Ancient Israel: Highlights from the Collections of the by Gabrielle V. Novacek

By Gabrielle V. Novacek

On January 29, 2005, the Oriental Institute celebrated the respectable public beginning of the Haas and Schwartz Megiddo Gallery. This party marked the go back of a few of the main awesome artifacts ever excavated within the southern Levant to everlasting public show. The Oriental Institute's prolific background of exploration within the area is testomony to a long-standing scholarly ardour for discovery and the pursuit of information. This quantity attracts from the momentum generated by means of the outlet of the Megiddo Gallery and current a variety of highlights from the Institute's higher Israel assortment.

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Ba‘al worship appears to have infiltrated into Israelite religious practice on a regular basis. In the book of Judges, the Israelites frequently fall from favor after taking up the worship of Ba‘al. Under the rule of Ahab and Jezebel, Ba‘alism reached a critical level, resulting in a challenge between Elijah and the priests of Ba‘al on Mount Carmel. At times, elements of the Canaanite Ba‘al myths were actually adopted by the Israelite tradition, including the use of Ba‘al’s epithet “Rider of the Clouds” which appears in the biblical Psalms: Sing to God, chant hymns to His name; Extol Him who rides the clouds; YHWH is His name ….

Bichrome Ware vessels were manufactured using a very high level of ceramic craftsmanship. Vessels were wheel-made from well-levigated, light-colored clays. The surfaces were then burnished and painted with a variety of motifs in red and black on the upper part of the body. These motifs were typically arranged into windows, or metopes, separated by triglyphs. Within the metopes, ibexes, birds, and fish were all commonly depicted. ONE OF THE MOST Early studies of Bichrome Ware postulated that many vessels could be ascribed to a single workshop in the vicinity of Tell el-‘Ajjul (located in modern Gaza City).

The early bronze age 5. 4 cm OIM A23921 DURING THE EARLY BRONZE Age in the southern Levant, the primary themes evident in cultic artifacts are the fertility of the land, vegetation, and herd animals. As farming and herding activities formed the basis for the ancient southern Levantine economy, it is not surprising that fertility was a primary concern of worship as well. Representations of horned animals are particularly common and this yoked and horned zoomorphic figurine from Megiddo is a classic example.

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