23 Facts About Pharisees


Pharisees were a Jewish social movement and a school of thought in the Levant during the time of Second Temple Judaism.

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Pharisees claimed that the Pharisees' influence over the common people was so great that anything they said against the king or the high priest was believed, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees, who were the upper class.

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Pharisees claimed Mosaic authority for their interpretation of Jewish Laws, while Sadducees represented the authority of the priestly privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon, when Zadok, their ancestor, officiated as high priest.

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Pharisees have been made notable by numerous references to them in the New Testament.

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Pharisees did not allow the restoration of the Judean monarchy, which left the Judean priests as the dominant authority.

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Pharisees imposed a program of forced Hellenization, requiring Jews to abandon their own laws and customs, thus precipitating the Maccabean Revolt.

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Josephus indicates that the Pharisees received the backing and good-will of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees associated with the ruling classes.

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Pharisees's actions caused a riot in the Temple, and led to a brief civil war that ended with a bloody repression of the Pharisees.

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The Pharisees seemed to be in a vulnerable position at this time.

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Later texts like the Mishnah and the Talmud record a host of rulings by rabbis, some of whom are believed to be from among the Pharisees, concerning sacrifices and other ritual practices in the Temple, torts, criminal law, and governance.

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Pharisees opened Jerusalem's gates to the Romans, and actively supported them against the Sadducean faction.

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At first the values of the Pharisees developed through their sectarian debates with the Sadducees; then they developed through internal, non-sectarian debates over the law as an adaptation to life without the Temple, and life in exile, and eventually, to a more limited degree, life in conflict with Christianity.

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One belief central to the Pharisees which was shared by all Jews of the time is monotheism.

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Fundamentally, the Pharisees continued a form of Judaism that extended beyond the Temple, applying Jewish law to mundane activities in order to sanctify the everyday world.

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Pharisees suggests that two things fundamentally distinguished the Pharisaic from the Sadducean approach to the Torah.

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Pharisees believed that the idea that all of the children of Israel were to be like priests was expressed elsewhere in the Torah, for example, when the Law itself was transferred from the sphere of the priesthood to every man in Israel.

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The Pharisees believed that all Jews in their ordinary life, and not just the Temple priesthood or Jews visiting the Temple, should observe rules and rituals concerning purification.

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Standard view is that the Pharisees differed from Sadducees in the sense that they accepted the Oral Torah in addition to the Scripture.

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Commitment to relate religion to daily life through the law has led some to infer that the Pharisees were more legalistic than other sects in the Second Temple Era.

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Pharisees were innovators in that they enacted specific laws as they saw necessary according to the needs of the time.

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Pharisees appear in the New Testament, engaging in conflicts between themselves and John the Baptist and with Jesus, and because Nicodemus the Pharisee with Joseph of Arimathea entombed Jesus' body at great personal risk.

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New Testament, particularly the Synoptic Gospels, presents especially the leadership of the Pharisees as obsessed with man-made rules whereas Jesus is more concerned with God's love; the Pharisees scorn sinners whereas Jesus seeks them out.

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Hyam Maccoby speculated that Jesus was himself a Pharisee and that his arguments with Pharisees is a sign of inclusion rather than fundamental conflict.

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