Priests, Aristocrats and Sadducees

We could quite easily imagine first-century Judaism without Essenes or Scrolls. The same is emphatically not true of the priests in general and the chief priests in particular. Josephus, writing at the end of the first century ad, says that there were at least twenty thousand
priests, far more than the figures given for the party of the Pharisees (6,000) or the sect of the Essenes (4,000). Their role, often overlooked in accounts of first-century Judaism, must be put back where it belongs…

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