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[saj-uh-see, sad-yuh-] /ˈsædʒ əˌsi, ˈsæd yə-/
noun, Judaism.
a member of a Palestinian sect, consisting mainly of priests and aristocrats, that flourished from the 1st century b.c. to the 1st century a.d. and differed from the Pharisees chiefly in its literal interpretation of the Bible, rejection of oral laws and traditions, and denial of an afterlife and the coming of the Messiah.
Origin of Sadducee
before 1000; Middle English sadducees (plural), Old English saddūcēas < Late Latin saddūcaeī < Greek saddoukaîoi < Hebrew ṣədhūqī adherent of Zadok
Related forms
Sadducean, adjective
Sadduceeism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sadducees
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The idea seems to be that the Pharisees had the sadducees sent on this embassy (cf. 22).

  • The Pharisees, for instance, say that there are angels, and the sadducees declare that angels do not exist.

    Salom Oscar Wilde
  • Compromisers on principle, the sadducees were unpopular in a community of earnest Jews.

    The Cradle of the Christ Octavius Brooks Frothingham
  • They had no idea of conscience, because they were essentially like the sadducees.

  • The false shepherds, the Pharisees and the sadducees, were a curse to the people and the leaders were against the Shepherd.

    The Prophet Ezekiel Arno C. Gaebelein
  • Luke: After confuting the sadducees in regard to the resurrection (xx, 27–40).

    The Christ John Eleazer Remsburg
  • He attempted to speak to them, being only slightly protected by some of the sadducees.

    Herodias Gustave Flaubert
  • He showed no sympathy with the scepticism of the sadducees about such things.

    The Expositor's Bible: Alfred Plummer
British Dictionary definitions for sadducees


(Judaism) a member of an ancient Jewish sect that was opposed to the Pharisees, denying the resurrection of the dead, the existence of angels, and the validity of oral tradition
Derived Forms
Sadducean, adjective
Sadduceeism, noun
Word Origin
Old English saddūcēas, via Latin and Greek from Late Hebrew sāddūqi, probably from Sadoq Zadok, high priest and supposed founder of the sect
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sadducees



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sadducees in the Bible

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.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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