The Sanctuary of Bethel and the Configuration of Israelite IdentityeBook - 2006
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The series Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (BZAW) covers all areas of research into the Old Testament, focusing on the Hebrew Bible, its early and later forms in Ancient Judaism, as well as its branching into many neighboring cultures of the Ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world.
After Jerusalem, Bethel is the most frequently cited sanctuary in the Hebrew Bible. The book offers a detailed analysis of Bethel and its sanctuary from archaeological and biblical evidence. It reconstructs the history of Bethel and by analysing the presence of pro- and anti-Bethel propaganda, it argues that the latter, with its own pro-Jerusalem/Judah bias, has resulted in an unfair denigration of Bethel as an idolatrous place of worship. The study suggests that Bethel was a legitimate Yahwistic shrine and continued to be so even after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians. Hence, Bethel in a real sense was the principal means of configuring Israelite identity.