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Priests At Qumran—A Reassessment

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Chapter Summary

There are many reasons which support the notion that priests played a major role at Qumran, not least of which is the high probability that the community was founded by a high priest in Jerusalem. Jacob Milgrom took the re-assessment of priests of the Levites beyond the Old Testament's view as a sign of controversy resulting from opposition to the temple in Jerusalem. The Zadokite succession lasted for a long time only to be finally interrupted by the ejection of the Zadokite Highpriest Onias III during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Aaronites played an exclusive role in the dialogue between state-run and priestly power in the Judaea of the second century BCE. Sirach rejected the strong predominance of the Levites in the contemporary literature of the 2nd-1st centuries BCE. The strict halakhah of purity and endogamy of the priests is formulated completely without a recollection of Phineas.

Keywords: Aaronidic priests; Jerusalem; Khirbet Qumran; Levites; Sirach



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