Rethinking the Place of the Pentateuch in Late Persian and Hellenistic-era 'Priestly' Literature

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A significant amount of literature was composed in the late Persian and Hellenistic periods that demonstrates a marked interest in priestly and priestly-adjacent matters. This literature has typically been analyzed with an assumption that the Pentateuch serves as a kind of "base text"that these authors used to create their texts. In this article, I pose what is normally taken as the starting point for the analysis of this material as the question to be answered: do Persian and Hellenistic-era Jewish authors writing about priestly-related matters draw on the Pentateuch? And if so, how are they engaging with it in their own compositions? To answer these questions, I examine three compositions: Chronicles, the Letter of Aristeas, and the Aramaic Levi Document. My analysis of these three texts shows that they have a broad range of engagement with the pentateuchal priestly writings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-284
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Ancient Judaism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


  • Aramaic Levi Document
  • Aristeas
  • Chronicles
  • Pentateuch
  • Temple
  • priestly
  • sacrifice


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