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Gates and Their Functions in Mesopotamia and Ancient Israel

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Chapter Summary

This article is dedicated to the special socio-religious significance of the gate space in the life of the cities in the ancient Near East. The purpose is a comparative cross-cultural analysis of the gate space functions in Mesopotamia and the Levant based on textual, visual and archaeological evidence. The question of the cosmic significance, metaphysics and semiotics of the gate space as a liminal area will be consciously set aside as sufficiently treated both by Assyriologists, and anthropologists. Gates played a pre-eminent role in the cult, especially, of course, in the religious centres. The vision of Ezekiel describes sacrifices and offerings made outside the temple, at its gate surrounded by a courtyard. Often the gate squares were located even outside the city, which led Wright to deny the existence of a geographical entity "city" in Ancient Israel.

Keywords: Ancient Israel; anthropologists; assyriologists; Ezekiel; Gates; Levant; Mesopotamia; metaphysics



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