Acts 23:6:

"Then when Paul noticed that part of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, he shouted out in the council"

Does this text imply that Sadducces were somewhat different in their outward apparel from the Pharisees?

  • I had assumed that Paul recognized individuals from his pre-Damascus-road life. But that predated this incident by a couple of decades, so it's hard to know.
    – Jon Ericson
    Jun 20 '13 at 21:41
  • I never thought about this, but it's a great question.
    – Frank Luke
    Jun 21 '13 at 2:16
  • Weren't the Sadducces a more elite group of people and the Pharisees more common people? Would this have also indicated that there was a visual difference?
    – TronicZomB
    Jun 25 '13 at 13:05

Short Answer: As far as the interpretation of the text goes, the text simply implies that Paul noticed some of them were Sadduccees and some were Pharisees. The text does not imply anything about their appearance.


  • They dressed differently

  • They were standing in a different place

  • He knew them personally

  • He heard them debating a doctrine they disagree on (something like the resurrection from the dead)

  • God supernaturally revealed it to him

You could ping the Mi Yodeya, Christianity, and/or History communities about whether they did dress differently, but I'm not sure that would reveal anything more about the interpretation of this text. Interesting question, though.

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