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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(strictly Sadducce'an, Σαδδουκαῖος [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]), the usual designation of one of the three sects or orders of Judaism in the time of Christ, the other two being the Essenes and the Pharisees. They were originally a religious party, if such free thinkers could fairly be so designated. (See SECTS, JEWISH).
I. Name of the Sect and its Signification. — According to the current tradition of the Jews, the appellation צִדּוּקַי, Tsaddukim, of which Σαδδουκαῖοι = Sadduccei is the Greek form (used by Josephus and the New Test. as above), is derived from Zadok, the name of the founder of this sect, who was a disciple of Antigonus of Soho, B.C. 200-170. (See SCHOOL). This is not onlv declared in the Aboth di Rabbi ANathan (cap. 5), but by Saadia Gaon, 892-942 A.D.; by R. Nathan (cir. 1030-1106 A.D.), in his lexicon called Aruch, s.v. ביתוסין; by Maimonides (1135- 1204 A.D.), in his commentary on Aboth (1, 3), but by the greatest Jewish authorities since the 9th century of the Christian era. Dr. Geiger, who, in his Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel (p. 105), argues in a most elaborate manner that there are not sufficient historical data for deriving the name Sadducee from Zadok, a disciple of Antigonus of Soho, derives it, nevertheless, from this proper name, which he assigns to another person of an earlier date, as will be seen in the sequel. Epiphanius, however, seems to derive it from a double source — viz. from a proper name Zadok, and from the Hebrew noun צֶדֶק, righteousness. He says that they call themselves Sadducees because this name is derived from righteousness, as Zedek denotes righteousness (Ε᾿πονομάζουσιν ἑαυτοὺς Σαδδουκαίους δῆθεν ἀπὸ δικαιοσύνης τῆς ἐπικλήσεως ὁρμωμένης· σεδὲκ γὰρ ἑρμηνεύεται δικαιοσύνη ), and that there was also anciently a priest named Zadok, but they did not continue in the doctrines of their (ἐπιστάτης ) chief (Adiersus Hoereses, 1, 14). Dr. Low rejects altogether the derivation of Sadducee from the proper name Zadok, for the following reasons:
(1.) Because there is no precedent in the whole ancient Jewish history for the followers of a sect to be called by the name of the chief of the sect, and that it is as contrary to the genius of the Hebrew if צדוקי is taken as the proper name צרוק, with י appended, to translate it a follower of Zadok, as it would be to render ירבעמי, a follower of Jeroboam.
(2.) The older Talmudic literature knows nothing of Zadok and Boethus, the supposed originators of the Sadducees.
(3.) The Sadducees, as is evident from ancient sources, called themselves צִדַּיקַי ם, the righteous (Epiphanius, Adversus Hoereses, 1, 1, 4). Hence Dr. Low concludes that, in harmony with his Hebrew name צִדַּיק, the Sadducee called himself in Greek εὐθύς, the straightforwarid, open, honest, righteous, and that the opponents of this sect changed both the honorable Hebrew appellation צריקי ם; into צרוקי ם (hence the singular צדוקי = Sadducee), and the Greek name εὐθύς, which is written in Hebrew אבתוס (according to the analogy of אבגינוס = εὐγενής ), into ביתוס, from which originated ביתוסי ם, Boethusians. He moreover maintains that it is for this reason that the Talmud makes no distinction between the Sadducees and the Boethusians (Ben-Chananja, 1, 346 sq.). This definition of the appellation Sadducee is entirely speculative, and its soundness must be determined by an examination of the rise, progress, and doctrines of the Sadducees. Besides, the first objection against the derivation of צדוקי from the proper name צדוק is set aside by the fact that the first Karaites called themselves ענניי ם, followers of Anan, Ananites; so that ענני, an Asnanite, is an exact parallel to צדוקי, a Zadokite. Still more speculative, and altogether unique, is the opinion of Koster that "Sadducee is simply a different form of Stoic" (Studien und Kritiken, 1837, p. 164). According to some readings the Sadducees also called themselves קראי ם, Scripturalists, Bible-followers, Karaites (Megilla, 24 b; Jerusalem Megilla, 4:9), because they adhered to the written law. This is in perfect accordance with the ancient custom of calling a Biblical student by the honorable Hebrew appellation קָרִא (formed according to the analogy of דִּיָּן ); or by the Aramaic form קָרוֹי (defective of קיויא ), or קָרִי, formed according to the analogy of זִכִּי . Thus Chanina, Abba Chalifa, Eliezer ben-Simon, and Levi ben-Sisi, were designated by this title (Taanith, 27 b; Baba Bathra, 123; Midrash Rabba on Levit. cap. 30; Jalkut, On the Song of Songs, § 533); and the Talmud tells us that those were deemed worthy of this name "who understood how to read accurately the law, the prophets, and the Hagiographa" (comp. Kiddushin, 42; Furst, Karaerothum, p. 129).
II. Scripture Notices. — Although frequently mentioned in the New Test. in conjunction with the Pharisees, they do not throw such vivid light as their great antagonists on the real significance of Christianity. Except on one occasion, when they united with the Pharisees in insidiously asking for a sign from heaven (Matthew 16:1; Matthew 16:4; Matthew 16:6), Christ never assailed the Sadducees with the same bitter denunciations which he uttered against the Pharisees; and they do not, like the Pharisees, seem to have taken active measures for causing him to be put to death. In this respect, and in many others, they have not been so influential as the Pharisees in the world's history; but still they deserve attention, as representing Jewish ideas before the Pharisees became triumphant, and as illustrating one phase of Jewish thought at the time when the new religion of Christianity, destined to produce such a momentous revolution in the opinions of mankind, issued from Judaea.
The Sadducees are not spoken of at all in the fourth Gospel, where the Pharisees are frequently mentioned (John 7:32; John 7:45; John 11:47; John 11:57; John 18:3; John 8:3; John 8:13-19; John 9:13); an omission which, as Geiger suggests, is not unimportant in reference to the criticism of the Gospels (ut sup. p. 107). Moreover, while Paul had been a Pharisee and was the soil of a Pharisee, while Josephus was a Pharisee, and the Mishna was a Pharisaical digest of Pharisaical opinions and practices, not a single undoubted writing of an acknowledged Sadducee has come down to us, so that for an acquaintance with their opinions we are mainly dependent on their antagonists. This point should always be borne in mind in judging their opinions and forming an estimate of their character, and its full bearing will be duly appreciated by those who reflect that even at the present day, with all the checks against misrepresentation arising from publicity and the invention of printing, probably no religious or political party in any country would be content to accept the statements of an opponent as giving a correct view of its opinions.
III. The Tenets and Practices of the Sadducees. — To apprehend duly the doctrines and usages of this sect, it must be borne in mind that the Sadducees were the aristocratic and conservative priestly party, who clung to their ancient prerogatives and resisted every innovation which the ever- shifting circumstances of the commonwealth demanded; while their opponents, the Pharisees, were the liberals, the representatives of the people their principle being so to develop and modify the Mosaic law as to adapt it to the requirements of the time, and to make the people at large realize that they were "a people of priests, a holy nation." Thus, standing immovably upon the ancient basis, the Sadducees, whose differences were at first chiefly political, afterwards extended these differences to doctrinal, legal, and ritual questions.
A. Political Opinions. — The primary political difference between the two sects was that the Sadducees maintained that a man's destiny is in his own hands, and that human ingenuity and statecraft are therefore to be resorted to in political matters; while the Pharisees clung to the conviction that the political relations with foreign nations, like the theocracy at home, are under the immediate control of the holy one of Israel (Josephus, Ant. 13, 5, 9; 18, 1, 4, with War, 2, 8, 14; Mishna, Berachoth, 33 b; Nidah, 16, 72). That the Sadducees, who were the real aristocracy (Josephus, Ant. 18:1, 4) and the successful warriors in the Maccabaean struggles (ibid. 13:16, 2; War, 1, 5, 3), should have espoused such political views was the natural result of their political success. Moreover, the doctrine that what a man possesses is what he deserves was peculiarly gratifying to the successful and aristocratic caste. Besides, in this respect, as in all other matters, the Sadducees showed their conservatism in abiding by the Pentateuchal views that a man is rewarded in this world according to his deeds, and that prosperity and adversity are a test of piety and wickedness (Deuteronomy 28:1-68, with Psalms 37:25).
B. Doctrinal Views. —
1. Rejection of the Oral Law. Foremost among the doctrines of the Sadducees is the tenet that the Hebrew Scriptures, with the authoritative explanations and glosses which developed themselves in the course of time, are the sole rule of faith and practice, thus denying that there existed any orally transmitted law to supplement the written law, to which their opponents the Pharisees laid claim; or, as Josephus states it, "the Pharisees have given to the people many statutes from the traditions of the fathers which are not written in the law of Moses; and it is for this reason that the Sadducees reject them, saying that it is only the written observances which are binding, but those which are transmitted by the fathers are not to be observed" (Ant. 13:10, 6). For the better understanding of this important question, it must be remarked that the Pharisees and the orthodox Jews to the present day have an oral law in addition to the written law. This oral law consists of sundry religious, ceremonial, and social practices which obtained in the course of time, and which were called forth either through the obscurity, conciseness, and apparent contradiction of some of the written enactments, or through the inapplicability of some of the Mosaic statutes to the ever changing circumstances of the commonwealth.
Some of the enactments contained in this oral code are undoubtedly as old as the original laws which they supplement and explain, so as to adapt them to exceptional cases not specified in the Mosaic law; others, again, were introduced by the spiritual heads of the nation after the return from the Babylonian captivity, because the altered state of the nation absolutely required these regulations, although there was no basis in the Mosaic law for them; while others originated in party feeling, to shield the pious against even approaching the limits of transgression. Now the Sopherim (i.e. scribes and the lawyers), after the Babylonian captivity, who found this accumulated traditional code, tried to classify and arrange it. Those practices which could be deduced from or introduced into the text of Holy Writ by analogy, combination, or otherwise, were regarded as the legitimate and authoritative traditional exposition of the law, (See MIDDASH); while those practices which obtained in the course of time, which were venerated and esteemed by the people aoth for their antiquity and utility, but for which neither author nor apparent reason could be found in the written law, were denominated A traditional law of Moses from Sinai (הלכה למשה מסני ), because from their antiquity and importance it was thought that they must have come down orally from the lawgiver himself. It is this oral law which the Sadducees rejected; and in their conservatism they adhered to the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, as well as to those time-honored explanations and practices (הלכות ) which were not at variance with the text of the Bible.
It must be distinctly borne in mind that by their rejecting traditions is not meant that the Sadducees rejected all the traditional comments upon the law and the ancestral practices not found in the Bible. Even the Talmud itself only charges them with rejecting some things (Sanhedrin, 33 b; Horajoth, 4 a), and there is but little doubt that those practices which they rejected were originated by the Pharisees, the liberal party whose innovations the conservative Sadducees disliked, and regarded as an encroachment upon their priestly and aristocratic rights. In the Mishna specific points of difference between the Pharisees and Sadducees are mentioned, which are unimportant — such, e.g., as whether touching the Holy Scriptures made the hands technically "unclean," in the Levitical sense, and whether the stream which flows when water is poured from a clean vessel into an unclean one is itself technically "clean" or "unclean" (Yadaim, 4:6, 7). If the Pharisees and Sadducees had differed on all matters not directly contained in the Pentateuch, it would scarcely have been necessary to particularize points of difference such as these, which to Christians imbued with the genuine spirit of Christ's teaching (Matthew 15:11 : Luke 11:37-40) must appear so trifling as almost to resemble the products of a diseased imagination. Indeed, it will be seen in the course of this article, from the enumeration of their distinctive tenets, that the theological views of the two sects were not so much at variance as might have been supposed, and that the Sadducees in many cases actually adhered to ancient traditions, while the Pharisees abandoned these traditions and introduced new statutes in order to raise the people, whose true representatives they were, to a nation of kings and priests. (See TRADITION).
That the Sadducees also rejected the prophets and Hagiographa, and only believed in the Pentateuch, as is asserted by Epiphanius (Adversus Hoereses, 14), Origen (Cels. 1, 49), Jerome (Comment. on Matthew 22:31-33), and followed by some modern writers, is utterly at variance with the Jewish records of this sect, and has evidently arisen from a confusion of the Sadducees with the Samaritans.
2. Denial of the Resurrection, etc. — Next in importance in point of doctrine is their eschatology. The Sadducees denied that the dead will rise to receive their reward and punishment. Josephus, who specifies this second cardinal difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, describes their respective doctrines of a future reward and punishment in such a manner as to infer that the former, believing in a future judgment, also believed in the immortality of the soul; while the latter, by denying a future judgment, also denied the survival of the soul after the death of the body (Ψυχῆς τε τὴν διαμονὴν καὶ τὰς καθ᾿ ¯ δου τιμωρίας καὶ τιμὰς ἀναιροῦαι [War, 2, 8, 14]). In another place, again, where this historian mentions the distinctive eschatological views of the Sadducees, he plainly says, "Their doctrine is that souls perish with the bodies" (Σαδδουκαίοις δὲ τὰς ψυχὰς ὁ λόγος συναφανίζει τοῖς σώμασι [Ant. 18:1, 4]). But in the Talmud and in the New Test. we are told that they simply denied the resurrection (comp. Sanhedrin, 90 b with Luke 20:27; Mark 12:18; see also Matthew 22:23), which by no means involves the immortality of the soul; and it cannot be supposed that if the Sadducees had actually denied the immortality of the soul, so vital a point would be passed over in silence by the Talmudic doctors, when unimportant differences are minutely specified. There can, therefore, be no doubt that Josephus, in his vanity to depict to the Greeks the Jewish sects in such colors as to make them correspond to the different philosophical schools I among the Greeks, did injustice to the Sadducees by assigning to them the doctrines of the Stoics. The misrepresentation of the Sadducees will appear all the more evident when it is born in mind how defectively Josephus describes the Pharisaic eschatology in the very same section. He there represents the Pharisees, who were his own party, as believing that the resurrection is to be confined to the righteous, while the wicked are to be detained in everlasting punishment in Hades under the earth (Ant. 18:1, 3); whereas it is well known that this opinion was only entertained by some of the later doctors, while the Pharisees generally believed in the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (Daniel 12:2), and this was the common doctrine as late as the second book of Maccabees (comp. 2 Maccabees 12:40-45). The reason which the Sadducees assigned for not believing in the resurrection of the dead to receive their reward and punishment is that it is not taught in the law of Moses (Sanhedrin, 90 b), which simply promises temporal rewards and punishments for obedience and disobedience (Exodus 20:12; Exodus 23:25-26; Deuteronomy 7:12-15; Deuteronomy 28:1-68). The very quotation made by our Savior (Matthew 22:31-32; Mark 12:26-27; Luke 20:37) of Exodus 3:6; Exodus 3:15, which it is only natural to suppose is the most cogent text in the law, nevertheless does no more than suggest an inference on this doctrine. The Sadducees, however, did not admit the inference, and they simply regarded this mode of proving the resurrection from the law as Pharisaic, as they were in the habit of hearing similar inferences deduced by the Pharisees from other passages. Thus the Talmud relates: "The Sadducees asked Rabbi Gamaliel, Whence do you know that the holy one, blessed be he, will raise the dead? To which he replied, From the law, the prophets, and the Hagiographa: from the law because it is written, ‘ And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, thou shalt lie down with thy fathers (וק ם ), and this people shall rise again' (Deuteronomy 31:16): from the prophets because it is written, ‘ Thy dead men shall live,‘ etc. (Isaiah 26:19); and from the Hagiographa because it is written, ‘ And the roof of thy mouth,‘ etc. (Song of Solomon 7:9). The Sadducees, however, would slot accept these passages till he quoted the passage, ‘ The land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give it to them' (Deuteronomy 11:21). He promised it to them (לה ם ) — i.e. to the living, and not to the dead; but as they were now dead, it is evident that there will be a resurrection if the promise is to be fulfilled" (Sanhedrin, 90 b).
We are also told in the New Test. that the Sadducees say that there is "neither angel nor spirit" (Acts 23:8); but this can by no means imply that they altogether denied the existence of angelic and spiritual beings, since the Sadducees were firm believers in the divinity of the Mosaic law, where the appearance of angels is again and again recorded (Genesis 16:7; Genesis 19:1; Genesis 22:11; Genesis 28:12; Exodus 23:20; Numbers 22:23 et al.), and neither Josephus nor the Talmudic writings charge them with this unbelief. What they denied is the incarnation and manifestation of demoniac powers and angelic beings in later days, as believed and described in the Jewish writings and in the New Test.
3. The opinions of the Sadducees respecting the freedom of the will, and the way in which those opinions are treated by Josephus (Ant. 13:5, 9), have been noticed elsewhere. (See PHARISEES). It may here be added that possibly the great stress laid by the Sadducees on the freedom of the will may have had some connection with their forming such a large portion of that class from which criminal judges were selected. Jewish philosophers, in their study, although they knew that punishments as an instrument of good were unavoidable, might indulge in reflections that man seemed to be the creature of circumstances, and might regard with compassion the punishments inflicted on individuals whom a wiser moral training and a more happily balanced nature might have made useful members of society. Those Jews who were almost exclusively religious teachers would naturally insist on the inability of man to do anything good if God's Holy Spirit were taken away from him (Psalms 51:11-12), and would enlarge on the perils which surrounded man from the temptations of Satan and evil angels or spirits (1 Chronicles 21:1; Tob. 3, 17). But it is likely that the tendencies of the judicial class would be more practical and direct, and more strictly in accordance with the ideas of the Levitical prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 33:11-19) in a well known passage in which he gives the responsibilitv of bad actions, and seems to attribute the power of performing good actions exclusively to the individual agent. Hence the sentiment of the lines,
"Our acts our angels are,
or good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still,"
would express that portion of truth on which the Sadducees, in inflicting punishments, would dwell with most emphasis; and as, in some sense, they disbelieved in angels, these lines have a peculiar claim to be regarded as a correct exponent of Sadducaean thought. Yet perhaps, if writings were extant in which the Sadducees explained their own ideas, we might find that they reconciled these principles, as we may be certain that Ezekiel did, with other passages apparently of a different import in the Old Test., and that the line of demarcation between them and the Pharisees was not, in theory, so very sharply marked as the account of Josephus would lead us to suppose.
C. Legal Matters. —
1. The Sadducees restricted the Levirate law to cases of betrothal (ארוסה ), but denied its obligation when the marriage was consummated (נשואה ). Thus, for instance, though they regarded a betrothed woman (ארוסה ) as a wife, and treated her as a married woman in accordance with the Mosaic legislation, (See MARRIAGE), yet, when her betrothed husband died without cohabiting with her, his surviving brother could perform the duty of Levir without committing incest, as she was still a virgin. In this respect, too, the Sadducees, as the erudite Geiger has shown, followed the ancient Levirate law, which is based upon Genesis 38:7-10, and which — inferring from the similarity of expression used in Genesis 38:7; Genesis 38:10, that Er too had acted wickedly and not properly consummated the marriage with Tamar — enacted that the Levir is only then to perform the duty towards his deceased brother when the marriage has not been consummated (Yebamoth, 34 b; Bereshith Rabba, 85; Geiger, Judische Zeitschrift [Breslau, 1862], 1, 30, etc.). It is to be remarked that the Samaritans of old restricted the Levirate law (Deuteronomy 25:5, etc.) in the same manner, and that the Talmud which records it tells us that in support of this restriction the Samaritans appealed to the expression החוצה, which they translated outer, and regarded as the adjective of אשת המת, construing it with the preceding לא תחיה, while they took לאיש זר as explicative of the preceding by way of repetition, translating the whole passage "The wife of the deceased who is outside (i.e. the consummation of the marriage) is not to be for another man" (Jerusalem Yebamoth. 1, 6; Kirchheim, Karme Shomron, p. 36).
The Karaites, who may be regarded as modern Sadducees, explain the Levirate law in the same manner. This restriction of the Levirate law on the part of the Sadducees imparts additional force to the incident recorded in the Gospels (Matthew 22:23, etc.; Mark 12:18, etc.; Luke 20:27, etc.). Here we are told that the Sadducees, not believing in a resurrection, put the following question to our Savior: The first of seven brothers married a wife and died childless, whereupon the second brother performed the duty of Levir, and he too died without issue; then the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh brother successively performed the duty of Levir, so that she alternately became the wife of seven husbands now, whose wife is she to be at the resurrection? With the restricted application of the Levirate law before us, it will be seen that though this ironical question was chiefly directed against the doctrine of the resurrection, yet it at the same time also attacks the orthodox Pharisaic view of the Levirate law which was undoubtedly shared by our Savior. What the Sadducees thereby say is, as Geiger rightly remarks, that according to their application of the Levirate law, which restricts it to the betrothed woman (ארוסה ), apart from the extremely rare occurrence of death between the betrothal and connubial intercourse (נשואה ), especially several times under similar circumstances, the relation of the woman to her last husband who consummated the marriage is far more intimate than to any of the other husbands to whom she was simply betrothed. Supposing, therefore, for argument's sake, that there will be a resurrection, and that the woman will rise with all the seven brothers, no difficulty will be experienced according to the restricted application of this law, inasmuch as she will be the wife of the last husband who alone consummated the marriage. According to the Pharisaic practice, however, the Levirs have to marry the widow after the marriage has been consummated, so that she is the real wife of all the seven brothers; hence the ironical question put to our Savior, "According to the Pharisaic doctrine of the Levirate law, in which you believe, the difficulty will be to decide whose wife she is to be."
2. The ceremony of taking of the shoe (חליצה ), in case the surviving brother refuses to perform the duty of Levir towards the widow of his deceased brother, is explained most rigidly by the Sadducees insisting upon the letter of the law, that the rejected widow is to spit into the man's face (בפניו, Deuteronomy 25:9); while the Pharisees, adapting the law to the requirements of the time, regarded the spitting before his face as satisfying the demands of the injunction, and hence explained the passage accordingly (Taanith, 4).
3. The same conservatism and rigor the Sadducees manifested in the right of retaliation, insisting upon the literal carrying out of the law, "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot," etc. (Exodus 21:23; etc.); while the Pharisees, with a due regard for the interests of the people, maintained that pecuniary compensation is sufficient (Baba Kama, 53 b; 34 a, b; Taanith, 4:2).
4. For the same reason the Sadducees also insisted upon the literal explanation of the law in Deuteronomy 19:21, maintaining that false witnesses are only then to be executed when the sentence of the falsely accused had actually been carried out, in which case alone the words "life for life" receive their literal fulfilment; whereas the Pharisees concluded, from Deuteronomy 19:19, that if they are found out, even before the sentence has been carried out, they are to be executed; for it is there said, "Ye shall do unto him as he intended to do unto his brother." Hence the intention is to be visited with capital punishment (Mishna, Maccoth, 1, 6; Tosiphta Sanhedrin, 6).
5. The law of inheritance formed another distinctive feature of the Sadducees. According to the Mosaic law, the son alone is the rightful heir; and in case there is no son, the daughter inherits the father's property (Numbers 27:1-11). Now, the Sadducees maintained that in case the son, who is the heir presumptive, has sisters, and he dies, leaving a daughter, the property is not to go entirely to his female issue, but that the deceased's sisters are to have an equal share with his issue, urging that the deceased son's daughter is only the second degree, while his sisters are the first degree. The Pharisees, on the contrary, maintained that the deceased brother's daughter is the rightful and sole heir, inasmuch as she is the descendant of the male heir, whose simple existence disinherited his sisters (Mishna, Baba Bathra, 8:1; Babylonian Baba Bathra, 115 b; 116; Taanith, 5, 2.
6. From the law that the owner of cattle is responsible for damages done by his animals (Exodus 21:28-29), the Sadducees maintained that a master is responsible for damages done by his slave, submitting that he is far more answerable for him than his cattle, inasmuch as he is to watch over his moral conduct. The Pharisees, on the other hand, denied this, submitting that the slave is a rational, and hence a responsible, creature; and that if the master be held answerable for his conduct, the dissatisfied slave might, out of spite, commit ravages in order to make his master pay (Mishna, Yadaim, 4:7).
D. Ritual Questions. —
1. The first important distinction in this department to be mentioned is the great stress which the Sadducees laid on the ritual purity of the person of the officiating priest. He had to keep aloof from the very appearance of uncleanness. Hence they required that the burning of the red heifer, from the ashes of which the water of absolution was prepared, should not be performed by any priest who had been defiled, although he had immersed, because he does not become undefiled before sunset (מעורבי שמש ). The Pharisees, on the other hand, disregarding the person and regarding the thing, opposed this great ado about the aristocratic priest. "They prepared a baptistry on the Mount of Olives, where the burning of the red heifer took place, and designedly defiled the priest who was to burn it, so that the Sadducees should not be able to say that the heifer is not to be prepared by such as had not become pure by the sun-setting" (Mishna, Para, 3, 7).
2. The Sadducees, again, did not believe that the sacred vessels in the Temple are to be subjected to the strict laws of Levitical purity, which the Pharisees stoutly maintained. So strict were their views on this subject that the Pharisees had all the sacred vessels immersed at the conclusion of every festival, because some unclean priest might have touched them. Hence, when the Pharisees, on one occasion, immersed s even the golden candlestick after a festivity, the Sadducees tauntingly exclaimed, "Behold, the Pharisees will at last also purify the sun!" (Jerusalem Chagiga, 79 d). That the Pharisees should have thus guarded the sanctity of the vessels against the possible touch of a defiled priest must have been all the more annoying to the priestly Sadducees, since in other things which did not affect this aristocratic fraternity, but conduced to the comfort of the people at large, the Pharisees were less rigorous with regard to the laws of Levitical purity than the Sadducees, as may be seen from the following instance.
3. The Sadducees interpreted the injunction in Leviticus 11:39-40 most rigidly, maintaining that it is not only the carcass of an animal which died a natural death that defiles by touching it, but also its sundry parts, such as the skin, bones, sinews, etc.; while the Pharisees restricted this defilement by contact simply to the flesh, except the parts of a dead human body, and of a few reptiles, in which the skin and the flesh are, to a certain extent, identical.
4. As a necessary and vital consequence of the foregoing view, the Sadducees maintained that the skin and the other parts of an animal not legally slaughtered — i.e. both of all those animals which the law permits to be eaten when legally slaughtered, but which have died a natural death, and of those which the law does not permit to be eaten — are not allowed to be made into different articles of use; and that leather, parchment, or any other of the numerous articles made from the skin, bones, veins, etc., is defiling. This rigid view obliged the Sadducees to explain Leviticus 7:24 in an unnatural manner, by taking the expression נבלה to denote an animal approaching the condition of becoming a carcass — i.e. being so weak that it must soon expire — and to urge that an animal in such a condition may be slaughtered before it breathes its last. In such a case, though its flesh is a defiling carcass, and must not be eaten, the fat, skin, bones, etc., may be used for divers purposes (Jerusalem Megilla, 1, 9; Babylon Sabbath, 108 a). The Pharisees, on the other hand, as the representatives of the people, whose interests they had at heart, allowed the sundry parts of such animals to be used as materials for different utensils. They even allowed the Sacred Scriptures, the phylacteries, and the mezuzah (q.v.) to be written on parchment prepared from the skin of an animal which either died a natural death or was torn by wild beasts, but not on parchment prepared from the skin of an unclean animal (ibid. and Torah ad init.; Sopherim ad init.).
Bearing in mind this difference of opinion, we shall understand the import of the two discussions, recorded in the Mishna, between the Sadducees and the Pharisees, based thereupon. The Sadducees, we are told, said, "We complain of you Pharisees because you say the Sacred Scriptures, when touched, defile the hands, but the books of Homer do not defile the hands." Jochanan ben-Zakkai said, "And have we nothing else to object to the Pharisees but this? Do they not also assert that the bones of an ass are clean, but that the bones of Jochanan the highpriest are unclean?" (Yadaim, 4:6). Now, according to the Sadducees, contact with sacred things, so far from defiling, actually sanctified; while the Pharisees, in order to guard the sacred things against contact, ordained that contact with such holy things defiles. On the other hand, the Sadducees regarded the touching of foreign books as defiling, because they are written upon parchment made from skins of unclean animals, or of clean animals not legally slaughtered, which, with them, were like carcasses, and which, as we have seen, the Pharisees did not admit. Hence the charge of the Sadducees that the Pharisees assign a superiority to profane books over the Sacred Scriptures, which Jochanan ben-Zakkai rebuts by ironically enhancing this charge, and saying that this is not the only accusation against the Pharisees, inasmuch as he shows thereby a similar consequence arising from Pharisaic views.
The bones of a dead man, he submits, are unclean, according to the express declaration of the Bible, even if they happen to be the bones of such a man as John Hyrcanus, the patron of the Sadducees; whereas the bones of an animal, even if it be unclean, and such a contemptible one as an ass, are clean; tlulls showing that the defiling power of an object does not always betoken a degradation in its nature, but, on the contrary, because it is of an elevating nature, therefore it defiles more easily. The other discussion, also arising from this difference of opinion is recorded in the Talmud, where the law of the Pharisaic sages is recorded, that the Sacred Scriptures, the phylacteries, and the mezuzah may be written upon parchment prepared from the skin of an animal which died a natural death, but not from an unclean beast. Whereupon a Boethusian [=Sadducee] asked Rabbi Joshua Ha-Garsi, "Where can you show that the phylacteries are not to be written on the skin of an unclean animal?" R. Joshua. "Because it is written [Exodus 13:9, where the phylacteries are enjoined] that the law of the Lord be in thy mouth; that is to say, prepared from animals allowed to be put into the mouth." The Sadducee. "But, according to this, they ought not to be written on the skin of an animal which died or was torn [because these, too, must be put into the mouth, or be eaten]." To which he replied, "I will tell thee a parable, to show the distinction between the two: Two men are guilty of death; one is killed by the king himself, and the other by the executioner. Whose lot is preferable?" Reply. "That one's whom the king executed." [So is the carcass of a clean animal killed by the hand of the King of kings to be preferred to the unclean animal which is already stamped with defilement while alive.] "But, according to this," said the Sadducee, "the carcass ought also to be eaten." To this he replied, "The law says ye shall not eat of anything that died [Deuteronomy 14:21]; and sayest thou that it should be eaten?" To this the Sadducee replied, "Bravo!" ( קאלוס = καλῶς [Sabbath, 108 a]).
5. The Sadducees, who stood upon their priestly dignity and ancient prerogatives, rejected the artificial mode of amalgamating the distances (עירוב תנהומיו ): introduced by the Pharisees to enable the members of their order to walk beyond the Sabbath day's journey without infringing on the sanctity of the day, so as to join the social meal which was instituted in imitation of the priestly social repast. (See PHARISEE); (See SABBATH DAYS JOURNEY).
6. As priests, the Sadducees were not subject to the stringent Sabbatical laws, and could therefore enjoy their meals comfortably, inasmuch as they regarded the work requisite for their preparation as part of their sacerdotal duties, which set aside the Sabbatic regulations; whereas upon the people they imposed the most rigorous observance. Thus, in accordance with Exodus 25:3, they insisted that lights must not be kindled on Sabbath eve. and that the supper should be eaten in the dark (Sabbath, 55 b; Rashi, on Tosiphta in Sabbath, ibid.; Maimonides, Yad Hachezaka, Hilchoth Sabbath, 6:1; Tanchuma, 58); they prohibited the eating of any food which was either kept warm since the preparation day (ערב שבת ), or was warmed on the Sabbath (Responses of the Gaonim, called Shaare Teshuba, No. 34); and forbade connubial intercourse because, of the exertion connected therewith, and of its not being holy work, according to Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:15 (comp. Baba Kama, 82 a).
7. The Sadducees, who, as the priestly party, regarded the Temple treasury as their own, demanded that the daily morning and evening sacrifices should be procured from the private and voluntary gifts of each individual, basing their opinion upon the expression of the law (Numbers 28:4); while the Pharisees, on the other hand, also basing their opinion upon the letter of the law (ibid. 28:2), and wishing to protect the interests of the people, maintained that the sacrifices were national, and that they ought to be procured with the money of the Temple treasury. Accordingly, the Pharisees ordered a special Temple tax, which was collected every spring, and deposited in three distinct boxes in, the Temple treasury, on which was indicated that the money therein contained was destined for the sacrifices for all Israel. The required money was taken out of the boxes three times a year — on the three great festivals, i.e. on the feast of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. From the first box it was taken with the announcement that it was "in the name of the whole land of Israel;" from the second, with the express declaration, "in the name of its surrounding cities;" and from the third, "in the name of Babylon, in the name of Media, and in the name of the distant countries generally;" so that all the Israelites, including even those who did not contribute to this tax, were represented in this daily sacrifice (Shekalim, 3, 1-3; Maimonides, Shekalim). So hotly was this point contested between them that it lasted eight days (Nisan, 1-8, year not mentioned), and that the Pharisees, to mark their victory over the Sadducees, appointed these eight days half festivals, during which no mourning should take place (Menachoth, p. 65 a).
8. Regarding the sacrifices as their own, or as belonging to their priestly party, the Sadducees maintained that the priests might eat of the meat- offerings which were connected with the free will animal sacrifices (Numbers 15:2, etc.); while the Pharisees maintained that they must be burned on the altar, and carried their opinion into a law, for which reason they again instituted a half festival in commemoration of their victory.
9. Taking the expression ממהרת השבת (Leviticus 23:11; Leviticus 23:15-16) literally, the Sadducees maintained that the Omer ought to be offered on the first day following the weekly Sabbath; so that the feast of Pentecost is always to be on the first day of the week (Mishna, Menachoth, 10:3; Gemara on the same, 65 a; Taanith, 1, 1). (See PENTECOST).
10. The Sadducees rejected the old custom of pouring water on the altar every day at the morning sacrifice during the feast of Tabernacles (ניסוהִמי ם ); and so opposed were they to this ceremony that it became the cause of separation between the Sadducaean king Alexander Jannseus and the Pharisees (Succa, 48 b, with Josephus, Ant. 13:13, 5; Gratz, Geschichte der Juden, 3, 473, 2d ed.).
11. They also objected to the procession of the people round the altar holding willow branches in their hands on the feast of Tabernacles (Yoma, 43 b). (See TABERNACLES, FEAST OF).
12. They maintained that the incense which the high priest was to carry into the holy of holies on the great day of atonement ought to be kindled outside, and thus to be carried into the sanctuary; because they deemed it improper to do work in the presence of the Lord, and because it was more in accordance with the words כי בענן אראה על הכפרת (Leviticus 16:2), which they interpreted to mean "only in the cloud" (i.e. rising from the burning incense) "will I be seen on the cover." The cloud thus arising from the burning incense was to conceal the manifested Deity, whereas if the high priest were to enter before this cloud began to ascend, he would see God and die. The Pharisees considered this as violating the express command of the text, which plainly requires that the frankincense should be put on the burning coals in the holy of holies. So particular were they about it that they exacted an oath from the high priest, before the Day of Atonement, to perform everything in strict accordance with their enactments (Siphra, Pericope אחרי מות, 3; Jerusalem Yonma, 1, 5; Babylon Yoma, 19 b, 53 a).
13. Though admitting that Exodus 13:6 enjoins phylacteries, the Sadducees rejected the Pharisaic regulations about the making and weaving of them (Sanhedrin, 88 b; Maimonides, Yad Hachezaka, Hilchoth Tephillin, 4:3). (See PHYLACTERY).
14. Based upon the law that a lying in woman is not to touch holy things nor to go into the Temple during the thirty-three days following the first seven days after the birth of a boy, and during the sixty-six days following the first fourteen days after the birth of a girl (Leviticus 12:2-8), the Sadducees maintained that this law excludes the woman from the enjoyment of her connubial rights all these days; while the Pharisees, who always endeavored to relieve the people as much as possible from the burden of the law, did not transfer the holiness of the things and of the Temple to the persons, thus granting to the wife and to the husband the enjoyment of their rights. Hence, while they held every other appearance of blood in the woman as defiling, they regarded it, in this instance, as the effects of the birth, and as pure blood (דמי טהרה ). It is for this reason that the ה in טהרה (Leviticus 12:4-5) has not the Mappik, thus denoting pure blood, as the present Masoretic text is the Pharisaic text; and that the rendering of it in the A.V. by "the blood of her purifying, " though agreeing with the Sadduceean text, which is undoubtedly the original one, is at variance with the textus receptus (comp. Geiger, He- Chaluz, 5, 29; 6, 28 sq.; Judische Zeitschrift, 1, 51; 2, 27, etc.).
It must not, however, be concluded that these are the only distinctive features of the Sadducees, although not many more are mentioned by their opponents, the Pharisees.
IV. History of the Sadducees. —
1. Their Origin. — The oldest record pretending to describe the source of this sect (אבות דרבי נתן .) is the commentary of Rabbi Nathan Ha-Babli (q.v.) on the tractate of the Mishna entitled Aboth (אבות ) = the Moral Sayings of the Ancient Fathers. In this commentary on the saying of Antigonus of Soho (B.C. 200-170) — "Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving wages, but be like servants who serve their master without expecting to receive wages, and let the fear of the Lord be upon you" (Mishna, Aboth, 1, 3) — Rabbi Nathan remarks as follows: "Antigonus of Soho had two disciples who propounded his maxim; they taught it to their disciples, and their disciples, again, taught it to their disciples. Thereupon they began to examine it after them, and said, ‘ What did our fathers purport to teach by this maxim? Is the laborer to work all day, and not receive his wages in the evening? Surely, if our fathers had known that there is another world, and believed in a resurrection of the dead, they would not have spoken thus.' They then separated themselves from the law, and two sects arose from them — the Zadokites [= Sadducees] and the Boethusians. The Zadokites are called after Zadok, and the Boethusians after Boethus. They used vessels of silver and vessels of gold all their days, not because they were proud, but because the Sadducees said that the Pharisees had a tradition that they are to afflict themselves in this world, and yet they have nothing in the world to come" (Aboth di Rabbi Nathan, cap. 5).
That Zadok and Boethus were contemporaries of Antigonus of Soho, that they opposed the doctrines of the sages, and that the sages ordained laws to obviate the cavils of their opponents, is also declared by Saadia Gaon (q.v.) (A.D. 892-942). Thus Isaac Israeli tells us: "Saadia says, the contemporaries and the tribunal of Antigonus of Soho ordained it as a law that the beginning of the month is to be determined by the appearance of the new moon, to do away with the cavils of Zadok and Boethus, who disputed against the sages about the fixing of the new moon" (Yesod Olam, 4:6, p. 9 [ed. Berlin, 1848]). Similar in import to Rabbi Nathan's statement on Aboth, 1, 3 is the remark of Maimonides (A.D. 1135-1204) on the same passage. "Antigoams," says this great authority, "had two disciples, one named Zadok and the other Boethus, who, when they heard this sage propound this maxim, left him, saying one to the other, the Rabbi distinctly declares that there is neither a future state of reward and punishment, nor any hope for man — because they misunderstood his maxim. Thereupon they strengthened each other's hands, separated themselves from the congregation, and left the observance of the law, when one sect followed the one, and another sect followed the other, whom the sages respectively called the Zadokites and the Boethusians" (Commenet. on Aboth, 1, 3). It must be added that the greatest Jewish authorities since the 9th century of the Christian era have regarded Zadok and Boethus as the heretical leaders who originated two sects. Modern critics, however, reject this current account of the origin of the Sadducees from Zadok and Boethus, the disciples of Antigonus of Soho, as unhistorical, because (a) it is not mentioned either in Josephus, the Mishna, or the Gemara; (b) the original account of Rabbi Nathan neither says that Zadok and Boethus themselves misunderstood Antigonus's maxim, nor that they were the chiefs of these sects, but that their disciples misinterp
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Sadducee'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/s/sadducee.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.