This paper aims at highlighting a methodological flaw in current biblical archaeology, which became apparent as a result of recent research in the Aravah’s Iron Age copper production centers. In essence, this flaw, which cuts across all schools of biblical archaeology, is the prevailing, overly simplistic approach applied to the identification and interpretation of nomadic elements in biblical-era societies. These elements have typically been described as representing only one form of social organization, which is simple and almost negligible in historical reconstructions. However, the unique case of the Aravah demonstrates that the role of nomads in shaping the history of the southern Levant has been underestimated and downplayed in the research of the region, and that the total reliance on stone-built archaeological features in the identification of social complexity in the vast majority of recent studies has resulted in skewed historical reconstructions. Recognizing this “architectural bias” and understanding its sources have important implications on core issues in biblical archaeology today, as both “minimalists” and “maximalists” have been using stone-built architectural remains as the key to solving debated issues related to the geneses of Ancient Israel and neighboring polities (e.g., “high” vs. “low” Iron Age chronologies), in which— according to both biblical accounts and external sources—nomadic elements played a major role.
This article investigates the conceptual background of the notion of corpse pollution as represented by the Priestly expression ṭāmēˀ la-nepeš. Contrary to the growing tendency to view it as a late introduction to Israelite religion, the analysis will situate corpse impurity in relation to broader biblical and West Semitic conceptions of the afterlife. This discussion will serve as the basis for the further question whether this type of pollution was related to a fear of ghosts.
Qoheleth’s experiential method and inner-dialogue creates tensions on the levels of language, style, content and theological ideas. In this paper we seek to explore this tension in relation to a short section (Qoh 2:24-26) that is placed at the end of chapter 2. In the process we question the section division itself and the usual emendation of the translation of v. 25 to fit into the thought of these three verses and that of their neighbouring verses. We engage in a detailed analysis of the versions and of scholarly opinion on the translation, key terms and structure of these verses. We argue that this is just one example of where literary structure has dictated translational options and we prefer instead to ‘enjoy the tension’ of the more convincing and less accepted translation of verse 25 as “For who can eat or even sense, apart from me.”
In contrast to the brief and positive Deuteronomistic description of Asa’s reign (1 Kgs 15:9-24), the Chronicler provides us with a complex, lengthy account (2 Chr 13:23b-16:14). The first part of his rule is depicted as good, the second as bad. This formulation creating various thematic, chronological, linguistic, and theological problems. Analyzing these both diachronically and synchronically, the complementary approach adopted herein reveals the unit’s constitutive components, together with the central themes shaping it. Hereby, we gain a broader and deeper picture of the way in which Asa is portrayed, particularly in comparison with of his predecessors, Rehoboam and Abijah on the one hand and Jehoshaphat on the other.
With the exception of Nahum 3:16, in the Hebrew Bible Yahweh alone has the power to multiply humans so that they will be as innumerable as the stars. Nineveh’s multiplication of her merchants “more than the stars of the heavens” (Nah 3:16) was, therefore, tantamount to a challenge to Yahweh’s divine power. The destruction of Nineveh demonstrated that Yahweh answered this challenge.
This paper seeks to determine the author(s)’s rhetorical purpose in 1 Kgs 12:25-13:34 by exploring the similarities and differences between the characters, and examining related passages. After this examination, the following conclusions are arrived at: first, because of the old prophet’s deceit and the disobedience of the man of God, the true and false prophets are not clearly distinguished in the narrative; second, the comparison between Jeroboam and the old prophet reveals that disobedience, which is equated with idolatry, is more evil than false prophecy; and third, Yhwh’s prohibitions, which are associated with Jeroboam and the man of God, serve the rhetorical purpose of denunciating Jeroboam’s innovations and stressing obedience to Yhwh, that is, an adherence to Mosaic law. Consequently, the Mosaic law, which condemns idolatry, is seen to be more important than prophecy.
The final clause of Hab 2:2 which originally may have referred to the confident proclamation of the message by those who read it was rendered in the LXX and Vulgate in ways which to interpreters in antiquity suggested quick understanding. But the Vulgate could also be read as a reference to being able to scan the text quickly or easily and this has become a prominent understanding of the clause. It is found in many modern translations across a variety of languages. Luther imagined a scenario in which the text was written in such large letters that even someone running past could read it. This novel understanding has persisted in some corners and is reflected in a number of translations. It is an indefensible variant of the view that the text refers to fluent reading, a view which is itself questionable but possible.