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From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 29.75  
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Item Number 145849  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   548
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.4" Height: 1.6"
Weight:   2.3 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2004
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800626176  
EAN  9780800626174  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"The primary purpose of this history of the high priests in the Second Temple age has been to gather and assess all of the available information about each one of them, from Joshua in the late sixth century bce to Phannias during the Jewish revolt against Rome (66-70 ce). A secondary aim has been to investigate the status of these high-ranking officials specifically whether they also wielded civic authority. . . .It is worth emphasizing what this book is and is not. It is a history of the Second Temple high priests; it is not a history of the priesthood. . . . The book is not primarily a history of the Second Temple period, although the history regularly impinges on the narrative and provides the organizing principle of the presentation."

Publishers Description
Beginning late in the Old Testament period and continuing for the next six hundred years, the Jewish high priests were often the most important members of Jewish society. They not only possessed religious authority but also exercised political control. This book gathers and assesses the surviving evidence about each of the fifty-one men who served as high priest from about 515 BCE until approximately 70 CE when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

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More About James C. Vanderkam

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James Vander Kam is John A. O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He is the author of numerous works, including The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (1994), Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls (1998), From Revelation to Canon (2000), An Introduction to Early Judaism (2001), The Book of Jubilees (2001), and The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls (with Peter Flint, 2002).

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Exhaustive, Remarkable, and Controversial   Mar 25, 2008
This book is not is a history of the development of Judaism from 537 BCE to 70 CE. And, it is also not a history of the second Judean state. It will inform the reader about both these broad topics only as collateral matter pertaining to its main concern which is the high priests of the second temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, this book is definitely not a starting point for students interested in second temple Judaism. I believe to get the most out of this book a reader should come equipped with an in depth knowledge of the topics described above as well as a substantial grasp of the history of the ancient near east. With this in mind, a reader possessed of the above prerequisites will find this book an extremely challenging explication of almost all the material available on the topic as of its date of publication. Vanderkam nearly exhausts every known source on the high priests of the second temple, and his meticulous presentation of this material will be invaluable to any serious researcher in the area. The bibliography at least contains the name of almost every modern scholar who has written on second temple Judaism in English, German, and Hebrew, and the author is fully engaged with their scholarship throughout this work. The ancient sources and their languages are handled with expertise including the Tannaitic and Rabbinic literature.

This is a dense work by a mature scholar who displays an easy grasp of the subject material under discussion. The organization is chronological and is sensibly broken up into five chapters. The first of which is actually an introduction followed by chapters on the Persian period, the early Hellenistic period, the Hasmonean period, and finally the Herodian Age. After the introductory material, each chapter averages well over one hundred pages and is heavily footnoted. The footnotes are extensive and contain important information that demands hours of attention if one is to fully appreciate the text. Every imaginable scholarly interpretation of the sources is considered. And, seeing that the sources themselves are often contradictory and obscure definitive interpretations are sometimes difficult to arrive at and justify. Lengthy excursuses on both sides of contentious points are provided with the author often supporting minority interpretations. Where Vanderkam deems no definitive answers available or worthy of support, ambiguity results. For example, do not expect any startling observations on the import of the Dead Sea Scrolls regarding the high priests. The author finds suggestive references pertaining to certain high priests in the DSS who served circa 154 BCE and 76 BCE. You, the reader, will often be left to reflect on conflicting interpretations parsed very finely.

A controlling concern in this work is the apportionment of power between the high priests and secular authorities. In the Persian period the author finds the power of the high priest far greater than in the pre-exilic monarchies. However, he does find a continuous civil authority of some significance vested in governors answerable to the Persian Empire. In the early Hellenistic period, Vanderkam finds the high priests at the zenith of their powers with Judea a virtual theocracy, and the high priests directly answerable only to either their Seleucid or Ptolemaic overlords. With the advent of the Hasmoneans, the priestly and civil power becomes co-joined with ultimately disastrous results. The Herodian period marks the nadir of high priestly power. The high priests were reduced to political appointees who were only able to exert limited control even of the temple cult. There are of course somewhat different interpretations of these matters that have been argued by other scholars. However, any future work on second temple Judaism will have to carefully take Vanderkam's reading of this material into account. Regardless of the level of agreement with the author's conclusions an informed reader may find, they should most certainly be awed by the sheer magnitude of this undertaking and the exemplary erudition displayed by Vanderkam. This is a major reference work which is absolutely mandatory reading for all advanced students of second temple Judaism.
History of the high priests who served in the Second Temple   Jan 4, 2005
From Joshua To Caiaphas: High Priests After The Exile by James C. VanderKam (John A. O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures, University of Notre Dame) is a comprehensive, 548-page history of the high priests who served in the Second Temple period of Israel and their influence and importance in understanding early Judaism. A masterpiece of scholarship and research, Professor VanderKam writes with a distinctive clarity that allows even the non-specialist general reader to come away with a comprehensive and coherent understanding of Temple Judaism as represented by the fifty-one men who served as high priest from about 515 BCE down to 70CE when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed by the Romans. No Old Testament Studies, Israelite History, or Judaic Studies collection can be considered either comprehensive or complete without the inclusion of this impressive and seminal work. Also very highly recommended are Professor VanderKam's previous contributions: The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (1994); An Introduction To Early Judaism (2001); The Book Of Jubilees (2001); and The Meaning Of The Dead Sea Scrolls (which was co-authored with Peter Flinte, 2002).
Great Scholarship: Readable and Clear  Oct 13, 2004
From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests After the Exile by James VanderKam (Augsburg Fortress Publishers) For a relatively thorough account of Second Temple Judaism, VanderKam's work is likely to become a well regarded explanation of this seminal period in Jewish and Christian studies of origins.

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