From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile

By James C. Vanderkam | Go to book overview

2
The High Priests of
the Persian Period

The sources for one year (520 BCE) of Joshua’s high priesthood are relatively plentiful and varied, though little is said about what he did or the extent of his authority (see chap. 1). For any later years of his tenure (after 520), the biblical books are silent, and for his successors they also offer virtually no information apart from the names of the first five. The relevant names figure in two lists in Nehemiah 12. There, they are not identified explicitly as high priests, but since their names are given in genealogical form and some of them are known from other sources to have been high priests, it is reasonable to assume that Nehemiah 12 is presenting them as such.1 These meager lists can be supplemented to some extent by the narratives and other allusions in Nehemiah (and in Ezra on some theories) and also from a few of the Elephantine papyri. The most extended and significant source for the period in question is, however, the Antiquities of Josephus. His book is the only extant account of Jewish history during the later Persian age. He mentions all of Nehemiah’s high priests and adds some extrabiblical stories about two of them in particular. The sources from which he derived his extrabiblical information remain unknown today, and, as will be seen below, this information has been the subject of intense scrutiny and controversy among scholars. All of the pertinent information about the high priests from Joshua’s successor Joiakim to Jaddua (a contemporary of Alexander the Great) will be analyzed in this chapter, which, because of the nature of the material, is divided into three parts: the

1. See, for example, Benjamin E. Scolnic, Chronology and Papponymy: A List of the Judean High Priests of the Persian Period, SFSHJ 206 (Atlanta: Scholars, 1999), 5-6.

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From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • 1 - Beginnings 1
  • 2 - The High Priests of the Persian Period 43
  • 3 - The High Priests in the Early Hellenistic Period 112
  • 4 - The Hasmonean High Priests (152-37 Bce) 240
  • 5 - The High Priests in the Herodian Age (37 Bce to 70 Ce) 394
  • The High Priests of the Second Temple 491
  • Bibliography 494
  • Index of Ancient People 523
  • Index of Ancient Sources 528
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