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Jerusalem

(2,008 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
1. Topography Jerusalem is situated immediately west of the Mount of Olives (790–820 m. / 2,600–2,700 ft. above sea level), at the junction of northern and southern Palestine, on the Cisjordan highlands. Up to the last century it was bordered on the east by the Kidron Valley (2 Sam. 15:23; John 18:1) and on the west and south by the Hinnom Valley (Josh. 15:8; 18:16). It is divided by the Cross Valley, a central valley that runs from north to south (Josephus J.W.  5.140), separating a western hill from one on the east. Settlement began on the south side of the southeast hill…

Punishment

(4,817 words)

Author(s): Neu, Rainer | Otto, Eckart | Schuck, Martin | Loos, Fritz | Hermann, Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies All religions share the conviction that human actions hold a significance that reaches far beyond a person’s current life situation. On the precise manner in which an equitable balance between personal behavior and current or future life is achieved, however, there is considerable divergence of views – depending on the historical and social context of the respective religion. From the perspective of religious studies, it is advisable to differentiate between the…

Death Penalty

(3,790 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | de Boer, Martinus C. | Reichman, Ronen | Owens, Erik C. | Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Law – V. Ethics I. Old Testament The death penalty in the Old Testament has three causes: 1. blood revenge as a direct legal reaction by a family damaged by a homicide; 2. cultic law involving severe violations of religious taboos such as witchcraft, sodomy and apostasy (Ex 22:17–19); 3. family property …

Settlement/Settlement Traditions

(1,194 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] The canonical Old Testament describes the settlement as a military conquest of Palestine by the 12 tribes of Israel, beginning in Transjordan under Moses’ leadership with a victory over Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites, and the capture of Heshbon (Num 20f.; 32; Deut 1–3). After Moses’ death (Deut 34), the settlement continued west of the Jordan under Joshua’s leadership, initially in Benjaminite territory with the capture of Jericho (Josh 6) and Ai (Josh 7–8) and a treaty with …

Israel

(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…

Zion

(1,425 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. Etymology, Topography, and Historical Significance The toponym “Zion” (Heb. צִיּוֹן/ ṣiyyôn, a cognate of צִיָּה/ ṣiyyāh, “dry”) signifies “dry place” and, in derivation therefrom, “mountain ridge.” In this meaning, Zion entered into the designation of a “fortress of Zion” (Heb. מְצֻדַת צִיּוֹן/ meṣudat ṣiyyôn) on the southeastern hill of Jerusalem overlooking the Gihon, which David renamed “City of David” (Heb. עִיר דָּוִד/ʿ îr dāwid; 2 Sam 5:7, 9). David expanded this pre-Israelite acropolis into a “palace” (2 Sam 5:11) that lost its func…

Sabbath

(2,991 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Doering, Lutz | Hollender, Elisabeth | van Henten, Jan Willem | Volp, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament In the preexilic period, Sabbath (שַׁבָּת/ šabbāt) meant the day of the full moon; from the Exile on, it denoted a weekly day of rest. The origins of this day of rest go back to the early days of Exile. The earliest laws regarding the preexilic day of rest appear in the Book of the Covenant (Exod 23:10) and the cultic code in Exod 34:18–23, 25f. (v. 21) (Law and legislation: III). In the Book of the Covenant, the commandment to ¶ observe a day of rest is part of the privilege law of YHWH that deals with setting apart the firstfruits and firstborn …

Habakkuk/Book of Habakkuk

(1,298 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. The Prophet – II. The Book – III. Effective History I. The Prophet The prophet Habakkuk lived in Jerusalem around 600 bce. His name is Assyrian in origin and derives from the Akkadian term for a garden plant ( ḫabb[m]aqūqu). He is described as a cult prophet ( nabı̑) (1:1), which is confirmed by the fact that he receives the word in a cultic location (2:1–3). Whether, however, his critique of the social abuses caused by the political and economic elite of Judah was part of his function or contradicted it, must remain as op…

Deuteronomy

(2,337 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In accordance with LXX and Vulgate (Bible translations: I), the fifth book of the Pentateuch is termed Deuteronomy (Deut); in the Jewish tradition it is named “discourses” ( debārïm) after the beginning of the book. The name Deut is a summary of the law (Law and legislation), which is stylized as a collection of farewell discourses by Moses in 1–4; 5–28; 29–32; 33 and which, in the final form o…

Jerusalem

(8,314 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Hezser, Catherine | Dan, Joseph | Küchler, Max | Bieberstein, Klaus | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Judaism – III. New Testament – IV. Early Church – V. Patriarchates – VI. Islam – VII. Religious and Political Situation Today – VIII. Archaeology I. Old Testament Jerusalem (ירושׁלם/ yerûšālēm, MT yerûšālayim) was founded c. 1800 bce as a fortified town in the central Palestinian uplands at a strategic point for transportation between northern and southern Palestine. Outside the Bible, the name appears from the 18th century on in the Egyptian execration texts and the Amarna letters (as Akkad. uruu-ru-sa-lim). It derives from the verb yrh I…

Josiah/Josiah's Reform

(1,320 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Josiah reigned as king of Judah in the years 639 to 609 bce (2 Kgs 22f.; 2 Chr 34f.). When the eight-year-old boy ascended to the throne, the Neo-Assyrian Empire under King Asshurbanipal had already passed the zenith of its power with the loss of Egypt and a civil war in Mesopotamia (652–648 bce). Josiah experienced the ultimate end of Neo-Assyrian hegemonic power with the destruction of Nineveh (612 bce). After Assyria's withdrawal from Palestine (626–623 bce), Josiah was formally subject to Egyptian supremacy, which, as an ally of Assyria in the struggl…

Feasts and Festivals

(7,156 words)

Author(s): Borgeaud, Philippe | Otto, Eckart | Veltri, Giuseppe | Schramm, Tim | Wiggermann, Karl-Friedrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Early Christianity – V. Church History – VI. Liturgical and Practical Aspects I. Religious Studies The words “feast” and “festival” (cf. fête, festa, fiesta, Fest, etc.) derive from the Latin festus ( dies). They refer to the calendar and also evoke the notion of the divine: a feast day is a special day set aside and dedicated to a certain supernatural being. “Feast” or “festival” can therefore be understood as synonyms for religious celebrations. To speak,…

Marriage

(10,960 words)

Author(s): Nehring, Andreas | Otto, Eckart | Deming, Willoughby Howard | Schäfer, Rolf | Nave-Herz, Rosemarie | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Sociology – VI. Systematic Theology – VII. Law – VIII. Practical Theology – IX. Judaism – X. Islam I. Religious Studies The term marriage denotes a relationship entered into between two or more persons of different sex, ritually formalized, intended to be permanent, and recognized by society. In all cultures, definitions of economic and sexual rights and the conveyance of social status to children (Child/Childhood) are part of the socially ¶ defined framework of marriage…

War

(3,738 words)

Author(s): Reuter, Hans-Richard | Rüpke, Jörg | Rosenberger, Veit | Otto, Eckart | Holmberg, Bengt
[German Version] I. Social Sciences 1. Concept. War is conflict between large groups, peoples, nations, and states conducted by force of arms. The more precise definition of the term and its differentiation from peace are disputed. Behavioral science tends toward a broad definition: war is a specifically human form of intergroup aggression, functional in the context of competition for scarce resources; in it the use of weapons decreases our instinctive inhibition against killing. The theory that war is…

Hezekiah (King of Judah)

(774 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] (Heb. חִזְקִיָּה/ ḥizqiyyāh) ruled Judah as king from 725–696 bce. Under his rule, the kingdom of Judah developed from a tribal state – which, isolated on the Judean mountains, was affected by political events less than the more highly developed northern kingdom of Israel (II, 1) and was based economically primarily on small animal breeding – into a fully developed state. The conquest of Samaria (722) ¶ and the final incorporation of Israel into the provincial system of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (720) sparked this sudden development, since a stream…

Ethics

(18,301 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Antes, Peter | Otto, Eckart | Horn, Friedrich Wilhelm | Leicht, Reimund | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept and Scope – II. Religious Studies – III. Bible – IV. Judaism – V. As a Theological Discipline – VI. As a Philosophical Discipline (Business Ethics, Discourse Ethics, Economic Ethics, Ethics, Bio-Medical Issues, Ethics Commissions, Ethics Education, Ethics of Conviction, Ethics of Duty, Ethics of Goods, Ethics of Responsibility, Evolutionary Ethics, Fraternal Ethics, Individual Et…

Economy

(6,870 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Rüpke, Jörg | Schneider, Helmuth | Otto, Eckart | Penslar, Derek | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Economic Systems and their Theories – III. Economy and Religion I. The Concept The term economy encompasses the totality of all individual actions and social interactions that serve to produce goods (commodities or services [Service sector]) for the purpose of satisfying human needs (Consumption). As a rule, the “production” of commodities means that human labor and …

Fraternal Ethics

(747 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In the Old Testament, fraternal ethics refers to an ethos that gives, first every Judean, and later also foreigners, the solidarity owed to the closest natural members of one's family. Fraternal ethics originated in Deuteronomy in reaction to the dissolution of natural fraternal ethics in the 8th/7th century Assyrian crisis through the destruction of extended families and their solidarity-stabilizing cult of ancestors (III) as a consequence of Judean and Assyrian resettlements and…

Shechem

(593 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Shechem, Heb. שְׁכֶם/ šĕkem, “shoulder,” a city in the hill country of central Palestine between Ebal and Gerizim. Since the excavations by Sellin and G.E. Wright between 1913 and 1969, it has been identified with Tell Balāṭa, near Nablus. The earliest Middle Bronze settlement of the city, initially unfortified, dates from c. 1900 bce. It includes a courtyard complex which Wright interpreted as a temple but was more likely a palace (Otto, 133–150). In the 17th century, Shechem was fortified with a massive cyclopean wall in combinat…

Israel and Mesopotamia

(673 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] The Sumerian culture of the 3rd millennium, made comprehensive by the invention of writing (Paleography) and its high capacity for mythical interpretation of the world, had a formative impact on the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires of the 2nd millennium. The notion of a world capital, developed in Sumerian Nippur, was taken up in the imperial centers of Babylon and Ashur and became the basis of their competition. With the Semitic assimilation of Sumerian culture, a mixed civilizati…
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