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Yeshua in Context » Sadducees

The Invisible Jews, Until the Sixth Century CE

People often think that Judaism was led by the Pharisees in an unbroken chain from before the time of Yeshua to the present day. In this mistaken notion of history, the Pharisees of Yeshua’s time were the influential leaders of world Jewry who morphed into the rabbis of renown. The truth, well-documented in such books as E.P. Sanders’s Judaism: Practice and Belief and J.D. Shaye Cohen’s From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, is that the Pharisees and the early rabbinic movement were not that influential until at least the sixth century CE. Contributing to the faulty view of rabbinic dominance in early Jewish history is the Mishnah and Talmud and Midrashic literature. This, taken together, is called rabbinic literature. And in the rabbinic literature, the dominance of the rabbinic movement is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Pharisees, Sadducees

Sadducean Scribblings #3

This series is about pointing accurately to some historical sources and contemporary historical scholars for insight into the Sadducees and chief priests. Understanding the characters in the gospels goes a long way to reading them accurately. E.P. Sanders (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE – 66 CE) gives us some helpful and thoroughly researched pointers to the identity and character of the Sadducees. Here is my summary from pg. 318: (1) There is a “high degree of correspondence” between the aristocracy in Judea/Jerusalem and the Sadducean party. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, General, Sadducees

Sadducean Scribblings #2

Steve Mason (Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins) lists some agreements about the Sadducees between the Gospel of Luke and Josephus. Here is my summary and paraphrase of his list: (1) The chief priests headed up the Judean aristocracy, the highest authorities in the land besides the Romans. (2) The chief priests exercised power through a sort of Senate called the Sanhedrin headed by the high priest. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Sadducees

Sadducean Scribblings #1

There is an unfortunate misunderstanding, common in writings about the background of Jewish life in Yeshua’s time, that the Sadducees were relatively unimportant compared to the Pharisees. Nothing could be further from the truth. And it is not hard to understand how this misunderstanding came about. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Sadducees

Galilean vs. Judean in Matthew 22

The following notes are based on a combination of observation about Matthew 22 and reading Richard Horsley’s Archaeology, History, and Society in Galilee. The potential correlations are my own hypothesizing and do not come from Horsley’s material. Richard Horsley makes the case that too little attention has been given in historical Jesus research to the latest information and guesses about religious and political differences between Galilee and Judea. Suddenly statements such as in the fourth gospel about the “Passover of the Jews” begin to make more sense (Passover at the Temple run by the Judeans and based on Judean interpretations of the Torah and the obligations of Israel). What follows is a summary of some main points from Horsley’s book (restated in my own words and greatly simplified) and a comparison with … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Galilee, Geography, Herodians, Judea, Pharisees, Sadducees