According to the Legend (and the record of the Holy Scriptures), the history of the Sadducees begins with their Founding Father, ZaDoK, who was a Levitical Priest at the time of King David, and who won recognition in the royal secret service for his loyalty to David in the Revolt of Absalom. (And whose lineage could be traced back to Moses, through Aaron.)
A bit later, King Solomon appoints ZaDoK High-Priest for his loyalty to the Throne, in the matter of Adonijah's claim to Abishag (King David's consort)--thus, his descendants, the Sons of ZaDoK or Sadducees became the High-Priests and other Chief Priests of Israel (and lateron, Judea).
Later on, during the Fall and Collapse of Israel (and then, even later, Judah), the Sons of ZaDoK or Sadducees were loyal to God, and strictly adhered to the TaNaCh or Holy Scriptures (full Old Testament). And consequently, later, would NOT accept the Oral Law and the Talmud of Rabbinic Judaism--and the Pharisees. For this loyalty (and fidelity to God's Word), the Lord appointed them, through the Prophet(s), to be the Aristocracy and ruling class of Israel. Thus, the Sadducees were the main ruling party or officials over Israel, for centuries.
With the Return of the Jews from Babylon, Ezra, who was also of the Sons of ZaDoK (and thus a Sadducee) came to teach the People God's Law (i.e. the TaNaCh--full Old Testament). He was NOT a Pharisee, as some like to claim! (Nor did he teach them the Oral Law, as others try to say.) Rather, he established the Sadducees as the ruling party over Judea. And they continued as the Chief Priests for generations--the Jewish High-Priest being from their Dynasty.
For their loyalty to God, and Faithfulness to keep to ONLY the Holy Scriptures or TaNaCh, the Sons of ZaDoK or Sadducees (Helem, Tobiah, Jediah, and Hen by name) were given by God through the Prophet the Crown of Israel. Thus there became 3 Dynasties or Houses to rule God's People: the House of Kish (King Saul and the Benjamites), the House of Jesse (King David and the Tribe of Judah--and later Messiah), and the House of ZaDoK or Sadducees. (Deuteronomy 17:14-15)
Consequently, when Y'Shua (or Jesus) asked the question: THE PHARISEES SIT IN THE SEAT (Throne) OF MOSES, DO THEY NOT? (Matthew 23:2), the obvious answer to any Jew of the Times was NO THEY DON'T, for the Saducees do!
In Hebrew the word for ZaDoK is TsaDoQ and it means a righteous person. And God, HIMSELF, uses this title, incorporating it into one of HIS own Names--indicating that HE is still in covenant with the Sadducees or House of ZaDoK (and for them to be the rulers of HIS People).
In Greek you sometimes see it as Sadoq or Sadduk. In English, it was Anglicized to Shaddox.
In this battle, one of the big issues was that the Sadducees clung to the TaNaCh (the full Old Testament), while the Pharisees either wanted only the Torah (Pentateuch) OR Torah and the Oral Law with the Talmud (the teachings became the later Rabbinic Judaism).
Division of the Commandments
Moreover, in the bickering, they even attempted to interpreted the Laws against one another, as the Sadducees came to number the 10 Commandments by splitting the 9th on Covetousness into two (aiming at the greed and avaris of the Pharisees--and their coveting the Throne), while the Pharisees divided the 1st Commandment in two (aiming at the (Greek) idolatry (Paganism), secularism, and sensual art sponsorships of the Sadducees)--Matthew 22:35-38. Whereas, now we know, the correct division puts the Sh'MaH as the 1st Commandment (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
Sadducean Judaism - Righteousness
The Pharisees strictly opposed the Sadducees, as the latter had a more open minded and liberal view of what Judaism was really about. For, the Sadducees insisted that the central feature of God's Law was the keeping of the Noahic Rules (which was upheld at the Great Council of Jerusalem--Acts 15:19-21), but the Pharisees held that keeping the whole Mosaic Law was the focus. Consequently, most Sadducees did not keep the Kosher Laws (but ate shelfish and pork, ham, bacon), while the Pharisees went on to even segregate their own dishes (keeping apart those dishes that had cooked milk or dairy from those that cooked meat), and then to not even eating with those that did not keep kosher. Whereas, the Saducess tended to accept the Righteous Persons from any Nation or People (opening the door for the Greeks, below). Moreover, the Sadducees tended to be a bit more liberal concerning matters of the heart, love, and romance--while the Phairsees were much more Puritanical and prudish. (More on this, below.) Many Sadducees were also lax enough that some were not even circumcized (as Abraham was not, originally).
Modern Pharisees attempt to claim that Antigones actually founded the Sadducee Party, at around this Greek time period. However, he was really only a later Sadducean spokesman, that only codified the teachings of the much earlier Sons of ZaDoK or Saducees.
As Hellenistic Judaism spread, and became more watered down with Greek Paganism, Antiocus seems to have thought he could start his own brand of it by seizing the Temple and offering his own kinds of sacrifices. This caused the Maccabees, who were Sons of ZaDoK and Sadducees, to revolt. However, this reform was short-lived, as the Sadducees became more and more seduced to the Greek Culture--and the Pharisees whittled away at their influence.
The philosophical civil war between the backslidden Sadducees and the zealous Pharisees had many odd battles. For example, at this time, apparently, Herodias attempted to claim that she was legitimately divorced from Philip according to the Laws of the Sadducees (who had more liberal laws on marriage, divorce, and sex), and thus she could legally marry Herod (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). However, John the Baptist pointed out (much to her embarassmment) that it was not the divorce laws that she was violating--but the INCEST TABOO (Leviticus 18:6-18), as she had married her former husband's brother (Mark 6:19-20)!
Salome - Dancing Girls:
Under the more liberal attitudes of the Sadducees, female entertainers (of all sorts) and especially dancing girls flourished. And, later were popular in the Byzantine Empire. Thus, the Middle Eastern belly-dancing, usually associted with Arabs, was more than likely a Sadducean product, basing some of the steps of the earlier Jewish dances. Consequently, when Salome came along, she saw nothing wrong with what she was doing, to display herself so, and manipulate Herod over John the Baptist's head. (Matthew 14:1-12) However, history says that later, Herod raped her for playing the temptress, which caused her to repent of her sins, and join the followers of Y'Shua (Jesus)--and her name is so recorded in the Scriptures as among them (Mark 15:40 and 16:1). (Like that of Rahab, the Harlot.)
(NOTE: For information on the construction and composition of the High Priest's Garb, see the Note on Biblical Lingerie at the Bottom of DESHUND's Article on MEN'S LINGERIE.)
The Popes had the remaining Sadducees vigorously persecuted, for their claims of pontiff maximus (High-Priest) could not allow a challenging claim that the Sadducees were the original High-Priests (and the Royal Rulers) of Israel. Thus, most fled the former Roman Empire and took up residences in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia--among the GahTSK.
Challenge of Modern Cults:
In more recent days, a large Christian-Cult Church in America now claims that they are the only Zadokite Priests (i.e. Sadducees) left (and that they have killed off all the rest?). However, this false claim is definitely NOT TRUE.
Danger of Lodge Brothers:
Moreover, a very popular secret society and lodge brother organization has sworn a blood oath to destroy all the members of the House of ZaDoK or modern Sadducees that it can find (because of the alleged murder of Hiram Abiff, at the Time of King Solomon, by the Temple Guards, who were Sadducees and thus of the House of ZaDoK.).
Consequently, there are not many Sons of ZaDoK or Sadducees around today--and Rabbinic Judaism has arisen as the much more common and popular form of Judaism in modern times. (Though a nose count will show that Secular Jews, who tend to follow in Sadducean thought, outnumber the Religious Jews.)
However, we, as Meshianites (Christian Hebrews) take a much more Sadducean view of the Messianic Movement.
And look at all the Secular Jews in the world today, which are the MAJORITY, and see that they are not religous and don't keep the Rabbinic Traditions, either. (And don't keep kosher, and are often not circumcized, as well!)
Consequently, ZDK tends to have a much more open, liberal, and intellectual view than many Pharisee groups of the Religious Establishment today--and thus a more Sadducean Philosophical stand, among those of the Messianic Movement.
So, please stop for a moment, and consider our view carefully.
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Filed: 01-01-03 . . . Up-dated 02-17-03