7 Types of Pharisees in Talmudic Literature

Robert Stein makes the following observation from the Talmud about 7 types of Pharisees. I found this both interesting and a bit humurous:

Jesus was neither condemning all Pharisees nor the Pharisaic movement in toto. Condemnation of hypocritical Pharisees can be found even within the Talmudic literature. In Ṣota 22b seven types of Pharisees are described. The first five are hypocritical: (1) the “shoulder” Pharisee, who wears his good actions on his shoulder for all to see; (2) the “wait-a-little” Pharisee, who finds excuses for putting off a good deed; (3) the “bruised” Pharisee, who to avoid looking at a woman runs into walls; (4) the “pestle” or hunched-over Pharisee, who walks bent over in pretended humility; and (5) the “ever-reckoning” Pharisee, who is always weighing his good deeds against his bad. But also mentioned are (6) the “God-fearing” Pharisee, who lives in holy awe and the fear of God, and (7) the “God-loving” Pharisee, who loves God from his heart. The kind of commitment that leads to the finest piety is also frequently accompanied by hypocrisy. Neither Pharisaism nor Christianity is exempt from this unfortunate tendency.[1]



[1] Stein, R. H. (2001). Vol. 24: Luke (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (340–341). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

© 2012, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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