The Sanhedrin


The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish court during the period of the Greek and Roman occupation of Palestine. English versions translate the word ‘Sanhedrin’ as ‘council.’ We’re not certain of the origin of the Sanhedrin, as there is no historical evidence for its existence before the Greek period. It first appears during the reign of the Hellenistic kings who tried to impose Greek culture on the Jews. The Sanhedrin was made up of Pharisees and Sadducees.

The Sanhedrin was composed of 70 members plus the president, who would be the present high priest. The members of the Sanhedrin came from three classes of men: the acting chief priests including those who had been high priest in the past, the scribes and the elders. Most of these people were from aristocratic families of that time. The scribes were primarily from the Pharisees and the elders were primarily from the family heads of the people. They were, for the most part the secular nobility of Jerusalem which would include many Sadducees. What Was The Sanhedrin?

The party known as the Pharisees is first mentioned by name during the reign of John Hyrcanus (134–104 B.C.). The influence of Hellenism (Greek culture) was particularly strong in Palestine at that time. Greek culture was considered immoral and opposed to the Law of Moses by many Jews. When the Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes tried to do away with the Jewish religion by forcing Greek culture on them the Pharisees joined the Maccabees in their revolt against him. Who Were The Pharisees?


The Sadducees were a religious sect in the time of Jesus. Their origin is not known for sure. Some think they date back to Zadock, a high priest during the time of David and Solomon. However, in all probability they came into existence during the period between the Old and New Testaments.

We do know that they came from the leading families of the nation such as the priests, merchants, and the rich. Who Were The Sadducees?


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Galatians 2:20