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The Pharisees


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For centuries, Pharisees have been well known but little understood—due at least in part to their outsized role in the Christian imagination arising from select negative stereotypes based in part on the Gospels. Yet historians see Pharisees as respected teachers and forward-thinking innovators who helped make the Jewish tradition more adaptable to changing circumstances and more egalitarian in practice. Seeking to bridge this gap, the contributors to this volume provide a multidisciplinary appraisal of who the Pharisees actually were, what they believed and taught, and how they have been depicted throughout history.

The topics explored within this authoritative resource include:

  • the origins of the Pharisees
  • the meaning of the name “Pharisee”
  • Pharisaic leniency, relative to the temple priesthood, in judicial matters
  • Pharisaic concerns for the Jewish laity
  • Pharisaic purity practices and why they became popular
  • the varying depictions of Pharisaic practices and beliefs in the New Testament
  • Jesus’s relationship to the Pharisees
  • the apostle Paul and his situation within the Pharisaic tradition
  • the question of continuity between the Pharisaic tradition and Rabbinic Judaism
  • the reception history of the Pharisees, including among the rabbis, the church fathers, Rashi, Maimonides, Luther, and Calvin
  • the failures of past scholarship to deal justly with the Pharisees
  • the representations, both positive and negative, of the Pharisees in art, film, passion plays, and Christian educational resources
  • how Christian leaders can and should address the Pharisees in sermons and in Bible studies

Following the exploration of these and other topics by a team of internationally renowned scholars, this volume concludes with an address by Pope Francis on correcting the negative stereotypes of Pharisees that have led to antisemitic prejudices and finding resources that “will positively contribute to the relationship between Jews and Christians, in view of an ever more profound and fraternal dialogue.”

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  • Addresses negative stereotypes of Pharisees
  • Explores what they believed and taught, and how they have been depicted throughout history
  • Provides a multidisciplinary appraisal of who the Pharisees actually were
  • Prelude: Asking the Right Questions
  • What’s in a Name? Interpreting the Name “Pharisee” -Craig Morrison

Part One: Historical Reconstruction

  • In Search of the Origins of the Pharisees -Vasile Babota
  • Purity Concerns and Common Judaism in Light of Archaeology -Eric Meyers
  • Pharisaic Halakah as Emerging from 4QMMT -Vered Noam
  • Josephus’s Pharisees -Steve Mason
  • Paul, the Perfectly Righteous Pharisee -Paula Fredriksen
  • Pharisees and Sadducees Together in Matthew -Henry Pattarumadathil
  • Polemic against the Pharisees in Matthew 23 -Adela Yarbro Collins
  • Luke/Acts as a Source for the History of the Pharisees -Hermut Löhr
  • Pharisees in the Fourth Gospel and One Special Pharisee -Harold Attridge
  • The Shared Image of Pharisaic Law between the Gospels and Rabbinic Tradition -Yair Furstenberg
  • How Close Were Jesus and the Pharisees? -Jens Schröter
  • The Pharisees and the Rabbis: How Much Continuity? -Günter Stemberger

Part Two: Reception History

  • “Pharisees” and Early Christian Heresiology -Matthias Skeb
  • Pharisaios and Pharisaikos in the Greek Fathers: A Statistical Approach -Luca Angelelli
  • The Forgotten Pharisees -Shaye J. D. Cohen
  • The Perushim in the Understanding of the Medieval Jewish Sages -Abraham Skorka
  • The Pharisees in the Theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin -Randall Zachman
  • The Pharisees in Art -Angela La Delfa
  • A Brief, Personal History of the Oberammergau Passion Play -Christian Stückl
  • The Pharisees on Film -Adele Reinhartz
  • The Pharisees in Modern Scholarship -Susannah Heschel and Deborah Forger
  • The Pharisees as a Textbook Case: The Presentation of Pharisees in Catholic Religion Textbooks -Philip Cunningham

Part Three: Looking Toward the Future

  • Preaching and Teaching the Pharisees -Amy-Jill Levine
  • What Future for the Pharisees? -Massimo Grilli and Joseph Sievers
  • Address by Pope Francis
  • Title: The Pharisees
  • Authors: Amy-Jill Levine, Joseph Sievers
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2021
  • Logos Release Date: 2021
  • Pages: 482
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Subject: Pharisees
  • ISBN: 9780802879295
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2021-11-11T20:27:54Z

In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.


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  1. Alessandro



  2. Rev. Paul L. Vasquez
    Not included in the written summary above but helpful for those considering purchasing this monumental resource, it’s the written fruit of an academic conference held in 2019 on the subject, compiled by the listed authors who also were heavily involved in the conference. Also an interesting fact is that “Verbum (Faithlife, Inc.), represented by Craig St. Clair” was involved! They’re not just publishing past works but getting involved in producing new, cutting-edge content.


Digital list price: $54.99
Save $3.00 (5%)