High Priest, Judaism, Magic and Judaism
What forces, practices, rituals, or objects worked to safeguard the ancient Israelite sanctuary against evil and harm? Archaeological and textual evidence suggests that the high priest’s golden crown may have been an apotropaic amulet worn to protect the high priest and the holy space. Magical practices described in the Bible are illuminated by the presence of apotropaic ritual and amulets in wider Near Eastern society. Metallic amulets such as those found at Ketef Hinnom were utilized to protect the wearer in the name of the deity. In inscriptions, sacred writing invoked the name of YHWH to guard a sanctuary. The high priest’s headplate contained precious metals, sacred writing, and an appeal to YHWH reminiscent of its neighbor apotropaic amulets. These sacred elements as prescribed by YHWH in his holiest sanctuary strongly suggest that the high priest’s crown was intended to protect the high priest and the community he represented.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Booth, Abigail. "Sacred Writing and Magic Metal: The High Priest's Holy Crown as a Protective Amulet." Studia Antiqua 20, no. 1 (2021): 23-37. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/studiaantiqua/vol20/iss1/3