On the other hand, we should not overlook the fact that in the first century the Romans recognized the Great Sanhedrin (Sanhedrin Gedolah) as the ruling body of Jews in Jerusalem. But as Charlesworth points out “an establishment must be distinguished from a normative theological system.”

It is also true that “without any doubt, the cult in Jerusalem was dominant.” But this went “hand in glove with a rejection of the priestly ruling class—considered by some religious Jews to be illegitimate—and the deep and ancient traditions that the present Temple is but an imperfect model of the future earthly, heavenly, or eschatological (perhaps messianic) Temple … The cult not only proved to be a unifying force in Judaism, it also tended to spawn differences, as the struggles for control, as well as the corruption within the priesthood, produced opposition.”