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The Sanhedrin: 141 BC

The Sanhedrin (from a Greek word synedrion, meaning 'assembly') is a court set up in Jerusalem in 141 BC by Simon, the first ruler in the Hasmonaean dynasty. Its seventy-one members meet on the Temple Mount. Their task is to interpret Jewish law, as revealed in the Torah.

The difficulties of interpretation soon lead to a bitter rivalry between two schools of thought - the Sadducees and Pharisees, respectively conservative and reformist. The rivalry between them is a continuing theme in the New Testament account of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus Christ. It is the Sanhedrin which tries and convicts Jesus on a charge of blasphemy.


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