Who were the Sadducees?

by | May 10, 2022 | 02 Library, Who is

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?

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