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Siloam Inscription

(301 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] a Judahite inscription discovered in 1880 in the Siloam Tunnel (also called Hezekiah’s Tunnel); it describes the construction of the tunnel, which links the Gihon Spring (east of the spur of the so-called City of David; Jerusalem: VIII, 2; with maps) with the Pool of Siloam to the southwest. The inscrip-¶ tion is now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The usual association of the inscription with Hezekiah’s defensive measures in 701 bce (cf. 2 Kgs 20:20) has been challenged by issues of hydraulic engineering, city planning, and paleography. Archaeol…

Via Maris

(93 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. derek yām; Isa. 8:23 [Vulgate and Eng. 9:1]; Matt 4:15), Vulgate designation of the Palestinian section of the main link between Egypt and Syria/Mesopotamia (Eng. “way of the sea” or “road by the sea”). It hugged the Mediterranean coast as far as Mount Carmel, entered the Plain of Jezreel at Megiddo, passed through Galilee, crossed the Jordan at Ǧisr Banāt Yaʿqūb/Gešer Bĕnōt Yaʿăqōb (“Jacob’s Ford”) near Hazor, finally reaching Damascus over the Golan Heights. Ernst Axel Knauf Bibliography D.A. Dorsey, The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel, 1991.

Mamre

(369 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (מַמְרֵא, genuine place name meaning something like “fat pasture”) stood in the middle of the hill country of Judah, about 3 km north of Hebron (Arab. name [until 15th cent. ce], Rāmat or Bēt al-Ḫalîl, “High Place/House of the Friend [of God]”). According to ancient tradition in Gen 18* a divine triad (from Hebron?) appeared here to the tent-dwelling peasant Abraham. When in the 6th century bce Abraham was made the mythic origin of the population of Judah, Mamre stood on the frontier between Judah and Idumaea (from 597/586 bce; Gen 13:18*; 16*). In the late 6th or ear…

Midianites

(377 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Midian (מִדְיָן/ midyān) was a son of Abraham and Keturah (Gen 25:2), but the name refers primarily to the land of east of the Gulf of ʿAqaba (1 Kgs 11:18). At least from the 13th to the 9th century bce, it thrived on terrace cultivation, copper mining, camel breeding (cf. Isa 60:6), and trade (cf. Gen 37:28; 36). During this period, Midian's influence extended well into the later territory of Edom (Israel and its neighbors in Syria-Palestine, map). Midianite pottery from the 9th century bce (carbon- 14 dating) has been found in the copper-mining regions of Timna…

Bozrah (Edom)

(166 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] According to Amos 1:12; Jer 49:13, 22; Isa 34:6; 63:1, Bozrah was the capital of Edom (Gen 36:33 refers to the Bozrah in Syria), and can be identified with the Buṣērā in southern Jordan (Palestine grid 2077.0170). According to the excavational discoveries of C.-M. Bennett Bosrah was founded at the end of the 8th century or start of the 7th century bce under the influence of Assyrian culture. The city came to its end in the Persian era after the neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus conquered i…

Dibon,

(315 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] a Moabite city north of the Arnon (Num 21:30; Isa 15:2; Jer 48:18, 22), modern Dībān. Under Mesha' (mid-9th cent. bce) it was the center of the Moabite state-formation process (Moab), although the Mesha' inscription (the most important archaeological find from the site) still uses Dibon as a tribal or regional name ( KAI 181, ll. 1, 21, 28), while the city itself was still called *Qarḥō or similar (ll. 3, 21, 24, 25). According to Num 32:34, it was a Gadite settlement (thus “Dibon-Gad”…

Hagar

(180 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. הָגָר) was Sarah's slave, Abraham's (Abraham: I) concubine and Ishmael's (I) mother in Gen 16; 21:9–21 and 25:12. On the ethnographical level, the origins of Ishmael's mother may have been (a) the city and region of Hagar in eastern Arabia attested from the late 2nd millennium bce to the end of the 1st millennium ce, modern t̲āg in al-ḥasā; (b) the extension of this geographical designation by the Achaemenid administration to all of northern Arabia and its inhabitants, which is certainly reflected in the designation Hag(a)rites …

Ophra

(168 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] (in Benjamin), עָפְרָה (vgl. zur Namensdeutung ‘āpār, »Staub«, oder eher ‘oper, »Junghirsch, Gazellenkitz«), in der Ortsliste Benjamins Jos 18,23 aufgeführt. Doch liegt O. jenseits der benjaminitischen Nordgrenze (Jos 18,12f.) und ist in die Ortsliste wahrscheinlich aus 2Chr 13,19 (‘eprōn) eingedrungen, dessen Identifikation mit eṭ-Ṭayyibe plausibel ist (Eudämonismus wegen des Anklangs des kanaan. Ephron an arab. ʿifrı̄t, »Kobold«) und den Angaben des Hieronymus entspricht (5 …

Ophir

(184 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] Ophir, halbsagenhaftes Goldland, von Elat aus per Schiff zu erreichen (1Kön 9,28; 10,11; 22,49). Nach Gen 10,29 (nachpriesterschriftlich) als »Sohn Joktans« und »Bruder Hawilas« (Hāʾil oder die Wüste Nufūd?) wohl an der arab. Westküste zu suchen; die Alternative (Punt [Somalia]) beruft sich auf den Katalog der Handelswaren 1Kön 10,22 (u.a. Elfenbein und Affen), doch kann O. auch eine Station für den Zwischenhandel von somalischen Gütern gewesen sein. Mitte des 10.Jh. v.Chr. wur…

Ophra

(132 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] (in Manasse), Heimat- und Residenzort des abiesritischen Häuptlings Gideon (Ri 6,11), an dem er aus der Midianiterbeute ein Heiligtum stiftet (Ri 8,27 – entgegen 8,22f. ein herrschaftlicher Akt). Seine Identifikation innerhalb des Territoriums des (seit dem 10./9.Jh. v.Chr. manassitischen) Klans Abiezer (durch die Samaria-Ostraka [Samaria] gut umschrieben) hängt davon ab, wie man das Verhältnis des Klans zur Stadt Sichem bestimmt: möglichst nahe (Donner: Tell Ṣōfar) oder möglichst entfernt (Knauf: Ḡinṣāfūṭ Gan-[ha]S̄opeṭ). Ernst Axel Knauf Bibl…

Tyrus

(244 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] (in Phönizien). Hebr. צוֹר/Ṣôr, phön./akkad. Ṣurru, »Felsen«, heute Ṣūr; Insel-Stadt vor der Küste Libanons, maximale Ausdehnung 50–60 ha (12–15 000 Einwohner, 332 v.Chr. durch Flüchtlinge ca.50 000) mit einer Ufersiedlung, Usu/Palaityros. Seit der 2. Hälfte des 3.Jt. v.Chr. (also dem kolonialen Ausgreifen Ägyptens in den Libanon; vgl. Hdt. II 44) besiedelt, im ganzen 2.Jt. v.Chr. als äg. Interessengebiet und Untertanenland erwähnt. Damals im Schatten Gubals (Byblos), teilte T. s…

YHWH

(601 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (ketib הוהי, qere in codices A and L אמָשְׁ/ šĕmāʾ, in later manuscripts ינָֹדאֲ/ʾ ădonāy), the personal name of the God of the Israelites and Judahites. Historically YHWH is associated religiously and theologically with the prehistory of the one and only God as defined by the Hebrew Bible. Attested epigraphically since the 9th century bce (Mesha stele), saying the name became taboo in late biblical and rabbinic Judaism and it was replaced by Lord (hence the κύριος/ kýrios in the LXX, HErr in Luther’s trans., and Lord in most Eng. trans.). The reading of the tetrag…

Tribes of Israel

(1,391 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Biblical Israel (II, 1) is theoretically divided into 12 tribes (cf. also Rev 7:4–8). The oldest enumerations mention fewer tribes (2 Sam 2:9 [four]; Judg 5 [ten]) but include “non-canonical” tribal names instead (Machir, Gilead). Biblical Israel (II, 1) is theoretically divided into 12 tribes (cf. also Rev 7:4–8). The oldest enumerations mention fewer tribes (2 Sam 2:9 [four]; Judg 5 [ten]) but include “non-canonical” tribal names instead (Machir, Gilead). I. Tribe and State Tribes are political amalgamations of clans, which in turn represent territori…

Ophir

(209 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] is a semilegendary land of gold, reachable by ship from Elath (1 Kgs 9:28; 10:11; 22:49). According to Gen 10:29 (post-P), which makes Ophir a “son of Joktan” and a “brother of Havilah” (Hā’il or the Nufũd desert?), it was probably on the western coast of Arabia; the alternative Punt (Somalia) is based on the catalogue of trade goods in 1 Kgs 10:22, including ivory and apes, but Ophir may also have been a transfer station for the transport of Somali goods. In the mid-10th century bce, gold was mined in the vicinity of Medina. The gold of Ophir was proverbial (Isa 1…

Frankincense Road

(337 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Frankincense Road, a caravan route from the incense producing region in southeast Arabia (Ḥaḍramaut, Oman) through western Arabia to Gaza (Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia, VII 64). As a luxury item that combines limited volume with high value, frankincense was a typical international article of merchandise in antiquity. In turn, the flow of capital and technical expertise from the Fertile Crescent to Arabia resulted in secondary formations of tribes and states (formative phase of the Sabaean Kingdom [Sabaeans] c. 750–675 bce) and, in northern Arabia, in t…

Israel and its Neighbours in Syria-Palestine

(658 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Southern Syria-Palestine is predestined to ethnic pluralism and a small-state existence by its riven, restricted land form and the boundaries and intermixture of several climate zones. The neighbors of the states of Israel and Judah include, on the coasts, the Phoenicians (Phoenicia; with Akko and Dor), in the north and northwest, the Arameans (Beth-Rehob, Geshur, Aram-Damascus), in the east, the Ammonites, Moab and Edom, and in the south, the desert tribes (Amalekites, Ishmaelite…

Limes

(234 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] The Limes Arabicus (in Transjordan) and the Limes Palaestinae (in the Negeb) were not boundaries but frontier zones with legionary camps ( castra), detached forts for cohorts ( castella), and watchtowers ( burgi). In the Provincia Arabia (created in 106 ce), the Limes Arabicus was not set up until the end of the 3rd century. Its occupation troops, called limitani, were soon recruited from the local population and increasingly lost their fighting capacity. The Limes was more a zone of contact between the Roman Empire and Arabia than an “iron curtain.” To…

Heshbon

(284 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (חֶשׁבוּן, Arab. Ḥisbān), a Reubenite (Num 32:37) and, from the 9th century bce onward, Moabite (Isa 15:4; 16:8; Jer 48:2, 34, 45; 49:3 [!]) locality with famous water reservoirs (Song 7:5*) situated on the western edge of the Moabite plateau to the north of the Wādī l-Wālā. Not established as a city until the late 8th or early 7th century, evidence of human presence on the site is attested from the 11th century, although no noteworthy architectural remains antedate the 8th century. The city existed until the beginning of the Persian period (c. 500 bce). The ostraca docume…

Weihrauch

(363 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel | Kunzler, Michael
[English Version] I. Religionsgeschichtlich Der Brauch, den Göttern als Himmelswesen olfaktorische Opfer darzubringen, geht mindestens bis ins 4.Jt. v.Chr. zurück (äg. śnčr=»räuchern«, wörtl. »vergöttlichen«), doch muß man von allem möglichen Räucherwerk (engl. incense) den W. unterscheiden (engl. frankincense), der im Mittelmeerraum nicht vor dem 8.Jh. v.Chr. nachzuweisen ist. Die Nachfrage stieg bis zum 1.Jh. n.Chr. stark an, um danach zurückzugehen und im 4.Jh. n.Chr. fast ganz zusammenzubrechen…

Ishmael

(510 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel | Nagel, Tilman
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Islam I. Old Testament Through recourse to the name of a northern Arabian tribal confederation in the 7th century bce (* Šamaʿʾil; attested in Neo-Assyrian sources and reflected in ¶ Gen 25:13–15 [P]), which was transformed in analogy to “Isaac",” the figure of Ishmael served the parties in the course of the edition of the Pentateuch in defining the proximity or distance between the two sons of Abraham", Ishmael and Isaac, that is, Jews and Arabs (including Idumeans), who shared the land in…
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