Said to be the descendants of the priest Zadok, the chief priest during the first temple period. Subsequently, all Sadducean priests had been able to trace their lineage directly to Zadok. Throughout the first and second temple periods, the position of high priest came from their ranks. They advocated a literal and strict interpretation of the written Torah and rejected the oral interpretations brought in by the Pharisees.
One of the most important differences between this group and the Pharisees is the latter’s belief in resurrection of the dead. This often was a point of quarrels and contentions as demonstrated in the Bible when Paul exploited this disagreement in his trial at Caesarea.
They were the most thoroughly Hellenised of all the groups and have been known to be collaborators with all the occupying power, whether Greeks or Romans. Apart from their rejection of the oral interpretative tradition of the Pharisees, they also differed in terms of how they interpreted the written Torah.
Altogether they were not as strict as the Pharisees in the requirement of the common people to obey the Torah. They were, however, always the minority and their base was the temple. When this was destroyed, however, they vanished and left the Pharisees to develop what today we call Rabbinic Judaism.