JOSEPH BEN ELEM

JOSEPH BEN ELEM, temporary high priest during the reign of herod the Great. Numerous talmudic sources describe how Joseph b. Elem of Sepphoris substituted "for one day" as high priest, on the Day of Atonement. Josephus also relates that when the incumbent high priest, Mattathias the son of Theophilus, was rendered unclean just before the day of the fast, his relative Joseph b. Elem was appointed to serve in his place. According to the rabbinic version, Joseph was removed immediately after the fast from all subsequent priestly service. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Derenbourg, Hist, 160 n. 1; Graetz, in: MGWJ, 30 (1881), 51–53; Schuerer, Gesch, 2 (19074), 270 n. 7; S. Lieberman, Tosefta ki-Feshutah, 4 (1962), 723–4. (Isaiah Gafni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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