Pharisees: Definition, History, Legacy & Features

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Pharisees: Definition, History, Legacy & Features of Pharisee

Pharisees: Definition, History, Legacy & Features
Pharisees: Definition, History, Legacy & Features

PhariseesPolitical and religious movement belonging to Judaism.

Who were the Pharisees?

The Pharisees were a political and religious movement belonging to Judaism that emerged between 587 and 536 BC, whose doctrine evolved and was strengthened during the 2nd century AD.

These were considered the most influential group within their religion, which politically represented the Jews. They were men dedicated to business and social relations among the population.

Among some of their values, the Pharisees opposed the policy of the high priest and, after the fall of the temple, moved their manifestation to the synagogue, the religious meeting house.

Furthermore, they believed in oral teaching and were strictly governed by the laws of the Old Testament. It is considered that the Pharisees tended to believe themselves superior to others and that from the Bible they were known as men of false morals.

In general, they were highly educated people who belonged to the middle class and had a great influence on the population.

Features of the Pharisees

Among the main doctrines and elements that characterized the Pharisees, we can highlight that:

  • They were intellectual Jews with great political and social influence.
  • They taught and defended their doctrine strictly and considered that their thinking was superior to that of others.
  • They believed in the immortality of the soul, life after death, and the resurrection of good spirits in eternal bodies.
  • They believed in the destiny of life but, also, that human beings were free to make decisions, since God controlled everything but each individual gave his life his own destiny.
  • They obeyed the tradition about the rites of worship and religious obligations.
  • They believed in punishment and reward for souls after death.

Customs and Traditions of the Pharisees

Some of the customs and traditions practiced by the Pharisees were as follows:

  • Being so strict in their doctrine, they did not allow marriages with pagan people.
  • They concentrated their religious worship in the synagogue and not through the high priest, differentiating themselves, among other things, from the Sadducees.
  • They were very concerned about social status and the opinion of society about them.
  • They belonged to the middle class and had great support from merchants and politicians.
  • They were against the influences of Jesus even though it is said that the Pharisees, based on their doctrine on the resurrection of the dead, opened the doors to Christianity as a religion.
  • His dogma evolved into what is known today as Rabbinic Judaism.
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