(C) The New Testament as a Primary Source

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The writers of the New Testament were convicted to motivate its readers to seek eternal life according to the faith they had come to accept, but except for Paul who declared himself to be a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Phil 3:5), there is no clear evidence that they were personally biased for or against the Pharisees compared to the Sadducees in the subject of who controlled the Temple. Josephus devoted more personal attention to the politics of the groups and was involved in politics, so he should be expected to be far more biased than the writers of the New Testament. We will consider the matter of the bias of Josephus to some degree. From these considerations it should be clear that the most important primary source of historical information from before the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE is the New Testament, so this will be discussed first.

Obviously, favoring one primary source will produce conclusions that are biased toward that source. Any author who arrives at conclusions has no choice but to favor some source after giving reasons. Both Sadducees and Pharisees are condemned in the New Testament in the sense of having incorrect teachings (Mat 16:6, 11-12). Thus, according to the writers of the New Testament, one cannot look to either of these groups as having the original biblically correct understanding of some particular teaching of the Tanak merely because of the label Sadducee or Pharisee attached to the doctrinal opinion.