Old Testament Priests and the New Priest



Recent decades have seen passionate debate in the Church about the nature of priesthood. Cardinal Vanhoye’s classic study, originally published in English in 1986, provides a much needed exegesis following the New Testament texts that speak of priests and priesthood. In the first century the question of priesthood was a distinct issue from that of ministries in the Church. This book identifies three series of texts about priesthood contained in the New Testament. In the first series the vocabulary of priesthood is used only in connection with Jewish priests and high priests, or – in one case only – in connection with pagan priests. In the second series, whose texts are all found together in a single piece of writing, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Christ himself is proclaimed, and with great insistence, priest and high priest, and the comparison is made between his priesthood and the old priesthood. Finally, in some other texts which make up a third series, priesthood is attributed to Christians themselves. By listening to the New Testament and being guided by the texts we share an increasing realisation of the profound meaning of priesthood. Cardinal Vanhoye does not try to impose solutions to the various problems and controversies as they arise but invites us to share an exegetical reflection that can transform our understanding. Albert Cardinal Vanhoye, SJ was born in 1923 at Hazebrouck in France. He taught at the Gregorian University and the Lateran University and, from 1963 as a professor, at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome where he was Rector, 1984 – 1990. He has served as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, 1984 – 2001, and as secretary 1990 – 2001. He has been a Consultor to the Sacred Congregations of Catholic Education from 1978 and of the Doctrine of the Faith from 1990. He was created Cardinal in 2006.