What are the differences between the Sadducees and Pharisees?

Question: “What are the differences between the Sadducees and Pharisees?”

Answer: The Gospels refer often to the Sadducees and Pharisees, as Jesus was in almost constant conflict with them. The Sadducees and Pharisees comprised the ruling class of Jews in Israel. There are some similarities between the two groups but important differences between them as well.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees were both religious sects within Judaism during the time of Christ. Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

The differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees are known to us through a couple of passages of Scripture and through the extant writings of the Pharisees. Religiously, the Sadducees were more conservative in one doctrinal area: they insisted on a literal interpretation of the text of Scripture; the Pharisees, on the other hand, gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God. If the Sadducees couldn’t find a command in the Tanakh, they dismissed it as manmade. . . .

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