Pharisees vs Sadducees: Difference and Comparison

Christianity is a monotheistic religion which teaches about life given by Jesus Nazareth. Adherents of Christianity are known as Christians. Christianity is one of the most followed religions in the world. There are several beliefs in Christianity.

Teachings of Christianity include; loving God, one must love people around them, should love their enemies too, that only God can forgive the sins of humans, and thus one should ask for forgiveness, the belief that God will purify the soul, Jesus Christ is the Messiah and has been provided with the power to forgive sins of humans, forgiveness is key to humbleness.

The holy book of Christianity is the Bible, in which Christ laid the beliefs, teachings, preaching, etc., by himself; However, his followers did some improvisations or interpreted the teachings according to themselves, but the basics remained the same.

Different sects got divided as per the different beliefs. 

As per the bible, Jesus was a human being, and thus, he had some enemies as well; people or groups considered against Jesus, such as Pharisees and Sadducees.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Pharisees and Sadducees were two prominent Jewish sects during the Second Temple period.
  2. Pharisees were known for their strict adherence to the Law and belief in the afterlife, while Sadducees rejected the Oral Law and denied the afterlife.
  3. Pharisees were more popular among the common people, while Sadducees were more influential among the aristocracy and Temple priesthood.

Pharisees vs Sadducees

The Pharisees and Sadducees were Jewish sects. The Pharisees emphasized the importance of Jewish law and tradition and believed in the oral law, angels, the afterlife, and the coming of the Messiah. The Sadducees were more conservative, rejected oral law, and only believed in the written law. They were associated with the Jewish Temple and its rituals.

Pharisees vs Sadducees

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Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison PhariseesSadducees
The idea of the resurrection of the body BelievedDid not believe 
Oral teachings of the law BelievedDid not believe
Supernatural elements BelievedDid not believe
Modern terminology New moneyOld money 
Connected to Common people of Jewish culture Aristocrats 

What are Pharisees?

According to the Bible, Pharisees were the members of religious parties for workers engaged in conflict with Jesus Christ over his elucidation of law. They form the largest religious, political party in the new testament times.

“Pharisees” means “separated ones”, It is believed that Pharisees separated themselves from society to teach law. Some also believe they separated themselves from society as they considered themselves religiously unclean.

Pharisees got started under Maccabees, and their main focus was to teach written and oral law and to stress Judaism. Some historians say Pharisees maintained a simple life and were influential throughout Israel.

They seemed affectionate and humble. They laid great emphasis on oral tradition.

Pharisees started Jewish meeting places known as synagogues, which became local worship and education centres. Their system of religion was more outward than genuine faith.

Beliefs of Pharisees included; the resurrection of the body and life after death; they believed that God should be believed and worshipped even outside the temple, education, oral teachings, etc., their beliefs were conflicting when compared to Jesus.

Pharisees, after getting along with Sadducees, conspired against Jesus. 


What are Sadducees?

Sadducees were the members of a religious group of Israel with all the powers except military powers. They were mainly the Jewish aristocrats known for their corrupt nature and devotion towards god. Their name was believed to be derived from the old testament high priest, Zadok.

As mentioned in the bible, Sadducees had strong control over two institutions: the Sanhedrin and the Jerusalem temple. Sanhedrin was used for governance and legal issues of Jews; it was controlled by a high priest, a king, an authority, a Sadducee.

As per the bible, Sadducees were described as a “brood of vipers”; Jesus called them a “wicked and adulterous generation”. Jesus even talked about Sadducees and warned their disciples about the deceptive teachings.

Sadducees never liked Jesus; thus, they shook hands with Pharisees to conspire against Jesus.

One of the distinctive features of Sadducees is that the members were mainly aristocrats or noble by birth. It is believed that Sadducees had good connections with the political authorities of Rome and thus had great influence over the political system. 

Beliefs of Sadducees include; the belief in the bible, emphasising the first five books of Moses; they believed God had no role in the lives of humans and that all matters is the destiny of people; they rejected the idea of supernatural things like an angel, demon, devils, hell, or heaven, etc., they strictly prohibited the oral tradition of Pharisees. 


Main Differences Between Pharisees and Sadducees 

  1. Pharisees believed in the idea of the resurrection of the body; on the other hand, Sadducees rejected the idea of the resurrection of the body.
  2. Pharisees believed in supernatural elements like hell, heaven, demon, angels, etc.; however, Sadducees did not believe in such concepts.
  3. Pharisees’ teachings and beliefs included oral traditions of teaching the law. On the other hand, Sadducees teaching and beliefs rejected the oral tradition of teaching the law.
  4. Pharisees were much devoted towards the cultural practices of Judaism; on the other hand, Sadducees were more focused towards politics and other sectors except the military.
  5. Pharisees were known as “new money” per modern terminology; on the other hand, Sadducees were known as “old money” per modern terminology.
  6. Pharisees were connected to common people of Jewish culture; on the other hand, Sadducees were connected to aristocrats.



Last Updated : July 13th, 2023

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