There are 4 ancient Jewish sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots.


Pharisees — the most prominent sect in the New Testament.


We will briefly describe them, and compare and contrast them with the other 3 sects if you go through the DOOR.





   Roots traced to 2nd century Hasidim [opposed Hellenizing, or Greek, influences].


   (1)  Along with the Torah, they accepted as equally inspired and authoritative, all material contained within the oral tradition.

   (2)  On free will and determination, they held to a mediating view that made it impossible for either free will or the sovereignty of God to cancel out each other.

   (3)  They accepted a rather developed hierarchy of angels and demons.

   (4)  They taught that there was a future for the dead.

   (5)  They believed in the immortality of the soul and in reward and retribution after death.

   (6)  They were champions of human equality.

   (7)  The emphasis of their teaching was ethical rather than theological



Similar time of origin to Pharisees. Denied that oral law was authoritative and binding. Argued that there was neither resurrection of the dead or a future life. No angels or demons. Rejected a spiritual world.

Died out when Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.



Similar time of origin to Pharisees from whom they separated. Strict and zealous Jews, esp. in observing purity laws. Marriage not condemned but avoided. Communal ownership of property. All happens by fate.



Originated during reign of Herod the Great c. 6 BC.  Died out 73 AD at Massada.


   ¹ Information taken from, and slightly modified, The NIV Study Bible  (Zondervan, 1985; p.1476)