The doctrine of common priesthood has been an integral part of Protestant ecclesiology and clerical theology since the Reformation. It owes its prominence to the reception history of only a very few passages in 1 Peter and the Apocalypse of John. Can this evidence bear the burden of proof imposed on it? How can we understand how people were given the title of priest although in view of their parentage, their education or role in life they were not priests? Based on the status of priests and their functions in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the Old Testament, Volker Gäckle traces the conflicts surrounding the priesthood, temple and cult in the various schools of thought in Judaism during the Second Temple in order to understand what Jewish-Christian authors meant by applying the priest metaphor to early Christian communities.