Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

Moab

Sheger, Ashtoret and Ashtor – The Patron Gods of Transjordanian Shepherds

Deuteronomy uses unusual parallel terms “the shegar of your herd and the ashtorot of your flock” to describe the offspring of livestock. These are names of the ancient West Semitic fertility goddess known as Ashtoret or by her less familiar bi-name Sheger. Her consort is (sometimes) the god Ashtor. What do we know about these deities and what do they have to do with livestock?

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

,

,

North Israelite Memories of the Transjordan and the Mesha Inscription

The Mesha Inscription describes Omri’s conquest of the mishor in the Transjordan, and Moab’s subsequent (re)taking of it, in the 9th century B.C.E. Reading Numbers 21 in conversation with archaeological findings confirms much of this and offers us a glimpse at the history of this region before the Omride conquest.

Prof.

Israel Finkelstein

,

Prof.

Thomas Römer

,

The Story of Jephthah: The Urge to Manipulate

The haftarah for Chukkat cuts off the end of the Jephthah story, ending on a triumphant note, with the defeat of Ammon. When looking at the whole story, however, we are presented with something very different. In Judges, Jephthah is a manipulative leader, who forces everyone’s hand, including God’s. Although his tactics lead to the defeat of Ammon, they also lead him to sacrifice his own daughter and to massacre thousands of his own brethren.

Professor

Jack M. Sasson

,

,

Jephthah's Wandering Biblical Message to the King of Ammon

An ancient quote, preserved in Jephthah’s speech to the King of Ammon, gives us a clue into the methods of the Torah’s redaction and the status of pre-pentateuchal sources.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

,

,

Inventing the Mythic Amorite Kingdom of Sihon

Inserting the Amorites into Transjordan to manage a Conflict between Cousins

Dr.

Rachel Havrelock

,

,