The After Life
According to Josephus, the Pharisees taught a resurrection:
"that every soul is imperishable, but that only those of the righteous pass
into another body, while those of the wicked are, on the contrary, punished with
-Josephus Wars 2.8.14
"they hold the belief that an immortal strength belongs to souls, and that
there are beneath the earth punishments and rewards for those who in life devoted
themselves to virtue or vileness, and that eternal imprisonment is appointed
for the latter, but the possibility of returning to life for the former"
-Josephus Ant. 18.1.3
This is actually the Jewish doctrine of retribution and resurrection (Dan
12:2), testified to by all Jewish literature, and also by the New Testament, as the
common possession of any devoted follower of Judaism.
The Pharisaic views of the afterlife were in marked contrast with the views of
the Sadducees. In the Psalms of Solomon, the eschatological expectations of a
Messiah who would restore the fortunes of Israel are prominent. The Pharisees
looked for that day when the present evil age (esp. the wickedness of the
Sadducees) would be dissolved and the glorious kingdom of righteousness for a
righteous Israel would come. They believed that their own righteousness and zeal would
herald the coming of the Messiah.
The Pharisees differed from the Sadducees with respect to the future, for the
Pharisees and taught the resurrection of the dead. According to Josephus, the
Pharisees believed in the immortality of the soul and in reward and retribution
after death (Jos. Antiq. XVIII. i. 3; War II. viii. 14). In the same passage he
speaks of the soul moving into "another body."
These teachings were rejected by the Sadducees (who believed in Sheol; see
Matt 22:23) mainly because such teachings were not found in the written Torah, and
therefore were foreign imports.
The subject of the resurrection was such a hot issue with the Pharisees and
Sadducees that even Paul cleverly refers to the question of the resurrection of
the dead in his trial before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23 : 6ff.).
The ultimate triumph of the Pharisaic view of the resurrection is very
apparent in the Mishnah where it gives a strong assertion that:
"he that says there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law.. has
no share in the world to come" -Sanhedrin 10:1
The Pharisees - Jewish
Leaders in the New Testament.
"Pharisee" is from a Greek word (pharisaios) taken from the Heb/Aramaic
"Perisha" meaning "Separated one." In the time of Jesus the Pharisees were one of
the three chief Jewish sects, the others were the Sadducees and the Essenes. Of
the three, the Pharisees were the most separated from the ways of the foreign
influences that were invading Judaism, and from the ways of the common Jewish
people in the land.
"There was probably no town or village inhabited by Jews which had not its
Pharisees, although they would, of course, gather in preference about Jerusalem
with its Temple, and what, perhaps would have been even dearer to the heart of a
genuine Pharisee--its four hundred and eighty synagogues, its Sanhedrims (great
and small), and its schools of study. There could be no difficulty in
recognising such an one. Walking behind him, the chances were, he would soon halt to
say his prescribed prayers. If the fixed time for them had come, he would stop
short in the middle of the road, perhaps say one section of them, move on, again
say another part, and so on, till, whatever else might be doubted, there could
be no question of the conspicuousness of his devotions in market-place or
corners of streets. There he would stand, as taught by the traditional law, would
draw his feet well together, compose his body and clothes, and bend so low "that
every vertebra in his back would stand out separate," or, at least, till "the
skin over his heart would fall into folds" (Ber. 28 b). The workman would drop
his tools, the burden-bearer his load; if a man had already one foot in the
stirrup, he would withdraw it. The hour had come, and nothing could be suffered to
interrupt or disturb him. The very salutation of a king, it was said, must
remain unreturned; nay, the twisting of a serpent around one's heel must remain
– Alfred Edersheim
Origin and History
The sect of Pharisees is thought to have originated in the 3rd century B.C.,
in days preceding the Maccabean wars, when under Greek domination and the Greek
effort to Hellenize the Jews, there was a strong tendency among the Jews to
accept Greek culture with its pagan religious customs. The rise of the Pharisees
was a reaction and protest against this tendency among their fellow kinsmen.
Their aim was to preserve their national integrity and strict conformity to Mosaic
law. They later developed into self-righteous and hypocritical formalists.
Later they were among those who had condemned Jesus to death.
How fearfully the prophecy of destruction that Jesus had foretold was
fulfilled! In a few brief years the Roman legions of the Emperor Titus utterly
destroyed the city and its glorious Temple. Over a million Jews perished in the siege
in a few days, and a hundred thousand more were taken away in captivity.
Without its marvelous Temple, the Jewish religion was forced to take on a new
character, and after the final Jewish rebellion (132 A.D.) all hope of
rebuilding the Temple was lost, and the work of these rabbis took a different
The Mishnah, compiled by the Patriarch Judah (200 A.D.), which is the final
work of these rabbis, began a final work in the history of Jewish scholarship. It
is a monument of Pharisaic scholarship and a testimony to the final triumph of
Pharisaism, which now is compiled into the Talmud which has become synonymous
Jesus and the Pharisees
The Pharisees were the most numerous and influential of the religious sects of
Jesus’ day. The were strict legalists. They stood for the rigid observance of the
letter and forms of the Law, and also for the Traditions. There were some good
men among them, no doubt, but for the most part they were known for their
covetousness, self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
Scribes were copyists of the Scriptures and because of their minute
acquaintance with the Law they became recognized authorities. They were sometimes called
"lawyers." Scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of the nation.
The incredible influence of the Pharisees among the masses cannot be mistaken.
The were the most honored in Judaism at the time of Christ. When Christ won
the favor of the people.
"But the great crowd of people went on hearing Him gladly."
The Words spoken by Jesus in Matt 23 constitute the most bitter denunciation
that ever fell from His lips. The enemies of Jesus could not answer Him a word,
nor did anyone ever again dare to ask Him anything. The Pharisees were
unrepentant, hypocritical, and more determined than ever to seek His destruction. In
His final public discourse in the Temple, it was fitting that He should warn His
disciples against the hypocrisy of these corrupt and wicked men. Even while He
denounced their spiritual blindness, ritualism, and wickedness, He wept over
Jerusalem, and ended His discourse with a lamentation, addressed to the beloved
but doomed city which had sinned away its day of opportunity.
The Paradox of the Pharisees
Jesus and the Pharisees
The Paradox of the Pharisees