The Pharisees and Jesus
The Stone Lectures for 1915-1916

A. T. Robertson


(Hebrew Scripture taken from Jewish Publication Society, 1917 edition and
Apostolic Scripture from New Heart English Bible




I. The Pharisaic Outlook on Doctrine and Life

1. The Importance of Understanding the Pharisees
2. The Alleged Misrepresentation of the Pharisees
3. The Possibility of Treating the Pharisees Fairly
4. A Sketch of the History of the Pharisees Up to the Time of Christ
5. The Standing of the Pharisees in the First Century AD
6. The Seven Varieties of the Pharisees
7. The Two Schools of Theology
8. The Two Methods of Pharisaic Teaching
9. The Chief Points in Pharisaic Theology
10. The Practice of Pharisaism in Life
11. The Apocalyptists

II. The Pharisaic Resentment Toward Jesus

1. The Spirit of the Talmud Toward Jesus
2. Jewish Hatred Shown in Early Christian Writings
3. The Picture in the Acts of the Apostles
4. The Story of Pharisaic Hate Common to All the Gospels
5. Some Friendly Pharisees
6. Presumption Against Jesus Because of John the Baptist
7. Grounds of Pharisaic Dislike of Jesus

1. Assumption of Messianic Authority
2. Downright Blasphemy
3. Intolerable Association with Publicans and Sinners
4. Irreligious Neglect of Fasting
5. The Devil Incarnate or in League with Beelzebub
6. A Regular Sabbath Breaker
7. Utterly Inadequate Signs
8. Insolent Defiance of Tradition
9. An Ignorant Impostor
10. Plotting to Destroy the Temple
11. High Treason Against Caesar

III. The Condemnation of the Pharisees by Jesus

1. Spiritual Blindness
2. Formalism
3. Prejudice
4. Traditionalism
5. Hypocrisy
6. Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
7. Rejection of God in Rejecting Jesus



Portions of this volume were delivered as lectures on the L. P. Stone Foundation the last week in February 1916, before the Princeton Theological Seminary. The author recalls with pleasure the kindly interest of Faculty and Students during those days. The lectures have been revised and enlarged and adapted to the purpose of the present volume. It is a gratifying sign of the times that modern Jewish scholars exhibit a friendly spirit towards Jesus and Christianity. It is highly important that Jews and Christians understand each other. That is the best way to appreciate and to admire the good in each other. The treatment of Jesus by the Pharisees and of the Pharisees by Jesus is an inflammable subject for some minds, but it is one that has to be discussed and, indeed, has been discussed with great fidelity. Recent efforts to get a new conception of the Pharisees make it necessary to review the whole problem in the light of the new knowledge. If the story is a sad one, it must be remembered that the facts of history cannot be changed. We must learn the lesson of love and mutual forbearance from the strife of the past. The author does not pose as an absolutely impartial and indifferent student of the Tragedy of Jesus. He is a loyal and humble believer in Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah of promise, the Saviour from sin. And yet, and all the more, he claims that he is competent to weigh the evidence concerning the grave issues between the Pharisees and Jesus. The question is not one of mere academic interest, but vitally affects the historic origins of Christianity. Certainly the Pharisees form the immediate theological and historical background for the life and teaching of Jesus, and cannot be ignored by any one who wishes to understand the problems that confronted Christ in His effort to plant the true Kingdom of God in the hearts of men.

Fresh discussions continue to appear in spite, partly because, of the vast literature concerning both Jesus and the Pharisees. In The Expositor for June and July 1918, Canon Box has luminous articles on Scribes and Sadducees in the New Testament. In The Expositor for January and February 1919, Professor Marmostein discusses 'Jews and Judaism in the Earliest Christian Apologies.' Jewish scholars often manifest genuine interest in Jesus. Abrahams (Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels, 1917, p. viii) accepts on the whole the 'picture of Pharisaism drawn in Germany by Professor Schuerer and in England by Canon Charles.' That is progress at any rate. Abrahams also has the insight to see (p. 16) that Jesus was more than an Apocalyptic, but 'was also a powerful advocate of Prophetic Judaism.' He properly emphasizes the freedom of the synagogue that was accorded Jesus, but denies (p. 13) that the Sanhedrin haunted and hunted Jesus everywhere.

November 6, 1919.

This book has been edited.
Copyright © 2011 JCR
All research and online books are
original to this site unless otherwise noted.