From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile

By James C. Vanderkam | Go to book overview

5
The High Priests in the
Herodian Age (37 BCE to 70 CE)

25. Ancrnel (37–35, 35 to about 30? BCE)1

The death of Antigonus need not have meant the end of the Hasmonean high priesthood, because there were males of the family who could have assumed the office. Hyrcanus, of course, was ineligible due to his physical defect, although he did return to Jerusalem in 37 BCE after Antigonus’s removal. We have seen that Herod was suspicious of the influence Hyrcanus might still wield, but he managed to keep his designs from the former high priest as he continued the lengthy process of securing his own control of the land. Another Hasmonean of whom we know was Aristobulus III, a son of Alexander and Alexandra and thus a brother of Mariamme, Herod’s wife. As he was just fourteen or fifteen years of age at the time, however, he may not have been considered a viable candidate for the position.2 But, even if he had been of age, Herod

1. The number given to each high priest in the heading corresponds to the List of High Priests, pp. 491–92.

2. Compare Abraham Schalit, King Herod: Portrait of a Ruler (Jerusalem: Bialik, 1962 [Hebrew]), 62 with n. 18 (376) = KönigHerodes: Der Mann und sein Werk, 2nd ed. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2001), 101–2 with n. 18. Herod later says his youth was the reason why he did not appoint Aristobulus at the beginning of his reign (Ant. 15.2, 7 [§34]). We know of no age limits on high priests, but there is some reason to think priests could not serve until they were twenty years of age. See Emil Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.— A.D. 135), 3 vols., rev. and ed. G. Vermes, F. Millar, and M. Black (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973–87), 2.243–44. Herod was soon to violate this principle, but under special circumstances.

-394-

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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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