Priests Like Moses: Earliest Divisions in the Priesthood of Ancient Israel
Rasure, Matthew Robert
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CitationRasure, Matthew Robert. 2019. Priests Like Moses: Earliest Divisions in the Priesthood of Ancient Israel. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe history of the priesthood in ancient Israel is shrouded in mystery. While images of priests, prayer, sacrifice, and, eventually, the Temple play a significant role in all biblical periods, reconstructing the practices and organization of the institution is beset by a host of historical, chronological, and methodological problems. In 1973, Frank Moore Cross published a landmark proposal tying the history of the Israelite priesthood to the character of Moses and the United Monarchy—the so-called “Mushite Hypothesis”—providing a historical foothold for the study of each.
In this dissertation, I explore the priestly roles of Moses and Aaron in the Hebrew Bible as an avenue of inquiry into the early history of divisions in the Israelite priesthood. My research focuses on three interrelated areas: the competing visions of Moses, Aaron, and their priesthoods in the Pentateuchal sources; the narrative and topographical profiles of significant cultic sites in ancient Israel and the clergy operative at these sites; and the web of genealogical relationships the Bible describes between various priestly groups, with particular emphasis on the fluidity of these relationships.
This project reveals the existence of two spectra on which different biblical voices may be positioned: the opposition of geographical center and periphery, and the opposition between Aaron and Moses. What emerges from these oppositions is a picture of two priesthoods active in contiguous but distinct regions. The interactions between these priesthoods shape the history, politics, and cult of the United Monarchy, the Divided Monarchy, and beyond.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029768
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