Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Above and Beyond

Who are today's Pharisees and Sadducees? (Serendipity New Testament 10th Anniversary Edition, page 47).

I do not answer this question as a Bible scholar who knows a great deal about the beliefs of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Over the years, however, I have come to have opinions about what aspects of human nature they represent in the New Testament:

  • A strong tendency to be self-righteous and judgmental (seeing themselves as immune from the foibles inherent in others)
  • A myopic certitude about what is right and sacrosanct
  • A self-centered confidence that they have earned and are thus entitled to their favored position in the social structure (and an equal conviction that others unlike them are not)
  • Being hurtful rather than helpful despite their confidence that they are 100% helpful
  • A settled sense that they are better than others
  • Narrow sympathies and neatly contained responsibilities—in the story of the Good Samaritan they “passed by” on the other side of the road
  • Ruthless and showing a willingness to bend the truth to get their way
  • Lack of self-knowledge (clueless about their own tendency to have blind spots or any understanding of the harm they may do to others)
  • A sense that they are not here to serve others, but quite rightly others are here to serve them
  • Possessors of prestige and status that decisively differentiate them from the hoi polloi
  • A firm belief that “cream rises to the top”
  • A strong proclivity for being misanthropic and cynical about the goodness of others
  • Always willing to blame others and never themselves
  • Not much of a sense of humor unless deeply self-serving

In our advanced technological society it is evident that, with the improvements in human nature over the intervening years since Biblical times, none of the traits of the Pharisees and Sadducees are extant today.

Print Page