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Yeshua in Context » Background to Gospels, Pharisees » Pharisee Facts #1

Pharisee Facts #1

Earliest uses of the term Pharisee: Paul’s letters (50′s CE), Mark’s gospel (probably 60′s CE), Josephus’ works (80-90 CE).

Earliest references to Pharisees: Dead Sea Scrolls perhaps refer to Pharisees with terms like “seekers of smooth things.”

Earliest historical appearance of Pharisees: reign of Jonathan (161-143 BCE).

Earliest event specifically mentioned to involve them: They asked Hyrcanus to step down as high priest, leading him to abandon the Pharisee party and become a Sadducee (c. 135-104 BCE, Josephus Antiq. 13.288-298).

Earliest literature by a Pharisee: many scholars believe the Psalms of Solomon (c. 60 BCE) are written by Pharisees.

Reference: Sanders, E.P. Judaism: Practice and Belief. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1992.

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