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(10,133 words)

Author(s): Gutmann, Emanuel | Knauf, Ernst Axel | Otto, Eckart | Niehr, Herbert | Kessler, Rainer | Et al.
[German Version] I. The State of Israel – II. History – III. Society I. The State of Israel The formal full name, State of Israel (Heb. Medinat Yisrael), calls attention to the spatial divergence between the political entity and the geographical and historical Erets Israel (Land of Israel, Palestine and its linguistic equivalents). Israel is located in southwest Asia, on the southern stretch of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. In its northern half, inland from the shore, is the coastal area and further east are the hills, from n…


(2,007 words)

Author(s): Köhler, Ulrich | Niehr, Herbert | Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies There are two basic types of interaction between trade and religion: trade growing out of the practice of religion and religious phenomena as by-products of trade. Only in exceptional cases do both have equal weight. Trade can arise from the need for sacrificial offerings, as well as for special vestments and regalia for religious specialists and other officiants, and not least the need to feed participants in religious events. Special foods required by the relig…


(126 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
[German Version] The Phoenician personal name Sanchuniaton (“Sakun has given”) appears in Greek in passages from the writers Porphyry and Philo of Byblos quoted by the church father Eusebius of Caesarea ( Praep. I 9.20f., 24–29; X 9.12–16). He is said to have been a Phoenician priest from the time before the Trojan War, cited by Philo Byblius as vouching the Phoenician tradition he records and for its great antiquity. Philo Byblius is claimed to have translated Sanchuniaton’s work on Phoenician history from Phoenician into Gre…

Ordeal, Trial by

(1,373 words)

Author(s): Wißmann, Hans | Niehr, Herbert | Ogris, Werner
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Legal History I. Religious Studies Trial by ordeal is a means of decision-making as to the guilt or innocence of a suspect in legal cases where there is no available evidence or testimony, and where no guilty plea has been entered. In place of an oath, but in ¶ line with the inherent logic of the oath, a conditional self-curse was sometimes employed; this would apply in cases where, for example, a slave was disqualified from a hearing under oath, and a divine declaration of the truth was so…


(327 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
[German Version] (“Black Hill”), an ancient fortified hill in Cilicia. Together with the neighboring fortress Domuztepe, it dominates the overland route from northern Syria and Cilicia to Central Anatolia across the Anti-Taurus mountain range. Now a Turkish city, it lies roughly 100 km northeast of Adana. Following the discovery of the archaeological site in 1946, excavations uncovered the upper and lower city on the Karatepe from 1947 onward. A considerable stir was caused by the Phoenician and H…

Unity, Divine

(2,061 words)

Author(s): van den Brom, Luco J. | Niehr, Herbert
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion Unity, uniqueness and simplicity are considered God’s incommunicable properties. In philosophy of religion unity was originally thought of as the One, as the ground supporting the many in their multiplicity and difference. Thus unity was conceived as the timeless and spaceless ground and numerical beginning of the cosmos with its multiplicity of beings. In Plato’s teaching about ideas, unity as the One transcends the plurality of ideas, and has ontological pr…

Israel and Canaan

(592 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
[German Version] While Canaanites are already mentioned in the Mari correspondence (mid-18th cent. bce), the place name Canaan appears for the first time in the inscription of Idrimi of Alalach (1500 bce). According to the Amarna correspondence (mid-14th cent. bce), Canaan constituted an Egyptian province with the major localities Gaza and Beth-Shean, encompassing Palestine andLebanon as far as Beirut. The Old Testament still reflects Canaan as a designation for Palestine in the 1st millennium bce (Gen 10:19; 37; Num 34:2–12; cf. Deut 1:7). “Canaan” as a theological a…

Judges of Israel, The Biblical

(546 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
[German Version] In order to understand the title שֹׁפֵט/šopeṭ, fundamental to the office of judge, reference should be made to the institution of the šāpiṭu in Mari in the 18th century bce and to the office of the Suffetes among the Phoenicians and in Carthage from the 6th century bce onward. It is a non-royal office of leadership in various realms. The list-like enumeration in Judg 10:1–5; 12:7–15 suggests that a pre-deuteronomistic tradition, which cannot be dated more precisely, knew of an office of leadership over the tribes of Israel in …

2.6.13. Phoenicians in Asia Minor

(1,543 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
[German source] Phoenician presence and activity in Asia Minor are well attested [12]; [19]; [14]; [29]; [20109–143]; [1025–88] (Luwian cultural sphere 2.6.10.), particularly in inscriptions (on their range, cf. the map at [26913 f.]). An 11th-century vase found in Cyprus, originally from Cilicia, may establish the date at which they began [20110–113]. Other Phoenician inscriptions from Asia Minor date to the 9th–7th centuries. The earliest are the inscription of King  Kulamuwa of  Samʾal/Zincirli (KAI 24; ca. 820) and a shield with bucranium and inscription from Samʾal [13]; [7]…
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.5. Israel

(2,034 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Name and geography [German source] The name Israel (Egyptian ysrʾr, Moabite yšrʾl, Assyrian Sir-ʾi-la-a-a [51200]; Hebrew Yiśrȧ’ẹl) is first attested in an inscription of Pharaoh  Merneptah (1224–1205/1213–1204/03) on his  ‘Israel Stela’ (1209) [52168–171], and it serves here as an ethnonym (although it may at the same time also be a geographical term referring to Mount Ephraim) [1758 f.]; [137–43]. There is no agreement on the meaning of the name [51200]. This evidence puts Israel in Mount Ephraim between the Jezreel Valley in the north and the highlands of …
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.15. Cyprus

(3,451 words)

Author(s): Matthäus, Hartmut | Niehr, Herbert
A. Names, significance, chronology [German source] Three factors determined the history of Cyprus (indigenous and Greek name: Kýpros; Neo-Assyrian  Jad(a)nana; Hebrew  aeraeṣ kittim, ‘isles of Kittim’; Egyptian probably  iw, on the stela of  Amasis at Elephantine) in the LBA and IA. The first was the rich reserves of  copper ore on the edge of the Troödos Mountains [20]. Copper ore was a rare material in the Mediterranean, and smelting and exporting it guaranteed economic prosperity (on copper from  Tamassus, cf. Hom. Od. 1,183–185). Such activities are confirmed by archa…
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.1. Overview: Syria and Palaestina

(2,142 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Terminological and geographical definition [German source] There is a variety of competing names and concepts for the Levant in the scholarly literature. Ancient sources, for instance, use the term  Amurru (‘land of the west’) to refer to the regions between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean (without defining a northern or southern boundary) from the 3rd millennium on (Canaan 2.7.4.) [4224–48]; [211–15]; [134–38]. At the time of the Assyrian king Sanherib (705–681), Phoenicia, the land of the Philistines and the kingdoms of eastern Jordan were also considered part of Amurru [215…
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.4. Canaan

(1,545 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Name, geography and history [German source] The province of Canaan (Phoenician  knʿn, Hebrew kenaʿan, Akkadian kinaʿanu/kinaḫḫu/kinaḫnu; Greek  Kanaán; [29352]; etymology uncertain [29352]) stretched from the environs of its main city,  Gaza, in the southwest, to north of  Beirut, where it met its northern neighbour  Amurru (capital  Ṣumur). It was bordered on the east by the province of  Upe, with its capital at  Kumidi in the  Beqaʿ Valley, and the Dead Sea [14555–557]. The territory of  Ammonitis (Ammon 2.7.8.) did not belong to Canaan [10162 f.].The earliest evidence of …
Date: 2018-08-16

3.3.2. Religion: Eastern Mediterranean

(7,430 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert | Wittke, Anne-Maria | Kubisch, Sabine | Matthäus, Hartmut
A. General principles [German source] Scholars often treat the religions of the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean world 2.7.) in the context of the ‘Fertile Crescent’. This concept, however, brings together the religions of Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Egypt as dominant, while tending to neglect those of the Aramaeans (2.7.2.), the Phoenician cities 2.7.3., Israel (2.7.5.) and Judah (2.7.6.). Lumping cultures like Egypt and Mesopotamia together also has the effect of glossing over differences between them. …
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.2. Aramaeans and Aramaic kingdoms

(4,284 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Definition, origins and settlement [German source] The Aramaeans’ settlement region extended from central and upper Mesopotamia through northern Syria and southern Anatolia to central and southern Syria and Palaestina. This geographical range gave rise to ethnic, political, military, economic and cultural contacts with Babylonia, Assyria, Anatolia (Luwian cultural sphere 2.6.10.), the Phoenician cities (2.7.3.), Israel (2.7.5.) and Judah (2.7.6.), Ammon (2.7.8.), Egypt (Lower Egypt 2.8.2.) and north…
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.6. Judah

(2,098 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Name, geography and history [German source] The etymology and meaning of the name Judah (Hebrew Yǝhudȧ) are obscure [48200]. The territory of Judah originally covered the mountainous country between  Jerusalem in the north and  Hebron in the south, bordering on the Philistines in the west, Israel (2.7.5.) in the north, the Dead Sea to the east and the Negev Desert to the south (BNP Atlas 45).The first and decisive unification of the territory occurred in the reign of  David, whose dynasty remained on the throne until the conquest of Jerusalem by  Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 [855–57]. This…
Date: 2018-08-16

2.5.14. Phoenicians on Crete and in the Aegean

(445 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
[German source] There is evidence of a  Phoenician presence on  Crete (2.5.12.) at  Kommos on the island’s southern coast, beginning in the late 9th century. There may have been a Phoenician port of call here for trade and ship repair. Apart from Phoenician pottery, the evidence consists of a sacellum in Sanctuary B, dating from around 800–760. Three freestanding cult stelae were found here on a pedestal; they have been interpreted as  baityloi for unnamed Phoenician deities. There was an site for offerings in front of these stelae, and a bronze shi…
Date: 2018-08-16

2.7.1. Überblick: Syrien und Palästina

(2,247 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Begriffliche und geographische DefinitionIn der wiss. Literatur konkurrieren unterschiedliche Namen und Konzepte zum Levante-Raum. So findet sich in ant. Quellen zunächst Amurru (Westland), womit seit dem 3. Jt. die Regionen westl. des Euphrat bis hin zum Mittelmeer benannt wurden, ohne nähere Abgrenzung nach N und S (Kanaan 2.7.4.) [4224–48]; [211–15]; [134–38]. Zur Zeit des assyr. Königs Sanherib (705–681) wurden auch Phönizien, das Philisterland und die ostjordanischen Königreiche als Amurru bezeichnet [215]. Ferner war die Rede von Ḫatti, welches zunächst d…
Date: 2017-08-01

2.7.4. Kanaan

(1,697 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert
A. Name, Geographie und GeschichteDie Provinz Kanaan (phöniz . knʿn, hebr. kenaʿan, akkad. kinaʿanu/kinaḫḫu/kinaḫnu; griech. Kanaán; [29352]; Etymologie nicht gesichert [29352]) erstreckte sich vom Gebiet um den Hauptort Gaza im SW bis in das Gebiet nördl. von Beirut; hier wurde sie durch Amurru mit dem Hauptort Ṣumur begrenzt, im O durch die Provinz Upe mit Kumidi in der Beqaʿ-Ebene als Hauptort und das Tote Meer [14555–557]. Die Ammonitis (Ammon 2.7.8.) gehörte nicht zu Kanaan [10162 f.]. Die frühesten Belege zu Kanaanäern begegnen um 1750 in den Mari-Briefen (A 3552 Rs 9) [3]; [183…
Date: 2017-08-01

3.3.2. Religion: Östlicher Mittelmeerraum

(7,744 words)

Author(s): Niehr, Herbert | Wittke, Anne-Maria | Kubisch, Sabine | Matthäus, Hartmut
A. Allgemeine Grundlagen Östlicher Mittelmeerraum 2.7. | Aramäer (2.7.2.) | Phönizische Städte 2.7.3. | Israels (2.7.5.) | Judas (2.7.6.)Eine weitere Problematik der Konzeption des fruchtbaren Halbmondes liegt darin, dass hier Kulturen wie die Ägyptens und Mesopotamiens zusammen gesehen, die zwischen ihnen bestehenden Unterschiede aber außer Acht gelassen werden. Dagegen befasst sich ein alternatives Konzept mit der Frage, »ob es auf kulturellem und religiösem Gebiet im Altertum neben den Gemeinsamkeiten des fruc…
Date: 2017-08-01
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