Temple Building and Temple Cult: Architecture and Cultic Paraphernalia of Temples in the Levant (2.-1. Mill. B.C.E.).

Author:Petit, Lucas P.
Position:Book review
 
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Temple Building and Temple Cult: Architecture and Cultic Paraphernalia of Temples in the Levant (2.-1. Mill. B.C.E.). Edited by Jens Kamlah. Abhandlungen des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins, vol. 41. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2012. Pp. xxiv + 586, 73 plates. 68 [euro].

This volume presents the proceedings of an international conference on temple buildings and cultic paraphernalia, held in May 2010 in Tubingen (Germany) on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Institute of Biblical Archaeology at the University of Tubingen. The editor, Jens Kamlah, brings together several conference lectures along with four additional articles in an impressive and coherent publication. Although it might have been preferable to use one language, Kamlah and the publisher should be commended for maintaining a nice standard format for all papers. The intriguing topic of this volume, temple buildings and cultic paraphernalia, remains, however, difficult and speculative, especially due to the frequent circular reasoning in many scientific studies: Objects are cultic when found in a cultic context, and contexts are cultic when containing those seemingly "cultic" artifacts. This circularity occurs also several times in Kamlah's volume and could have been avoided by setting clear criteria (cf. Daviau, p. 434) and by using standardized terminology and definitions. Nevertheless, this publication is still a highly notable contribution to our knowledge about Levantine temple building and cultic paraphernalia during the Bronze and Iron Ages.

The book is divided into four parts: "Northern Levant," "Southern Levant," "Jerusalem and Gerizim," and "Cultic Paraphernalia." After a short preface by Kamlah and his assistant Henrike Michelau, the reader gets to know the Institute of Biblical Archaeology at Tubingen (pp. xi-xiv), a nice introduction for those not familiar with this famous institute. The introductory part includes two more addresses of welcome and the conference program, which gives the reader an idea what to expect. However, this volume is much more than just the publication of a conference. It is a sourcebook that will inspire its readers from start to finish. The publication concludes with several indices--of authors (pp. 537-47), biblical texts (pp. 548-51), other ancient texts (pp. 552-53), deities (pp. 554-55), persons (pp. 555-56), places (pp. 557-64), and subjects (pp. 566-86), followed by seventy-three pages of black-and-white photographs.

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