Unlike Christianity, which regards the word “Pharisee” as synonymous with “hypocrite,” “legalist,” and “petty-bourgeois,” Jews have always understood Pharisaism as the correct and trustworthy side of Judaism. Since the eighteenth century, all disputants who participated in the great controversies and schisms within Judaism have claimed to represent the true heirs of the Pharisees. For example, adherents of the strong anti-Hasidic movement initiated by R. Eliyahu of Vilna in the second half of the eighteenth century, who are usually referred to in literature by the negative appellation “opposers” (םירננחמ), referred to themselves by the positive title “Pharisees” (םישורפ). When the Reform movement was founded in Germany in the first half of the nineteenth century, with the goal of reforming the Jewish religion to make it more “modern” and acceptable to its neighbors, the reformers perceived themselves as the true heirs of the Pharisees. In his important study of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Abraham Geiger, one of the founders, of Wissenschaft des Judentums and an important spokesman for the radical wing of the Reform movement, formulated the view of the flexible open-minded Pharisees, who reformed Judaism to the point of contradicting the laws set out in the Pentateuch, in order to accommodate them to their changing needs. Geiger's opponents easily produced evidence that negated his findings and proved beyond doubt that they, in their conservative strain, were the real heirs of Pharisaism. To his opponents, Geiger was a representative of the detestable Sadducees or their later counterparts, the Karaites.