Friday, July 20, 2012

Josephus:  A note on the Sadducees.

We have very little information on this Jewish sect, but they seem to be the most popular nowadays.  The Sadducees did not believe in any resurrection.  Other than that, we have the following from Antiquities of the Jews:

"4. But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent: but this doctrine is received but by a few, yet by those still of the greatest dignity. But they are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them."

"But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]."

We are usually taught that the Pharisees were the extreme limit of judgmentalism, but Josephus tells us that they were the mildest of the three sects.  The worst were the Sadducees, who also had some clearly modernist tendencies.


Delirious said...

I'm reminded of what Paul said to the Sadducees as an argument for the resurrection: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" 1 Cor. 15:29 Baptism for the dead was practiced in the early church, and it was proof that the saints believed in a resurrection. Are there Christian churches today that do not believe in the resurrection? I'm not really that familiar with the beliefs of many of the other churches.

Looney said...

I will leave you with a quote from a famous pastor, Harry Emmerson Fosdick (1878-1969): "I believe in the persistence of personality, but I do not believe in the resurrection of the flesh". He started out as a Presbyterian minister, and then switch to be a Baptist one.

Now I am curious, does his hymn show up in your hymn book? He wrote:

"God of Grace and God of Glory"