By John Barton (ed.)

ISBN-10: 0415350913

ISBN-13: 9780415350914

A complete advisor to the contents, ancient atmosphere and social context of the Bible.

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A complete consultant to the contents, historic atmosphere and social context of the Bible.

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This is made clear at Jericho, the oldest walled town on earth. 1; Yadin 1963:32–5; but for an alternative interpretation see Herzog 1992:845). In Palestine the presence of large fortified cities on tells—artificial mounds containing the ruins of previous sites— occurs in several archeological periods often with long gaps in between where cities were destroyed and/or abandoned. 1 Stone tower, Jericho, ca 7000 BCE. Polin. the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages (ca 1400–1150 BCE). By Iron II (1000–539 BCE) many fortified cities are present in Palestine.

Now…”’ WRITING AND THE ALPHABET Hebrew and Aramaic use a form of the alphabet that they borrowed from the Phoenicians. We know that both borrowed the alphabet from elsewhere because the alphabet they use is not an exact match for the consonant repertoire in either Hebrew or early Aramaic; further, the letter names that we know from Hebrew and Aramaic actually correspond to the pronunciation of those words in Phoenician, another clue that the source script was Phoenician. The earliest inscriptions using this alphabet date from about 1800 BCE, but the earliest extensive body of material comes from Serabit al-Khadem in the Sinai peninsula, written by Canaanite-speaking miners working the Egyptian turquoise mines there.

Koine Greek, like good Roman roads, no doubt facilitated the rapid spread of the Christian gospel. But Greek as one of the institutions of the biblical world provided more than just an efficient medium of mass communication. It provided also the vocabulary and grammar for expressing a new way of believing in the one God. Concepts like ‘grace’, ‘faith’ and love’, by constant repetition and emphasis, were filled with an evocative meaning they lacked before. Prophecy was reborn in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

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The Biblical World by John Barton (ed.)

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