Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel (ASOR by Beth Alpert Nakhai

By Beth Alpert Nakhai

Archaeological facts, while considered objectively, offer self sustaining witness to the spiritual practices of the traditional population of Syria-Palestine and support to spot the crucial half that faith performed within the social and political worlds of the Israelites and Canaanites. by means of using present anthropological and sociological idea to historical fabrics excavated over the last 80 years, the writer deals 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 continues to be 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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In striking contrast to Israelite ritual, at Ugarit there was no distinction between “pure” and “impure” animals. Rather, cultic vocabulary there was composed of technical terms related to sacrifice. In other words, religion (as we understand it) was informed by ritual practices rather than by theological concerns. The cult at Ugarit was also at one with its natural surroundings, its sacrifices being characteristic of the contemporary agrarian economy (de Tarragon 1980: 73–74). An examination of the texts permits speculation about material remains from sacrificial rites that might be found in the excavation of Ugaritic temples.

This is in part because distributing meat to the poor is seen as an exemplary act of Christian charity. Within the framework of sacrifice, this act acquits the devout of any debt to the saint to whom the sacrifice is made. Georgoudi concluded that “if church canons did not truly succeed in establishing a distinction between gifts offered to the church and clergy, which were permitted and even recommended, and sacrifices, which were constantly forbidden, it is undoubtedly because these things were organically linked in everyday practice” (1989: 201).

Universal definitions of religion hinder … because and to the extent that they aim at identifying essences when we should be trying to explore concrete sets of historical relations and processes” (Asad 1983: 252). , de Heusch 1985: 23). In the absence of universal definitions, we must consider ways to explore the role of religion in specific contexts within specific ancient societies. What is a fair goal for a study of religion? Douglas suggests that as we study religion, “we uncover a cogent set of conceptions and social events, which, when uncoded, tells us something important about … how people cope with the dissonances and the recurrent and critical tensions of their collective existence” (Neusner 1979: 35).

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