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Who is worthy to perform the services of the Jerusalem temple?

The site of the destroyed Solomon's Temple was built in 515 BC  a new temple around which the whole religious life was to be centered. According to the law of Moses, only men inherited from the lineage of Aaron were eligible for this position. On this basis, the priesthood of the new temple was chosen from the noble descendants of Aaron. Priests provided sacrificial services and were members of the temple council.   As the country had lost its independence and was now part of Persia, the High Priesthood was also given state functions, so their dominance was further emphasized as a result. Such a prosperous and also educated upper class formed a group of Sadducees.


The Sadducees strictly adhered to the law of Moses, which meant to them the will of God  . They could accept only a written law, not an oral law and its interpretation, like the Pharisees. Although they were doctrinally conservative, they were positive about the new things that Hellenistic culture brought with them: theater and sports competitions. They gladly succumbed to Roman power if, in return, they received its support for the temple cult.

The question of the resurrection of the body also separated them from the Pharisees. Their doctrine focused on things on this side. If a man did wrong, he suffered his punishment already in this world.

The Sadducees were destroyed at the same time as the Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 74 AD. Their doctrine and activities were so temple-centered that their group no longer had any capacity for action.


              Clarke, Peter: World Religions page 27

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