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Arameans

(188 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A.
[German Version] were a tribal group that appeared in the waning Late Bronze Age and spread out from northern Syria and northern Mesopotamia. Tenaciously embattled by Tiglath-pileser I, Arameans attained power in the cities of Syria in the 10th and 9th centuries and formed tribal states. They were the first victims of the Neo-Assyrian expansion and deportation policies; thus, an Aramaic common language developed in the Assyrian Empire up through the 7th century bce which also became the language of international commerce (Semitic languages). With the conquest of Damascus in 732 bce, t…

Bethel

(584 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A.
[German Version] (בֵּית אֵל, “House of God or El”) was an Israelite cultic center on the border between Benjamin and Ephraim (Tribes of Israel), also בֵּית און ( bêt'ôn, “place of strength, splendor, might”) Josh 7:2; 18:12; 1 Sam 13:5; 14:23, since Hosea בֵּית אָוֶן ( bêt 'āven, “house of sin”; Hos 4:15; 5:8; 10:5). The degree to which the tradition that the earlier name of the place was לוּז (Gen 28:19; Judg 1:23) applies may be set aside since לוּז ( lz, “almond tree”) seems rather to be a territory name that may have…

Alphabet

(88 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A.
[German Version] is the sequence of letters of an alphabetic script established for mnemonic reasons, in particular to the Phoenician abgad (i.e. beginning with Aleph-Beth-Gimel-Dalet) that was adopted by the Greeks as Alpha-Beta and by the Romans as ABC. Letters have had numerical value (according to their sequence in the alphabet) only since Hellenistic times. Ernst A. Knauf Bibliography J. Naveh, Early History of the Alphabet, 1982 B. Sass, Studia Alphabetica, OBO 102, 1991 E.A. Knauf, Die Umwelt des Alten Testaments, NSK AT 29, 1994, 212–221.

Aroer (Transjordan)

(263 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A.
[German Version] (“Phoenician juniper”), situated on the Arnon, is modern Ḫirbet ʿArāʿir, approx. 4 km southeast of Dibon. It was an Early Bronze Age settlement, then a Gadite settlement (Num 32:34) of the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age; no later than the time of the Omride annexation (Omri) it was destroyed or abandoned by Gad (Tribes of Israel). In the second half of the 9th century, it was built up as a fortress by Mesha in order to secure the “road at the Arnon,” linking the north and south of Moab (Mesha inscription KAI 181, 26). It is questionable whether …

Amorites

(116 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A.
[German Version] In the 3rd millennium bce the Akkadian designation “Amurr” denoted the inhabitants of the west, namely Syria. Their Old West Semitic language (Semitic languages) is preserved only in names of people. In broader terms, Amorite families of chieftains seized power in Babylon, Mari, and elsewhere. In the Middle Bronze perio…

Aramaic, Biblical

(774 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A. | Schelbert, Georg
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Aramaic Forms and Formulae in the New Testament I. Old Testament 1. Texts. a. In Gen 31:47 the Aramean Laban calls Jacob's “stone-heap of a witness,” Heb. gal'ed, or more aptly “stone-heap (or monument) of testimony,” yegar śāhadtāʾ. Biblical authors and their public can be assumed to have known at least this much Aramaic from the end of the 8th century bce onward, at the latest since the 7th century; although, to judge from its status in the LXX, the verse may be a gloss. b. Jer 10:11 is a marginal gloss on 10:12 …

Administration

(4,925 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst A. | Brauneder, Wilhelm | Germann, Michael | Ahme, Michael
[German Version] I. Bible – II. History – III. Law – IV. Church Administration – V. Ethics I. Bible 1. In Israel and Judah . From the 10th into the 8th century bce, only a rudimentary administration can be assumed in Israel and Judah in comparison to Egypt and Mesopotamia. State income was basically produced by the royal demesne, which at the time of Hezekiah supplied provisions for fortresses (royal seal). The royal demesne was under the control of a major-domo or steward ( 'šr ʿl hbyt; 1 Kgs 4:6, passim; epigraphic evidence in ReRö II, 113f.; in a private household: Gen 43:16, passim). The desi…