Sacred Dan and the Religion of Israel

Sacred Dan and the Religion of Israel

Genre: Non-Fiction

An introduction reviews previous scholarship, and concludes that the cultic aspects of Judges 17-18 have not been examined in any depth. It then goes on to deal with the historical and redactional issues which previous scholars have found interesting.

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About the Book

The issues of provenance and dating are then examined with the conclusion that the text was written down in the immediate aftermath of the Assyrian conquest of Dan in an attempt to preserve its sacred traditions. The text therefore reflects the self-understanding of the priests of Dan in the period immediately prior to its fall. The text of Judges 17-18 is then subjected to a rhetorical critical examination, followed by a more traditional form critical study. The next section is a comparison of similar cultic foundation stories from other cultures. Three major chapters examine the three major cultic issues raised by the text itself: images, priests and divination. Each chapter draws on evidence from the Hebrew Bible and its environment in an attempt to clarify the nature of the cult of Dan. Broadly, each chapter concludes that although there were some features peculiar to the cult reflected by Dan, in general, the Danite cult was not greatly different from that of its neighbours. A final chapter deals with what the text says about the tribe of Levi, with the conclusion that according to Judges 17-18, there was once a secular tribe of Levi. The conclusion draws a brief picture of cultic life in Dan in its final years.

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About the Author
Rev Dr Jason Bray

Jason was born and brought up in the South Wales Valleys, studied in Durham and Cambridge, and is an Anglican priest and deliverance minister. He's been a training officer, a university and college lecturer in Old Testament, and a parish priest. He's married and has two sons, and three cats.