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IOSOT 2022

Turbulent Priests? Rethinking the History of the Israelite Priesthood

Nathan MacDonald (Cambridge)


Writing the history of any ancient institution is fraught with difficulties, but perhaps none more so than the Israelite Priesthood. Not only is the historical evidence fragmentary, but the later settled hierarchy of high priest, priests, and Levites has often interfered with earlier data. In an attempt to bring order to the material appeal has often been made to the idea of conflicting priestly septs. This lecture will undertake a critical examination of this explanatory principle.