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"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."
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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