First things first.I want to express my unflinching solidarity with our
Israeli colleagues,
currently facing a difficult time.

Ian wrote:
"1. If anyone has any light to shed on the Onias/Jason
   problem I would be happy to read it.

2. The distinction between the sons of Zadok and the sons
   of Aaron doesn't seem to have been debated, but I would
   like to hear if there are any bibliographical indications.
   Any comments would be welcome.

3. Does it seem reasonable to list members to use the
   mention of the sons of Zadok for dating purposes?
   (Note, that I make a distinction between sons of Zadok
   and Sadducees, the rump of the priesthood which followed
   older religious traditions and did not adhere to the
   "innovations" of the Pharisees.)"

I donīt think there is any way to date anything (after Antiochus Epiphanes)
on the basis of the mention of the Sons of Zadok .
It seems certain that  the Zadokites where the most powerful clan
within the priesthood - i.e the Sons of Aaron - who were the only leading
after the exile and chances are that they remained a fairly influential clan
even after
(herodian)political circumstances determined the change of the system of
highpriestly dinasties.

Whether or not Hasmoneans were Zadokites or not
remains a matter of debate, although the mention
of the first Hasmonean Highpriest saying he will remain in function
until a true profet(?) will arise (if I recall this  correctly) seems to
that his lineage was not above controversy. Hence the probability that
Shimon and his brothers werenīt regarded as Zadokites.

Anyhow, the problems with the purity of lineage became certainly
worse after Johananīs Hyrcanus acces to power,
as we know from Josephus, (a Priest-King who was accused
by a Pharisee, Elazar, to usurpe the highpriestly function, since his mother
was said to have been captive before he was born). This incident -and for
that matter Josephus own interpretation  of it -  is interesting
as it denotes how much attention and importance was attached
to the question of lineage throughout  the 2,nd Temple period.
(Remember also the  genealogies  in Qumran).
All this can explain the popping up of a sect of Sadduccees, which
I think, is absolutely rightly connected etimologically, to the sons of
Zadok, as a group claiming the power on religious grounds, after it
had been ousted from it, (or clinging to it despite opposition).
 However, there is nothing, appart from their name to suggest the Sadduccees
what no other group did, namely to avoid
succesive defections and schisms.

As for the obsessive repetition of the phrase "Sons of Zadok"
in the Qumran  manuscripts I think it is logical to assume
that it served both an ideological and a political purpose, being
used against a temple hierarchy dominated by  High priests chosen
from a religious point of view, for economic or
political  aims. This points to a rather  late date of the manuscripts.
It may very well be, that the vicious polemic on this issue was ultimately
 the reason  for some extremely controversial appointments such as that of
Pinchas, the
derided last High priest of the Temple, right before its destruction by the
a man who must certainly have been considered a Zadokite by the Zealots
appointing him after the casting of lots.
Remarcable as well are the polemics against the zadokites (Sadduccees)
 throughout the Talmud and Tosefta, which reminds us a)
of Johanan ben Zakaiīs problems with the Zealots not letting him get out of
the besieged Jerusalem and b) the great importance attributed  to fighting
them even at a late date after the destruction of the Temple, when their
significance as a highpriestly class had all but vanished and the return and
had become utterly hypothetical.

As for Alcimus (AJ) not being of highpriestly stock,
this is an extremely ambigious note, since it may mean anything, from
not being a Zadokite, to him not being the son of the previous Hight Priest
as was the custom at that time, to him not being off aaronite descent.

Best regards, Peter Janku

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