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Description - Ancient Israelite Religion by Susan Niditch

In Ancient Israelite Religion, Niditch illuminates the life and the customs of this ancient people, whose religion has so influenced human history. Drawing on the most recent literary scholarship and archaeological evidence, the book gives readers a compelling account of how Israelite culture changed through the three great periods of their past - the distant pre-monarchic age, the monarchies of Israel and Judah, and the Babylonian exile and return. The heart of her book is a rich account of the Israelites' religious life, as revealed in the anthology of ancient Israelite writings called the Hebrew Bible. Niditch explores how they described their experience in God, in the recurring media typical of traditional cultures. For example, God is often identified with fire (as in Moses' encounter with the burning bush), and several women experience annunciations - revelations that they will give birth to a male hero. Niditch offers fascinating insight into the practices of Israelite common religion, suggesting, for example, that Israelites made contact with the dead through mediums - a practice seen in the story of King Saul, who had the spirit of Samuel conjured up. She notes that the Bible contains condemnations of these and other customs, suggesting how widespread they actually were. Niditch also examines central themes of Israelite myth, concentrating on patterns of origin and death, and explores the legal and ethical dimensions of a faith founded upon the Israelites' covenant with God. Strikingly, their code includes much that is unsavory to the modern mind, such as slavery and the stark subordination of women, and there are hints in the Bible of the practice of child sacrifice. Theauthor also paints a detailed picture of the complex rituals - many centered on the purifying power of blood - that Israelite writers portray as framing their daily and annual patterns of life. Most important, Niditch's account allows us to see the world through the Israelites' eyes,

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195091281
ISBN-10: 0195091280
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 139mm x 13mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 23-Apr-1998
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Susan Niditch

Susan Niditch is Samuel Green Professor of Religion at Amherst College. She is the author of numerous books on the Bible, including War in the Hebrew Bible: A Study of the Ethics of Violence.

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