Who Were the Pharisees?

Name and General Character [far'-i-sez (perushim; Pharisaioi)] A prominent sect of the Jews. The earliest notice of them in Josephus occurs in connection with Jonathan, the high priest. Immediately after the account of the embassy to the Lacedaemonians, there is subjoined (Josephus, Ant, XIII, v, 9) an account of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes, therefore... Continue Reading →

Who Were the Sadducees?

1. Name: Rival Etymologies. Probably from Zadok the High Priest: [sad'-u-sez (tsadduqim; Saddoukaioi)] The Talmud form suggests derivation from the name of their founder, but the form in the New Testament and Josephus would imply a connection with the verb "to be righteous." The probability is, that the name is derived from some person named... Continue Reading →

PERSIAN EMPIRE: The Fourth Great World Power in Bible History

PERSIA pur'-sha, (parats; Persia; in Assyrian Parsu, Parsua; in Achemenian Persian Parsa, modern Fars): In the Bible (2Ch 36:20,22-23; Ezr 1:1,8; Es 1:3,14,18; 10:2; Eze 27:10; 38:5; Da 8:20; 10:1; 11:2) this name denotes properly the modern province of Fars, not the whole Persian empire. The latter was by its people called Airyaria, the present Iran (from the Sanskrit word arya, "noble"); and... Continue Reading →

GREECE IN BIBLE HISTORY: Alexander the Great

Parentage and Early Life Alexander, of Macedon, commonly called "the Great" (born 356 BC), was the son of Philip, king of Macedon, and of Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemos, an Epeirote king. Although Alexander is not mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures, in Dan he is designated by a transparent symbol (8:5,21). In 1 Macc... Continue Reading →

Who Were the Essenes?

[es-senz', (Essenoi, Essaioi)] When Josephus describes the sects of the Jews, he devotes most of his time and attention to the third of these sects, the Essenes. Strangely enough, although there are frequent references in the New Testament to the other two sects, the Sadducees and Pharisees, no reference has been found to the Essenes.... Continue Reading →

Who Were the Ebionites?

Ebionism; Ebionites e'-bi-o-niz'-m, e'-bio-nits (Ebionaioi, from 'ebhyonim, "poor people") General Statement The Ebionites were a sect of heretics frequently mentioned by the early Fathers. In regard to their opinions, as in regard to those of most early heretical sects, there is the difficulty that to a large extent we are dependent for our information on... Continue Reading →

Who Were the Maccabees?

  The name Maccabeus was first applied to Judas, one of the sons of Mattathias generally called in English the Maccabees, a celebrated family who defended Jewish rights and customs in the 2nd century B.C.E. (1 Macc 2:1-3). The word has been variously derived (e.g. as the initial letters of Mi Khamokha, Ba-'elim Jehovah! "Who... Continue Reading →

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