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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.

Paleography

(6,872 words)

Author(s): Kooij, Gerrit van der | Knauf, Ernst Axel | Lemaire, André | Bloedhorn, Hanswulf
[German Version] I. Paleography Today – II. Palestine – III. Texts I. Paleography Today Paleography is the study of the development of writing; as an important element in codicology, it examines early forms of writing, particularly those of antiquity and the Middle Ages. The distinction between the use of ink and “epigraphic” writing is irrelevant. Writing is an empirical bridge between archaeology and the historical sciences (History/Concepts of history); it provides two starting points for paleography, one …

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…

Palestine

(6,836 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Ulrich | Hütteroth, Wolf | Knauf, Ernst Axel | Eck, Werner | Carmel, Alex | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Geography – III. Archaeology – IV. History and Society – V. History of Religions I. Terminology The area settled by the Philistines, referred to collectively in Akkadian by such names as palaštu after their conquest by Assyria, probably provided the basis for the Greek ( Sýria hḗ) Palaistínē, first found in Herodotus (1.105; 2.104, 106; 3.5, 91; 4.39; 7.89), even though the hypothetical intermediate Aramaic expression of the Persian period, the likely basis of the Greek form, is still unattested. To the exten…

Timnah (Wādī ʿAraba)

(134 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. תִּמְנָע), Hebrew name (after the mother of Amalek in Gen 36:12, 23, 40) for the copper-producing area of el-Meneʿiyye in the southeastern ʿAraba (Egyp. ʿAtika), to which Egypt dispatched mining expeditions in the 13th/12th centuries and the second half of the 10th century; with the help of specialists from northwestern ʿArabia and southern Palestine, they mined copper ore and smelted it in situ; they probably also traded in copper from the far richer deposits at Punon/Fēnān to the northeast. A tented Egyptian shrine of Hathor was used at the same time or reused ¶ som…

Peniel

(313 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Peniel, Heb. פְּנוּאֵל/ pĕnûʾ ēl, “face of El” (probably from a landform). Peniel (or Penuel) was a site in northern Transjordan, according to Gen 32:22–32 at a ford of the Jabbok, according to Judg 8:5–11 between Succoth (Deir ʿAllā) and Jogbehah (Ǧubēḥa), and according to Judg 8:16 partially destroyed by Gideon (secondary addition to the Succoth episode); in the last third of the 10th century bce, it was taken (or made to pay tribute) by Pharaoh Shishak (Sheshonk) under the name New Pnuel ( pnwʾ l ḥdšt; Karnak king list [Hughes, plates 2–9] nos. 53f., immediate…

Miriam

(313 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] מִריָם ( miryām, “the well-nourished one”), alternatively identified as the sister of Aaron (Exod 15:20) or the sister of Moses and Aaron (Num 26:59; 1 Chr 5:29). If it was not Miriam who sang (or composed) the song of triumph in Exod 15:21 (often, and probably correctly, considered one of the earliest of Israel's traditions), her traditio-historical roots are totally obscure. Exod 15 in its final form reacted to the scandal of a prominent female voice from Israel's distant past by …

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…

Milestone

(199 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Roman roads were provided with milestones every 1,000 double paces (Lat. milia passuum, hence “mile”), which not only served as landmarks but might also include the name and position of the person responsible for building it, its date of construction, and the distance to the destination. Multiple renovations resulted in groups of milestones. Alongside ancient maps, these milestones provide evidence for the existence and routes of Roman roads; they are a primary source for the administrative and economic history of ¶ the Roman provinces, their trade and traffic…

Cult Sites (in Palestine)

(502 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] In addition to the temple in Palestine and northern Arabia, there were open-air sanctuaries, demarcated sites whose inventory regularly included an asherah , a holy tree, and a massebah, a holy stone, at least since the late Neolithic era. As its Old Testament designation, asherah, indicates, the tree represents the goddess, while the massebah was considered the locus of the presence of the god (thus Beth-El, Bethyl [Bethel]; cf. Gen 28:18–19a). Masseboth/bethyls could be left in their natural state, decorated with reliefs, sculpted geometrica…

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…

Semitic Languages

(2,070 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter | Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] I. General Survey 1. Origin and classification. Like the Indo-European and Hamitic languages, the Semitic languages are inflectional; in contrast to isolating and agglutinative languages, they can change the form of a root, for example Arabic singular rūḥ, “spirit, breath,” plural ʾ arwāḥ. The relationship between the Semitic and Hamitic languages is clearly the product of prehistoric migrations of groups speaking proto-Afro-Asiatic (formerly called Hamito-Semitic) from North Africa – from a Sahara still “green” from the …

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…

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…

Frankincense

(441 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel | Kunzler, Michael
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Liturgy I. Religious Studies The custom of making olfactory sacrifices to the gods as heavenly beings dates from at least the 4th millennium bce (Egypt. śnčr = “to smoke; to perfume,” lit. “to deify”). However, frankincense, of which there is no evidence in the Mediterranean area before the 8th century bce, should be distinguished from all other types of incense. There was a growing demand for frankincense until the first century ce. This subsequently dropped, and in the 4th century collapsed almost completely. Along with this…

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…
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