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The Meaning of zēr*

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Abstract>The word זֵר (zēr) occurs ten times in the Hebrew Bible, where it designates a feature of several major cult objects in the tabernacle. What, specifically, does it mean? The tortuous history of exegesis related to this question is surveyed. Close attention is paid to the Septuagint and Letter of Aristeas, whose authors seem to have understood the word as referring to a guilloche molding, based on an etymological association with the word משזר. A novel solution is then proposed, according to which the זר should be identified with the cavetto cornice (German: Hohlkehlsims), a common element in ancient Near Eastern architecture and crafts. The cavetto cornice is a concave molding, quarter-circular in profile, which surrounds the top of a structure or object.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew University of Jerusalemraanan.eichler@mail.huji.ac.il

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/content/journals/10.1163/15685330-12341106
2014-04-16
2016-12-02

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