Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription. As a group the Pharisees are distinct for being opposed to the political rulers of Israel, focusing on cere… Aside from their heretical views on worship and priestly service, in general, the Pharisees emphasized a commitment to social justice, belief in the brotherhood of mankind, and a faith in the redemption of the Jewish nation and, ultimately, humanity. This they had in common with the Pharisees. The Essenes. Seeing "that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees" (Acts 23:6), Paul decided to pit them against one another so that a "dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees" (Acts 23:7) and "the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God" (Acts 23:9). Though there are some theological and social disagreements between them, the varied opinions on how to rightly interpret and live out the law account for most of their distinguishing characteristics. The Essenes were a subdivision of Pharisees who emphasized a communal life and ritual pureness, including full-body submergence for religious cleaning. The Pharisees’ theology, accepting the entire Old Testament including eschatology, is much more in line with the whole Bible than the Sadducees’ or the Essenes’ theology. The Sadducees rejected the belief in Resurrection of the Dead, which was a central tenet believed by the Pharisees and as prophesied in the Tanakh. The Zealot sect traces its roots back to the Maccabean revolt about 150 BC, about the same time the Pharisees began. Each column of writing could have no less than forty-eight, and no more than sixty lines. They are mentioned several times in the gospels as being on the receiving end of Jesus’ rebukes (Matt. They are mentioned several times in the gospels as being on the receiving end of Jesus’ rebukes (Matt. Learn term:sects judaism = pharisees, sadducees, essenes, zealots with free interactive flashcards. Sign up for our newsletter plus get 50 free theology eBooks in our digital library! The Sadducees’ job was to make sacrifices and maintain the Temple’s purity. Members of the Sadducees: According to Josephus, the Sadducees believed that: As you can see, the Sadducees’ beliefs were heretical according to the Torah. The written law, in its depiction of the priesthood, corroborated the power and enforced the dominant leadership of the Sadducees in Judean society. Due to the emphasis on orthopraxy, it is common for the differences between the groups to pertain more to activity than theology (Scott, 201). Collected taxes. The Essenes were a Jewish sect during the Second Temple period that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE. It makes sense, then, that priests held important positions as official leaders outside of the Temple. Please check your inbox and confirm your subscription. Known as a “Sofer” they are among the few scribes that still perform their trade by hand on parchment. They are also the group associated with instigating His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Josephus gave a detailed account of the Essenes in three of his books. Address: God's Word First, P.O. primarily scholars and educators, The Pharisees were politically inactive, and studied, taught, and worshipped in their own way. Not all Levites, priests, high priests, and aristocrats were Sadducees; some were Pharisees, and many were not members of any group at all. He further adds that the Essenes traded in commerce amongst themselves, ritually immersed in water every morning, ate together after prayer, devoted themselves to charity and benevolence, forbade the expression of anger, studied the books of the elders, preserved secrets, and were very mindful of the names of the angels kept in their sacred writings. We'll add Scribes into this study as well because they are mentioned several times in the Gospels. Basically, the Essenes were the hippies of their time living in communes. Their founder, Tzadok (or sometimes spelled Zadok, in Hebrew meaning "Righteous"), was a priest descended from Eleazar the son of Aaron, who aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom, and was consequently instrumental in bringing King Solomon to the throne. They emerged from the exile as the dominant faction because they (correctly) connected Israel's abandoning of the Law as the reason for the punishment of exile. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Keep in mind Scribes were not a sect, they were a profession. While they shared similar religious beliefs, they did not share the taste for the “high life”. The Priests were responsible for performing sacrifices at the Temple, the primary method of worship in Ancient Israel. While the Sadducees supported the Roman rule representing mainstream Judaism to the Roman and Greek cultures. To put things simply, the Pharisees believed in the supernatural -- angels, demons, heaven, hell, and so on -- while the Sadducees did not. This is when the Sadducees reestablished themselves as a ruling power. The Essenes have gained fame in modern times as a result of the discovery of an extensive group of religious documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are commonly believed to be the Essenes' library. Going back about 700 years before Christ, the northern part of the Hebrew nation was conquered and integrated into their culture by the Assyrians (721 BC), then the southern part fell to Babylon (Persia) in 586 BC, then all of it to the Greek Empire in 331. Zealots were known in the time of Jesus as religious fanatics who defended the Law of Moses and of the national life of the Jewish people relentlessly opposing any attempt to bring Judea under the dominion of idolatrous Rome. This also included presiding over sacrifices on the yearly festivals of pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Such is the Kingdom of God: Those who are considered the least by man in self arrogance will be the greatest to God in meekness and grace. Despite their opportunism, this sect would not survive the turbulent times ahead. As a group the Pharisees are distinct for being opposed to the political rulers of Israel, focusing on ceremonial washing, and most notably for their strict adherence to the oral law, or traditions of the elders. Despite their small numbers, the Sadducees were able to maneuver themselves politically to positions of power within the Sanhedrin (a sort of religious Supreme Court) and allied themselves with the Romans. The main difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees was their differing opinions on the supernatural aspects of religion. Thank you! But, unlike the Pharisees, the Essenes denied the resurrection of the body and refused to immerse themselves in public life. They interpreted the Law with a strict literalism that often caused them to violate the very spirit of it. The Jewish scribes used the following process for creating copies of the Torah and other books in the Tanakh. Some of the more notorious were untrustworthy as they were known to take monetary bribes from the enemy to back off and at times do evil to their own people under deception in order to incite them to engage in action, riot or war whatever the prevailing situation might warrant. He relates the same information concerning piety, celibacy, the absence of personal property and of money, the belief in communality and commitment to a strict observance of the Sabbath. Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. They were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews beginning around 150 BC in the wake of the Maccabean Revolt. These documents include preserved multiple copies of the Hebrew Bible (the Torah and Tanakh) along with other literary works of the time untouched from as early as 300 BC until their discovery over 2,000 years later in 1946 AD. 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