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Hittites

Scapegoat: The Origins of the Crimson Thread

During the Second Temple period, the scapegoat was tied with a crimson thread. While the Torah requires a crimson thread as part of the purification ritual for tzaraʿat (skin disease), it does not mention it by the scapegoat. Nevertheless, parallel practices found in 2nd millennium B.C.E. Hittite texts of Luwian origin imply that the use of a crimson thread is not a late innovation but an ancient part of the rite.

Dr.

Noga Ayali-Darshan

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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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The Significance of Hittite Treaties for Biblical Studies and Orthodox Judaism

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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Why Are There No Israelite Priestesses?

Hittite texts show us that in the ancient Near East, women, including the queen, served as priestesses. The biblical authors, in their fervor for YHWH, monotheism, and centralization of worship through one Temple and one priesthood, strongly objected.

Prof.

Ada Taggar-Cohen

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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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Who Was Living in the Land When Abraham Arrived?

Dr.

Yigal Levin

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