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The Archaeology of Cult in Middle Bronze Age Canaan


The Sacred Area at Tel Haror, Israel


What was Canaanite religion like during the Middle Bronze Age, at the time of the biblical patriarchs? This volume presents a theoretical model for identifying ritual behavior in the archaeological record, providing a test case using the rich material culture and structures that have been unearthed at the biblical city of Gerar (Tel Haror, Israel).
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-791-9
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 18,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 268
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-791-9
$99.00
$59.40

What was Canaanite religion like during the Middle Bronze Age, at the time of the biblical patriarchs? This volume presents a theoretical model for identifying ritual behavior in the archaeological record, providing a test case using the rich material culture and structures that have been unearthed at the biblical city of Gerar (Tel Haror, Israel). The analysis of these finds presents a revealing glimpse into the elaborate rituals that the Canaanites enjoyed in their communities.

Canaanite public ritual life was centered around a temple and its courtyards. It was here that priests performed rituals within the temple while people gathered in the courtyards to watch animals being sacrificed on altars, to smell burning incense, and to offer other foods sometimes in miniature votive vessels. Upon completion of the sacrifices, the people remained in the courtyards and adjoining rooms to enjoy their ritual meals. It is here that the archaeological evidence strongly attests to the cooking, serving, and consuming of foods and beverages. Canaanites also used their sacred areas for rituals of healing (involving puppies) and for the sanctifying of treaties (using donkeys).

What was Canaanite religion like during the Middle Bronze Age, at the time of the biblical patriarchs? This volume presents a theoretical model for identifying ritual behavior in the archaeological record, providing a test case using the rich material culture and structures that have been unearthed at the biblical city of Gerar (Tel Haror, Israel). The analysis of these finds presents a revealing glimpse into the elaborate rituals that the Canaanites enjoyed in their communities.

Canaanite public ritual life was centered around a temple and its courtyards. It was here that priests performed rituals within the temple while people gathered in the courtyards to watch animals being sacrificed on altars, to smell burning incense, and to offer other foods sometimes in miniature votive vessels. Upon completion of the sacrifices, the people remained in the courtyards and adjoining rooms to enjoy their ritual meals. It is here that the archaeological evidence strongly attests to the cooking, serving, and consuming of foods and beverages. Canaanites also used their sacred areas for rituals of healing (involving puppies) and for the sanctifying of treaties (using donkeys).

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Contributor Biography

Jill Katz

Jill Citron Katz is a Lecturer in Archaeology and Anthropology at Yeshiva University. She holds a B.A. degree in Anthropology (Archaeology) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently involved in excavations at the Philistine city of Gath (Tell es-Safi) in Israel.

  • Dedication (page 5)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Preface (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 15)
  • 1. Introduction (page 17)
  • 2. Towards a Model for Identifying Cult in the Archaeological Record (page 21)
  • 3. The Sacred Area at Tel Haror (page 45)
  • 4. Additional Middle Bronze Age Sacred Areas in Canaan (page 137)
  • 5. Analysis of Middle Bronze Age Sacred Areas in Canaan (page 169)
  • 6. Conclusion (page 177)
  • Appendix (page 185)
  • Bibliography (page 241)
  • Index (page 265)
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