Document Type

Book Chapter




Torah, Pentateuch, Priesthood, Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, rhetoric




Biblical Studies | History of Religion | Religion | Rhetoric


In the Second Temple period, the Torah gained scriptural authority through its association with the priesthoods of the Jerusalem and Samaritan temples. The Torah, in tum, legitimized these priests' control over both the temples and, for much of the period, over the territory of Judah as well. An original function of the Pentateuch then was to legitimize the religious and, by extension, the political claims of priestly dynasties. This point has rarely been discussed and never been emphasized by biblical scholars, however, which makes the subject of the Torah's relationship to the Second Temple Aaronide priesthood as much about the ideologies of academic culture as about ancient religious history.

Additional Information

Pages 319-331 from The Pentateuch as Torah: New Models for Understanding Its Promulgation and Acceptance, edited by Gary N. Knoppers and Bernard M. Levinson, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2007, available at Reproduced by permission of the publisher.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.