God in the east


Avraham Faust has a short article in the current (November/December 2017) issue of Biblical Archaeology Review entitled “Archaeology, Israelite Cosmology and the Bible”.

We have found that homes, buildings, and city gates in ancient Israel had an eastern orientation, if possible. That is, main doorways and entrances were on the east side. Sometimes it was impractical for them to be on the east. But, the Israelites still avoided putting them on the west.

Israelites were not alone among ancient peoples in doing this. It probably had to do with orienting buildings toward the sunrise and away from the sunset. Sunrise represented life and sunset represented death. Mythologies in the Ancient Near East often supported the idea that beginning and renewal arose in the east. The Egyptians saw the west as the realm of death.

The Hebrew language supports the idea that the Israelites held this notion. The word for east…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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