Monday, July 01, 2013

Was Ezra a High Priest?

This article discusses various Rabbinic positions regarding whether Ezra the Scribe—who was a Kohen—served as the High Priest in the Holy Temple after returning to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Exile. In doing so, the article explains the relationship between Ezra and Joshua ben Jehozedek and traces the history of the returnees from Babylonian Exile. Several proofs from Mishnaic and Midrashic sources are considered and some are rejected. Special attention is given to the stance of Maimonides on this issue. In attempting to reconcile these sources, the article proposes a difference between the terms “High Priest” and “Chief Priest”. 

Reuven Chaim (Rudolph) Klein, "Was Ezra a High Priest", Jewish Bible Quarterly Vol. 41:3 (Jerusalem: Jewish Bible Association, 2013)

Keywords: Ezra, Kohen Gadol, Kohen Rosh, Joshua ben Jehozedek, Maimonides, Second Holy Temple, Seraiah, Red Heifer, Babylonian Exile

This paper is available at several other locations:
Jewish Bible Quarterly Online Archive
The Free Library

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