Religious Sects in Palestine



Religious Sects in Palestine
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Religious Sects in Palestine - Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essenes
In the religious situation the chief fact of interest is the place occupied and prominent part played by the religious sects

  • the Pharisees

  • the Sadducees

  • the Essenes (though unmentioned in the Gospels, these had an important influence on the early history of the church)

Religious Sects in Palestine - The Pharisees
The party of legalists known in the Gospels as the "Pharisees" ("separated"), on which Christ's sternest rebukes fell for their self-righteousness, ostentation, pride and lack of sympathy and charity (Matthew 6:2; 23; Luke 18:9-14). They gloried in an excessive scrupulosity in the observance of the externals of the law, even in trivialities. To them the multitude that knew not the law were "accursed" (John 7:49). To this party the great body of the scribes and rabbis belonged, and its powerful influence was eagerly sought by contending factions in the state.

Religious Sects in Palestine - The Sadducees
Alongside of the Pharisees were the "Sadducees" (probably from "Zadok")--rather a political and aristocratic clique than a religious sect, into whose possession the honors of the high-priesthood and other influential offices hereditarily passed. They are first met with by name under John Hyrcanus (135-106 BC). The Sadducees received only the law of Moses, interpreted it in a literal, secularistic spirit, rejected the Pharisaic traditions and believed in neither resurrection, angel nor spirit (Acts 23:8). Usually in rivalry with the Pharisees, they are found combining with these to destroy Jesus (Matthew 26:3-5,57).

Religious Sects in Palestine
The third party, the "Essenes," differed from both in living in fraternities apart from the general community, chiefly in the desert of Engedi, on the Northwest shore of the Dead Sea, though some were found also in villages and towns:

  • rejecting animal sacrifices

  • sending only gifts of incense to the temple

  • practicing celibacy and community of goods

  • wearing of white garments

  • certain customs (as greeting the sunrise with prayers) suggestive of oriental influence

  • They forbade slavery, war, oaths, were given to occult studies, had secret doctrines and books, etc

  • they do not appear in the Gospel, but on account of certain resemblances, some have sought to establish a connection between them and John the Baptist and Jesus. In reality, however, nothing could be more opposed than Essenism to the essential ideas and spirit of Christ's teaching

Religious Sects in Palestine - A Free Christian Bible Study Resource
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Religious Sects in Palestine

Religious Sects in Palestine

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Religious Sects in Palestine

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