Jewish social movement and school of thought
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The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism.

Jesus and the Pharisees (Gustave Doré, 1866)


  • The Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence.
  • The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
  • But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
  • You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
  • The scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
  • Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
  • The sinners would have included those who did not pay their tithes (one tenth of their income) to the priests, and those who were negligent about the sabbath rest and about ritual cleanliness. The laws and customs on these matters were so complicated that the uneducated were quite incapable of understanding what was expected of them. Education is those days [Biblical times] was a matter of knowing … the law and all its ramifications. The illiterate and uneducated were inevitably lawless and immoral. The ‘am ha-arez, or uneducated peasants, ‘the rabble who know nothing of the law’ (John 7:49) were regarded by even the most enlightened Pharisees, like Hillel, as incapable of virtue and piety.
    • Albert Nolan, Jesus Before Christianity: The Gospel of Liberation (1976), p. 23.

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