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Old English, from Late Latin Sadducaei (plural), from Greek Zaddoukaios, an inexact transliteration of Hebrew tzedoqi, from personal name Tzadhoq "Zadok" (2 Sam. viii:17), the high priest from whom the priesthood of the captivity claimed descent. According to Josephus, the sect denied the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels and spirits; but later historians regard them as more the political party of the priestly class than a sect per se. Related: Sadducean.
The origin of this Jewish sect cannot definitely be traced. It was probably the outcome of the influence of Grecian customs and philosophy during the period of Greek domination. The first time they are met with is in connection with John the Baptist's ministry. They came out to him when on the banks of the Jordan, and he said to them, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matt. 3:7.) The next time they are spoken of they are represented as coming to our Lord tempting him. He calls them "hypocrites" and "a wicked and adulterous generation" (Matt. 16:1-4; 22:23). The only reference to them in the Gospels of Mark (12:18-27) and Luke (20:27-38) is their attempting to ridicule the doctrine of the resurrection, which they denied, as they also denied the existence of angels. They are never mentioned in John's Gospel. There were many Sadducees among the "elders" of the Sanhedrin. They seem, indeed, to have been as numerous as the Pharisees (Acts 23:6). They showed their hatred of Jesus in taking part in his condemnation (Matt. 16:21; 26:1-3, 59; Mark 8:31; 15:1; Luke 9:22; 22:66). They endeavoured to prohibit the apostles from preaching the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:24, 31, 32; 4:1, 2; 5:17, 24-28). They were the deists or sceptics of that age. They do not appear as a separate sect after the destruction of Jerusalem.