The Sadducees were the Jewish elite, named probably from: Zadokites, the name of the chief class and arose from the priests. In general they held opposite views to those of the Pharisees and were more of a political party than a religious one. The Sadducean priests accomplished His crucifixion, lest He should diminish their Temple gains. The Sadducees were the reactionaries, standing rigidly for the written Scripture as the sole authority for their faith and including in their scripture only the five Books of Moses. The Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead, angels and spirits.

Precisionists in the interpretation of the Law, the Sadducees were harsh in its enforcement. They would require, for example, that in cases of personal injury, the rule, "eye for an eye," be literally enforced, whereas the Pharisees allowed compensation by a fine. This comparatively small group representing wealth and political power in Jerusalem were orthodox believers of the old school, of whom Josephus said: "Their doctrine reaches only a few men, but those who hold the highest offices." The Sadducees were tied to the Jewish state and temple. If collaboration with Rome would help sustain even the semi-independence of the state, they were collaborationists; when war at last broke out and the state was threatened with destruction, they fought with the Zealots to preserve it. When at last the state and temple fell, the Sadducees were finished and passed out of history.

Jesus first actual conflict was with the Sadducees when he scourged the money changers and animal sellers from the Temple, for the Temple was under Sadducee control. The fact that they were always in control was another reason why the moral prestige, if not actually the official authority, of the high priests was at a very low ebb at the time of Jesus. Not only was this aristocratic faction cordially disliked by the people, but its doctrinal tendencies were opposed by the democratic Pharisees and therefore by the Scribes, the majority of whom were also Pharisees. It is generally believed that the Pharisees were conservative and the Sadducees the liberals, more given to innovations; this should be reversed.

The Sadducees stood for Temple, Priest, and Sacrifice - the pre-prophetic concept of Judaism. With the High Priest came the Sadducees, the wealthy aristocratic class, not many of them, but they were very rich and of great influence. It is one of the great examples of how a party of men, in order to retain their vested interests, would not themselves listen to the truth or give anyone else a chance to hear it. They constituted a tightly closed circle of influential families who wielded great political power by virtue of their control of the Sanhedrin and their favored status in the eyes of the Roman rulers. Their position was best maintained by cooperation with Rome. Like the most ignorant of societies, their political and religious outlook was conservative, aimed at preserving both the temple and their own authority. Most Sadducees were priests or members of the Jewish aristocracy - privileged. They refused to believe in an afterlife, or to admit that scripture afforded any such warrant for its belief. The Sadducees were a kind of hereditary caste who entered into political life and for some time controlled the temple in Jerusalem. They tended to conform to Hellenism and to lead the Hellenistic party, so far as such a party is said to exist. As such they held to the written and repudiated the oral Jewish Law. They also rejected personal immortality, judgment after death, angels, and devils. They displayed little religious conviction and did not have enduring influence. To the Sadducee, the Written Word was the all in all. He was the ignorant conservative like we see today in the Christian church, the anti-progressive, illiberal, holding fast to the law and adhering closely to the letter. There was a saying in Jerusalem that when a Sadducee ate, a Scribe belched for him.
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