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Herem

Proscribed/dedicated property

The Subverted City (Ir Hannidahat) in the Context of ANE Vassal Treaties

Deuteronomy’s requirement to destroy a city whose inhabitants worship another god and to leave it as an eternally desolate mound, can be understood in the context of ancient Near Eastern vassal treaties. Specifically, Hittite texts describe how kings dealt with rebellious vassal cities, by destroying them utterly and dedicating their land to the gods.

Prof.

Ada Taggar-Cohen

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Does God’s Property Belong to the Priesthood? Hittite Versus Biblical Law

Leviticus allows priests and their families to enjoy the donations and sacrifices to YHWH. This differs from Hittite practice of forbidding priests access to holy objects outside of limited ritual contexts. What is the reason for the difference between theses two priestly systems?

Prof.

Ada Taggar-Cohen

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Was There Ever an Ir Hannidahat (Subverted City)?

The rabbis claim that a “subverted” or “apostate” city, which Deuteronomy (13:13-18) condemns to destruction, “never was and never will be” (t. San. 14:1). Yet the account in Judges 19-21 of the destruction or ḥerem of Gibeah, its inhabitants, animals, and property, suggests that such “internal ḥerem” was an Israelite practice, and that Gibeah is being presented as a subverted city.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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Obliterating Cherem

The Torah describes a practice of declaring people cherem, which means that the person, and—in some cases—his family, would be annihilated, and his possessions donated to the Temple. The rabbis were unhappy with this law and used their homiletical approach to “obliterate” it.

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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