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The following quotation from The University Encyclopedia (1902 edition, page 4635) is not intended to be authoritative.

"Pharisees, the most numerous of the three divisions or orders of Judaism in the time of Christ, the other two being the Essenes and the Sadducees. They were so called because they kept aloof from Levitically impure food, separated themselves from the lawless people of the land, and united to keep the Mosaic law in accordance with Ezra vi: 21, ix:1, x:11; Neh. ix:2, x:28.

They arose immediately after the return from the Babylonish captivity. As all the students of the law naturally joined this association, the appellation Member, Associate, chaber, or Pharisee, parush, became synonymous with student, disciple, lawyer, scribe.

Accordingly, they represented the national faith of orthodox Judaism. having to expound, to adapt to the vicissitudes of the commonwealth, and to administer such an extensive and gorgeous ritual as that of the Mosaic law, some of the Pharisees fell into extravagances, and laid more stress on trifling and petty formulae than on the spirit of the law.

Hence the Talmud itself divides the Pharisees into seven kinds:

"(1) The Shoulder Pharisee, who carries, as it were his good works on his shoulders to boast of them openly, and is weighed down by his innumerable virtues; (2) the Time-gaining Pharisee, who, when you ask for anything, always says 'let me go first to do a godly work'; (3) the deducting Pharisee, who says, 'Deduct from my many virtues the few vices I commit'; (4) the Saving Pharisee, who says, "I save from my small means to be able to spend it on good works'; (5) the Pharisee who says, 'Would that I knew what sin I committed that I might atone for it by doing a good work'; (6) the God-fearing Pharisee, and (7) the God-loving Pharisee, the last two of which are alone to be commended."

It is the first five kinds to whom the rebukes of Christ refer, and who have given rise to the term Pharisee being used as synonymous with a strict observer of external forms of religion without the spirit of it."

See also: Pharisees at Wikipedia

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