Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots

When Jesus, whose teachings form the basis of Christianity, was born, Palestine was under Roman rule. Jews were treated badly and had to pay high taxes. Different groups responded to this situation in different ways.

One group, the Sadducees, tried to make the best of things. They accepted Roman rule and tried to fit in with Roman society.

Another group, The Essenes, thought the situation in Palestine came about because the world was corrupt. They withdrew from the world into their own independent communities and devoted themselves to a life of piety.

A third group, the Pharisees, wanted to change society. They remained within society but tried to make Judaism strong again by sticking strictly to the Jewish code of holiness.

A fourth group, the Zealots, also wanted change. They tried to use force to overthrow Roman rule.

Based on what you know about the teachings of Jesus, which of these four groups do you think he had most in common with?