Sadducees were a political-religious sect of the Jews. As a prominent political party they first appear in the reign of John Hyrcanus (135-105 BC). The Sadducees were the party of high priests, aristocratic families, and merchants —
the wealthier elements of the population. They came under the influence of
Hellenism, and tended to have good relations with the Roman rulers of Palestine. While their rivals, the Pharisees, claimed the authority of piety and learning, the Sadducees claimed that of birth and
social and economic position. During the long struggle between the two parties (which lasted until the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD) the Sadducees dominated the Temple and its priesthood.
In contrast to the Pharisees, the Sadducees denied the concept of a general resurrection, the immortality of the soul and the existence of
angels (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Acts 23:8). They did not deny the existence of an afterlife per se, but did not believe that everyone was automatically granted one.^[
citation\ needed]^ They did allow as how exemplary Jews such as Moses and David and
Elijah might be saved by God based on their exemplary accomplishments, but they made it very clear that this was an exception, and not the rule.^[
citation\ needed]^ They also rejected the oral traditions which the Pharisees maintained and emphasized as a divinely ordained supplement to
the written law.
Much of what is known about the Sadducees comes from
Josephus, who wrote that they were a quarrelsome group whose followers were wealthy and powerful, and that he considered them boorish in social interactions (see Josephus' Wars of the Jews, Book II, Chapter VIII,