Evangelical Theological Society

Presidential Address

Jackson, Mississippi

November 21, 1996

 

                                                         Breadmaking with Jesus

                                                               Robert C. Newman

 

            "Beware!  Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Saddu­cees!"[1]  said Jesus to his disciples.  "Beware!" 

 

            Did Jesus intend this warning just for the twelve in the boat with him?  Or was he aiming at a wider audience?

 

            Since the day he spoke these words, Jesus' followers have come to recognize that he is not just a prophet, but also the Author of History.  Did he, as author, design this warning to function as something of a motif in the drama of church history?  Was he doing something like Shake­speare did in Julius Caesar with the sooth­sayer's warning C "Beware the ides of March"?[2]  Was Jesus preparing us for a major tempta­tion the church would face though­out histo­ry?  I think he was.  I'd like to explore this idea with you this evening.

 

            Certainly Scripture contains pro­phetic warnings.  Drastic editorial theories are necessary to remove them.  The Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 is explic­itly prophet­ic.[3]  So are the blessing and curse passages of Leviti­cus 26 and Deuter­onomy 28, though at first they appear to be merely general principles C blessings for obedi­ence and warn­ings for disobedience.  Yet looking back over the 3500 years since they were given, we can now see an ominous portent in them.  These chap­ters are domi­nated by threat­ened disas­ters, with nearly 4/5ths of the Deuter­onomy passage and over 2/3rds of the Leviti­cus one giving curses for Israel's covenant disobe­di­ence, and only a few verses are alloted to the bless­ings promised for obedi­ence.  But this, in fact, is what has actually happened to the nation C the people have faced one disaster after another, yet still have survived.[4]

 

            On the other hand, sometimes an apparently specific predic­tion may turn out to be rather general.  Jesus tells the Jews, "I have come in my Fa­ther's name, and you do not receive me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him."[5]  Hearing this, we would naturally expect to see some single false Messiah who will be acknowl­edged by Israel.  But there have already been at least two C Bar Kochba in the second century and Shabbati Zvi in the 17th, and perhaps one of the Zealot leaders in the first century revolt against Rome.  Yet most of us expect to see an even more impres­sive ful­fillment of this predic­tion at the end of the age.

 

Jesus' Warning as an Aphorism

 

            Assuming that Jesus' warning to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees is prophetic, perhaps it takes the form of an apho­rism,[6] a brief concrete statement which is to be gen­er­alized by some sort of extension.  This would be rather like Benjamin Franklin's proverb, "A stitch in time saves nine."  Ben was not merely giving advice on clothing repair, but telling us that corrective action taken early can prevent serious trouble later.  So perhaps here.  The context of our passage in Matthew 16 already indicates that the word "leaven" is to be extended beyond literal breadmak­ing to include the teaching of the two groups.[7]

 

            "Beware the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."  That might be all Jesus meant.  A specific warning about two particu­lar groups to those twelve men in the boat.  But if so, the Gospel writers don't seem to have followed up on his warning.  True, there is Luke's account in Acts 15 of the Jerusalem Council rejecting the demands of Pharisees who had become Christians,[8] and there is Paul's shouted protest against the Sadducees before the Sanhed­rin.[9]  But neither of these explicitly refers to Je­sus' predic­tion, and Paul was not one of those disciples in the boat anyway.  The nearest we come to a reference to Jesus' warning are Paul's remarks about a little leaven leavening the whole lump (1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9), which sound more like a refer­ence to Jesus' parable than to this aphorism.  Per­haps we should consider that the the terms "Phari­sees" and "Saddu­cees" are to be gener­al­ized as well.

 

            As best we can tell, the Saddu­cees disappear from history after the Jewish revolt ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.  So any predictive reference to Saddu­cees which reaches beyond the first century would presumably refer to teachings like theirs.

 

            By contrast, there is some real sense in which the Pharisees continue to this day.  They survived the fall of Jerusa­lem and re-established rabbinic schools in Jamnia and later in Galilee.  They condensed the oral tradition of the first-century Pharisees into the written Mishnah, which later formed the basis of the Jerusalem and Babylo­nian Talmuds.  And to this day the Babylonian Talmud is the guidebook of Orthodox Judaism.  Yet the continuing influ­ence of these literal Pharisees on the church ended around AD 100.  By that time, the Jewish leader­ship had ejected Messian­ic Jews from the synagogue, and Christianity and Judaism thereaf­ter went their separate ways.  So here, too, not long after the end of the first century, Christian contact with actual Pharisees became rather mini­mal.

 

            So, how far do we extend the terms "Pharisees" and "Saddu­cees"?  If we make them broad enough, Jesus' admonition is just a general warning to beware of false doctrine.  False doctrine, of course, has certainly been a motif of church history, and an admonition against it is needed by all Chris­tians.  But I can't help thinking that Jesus may have had some specific features of the Pharisees and Saddu­cees in mind when he gave this warning.

 

            If so, what do we know about these two groups?  Well, quite a lot about the Pharisees; not so much about the Sadducees.  The New Testament authors and Josephus, writing in the first century, speak frequently of the Pharisees.  The rabbinic litera­ture, though more than a century later, was written by the successors to the Pharisees, even though they don't often use this term.  Apparently "Pharisee" was not their own name for them­selves[10] C rather like the terms "Quaker," "Me­th­od­ist," and even "Chris­tian," which were originally coined by oppo­nents.  These same three sources C the New Testament, Jose­phus, and the rabbin­ic literature C also give us what information we have about the Sadducees, as it appears that no Sadducean writings have sur­vived.[11]

 

            The New Testament nowhere defines the terms "Pharisee" or "Sadducee,"  though it does provide enough material for us to make a sketch of each.  We will come back to this by and by.  But first let us look at Josephus and the rabbinic literature.

 

Josephus on the Sadducees and Pharisees

 

            Josephus, writing for pagans with no back­ground in Jewish affairs, describes both Pharisees and Sadduceess in a couple of significant passag­es plus several scat­tered remarks.  Listing these two groups with the Essenes as the three main sects of Juda­ism,[12] Josephus claims he person­ally tried out all three before deciding to live as a Phari­see.[13] 

 

            The Sadducees, he says, are a small group with great influ­ence among the upper-class Jews, but none among the com­mon people.[14]  The Pharisees, by contrast, seem to be a larger group, and they have enormous influence over the masses.[15]

 

            The Sadducees hold only to the regulations written in Scrip­ture, while the Pharisees, in addition, put a great deal of emphasis on oral traditions from the forefathers.[16]

 

            The Sadducees assign all human actions to our own choices rather than to fate, says Josephus.  The Pharisees, by contrast, assign some events entirely to fate and others to a combination of fate and human choice.[17]  [By "fate" Josephus apparently means God's control of events, using a term educated pagans would understand.]

 

            Regarding the afterlife, the Sadducees believe that "souls die with the bod­ies,"[18] that there is no survival after this life, no judgment, no heaven nor hell.[19]  The Phari­sees, on the other hand, believe in the immortality of the soul, with resur­rec­tion for the righ­teous and eternal punishment for the wick­ed.[20]

 

            The Sadducees, says Josephus, are rude even toward fellow Saddu­cees, and consider it a virtue to argue with their teach­ers.[21]  The Pharisees, he says, "are affectionate to each other and cultivate harmonious relations with the community."[22]  "They show respect and deference to their elders, nor do they rashly presume to contradict their proposals."[23]

 

Rabbinic Statements about Pharisees and Sadducees

 

            That's a quick sketch of what Josephus has to say.  In the rabbinic literature we see that the Pharisees and Sadducees differed over numerous matters relating to personal behavior and liturgical practice.  The Pharisees admitted (to them­selves at least) that some of their own regulations were like "mountains hanging by a hair" of Scripture support, or even floating in the air with no support,[24] but still they insisted on and fought for their observances being the official ones.  This fits Josephus' picture, with the Pharisees depending on oral tradi­tion, but the Sadducees seeking to have support of Scrip­ture for any regula­tions to be officially observed.

 

            The rabbinic literature also shows us something of the antagonism between the Pharisees and Sadducees.  The Pharisees, who by New Testament times controlled the actual practices in the temple,[25] would go out of their way to spite the Saddu­cees, intentionally violating a Sadducean understanding of the law when this was not necessary.  On one occasion, they made the high priest ritually unclean, so that by Sadducean law he would not be able carry out a certain ceremony, but he could by Pharisaic law.[26]  They were proba­bly the instiga­tors of the incident over a century earlier in which the crowd at a festival pelted the high priest with fruit because he poured out a drink offering in the Sadducean man­ner.[27]  The Pharisees even debat­ed among them­selves as to whether the Sadducees should be treated as Israel­ites, Samaritans, or Gentiles.[28]

 

            The rabbinic literature also suggests that the Sadducees rejected an afterlife.  An anecdote about the origin of the Sadducees says their founder was once a disciple of the rabbi Antigo­nus of Socho (c200 BC), but he came to reject his teacher's belief in rewards in the age to come, claiming that Scrip­ture would have been much more explicit if that was what it taught.[29]  Another ac­count says the Pharisees changed the ending of the Temple bene­dictions from "forever" to "from age to age" to refute the Sadducean view that this age is all there is, and there is not another to follow it.[30]

 

            In general, the Pharisees are treated quite favorably in the rabbinic literature.  There is one passage, however, which lists seven kinds of Pharisees which were considered plagues upon their reputation.[31]  These descrip­tions, unfortunately, are quite brief and obscure.  Apparently one kind of Pharisee re­ceives circum­cision for ulterior motives; another exaggerates his humility; a third is so preoccupied with obeying a commandment that he collides with a wall; a fourth always has his head buried in prayer; a fifth is forever looking for new commandments that he can obey; the sixth and seventh types are Pharisees from love of reward and fear of punishment, rather than from a real desire to please God.[32]  Clearly, the Pharisees were aware of hypocrisy and self-righteousness in their group.

 

The New Testament on Pharisees and Sadducees

 

            In seeking to understand what Jesus meant when he said "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees," however, the New Testament is our prime source rather than Josephus or the rabbin­ic litera­ture.  It was written closer to the time Jesus spoke.  It reflects Jesus' own evalua­tion of the groups.  And it is inspired by the God who cannot lie, so that it conveys exactly what he wishes us to know on this sub­ject.  What does the New Testament have to say?

 

            In Matthew 23, Jesus closes his ministry to Israel with a fearsome rebuke to the Pharisees.  He characterizes them as those who teach truth but don't live it out (verses 3-4).  They advance themselves rather than God (vv 5-12).  They not only refuse to enter God's kingdom, they keep others out as well (13).  They spend the money of widows while sounding very pious (14).[33]  They are zealous evangelists, but they've got the wrong Gospel (15).  They emphasize details but miss the main point (16-24).  They are righteous on the outside but not the inside (25-28).  They honor the good people of previous generations but oppose the saints of today (29-36).  Surely this must be part of what Jesus meant when he told us to beware the leaven of the Pharisees.

 

            One of Jesus' most powerful parables is that one in Luke 18 where he sketches the behavior of a Pharisee and a tax collector who have come up to the temple to pray.  Luke tells us that in this parable Jesus was targeting those who think they are all right and who look down on others (v 9).  In agree­ment with this, the Pharisee thanks God that he is not like others (11); by his fasting and tithing he thinks he is doing more than God requires (12).  But Jesus says that only those who recognize their sin, humble themselves, and cast themselves upon God for mercy, will find that they are acquitted at the final judgment (14).

 

            We have much less from Jesus regarding the Sadducees.  His encounter with them in Matthew 22 turns on their denial of resurrection.  Josephus' comment that they believed "souls die with the bodies" helps us to understand that Jesus is here responding to those who deny survival rather than to those who believe in an immortal soul.  Seen in this way, it looks like Jesus' response is first to turn aside their reductio ad absurdum about the wife and seven husbands by revealing a simple alternative C there is no married state in the life to come (30).  Whether or not the Sadducees are willing to take Jesus' word for it that this is how it will be, his proposal at least shows that their objection is hardly insupera­ble.  Jesus then moves to the attack by connect­ing the whole matter of resurrection to God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Sadducees' concern for the levi­rate marriage law is really only about a second­ary feature of the covenant (32).  But one of the primary features of the convenant, and one on which the levi­rate law depends, is the promise of the land.  Now the patri­archs, having died before Joshua's conquest of Canaan, can never inherit the land God prom­ised them personally[34] un­less they still exist and will rise again C which they don't and won't on Saddu­ce­an premis­es.  Jesus thus convicts them of neither under­standing the Bible nor God's power (29).

 

            Luke's narration of Paul's encounter with the Sanhedrin in Acts 23 provides further information on the Sadducean skepticism regarding the supernatural.  Not only do they deny resurrection, but also the existence of angels and spirits (8), if we properly understand Luke's account.[35]

 

            The harshness of one Sadducee toward another mentioned by Josephus is illustrated in an incident narrated in John 11.  Hearing some in the Sanhed­rin moaning that Jesus' success was going to bring in the Romans who would destroy the Jewish state, the high priest Caiaphas responds, "You don't know any­thing!" (49).  The plan he proposes C  "It is expedient that one should die rather than the whole nation perish" C  surely illus­trates a major feature of the Sadducean policy by which they got and kept their power.

 

Polarities between the Pharisees and Sadducees

 

            Well, that was a quick tour of our ancient sources on the Pharisees and Sadducees.  We can see that they were very differ­ent from one another, yet Jesus lumps them together as "leaven" which he wants his followers to avoid.  We need to think briefly about two things then: (1) how they differed from one another and so represent divergent errors by which we can stray from the good path, and (2) how they resemble one another but contrast with the example of Jesus himself.  Let's look at the divergences first.

 

            It is a commonplace today to characterize the Pharisees as the theological conservatives in Judaism and the Sadducees as the liberals.  This is certainly true, given some differences between our culture and theirs.  It does not, however, guaran­tee that we have avoided the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees if we can see liberals to the left of us and conserva­tives to our right! 

 

            In any case, the Pharisees and Sadducees do not represent extremes in Judiasm.  The Essenes and Zealots were far more conserva­tive than the Pharisees in a number of areas.  And the Sadducees did not by any means occupy the liberal end of the spectrum.  They at least had not apostasized from Juda­ism, as Philo's nephew Tiberius Alexander did in becoming a Roman general and later a provincial gover­nor.[36]  And Philo speaks of some Hellenistic Jews who not only allegorized the Mosaic laws, but also claimed that one no longer needed to obey them once their allegorical meaning has been deci­phered.[37]  Surely the Sadducean insistence on literal obedience to the Mosaic liturgy puts them to the conservative side of these Jews also.  The fact is, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were both a part of the great main­stream of Jewish society in their day.  So Jesus' warning is not just to avoid the liberal and conservative extremes.

 

            A second polarity between Pharisee and Sadducee seems to be withdrawal versus assimilation.  The Pharisees, it appears, devoted considerable effort to making distinctions which sepa­rated themselves from others.  In fact, the very name "Pharisee" means "separatist."  The Sadducees, on the other hand, were those who would compromise to fit in with others, especially with those in power.  They obviously made some adjustments to get along with the Romans.  They also had managed to swallow their pride sufficiently to give in to the Phari­sees on how the temple liturgy would be performed; other­wise the common people would not put up with them.  The Saddu­cees were apparently characterized both by assimila­tion and expedi­ency in their zeal to have and retain power.  The followers of Jesus, then, are somehow to steer between withdrawal from society and assimilation to it; we are to be "in the world, but not of it." (John 17:14-18)

 

            A third polarity between Pharisee and Sadducee might be characterized as dogmatism versus skepticism.  In general, the Jews of NT times were more behavior-oriented than are traditional Christians with our emphasis on doctrine.  Probably we are to understand this shift from practice to doctrine as one result of the atoning work of Christ.  He rescues us from the condemnation of the law, moving the emphasis from obedience to forgiveness, and from Sinai to the person and work of Christ.  Given this salvation-historical difference, the Pharisees clearly emphasized knowing and obeying a massive list of commandments, while the Sadducees apparently tried to keep the list to a minimum.  The Pharisees accepted the teachings of their elders, so the tendency among them would be for their tradition to grow.  The Sadducees, by contrast, disput­ed with their teachers, and this doubt­less tended to de­crease the extent of their agreement and move them toward a minimalist stance.  Perhaps this also explains their rejec­tion of resurrection, angels and spirits.  Jesus' disciples are somehow to avoid dogmatism and skepticism, or at least be careful to use these in the right places.  In any case, we are not to add to God's Word or to subtract from it.

 

            A fourth polarity might be legalism versus antinomianism.  The Pharisees certainly were legalists, as both the NT and rabbinic literature attest.  But were the Sadducees law-breakers? Surely not, on the scale of the apostates and allego­rizers we men­tioned previously.  But several scholars have noted that the trial of Jesus, conducted by the Sadducean-dominated Sanhedrin, violated numerous regulations in the rabbinic literature for capital trials.[38]  And even if these regulations were not in force during NT times, both Jesus (John 18:19-23) and Paul (Acts 23:13) were mistreated at their trials, and the Pharisee Gama­liel was hard put to rescue the apostles from the Sanhedrin's desire to put them to death (Acts 6:33-40).  Jesus' disciples are to beware of both legalism and lawlessness.

 

            On the basis of such polarities, it is not hard to see Jesus' warning to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Saddu­cees as similar to that of Moses not to turn aside to the right or to the left (Deut 17:11).  The Pharisees and Sadducees repre­sent two sorts of attitudes and behaviors by which we may diverge from the straight path which Jesus marked out for us.

 

Polarities Between Jesus and These Groups

 

            But why does Jesus use the image of breadmaking and the figure of leaven rather than the more common OT image of journey and the figure of getting off the path?  Jesus doesn't tell us.  Perhaps it is just a matter of variety, since both Jesus and Scripture use many figures to provide us with vivid pictures of spiritual truth.  That he characterizes both errors as "leaven" may suggest these groups share some similarities that are the opposite of what we ought to be.  Perhaps we can see this more easily by investigating polarities between Jesus and these groups.

 

            Jesus was poor.  After his birth, Mary and Joseph gave the poor offering of two birds (Luke 2:22-24).  During his public ministry, Jesus was homeless (Matt 8:20).  He shared a common purse with the twelve (John 12:6, 13:29).  He was buried in a borrowed tomb (Matt 27:57-60).  Perhaps most revealing, after feeding the multitudes, he had the disciples collect the scraps (Mark 6:43; 8:8, 19-20).  The Sadducees, by contrast, were rich, and planned to stay that way.  The Pharisees seem to have been middle-class, but their attitude toward wealth was revealed when they scoffed at Jesus' teaching that they could not serve both God and money (Luke 16:13-14).  Jesus intentionally chose to be poor.

 

            Though Jesus enjoyed a brief period of enormous popularity, he was rejected when the crunch came, and abandoned by most of his disciples.  He was "out," the Pharisees and Sadducees were "in."  They were successful, he was a failure.  They lived on, he was killed.  Jesus intentionally made choices he knew would produce these results.

 

            The Pharisees and Sadducees chose the way of safety and security.  Jesus chose the way of danger.  The Sadducees put their trust in political influence and Roman power.  The Phari­sees put theirs in grass-roots support and in-group approval.  Jesus put his trust in God alone, seeking to do God's will regardless of the conse­quences.

 

            Perhaps these polarities point up the significance of the leaven figure.  As we see here (and also in Jesus' temptation in the wilderness), he did not take the easy way.  He rejected physical comfort to serve God.  He turned aside from the spectac­ular though he knew that was the way to get a following.  He would not bow to Satan though that was the way to gain the whole world.  In a word, Jesus humbled himself (Phil 2:7-8).

 

            And that, perhaps, is the point of the leaven.  If you belong to a congregation which uses unleavened bread in the Lord's Supper, you know that it is flat and heavy compared to regular bread which is much thicker and lighter.  To bring out the imagery C unleavened bread is low, leavened bread is puffed up.  Jesus is meek and lowly; he comes humbly and riding on a donkey.  He is despised and rejected.  The Pharisees and Sadducees were proud and powerful.  They looked for a leader of the same sort, and so would have none of Jesus.  Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees!

 

Conclusions

 

            Throughout the centuries, the church has faced these twin temptations C to follow the Sadducees in assimilating to the power-structures of society, or to follow the Pharisees in withdrawing into a Christian ghetto.  In either case the Gospel is obscured, and people who might otherwise have been saved have died in their sins.

 

            So how are we evangelicals doing at the end of the 20th century?  I've called this talk "Breadmaking with Jesus."  As believers, Jesus is making us into the kind of bread he can use C unleav­ened bread.  As members of the ETS, most of us are pastors or teachers; we are helping Jesus make bread.  I hope we are not by our attitudes, teaching, or example adding leaven to the dough that we are or to the batches we are helping Jesus make.

 

            It looks like avoiding the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees is not simply a matter of balance.  We cannot take comfort in the belief that we're OK if we aren't extreme.  Jesus wants us to be like himself.

 

            Being conservative is not good enough, though it is certain­ly better than being theologically liberal.  After all, Jesus told the crowds to do what the Phari­sees taught (Matt 23:2), but he never told them to do what the Sadducees taught.  But even so, Jesus certainly warns us not to be like the Pharisees.

 

            Nor should we be like the Sadducees.  Do we really under­stand God's word, or do we explain away some passages of Scrip­ture because we don't know how to harmonize them with other passages?  What takes precedence in our exposition, the data of Scripture or our group's creed?  If the latter, how can we ever be corrected where it is wrong?

 

            Do we understand God's power?  As Christians in a secular society such as ours, we face great temptations to downplay the miraculous.  And of course, none of us can help but underestimate God.  We need his grace every moment to keep us from making him and his kingdom look bad.

 

            Do we treat others with respect, even our enemies?  If not, we only show that we lack the humility that characterized Jesus.  And how can we draw all people to him if we look so different from him?

 

            Is expediency our guide in life?  Then how can those who watch us ever conclude that we really do believe there is a God in heaven who will one day bring all our thoughts and actions into judgment?

 

            Back to the Pharisees.  Do we teach the truth?  Good!  But do we live it out?  How can unbelievers see what the Christian life really looks like if no one is living it?  When we labor as Christians, are we really seeking to advance God or our­selves?  If we cannot serve God and Mammon, then we cannot serve God and self either!  Are we seeking to enter God's king­dom?  Good!  But are we helping others enter, too, or are we more of a hindrance to them? 

 

            How do we spend the money we raise from widows?  After all, most of us are living off of money that was donated, and some of it at great sacrifice.  Do we handle it like it is a precious trust from our Lord, or like it is our entitlement?  Do we keep in mind that one day we will have to give an account for every cent?

 

            Are we zealous evange­lists?  Good!  Do we have the right Gospel, or are our converts being taught to make the same mistakes we do?  Do we consider our­selves righteous?  Do we look down on others?  Or do we recognize our own sin and cast ourselves upon God for his mercy?

 

            Are we righteous on the inside or just on the outside?  Do we honor the saints of today, or just those who are safely dead?  How do we relate to the living saints of other Christian traditions than our own?

 

            In a word, are we followers of Jesus or followers of the Pharisees and Saddu­cees?  Do we C like Jesus C somehow draw sinners to ourselves?  Or C like the Pharisees C isolate our­selves from sinners in our pride and self-righteousness, making the Gospel alien and unattractive to them?  Or do we C like the Sadducees C so resemble the sinners around us that they can see no difference between us and them, and therefore no need for God or Jesus?

 

            Speaking of the Sadducees, the Jesus Seminar is surely some sort of modern manifestation of their leaven.  It has done much evil in obscuring the real Jesus,[39] though we orthodox Christians (in a more Pharisaic way) have been guilty of this as well.[40]  Yet the Jesus Seminar's translation, which they call the "Scholars Ver­sion," has a few racy passages that capture some­thing of the urgency of Jesus' message.  The one I going to quote only got printed in gray ink in their recent book The Five Gospels, so they don't think it likely that Jesus said it.  But we in the ETS do, and we need to take it to heart.  Let me quote it for you:

 

            You scholars... you impostors!  Damn you!  You slam the door of Heaven's domain in people's faces.  You yourselves don't enter, and you block the way of those trying to enter.[41]

 

            May God grant that Jesus will never one day have to say that to us! 

 

            Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees!

 

 

References

 



[1]. Matt 16:5-12.

[2]. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act i, scene ii.

[3]. See Deut 31:19 and context.

[4]. The fulfillment of these passages in Jewish history is sketched in some detail in Samuel H. Kellogg, The Jews, or Prediction and Fulfillment, 2nd ed. (New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph, 1887), condensed as chap. 6 in Robert C. Newman, ed., The Evidence of Prophecy (Hatfield, PA: Interdisciplinary Bibli­cal Research Institute, 1988), pp. 55-66.  See also Kenny Bar­field, The Prophet Motive (Nashville:  Gospel Advocate, 1995), chaps. 16-17.

[5]. John 5:43.

[6]. Aphorism: "a concise statement of a principle"; "a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment."  Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA:  G. & C. Merriam, 1975), p. 52.

[7]. Matt 16:12.

[8]. Acts 15, see especially verse 5.

[9]. Acts 23, especially verse 6.

[10]. In the rabbinic literature, the term "Pharisee" is usually found in the mouth of their opponents, especially the Sadducees.  See, e.g., m. Yad. 4:6-8.

[11]. It has recently been suggested that the community at Qumran arose from among the Sadducees; see James C. Vanderkam, "The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls:  Essenes or Sadducees?" Bible Review (1991) 7(2):42-47 and Lawrence H. Schiffman, "New Halakhic Texts from Qumran," Hebrew Studies (1993) 34:21-33.  But if so, the subsequent diver­gence among the two groups must have been considerable.

[12]. Life 2 '10; Ant. 13.5.9 '171; 18.1.2 '11; J. W. 2.8.2 '119.

[13]. Life 2 ''10-12.

[14]. Ant. 13.10.6 '298.

[15]. Ant. 18.1.3 '15.

[16]. Ant. 13.10.6 '297.

[17]. Ant. 13.5.9 ''171-173; see also J. W. 2.8.14 '164.

[18]. Ant. 18.1.4 '16.

[19]. J. W. 2.8.14 '165.

[20]. J. W. 2.8.14 '163.

[21]. J. W. 2.8.14 '166; Ant. 18.1.4 '16.

[22]. J. W. 2.8.14 '166.

[23]. Ant. 18.1.3 '12.

[24]. m. Hag. 1:8.

[25]. b. Yoma 19b.

[26]. b. Yoma 2a; b. Hag. 23a.

[27]. b. Sukk. 48b.

[28]. b. `Erub. 68b-69a; m. Nid. 4:1-2.

[29]. 'Abot R. Nat. 5.

[30]. m. Ber. 9:5; b. Ber. 54a.

[31]. b. Sota 22b.

[32]. Ibid.  These interpretations are more or less in line with the Babylonian Talmud, which diverges significantly from the Jerusa­lem Talmud.  See notes in I. Epstein, ed., Babylonian Talmud (London:  Soncino, 1936), vol 16, Sota, pp. 112-113.

[33]. Not in the best texts of Matthew, but found in the Synoptic parallels: Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.

[34]. Promised personally to Abraham in Gen 17:7-8 "to you and to your descendants" I will give this land; similarly to Isaac in Gen 26:3 and to Jacob in Gen 28:13.

[35]. It has been suggested that the reference to angels and spirits is to be understood in the context of survival and resurrection, rather than as a claim that the Sadducees denied the existence of angels and spirits altogether.  See David Daube, "On Acts 23:  Sadducees and Angels," JBL (1990) 109(3):493-97.

[36]. Josephus, Ant. 20.5.2 '100; see footnote in the Loeb ed. of Josephus, J. W. 2.11.6 '22; also Samuel Sandmel, Philo of Alexan­dria (New York:  Oxford, 1979), p. 14.

[37]. Philo, Migr. Abr. 89-93.

[38].  For a brief sketch of this question, with bibliographic references, see D. A Carson, Matthew in EBC (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1984), 8:549-52.

[39]. Two helpful responses to the Jesus Seminar by evangelicals are:  Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland, eds. Jesus Under Fire:  Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1995), and Gregory A. Boyd, Cynic Sage or Son of God?  Rediscovering the Real Jesus in an Age of Revision­ist Replies (Wheaton:  Bridgepoint, 1995).

[40].  See Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1995), for an attempt to correct this problem.

[41]. Matt 23:13; Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels:  The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (New York:  Macmillan, 1993), p. 241.