadducees Mat Despite their influence on rabbinic Judaism and their prominence in the New Testamentthe Pharisees are a notoriously difficult group to define.

No ancient Jewish group referred to themselves as Pharisees. Modern Christians tend to see the Pharisees in a negative light—mostly because the New Testament authors portray the Pharisees as legalistic and hypocritical. While that might describe their confrontations with Jesus and early Christians, it hardly tells the whole story of this important Jewish group. By preserving and advocating for the importance of oral tradition, which was believed to have been handed from God to Moses along with the Torah, the Pharisees played an integral role in giving us both the Talmud the written record of the oral tradition and the Masoretic Text the original Hebrew Bible, which relied on oral tradition to correctly identify and pronounce ambiguous words.

So at least in part, Christians can thank the Pharisees for ensuring the Old Testament was so carefully preserved. Due to the lack of texts describing them, many modern scholars believe the Pharisees were not as prominent or numerous as people have assumed. Josephus, a first century Jewish-Roman historian, wrote numerous books on Jewish life and history, but he only mentions the Pharisees 20 times usually briefly and he spends more time describing contemporary Jewish groups.

Who were the Pharisees? The three main sources we have to learn about the Pharisees are the New Testament, the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus, and rabbinic literature a collection of ancient Jewish writings based on oral tradition.

Each source views the Pharisees through a different lens, which makes it difficult for historians to determine exactly who they were, and the true scope of their activity. The closer you look at what little is therethe harder it is to pin down exactly who or what this group was. Josephus mostly approaches them from a Hellenistic or Greek point of view and treats them as a school of thought.

Some scholars also theorize that Josephus was a Pharisee, and exaggerated their significance. The New Testament mostly portrays the Pharisees as a major religious sect, and at times suggests they have quite a bit of political influence.

Saldarini, a scholar of the Late Second Temple Period and Rabbinic Judaism, notes how difficult it is for historians to create a complete picture of the Pharisees:. The proliferation of hypotheses about the Pharisees shows how poorly they are understood. While no single label truly captures who the Pharisees were, each helps us understand aspects of this group according to our limited sources.

The Pharisees are most commonly identified as a religious sect. In the New Testament, they often appear to represent mainstream Judaism, but historians believe ancient Judaism was more diverse than initially thought—especially since the discovery of The Dead Sea Scrolls. In any case, the Pharisees were an undeniably important precursor to Rabbinic Judaism, which has been the mainstream form of Judaism for well over a millennia.

While the New Testament portrays their emphasis on oral tradition as legalistic and hypocritical, many Jews found it helpful in following the Torah in their everyday, contemporary lives. Saldarini, Boston College. As a religious sect, the Pharisees had specific beliefs which separated them from other Jewish sects, such as the Sadducees and Essenes.But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates that is the sect of the Sadduceesand they were filled with jealousy.

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

He is not the God of the dead but of the living. There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife, and died leaving no children. The second one married her, and died leaving behind no children; and the third likewise; and so all seven left no children.

Last of all the woman died also. For all seven had married her. For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.

Now there were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and died childless; read more. Finally the woman died also. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.

The Mystery of the Essenes

The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?

How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Which of the two did the will of his father?

pharisees vs sadducees in the bible

For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a towerand rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.

The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.

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Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?

Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.Sadducee and Pharisee are terms that are encountered in the works of Josephus and the Bible between which a key difference can be identified.

These are Jewish sects that were already in place before the advent of Christianity and were considered as religious parties in the times of Jesus. Not surprisingly, both were opposed to what Jesus had to say. Despite this similarity and the fact that both these sects were fundamentalists, there are many differences between Sadducee and Pharisee that will be talked about in this article.

Sadducee was a Jewish sect ; in fact, a socio-political group that was prominent during 3rd and 2nd century BC and which was characterized by its elite and priestly class.

This group of Jews disappeared after the destruction of the Temple, and even the literature written by prominent writers of this group got destroyed with this destruction. Sadducees enjoyed authority as they were the priestly class that also included the aristocrats.

pharisees vs sadducees in the bible

The members of this class held important and powerful positions in the society, and they also had a majority in the ruling council. During this period, Israel was ruled by Roman Empire and Sadducees agreed to whatever decisions were taken by Rome. This attitude was not liked by the common people, and they did not think highly of the Sadducees.

Sadducees believed only in the written Law of Moses and did not approve Oral Torah. They did not believe in after life and opposed priesthood to be given to any other class of people other than themselves. They were conservatives as they opposed oral Torah. What is Pharisee? Pharisee was a socio-political group among the Jews that was made up of common people.

This class of people was prominent during the Hasmonean Dynasty and in direct opposition to the Sadducees because of differences in social and political status. Pharisees gave equal respect to the Oral Torah and believed in after life, resurrection and the existence of angels. This group was made up of the masses, and it represented the views of the poor man.

Are You a Pharisee or Sadducee?

The group had business people among its members who were in touch with the common man. Because of the weight of the oral Torah among the group, this group became prominent after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.

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The modern Judaism traces its roots to this group or class of people that was referred to as Pharisee. What is the Difference Between Sadducees and Pharisees?

Definitions of Sadducees and Pharisees: Sadducees:.

pharisees vs sadducees in the bible

Sadducees: Sadducees were conservatives who believed in the supremacy of the temple only and their prominence waned with the destruction of the temple.

Her research interests are mainly in the fields of Sociology, Applied linguistics, Sociolinguistics, and Linguistic anthropology. She is currently employed as a lecturer. Numerous debates of the past … SEEM … to be playing a part in the lives of the people of today. Comments Numerous debates of the past … SEEM … to be playing a part in the lives of the people of today.

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