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Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah

Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah

Paperback

Edited by Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Edited by John Barton

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  • Publisher: T.& T.Clark Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 232mm x 22mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 11 April 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 0567032167
  • ISBN 13: 9780567032164
  • Sales rank: 235,066

Product description

This volume of essays draws together specialists in the field to explain, illustrate and analyze religious diversity in Ancient Israel. Our understanding of the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Israelites has changed considerably in recent years. It is now increasingly accepted among scholars that the biblical presentation of Israelite religion is often at odds with the likely historical realities of ancient Israel's religious climate. As such, the diversity inherent within ancient Israelite religion is often overlooked - particularly within university lecture halls and classrooms. This volume of essays draws together specialists in the field to explain, illustrate and analyze this religious diversity. Following an introductory essay guiding the reader through the book, the collection falls into three sections. The first focuses on conceptual diversities. It seeks to deconstruct common assumptions about Israelite religion and reconstructs Israelite perceptions of the nature of the religious world. The second section examines socio-religious diversities. It studies the varied social contexts of ancient Israelites, exploring the relationship between worshippers' social locations and their perceptions and experiences of the divine. The third section deals with geographical diversities. It seeks to understand how geographical distinctions may engender certain characteristics within Israelite religion and impact upon religious perceptions.

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Author information

Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, University of Exeter. Her research focuses on ancient Israelite religion, Judahite kingship, and history and ideology in the Hebrew Bible. John Barton is Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford.

Review quote

'This is a splendid collection of essays whose publication is greatly to be welcomed. Its contributors are scholars who are well qualified to tackle aspects of the religious life of ancient Israel and Judah. The volume reveals something of the extent to which the Hebrew Bible's presentation of religion has been influenced by the Deuteronomists and what they wanted to portray, and demonstrates not only that there was "diversity but that such diversity cannot simply be summed up as the difference between 'official' and 'popular', or 'urban' and 'rural'. A feature of the volume as a whole is that it offers a constructive balance between (biblical) textual and archaeological evidence, acknowledging that both have their contributions to make while both have their interpretational problems. Perhaps understandably the emphasis is on religious practices rather than beliefs but, in a telling phrase in the book's postscript, Barton reminds us that the authors of the Hebrew Bible ."..were already in the business of thinking about Yahweh as well as worshipping him" (p.373).' - Adrian Curtis, The University of Manchester, UK. --Sanford Lakoff

Table of contents

Ch. 1: Introduction; John Barton (University of Oxford); Ch. 2: Living between heaven and the underworld; Susan Niditch (Amherst College, Massachusetts); Ch. 3: 'Official' religion and 'popular' religion; Francesca Stavrakopoulou (University of Exeter); Ch. 4: 'Israelite' religion and 'Canaanite' religion; Mark S. Smith (New York University); Ch. 5: Royal religion in Judah and Israel; Nick Wyatt (Emeritus Professor, University of Edinburgh); Ch. 6: Temple worship beyond Jerusalem and Samaria; Diana Edelman (University of Sheffield); Ch. 7: Urban religion and rural religion; Philip Davies (University of Sheffield); Ch. 8: Domestic religion; Carol Meyers (Duke University); Ch. 9: Personal piety; Rainer Albertz (Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat, Munster).