Studia Antiqua


Abigail Booth


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.