Jesus and the Pharisees


#1

I just read an interesting little article by William C. Varner, which discusses Jesus and his reactions to the Pharisees, as recorded in the Gospels. Varner points out that while, at times, Jesus seems to be directing his wrath toward the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as a whole, there are also passages in the New Testament where Jesus appears to be specifically targeting a certain type of Pharisee. Varner distinguishes between two schools of Pharisaic thought that predate the time of Jesus: that of Shammai, who were literalists, and that of Hillel, who were progressives. Orthodox Judaism of today patterns itself after the Pharisaic school of Hillel. It appears Jesus was opposed mainly to the Shammai Pharisaic school, and not so much to the Hillel Pharisaic school. Varner concludes that this understanding is important for both Jews and Christians, since Jews can thus better understand why Jesus was so upset with certain Pharisees, while Christians can better understand that Jesus was not, in the main, targeting the whole Pharisaic tradition. As a preface, Varner notes there were actually about twenty-four different "Judaisms," including Pharisaic Judaism, during the era of the Second Temple. According to some Christian and Jewish scholars, these varieties extended beyond mere sects, but were actually diverse enough to be regarded as separate religions in some cases.

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.


#2

[quote="meltzerboy, post:1, topic:281076"]
I just read an interesting little article by William C. Varner, which discusses Jesus and his reactions to the Pharisees, as recorded in the Gospels. Varner points out that while, at times, Jesus seems to be directing his wrath toward the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as a whole, there are also passages in the New Testament where Jesus appears to be specifically targeting a certain type of Pharisee. Varner distinguishes between two schools of Pharisaic thought that predate the time of Jesus: that of Shammai, who were literalists, and that of Hillel, who were progressives. Orthodox Judaism of today patterns itself after the Pharisaic school of Hillel. It appears Jesus was opposed mainly to the Shammai Pharisaic school, and not so much to the Hillel Pharisaic school. Varner concludes that this understanding is important for both Jews and Christians, since Jews can thus better understand why Jesus was so upset with certain Pharisees, while Christians can better understand that Jesus was not, in the main, targeting the whole Pharisaic tradition. As a preface, Varner notes there were actually about twenty-four different "Judaisms," including Pharisaic Judaism, during the era of the Second Temple. According to some Christian and Jewish scholars, these varieties extended beyond mere sects, but were actually diverse enough to be regarded as separate religions in some cases.

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

[/quote]

Melt,

This is fascinating. There is so much we do not know of the day you speak of. We read what we have and not having been there have no idea as to what other issues may have been involved. Interesting stuff.:)


#3

I’ve always found it interesting that of the Jews who followed Christ, with a single exception (Simon the Zealot), all are identified as being pharisees if they are given an identification.

Though of course it stands to reason that he had some followers among the Essenes (or at least former Essenes).


#4

[quote="meltzerboy, post:1, topic:281076"]
I just read an interesting little article by William C. Varner, which discusses Jesus and his reactions to the Pharisees, as recorded in the Gospels. Varner points out that while, at times, Jesus seems to be directing his wrath toward the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as a whole, there are also passages in the New Testament where Jesus appears to be specifically targeting a certain type of Pharisee. Varner distinguishes between two schools of Pharisaic thought that predate the time of Jesus: that of Shammai, who were literalists, and that of Hillel, who were progressives. Orthodox Judaism of today patterns itself after the Pharisaic school of Hillel. It appears Jesus was opposed mainly to the Shammai Pharisaic school, and not so much to the Hillel Pharisaic school. Varner concludes that this understanding is important for both Jews and Christians, since Jews can thus better understand why Jesus was so upset with certain Pharisees, while Christians can better understand that Jesus was not, in the main, targeting the whole Pharisaic tradition. As a preface, Varner notes there were actually about twenty-four different "Judaisms," including Pharisaic Judaism, during the era of the Second Temple. According to some Christian and Jewish scholars, these varieties extended beyond mere sects, but were actually diverse enough to be regarded as separate religions in some cases.

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

[/quote]

That's really interesting! Can you put a link to this article up? If not, could you explain the differences between these schools of Pharisaic thought in more deatail?


#5

We read what we have and not having been there have no idea as to what other issues may have been involved. Interesting stuff.
http://www.interbankforex.info/g.gif


#6

[quote="meltzerboy, post:1, topic:281076"]
I just read an interesting little article by William C. Varner, which discusses Jesus and his reactions to the Pharisees, as recorded in the Gospels. Varner points out that while, at times, Jesus seems to be directing his wrath toward the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as a whole, there are also passages in the New Testament where Jesus appears to be specifically targeting a certain type of Pharisee. Varner distinguishes between two schools of Pharisaic thought that predate the time of Jesus: that of Shammai, who were literalists, and that of Hillel, who were progressives. Orthodox Judaism of today patterns itself after the Pharisaic school of Hillel. It appears Jesus was opposed mainly to the Shammai Pharisaic school, and not so much to the Hillel Pharisaic school. Varner concludes that this understanding is important for both Jews and Christians, since Jews can thus better understand why Jesus was so upset with certain Pharisees, while Christians can better understand that Jesus was not, in the main, targeting the whole Pharisaic tradition. As a preface, Varner notes there were actually about twenty-four different "Judaisms," including Pharisaic Judaism, during the era of the Second Temple. According to some Christian and Jewish scholars, these varieties extended beyond mere sects, but were actually diverse enough to be regarded as separate religions in some cases.

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

[/quote]

I have read conflicting views. One view is that there were not that many differences between the school of Shammai and the school of Hillel. The other view is the school of Shammai represented G-d's justice, while the Hillel school represented G-d's mercy.

Regardless, this is something that would be of value for us as wannabe disciples of Jesus Christ to understand.

Thanks.


#7

[quote="mercytruth, post:6, topic:281076"]
I have read conflicting views. One view is that there were not that many differences between the school of Shammai and the school of Hillel.** The other view is the school of Shammai represented G-d's justice, while the Hillel school represented G-d's mercy.**

Regardless, this is something that would be of value for us as wannabe disciples of Jesus Christ to understand.

Thanks.

[/quote]

I have heard it said, Shammai binds, and Hillel looses.


#8

[quote="onemangang, post:7, topic:281076"]
I have heard it said, Shammai binds, and Hillel looses.

[/quote]

This is a wonder. When we consider the words of Jesus Christ:

"Whatever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven".

"Whosoever sins you shall retain, they are retained, and whosoever sins you shall remit, they are remitted."

Do you have a source for this?

God's peace.


#9

[quote="mercytruth, post:8, topic:281076"]
This is a wonder. When we consider the words of Jesus Christ:

"Whatever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven".

"Whosoever sins you shall retain, they are retained, and whosoever sins you shall remit, they are remitted."

Do you have a source for this?

God's peace.

[/quote]

I can't remember where I heard this :shrug:, but most of my reading of Jewish History comes from Jewish encyclopedia dot com

I think I was trying to reference the Nasi role of the Sanhedrin

So It may be in one of these references :shrug:

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3190-bet-hillel-and-bet-shammai

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13178-sanhedrin

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11330-nasi

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3307-binding-and-loosing

Peace be with you!


#10

[quote="onemangang, post:9, topic:281076"]
I can't remember where I heard this :shrug:, but most of my reading of Jewish History comes from Jewish encyclopedia dot com

I think I was trying to reference the Nasi role of the Sanhedrin

So It may be in one of these references :shrug:

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3190-bet-hillel-and-bet-shammai

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13178-sanhedrin

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11330-nasi

jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3307-binding-and-loosing

Peace be with you!

[/quote]

Thanks very much, if I find the exact source, I hope to share it.

His very peace be with you!


#11

onemangang,

All of your sources are good and very adequate. What I have learned from these sources is that originally the authority to loosen and bind was vested in the Sanhedrin. With the President, who usually was the High Priest and then with the seventy elders who were counselors of the Torah to the President. Later rabbinic Pharisees of various schools became more predominant within the Sanhedrin, including the two schools of which we are speaking.

More importantly, the early Jewish Christian church did not pattern themselves after the rabbinic authority, but after the priestly authority of the Sanhedrin. This originated with Moses and the seventy elders while in the wilderness.

This is how the early church structure was delineated: The ‘bishop’ represented ‘God’ on earth as did Moses in his day. The ‘presbertyrs’ represented the seventy elders of the Sanhedrin and are even called by that name. Their responsibilty was to give scriptural counsel to the bishop. They represented the function of the apostles when they were alive. The ‘deacon’ was a servant, the eyes and ears for the bishop, and the deacon represented Jesus Christ who was the servant to his Father while on the earth.

So the authority to loosen and bind was given to the local bishops with the presbyters together, known as the Sanhedrin of the church.

Here are a few citations from the early Jewish Christian church age:

newadvent.org/fathers/07152.htm
chapters XXVI-XXVIII.

newadvent.org/fathers/0105.htm
chapter 6.


#12

[quote="mercytruth, post:11, topic:281076"]
onemangang,

All of your sources are good and very adequate. What I have learned from these sources is that originally the authority to loosen and bind was vested in the Sanhedrin. With the President, who usually was the High Priest and then with the seventy elders who were counselors of the Torah to the President. Later rabbinic Pharisees of various schools became more predominant within the Sanhedrin, including the two schools of which we are speaking.

newadvent.org/fathers/0105.htm
chapter 6.

[/quote]

This is very interesting. I have never heard this before, and it immediately put Matt16:19 in a whole new context. I have often heard the reference to King David and the keys, but never had it put in the cultural context of the time.

It never ceases to amaze me how much more clear, and how much more clearly Catholic, the Scriptures become when viewed through the lens of Jewish tradition.


#13

joshua_b says,
*It never ceases to amaze me how much more clear, and how much more clearly Catholic, the Scriptures become when viewed through the lens of Jewish tradition. *

I heartily agree, there is much for us to be thankful in being able to spiritually partake of the natural olive tree.

God's peace.


#14

I found it to be a blessing as well, enough to use it in a couple of post, in regards to Christ completion or fulfilling of the social order ie; the Church


#15

[quote="meltzerboy, post:1, topic:281076"]
As a preface, Varner notes there were actually about twenty-four different "Judaisms," including Pharisaic Judaism, during the era of the Second Temple. According to some Christian and Jewish scholars, these varieties extended beyond mere sects, but were actually diverse enough to be regarded as separate religions in some cases.

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

[/quote]

I'm not sure how he would know this simply because we have so few sources: basically the New Testament and Josephus. Everything else would be conjecture built upon retrojecting much later material back to the time of the Second Temple--though I would agree that there was a great deal of diversity in what we new think of as Judaism of the times.

I'm not sure how one would decide different groups were "separate religions."

I noticed that the author teaches at John MacArthur's The Master's College, which tends toward the extreme end of Calvinism. I guess that's neither here nor there--his scholarship might still be good, but that makes me a little suspicious from the get-go.


#16

Dave—

I’d somewhat agree with you about this, but I read the article and I think it’s worthwhile. Varner does include decent footnotes. I don’t think he’s offering any brand new idea of his own, but rather giving a brief summary of other writers’ scholarship…so it seems to me, anyway.


#17

I found two articles by Varner and he apparently has no bone to pick. Someone has to be interested in this and since he is an Old Testament scholar this is what he produces. There does appear to be diversity.

pfo.org/pharisee.htm

phys.ufl.edu/~aycock/pharisees.html

Varner honestly points out that Oral Tradition was active…

Jesus affirmed clearly that at times the oral law, championed by the Pharisees, contravened the written law (Matthew 15:1-20).

It is interesting that Jesus as he says affirmed it which should shoot the Sola Scripturists in the foot.:slight_smile:


#18

All I could say is, :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


#19

[quote="Nine_Two, post:3, topic:281076"]
I've always found it interesting that of the Jews who followed Christ, with a single exception (Simon the Zealot), all are identified as being pharisees if they are given an identification.

[/quote]

And even then, the identification Zelotes in Simon's name could also easily just mean 'zealous' rather than 'Zealot'.

Though of course it stands to reason that he had some followers among the Essenes (or at least former Essenes).

Possible, but not certain.


#20

Thank you all for your interesting and informative comments!


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