Zadok's Heirs:The Role and Development of the High Priesthood in Ancient Israel: The Role and Development of the High Priesthood in Ancient Israel

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Clarendon Press, Mar 9, 2000 - History - 404 pages
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This unique study is the first systematic examination to be undertaken of the high priesthood in ancient Israel, from the earliest local chief priests in the pre-monarchic period down to the Hasmonaean priest-kings in the first century BCE. Dr Rooke argues that, contrary to received scholarly opinion, the high priesthood was fundamentally a religious office which in and of itself bestowed no civil responsibilities upon its holders, and that not until the time of the Maccabean revoltdoes the high priest appear as the sole figure of leadership for the nation. However, even the Maccabean / Hasmonaean high priesthood was effectively a reversion to the monarchic model of sacral kingship which had existed several centuries earlier in the pre-exilic period, rather than being anextension of the powers of the high priesthood itself. The idea that high priesthood per se bestowed the power to rule should therefore be reconsidered.

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About the author (2000)

Deborah W. Rooke is a Lecturer in Old Testament Studies at King's College London.

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