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

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

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

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

Synopsis

'A timely reminder that traditional methods of scholarship have much to offer... This mature work well repays a careful reading' -Journal for the Study of the Old TestamentThis 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. It discusses material from the Old Testament and Apocrypha, together with contemporary documents and coins. It challenges the view that by virtue of his office the high priest became sole political leader of the Jews in later times.

Excerpt

The present work is a revision of my doctoral thesis, which was submitted to the University of Oxford in 1996 to be examined by Professors H. G. M. Williamson and J. R. Bartlett. As is always the case with such works, many people have assisted both directly and indirectly (and, dare I say it, both wittingly and unwittingly) in its genesis, so that singling out specific individuals for public acknowledgement is a rather invidious exercise. Nevertheless, there are those without whose particular contribution neither the thesis nor the book would have seen the light of day. In the first place, I owe a lifelong debt of gratitude to Revd Dr Rex Mason, formerly Old Testament tutor at Regent's Park College, not only for his own inspired teaching of the Old Testament, but also for suggesting to me, in a chance encounter one dull Friday afternoon in 1990, that I should consider undertaking graduate study. It was a life-changing moment, although neither of us would have recognized it as such at the time, and to the extent that I have succeeded thus far his judgement is vindicated and, I hope, rewarded. Regent's Park has a tradition of excellence in Old Testament study, and it is a privilege to have become a part of that tradition—though I suspect that H. Wheeler Robinson would not altogether approve! Secondly, but by no means less importantly, Dr Sue Gillingham performed the delicate four-year task of midwifery for the burgeoning thesis with consummate skill. Our meetings were always a joy; she was and still is unfailingly supportive and stimulating both academically and personally, even when under great pressure of time and work. I can think of no happier arrangement which could have been set in place for what was both an exciting and a daunting venture, and my successful completion of the thesis is as much her achievement as it is mine. Thirdly, of course, sincere and still rather incredulous thanks are due to the committee of the Oxford Theological Monographs series for their willingness to accept the thesis for publication, and to the external reader whose penetrating comments have served to strengthen the end product considerably. Finally, Dr John Day has been the overseer of the metamorphosis from thesis to book; his eye for detail and his

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