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November 13    Scripture

Ancient Israel: Manners & Customs
Daily Life and Customs in Ancient Israel

Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs Though there are some cultures in the Ancient Near East which were matriarchal in structure, Israel's was not one of them. Israel's family life was dominated by the husband (Pedersen, p. 61). When a marriage occurred the husband took his wife from her home and "ruled" over her, following the pattern of Genesis 3:16: To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Preuss, p. 103). Yet the Israelites "never went so far as the Muhammadan poet who says that mothers of mankind are only 'vessels' which receive the children without leaving any impress on them" (Pedersen, p. 61).

Burial Practices Ancient Jewish Laws Concerning the Burial of the Dead. In ancient Israel, burial practices were a sacred tradition that reflected the significance of death in Judaism. Ancient Jewish burial practices sought to celebrate the life of the individual while commemorating the deceased's death. Death in the Jewish religion is central because it is considered to be a part of life and a part of God's plan for humanity. In addition, the mourning that accompanies the death of a loved one is a reflection not of sorrow, but of the great value placed on the individual's life in Judaism.

Canaan & Ancient Israel Daily Life Home & Family. Education, work and leisure were concentrated in and around the home. According to the Bible, the ideal family in Ancient Israel was large and patriarchal. The extended family or beit 'av (father's house) consisted of three generations (father, married sons, grandchildren) living together. Excavated houses from the Bronze and Iron Age are small and suggest an average family size of four to eight people. Although extended families might have occupied more than one house, high mortality rates probably kept most families from achieving the biblical ideal.

Daily Life In Ancient Israel As it did everywhere else in the Ancient World, an Israeli woman's life was centered in the home. For the majority this was a small wattle-and-daub or baked clay and straw brick house in a village constructed around a spring or well. There were walled towns but apart from Jerusalem these were not that much bigger. An outside staircase to a flat roof might add to the living space, for the climate was mild and much of life was lived in the outdoors. Larger houses were built around a central courtyard. With space at such a premium inside the walls of a town, even a small tree or bush would have been a rarity, but most of the women who lived in a village would probably have had some sort of garden as a source of food, flowers and pleasure.

Education in Ancient Israel In this groundbreaking new book, distinguished biblical scholar James L. Crenshaw investigates both the pragmatic hows and the philosophical whys of education in ancient Israel and its surroundings. Asking questions as basic as "Who were the teachers and students and from what segment of Israelite society did they come?" and "How did instructors interest young people in the things they had to say?" Crenshaw explores the institutions and practices of education in ancient Israel. The results are often surprising and more complicated than one would expect.

Education in Biblical Times Education In Ancient Israel: Across the Deadening Silence. Going to school takes on a whole new meaning in this detailed study of education in biblical times. In this groundbreaking new book, distinguished scholar James L. Crenshaw investigates both the pragmatic hoes and the philisophical whys of education in ancient Israel and its surroundings. Knowledge was gained, according to Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, not only by patient observation and listening, but through communication with Wisdom, the feminine incarnation of the Divine. Drawing upon a broad range of sources, Crenshaw explores this religious dimension of education in ancient Israel, demonstrating how the practice of teaching and learning was transformed into the supreme act of worship.

Everyday Life in Ancient Israel It is somewhat difficult for the average modern Catholic to transport himself back, in imagination, to the life of the Jewish race as it must have been lived in Old Testament times. Following the universal tendency of men to think that things must always have been as they are now in our own lives, we can only too easily think that the people of the Old Testament differed from us only in the fact that they lived at an earlier time and in another part of the world. Actually, there was a considerable difference, as even a moment's thought on the question would lead us to believe.

Family and Household in Ancient Israel The idea "Family" in ancient Israel was a more expansive concept than our modern conception of the idea. "Family" existed at three basic levels: First, there was the bayit, or the household. This was similar to our nuclear family of parents with probably two to four children, as well as multiple generations, but it also might include debt servants, slaves, concubines, resident aliens, sojourners, day laborers and orphans.

Family Life and Relations The Old Testament. In Western societies individuals are often considered the societal units, brought together by some commonly felt need (commerce, industry, mutual defense, etc.). In contrast, Israel's social structure was tribal and therefore corporate (solidary) in its internal relationships, generating tightly structured communities. Whatever their size, these communities perceived themselves as totalities, bound together through internal agencies that made their presence felt in each individual member. The individual was neither overlooked, nor was he considered the unit on which the society was built. Instead, the family was the unit, and the individual found his place in society through the family and its extensions. The subtribe was really a greatly extended family; a collection of related subtribes formed a tribe; and a federation of tribes yielded a people.

History of Education in Ancient Israel and Judah Education is defined as, "teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible, but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialization)", then first formal education can be attributed to the nation of Israel c.1300 BCE, that is c.3300 before present, with adoption of the Torah which means "teaching", "instruction", "scribe", or "law" in Hebrew. Three positive Torah commandments, numbered ten, eleven and seventeen command provision of education in general society:

Houses of Ancient Israel This house is representative of private houses in ancient Israel and Judah from about 1200-586 B.C.E. Such houses, called pillared houses, have been found in both urban and rural settlements. Their ground-floor plans have two or three parallel rooms, partially or completely separated by rows of pillars, extending forward from a broad room at the back. Second stories are not preserved, but through careful excavation archaeologists have been able to demonstrate their existence.

Jewish Education in Ancient Times The importance of education in ancient Judaism is clearly seen in the attitude passed down in the rabbinic dictum that the world is poised on the breath of schoolchildren. Rabbinic law still obligates the father to teach his sons Torah, as well as a trade. The duty to instruct the people has its roots in the Torah with such precepts as Deuteronomy 6:7 where the parents are required to diligently teach the children.

Musical Instruments in Ancient Israel Music permeates the culture of ancient Israel. In the Iron Age, the place of music in the life of the Israelites cannot be overestimated. The Bible is rich with references to music and the role that music played in the social, political, and religious aspects of ancient Israel. Festive choruses enriched marriage ceremonies with music and dancing, and music expressed the joy and thanksgiving when the sheep were sheared and the grapes were gathered. Victorious armies were met with the songs of women, celebrating the return of Israel's warriors, and apparently, music sprang up spontaneously and effortlessly in day to day life as well.(1) In the religion of the Israelites, musical instruments played meaningful roles in the festivals and in the worship at the temple. In spite of the breadth and depth of music in ancient Israel and the many references to the types of instruments in Jewish texts, the instruments themselves are never explicitly described. Because of the uncertainty that surrounds the nature of ancient Israel's musical instruments, it is difficult to ascertain with certainty the attributes of musical instruments in ancient Israel. In this paper I will survey the references to instruments in ancient Israel and try to reconstruct the attributes of ancient Israel's instruments based on archaeological finds in Israel, from the information in the texts, and from the knowledge of instruments in surrounding cultures.

Schools and Literacy in Ancient Israel Schools and Literacy in Ancient Israel and Early Judaism. As a literary corpus, the birth and the transmission of the Hebrew Bible are directly linked to the use and the spread of writing among the people from whom it is born. The study of the role of writing, as well as that of the function and training of scribes in the society of ancient Israel, are thus necessary for understanding the concrete conditions out of which different biblical books were written and transmitted to us.

The Teacher in Ancient Israel By Carl Schultz, Ph.D. Houghton College, Houghton, NY. My interest this morning is the role of the teacher in ancient Israel. Here the picture is not as clear as we might hope. The data are too limited, scholarly views too varied and what does emerge from all this is strange to our western, twentieth century educational models. But by incorporating what we know from surrounding cultures--Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan--with what we know from Israel we are able to enlarge our information and arrive at some limited conclusions.

Women And The Law In Ancient Israel The importance of marriage to the Ancient Israelites is clear enough in the Bible, but nowhere is there any information on the ceremony itself and it is likely that custom varied from one locale to another. In Leviticus 18 there is a list of prohibited relationships (a man cannot marry his sister, etc.). These appear less concerned with the dangers of inbreeding and more concerned with ensuring that no woman can be related to a man in more than one way; for example, a woman cannot be both an aunt and a wife to the same man. A man was permitted to marry his dead wife's sister since he was no longer related to her.

Women in Ancient Israel The Apostle Paul urged wives to obey their husbands and husbands to love their wives. This simple exhortation neatly sums up the traditional idea of the family throughout Jewish history as pictured in the Bible. The man was the head of the house and the woman was the helpmate, but they were to work together for the benefit of each: the outcome was to be a partnership.

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