Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Richard Elliot Friedman and the two priests: A question

Over the long holiday weekend, I revisited WHO WROTE THE BIBLE, a shocking work of heresy, by Richard Elliott Friedman. Though I've read the book before, this time I decided to fact check. Specifically, I wanted to fact check the claims he makes about King David's two high priests.

What the bible says about David's two high priests
According to the bible, David appointed two high priests, Abiathar and Zadok. Abiathar is a descendant of Eli and a priest in Nob. Zadok is a descendant of Aaron, via Elazer and a resident of Hebron, which is identified in Chronicles as a possession of Aaron's children. As David lay dying Zadok supported Solomon, while Abiather supported Adonijah. After Solomon took the throne, he expelled Abiather from Jerusalem.

What Richard Elliot Friedman says
REF claims that there were two competing priestly circles, one that traced itself to Moses and the other that traced itself to Aaron. He believes that Abiathar was a Moses-priest, while Zadok was an Aaron priest and that both were appointed co-pontiffs during the fragile moment of David's ascension because the new king needed to satisfy both parties. REF suggests that over the following centuries certain parts of the bible were written by the in-power Aaronic priests, while other parts were written by the out-of-power Moses priests and that their competing agendas, perspectives and political interests are reflected in the texts that are attributed to them. Several chapters of examples and arguments are provided by REF in WWTB.

My problems
I've satisfied myself that Zadok was an Aaron priest. He's identified as a resident of Hebron, an Aaron city and elsewhere his lineage is traced back to Eleazer. Solidifying the argument that Abiather was a Moses priest, however, is much harder. For starters, we don't have any verses that I can find which trace him back to Moses. The only named ancestor of Abiather is Eli, who was a priest in Shiloh. The only thing i can find that connects Eli or Shiloh to Moses is the fact that Samuel, as descendant of Levi (but not of Moses) trained at the Shiloh shrine under Eli. But that's a pretty week connection.

Can anyone tighten this up, or was REF straight out fabricating?

Search for more information about REF at4torah.com

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