Julia Rhyder deposited Christophe Nihan and Julia Rhyder, “Aaron’s Vestments in Exodus 28 and Priestly Leadership.” Pages 45–67 in Debating Authority: Concepts of Leadership in the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. Edited by Katharina Pyschny and Sarah Schulz. BZAW 507. Berlin/Boston, MA: de Gruyter, 2018. in the group Ancient Jew Review on Humanities Commons 1 year, 1 month ago
This paper examines how the description of Aaron’s vestments in Exod 28 encodes a distinct concept of high priestly leadership. This chapter of Exodus has garnered relatively little attention in biblical scholarship, even among recent and comprehensive treatments of the high priest in the biblical and post-biblical traditions. This general neglect of Exod 28, we argue, misses the central place that the description Aaron’s vestments occupies in the Priestly construction of power and leadership. Specifically, this paper analyzes the way in which the description positions Aaron as the main “broker” between the deity and the community by establishing his dual role: manifesting the deity to the community, and signifying the ethnic unity of “Israel” in front of YHWH. To that effect, key features of Aaron’s vestments, such as the fabrics used, the “memorial” (ZKRWN) stones, the breastplate of judgment/righteousness (MŠPṬ), the Urim and Thummim, and Aaron’s diadem are discussed in depth. Based on this analysis, the paper concludes that Exod 28 is instrumental to the emergence of a new paradigm of leadership and centrality within the Priestly traditions of the Pentateuch.