Difference Between Pharisees and Sadducees

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.


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Teachings of Christianity include; love God, one must love people around them, one should love their enemies too, the only God can forgive sins of humans and thus one should ask for forgiveness, belief in 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 the beliefs, teachings, preaching, etc., were laid by Christ himself, although his followers did some improvisations or interpreted the teachings according to themselves 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 some group considered against Jesus for example, 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 difference between Pharisees and Sadducees is that Pharisees believed in supernatural things of religion for example angels, demons, hell or heaven etc., on the other hand, Sadducees never believe in such things. 

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 the society to teach law Some of them also believe that they separated themselves from the society as they considered themselves as religiously unclean.

Pharisees got started under Maccabees, and their main focus was to teach written and oral law and stressing upon Judaism. According to some historians, 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 centers for local worship and education. Their system of religion was more outward than genuine faith.

Beliefs of Pharisees include; the resurrection of the body, 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 who had all the powers except military powers. They were mainly the Jewish aristocrats known for their corrupt nature and devotion towards god. It is believed that their name was derived from the old testament high priest, Zadok.

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

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

Sadducees never liked Jesus and 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, they had great influence over the political system as well. 

Beliefs of Sadducees include; belief in bible, emphasized first five books of Moses, they believed God had no role in lives of human and all matters is the destiny of people, they rejected the idea of supernatural things like an angel, demon, devil, 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., on the other hand, 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” as per the modern terminology, on the other hand, Sadducees were known as “old money” as per the modern terminology.
  6. Pharisees were connected to common people of Jewish culture, on the other hand, Sadducees were connected to aristocrats.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=RS1KAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP10&dq=what+is+pharisees&ots=LdnC_bUA95&sig=2BAuhJjACQLbLEN92ix64whuVDc
  2. https://brill.com/view/journals/rrj/9/1-2/article-p126_6.xml
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