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Jerusalem

(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 the south side of the southeast hill…

Pentateuch

(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. Überl…

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…

Zion

(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 func…

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 back to the preexilic period (except for the Levi section). They have been framed by vv. 2–5 an…

Zadok/Zadokites

(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 homo novus with no previous history certainly does not point to Zadok’s pre-Israelite origins, but rather to the fact that it was only at a late date that he was given a role in the D…

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 monarchial period, although pre-deuteronomic, the Book of the Covenant was edited together from several originally independent, smaller, thematically self-contained colle…

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…

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 …

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 bce. His name is Assyrian in origin and derives from the Akkadian term for a garden plant ( ḫabb[m]aqūqu). He is described as a cult prophet ( nabı̑) (1:1), which is confirmed by the fact that he receives the word in a cultic location (2:1–3). Whether, however, his critique of the social abuses caused by the political and economic elite of Judah was part of his function or contradicted it, must remain as op…

Pentateuch

(7,469 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. Terminology The five books of Moses (Genesis, called by the rabbis bĕrēšît, “in the beginning,” its first word; Exodus, šĕmôt, “names”; Leviticus, wayyiqrāʾ, “and he called”; Numbers, bĕmidbar, “in the desert”; Deuteronomy, dĕbārîm, “words”), whose tale runs from creation (Gen 1) to the death of Moses (Deut 34), were called in Greek ὁ(ἡ) Πεντάτευχος (βίβλος)/ ho[ ] Pentáteuchos ( bíblos), “Five Scroll Work”; in the 2nd century ce, this term entered the tradition of the Early Church in Alexandria (e.g. Origen). It came into Latin with Tertullian as Pentateuchum or P…

Deuteronomy

(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 holy, for I, YHWH, your God, am holy,” appearing frequently in 19–22. J. Wellhausen interpreted the Holiness Code as law (Law and Legislation: II) independent of its literary context in Lev 1–16, younger than Deuteronomy and older than the Priestly document (Pentateuch). Subsequent Old Testament research concentrated in the first half of the 20th …

Shechem

(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…

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…

Judah/Judea

(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…

Zion

(1,131 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[English Version] I. Etymologie, Topographie und stadtgeschichtliche Bedeutung des ZionAls Ortsbez. hat Z. (hebr. צִיּוֹן/ṣijjôn), sprachlich verwandt mit hebr. צִיָּה/ṣijjāh »trocken«, die Bedeutung »Trockenplatz« und davon abgeleitet »Bergrücken«. In dieser Bedeutung ist Z. in die Bez. einer »Bergfeste Z.« (hebr. מְצֻדַת צִיּוֹן/m eṣudat ṣijjôn) auf dem Südosthügel Jerusalems oberhalb des Gichon eingegangen, die durch David in »Stadt Davids« (hebr. עִיר דָּוִד/‘îr dāwid; 2Sam 5,7) umbenannt wurde (2Sam 5,9). Diese vorisraelit. Akropolis wurde durch Dav…
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