The Pharisees or "the separated" were a Jewish religious sect that was very popular at the time of Jesus.
They were an offshoot of the Hasideans (the "pious" or "faithful"), who originated during the Great Persecution of 167 to 164 BC.
The Pharisees were organized around the local synagoge where they met on the Sabbath to read and discuss the Holy Scriptures (that is the Old Testament).
They were very devout and strict in their observances not only of the Ten Commandments but of the entire 616 precepts of the Law (or "Torah").
They developed into the Orthodox Judaism of today.
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(c) 2004 Thomas F. Swezey All rights reserved.