By Beth Alpert Nakhai

Archaeological information, while considered objectively, offer self sufficient witness to the non secular practices of the traditional population of Syria-Palestine and aid to spot the essential half that faith performed within the social and political worlds of the Israelites and Canaanites. via employing present anthropological and sociological thought to historical fabrics excavated during the last 80 years, the writer bargains a brand new method of taking a look at the archaeological facts. 'Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel' summarizes and analyzes the archaeological is still from all recognized center Bronze via Iron Age temples, sanctuaries, and open-air shrines to bare the ways that social, fiscal and political relationships determined—and have been formed by—forms of spiritual association.

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Evidence from the Nuer supports this statement. “The emphasis is not on the receiving but on the giving, on the sincerity of intention” (Evans-Pritchard 1956: 278–79). A similar observation has been made about classical Greek sacrifice. “The action itself, engaging the supernatural in human concerns, was paramount” (Jameson 1988: 962). Beidelman also warns against interpretations of ritual too rigidly linked to social structure. Ritual acts are ambiguous and will always retain mystical elements (1987: 548).

According to the situation and particular purpose one element in this complex of meaning may be stressed in one rite and another element in another rite, or there are shifts in emphasis from one part of the sacrificial rite to another” (Morris 1987: 282). Therefore, a multiplicity of variables had to be considered in any discussion of religious rites or theological tenets. There are “ rather different ways of thinking of the numinous at different levels of experience. We found these different ways of thinking reflected in the complex notions involved in sacrifice” (Morris 1987: 316).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the fluidity of terms for sacrificial acts found in the Ugaritic texts is also found in the HB. In general, the religious acts that defined the biblical repertoire consisted of making offerings and sacrifices and of erecting altars, maœœebôt (twbxm) and cairns. These acts were supplemented by fasting and by chanting liturgical compositions. It is important to emphasize their context by attributing them to specific periods and communities within the history of Israel. ), prior to the monarchy, was more varied than it would become after decades and even centuries of regularization by the kings and their priesthood.

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