One of the three orders of Jews during the Second Temple Period; priestly and aristocratic Jewish families who interpreted the law more literally than the Pharisees and were much less formal in the observance of rites and traditions; denied the concept of immortality and tended toward materialism.
A relatively small religious and political party among the Jews. They numbered approximately five thousand. Most were priests; many were wealthy. The Sadducees were distinguished by the fact that they based their beliefs solely on the "books of Moses." They rejected the oral tradition, belief in the resurrection or immortality, and in the commonly held view that the Messiah would soon come to destroy Israel's enemies.
A political interest group, probably composed of some of the leading priests and landowners, which existed from the latter half of the second century B.C.E. to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.