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By Beth Alpert Nakhai

Archaeological info, while seen objectively, supply self sufficient witness to the spiritual practices of the traditional population of Syria-Palestine and aid to spot the quintessential half that faith performed within the social and political worlds of the Israelites and Canaanites. through making use of present anthropological and sociological concept to historic fabrics excavated over the last 80 years, the writer deals a brand new means of the archaeological facts. 'Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel' summarizes and analyzes the archaeological continues to be from all recognized heart Bronze via Iron Age temples, sanctuaries, and open-air shrines to bare the ways that social, fiscal and political relationships determined—and have been formed by—forms of non secular association.

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G. Cole 1985: 49). The work of archaeologists thus becomes critical for investigating the contribution made by religion toward understanding not only the sacred but also the profane. Anthropologically-based Studies of Sacred Sites In his study of the Phylakopi sanctuary, Renfrew claims that religious beliefs form a “more or less coherent system or structure, to which the cult observances will relate” and that “structure in the belief system should engender pattern in cult practice, and it is this which we as archaeologists may hope to discern” (1985: 17).

6 The direct relevance of Ugaritic texts for the study of biblical religion must be questioned. The culture of Israel, religious and other, developed from Late Bronze Age traditions, and so Syro-Canaanite religion had an impact upon that of Iron Age Israel. However, while the religion of Ugarit illuminates SyroCanaanite religious belief and practice, no explicit connection between LBA Ugarit and biblical authors can be documented. Studies of biblical poetry suggest some early parallels (Cross 1973: 112–44), but it may turn out that they would be better correlated with Canaanite city-states such as Hazor and Megiddo.

Statues of gods were found in temples at Ugarit and elsewhere. As we know from the ritual texts, jewelry and clothing were required to enact rituals for the dressing and moving of statues. Although clothing decomposes, fastenings and ornaments made of metals, bone, ivory or semi-precious stone might suggest the types of garments once used for dressing cultic participants and divine statues. In summary, the thirteenth century B . C . E . texts from Ugarit, particularly the ritual texts, provide a great deal of information about West Semitic religious practice.

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