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CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 Apostle Paul (ca. 3-62 CE) was probably the first Christian theologian who wrote the earliest theological interpretations of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  Though there were hundreds of disciples of Jesus still living, who actually walked with Jesus for several years, it was Paul who was able to develop a coherent meaning to the life and death and resurrection of Jesus because of his Jewish and Gentile scholarship.  As a result of his missionary work he was able to found the first Christian Congregations outside of the Jewish people. Thus the Liturgy of St.Jacob used in most Eastern Churches still refers to him as “The builder and the architect of the Church.”  This claim is deeply rooted that some very clever people even propose that Jesus never existed and that Paul concocted the whole religion out of myths and pagan practices of baptism and Eucharist.  Obviously this will require one to rewrite history because Paul lived alongside of the Apostles who walked with Jesus and had to convince them too in his trickery – unless of course the whole gospels were a clever forgery.  I mention it only because it points to the importance of Paul in Christian history.

Apostles did go out into all the known world of that period and established churches in culturally relevant ways.  Among them we know for certain the Middle Eastern Churches the African Churches and the St.Thomas Churches of India.  But Paul had an additional advantage that he was a scholar and documented his teachings while the teaching of the other disciplines remained as oral traditions since they were never written down by the Apostles.  As a result the Bible we have today contains mostly the history and documents of the Greco-Roman Churches.  Again this is because the Empire of Rome and the Greco-Roman culture was the dominating power and culture of the Apostolic Period. Hence the importance of Paul.

The extent of Roman Empire and the presence of Christian Churches.

This book is an attempt to reconstruct the personality, mission and theology of Paul.

'Oldest' image of St Paul discovered

Recently Archaeologists have uncovered a 1,600 year old image of St Paul, the oldest one known of, in a Roman catacomb.

 

This fresco,  dates back to the 4th Century AD,  and was discovered during restoration work at the Catacomb of Saint Thekla close to the Basilica of St Paul outside the walls in Rome, which is said to be built on the site where he was buried.   The icon shows the thin face of a bearded man with large eyes, sunken nose and face on a red background surrounded with a yellow circle – the classic familiar image of St Paul.

"It was easy to see that it was Saint Paul because the style matched the iconography that we know existed at around the 4th Century – that is the thin face and the dark beard.”  Barbara Mazzei, the director of the work at the Catacomb

Bones were also discovered in the catacoumbs known as the Catacombs of St.Tekla, where according to tradition, Paul was buried.  The DNA tests dates these bones to the first  century

Since photography were not in existence we will have depend on the murals and icons of the first and the second century to get some description of the man Paul.  In the 2nd century apocryphal Acts of Paul and Tekla, we have a cryptic reference to his appearance.  It says that Paul was of “Small of stature, balding, bow legs, large eyes, eyebrows meeting, nose slightly hooked".  This is all we know about his looks from the documents, the frescos and the later icons do reflects this description.


 

 

 

PAUL was born in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia  in AD 4. (Acts 21:39; 22:3).  Tarsus is in the modern day Turkey. The province of Cilicia became a Roman province in 64 B.C. after it was conquered by Pompey. Tarsus was a Hellenized city, famous for its university, gymnasium, theatre, art school and gymnasium. It became the capital of the province of Cilicia during Pompey’s reorganization of Roman Asia Minor in 66 BC.

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus

106 – 48 BC

Marcus Antonius

January 14, 83 BCAugust 1, 30 BC

 Later on, Mark Antony – granted freedom and Roman citizenship to the people of Tarsus. In an age when most of the people living within the boundaries of the Pax Romana were slaves, Paul was born a free citizen of the Empire.

 

 

Roman Road in Tarsus

 

 

Scenic coastline of Tarsus

 

Modern Tarsus in Turkey


 

Cleopatra’s Gate

 

St.Paul’s Well

 

Tarsus at the time of Paul - Excavation site,

 

Of the Tribe of Benjamin

 

Php 3:4-5  Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:   circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee,

 

About 6200-6500 years ago there existed a civilization located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and was known as the Sumerian civilization. The area was known as Mesopotamia and the city was called Ur.  Today, Ur is located in southern Iraq, about 100 miles northwest of the Kuwait border. Ur is known in the Bible as Ur of the Chaldees.  The Chaldeans settled in the area about 900 B.C.   This was the home of Abraham.

"Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there."

"Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran." (Genesis 11:27-32)

"The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.”I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

"Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to The Lord, Who had appeared to him." (Genesis 12:1-7)

Here is the family tree starting from Abraham. (See fig)

 

Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter.  Among the children the two sons Joseph and Benjamin were the children through Rachel whom Jacob loved most. The youngest in the family was Benjamin.  Saul claimed his lineage from Benjamin

Terah to Israel

Rom 9:6 -7 For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,  and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."

Family of Abraham to the Twelve Tribes

 

 

 

 

Youngest son of Israel through his favorite wife.

The Tribe of Benjamin (Hebrew: בִּנְיָמִין,   Binyamin ) was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel.

Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BC, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. To Benjamin he assigned the territory between that of Ephraim to the north and Judah to the south, with the Jordan River as the eastern border, and included many historically important cities, such as Bethel, Gibeah, and encroached on the northern hills of Jerusalem.

 

This is the banner of the Benjamin county of present Israel

 In those days children were named according to the emotional relationship and state of the parents.   Benjamin was so named because it means “Son of my right hand”

 It is also understood to have another implied meaning,   

 Zelah, Eleph and Jebusi, which is Jerusalem, Gibeath and Kirjath; fourteen cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of the children of Benjamin according to their families."  - Joshua 18:28

 Later, when the Kingdom of Israel was divided, the tribe of Benjamin joined with the tribe of Judah to form the  Kingdom of Judah

 Historically, Benjamin was the smallest and weakest of the twelve tribes of Israel.

This was due to a war Benjamin fought against the other eleven tribes, in which Benjamin was virtually annihilated (Judges 19-21).  God made good use of this weakest of peoples (I Corinthians 1:27).

 

Gen 49:27  Benjamin is a ravenous wolf

 

The standard of the Tribe of Benjamin is a wolf following the statement of Jacob in his deathbed blessing.

Gen 49:1-2. Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come.  “Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob;  and listen to Israel your father”.

Wolf  in Hebrew is zeeb is frequently referred to in Scripture as an emblem of treachery and cruelty. Jacob's prophecy, "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf" (Gen. 49:27), represents the warlike character of that tribe (see Judg. 19-21). Isaiah represents the peace of Messiah's kingdom by the words, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb" (Isa. 11:6). The habits of the wolf are described in Jer. 5:6; Hab. 1:8; Zeph. 3:3; Ezek. 22:27; Matt. 7:15; 10:16; Acts 20:29.

Upuaut,
 Egypt's wolf-headed god of conquest, guide of warriors,  "he who opens the way”

 

The reference to the wolf may be also due to the Egyptian god of wolf known as Upuaut who is the guardian of the gates of the underworld. He is represented as a man with the head of a jackal. In this connection, Upuaut means, "The Opener of the Ways."  In war, he opened pathways for the armies to cut into the armies of their enemies.  These were the daredevils who took risks to open up impossible things to be started.   Upuat was the son of Anubis who opened the way for the souls of the dead to cross into paradise.

Anubis and  Upuaut led the deceased to the halls of Maat where they would be judged. Anubis watched over the whole process and ensured that the weighing of the heart was conducted correctly. He then led the innocent on to a heavenly existence and abandoned the guilty to Ammit.

Rom 11:1  ….  I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

 

 

Who is a Hebrew?

The original name for the people we now call Jews was Hebrews.

Ivri    רִית,
The word "Hebrew" (in Hebrew, "Ivri") is first used in the Torah to describe Abraham (Gen. 14:13). The word is apparently derived from the name Eber, one of Abraham's ancestors.

"The Sons Of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth...The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan. Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah and Abram (that is, Abraham). The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael." (1 Chronicles 1:4,17-28)

Eber lived 464 years, which was so long that he was born only 67 years after the Great Flood and yet he outlived his great-great-great-great grandson Abraham. “The term Shemite is derived from Noah's son Shem.

  • The term Hebrew is derived from Shem's descendant Eber. Eber was a Shemite, and the first Hebrew, but not an Israelite or a Jew because neither existed yet.
  • Abraham was Eber's descendant. Abraham was a Shemite and a Hebrew, but not an Israelite or a Jew because neither existed yet.
  • Isaac was Abraham's son. Isaac was a Shemite and a Hebrew, but not an Israelite or a Jew because neither existed yet.
  • Jacob, who God renamed Israel, was Isaac's son. Jacob was a Shemite and a Hebrew, but not a Jew because Jews originated with his son Judah. The first Israelites were the children of Jacob.
  • Judah was one of Jacob's twelve sons (see Children of Jacob and The Tribes Of Israel). Judah was a Semite, a Hebrew, and an Israelite. The first Jews were the children of Judah. The descendants of the other eleven of Jacob's sons were not Jews, but were themselves named accordingly e.g. from Levi came the Levites, from Benjamin came the Benjamites and so on.”     Wayne Blank

 

Eyyer       עבר

Another tradition teaches that the word comes from the word "eyver,"  which means meaning "to cross over", "the other side," referring to the fact that Abraham came from the other side of the Euphrates, or referring to the fact Abraham was separated from the other nations morally and spiritually.

Eph 2:19  So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Another name used for the people is Children of Israel or Israelites, which refers to the fact that the people are descendants of Jacob, who was also called Israel.

 Yehudi

This time let me praise (odeh אודה)  Yah (יהוה),' and named the child

Judah  (Yehudah יהודה).

The word "Jew" (in Hebrew, "Yehudi") is derived from the name Judah, which was the name of one of Jacob's twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Likewise, the word Judaism literally means "Judah-ism," that is, the religion of the Yehudim.

The word "Yehudim" also means "People of Yehovah," because the first three letters of "Yehudah" are the same as the first three letters of Yhvh four-letter name.

IN PALEO HEBREW

Hebrew reads from right to left and the name of God is written with four letters yod-hay-waw-hay, since Paleo Hebrew is written without vowels.  So we really do not know how to pronounce the ineffable name of God.  With a slight addition of  the letter  dalet it would read as Judah.

If we replace the last Hay with two letters Shin and Ayin we will get Yehoshua which means God saves, the name Jesus.

Originally, the term Yehudi referred specifically to members of the tribe of Judah, as distinguished from the other tribes of Israel. However, after the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms: the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel (I Kings 12; II Chronicles 10). After that time, the word Yehudi could properly be used to describe anyone from the kingdom of Judah, which included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, as well as scattered settlements from other tribes. The most obvious biblical example of this usage is in Esther 2:5, where Mordecai is referred to as both a Yehudi and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

In the 6th century B.C., the kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria and the ten tribes were exiled from the land (II Kings 17), leaving only the tribes in the kingdom of Judah remaining to carry on Abraham's heritage. These people of the kingdom of Judah were then generally known to themselves and to other nations as Yehudim (Jews), and that name continues.

 

Hebrew of the Hebrews

 

 

Habirus

While in Egypt the twelve tribes were called Habirus which by virtue of association came to mean – the slaves.  The direct comparison of such a stigma is found in the name of Indians who are called Coolies in Jamaica, because, the first immigrants to Jamaica were indentured laborers there.  The earliest records referring the Jews are as Habirus. Around 1470 BC in Egypt the word “Habiru” was used as a slang for “slaves”. .

 

In the Tel el Amarna Tablets a people called the Habirus are mentioned who invaded Canaan from the desert and who threaten the Egyptian colonies in that area.  It came to mean marauders or a fierce invader which is exactly what happened in the land of Canaan as the Hebrews invaded the region and drew away the Aryan tribes to the east. 

They in turn invaded Indian civilization of Harappa.

 

  al-Khabeuru jalla jalaaluh

There is another association in terms of the statement in Aramaic and Arabic

which means :

 

Hebrew is one who is  THE ALL-AWARE

Or
He who has knowledge of the most secret parts of everything,
and knows their inner meanings
.

This is the implication of the word Brahmin – one who has the knowledge of Brahman the ultimate God.  This refers to the Hebrew understanding of the Science of the Universe known as the Kaballah, the inner secrets of the Universe. 

Thus Paul boasts himself to be “A Hebrew of the Hebrews”.

 

It also indicates the purity in the heritage.  At the post exilic period there were lots of intermarriage between the dispersed Jews and the people where they were in exile. 

 

Yisra'el  יִשְׂרָאֵל

 

Bnei Yisrael – the children of Isreal is the general term for all the twelve tribes of the sons of Jacob.  Jacob was renamed Israel by the Angel of the Lord after Jacob wrestled with Him.

The name Israel derives from the Hebrew yisra'el, he that fights with God, which in turn derives from sara, he fights, and El, God.

 

Gen 32:28 “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed”

 

  “prince who prevailed with God”  Rom 9:4

 

In fact  he letters in Yisral represents the first letters from these fathers and mothers.


Seed of Abraham


 Rom 9:7 not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."

 

Gen 15:17    When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.  … On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphra'tes,  the land of the Ken'ites, the Ken'izzites, the Kad'monites,  the Hittites, the Per'izzites, the Reph'aim,  the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Gir'gashites and the Jeb'usites."

 

Gen 17:3 -11  Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.  No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you.   And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.  …And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."  And God said to Abraham,…. "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.   This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.   You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

 

Circumcised on the eighth day--Philippians 3:5

 

What is in a name?

 

His Hebrew name was Saulose while his Roman name was Paulose.  Paulose meant, small, little one, or baby.  Indirectly it implies “junior” or “the deputy”.

 

           

His circumcision-name was Saul.  The name Paul was also given to him in infancy
"for use in the Gentile world," (Pet name?)  

Luke calls the apostle by his Jewish name Saul, whilst he was among the Jews, and only preached among them  (Acts 13:9) until he was about to appear openly to be the Apostle to the Gentiles,  Luke thereafter calls him by his Gentile name Paul. 

Pau means “to cease”.  Paulose would then mean God ceased direct dealings with His people Israel.

 Saul and Sheol

The difference between the two words Saul and Sheol is simply a diacritic position.  Written in Paleo Hebrew the word will be the same.

                       

The Hebrew "sheol" is the same as the Greek "hades," the imperceptible, the unseen.  A king was unseen in Israel; they did not have a king as other nations, so they asked for a king, and Saul was given (1 Sam 12:13). So also Saul of the Acts. He was not seen at the beginning of the record, nor was he seen with the Twelve.

 

Harbingers of New Eras

 Saul King of Israel

Israel's first king, Saul—a tall, strong, regal-looking man—was a Benjamite.

"And Saul answered and said, "Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of   the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of  Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?" (I Samuel 9:21).

The God "gave him another heart" so that he prophesied with the prophets (I Samuel 10:9-10).

 

   Philippians 3:5-6  introduces another son of Benjamin, another Saul. God gave him a new heart. This Saul did not misuse his anointing.

 With these two people God introduced two eras in spiritual history.  The first Saul started the era of the Kingdom of Israel and the other the era of the Church Age open to all mankind.

 

 

During the period of the Judges, Israel did not have a King.  Their King was Yhvh who was unseen.  But they wanted a visible King to go in front of them in their battles.  Thus they rejected Yhvh as their King.  It was at this time Yhvh gave them a King in King Saul.  King Saul stands as a stepping stone from Period of Judges to the Period of Kingdom.  In the same manner when Mesia came into Judah as a  Suffering Servant they rejected their Mesiah.  As a result the Kingdom was given over to the Gentiles.  The mediator in this case who served as a servant was Apostle Paul.  Both were “Asked for” by the elect as they refused the Theocracy and Priesthood of God to the Israel.  Therefore the election was transferred to the gentiles.  The King Saul was tall and handsome man, but the Apostle Saul was a short and not so handsome man.

 

 

Pharisee of a Pharisee

Religious scenario of the time

 

Most of our information about the period comes from the writings of Flavius Josephus.

Flavius Josephus

 

Jewish general Joseph son of Matthias defended Galilee against the Roman legions. After he had been defeated, he defected to his enemies, and advised the Roman general Vespasian. When the latter became emperor, his adviser started a career as a historian who tried to explain Judaism to the Greeks and Romans. His most important works are the Jewish War, the Jewish Antiquities, an Autobiography and an apology of Judaism Against Apion (or Against the Greeks). Being an influential Roman citizen, he accepted a new name: Flavius Josephus. He must have died about 100 CE, more than sixty years old.

 

 

Flavius Josephus, ca.38-100.
De antiquitate Judaica. De bello Judaico.
Augsburg: Johann Schüssler, 1470

 

The Three Sects

Josephus gives the following summary of religious scenario giving three sects.

“The Jews had for a great while had three sects of philosophy peculiar to themselves; the sect of the Essens,  and the sect of the Sadducees, and the third sort of opinions was that of those called Pharisees”  Flavius Josephus ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS 18

Saducees

                                                   

 

Text Box: Sola Scriptura.  
Freewill. Liberals

 

 

 

Pharisees

Text Box: Law, Prophets, Predistination+Freewill
Theologians.

Essenes

 

Text Box: Mystics, Predestination, Sanyasis

The Pharisees were the theologians and the scholars of the Jewish religion.  They were steeped in the scripture and were the teachers of the law within the scripture.  The Rabbi the teachers were mostly Pharisees.  So were the Scribes, the experts who copied the scriptures to produce the scriptures – the Publishers,

 

 
Pharisees

 

Pharisees (fâr`ĭsēz), one of the two great Jewish religious and political parties of the second commonwealth.  Their opponents were the Sadducees, and it appears that the Sadducees gave them their name, perushim, Hebrew for "separatists" or "deviants."

The Pharisees began their activities during or after the Hasmonean revolt (c.166–142 B.C.). The Pharisees upheld an interpretation of Judaism that was in opposition to the priestly Temple cult.

They stressed faith in the one God; the divine revelation of the law both written and oral handed down by Moses through Joshua, the elders, and the prophets to the Pharisees; and eternal life and resurrection for those who keep the law. Pharisees insisted on the strict observance of Jewish law, which they began to codify. While in agreement on the broad outlines of Jewish law, the Pharisees encouraged debate on its fine points, and according to one view, practiced the tradition of zuggot, or pairs of scholars with opposing views.

 They developed the synagogue as an alternative place of worship to the Temple, with a liturgy consisting of biblical and prophetic readings, and the repetition of the shma, the basic creed of Judaism. In addition, they supported the separation of the worldly and the spiritual spheres, ceding the former to the secular rulers. Though some supported the revolt against Rome in A.D. 70, most did not.

 One Pharisee was Yohanan ben Zakkai, who fled to Jamnia, where he was instrumental in developing post-Temple Judaism. By separating Judaism from dependence on the Temple cult, and by stressing the direct relation between the individual and God, the Pharisees laid the groundwork for normative rabbinic Judaism.  Their influence on Christianity was substantial as well, despite the passages in the New Testament which label the Pharisees "hypocrites" or "offspring of the vipers." St. Paul was originally a Pharisee. After the fall of the Temple (A.D. 70), the Pharisees became the dominant party until c.135

“ What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the laws of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them, and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers

“Now for the Pharisees, they say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate, and some of them are in our own power, and that they are liable to fate, but are not caused by fate.

“But the sect of the Essenes affirm, that fate governs all things, and that nothing befalls men but what is according to its determination.

“And for the Sadducees, they take away fate, and say there is no such thing, and that the events of human affairs are not at its disposal; but they suppose that all our actions are in our own power, so that we are ourselves the causes of what is good, and receive what is evil from our own folly. “

Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 13

 “3. Now, for the Pharisees, they live meanly, and despise delicacies in diet; and they follow the conduct of reason; and what that prescribes to them as good for them they do; and they think they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason's dictates for practice.

 “They also pay a respect to such as are in years; nor are they so bold as to contradict them in any thing which they have introduced; and when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. 

“3  They also believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again.”

Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 18

Because of their doctrines which were based on the scriptures and traditions, independent of the temple, they survived the destruction of temple. They developed the Synagogues which became the mainstay of modern  Jewish faith.  Most of the Rabbis were Pharisees.

 

Sadducees

 

Sadducees, a sect of Jews formed around the time of the Hasmonean revolt (c.200 B.C.). Little is known concerning their beliefs, but according to Josephus Flavius, they upheld only the authority of the written law, and not the oral tradition held by the Pharisees. They are believed to have had a small following, drawn primarily from the upper classes. Eventually, they reached an accommodation with the Pharisees, which allowed them to serve as priests in exchange for acceptance of Pharasitical rulings regarding the law. Their sect was centered on the cult of the Temple, and they ceased to exist after its destruction in A.D. 70


The origin of the word is associated historically with three derivations:

(1) “Those of Zadok”  (Zadokite)
They claim descent from Zadok,  a high priest during the time of
King David.

(2) “The righteous ones” , based on the Hebrew:” Zadiq” meaning righteous.

(3) Judges or controllers,  from the Greek word syndikoi.

The Sadducees (or Tzedukim) were a group of Jews opposed to the Pharisees (today's Rabbinical Jews), founded in the second century BC. They ceased to exist sometime after the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem (Herod's Temple) in 70AD.

The Sadducees were a priestly group, Levites, associated with the leadership of the Temple in Jerusalem. Sadducees represented the aristocratic group of the Hasmonean High Priests, who replaced the previous High Priestly lineage. The earlier Priestly lineage had been blamed for allowing the Syrian Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes to desecrate the Temple of Jerusalem with idolatrous sacrifices and to martyr monotheistic Jews. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the ousting of the Syrian forces, the rededication of the Temple, and the installment of the new Hasmonean priestly line. The Hasmoneans ruled as "priest-kings", claiming the titles of high priest and king simultaneously, and like other aristocracies across the Hellenistic world became increasingly influenced by Hellenistic syncretism and Greek philosophies: presumably Stoicism, and apparently Epicureanism in the Talmudic tradition criticizing the anti-Torah philosophy of the "Apikorsus" אפיקורסות (i.e., Epicurus) refers to the Hasmonean clan qua.  Sadducees. Like Epicureans, Sadducees rejected the existence of an afterlife, thus denied the Pharisaic doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead.

The fundamental difference between the Sadducees and the Pharisees is the interpretation of the Law of Moses:” Take it literally and nothing more, nothing less.”

Saducees deny the existence of "spirit"

 Man has no soul being "monochotomous in nature"  and has no conscious life after death.  Heaven is a literal restored "garden of Eden" on earth.  Hell is annihilation rather than eternal conscious torment
They are Anti-Trinitarian.  

The Holy Spirit doesn't exist, but is merely a personification of God's power
The Devil doesn't exist, but is the personification of Sin
 Demons don't exist, but are personification of disease.
 Jesus, being created by God, ceased to exist for 3 days in tomb.

 

By the time of Jesus there were two schools of Sadducees under Shammai and Hillel

 

But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this:
That souls do not die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent.”   ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS 18

Saduceans started the movement probably at Hasomean Kingdom or even with David and ended by the destruction of the temple in 70 AD

 The Sadducees solidified as a group soon after the Maccabean revolt (167-160 B.C.).  Because they supported the Hasmonean policy of military and economic expansion, they gradually came to exercise tremendous influence in John Hyrcanus's court (134-104 B.C.).
Their influence predominated until the end of Alexander Jannaeus's reign (76 B.C.).
Under Queen Alexandra (76-67 B.C.) the Sadducees lost their power, and their numbers were greatly reduced.
They fared little better under Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.), who deeply mistrusted the native Jewish aristocracy.
With the imposition of direct Roman rule (A.D. 6), Sadducean fortunes revived. Between A.D. 6 and 66 the Sadducees not only became a major power within the Sanhedrin, but, for many years, they were able to control the high priesthood as well.
The revolt of 66-70 spelled the end for the Sadducees.

 

The Essenes

The earliest mention of the Essenes is by the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (c. 20–54 CE). Philo who mentions that there were more than 4,000 Essenes (Essaioi) living in villages throughout Palestinian Syria.  Roman writer Pliny the Elder (died c. 79 CE)  in his Natural History  also describe them as existing for thousands of generations. He placed them in En Gedi in the shores of Dead Sea.  Josephus gives  more elaborate descriptions in several of his works: The Jewish War (c. 75 CE) Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94 CE)

From these historical writings we have a pretty good understanting  of the life and beliefs of the Essenes 

Among their neighbours they were noted for their love of God and their concerns with piety, honesty, morality, philanthropy, holiness, equality, and freedom. There were two sects of Essenes. The first type of Essenes did not marry and lived a celibate life, and practiced communal residence, money, property, food and clothing. Essenes ritually immersed in water every morning, ate together after prayer, devoted themselves to charity and benevolence, forbade the expression of anger, studied the books of the elders and believed that there were secret knowledge beyond the common revelations.   A second sect did marry and lived a family life.  They observed the Sabbath according to all the strictest instructions and spent much of their time studying the Law according to philosophical and allegorical interpretations. They cherished freedom, possessed no slaves, and rejected the use of weapons or participation in commerce. 

 

Dead Sea Qumran Community Living Quarters where these celibate community lived as a family together. These communities were probably the model that was used by the early Christian Communities.

Name Essene is derived from Essæi , who derives it from hosios, ("holy"),  and Essæi and Esseni .  Their numbers according to Philo and Josephus  was about 4000 soon after the destruction of the temple and their chief place of residence was along the west side, but away from the shore, of the Dead Sea.

 “The doctrine of the Essenes is this:

That all things are best ascribed to God.

They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for; and when they send what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not offer sacrifices because they have more pure lustrations of their own; on which account they are excluded from the common court of the temple, but offer their sacrifices themselves;

The Sect started 150 BC and disappeared  by 100 AD.

 They are the starters of Moasticism, Asceticism, and communistic life.

 

 The  three groups: