The Pharisees, whose origin is probably in the “pious ones” or Hasidim, were a prominent religious group of at least 6,000 members in first century Palestine. After the catastrophe of the Babylonian exile and the growing threat of Hellenism during and after Alexander the Great, the Jews tried to recover what was right about their religion and culture and prevent anything similar from ever happening again. They were dedicated to the Law, including the Torah, the Writings and the Prophets, and they believed that they should focus on three things.
- To know the Law expertly and judge wisely from it
- To make disciples
- To build a fence around the Law.