Kohen Gadol

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Kohen Gadol or ha-Kohen ha-Gadol (Heb. כהן גדול "Great Priest") is the title of High Priest of early Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The high priests belonged to the Kohen group that traced its paternal line back to Aaron, the first Kohen Gadol and brother of Moses.

Biblical data

Aaron, though he is but rarely called "the great priest," being generally simply designated as "ha-kohen" (the priest), was the first incumbent of the office, to which he was appointed by God (Book of Exodus ; ).

The succession was to be through one of his sons, and was to remain in his own family ().Cf. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews xx. 10, § 1. If he had no son, the office devolved upon the brother next of age: such appears to have been the practise in the Hasmonean period. In the time of Eli, however (), the office passed to the collateral branch of Ithamar (see Eleazar). But King Solomon is reported to have deposed the High Priest Abiathar, and to have appointed Zadok, a descendant of Eleazar, in his stead (; ). After the Exile, the succession seems to have been, at first, in a direct line from father to son; but later the civil authorities arrogated to themselves the right of appointment. Antiochus IV Epiphanes for instance, deposed Onias III in favor of Jason, who was followed by Menelaus.Josephus,...
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