Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Gordon on Second Temple priests, temple, and land

The Agrarian Priesthood of Second Temple Judaism

Most Judean priests of the Second Temple period lived dispersed throughout the region, coming to Jerusalem for weekly service periods throughout the year. The patterns of social and economic interaction that governed their relationships with villagers resulted from the failures of the temple to adequately provide for them, pushing them into land ownership. The biblical ideal of a priesthood free from the responsibilities of the farming life or working as if in quarantine within the confines of the sacred precinct in the city gives a false impression. These priests were fully entrenched in the Judean landscape.

See Also: Land and Temple: Field Sacralization and the Agrarian Priesthood of Second Temple Judaism. Studia Judaica 87 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2020).

By Benjamin D. Gordon
Department of Religious Studies
University of Pittsburgh
August 2020
I noted the publication of the book here.

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