For years, the Pharisees have been portrayed in a negative light. However, many now wonder if they have been misrepresented or misunderstood. Pharisees are known as the spiritual fathers of modern-day Judaism. During the first century, there were several schools of thought within the Jewish religion -- the Pharisees were one. Depending on the time in history, the Pharisees were a social movement, a political party and even a school of thought.
One of the key beliefs of the Pharisees is the oral law, a commentary from the Torah that explains to followers how to carry out the commandments. There are commandments in the Torah that are not specific or are quiet on certain subjects. The oral law fills in those blanks and allows followers to have more guidance and understanding. The Pharisees believe that without the oral law, the Torah would be taken too literally and cause confusion.
The Pharisees believe that Moses received the Torah and the oral law. They believed in all of Moses' teachings and laws. Moses helped the Jews rise from slavery and brought the commandments from Mount Sinai. Moses helped prepare the Jews by teaching them God's laws.
The Pharisees believed in an afterlife. The Pharisees believed in the dead resurrecting and the literal resurrection of one's body. They believed that a person would be brought back to life some time in the future. Many Jews did not believe in the afterlife, so this was a key distinction in beliefs for the Pharisees.
The Pharisees were strong believers in the Torah, or the written law, which is sometimes known as the Five Books of Moses and is the fundamental basis for Jewish law. They believed that to find God you needed to follow both the written word and the oral word. They practiced strict obedience to the Torah and the laws within the writing.
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