The Ecole Initiative: Sadducees

No materials survive from the Sadducees themselves. Our only sources are the Christian Bible (New Testament), Josephus (BJ 2.119, 164--66; Ant 13.171--73, 293--98; 18.11; 16--17; 20.199; Vit. 10--11) and scattered rabbinic texts of varying value. These are all to a greater or lesser extent hostile. It is therefore impossible to derive a balanced view of this group. Their name has been derived from TSADDIQ ("righteous") and from the name Zadok (either the high priest or another). They have been seen as a primarily religious group (of priestly conservatives); as the Judean aristocracy (again through a supposed link with the priesthood) and as a political party. They have been identified by some scholars (and by some of the later rabbinic traditions) with the Boethusians, an equally obscure group whose major difference with the Pharisees appears to have been over the calendar. Attempts to link the Sadducees with some of the Qumran writings (the Dead Sea Scrolls) depend on circular assumptions about the nature and beliefs of the group.

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