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