AuthorNakhai, Beth Alpert.
Committee ChairDever, William G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation discusses the role of religion in Canaanite and Israelite society. Particularly of interest is the way in which social and political relationships determine the form of religious organization. The period covered extends from the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age through the end of the Israelite Divided Monarchy (2000 B.C.E.-587 B.C.E.). Chapter One presents a history of previous scholarship in the field of Canaanite and Israelite religion. It demonstrates that inadequate attention has been given to archaeological data, despite the importance of these data to the study of religion. Chapter Two discusses the contribution made by anthropological studies toward understanding the role of religion in society. In particular, sacrifice (the religious rite par excellence of Israelites and Canaanites) is more than an arcane ritual. Rather, it reflects issues related to the social structure of the worshipping community. Chapter Three looks at the ritual texts from Ugarit and at pre-exilic portions of the Hebrew Bible. This chapter, like Chapter Two, focusses upon the ritual of sacrifice and demonstrates its central role in the religions of Canaan and Israel. It additionally clarifies its relevance for understanding issues of religion and society. With Chapter Four, the dissertation turns to the evidence presented by archaeological data. Chapter Four is concerned with the religion of Canaan in the Middle Bronze Age. It shows that the development of religion in the first half of the second millennium B.C.E. was related to the slow growth of elite clan groups. Chapter Five presents archaeological data for religion in the Late Bronze Age. It analyzes the effect of increasing Egyptian domination on the religious structure of South Canaan. Chapter Six discusses the way in which the monarchs of Israel and Judah organized religion in support of the state. At the same time, the efforts of some local clan groups to resist these centralizing efforts are seen in alternate modes of worship.
Degree ProgramNear Eastern Studies