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Tribes of Israel

(2,334 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
1. History and Results of Research From Numbers to 1 Kgs. 11:30, Israel is portrayed as a community of 12 tribes. Discrepancies in the lists (either with Levi and Joseph, the sons of Jacob, or without Levi and with Ephraim and Manasseh, the grandchildren of Jacob), as well as an older system of 10 tribes of Israel (Judges 5 [without Judah, Simeon, Gad, and Manasseh, but with Machir and Gilead]; 1 Kgs. 11:31) plus Judah (1 Kgs. 11:32), show the 12-tribe system to be a recent, theoretical construct (see 4). In their material culture and linguistically, the tribes of the 12…

Via Maris

(84 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] . Nach der Vulgata (Jes 9,1 [8,23 MT]; Mt 4,15; hebr. dæræk jām) Bez. des paläst. Abschnitts der Hauptverbindung zw. Ägypten und Syrien/ Mesopotamien, die bis zum Karmel der Mittelmeerküste folgt, bei Megiddo in die Jesreel-Ebene eintritt, Galiläa durchquert und bei Gˇisr Banāt Yaʿqūb/Gešer Běnōt Ya‘ăqōb (d.h. auf der Höhe von Hazor) den Jordan überschreitet, um über den Golan Damaskus zu erreichen. Ernst Axel Knauf Bibliography D.A. Dorsey. The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel, 1991.

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…

Thirza

(225 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] (hebr. תִּרְצָה; Tell el-Fāriʿa), Ort im nordöstlichen Samaria, kontrolliert die Hauptverbindung ins mittlere Ostjordanland (Penuel). Von Schoschenk (Schischak) erobert (Karnak-Liste Nr. 59 [G. Hughes, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak, Bd.3, 1954]), von Baesa (1Kön 15,21) bis Omri (1Kön 16,23) Residenz der Könige von Israel; von Menahem, also schon vor Tiglat Pileser III., zerstört (2Kön 15,16). In Hhld 6,4 könnte Th. Deckname für Samaria sein. – Ein bedeutender Ort der FB-I/II-Z…

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…

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”…

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…

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 …

Mesha

(373 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. מֵישַׁע/ mêšaʿ), king of Moab and founder of the Moabite state, with whom written culture was introduced to Moab, according to his stele. Throughout the reign of Omri (Kingship in Israel) Mesha had no annal-type records. The Mesha stele represents Mesha after his death before his god, Chemosh; it contains the account of his deeds. The stele does not give any information about the length of his reign, but the type and range of his civilizing achievements point to its having been written in the last quarter of the 9th century bce (c. 820/810) rather than at an earlier…

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…

Kinneret

(321 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Kinneret, a city on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Galilee, Sea of; Heb. yam kinneret), today Tell el-'Orēme/Tel Kinrōt. A large settlement of the EBA I–II period (stratum IX) was followed by two cities of the 16th and 15th centuries bce (strata VIII and VII; MBA III/LBA Ia periods; mentioned in Egyptian sources under the name knrt) that covered an area of 7–9 hectares and were surrounded by a rampart-topped glacis. The city wall was rebuilt towards the end of the IA I period (late 11th to mid-10th cents. bce) and the settlement was repopulated. It seems v…

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…

Moab

(964 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (מֹאָב /mōʾāb, cf. Arab. waʾ ba, “rock cleft containing water”), primarily a toponym denoting the region on both sides of the Arnon (Israel and its neighbors in Syria-Palestine, map). The plateau produces a surplus of grain (cf. Ruth 1), the slopes of the hills a surplus of wine (cf. Isa 16:7–11; Jer 48:29–33), and the edges of the steppe a surplus of animal products (cf. 2 Kgs 3:4), but this economic potential is impeded by a geographic location that makes commerce difficult. There is evidence of several complex chiefdoms in southern Moab in the 3rd millennium bce. In the (…

Mediterranean

(578 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Syria and Palestine were part of a supraregional Mediterranean economic system (see also Trade and traffic in the Mediterranean world) from the second millennium bce to the 16th century ce. During this period, the economic and cultural center of what may be termed the “First World” of the time was initially concentrated in the eastern Mediterranean, only to encompass the entire Mediterranean from the first millennium bce onward. Even the non-seafaring adjoining states and cultures integrated themselves in the basic structure of agrarian, tribal …

Tirzah

(273 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. תִּרְצָה; Tell el-Fāriʿa). This site in northeastern Samaria controlled the main route into central Transjordania (Peniel). Taken by Shoshenq (Shishak; Karnak list no. 59 [G. Hughes, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak, vol. III, 1954]), it was the ¶ residence of the kings of Israel from Baasha (1 Kgs 15:21) to Omri (1 Kgs 16:23). It was destroyed by Menahem even before Tiglath Pileser III (2 Kgs 15:16). In Song 6:4, Tirzah might be a cover name for Samaria. Tirzah was a significant settlement in Early Bronze I/II (18 hectares) and was fortified in Midd…

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…

Ophrah (in Benjamin)

(191 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (עָפְרָה; cf. for the meaning of the name ʿ āpār, “dust,” or more probably ‘ oper, “young deer, gazelle kid”), mentioned in Josh 18:23 in the list of places belonging to Benjamin. However, Ophrah lies beyond the northern frontier of Benjamin ( Josh 18:12f.) and has probably entered the place list from 2 Chr 13:19 (ʿ eprōn), plausibly identified with eṭ-Ṭayyibe (eudemonism because of the echo of the Canaanite Ephron with Arab. ʿ ifrīt, “goblin”), and matching details given by Jerome (5 Roman miles north of Bethel); probably to be identified with Aph…

Ophrah (in Manasseh)

(146 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] was home town and residence of the Abiezrite chieftain Gideon (Judg 6:11), where he used booty taken from the Midianites to build ¶ a sanctuary (Judg 8:27, in contrast to 8:22f.: the act of a ruler). Its identification within the territory of the clan of Abiezer (from the 10th/9th cent. bce Manasseh territory), well outlined in the Samaria ostraca (Samaria), depends on how one defines the clan’s relation to the town of Shechem: whether as close as possible (Donner: Tell Ṣōfar), or as distant as possible (Knauf: Ḡinṣāfūṭ Gan-[ha]S̄opeṭ). Ernst Axel Knauf Bibliograp…

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.

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…
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