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II. The Pre-Hasmonean High Priests of the Seleucid Period

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Chapter Summary

As the royal edicts of Antiochus II contained in Ant.12.138-146 show, the Seleucid king exerted political, military and religious authority in Judea. Evidence of royal powers emerges with clarity from appointment of Olympiodorus in 178 as archiereus over all the sanctuaries in Koile-Syria and Phoenicia. The Judean high priest also like the Samaritan high priest, were under the jurisdiction of the royal archiereus, even though they appear to have enjoyed certain autonomy. The powers of the Jerusalem high priests varied from year to year. It is thus necessary to study the political, military, cultural, religious, economic, social and other aspects of society that characterized the Seleucid rule both in and around Judea. Two main questions will guide this analysis: First, what were the role and powers of pre-Hasmonean Jewish high priests? Second, what experience and perception could the Hasmonean priests have both of their high priests and of Seleucid royal rule?

Keywords: Antiochus II; Judea; Olympiodorus; pre-Hasmonean Jewish high priests; religious authority; royal archiereus; Seleucid royal rule



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