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The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Judea during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BCE through the destruction of the Temple in 70CE. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society. As a whole, the sect fulfilled various political, social, and religious roles, including maintaining the Temple. The Sadducees are often compared to other contemporaneous sects, including the Pharisees and the Essenes. Their sect is believed to have become extinct sometime after the destruction of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, but it has been speculated that the later Karaites may have had some roots or connections with old Sadducee views.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
a sect of the Jews of high priestly origin that first came into prominence by their opposition to the Pharisees, being the party in power when Pharisaism arose in protestation against their policy as tending to the secularisation of the Jewish faith, or the prostitution of it to mere secular ends. They represented the Tory or Conservative party among the Jews, as the Pharisees did the High Church party among us. The antagonism which thus arose on political grounds gradually extended to religious matters. In regard to religion they were the old orthodox party, and acknowledged the obligation of only the written law, and refused to accept tradition at the hands of the Scribes. They denied the immortality of the soul, the separate existence of spirits, and this they did on strictly Old Testament grounds, but this not from any real respect for the authority of Scripture, only as in accord with the main article of their creed, which attached importance only to what bears upon this present life, and which in modern times goes under the name of secularism. They were at bottom a purely political party, and they went out of sight and disappeared from Jewish history with the fall of the Jewish State, only the Pharisaic party surviving in witness of what Judaism is.
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