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High Priest

(1,797 words)

Author(s): Schaper, Joachim | Schwartz, Daniel R. | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Link-Wieczorek, Ulrike
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Early Judaism – III. New Testament – IV. Dogmatics I. Old Testament Before the Exile, the Jerusalem priesthood was headed by a primus inter pares – called either הַכֹּהֵ…


(576 words)

Author(s): Schaper, Joachim | Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] I. Old Testament - II. Early Judaism I. Old Testament The origin of the name is uncertain. In the Old Testament Aaron is the brother of Mose and his spokesman (Exod 4:14f.). He was reputed to be a “Levite” (priest; Exod 4:14), and the traveling companion and deputy of Moses (Exod 7:1–7), a miracle-worker (Exod 8:1f.), a charismatic leader (Exod 17:10–12; 24:14) and the progenitor of the legitimate, Levitical-Aaronic priesthood of Israel (Exod 28f.; Lev 8–10; Num 3:5–4:49; 8:5–26; 16–18). At the same time, however, he was responsible for the establishment of the illegitimate cult of the golden bull (Exod 32). Here it may be a matter of a negatively directed etiology of the sanctuary at Bethel (Beyerlin), whose priests probably saw in Aaron their progenitor. Num 12 portrays Aaron as an adversary of his brother: along with his sister Miriam he questioned Moses' claim to exclusive leadership. Nevertheless, the heaviest penalty did not fall on him, but Miriam. All this together makes clear that several strands of tradition have influenced one another. At the most, the pre-priestly source lying behind the tradition of Aaron as a charismatic leader might prove to be a historical recollection. The historical Aaron appears to have come from the southern tribes: the oldest traditions associated with him (Exod 15:29; 17:8–16; 18:12) come from south Judah (Noth). The traditions that portray Aaron as the brother of Moses, prophet, wonder-worker or ancestor of the priesthood are later. Eventually, these traditions were written down in P, whose Aaronic genealogy was the result of postexilic compromises among priestly groups …

Tree of Life

(2,095 words)

Author(s): Schaper, Joachim | Schroer, Silvia | Zchomelidse, Nino
[German Version] I. Old Testament The motif of the tree of life (םייִּחַהַ ץעֵ/ ʿeṣ haḥayyîm), a variation of the idea of the “sacred tree” that appears in Canaanite, Mesopotamian and Egyptian texts, and also in the Indo-European area, is found in Gen 2:9; 3:22,24; Prov 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4 and Isa 65:22 LXX. The tree, on the basis of its cyclical sef-renewal, functions as a symbol of the regeneration of the cosmos, as an image of fertility, and thus also of immortality (Gen 3:22). The related concept of a “cosmic” or World tree is present in Ezek 17:22–24; 31:2–9 and Dan 4:7b–9. Most exegetes since Budde offer a literary-critical explanation of the tree of life motif, deriving it from the story of paradise (II) in Gen 2–3 (cf. e.g. Witte 79–87); but in the ancient Near East the “sacred tree” and, related to it, the tree of life and the “Plant of Life” (Gilgamesh: XI) appear as part of the theme of God’s garden (Gilgamesh: IX; CTA 3,5,14–15; cf. Gen 2f.; Ezek 31:8f.; 47:1–12), so that the tree of life motif in Gen 2:9; 3:22, 24 is very probably not to be explained by the paradise story, and is to be separated from the (exclusively Heb.) motif of the “tree of knowledge of good and…

Rahlfs, Alfred

(185 words)

Author(s): Schaper, Joachim
[German Version] (May 29, 1865, Linden near Hanover – Apr 8, 1935, Göttingen), became a Privatdozent (OT) in 1891, extraordinary professor in 1901, full professor in 1919, in Göttingen; he was director of the Septuagint project of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences, a project founded in 1908 by Rudolf Smend (1851–1913) and J. Wellhausen (Septuagint research). Rahlfs, an important Greek and Semitic philologist, was mainly concerned with scholarly editing of the LXX (see esp. his edition of the LXX, still in use…

Child of God

(2,719 words)

Author(s): Schaper, Joachim | Klein, Hans | Schlapkohl, Corinna | Börner-Klein, Dagmar
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Christianity – IV. Judaism I. Old Testament The Hebrew Bible can designate both individuals and groups as children (cf. e.g. Deut 32:5) or as sons and daughters of YHWH (cf. e.g. Deut 32:19). This usage occurs elsewhere in the ancient Near East to describe members of a deity's cultic community. The concept of childhood should be understood as mediated through creation (Deut 32:6; Isa 45:11; 64:8) or covenant (Isa 1:2, 4; Mal …

Social History

(4,845 words)

Author(s): Kaiser, Jochen-Christoph | Schaper, Joachim | Hezser, Catherine | Leutzsch, Martin | Herrmann, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology and Theory In its scientific exploration of the past, all historiography aims at a synthesis in the sense of a valid overview of what has gone before. At best, however, the quest can succeed only paradigmatically and typically, because any reconstruction of an histoire totale is doomed to failure. Nevertheless historiography cannot abandon the ven-¶ ture of viewing history (History/Concepts of history) as a whole, because otherwise the incalculable mass of detail would rule out any interpretation of historical processes. …