High Priests in the First Century A.D.

As in ancient times, the high priest was the head of the priesthood. After the time of Herod the Great the high priest was no longer the political leader of the people. However, he did remain president of the Sanhedrin. This function, and the fact that the high priest was always chosen from one of the leading aristocratic families in Jerusalem, meant that he still had some influence in the political sphere. As had been customary from Persian times, the high priest was nominated by the foreign power in control, in this period the Romans. The most well-known high priest in the time of Jesus was Joseph surnamed Caiaphas, who held this office from about 18 to 37 A.D. [Bible History Online]

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