http://bible.org/seriespage/pharisees Long but very interesting. Mostly likely an honest analysis. From the last page: In the process of multiplying rulings it was easy for the Pharisees to become hypocritical because in attempting to be faithful to the letter of the Law they lost the spirit of the Law. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was well known; Edersheim says that some of the sayings in the Rabbinical literature on this are more withering that those in the New Testament.37 So Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the teachings of the Pharisees (Mt. 16:12), or the leaven of the Pharisees (Lk. 12:1); He also rebuked their hypocrisy (Mt. 23). Concluding Observations Herford reminds us that if Pharisaism is viewed as a barren and unspiritual formalism, the description is entirely untrue.38 The Pharisees were preoccupied with doing the will of God; they were devout, pious believers, who looked forward in hope to God's program. They wanted to live according to the Law of Moses, but the times had changed; Rome now ruled the land. The Law of Moses could have become an ancient relic, but the Pharisees believed that one could find in the Law the principles to rule their present life. They found in halakah and haggadah39 the guidance they needed for the use of the Law in their lives. They believed that God was behind both the Law and halakah, for they were interdependent. Their method of adapting the Law to their life allowed Judaism to remain a living and growing religion.40 It seems to me that modern conservative Christians share many of the fine qualities of the Pharisees. Had they lived in that generation, they would have found their greatest agreement with them; they would not have belonged to the other groups. Like the Pharisees they are devout believers who seek to preserve the faith that they have received. They believe in the inspiration of the Scripture and the doctrines contained in them. They place top priority on the apostolic interpretations of the Old Testament Scripture which now have become part of their canon. They have a great desire to do the will of God, and among their many teachings, tithing and remaining pure receive much attention. But they most easily exhibit the excesses and errors of Pharisaism as well. Perhaps this is simply the lot of those in any age who believe that they have the truth. They often ascribe a great deal of authority to the teachings they receive on the Bible, even to the point of elevating application to the level of interpretation, so that those who do not comply with the Word of God as they understand may be considered disobedient. Unfortunately, the self-righteous and hypocritical attitude of the Pharisees is alive and well today in our churches. We shall return to these problems in later chapters.