Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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ANE Culture

Lechem Hapanim: Bread in the Presence of YHWH

Each week, twelve fresh loaves of bread were placed before YHWH in the Tabernacle and Temple. What do we know about the practice and its significance?

Prof.

Jennie Ebeling

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Does the Bible Believe in the Evil Eye?

The belief in the power of an angry or jealous person’s eye to damage others was pervasive in the ancient Near East, in Jewish antiquity, and medieval times. But what does the Bible say?

Dr.

Nicole L. Tilford

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Confessing Sins You Didn’t Commit

The few examples of confessions in the Bible use only generic language about sin. In contrast, the post-biblical Yom Kippur liturgical confessions, written as long alphabetical lists, include detailed admissions about specific sins, many of which the petitioner likely never committed. This kind of confession goes back to the second millennium B.C.E. ancient Near Eastern texts for people suffering from illness.

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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The Scapegoat Ritual and Its Ancient Near Eastern Parallels

In the scapegoat ritual of Yom Kippur and the bird ritual of the metzora, sin/impurity is transferred onto an animal and it is sent away. These biblical examples have parallels in Eblaite, Hittite, Ugaritic, and Neo-Assyrian apotropaic rituals.

Dr.

Noga Ayali-Darshan

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The Debasement of Dinah

Is the Torah concerned about Dinah's consent? Why is Dinah not given a voice in the story?

Prof.

Shawna Dolansky

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The Tabernacle in Its Ancient Near Eastern Context

The parallels between the Tabernacle and ANE structures such as Rameses II’s military tent shed light on what the meaning and function of this ancient structure might have been.

Prof.

Michael M. Homan

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Torat Emet: The Jurisprudential Truth of Torah

Ben Sorer u-Moreh as a Test Case

Shira Hecht-Koller

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What Do Tzitzit Represent?

What is it about tzitzit that “recalls all the commandments of God and makes you observe them” (Num 15:39)? While the rabbis emphasize the importance of tzitzit, academic scholarship sheds light on what such a feature would have meant in an Ancient Near Eastern context.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Looking Through the Window: A Gendered Motif

Abimelech, Michal, Sisera’s mother, and Jezebel all look through a window, but their experience is not the same.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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Our Mummified Patriarchs: Jacob and Joseph

How was ancient mummification carried out? What does it say about Jacob and Joseph that their remains were handled in accordance with Egyptian burial practices?

Dr.

Rachel P. Kreiter

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Anxiety over Twins: Anthropological Insights into the Story of Jacob and Esau

Dr.

Kristine Henriksen Garroway

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What Was the Tachash Covering in the Tabernacle?

Animal, vegetable or mineral? Assyriology and archaeology provide an answer to an ancient question.

Dr. Rabbi

Norman Solomon

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