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Aletha DeMaio wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What kind of Jew was Jesus in life? a Pharisee, Sadducee, Essene or Zealot?
  • What about His followers?

Since these different groups had different practices and lifestyles, I find this an important cultural question to fully understand the context of Our Savior's Words and Life. For instance, if He were of a group that did not eat animals, that would be important to know.

Also, I have been told that fish in the Bible was likely mistranslated, the Hebrew word is fish weed which translates to sea weed in English. Seaweed being a common food item for travel at the time. Fish would not have kept in the heat and they were traveling so this does not make sense.

  • Is this possibly a mistranslation or do we have a true translation?

Thank you for your time. I can't find answers to these questions anywhere and I have a great love for God and all of his creations and am looking for clarification in this matter.


  { What kind of Jew was Jesus: Pharisee, Sadducee, Essene, or Zealot? and is fish mistranslated? }

Eric replied:


To say that Jesus was a Pharisee, Sadducee, Essene, or Zealot implies (to some degree) that He was following someone else.

Jesus did not follow. He led. He created his own branch of Judaism, namely, Christianity.

He could not be a Sadducee because he recognized the entire Tanakh and not just the Torah, and He believed in the Resurrection of the Dead.

He could not be a Zealot because they sought to overthrow the Romans by force, an idea that Jesus manifestly denied and did not teach or represent.

The Essenes had their own community apart from the rest of Judaism, they were sort of like monks; Jesus did not live in such a community or live that way of life so he was not an Essene.

He shared some of the beliefs of the Pharisees and, of those four, that would be the closest. Many of the early Christians were Pharisees, such as Paul (Philippians 3:5, Acts 23:6, Acts 15:5). But Jesus also diverged from the Pharisees of his day and reserved a lot of his venom for them.

Don't listen to those who argue that fish was mistranslated from the Hebrew. First of all, the New Testament was written in Greek, not Hebrew. The meaning of the word is well attested in Greek, and in the context of the many accounts involving fish (see Luke 5:3-11 and Matthew 17:27 in particular).


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