A precocious student of the Law, he made trial of the three sects of Judaism - Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes - before he reached the age of nineteen.
The Sadducees and Karaites did not carry these in their hand, but used them as decorations of the booths.
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.
In fact, broadly speaking, the Sadducees for the period during which they are reported to exist, represent and embody the tendency to conformity with neighbouring Gentiles, which is deplored and denounced by Jewish writers from Moses to Philo.
And of this last passage it may be said that all the translatable portions of it can be naturally explained, if it refers to the time when the resistance of the Hasidim, whom the Sadducees had despised and shunned, had won freedom for Israel as a whole, and at no other known period; the fragment, Ps.
The rest of the Jews rated the Sadducees as atheists, just as the rest of the Greeks rated the Epicureans as atheists and discerned, as Plutarch said, the sardonic grin behind the mask of their obsequious devotion to the ceremonies at which the force of public opinion compelled their attendance.
With the Temple and its Sadducean high priests perished the Sanhedrin in which the Sadducees had competed with the Pharisees for predominance.
The Sadducees were the hypocrites of the Jewish world, just as the Epicureans were the hypocrites of the Greek world.
As observed above, it was the duty of the teachers to show the connexion of practical rules with the written Law, the more so since the Sadducees rejected the authority of the oral law as such.
Consequently the Jews were divided into two parties - Pharisees and Sadducees - of whom the Pharisees cared only for doing or enduring the will of God as revealed in Scripture or in the events of history.