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They saw the way to God as being through obedience to the law.
They were the progressives of the day, willing to adopt new ideas and adapt the law to new situations. They accepted all the Old Testament as authoritative. They had a firm belief in life beyond the grave and a resurrection of the body.
C.), where Josephus refers to Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. It may mean that they separated themselves from the masses of the people or that they separated themselves to the study and interpretation of the law.
Their good relations with the rulers ended in the time of John Hyrcanus (134-104 B. They came to power again when Salome Alexandra became queen (76 B. It is usually assumed that they were the spiritual descendants of the Hasidim, the loyal fighters for religious freedom in the time of Judas Maccabeus.
The Pharisees constituted the most important group.
They appear in the Gospels as the opponents of Jesus.
In all our literature, they stand in opposition to the Pharisees.
However, the true derivation of their name is unknown.A three-year period of probation was required before full membership was granted.The Essenes devoted themselves to the study of the law.It is generally believed that the people of the Scrolls were closely related to the Essenes.They may have begun at about the same time as the Pharisees and Sadducees.
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Jesus would have strongly opposed their understanding of the law.