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June 18, 2005


Figures 3

The Sadducees figure in the first-century context as a group whose identity focuses on the Temple, the priesthood, and the Torah. They vanish from historical view with the fall of the Temple, and no distinctly Sadducean texts survive.

Josephus and the gospels sketch a group whose emphasis on the Temple entangles them with the Roman occupation and with the wealthier class of Judeans. They were presumably ready to accommodate Roman rule in order to preserve the Temple and its sacrifical worship. The High Priest and his associated clients and supporters were Sadducees.

As they upheld a strict interpretation of the Torah — and only the written Torah — they found no evidence for the existence of a resurrection from the dead, nor of “angels” as spiritual beings.

They thus dissented from the Pharisees over the status of teachings from after the Torah (evidently including the Former and Latter Prophets and the Writings, as well as the oral Torah); from the Essenes, over the legitimacy of the High Priesthood and the Jerusalem Temple; and with rebellious groups over complicity with the Romans.

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External Links:

Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-06), “Sadducees”

Wikipedia, “Sadducees”

Ecole Initiative, “Sadducees”

Posted by AKMA at June 18, 2005 07:04 PM