Religions of Israel's Transjordanian neighbors during the Iron Age II period: A comparative study of the religions of Edom, Moab, and Ammon
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Ammonites (Semitic people)--Religion.
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This dissertation studies the religions of the Iron Age II Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites by means of biblical evidence, extrabiblical evidence, and archaeological evidence. Based on the evidence, the study makes comparisons and contrasts among the three states, and compares these Transjordanian states with their contemporary Israel and Judah. Chapter 1 defines the idea of "religion" in ancient Near Eastern contexts, which includes both religious concepts and religious practices. This chapter summarizes recent research regarding religions in ancient Palestine, including Edom, Moab, and Bene-Ammon. The introduction of the past research urges the need for a more updated and comprehensive study. The first half of chapter 2 studies the Edomite religion through written evidence and pays special attention to Qos, the Edomite national deity. The archaeological finds from some excavated sites, such as Busayra, Horvat Qitmit, `En Haseva, also demonstrate various Edomite religious practices. Chapter 3 focuses on the Moabite religion, especially the Moabite national deity, Kemosh. In addition to the Hebrew Bible, the Mesha Inscription provides valuable information regarding the Moabite religious concepts and practices about Kemosh. The epigraphic evidence further reveals the existence of the Moabite cults other than Kemosh. The shrine from Khirbat al-Mudayna, the Moabite figurines, and their burial practices also sheds light on the Moabites' religious life both in public and in private. Chapter 4 studies the Ammonite religion. In addition to Milkom, which is mentioned in both biblical and extrabiblical accounts, the epigraphic evidence shows that the Ammonites also worshiped some other deities, such as El, Ba'al, and some Mesopotamian astral deities. The archaeological evidence, especially the sculptures and figurines, further provides information about the Ammonites' religious practices. Chapter 5 is the section for the comparisons and contrasts. In addition to the comparative study of those three Transjordanian states, this chapter summarizes the Israelite-Judahite religion from biblical accounts, extrabiblical documents, and archaeological finds. The summary pays special attention to certain issues mentioned in the previous chapters. Based on the summary and the previous three chapters, the last section makes comparisons from both sides of the Jordan.
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