The Difference Between the Sadducees and the Pharisees

To me both the Pharisees and Sadducees were fundamentalists. They had different foundations. The Pharisees saw the Torah and Prophets as their foundation and the Sadducees saw only the Pentateuch (5 books of Moses) and the Temple as the foundation. The Sadducees ruled the temple, the Sanhedrin and the nation in the days of Yahshuah. They were interlopers having stolen the kingship (from the descendants of Judah) and the priesthood (from the sons of Zaddok) during the days of the Maccabees. The Sadducees bought the high priesthood from the Greek and then later the Roman governors.

The Pharisees were a group of Tenach believing Jews who rose up against the Sadducees around 160 BC declaring that they were usurpers and illegitimate. Josephus reports that 800 Pharisees were crucified and as they hung dying their families were brought before them and slain by the Sadducees. Therefore, there was actually a bloody civil war between the two fundamentalist factions.

When the Sadducees were in power, they forced all the Edomites to convert or be killed. That is how at the time of Yahshuah, a non-Jewish Edomite, Herod, became the ruler in Israel.

Often Christians are told that liberals are Sadducees and conservatives are Pharisees. Both groups were radically conservative but in different ways. Both worshipped God in the flesh and not the spirit. Both were legalists. Both were militant and murderous. Both were involved in political intrigue it just happened that during the time of Yahshuah the Sadducees had the upper hand. The Sadducees did not believe in the afterlife or in demons nor angels. They admired the Greeks for their education, philosophy, arts, clothes, theatre, government, military prowess, empire, and sports.

It would not be fair to categorize the Sadducees as liberals however for they were archly conservative about the Pentateuch and the Temple and preservation of the nation and had a fascist superiority about their race. They viewed the Pharisees who were from the lower classes as the liberals who were teaching tales of demons, and Satan, and that the soul did not die at the grave.

Christians have been falsely taught that liberal Christians are like Sadducees and Conservative Christians are like Pharisees. Both groups were rabid legalists and extreme conservatives -the blind fighting the blind.

Yahshuah warned his followers to beware of the teachings of the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Herodians. So Yahshuah is saying do not follow the traditions, commandments, or philosophies of the Greeks, the Romans, or the Hebrews. They are all the teachings of men, and will lead you away from the teachings of Yahveh.