Between the Messiah of the Jews and the Son of Man who came to give His life a ransom for many there was on the surface little resemblance; and from their standpoint the Pharisees reasoned that the marks of the Messiah were conspicuously absent from this Christ.
Under Alexandra, his widow (78-69 B.C.), the Pharisees ruled the Jews and no expansion of the kingdom was attempted.
Moreover it is clear that our Lord denounced not all the Pharisees but the hypocrites only, as did the rabbis whose sayings are reported in the Talmud and other Jewish books.
But if the Pharisees abstained from good works on the Sabbath, the Essenes abstained even from natural necessities (Jos.
Later Sadducees, who actually bore the name, resisted this and all the characteristics of the Pharisees and continued to flatter the predominant foreigner - Greek or Roman - by imitating him with less reckless bravado than the first Hellenizers and with growing assurance.
As the Pharisees accumulated the oral tradition which was afterwards codified and elaborated or preserved by fragments, which served some useful purpose, in the Talmud and other Rabbinic writings, the Sadducees acquired concrete regulations to oppose so long as they dared.
Thenceforward the remnant of the Jews who survived the fiery ordeal formed a church rather than a nation or a state, and the Pharisees exercised an unchallenged supremacy.
The fact that the Pharisees and Sadducees so often figure in the pages of the New Testament, while the Essenes are never mentioned, might plausibly be interpreted to show that the New Testament emanated from the side of the Essenes.
But on the other hand the Essenes avoided marriage, which the Pharisees held in honour; they offered no animal-sacrifices in the Temple; they refrained from the use of oil, which was customary among the Pharisees (Luke vii.
As it was written by a Pharisee, it could not have been composed after the breach arose between John Hyrcanus and the Pharisees towards the close of the 2nd century B.C. Thus the period of composition lies between 153, when Jonathan the Maccabee assumed the high-priesthood, and the year of the breach of John Hyrcanus with the Pharisees; some time, therefore, between 153 and 107.