Biblical scholars agree that priesthood(s) played a critical role in the social, historical, cultural, and religious lives of the ancient Israelites. This study seeks to clarify the role of one such priesthood, the Zadokites. Traditional scholarship assumes the dominance of a Zadokite priesthood from a united monarchy until the time of the Hasmoneans. The thesis
of this study is that references to the "sons of Zadok" in ancient texts reflect the sectarian nature of the Second Temple period. The extent to which modern scholarship has magnified the Zadokites as the dominant priestly institution from the monarchy into the Second Temple period cannot be
substantiated. Rather, the Second Temple period serves as the terminus for all literary references to the Zadokites and provides a socio-historical context which allows for the development of a plausible reconstruction explaining their appearance in the ancient texts. This comprehensive study of the Zadokites provides a study of historiography that traces the growth of scholarly notions concerning the Zadokites. The study examines historiographic issues related to the development of these conceptualizations. Literary analysis indicates the role and status of the Zadokites in available textual evidence. A socio-historical reconstruction forms the theoretical basis and attempts to answer such questions such as: Who placed the Zadokites in these texts? Why were the Zadokites included in these texts? The Zadokites will be situated in relation to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The study provides a foundation for studies of priesthood(s) in ancient Israel.