In the New Testament, a religious group among the Jews whose name suggests being separate or apart. The Pharisees prided themselves on strictly observing the law of Moses and avoiding anything associated with the Gentiles. They believed in life after death, the resurrection, and the existence of angels and spirits. They believed that the oral law and tradition were equally as important as the written laws. Their teachings reduced religion to the observance of rules and encouraged spiritual pride. They caused many Jewish people to doubt Christ and his gospel. The Lord denounced the Pharisees and their works in Matthew 23; Mark 7:1–23; and Luke 11:37–44.