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The Cult at Kiriath Yearim: Implications from the Biblical Record

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Kiriath Yearim typically appears as little more than a geographical setting throughout the narratives and poetry of the Bible, and in some cases it is alluded to in such veiled terms that interpreters have often times not even noticed the allusion. This is understandable when we consider the principle events that take place in or around the city within the Biblical narrative: the conquest under Joshua, the fall of the Elides, the capture and the eventual return of the Ark from the Philistines, and the momentous installation of the Ark in Jerusalem under David. In all of these cases, attention is commanded by the dramatic circumstances and personalities involved as part of a larger historical yarn. Yet in each of these episodes, the circumstances involving Kiriath Yearim involve brief and subtle but concrete references to the city's cultic dimensions and point to its position as a major cult center in pre-Monarchic Israel. Additional passages from the prophetic corpus provide greater detail regarding a once-flourishing cult at Kiriath Yearim that had withered in subsequent eras, but which still occupied a position in the nation's religious consciousness and memory and which became an important theme in the prophetic discourse of the 8th through 6th centuries BCE.

Affiliations: 1: Sydney

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853308x348204
2008-09-01
2016-12-08

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