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ANE Rituals

The Practice of Divination in the Ancient Near East

Locating the Presence of Gods in Cult and Nature

Dr.

Uri Gabbay

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The Historical Uniqueness and Centrality of Yom Kippur

Prof.

Isaac Kalimi

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Joseph and the Dreams of Many Colors

Understanding the practice of dream interpretation in the Joseph story by using the ANE interpretive traditions as background.

Professor

Jack M. Sasson

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Joshua Circumcises Israel in Response to Egypt's Scorn

Before circumcision was a mitzvah, it was a cultural marker: Thus Joshua introduces circumcision to Israel at Gilgal (Joshua 5:2-9), Jacob’s sons insist that the Shechemites circumcise before Shechem marries their sister (Genesis 34), and the Israelites scorn the Philistines for being uncircumcised (Judges 14:3).

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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A Copper Laver Made from Women’s Mirrors

Who were these women and what were these mirrors used for? Reconstructing the narrative: the historical-critical method vs. midrash. 

Dr.

Rachel Adelman

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Turning to God when a Fertility Ritual Fails

Channah and Elkanah’s yearly feast resembles a Mesopotamian fertility ritual; when year after year God doesn’t respond, Channah turns to God directly and enters the Tabernacle.

Dr.

Kristine Henriksen Garroway

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Breaking the Heifer's Neck: A Bloodless Ritual for an Unsolved Murder

If a corpse is found in a field, and the killer is unknown, Deuteronomy 21 requires the elders of the closest city to break a heifer’s neck by a stream and declare that they did not spill “this blood.” How does this ritual of eglah arufah, “broken-necked heifer,” atone for Israel’s bloodguilt?

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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The Origins of the Biblical Pesach

Dr.

Kristine Henriksen Garroway

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Babylonian Rosh Hashanah

Battle, Creation, Enthronement, and Justice

Dr.

Uri Gabbay

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A Sin Offering for Birth Anxiety

Following the purification period after birth, a mother must bring a חטאת –“sin offering,” despite her having committed no obvious sin. This offers us a unique glimpse into the prehistory of the Israelite cult, when apotropaic rituals (used to protect against dangerous forces) like those in other ANE cultures, were the norm.

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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Ancient Israelite Divination: Urim ve-Tummim, Ephod, and Prophecy

In the Prophets, Israelite leaders such as Joshua, Saul, David, and Ahab use divination to help them make decisions, just as their ancient Near Eastern counterparts did. Why then, does the Torah sidestep the divinatory character of these objects and practices, and instead, emphasize their ritual and religious character?

Dr.

Jonathan Stökl

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God's Coronation on Rosh Hashanah

What Kind of King?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Moses' Apotropaic Intercession

Moses’ use of rhetoric to convince YHWH to undo his decree against Israel recasts ANE ritual intercessions such as the namburbu in a prophetic hue.

Dr.

Marian Broida

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