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The place of the sadducees in first-century judaism

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Chapter Summary

Traditional scholarship has long portrayed the Sadducees in first century Judaea as wealthy aristocrats, primarily of priestly origins, whose lifestyle was more secular and hellenized than that of other Jews. Beyond the references in the Gospels and Acts, the only Greek references of any value are those in the writings of Josephus, since all later Christian commentators seem to have derived their material either from him or from the New Testament. Reference to Sadducees is in fact first made in the early Hasmonaean period, and many have therefore surmised that this is where they originated. Josephus described Sadducaism as one of the philosophies any religious Jew might espouse. It is not hard to imagine the probable attitude of ordinary Jews to radical biblical fundamentalists who rejected wholesale much in Judaism to which they held dear.

Keywords: Gospels; Jews; Josephus; Judaism; New Testament; Sadducees



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