A group of religious leaders in the Jewish religion from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D. In Hebrew their names mean "the righteous ones." They were smaller in size than the group of the Pharisees. The Sadducees were generally in the upper class, often in a priestly line, and the Pharisees in the middle class, usually merchants and tradesmen. The Sadducees accepted only literal written words of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) as authoritative, rejecting the oral laws of the Pharisees. They held rigidly to the Old Testament law and denied the life after death, reward and punishment after death, the resurrection, and the existence of angels and demons. They controlled the temple and its services and were unpopular with the majority of the Jewish population.