By Ed Whitt

Benchley, October 11, 2017

  • What did the Pharisees believe? (continued)
    • High degree of dedication to law and prophets
    • Held oral traditions as equally important
      • Interpretations by noted rabbis
      • Given and relayed by word of mouth
      • Committed to writing around 70 AD and after
      • Pharisees developed many purity rituals that went far beyond the law. They taught that purity rituals the law required of priests must be followed by all in case a priest ate with someone who had not purified themselves and became unclean.
        • Matthew 15:1-11; 23:25-26
        • I Peter 2:4-5 – The priesthood is no longer physical. Holiness is not outward but inward.
    • Positions developed in schools of law
      • Hillel – humane and lenient
      • Shammai – strict and severe
    • Good motivation, misguided methods
      • Talmud: seven kinds of Pharisees
        • Shouldering Pharisee – wears good deeds on shoulder (Matthew 6:5)
        • Delaying Pharisee – makes everyone wait while he does a good deed
        • Bruised Pharisee – walks into a wall to keep from looking at a woman
        • Pestle Pharisee – walks head down in false humility
        • Ever-reckoning Pharisee – keeps mental balance sheet of good and bad deeds he has done
        • Fearful Pharisee – in constant fear of God
        • Loving Pharisee – loves God and seeks to keep His commandments
  • Some specific beliefs
    • Purification applies to all – Mark 7:1
    • Interpretation
    • Resurrection of the dead
    • Divine intervention
    • Hellenism
    • Free will of man
    • Inspiration of oral Torah, Talmud, Mishnah
    • Spiritual beings – Colossians 2:18-19
  • Essenes
    • Pharisees on steroids
    • Believed in spiritual afterlife, but no resurrection
    • Considered temple eternally impure – did not eat meat
    • Most lived communally – I Timothy 4:1-5 could be referring to Essenes
    • Best-known community was by Red Sea
      • Dead Sea Scrolls believed to have been written by Essenes
    • Refused to recognize proselytes and descendants
    • Marriage
      • Some groups practiced celibacy
      • Some required 3-year engagement before marriage
  • Communal life
    • No ownership or property or servants
    • Three-year probation period for new members
    • Shared many beliefs with the Pharisees
      • More meticulous about purification rituals
      • Held to the Torah, Talmud, and Mishnah
    • Similar groups in behavior, but not in belief
      • Nazareans – law and prophets were fraudulent
      • Ossaeans – much like Nazareans
  • Sadducees
    • Probably named for Zadok
    • Upper-tier priests – Acts 4:1-2; 5:17-18; John 1:19-24
    • Ruling class
  • First appearance as political force
    • Supporters for Onias III
    • Much of the priesthood joined in
  • Pharisees often prevailed in public matters

By Ed Whitt

Benchley, August 30, 2017

  • Last lesson
    • How women were regarded in Old Testament times
    • What changed going into the 1st century
  • This lesson
    • What changed going into the 1st century
    • How that contrasted with Jesus’ ministry
  • Rabbinical justification
    • What???
      • Rabbis were not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was not an office created by God.
      • Matthew 15:1-9
    • Sometimes scripture, sometimes “reasoning”
    • Examples
      • Psalms 45:13 – Interpretation: A woman’s place is in the home.
      • Deuteronomy 4:9 – Interpretation: Don’t teach your daughters the law.
      • Rabbi Jose ben Johanan – Don’t talk to women!
      • Rabbi Rabbah – Women are to stay at home.
      • Rabbi Erubin – Women are to be covered and shut up at home.
      • Women’s court in the temple
        • Women limited to only the women’s court in the temple.
    • Contrasting tradition with gospels and epistles
      • Women not relegated to the home
        • Workers in the home, yes – Titus 2:3-5
        • But no mandate to exclusivity – Acts 16:11-15, 40
      • Women present in much of Jesus’ ministry
        • Not part of the 12 or of the 70
        • Almost constantly present during His ministry
        • Never chided or degraded in New Testament writings
    • The woman at the well
      • John 4:1-45
      • Brings up rift between Jew and Samaritan
      • Jesus proves His perfect knowledge
      • She decides to use that knowledge
      • Leads her to the knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah
      • She takes the message to the village
    • More about women
      • Matthew 12:46-50
        • Women included
        • Could be disciples
      • Luke 7:36-50
    • Coming weeks
      • Social strata of Jerusalem
      • Religious sects
      • Temple
      • Priesthood