The ancient historian Flavius Josephus identifies four rival religious philosophies among the Jews at the time of Jesus: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots.
- The Sadducees were linked with the high priesthood and power. The party grew out of the aristocratic Sanhedrin.
- The Sadducees formed an alliance with the Hasmoneans.
- The Sadducees rejected the oral law developed by the Pharisees and relied upon the written law alone.
- Sadducees insisted on human freedom of choice to determine the course of affairs, in contrast to the Pharisees. They did not believe in any kind of predestination.
- Sadducees denied the idea of an immortal soul, the resurrection, rewards and punishments in an after-life, angels and demons. They viewed these ideas as later corruptions of the Scriptures.
- They had no Messianic expectation
- They saw themselves as upholding the law of Moses as properly understood while the Pharisees were innovators.
- Sadducees were politically powerful and wealthy, usually descendants of land-owners.
- The Sadducees wanted to get along with Rome in order to keep their grip on power.
- The people saw the priesthood and the Sadducees as corrupt.
- The group dies out after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Sadducees
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
Holman Bible Dictionary: Jewish Parties in the New Testament
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Sadducees
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Sadducees
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Sadducees
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Sadducees
McClintock and Strong: Sadducee
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Sadducees
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Sadducees
Alfred Edersheim: Chapter 15 Relation of the Pharisees to the Sadducees and Essenes, and to the Gospel of Christ
Who were the Pharisees?
Who were the Zealots?
Who were the Essenes?
Where to next?
Background & History
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