Vol. 12 No. 2: The Desert Origins of God: Yahweh's Emergence and Early History in the Southern Levant and Northern Arabia

Guest Editors: Juan Manuel Tebes and Christian Frevel

This special issue publishes most of the contributions of a three-day workshop of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg "Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe" held on July 2019 at the Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr University Bochum. It seeks to explore and contextualize the configuration of the varied desert cultic practices from the southern Levant and northern Arabia during the Late Bronze/Iron Ages that may have contributed to the emergence of the Yahwistic cult. By this it raises also crucial questions on the early history of the Israelite and Judean religions in the first millennium BCE. Recent archaeological excavations in the Negev, southern Transjordan and Hejaz and new interpretations of old epigraphic and iconographic evidence are rapidly changing the biblical-based paradigm of the interactions between the desert cults and the Iron Age Levantine religions. Cultural contacts and the entanglement of religious networks are paramount for the understanding of this early history. Recent archaeological, iconographic and epigraphic studies of the Southern Levant contribute to the question of the emergence and early development of a Yahwistic religion. The issue adopts an interdisciplinary approach, assessing textual, archaeological, as well as epigraphic and iconographic data.