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Who were the Pharisees?

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โˆ™ 2017-01-24 20:04:46

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The Pharisees were a Jewish sect who prided themselves on strict and scrupulous adherence to the letter of the Mosaic law.

A Pharisee was a highly strict enforcer of the the traditional law of Moses. Anyone who would do anything that opposed those laws at any amount would either be criticized in public about what they were doing, they would be brought before the court of religious law because that person was reported by a Pharisee. Most of the Pharisees would also be given orders to have people arrested who didn't follow certain customs or traditions.

The Perushim (Pharisees in English) believed that God gave the Jews both a written and an oral Torah, both of which were equally binding and both of which were open to interpretation by rabbis. Pharisees were devoted to the study of Torah and the education of all people, regardless of status in society.

The Perushim detested hypocrisy and actively sought it out and criticized it whenever they encountered it. Examples of this hatred of hypocrisy can be found in the Gemara in Sotah 22B with several caricatures. They strongly denounce the pious man who cared more for his own purity than for human life; for the young woman who's overly zealous in her devotions; the widow who showed off her religious observance; and to the self-appointed Torah decisors who lacked the knowledge and qualifications to do the job.

Additionally, contrary to their main counterparts, the Tzedukim (Sadducees in English), the Perushim were strong opponents of cultural assimilation.

The Perushim were the only movement to survive the destruction of the Second Temple and were the ancestors of modern Judaism.

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โˆ™ 2017-01-24 20:04:46
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โˆ™ 2015-12-07 00:11:02

The Pharisees were one of the two largest Jewish sects in the first half of the first century CE. Whereas the Sadducees were the sect that supported, and had the support of, wealthy Jews, the Pharisees were more concerned with middle-clas and poorer Jews. They were noted for their willingness to accept foreign rule, such as by the Romans.

Some say that the word "Pharisee" came from "Farsi", a reference to their former Persian rulers, and to the fact that Pharisee beliefs were in some ways in accord with those of the Persian religion.

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โˆ™ 2017-01-24 20:07:53

The Jewish group that concentrated on the study, teaching and application of the Torah in every century was and is the Torah-sages and their many disciples, from Abraham down to today.
The word "Pharisees," which is based on a Greek misspelling used by Josephus, actually refers to the Sages of the Talmud. (The Hebrew word "p'rushim," to which he referred, means people of temperance; the opposite of epicurean.)The Torah-sages such as Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel, Chanina ben Dosa, Bava ben Buta, Shimon ben Hillel, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Akiva, and hundreds of others, were active at that time and their yeshivot (Torah-academies) were flourishing. Their tens of thousands of disciples and hundreds of thousands of sympathizers were active in the Jewish world in that generation; they were the leaders and the forefront of Judaism.

Josephus talks of three groups among the Jews in late Second-Temple times: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. This may convey the mistaken impression that the Pharisees were just one "sect" among others, when in fact Josephus himself admits that the Pharisees (Torah-sages) with their disciples and followers constituted the large majority of the Jewish people. As he himself writes (Antiquities book 18), "the cities give great attestations to them."
Although the Christian Testament portrays them poorly, in fact the Pharisees were very egalitarian. They taught that all men were created in God's image and that all had the same rights, and the same right to an education, etc. They were devoted to the practicing of kindness, charity, the fulfillment of mitzvot, the study and teaching of Torah and the education of all people, regardless of status in society. They detested hypocrisy and actively sought it out and criticized it whenever they encountered it.


The Pharisees were the only movement to survive the destruction of the Second Temple and were the ancestors of modern Judaism.
Our traditional Jewish beliefs today, including the afterlife and the resurrection, are traditions continuing from the Prophets and the Sages of the Talmud ("Pharisees").

See also the other Related Links.

Link: More ancient Jewish groups

Link: Jewish history timeline

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