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Sadducees (săd'du-seez). One of the Jewish sects of which we read in the New Testament. They were in sharp opposition to the Pharisees, but ready to work with them against the person and teaching of Jesus. Their origin is involved in some obscurity; probably sprung from Zadok. See Bissell's Biblical Antiquities. The tenets of the Sadducees may be gathered from the notices we have of them in the New Testament, illustrated by the account given by Josephus, Antiq. lib. xiii. 5, 19, 10, § 6, lib. xviii. 1, § 4. They disregarded the traditions and unwritten laws which the Pharisees prized so highly, and professed to take the Scriptures as the sole authoritative guide of religion. They denied the existence of angels and spirits, and maintained that there was no resurrection, Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:8, the soul according to them dying with the body; hence they denied a future state of reward or punishment. It was their maxim therefore that actions to be virtuous must not be done in hope of recompense. Another principle of their belief was the absolute freedom of man's will, so that he had full power of himself to do good or evil as he chose; and then only could his actions have a moral value. But this view was pushed so far as almost entirely to exclude the divine interposition in the government of the world. The Sadducees were not so numerous as the Pharisees; nor were their tenets so acceptable to the people. Yet many of their body were men of wealth and influence. They were found in the supreme council; and in the time of Christ and the apostles a Sadducee filled the office of high priest. Acts 4:1; Acts 5:17; Acts 23:6. Their party had, moreover, a political complexion: they were austere, it may be added, in their habits, and severe in the administration of justice. After the first century of the Christian era they disappear from history.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Sadducees'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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