Judaism today took the view of the Pharsies and not the Sadducees, do we know what the Sadducees believed in? What we know- they reject some sort of oral tradition. Yet according to the sources (the dead sea scrolls) even the Sadducees had 39 malchos on Shabbos, they also had tefflien with 4 sections and one for the arm. All these are from oral tradition. (Based on Rabbi Lawrance Shiffman) My thinking is that they believed in Halacha Moshe Msiani based on their own traditions, but did not believe in any drabnons / geziras. So what oral tradition did they accept and what did they reject?

Dead sea scrolls: Rabbi Schiffman shows tefillin worn by those in Qumran, these have 4 sections (this is a moshe msiani din), he shows how they had 39 malchos on shabbos, yet we know that these people who live in Qumran match up to the mishnas talking about the Sadducees, so we say they are Sadducees, yet it looks like they still believe in some sort of oral tradition

  • Hi fulltimekollelguy, could you provide a bit more detail about your dead sea scrolls source that they wore tefillin with 4 sections and had 39 melachot on shabbat?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Dec 8, 2022 at 16:28
  • thanks, I added in the question Dec 8, 2022 at 16:32
  • 5
    Like 99.9% of scholars don't think that the Dead Sea Sect(s) were Sadducees. It doesn't even make sense that they would be Sadducees. Sadducean political power was tied to the mikdash whereas this sect or sects cut ties with Yerushalayim.
    – Harel13
    Dec 8, 2022 at 16:38
  • As others have stated it seems unlikely the sect of Qumran were Sadduccees. Where did you hear they were?
    – Aaron
    Dec 8, 2022 at 17:37
  • 6
    Apparently Essene one sect, Essene them all.
    – rosends
    Dec 8, 2022 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


I was reading this in Josephus the other day. He said the Sadducees rejected the traditions that the pharisees had, and only used the law of Moses. Also the zealots influenced the pharisees to not pay tax, and to hate the government which is what led to 70 CE. Josephus describes the beliefs in determinism, and free will each sect had too. Download his book then just ctrl f search for Pharisees / Sadducees to find the sections he describes them.

edit here is the quote: Page 507 Josephus

What I would now explain is this, that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses; and for that reason it is that the Sadducees reject them and say that we are to esteem those observances to be obligatory which are in the written word, but are not to observe what are derived from the tradition of our forefathers; (298) and concerning these things it is that great disputes and differences have arisen among them, while the Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude of their side; but about these two sects, and that of the Essenes, I have treated accurately in the second book of Jewish affairs.

Also the DSS are thought to be associated with the Essenes not the Sadducees.

  • Welcome to MiYodeya Sam and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    May 2, 2023 at 15:27

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