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Introducing the Old Testament$
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R. J. Coggins

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780192132543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132543.001.0001

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What kind of Religion?

What kind of Religion?

(p.130) 9 What kind of Religion?
Introducing the Old Testament

P. R. Ackroyd

G. N. Stanton

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at some developments in the study of the religion of ancient Israel itself and its impact on the modern study of Israelite religious beliefs. Israel and Judah were two of the small nation-states which occupied a particular part of the territory which is called Syria-Palestine. What has come down to us in the Old Testament represents a kind of official version of religion. Priesthood and religious beliefs were the most significant divisions in Israelite society though priesthood in Israel never established itself as a sacred caste. Besides the priest, the king claimed to be the vital intermediary between the god and the community. According to the books of Kings it is clear that the king was the effective head of state and no mere figurehead and his control extended to the area of religious practice.

Keywords:   Israelite religious beliefs, Israel, Syria-Palestine, Priesthood, Old Testament, King

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