Regionaler Kult und lokaler Kult: Studien zur Kult- und Religionsgeschichte Israels und Judas im 9. und 8. Jahrhundert v. Chr. By DETLEF JERICKE. Abhandlungen des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins, vol. 39. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2010. Pp. ix + 248, illus. [euro] 54 (paper).
Scholars have long sought to reconcile the picture drawn of worship in ancient Israel and Judah by the Hebrew Bible with the evidence recovered by archaeology from the soil of the Levant. The Torah describes a monotheistic and aniconic Yahwism centered on a magnificent temple in Jerusalem battling backsliders into polytheistic Canaanite idolatry, while in contrast archaeology has revealed religious establishments outside the capital (e.g., Arad), small images of goddesses in private homes, and even a wife for Yahweh (at Kuntillet 'Alrud). In this book, the revision of a 2005 Heidelberg Habilitationshrift. Detlef Jericke presents a reconstruction of the religio-historical scene in Judah and Israel during the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.E. (c.880-720, Iron Age IIA), based primarily on the archaeological material.
Jericke situates the biblical states within their larger political and cultural context, that is, as small entities threatened by expansionist Assyria and participants in a wider "Syro-Phoenician" civilization (pp. 20, 36). In Iron Age IIA, the usual religious practice in northern Syro-Palestine was royal veneration of the polity's deities in a small shrine attached to the king's residence (which the author terms "local cult") alongside worship in a precinct near the city gate (cf. Tel Dan) frequented by both townspeople and residents of the surrounding hinterland ("regional cult") (pp. 142-43). Archaeologically, this worship is represented by benches for the deposit of votive offerings, equipment for libations and incense offerings, and mostly aniconic stele (massebot). Such artifacts are also characteristic of sacred sites in both Israel and Judah in the ninth-eighth centuries.
But what about the Solomonic...