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What Happened To The Jewish Priesthood After 70?

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Chapter Summary

The Jewish temple was the most notable institution within Judaism before 70, assiduously promoted by both the Hasmoneans and Herod as the focal point of religious life for all Jews, whether in Palestine or abroad. Judaism after 70 may have been as diverse as Judaism before 70, and Rabbinic Judaism may in the end have achieved dominance by making compromises, broadening its appeal, and becoming, if the term can be excused, a broad Church. One of the most remarkable innovations in the synagogue liturgy in late antiquity was the emergence of a new, highly wrought type of synagogue poetry known as piyyut. A further area worth exploring for priestly tradition and spirituality is Heikhalot mysticism. The basic priestly orientation of the Heikhalot texts is initially suggested by the fact that they are concerned with ascents to the celestial temple, and with the angelic liturgies.

Keywords: Heikhalot mysticism; Jewish priesthood; Piyyut; Rabbinic Judaism



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