Pharisees (Perushirn — Separatists — originally a nickname, like Puritan — from all impurity in persons or things). They were, in Christ’s day, what the Clergy of the Established Church are today.
Of course, there were some worthy exceptions, such as Paul (Phil. iii. 5; Acts xxiii. 6; xxvi. 5); and Gamaliel (Acts v. 34; xxii. 3); but, as a body, they were self-righteous hypocrites, as can be gathered from the Lord’s scathing denunciation of them (Matt, xxiii. 18-33). Like the Clergy of today, they thought far more of the traditions of men than of the Word of God (Mark vii. 7). Jesus warned his followers to beware of the Pharisees and their doctrines (Matt. xvi. 6, 12). As an institution, they seem to date back to about 150 B.C.
F. G. J.