Pharisees

Selected Books

  • Bonsirven, Joseph. Palestinian Judaism in the Time of Christ. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964. The author makes use of seven groups of documents (OT, NT, Philo, Josephus, rabbinical writings, the Apocrypha, and the inscriptions and opinions of ancient authors) in an attempt to reconstruct the "living reality of Jewish religion" (p. xi). The study proceeds to examine ten major areas from God to eschatology in light of what these sources point to as the Jewish view of the first century. He clearly seeks to understand this Jewish conception in order to better comprehend the ears and mind with which first century Jews would have heard and understood the Gospel.
  • Charles, R. H. Religious Development Between The Old And The New Testaments. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1914. The author seeks to better understand the flow of divine prophecy during the inter- testamental period with the thesis that rather than a time of silence, it was a period of great insight. In the first chapter he proposes legalistic pharaism as the "parent of Telmudic Judaism" and apocalyptic pharisaism as the "parent of Christianity" (p.35). His treatment relies heavily on critical assumptions.
  • Davies, W. D. Introduction to Pharisaism. Philadelphia: Fortress Books, 1967. This slight volume (45 pages with intro) provides a well written overview with good footnotes and bibliography. Its explicit purpose is to counter the Pharisees' "bad press" and to draw applicable lessons from pharisaism for the church today.
  • Davies, W. D. Paul and Rabbinic Judaism. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1967. This work is driven by its critical presuppositions in its view of Rabbinic influence of Paul. It contains an extensive bibliography and indexes.
  • Herford, R. T. Pharisaism: Its Aim and Its Purpose. Crown Theological Library, Vol. 35. London: Williams and Norgate, 1912. The author argues that pharisaism was so supremely antithetical to Jesus that not only could the Pharisees not understand Jesus, but that He could not understand them (pp.167-8).
  • Kampen, John. The Hasideans and the Origin of Pharisaism: A Study in 1 and 2 Maccabees. Society of Biblical Literature Septuagint and Cognate Studies Series, Claude E. Cox ed. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. Here is a comprehensive investigation of the first questions that each author has wrestled with, namely the origin and meaning of the term "Pharisee."
  • Lightley, J. W. Jewish Sects and Parties in the Time of Jesus. London: The Epworth Press, 1925. Covered herein are the Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans, Essenes, and the zealots. Each of these is sought in order to reconstruct the social setting into which Jesus spoke. He paints the Sadducees as the public worship leaders and the Pharisees as the "popular teachers."
  • Marti, Karl. The Religion of the Old Testament: Its Place Among the Religions of the Nearer East. G. A. Bienemann trans. W. D. Morrison ed. Crown Theological Library, Vol. 19. London: Williams and Norgate, 1912. This is more a look at the setting out of which pharisaism developed. The last chapter particularly points to the kind of post-exilic thinking that could give rise to its legalism.
  • Neusner, Jacob. From Politics to Piety: The Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1973. See p. 89 for goal of the Pharisees. This is an especially user-friendly work, full of all kinds of helpful tools including a timeline, glossary, indexes, and well divided chapters.
  • Neusner, Jacob. The Rabbinic Traditions About the Pharisees Before 70. Three Volumes. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1971.

Reference Works

  • Black, Matthew. "Pharisees,". The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Buttrick, G. A. ed. Vol. 3, pp. 774-781. Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1962. # BS 440.I63 V. 3. Defines as" an influential party among the Jews during intertestamental and NT times." Proceeds along the following lines: Origin and name; Leading characteristics, legalism, separatism, ancestral traditions, pharisaic modernism; doctrines & beliefs, providence, resurrection, angelology, eschatology, messiah; History, Greek and Roman periods.
  • Hagner, D. A. "Pharisees," The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Tenney, M. C. ed. Vol. Four, pp. 745-752. Grand Rapids: Regency Reference Library, 1975. #BS 440.Z63 V. 4. This article provides a relatively concise treatment of the traditional view of this element of Jewish society. The author sees a continuous stream from the pharisaism of Hillel and contemporary Judaism. The following major areas are covered: meaning; origin & history; composition; teaching (in relation to other sects), oral law, resurrection, free will and providence, angelology, humanity; Jesus; significance.
  • "Pharisees," Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Elwell, W. A. ed. Vol. 2, pp. 1670-2. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988. #BS440.B26 V. 2.
  • Saldarini, A. J. "Pharisees," The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Freedman, D. N. ed. Vol. 5, pp. 289-303. New York: Doubleday, 1992. #BS440.A54V5 Here the author contends that the role of Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes has been grossly misunderstood and proposes a more historically accurate synthesis of the available literature. His outline is as follows: Previous theories; Josephus, Hasmonean & Herodian periods, Jewish war, political role, descriptions, organization; NT, Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke-Acts, John; Rabbinic Literature, 1st cent. sages, 1st cent. laws, Pharisee texts; Qumran Literature; Synthesis.
  • "Tradition," Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Elwell, W. A. ed. Vol. 2, pp. 2093-4. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988. #BS440.B26 V. 2.
  • Wyatt, R. J. "Pharisees," The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Bromiley, G. W. ed. Vol. 3, pp. 822-9. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986. #BS440.I6 Discusses the following (taken from outline): Name; description traditional understanding, Josephus, NT, Rabbinic Literature, and a comparison of sources; historical development, Antecedents, Sadducean-Pharisaic rivalry, Roman period; Anti-pharisaic criticism; Pharisees in the NT, Jesus and the Pharisees in the Gospel tradition, Pharisees in Acts and Paul.