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Mahanajim

(179 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] (Hebrew maḥanayim, literally ‘double camp’, cf. Ugarite mḥnm [3. 3,4] on the basis of the apparent dual form of maḥanæh; Gn 32:8; 11; 1 Kgs 2:8; cf. also Jos. Ant. Iud. 7,10; Euseb. On. 130,4); already attested in the list of defeated ‘Asians’ of the Egyptian king Shoshenk I (ANET 263, no. 22) as m-ḥ-n-m. This town east of the Jordan appears as the boundary point between the territories of the tribes Gad and Manasse on the Israelite-Aramaic border between Penuel and the mountain range Gilead; according to Jos. Ant. Iud. 21,38, a Levi…

King's Highway

(123 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] (Hebrew dæræk hammælæk, Akkadian girru šarri, Arab. darb/tarīq as-sulṭāni) is the name of the old trading route in Jordan which in ancient oriental and Roman antiquity connected Damascus to the Gulf of Aqaba and therefore, with the western via maris, formed the most important transport link on the Syrian-Palestinian north-south axis. The name KH comes from the OT (Nm 20:17; 21:22). The KH also served the eastern neighbouring peoples as a transport and trading route both in terms of military interests and trade with pro…

Midian

(128 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] [1] Son of Abraham and Keturah Son of Abraham and Keturah in the genealogy of Genesis (Gn 25,2). Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) [German version] [2] Locality south of Edom (Hebrew midyān, Arab madyān). In the OT, name of a region south of Edom and east of the Gulf of Aqaba. The region is presumably the homeland of the later Israelite national god Yahweh. Settlement, trade, pottery making and camel breeding are attested archaeologically since the 13th/12th cent BC. From the 8th cents. BC., the Midianites were also involved in Arabian trade along the Incense Road. Maesaimanes Pode…

Libanus

(275 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] (Λίβανος/ Líbanos, Lat. Libanus). Mountain range in northern Syria between the Mediterranean coast and the Antilibanos in the interior. The name (Hebrew lebānôn, Ugaritic Lbnm, Akkadian Labnāna, Arabic Lubnān) derives from the Semitic root * lbn ‘white’, i.e. the ‘white mountain’. The tale of L.' descent from a giant in Philo of Byblus (Euseb. Praep. evang. I,10,9) is mythological. The earliest information is found in OT and Assyrian sources. The Lebanon extends for about 160 km almost parallel to the coast. Its highest elevation with 3126 m is Ǧeb…

Moab, Moabitis

(652 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] (Hebrew môāb; Egyptian mb; Akkadian ma--a-ba, ma-a-ba, mu-a-ba; LXX Μωαβ/ Mōab; Jos. Ant. Iud. 1,205 Μώαβος/ Mṓabos; Ios. passim Μωαβῖται/ Mōabîtai). Term for a land, state and people to the east of the Dead Sea between Ammon [2] in the north and Edom in the south. The earliest evidence is found in Egyptian texts of Ramses II, in a relief with inscription at the Temple of  Luxor, and then primarily in the OT, in inscriptions of the Moabite king Meša (KAI 181) and in Neo-Assyrian sources. The etymology of the name is doubtful. Settlement has been proved as early as t…

Maon

(244 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] [1] Town at the edge of the Judaean Desert (Hebrew maon ‘(hidden) camp, home’). Town 13 km south of Hebron on the Ḫirbet Maīn at the edge of the Judaean Desert (1 Sam 23:24f.; 25,1f.; LXX Μαων/Μααν), also mentioned in the Arad Ostraka . [1. no. 25]. Euseb. On. 130,12 mentions M. as a settlement east of Daroma. The Roman road from Hebron to Mampsis and Elath ran along here. In the excavation campaigns in 1987-88, a synagogue from the 4th-7th cent. built on the north-south axis was uncovere…

Libanomanteia

(14 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
see Divination [German version] Libanos see Weihrauch see Incense Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)

Menetekel

(128 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] Properly Mene-tekel-ufarsin, a cryptic Aramaic inscription in the literary context of Dan 5:25-28 (within an Aramaic apocalypse in Dan 2-7), written by a supernatural hand on the wall of the palace during a banquet given by Belsazar, the heir to the Babylonian throne. The elements of this writing have been interpreted as cuneiform signs for weights (Neo-Babylonian manû‘mina’, šiqlu‘shekel’; mišlu/ zūzu‘half’/‘to share’), or as Aramaic terms in cuneiform script, in the order mina, shekel, half-shekel. Daniel interpreted the writing as a play on the words manû ‘to c…

Mabartha

(38 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] (Aramaic maʿbartā, ‘ford, passage’; Greek Μαβάρθα/ Mabártha; Latin Mamortha). Name of a place or landscape in Palestine between Ebal and Garizim, near Neapolis (Talmud: jTaan 4,68c,74-d,1; Jos. BI 4,449; Plin. HN 5,69). Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)

Medaba

(319 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Dead Sea (textual finds) (Hebrew mêdebā, Moabitic mhdb, Arab. Mādebā, Greek Μήδαβα; Mḗdaba,‘ gently flowing water’). Settlement in the East Jordanian hill country on the King's Highway, 33 km south of Amman. Evidence of settlement dates back to the Middle Bronze Age II. From the early Iron Age only graves have been found. In the 9th cent. BC, M. was in the possession of the Israelites, but was then conquered and expanded by the Moabite king Meša ( Moab) (…

Melqart

(489 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] Phoenician deity; originally * mlk qrt (‘king of the city’), title of the city god of Tyrus. The oldest documentary evidence is found on the Bar-Hadad inscription (KAI 201) dated around 800 BC from Brēdsh (Buraiǧ), a village north of Aleppo. In the treaties of Asarhaddon [5. 27, IV 14] and Aššur-nēraris V. [5. 13, VI 22], written in cuneiform in the 7th cent BC, his name is recorded for the first time in connection with Tyre as d Mi-il-qar-tu. The name presupposes ancient concepts of a religious, god-worshipping kingdom. M. combined the features of a mythica…

Ecclesiastical/Religious law

(574 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Old Testament A religious law in the sense of a legal system existing alongside profane law or even preceding it, cannot be reconstructed for the old Israel. At the centre of recent discussions is the question of the ‘theologizing’ or the ‘Jahvism’ of the law. This refers especially to the concept occurring in Exodus (Ex 20,1 ff.: Decalogue and book of the covenant) of a God  Jehova as a lawgiver who thus functionally occupies a domain which in the Old Orient was reserved for roya…

Palaestina

(1,106 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Pahlitzsch, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] I. Name, geography, early history The Latin name P. originated from Greek Παλαιστίνη ( Palaistínē); the latter originated from Aramaic pelištaīn and Hebrew pelištīm, which was originally used to describe the settlement area of the Philistines in the south of the Near Eastern Mediterranean coast between Gaza and Carmel (likewise Egyptian prst/ pw-r-s-ṯ, 'foreign land of Philistaea', and Palaistínē in Hdt. 1,105; 3,5; 91; 7,89). P. was also mentioned as KUR pa-la-as-tú  in Neo-Assyrian sources since Adad-nirārī III (811-783 BC). The designation P. pa…

Human sacrifices

(2,449 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard (Tübingen) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Scheid, John (Paris)
I. History of the Concept and its Subsequent Influence [German version] A. Concept Human sacrifice (HS) is a form of killing considered lawful, similar to killing in pursuit of war, capital punishment, or a blood feud. It is, however, limited to the performance of offering rites that (a) are universally accepted in the respective religion and culture and (b) are conducted in a fashion similar to the sacrificial killing of other creatures. Killing in the context of other lawful rituals, such as the cult of the dead ( Gladiator) or the   devotio in battle, does …

Purity

(1,297 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In Sumerian the adjective kug and in Akkadian the corresponding adjective ellu express the principle of (cultic) purity. Both words also contain the nuance of 'bright', 'shining'. Sumerian kug and Akkadian ellu (when in textual dependence upon kug) mark characteristics of deities, localities (e.g., temples), (cult) objects, rites and periods of time as belonging to the sphere of the divine. This, however, does not necessarily mean that they must be in an uncontaminated state. In this respect kug is most often rendered as 'holy/sacred'. Akkadian ellu, …

Hermon

(497 words)

Author(s): Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld) | Fornaro, Sotera (Sassari)
[German version] [1] Mountain massif Mountain massif (maximum height 2,814 m) south of the Antilebanon; Hebrew Ḥærmôn (from ḥrm ‘ban, taboo’), Greek Ἀερμών; Aermṓn, Latin Hermon, modern Ǧabal aš-Šaiḫ, ‘mountain of the white-haired man’ / Ǧabal aṯ-Ṯalǧ, ‘snow mountain’. Dt 3:9 equates H. with Phoenician Śiriōn and Amorite Śenīr, hence H. would be found as Šryn in Ugaritic, Šarijana in Hittite and Saniru in Assyrian. Biblical tradition considers H. to be the northern border of the land conquered by Moses and Joshua east of the Jordan (Jos 11:17; Dt 3:8). F…

Laodicea

(1,011 words)

Author(s): Gerber, Jörg (Bochum) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Belke, Klaus (Vienna) | Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart)
(Λαοδίκεια; Laodíkeia). [German version] [1] Port-town in north-west Syria, modern Latakia This item can be found on the following maps: Syria | Theatre | | Coloniae | Commerce | Hellenistic states | Limes | Pompeius | Education / Culture (Λ. ἐπὶ τῇ θαλάσσῃ; L. epì têi thalássēi). Port in north-west Syria (now Latakia or al-Lāḏiqīya), not far from the Bronze Age Ugarit (Ra's Šamra). Founded by Seleucus I around 300 BC together with its sister towns of Antioch, Apamea and Seleucea (the so-called North Syrian Tetrapolis) and equipped with an…

Sacrifice

(10,943 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
I. Religious studies [German version] A. General Sacrifice is one of the central concepts in describing ritual religion in ancient and modern cultures. In European Modernity, the term sacrifice (directly or indirectly influenced by Christian theology of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind) also has an intimation towards individual self-giving ('sacrifice of self'). The range of nuances in the modern meaning stretches to include discourses that have lost their religious motif and hav…

Ritual

(8,221 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Term Ritual refers to an elaborate sequence of individual rites which, following an established ritual syntax, are logically connected within a certain functional context. Rituals are not limited to religious contexts but exist in other cultural contexts, political as well as social. The significance of rituals for those who participate in them can be reduced neither to an integrative function (legitimation ritual) nor to a temporary disabling of the regular structure - the two e…

Religion

(13,714 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Introduction [German version] A. Definition of the concept 'Religion', the substantive for describing the religious, denotes a system of common practices, individual ideas about faith, codified norms and examples of theological exegesis whose validity is derived chiefly from an authoritative principle or being. For the academic study of religion, conversely, the word is a purely heuristic category in which those practices, ideas, norms and theological constructs are examined historically; however, the…
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