Re: Acts 23:6 - FARISAIOS EIMI

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Sat May 10 1997 - 17:10:33 EDT

>In Acts 23:6, Paul says FARISAIOS EIMI, I *am* a Pharisee. Could Paul have
>been a Pharisee in good standing this far along in his life? I think the
>Pharisees were a political and religious party. Did they have formal
>membership? What exactly does "being" a Pharisee entail?

Yes, I think that Paul could well have been a Phariseein the period from
55-64 CE. This was not "an organized community" such as the Manual of
Discipline suggests (1QS). Rather they were people who stood for (1) a
larger canon of the OT that the Pentateuch (the Sadducean position),
including oral Torah. (2) Belief in afterlife, in which one is rewarded or
punished. (3) If the Pss Sol are indeed Pharisaic in origin, then they also
have a lively messianic hope.

(1) Paul honors the Torah (cf Rom 3:21), even citing some of the oral Law,
e.g. the tradition in 1 Cor 10:1-5. (2) He certainly stands for the
resurrection. (3) And he is a messianic Jew.

It is after 70 CE that Pharisees becomed the dominant factor in Judaism,
especially under the influence of Gamaliel the younger. Prior to 70 CE
there were many groups in Judaism, none of which could claim supreme

Look up Josephus on the Jewish sects in his Ant. and the BJ.

Edgar Krentz, Prof. of New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
TEL.: 773-256-0752 FAX: 773-256-0782 OR HOME:

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