Archive for the 'Some Esegetes' Category

16
Mar
09

Aaron (6 of 6)

In Jewish exegesis little is said about him, though he is mentioned as a man who created peace among men.  Many attempts have been made to explain the episode of the golden calf.  According to some esegetes,  Aaron had to make the calf in order to avoid being killed.  In the early 14th century, Gersonides explained that this would have been fatal not only for Aaron but ever more for the people.  Earlier, in the 11th century, Rashi contended that the calf was a symbol of the leader, Moses, who was at that time on the mountain. 

The relationship between Moses and Aaron is also discussed in the Talmud.  Some traditionists have wondered why Aaron, and not Moses, was appointed high priest.  The answer has been found in an indication that Moses was rejected because of his original unwillingness when he was called by Yahweh.  It also seems to have been hard for some traditionists to accept that Aaron was described as older than Moses.  The death of Aaron is related in the Midrash Petirat Aharon.

The first Christian communities admitted that Aaron, “the sons of Aaron,” or “the order of Aaron” were a symbols of the highest priesthood.  But in the Letter to the Hebrews, Christ is described as a high priest according to the order of Melehizedek, which was set against “the order of Aaron.”  Of the Church Fathers, Cyril of Alexandria says that Aaron was divinely called to a priesthood in spirit and in truth and that he was a type of Christ.  Gregory the Great translates the name Aaron as “mountain of strength” and sees in him a redeemer who mediated between God and man.

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