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Pharisees

A religious party among the Jews. The name denotes separatists. They prided themselves on their strict observance of the law and on the care with which they avoided contact with things gentile. Their belief included the doctrine of immortality and resurrection of the body and the existence of angels and spirits. They upheld the authority of oral tradition as of equal value with the written law. The tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. They were a major obstacle to the reception of Christ and the gospel by the Jewish people. For the Lord’s judgment on them and their works see Matt. 23; Mark 7; Luke 11:37–54.