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Open AccessArticle

Alexander Janneus as High Priest and King: Struggling between Jewish and Hellenistic Concepts of Rule

Department of Biblical Theology, Faculty of Theology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Piazza della Pilotta, 4, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Religions 2020, 11(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010040
Received: 6 December 2019 / Revised: 8 January 2020 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published: 12 January 2020
Josephus refers explicitly to Alexander Janneus in his narratives in both War and Antiquities only as king. Janneus’s high priestly office is only implied, and that in a context that is hostile to him (War 1.88//Ant. 13.372). If one looks at Josephus’s list of high priests in Ant. 20.242, there he reports that Janneus acted both as king and priest for “twenty-seven years”. Was it Josephus who did not want to refer explicitly to Janneus as high priest in his narratives, was this dictated by his source/s, or by some other reason/s? More specifically, why is there a contrast between the narratives and the list? This study adopts source-critical, comparative, and interdisciplinary approach. It also compares Janneus with other rulers from the Hellenistic world with whom he shared many characteristics. However, certain aspects make the Hasmonean high priestly monarchy unique, dictated mainly by theological reasons. That of Janneus is an example of an institutional clash. Josephus was aware of the complexity and controversial aspects surrounding the institution of Hasmonean kingship and its combination with the high priesthood. For various reasons he chose not to identify Janneus explicitly as high priest in his narratives, but rather focus mainly on the royal policy. As an alternative, the Flavian historian drafted an idealized list of high priests in Ant. 20.225–245 that became the basis for developing his theocratic model of government, which—he probably hoped—could co-exist under the Roman emperor. View Full-Text
Keywords: Alexander Janneus; high priest; king; Flavius Josephus; Jewish Antiquities; Jewish War; Aristobulus I; Hasmoneans; Hellenistic high priests and kings Alexander Janneus; high priest; king; Flavius Josephus; Jewish Antiquities; Jewish War; Aristobulus I; Hasmoneans; Hellenistic high priests and kings
MDPI and ACS Style

Babota, V. Alexander Janneus as High Priest and King: Struggling between Jewish and Hellenistic Concepts of Rule. Religions 2020, 11, 40.

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