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(6,374 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[English Version] I. Begriff des Pentateuch und seine hebräischen Äquivalente Die griech. Bez. der fünf Bücher Mose (Genesis [rabb. benannt nach dem hebr. Anfangswort b ere'sˇi^t, »im Anfang«]; Exodus [sˇ emo^t, »Namen«]; Leviticus [wajjiqrā', »und der rief«], Numeri [b emidbar, »in der Wüste«], Deuteronomium [d ebāri^m, »Worte«]), deren Fabel sich von der Schöpfung (Gen 1) bis zum Tod des Mose (Dtn 34) erstreckt, als Pentateuch (Pt.) (ο῾[η῾]Πεn̆τα´τευχος [βι´βλος]/ho[hē] Penta´teuchos [bi´blos], »Fünfrollenwerk«) kam im 2.Jh. n.Chr. in altkirchl. Überlieferungen in Alexandrien auf (u.a. Origines) und wurde seit Tertullian auch lat. als Pentateuchum (-us liber) verwendet. Die Bez. Pt. gründet auf der schon im 1.Jh. v.Chr. bei Flavius Josephus und Philo von Alexandrien vorausgesetzten Büchertrennung. Die atl. Bez. hatto^rā bzw. sepær hatto^rā (»Tora-Rolle«, [Tora]), die mit der Nennung Gottes als Rechtsquelle (Neh 8,18; 9,3) oder Moses als Mittler (Neh…


(2,008 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
1. Topography Jerusalem is situated immediately west of the Mount of Olives (790–820 m. / 2,600–2,700 ft. above sea level), at the junction of northern and southern Palestine, on the Cisjordan highlands. Up to the last century it was bordered on the east by the Kidron Valley (2 Sam. 15:23; John 18:1) and on the west and south by the Hinnom Valley (Josh. 15:8; 18:16). It is divided by the Cross Valley, a central valley that runs from north to south (Josephus J.W.  5.140), separating a western hill from one on the east. Settlement began on …

Hezekiah (King of Judah)

(774 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] (Heb. חִזְקִיָּה/ ḥizqiyyāh) ruled Judah as king from 725–696 bce. Under his rule, the kingdom of Judah developed from a tribal state – which, isolated on the Judean mountains, was affected by political events less than the more highly developed northern kingdom of Israel (II, 1) and was based economically primarily on small animal breeding – into a fully developed state. The conquest of Samaria (722) ¶ and the final incorporation of Israel into the provincial system of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (720) sparked this sudden development, since a stream…


(1,425 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. Etymology, Topography, and Historical Significance The toponym “Zion” (Heb. צִיּוֹן/ ṣiyyôn, a cognate of צִיָּה/ ṣiyyāh, “dry”) signifies “dry place” and, in derivation therefrom, “mountain ridge.” In this meaning, Zion entered into the designation of a “fortress of Zion” (Heb. מְצֻדַת צִיּוֹן/ meṣudat ṣiyyôn) on the southeastern hill of Jerusalem overlooking the Gihon, which David renamed “City of David” (Heb. עִיר דָּוִד/ʿ îr dāwid; 2 Sam 5:7, 9). David expanded this pre-Israelite acropolis into a “palace” (2 Sam 5:11) that lost its function with Solomon’s new palace and the palace-chapel of the temple (II, 4; 1 Kgs 6f.) to the north of the city’s old boundaries, so that the name “Zion” detached itself from the acropolis and came to designate the religious/political significance of the city on the southe…

Book of the Covenant

(674 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Following Exod 24:7, the law collection in Exod 20:22–23:13(19) is termed the Book of the Covenant. The oldest legal corpus in the Old Testament, dating to the middle to late monar…

Josiah/Josiah's Reform

(1,320 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Josiah reigned as king of Judah in the years 639 to 609 bce (2 Kgs 22f.; 2 Chr 34f.). When the eight-year-old boy ascended to the throne, the Neo-Assyrian Empire under King Asshurbanipal had already passed the zenith of its power with the loss of Egypt and a civil war in Mesopotamia (652–648 bce). Josiah experienced the ultimate end of Neo-Assyrian hegemonic power with the destruction of Nineveh (612 bce). After Assyria's withdrawal from Palestine (626–623 bce), Josiah was formally subject to Egyptian supremacy, which, as an ally of Assyria in the struggl…


(2,337 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In accordance with LXX and Vulgate (Bible translations: I), the fifth book of the Pentateuch is termed Deuteronomy (Deut); in the Jewish tradition it is named “discourses” ( debārïm) after the beginning of the book. The name Deut is a summary of the law (Law and legislation), which is stylized as a collection of farewell discourses by Moses in 1–4; 5–28; 29–32; 33 and which, in the final form o…

Holiness Code

(854 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Klostermann introduced this term to Old Testament studies in 1877 to describe Lev 17–26. It derives from such phrases as, “you shall be h…

Judicial System in Biblical Israel and the Ancient Near East

(1,094 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] The judicial system in the ancient Near East and biblical Israel was shaped by its political context. In the ancient Near East, the king, acting for the gods to ¶ establish law (Law and legislation: III) and dispense justice (I, 1), was the supreme judge, so that when the king delegated judicial authority, the judiciary operated under his oversight. In Egypt (II, 1), central viziers' courts in Upper and Lower Egypt supervised the local lay courts. The courts were bound by the legal edicts of the king; their ca…


(201 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] As a regional designation (“the hollowed out, washed out region”; cf. also Arab. wahda), Judah (Heb. יְהוּדָה/ yehûdāh; Gk ‘Ιουδα/Iouda) refers to the southern range in the hills to the west of the Jordan. It gave the name to the tribe of Judah (Tribes of Israel) that settled there, from which the allied state of Judah developed in the time of David. Until the death of Solomon part of a state with the other tribes of Israel, Judah became independent again alongside the northern kingdom of Israel aft…

Bodily Harm in the Old Testament

(368 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In Israel and Judah, bodily harm was originally avenged through the legal institution of the talion (Exod 21:24f.), an immediate juridical response on the part of the injured party, who inflicted on the wrongdoer a punishment equal to the crime. When the law governing bodily harm was entrusted to the local authorities (Judicial system), the right of immediate retaliation by the injured party or an agnate was replaced by a law of compensation, which substituted compensatory damages paid by the wrongdoer for counter-violence inflicted by the injured party. Thus double damage to society was avoided by having the law play a socially beneficial role. In cases of severe bodily harm (not resulting in death) and permanent injury, the law in the Book of the Covenant stipulates payment of the costs of recovery and compensation for loss of time (Exod 21:18f.), thus eliminating retaliatory punishment when death does not ensue, while affirming it in case of death. The goal of legal and social reform behind the collection of bodily harm laws in the Covenant Code (Exod 21…

Israel and Mesopotamia

(673 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] The Sumerian culture of the 3rd millennium, made comprehensive by the invention of writing (Paleography) and its high capacity for mythical interpretation of the world, had a formative impact on the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires of the 2nd millennium. The notion of a world capital, developed in Sumerian Nippur, was taken up in the imperial centers of Babylon and Ashur and became the basis of their competition. With the Semitic assimilation of Sumerian culture, a mixed civilizati…

Settlement/Settlement Traditions

(1,194 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] The canonical Old Testament describes the settlement as a military conquest of Palestine by the 12 tribes of Israel, beginning in Transjordan under Moses’ leadership with a victory over Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites, and the capture of Heshbon (Num 20f.; 32; Deut 1–3). After Moses’ death (Deut 34), the settlement continued west of the Jordan under Joshua’s leadership, initially in Benjaminite territory with the capture of Jericho (Josh 6) and Ai (Josh 7–8) and a treaty with …

Habakkuk/Book of Habakkuk

(1,298 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. The Prophet – II. The Book – III. Effective History I. The Prophet The prophet Habakkuk lived in Jerusalem around 600 …


(7,469 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. Terminology The five books of Moses (Genesis, called by the rabbis bĕrēšît, “in the beginn…

Moses, Blessing of/Song of

(375 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Immediately before his death (Deut 34), Moses composed a tract on the apostasy, punishment, and repentance of Israel (Deut 32), called a “song” in its literary setting (Deut 31:19, etc.), and blessed the tribes of Israel (Deut 33), which were to cross the Jordan and enter the promised land after his death. The literary core of the blessing comprises tribal sayings (Deut 33:6–25) that go b…


(459 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Zadok (Heb. קוֹדצָ[ינֵבְּ]/[ b enê] ṣādôq, “Zadok”/“Sons of Zadok = Zadokites”) was considered the ancestor of the Zadokite priests (1 Kgs 4:2) in the temple (II, 4) of Jerusalem (I), who were believed to have officiated under Solomon, the founder of the temple. The fact that, in the narrative of David’s (I) succession to the throne (2 Sam 7–1 Kgs 2), he appears as a


(593 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Shechem, Heb. שְׁכֶם/ šĕkem, “shoulder,” a city in the hill country of central Palestine between Ebal and Gerizim. Since the excavations by Sellin and G.E. Wright between 1913 and 1969, it has been identified with Tell Balāṭa, near Nablus. The earliest Middle Bronze settlement of the city, initially unfortified, dates from c. 1900 bce. It includes a courtyard complex which Wright interpreted as a temple but was more likely a palace (Otto, 133–150). In the 17th century, Shechem was fortified with a massive cyclopean wall in combinat…

Fraternal Ethics

(747 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In the Old Testament, fraternal ethics refers to an ethos that gives, first every Judean, and later also foreigners, the solidarity owed to the closest natural members of one's family. Fraternal ethics originated in Deuteronomy in reaction to the dissolution of natural fraternal ethics in the 8th/7th century Assyrian crisis through the destruction of extended families and their solidarity-stabilizing cult of ancestors (III) as a consequence of Judean and Assyrian resettlements and…


(527 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[English Version] , hebr. שְׁכֶם/š ekæm, »Schulter«, Stadt auf dem mittelpaläst. Gebirge zw. Ebal und Garizim, die nach den Ausgrabungen von Sellin und G.E. Wright zw. 1913 und 1969 mit dem bei Nablus gelegenen Tell Balāṭa identifiziert wird. Die mittelbronzezeitliche Gründung der zunächst unbefestigten Stadt ist auf ca.1900 v.Chr. zu datieren. Sie war mit einer Hofanlage ausgestattet,…
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