Another group often mentioned in the New Testament in connection with the Pharisees are the Teachers of the Law.
Here we are dealing with a very different group of people.
In the interpretation of the written Law the Pharisees had the help of the so-called 'Oral Law', i.e.
oral tradition consisting of explanations of the Law which was thought to go back to Moses himself.
Today the ministry of Jesus is seen rather as a movement within Judaism rather than as something opposed to it.
At the same time people have begun to understand how complex and still developing a phenomenon first-century Judaism was.
Israel made the commitment to be obedient to God and to live a life befitting the people of God.
Such a picture of the Pharisees is, however, one-sided.
In fact the Pharisees were one Jewish group among many - a lay movement which placed emphasis on the Torah (the Law of Moses and its interpretation) and in particular on the importance of the purity code for everyday holiness. Some of them seem to have been fairly close to Jesus in their thinking.
While the Pharisees were a kind of revival movement, 'Teacher of the Law' is a professional term.
The Teachers of the Law were authoritative professional interpreters of the Torah.