Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)



First Advisor

Kent L. Yinger

Second Advisor

Stephen Delamarter


This paper explores the Pharisees and their place in Palestinian society, particularly during the first century. Recent scholarly reconstructions are reviewed and compared to the evidence found in the works of Josephus, the New Testament, and rabbinic literature. This paper examines the Pharisees through the eyes of each source and attempts to use each viewpoint to develop a picture of the Pharisaic movement. The evidence proves too ambiguous to clarify the fine details of the movement, and it resists placing them at the top of the Jewish social or religious system. It does, however, suggest that the Pharisees represent a recognizable, well-known, and even celebrated expression of mainline Judaism, and it is possible that the movement's positive reputation offered members special opportunities which lead to a measure of influence in society. This conclusion is useful as a basis for multiple reconstructions, including some of the scholarly reconstructions reviewed in the paper.

Included in

Christianity Commons