Skip to main content



ZADOKITES (Heb. benei Zadok; "sons of Zadok"), the *Qumran community's description of its members, especially its priestly members. The community conceived part of its duty to be the continuation of the functions assigned in the Torah to the Zadokite priesthood. The passage in Ezekiel 44:15ff., where the privilege of approaching God is reserved for "the priests, the levites, the sons of Zadok" because they remained faithful when the other priests went astray, is interpreted in the Zadokite Admonition as a reference not to one class but to three, indicated by the repetition of the conjunction "and"; "the priests and the levites and the sons of Zadok" (cd 3:21ff.). "The priests are those who turned from impiety in Israel and went out of the land of Judah; the [levites are those who] joined (nilvim) with them; the sons of Zadok are the elect of Israel, called by name, who arise in the latter days" (cd 4:2–4). Within the community the framework of priests and levites was maintained, (a) to teach Torah (Mal. 2:7); (b) to undertake what service was possible while the pollution of the Temple by the illegitimate, non-Zadokite, high-priesthood (from 171 b.c.e. onward) prevented them from ministering in it; (c) to make preparation for the day when they would resume the full service of God in a purified temple. In the *Manual of Discipline initiates into the community place themselves "under the authority of the sons of Zadok, the priests, who keep the covenant" and follow the interpretation of the law of Moses revealed to "the sons of Zadok, the priests" (1qs 5:2, 9); here the designation is more expressly confined to the priesthood within the community. "The sons of Zadok, the priests" have a similar authoritative role in the Rule of the Congregation (1qs a 1: 2, 24; 2: 3). The idea that the *Teacher of Righteousness himself was called Zadok (so H.J. Schoeps) is speculative, as is a suggested connection with *Zadok the Pharisee who was Judah the Galilean's comrade-in-arms in 6 c.e. (Jos., Ant., 18:4,9–10).


S. Schechter, Documents of Jewish Sectaries (1970), introd. by J.A. Fitzmyer; A.R.C. Leaney, Rule of Qumran andIts Meaning (1966), 91ff., 165ff.; H.J. Schoeps, Urgemeinde, Judenchristentum, Gnosis (1956), 71ff.; G.R. Driver, Judaean Scrolls (1965), 226ff.; North, in: Catholic Biblical Quarterly (1955), 164ff. (in spite of the similarity of name, to call these Zadokites "Sadducees" is misleading).

[Frederick Fyvie Bruce]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Zadokites." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 18 Oct. 2018 <>.

"Zadokites." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (October 18, 2018).

"Zadokites." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved October 18, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.