The author draws on textual readings, archaeological and historical data, and epigraphy to determine what may be known about the Israelite religions during the Iron Age (1200 - 586 BCE). The evidence is synthesized within the structure of an Israelite worldview and ethos involving kin, tribes, land, traditional ways and places of worship, and a national deity. Professor Zevit originated this interpretive matrix through insights, ideas and models developed in the academic study of religion and history within the context of the humanities. He is original, for instance, in his conclusions about the pre-canonical history of many psalms, the two-stage history of Israelite altars, and the unrecognised religious significance of some Hebrew inscriptions and archaeological sites. Throughout the book, the author has set a precedent which should encourage dialogue and co-operative study between ancient historians and archaeologists, but particularly between Iron Age archaeologists and biblical scholars.
The work challenges many conclusions of previous scholarship about the nature of Israelite religion, even as it presents scholars with new data, new interpretations of old data, and suggestions for new questions for research.
Ziony Zevit is Distinguished Professor of Bible Northwest Semitic Languages at the American Jewish University, USA. He has published numerous works including Solving Riddles and the Anterior Construction in Classical Hebrew. The editor of Hebrew Studies, he is also on the editorial board of The Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
1. Surveying Paths: An Essay about Humanities, Religion, History, and Israelite Religions; 2. Of Cult Places and of Israelites; 3. Architecture Parlante: Israelite Cult Places; 4. Tangible Belief: The Material and Textual Aspects of Cultic Artefacts; 5. Writ on Rock - Script on Stone; 6. Israelite Religions in Israelian and Judahite Historiography and Historiosophy; 7. Israelite Mantic Religions in Literary, Social, and Historical Contexts; 8. Visions of a Foreign Land: Israelite Religions through Enemy Eyes; 9. The Names of Israelite Gods; 10. Israelite Religions: A Parallactic Synthesis; Appendix: Khirbet Beit Lei: The Main Inscriptions