IE: If we knew that someone was a "scribe" would we automatically know their religious bent as we do with Pharisees and Sadducees?:

[Act 23:8 NLT] (8) for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these.

Or were they simply those of a particular profession and independent in their views? Might some scribes, for example, be Sadducee and some Pharisee?

2 Answers 2


Technically, a "scribe" (Heb: sofer) was a person who made a profession out of copying the Scriptures (Jer 8:8) such as Ezra who was also a teacher and theologian.

In the NT they were sometimes called "lawyer" (Gr: nomikos, eg, Matt 22:35, Luke 10:25), or "teacher of the law" (Gr: nomodidaskalos, eg, Acts 5:34). They constituted an honoured profession (1 Macc 7:12).

Most Scribes were Pharisees, eg, Hillel, Shammai, Gamaliel I, etc.

There were scribes in the Sanhedrin (Matt 26:57-59).

I could find no instance of a scribe being a Sadducee either in the Bible or historically.


Out of the sixty seven times that the word scribe (grammateus) is used in scripture, on about twenty five of these occasions they are grouped together with either Pharisees or Chief Priests, both unwarranted positions, there being only one High Priest and the office of Pharisee being an invention.

The job of scribe, itself, has a certain warrant in scripture, see Ezra, but there is no warrant to multiply theses offices or to add to them or to construct hierarchies, without warrant.

Thus the scribes are noticeable for two things .

    1. Their job (scribing)
    1. The company they keep (Pharisees and Sadducees)

The job is a necessary function but they were not required to hang around, and converse with, and be part of, what the Pharisees and Sadducees (whose function is not a warranted one in scripture) were and were doing.

It has been said that one can evaluate a person by the books they read and by the company they keep. (I cannot remember to whom the quote is attributed).

Many people give themselves away by the company they keep. Whatever they say or profess, they show their true predilections in whom they choose as friends.

I think it is so with the scribes.

  • Hi Nigel. What source(s) inform your answer? Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Feb 21, 2020 at 0:01
  • That's fine. However, I don't see the reference within your answer. It isn't appropriate on this site to presume that someone knows to which passage you are referring. Please make your assumptions explicit. Thank you.
    – Ruminator
    Feb 21, 2020 at 3:05
  • Edit made, as suggested.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 21, 2020 at 16:14

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