|Sadducees - |
Matthew 3:7; Matthew 16:1; Matthew 16:6; Matthew 16:11-12; Matthew 22:23; Matthew 22:34; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 4:1; Acts 5:17; Acts 23:6-8. Matthew (as distinguished from Mark) does not usually explain Jewish usages, taking for granted that his readers are familiar with them. His deviating from his wont to explain "the S. say there is no resurrection" is cleared up by what Josephus (Ant. 18:1, section 4) states "the doctrine of the Sadducees is that the soul and body perish together; the law is all that they are concerned to, observe; this doctrine however has not many followers, but those of the highest rank, ... almost nothing of public business falls into their hands." See also his B. J., ii. 8, section 14. Thus the Jews might easily be ill informed as to the dogmas of a sect, small in numbers, raised above those masses to whom Matthew addresses himself, and to whom therefore his information would not have been superfluous.
Another undesigned coincidence, confirming the sacred writers accuracy, is that the opposition to Christ in the Gospels is almost exclusively on the part of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:29; Matthew 23:32; John 11:57; John 18:3) and His denunciations are mainly against these; but in Acts on the part of the Sadducees (Acts 4:1; Acts 5:17; Acts 23:6; Acts 23:8). Why so? Because the resurrection of the dead (the doctrine denied by the Sadducees), which was scarcely understood during the Gospels' period (Mark 9:10), became the leading doctrine of Christianity in connection with the apostles' witness for Christ's resurrection at the time described in Acts 1:22; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:2 (Greek "preached in the person of Jesus the resurrection from the dead"), Acts 4:10; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:40; and was therefore bitterly opposed by the Sadducees.
John never mentions them, and no writing of theirs has come down to us. They denied the oral and upheld the written law. Rabbi Nathan (first mentioned in the Aruch, a rabbiical dictionary, A.D. 1105) states that Antigonus of Socho (mentioned in the Mishna, Avoth 1, as having received the oral law from Simon the Just, last of the great synagogue). had two disciples, who in turn taught disciples his saying "be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of reward, but serve without view of reward"; and that the disciples reasoned, "if our fathers had known that there is another world, and a resurrection of the dead, they would not have spoken thus"; so they separated themselves from the law (and denied there is another world and a resurrection); "so there arose two sects, the Zadokites from Zadok, and Baithusians from Baithos." But this does not justify the modern notion that Zadok himself misinterpreted Antigonus' saying; still the Sadducees might claim this Zadok as their head.
But the Zadok from whom the Sadducees are named may be rather the famous Zadok who superseded Abiathar under Solomon (1 Kings 2:35); "the house of Zadok," "the sons of Zadok," "the seed of Zadok" are named with preeminent honour in 2 Chronicles 31:10; Ezekiel 40:46; Ezekiel 42:19; Ezekiel 44:15; Ezekiel 48:11; so they became a kind of sacerdotal aristocracy, including the high priests' families; compare Mishna, Sanhed. iv. 2, which ordains that only priests, Levites, and Israelites whose daughters might marry priests, were "clean" so as to be judges in capital trials; also Acts 5:17, "the high-priest, and all that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees." Besides their reasonable denial of an oral law, which the Pharisees maintained was transmitted by Moses, the Sadducees denied the resurrection because it is not explicitly stated in Moses' Pentateuch, the legislator's sanctions of the law being primarily temporal rewards and punishments (Exodus 20:12; Exodus 23:25-26; Deuteronomy 7:12-15; Deuteronomy 28:1-12; Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
Christ (Matthew 22:31-32; Luke 20:37) however shows that even Exodus 3:6; Exodus 3:16 suffices to prove the resurrection; and Hebrew 11 quotes the patriarchs as examples of a faith which looked beyond the present for eternal rewards. Job (Job 19:26), Isaiah (Isaiah 26:19), Daniel (Daniel 12:2), and David (Psalm 16; Psalm 17) express the same faith, the germ of which is in the Pentateuch (See RESURRECTION.) The Pharisees, though wrong in maintaining oral tradition as obligatory, yet preserved in respect to the resurrection the faith of the fathers. In Acts 23:8 "the Sadducees" are said to disbelieve in "angel or spirit"; but angels are often introduced in the Pentateuch, which the Sadducees admitted (Genesis 16:7; Genesis 19:1; Genesis 22:11; Genesis 28:12; Exodus 23:20; Numbers 22:23); and Josephus and the Mishna do not mention their disbelief of angels.
Probably it is only their disbelief of angelic communications to men in their time, such as the Pharisees suggested (Acts 23:9) may have been made to Paul, that the Sadducees denied. Josephus states, "the Pharisees say that some things are the work of fate (he should have said God's providence; he uses the Roman mode of expression), but others in our own power to be or not to be; the Essenes, that fate rules all things. The Sadducees make all things in the power of ourselves as the causes of our good things, and meeting with evils through our own inconsiderateness" (Ant. 18:1, section 3; B. J. 2:8, section 14).
The Sadducees, though giving paramount authority to Moses' Pentateuch, did not as Epiphanius asserts (Haer. 14) reject the other Scriptures; for Josephus would certainly have mentioned it were it so. After the fall of Jerusalem the Sadducees doctrine disappeared, the afflicted Jews instinctively turning for consolation from the sad present to the bright hope of an eternal future life. The Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Herodians of Jesus' day represent the three schools antagonistic to vital Christianity in our days: infidelity; superstition, spiritualism and spiritual pride; worldly compromise. This "leaven" (see Leviticus 2:11; 1 Corinthians 5:8) Jesus warns against; called "doctrine" in Matthew 16:12, "hypocrisy" in Luke 12:1, "the leaven of Herod" Mark 8:15; Antichrist's antitrinity, the three frogs out of the mouth of the dragon, the false prophet, and the beast (Revelation 16:13-14).