Ancient Israel: History
Glossary of Ancient Israel
Brief glossary of terms relating to ancient Israel and Land & Time, Daily Life and Religion. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
according to Sefer Hamitzvos of Rambam. 248 Positive Mitzvos and 365 Negative Mitzvos.
A Glossary of the Tabernacle of Ancient Israel
Aaron, Acacia Wood, Agate, Almond, Amethyst, etc.
Animals in Daily Life
People in the Bronze and Iron Age lived in close contact with domestic animals. Animals provided food, and their care and feeding was an investment and a hedge against hard times. Sheep and goats were the principal herd animals: they are mobile, resilient in drought and provide meat, milk, wool, manure, and leather. Although cattle provide most of these same products and also can be used for plowing, they are not as well adapted to dry conditions and broken terrain. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Tel Beth Shemesh
Tel Beth Shean
the Baq'ah Valley
Artifacts appearing in the Museum's Canaan and Ancient Israel Gallery were drawn from the Museum's Syro-Palestinian collection of over 15,000 artifacts which came from these archaeological excavations.[Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Archaeology of Ancient Israel
Archaeology is the study of people and things from the past. Archaeologists try to discover how a group of people lived, what was important to them, what sort of religious beliefs they had, and how they interacted with their environment and with other groups of people. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Best of History Ancient.Biblical Websites
Provides vast resources chosen and rated by the editors
Bible as Artifact
The Tanak / Old Testament, as we know it today, took shape over a long period of time. In part, scholars have traced this development by studying early manuscripts, which themselves often are archaeological artifacts. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Bibliography of Ancient Israel
Brief Bibliography relating to ancient Israel and Land & Time, Daily Life and Religion. Includes a few childrens references. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
This is perhaps the most difficult truth for mankind to accept, that the life of an innocent victim would be slaughtered on behalf of the guilty.
Branches or Subdivisions of Judaism
In broad historical perspective
Bread and Grain
In the Bronze and Iron Age, bread was the staple food. Since it was prepared almost every day, bread-making was one of the main activities of a household. People in Canaan and Ancient Israel consumed between 330 - 440 lbs. of wheat and barley per year. An individual typically consumed 50 - 70 % of calories from these cereals -- mostly eaten in the form of bread. Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Bronze Age Temples
The earliest Canaanite temples of the Bronze Age consisted of a broad room, open porch and court. Facing the entrance in the broad room was a stone altar for sacrifices. Over time, temples developed into tripartite buildings, consisting of an entrance porch and a main room with a cult niche, sometimes called the "Holy of Holies." [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Canaan and Ancient Israel
While many are familiar with the ancient Canaanites and Israelite peoples through stories from the Old Testament of the Bible, this exhibit explores the identities of these peoples in pre-historical times through the material remains that they have left behind.[University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Climate and Fauna of Ancient Israel
The climatic variations are largely due to it being a land hemmed in between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Arabian desert to the east. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Daily Life in ancient Canaan
Includes Home and Family | Bread | Weaving | Animals | Storage | Personal Identity | Writing | Warfare | Glossary | Bibliography | Activities [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Death and Burial
Death, and the proper treatment of the dead, were important issues for both Canaanites and Israelites. Appropriate arrangements included activities perpetuating the name of the deceased, offerings of food and other gifts, and the proper stewardship of family land. Upon death, males, at least, seem to have joined the ranks of their ancestors. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Economy of Ancient Israel and Canaan
Includes Labor+Crafts | Trade | Phoenicians | Glossary | Bibliography | Activities. Field labor and craft production was of central importance in the lives of ancient Canaanites and Israelites. The economy of both the Bronze and Iron Age populations was dependent on the harvest and the production of valuable trade goods such as metals worked into jewelry or weapons, and ceramics. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Excavations of Ancient Israel
Artifacts appearing in the Museum's Canaan and Ancient Israel Gallery were drawn from the Museum's Syro-Palestinian collection of over 15,000 artifacts which came from these archaeological excavations. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Glossary of terms related to Judaism
This Glossary is based on the GLOSSARY for the Study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam version 9301 (1993 January), uncopyrightable factual information.
Growth of Jerusalem in the 19th century
Over time, the Judean capital city of Jerusalem grew and expanded well beyond the small boundaries of the City of David. At first, the Temple Mount was an addition to the city and was, apparently, fortified in some way (which still remains unknown). Later, the process of expansion "beyond the walls" occured after the population continued to increase. The Bible mentions the names of residential neighborhoods outside the City of David, such as Mishneh (Kings II 22;14) and Makhtesh (Zephania 1;11). The main growth in population occurred around 721 C.E., when the Northern Israelite kingdom of Israel was destroyed by Assyria and the refugees fled to the Southern Israelite kingdom of Judea; and in 701 C.E., when King Sennacherib of Assyria led a military campaign, conquering the coastal cities of the Land of Israel.
High Priests in the First Century A.D.
As in ancient times, the high priest was the head of the priesthood. After the time of Herod the Great the high priest was no longer the political leader of the people. However, he did remain president of the Sanhedrin. This function, and the fact that the high priest was always chosen from one of the leading aristocratic families in Jerusalem, meant that he still had some influence in the political sphere. As had been customary from Persian times, the high priest was nominated by the foreign power in control, in this period the Romans. The most well-known high priest in the time of Jesus was Joseph surnamed Caiaphas, who held this office from about 18 to 37 A.D. [Bible History Online]
Home and Family
Daily Life in Ancient Canaan - Includes Bread | Weaving | Animals | Storage | Personal Identity | Writing | Warfare | Glossary | Bibliography | Activities [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Internet Jewish History Sourcebook
From Paul Halsall/Fordham University. A companion sourcebook to the Ancient History Sourcebook, it covers Jewish history from its origins until the state of Israel. The Internet History Sourcebooks are collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use.
Internet Resources for the Study of Judaism and Christianity
This page lists a number of sites on the Internet that are useful for the study of Judaism and Christianity. Jay Treat UPenn
Archived issues of IOUDAIOS REVIEW. Primarily concerned with Judaism in the Greco-Roman period, although some reviews on early Christian studies are also available.
Ishtar Gate Inscription
Dedicatory Inscription on the Ishtar Gate, Babylon; TRANSLATION (Adapted from Marzahn 1995:29-30)Language: Akkadian Medium: glazed brick Size: c. 15 meters high
c. 10 meters wide Length: 60 lines of writing Genre: Dedication Inscription Dedicator: Nebuchadnezzar
King of Babylonia (reigned 605"”562 BCE) Approximate Date: 600 BCE Place of Discovery: Babylon (near modern Baghdad, Iraq) Date of Excavation: 1899"”1914 Current Location: Pergamon Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"The new website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, maintained by its Information Division, provides a broad range of information about Israel and its people, and comprehensive material on Israeli government, policies and foreign relations. "
Israel, The Center of the World. Little did
Little did the descendants of Abraham, also known as the Hebrews, realize what was in store for them as they entered into the land of Canaan. Their relatively small territory was right in the heart of the ancient world and on the borders of three gigantic land masses, Asia, Africa and Europe. Every great kingdom around them, from the north, south, east and west, along with their conquering monarchs would be confronted with Israel and learn about their people, their laws and the holy Oracles of the One whose kingdom will never pass away.
Jewish Literature in the First Century A.D.
Rabbinical Writings, Midrash, Tosefta, Palestinian Talmud, Babylonian Talmud, Mishnah and the Gemara and lots more. [Bible History Online]
Josephus on early 1st Century Roman Palestine
Selected texts from Josephus on early 1st Century Roman Israel by Dr. James D. Tabor. ARCHELAUS'S ETHNARCHY IS REDUCED INTO A [ROMAN] PROVINCE. THE SEDITION OF JUDAS OF GALILEE. THE THREE SECTS. THE DEATH OF SALOME. THE CITIES WHICH HEROD AND PHILIP BUILT. PILATE OCCASIONS DISTURBANCES. TIBERIUS PUTS AGRIPPA INTO BONDS BUT CAIUS FREES HIM FROM THEM, AND MAKES HIM KING. HEROD ANTIPAS IS BANISHED. CAIUS COMMANDS THAT HIS STATUE SHOULD BE SET UP IN THE TEMPLE ITSELF; AND WHAT PETRONIUS DID THEREUPON.
Josephus on John the Baptizer
Selected texts from Josephus on early 1st Century Roman Israel by Dr. James D. Tabor. HEROD THE TETRARCH MAKES WAR WITH ARETAS, THE KING OF ARABIA, AND IS BEATEN BY HIM AS ALSO CONCERNING THE DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. HOW VITELLIUS WENT UP TO JERUSALEM; TOGETHER WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF AGRIPPA AND OF THE POSTERITY OF HEROD THE GREAT.
Judaism and Jewish Resources
[Mythology and Religion]
Map of Ancient Canaan
The land known as Canaan was situated in the territory of the southern Levant, which today encompasses Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, and the southern portions of Syria and Lebanon. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
Little information survives about specific individuals in the Bronze and Iron Ages except in the Bible. Portraits, private letters and diaries are non-existent and biographical statements belong only to kings. Most people were identified by a single name, used in combination with their father's name when specificity was important. Names were often theophoric -- including the name of a god or goddess within them. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Religion of Ancient Israel and Canaan
Includes BronzeAge | IronAge | Death | Bible | Glossary | Bibliography | Activities. Religion in the ancient Near East was closely tied to place and politics. Deities were associated with particular places, such as cities and eventually nations. Temples functioned quite literally as the god's house, where the god resided in the form of a cult statue. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Sarcophagi and Tombs
These sarcophagi promote a degree of individuality in death, however, that contrasts with the typical communal type of burial. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Storage and Pots in Daily Life
In Canaan and Ancient Israel, people depended on storing sufficient food, fodder and seed to sustain them from one harvest to the next, and a little beyond. In the Bronze and Iron Age, people in the southern Levant never developed the kind of centralized storage and redistribution systems common in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
[Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Summary of the Torah
The Summary of the Torah by Dr. James D. Tabor. Based on Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
The Ark of the Covenant
The purpose of the Tabernacle was to house the Ark in which the tablets of the Ten Commandments were placed. The Ark was a 2 Â½ x 1Â½ cubit rectangular wooden chest with its lid being the Mercy Seat with the Cherubim of glory facing one another with wings outstretched. The blood was sprinkled between the judgment angels who were looking down and when they would see the blood the wrath of God was stayed. The Ark was overlaid with pure gold and had a gold crown.
The Consecration of the Priests
The Lord ordained specific ceremonies and sacrifices which required seven days to complete in order to consecrate a priest.
The Encampment of the Tribes of Israel
According to the Writings of Moses there were about 600,000 men and also women and children who left Egypt at the exodus. They came out of Egypt in rank and in file and as they journeyed in the wilderness the tribes would camp around the Tabernacle in God-specified locations.
The Five Levitical Offerings
The sacrificial system was ordained by God and placed at the very center and heart of Jewish national life. Whatever the Jews may have thought of it at the time, the unceasing sacrifice of animals, and the never-ending glow of fire at the altar of sacrifice, there is no doubt that god was burning into the hearts of every man, an awareness of their own sin. An object lesson that would make your skin crawl was to be an age long picture of the coming sacrifice of Messiah. The sacrifices pointed to Him and they were fulfilled in Him.
The Garments of the High Priest of Ancient Israel
This section is mostly concerned with a description of the high priest`s ceremonial robes known as the garments of glory and beauty.
The Jebusite Foundation
During the 1960's the British archeologist Kathleen Kenyon excavated the eastern slope of the city's hill. She succeeded in exposing, at the middle of the slope, the remains of the solid Jebusite defense wall that King David had to overcome in his conquest of Jerusalem. Only the small section pictured was exposed during the excavation.
The Laws Of The Basic Principles Of The Torah
THE TEXT USED FOR THIS TRANSLATION WAS THE RAMBAM LE'AM, PUBLISHED BY MOSSAD HA'RAV KOOK, JERUSALEM.
The Mercy Seat
The Mercy Seat was the lid or cover of solid gold on the ark.
"Pharisee" is from a Greek word (pharisaios) taken from the Heb/Aramaic "Perisha" meaning "Separated one." In the first century A.D. the Pharisees were one of the three chief Jewish sects, the others were the Sadducees and the Essenes. Of the three, the Pharisees were the most separated from the ways of the foreign influences that were invading Judaism, and from the ways of the common Jewish people in the land. [Bible History Online]
The Priest`s of Ancient Israel
The repentant Israelite who had gone through the gate of the tabernacle with his sacrifice and reached the bronze altar had proceeded as far as he dare go along the path of approach to God. Beyond that it was the responsibility of priests to go on his behalf and carry out spiritual tasks in the Holy Place. This they did as representatives for all the people. To them alone was the high privilege of the calling of God to serve him more closely than the congregation of Israel or even then the specially appointed Levites could.
The Purpose & Heart of the Law
If anyone tries to obey the law with their entire heart and be honest before God, they would inevitably fail miserably, have their pride broken and feel their guilt before God. To break the human spirit of its pride and create a broken heart before God was the deepest purpose of the Law.
In later Hebrew writings the word Samaritan speaks of the people of the district of Samaria in central Israel. They came from intermarriages of certain Israelites with the colonists from Babylon and other parts of Mesopotamia and Syria. These colonists had been placed there by the Assyrian kings Sargon II and Esarhaddon, after the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been conquered and the stronghold at Samaria fell to the Assyrians. It resulted in thousands of Israelites being deported away, never to be heard from again, and colonists being chosen by the Assyrians and placed in Samaria along with a governor. [Bible History Online]
The Scribes of the First Century A.D.
The Scribes were also called "lawyers" and the "doctors of the law". They were all highly educated from a young age, and at an appropriate time (some say by the age of 30) they were elected to office. They were not only copyists of the law, but they were also the preservers of the oral tradition, which included the commentaries and additions to the law. This oral tradition accumulated over the course of time into a great mass, and was regarded by most to be equal or even greater than the law itself.
The Shekinah Glory
Exod 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
The Tabernacle of Ancient Israel
Exod 25:1-9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering... And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.
The Tax Collectors
The Jewish people were under the yoke of foreign oppressors ever since the Babylonian captivity. During the New Testament times the land of Israel was within the province of Syria and the tax collectors were collectors of Roman taxes, they were extortioners, and very despised.
The Jews detested these tax collectors not only on account of their abusive and tyrannical attitude, but because the very taxes that they were forced to collect by the Roman government were a badge of servitude and a constant reminder that God had forsaken His people. The tax collectors were always classed by the people with the harlots, usurers, gamblers, thieves, and dishonest herdsmen, who lived promiscuous, lawless lives. Some of the common terms for the tax collectors were "licensed robbers" and "beasts in human shape." [Bible History Online]
The veil separated man from God.
Timeline of Ancient Canaan
The dividing of ancient history into chronological periods is the product of modern scholarship. The division between the Bronze and Iron Age marks a significant technological innovation, namely the adoption of ironworking, which over time replaced bronze as the most popular metal for tools, weapons and armor. [University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology]
The maintenance of armies and the defense of cities were of the highest concern for the Canaanites and Israelites. Over the course of time, styles of warfare and weaponry evolved in the southern Levant. Fortified cities were built for defense against marauding bands and enemy armies as early as 3000 BCE. Most of the evidence for early warfare comes from "Warrior tombs" of the Middle Bronze Age. Warriors were equipped with a bronze belt, a "duckbill" axe or a narrow, chisel-shaped axe, a spear and a leaf-shaped dagger with a wooden handle and a stone pommel. Large rounded stones were also fastened to handles to create the mace, a primitive blunt instrument. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Weaving & Textiles
Most families in the Bronze and Iron Age wove their own cloth and made their own clothing. Like breadmaking, this was an activity that figured prominently in the daily lives of women. In antiquity, the southern Levant was famous for the weaving of luxurious patterned and colored textiles. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Writing in Ancient Canaan
The maintenance of armies and the defense of cities were of the highest concern for the Canaanites and Israelites. Over the course of time, styles of warfare and weaponry evolved in the southern Levant. The alphabet is the singlemost important and enduring contribution the Canaanite culture has given to later civilization. The simple phonetic alphabet enabled the spread of literacy to the masses, rather than keeping it in the hands of the educated scribes.
The earliest writing, dating to the end of the 4th millennium BCE, has been found in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Writing involves the use of a system of signs or symbols to represent the spoken language. In Mesopotamia, scribes recorded commercial transactions on clay tablets. In Egypt, hieroglyphics were inscribed in stone and written on papyrus. The earliest writing took the form of pictographic signs in which pictures were used to represent words and objects. [Manners and Customs] [University of Pennsylvania Museum]
Yom Kippur - The Great Day of Atonement
One day each year the High Priest would draw aside the Veil and enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement (Heb. Kafar) and cover the nations sins from the judgement of God and receive forgiveness. It took place on the 10th day of the 7th month, Tishri. By our calendar that would be around the end of September or early October.
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