Jewish Literature in New Testament Times
Who were the Pharisees and When was their Origin?The sect of Pharisees is thought to have originated sometime during the 3rd century B.C., before the Maccabean wars. During this time under Greek domination there was a strong Greek to Hellenize the Jews, and many Jews were accepting the Greek culture with its pagan religious customs. The rise of the Pharisees was a reaction and protest against the tendency to conform to Hellenism among their fellow-countrymen. The goal of the Pharisees was to preserve their Jewish national integrity and strict conformity to Mosaic law. Over time they developed into a self-righteous and hypocritical group observing the outward formalities of the Law. (See Bible History Online - The Pharisees for a more detailed study.)
Wikipedia. The Pharisee ("separatist") party emerged largely out of the group of scribes and sages who harked back to Ezra and the Great Assembly. Their name comes from the Hebrew and Aramaic parush or parushi, which means "one who is separated." It may refer to their separation from Gentiles, sources of ritual impurity or from irreligious Jews. The Pharisees, among other Jewish sects, were active from the middle of the second century B.C.E. until the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. Josephus first mentions them in connection with Jonathan, the successor of Judas Maccabeus ("Ant." xiii. 5, § 9). One of the factors that distinguished the Pharisees from other groups prior to the destruction of the Temple was their belief that all Jews had to observe the purity laws (which applied to the Temple service) outside the Temple. The major difference, however, was the continued adherence of the Pharisees to the laws and traditions of the Jewish people in the face of assimilation. As Josephus noted, the Pharisees were considered the most expert and accurate expositors of Jewish law.
Also see The Scribes, and The Sadducees
Jewish LiteratureJohn 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."
Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism
The Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D. the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D. were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around 200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by "expositors".
The Jews and Torah
The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
Bible History Online
The Story of the Bible