From a Greek word meaning a council of leaders. In NT Palestine there were various local councils of seventy-one (or twenty-three) members (Mark 13: 9; perhaps 15: 43). But in the gospels the reference is usually to the supreme court in Jerusalem. Its members were chief priests and elders who assembled with the goodwill of the Roman authority, which found it convenient to use the local élite for various matters of administration. They conducted the preliminary trial of Jesus (Matt. 26: 59). It is uncertain whether these leaders included Pharisees as well as the aristocratic Sadducees; probably they were present, and part of the strategy of the high priest at the trial was to unite the parties in a unanimous condemnation of Jesus. At the trial of Paul (Acts 23) both Pharisees and Sadducees were involved.