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Ancient Israel in SinaiThe Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Traditions$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195155464

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/0195155467.001.000

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 Israel's Desert Sanctuary

 Israel's Desert Sanctuary

(p.193) 9 Israel's Desert Sanctuary
Ancient Israel in Sinai

James K. Hoffmeier (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Contrary to the 19th-century views of Wellhausen that Israel’s desert sanctuary, known as the tabernacle or tent of meeting, was an invention of the 5th-century B.C. Priestly writer, the comparative material suggests otherwise. The closest analogy to the tabernacle is the tent encampment of Ramesses II (1279–1212 B.C.) depicted on several Egyptian temples. Furthermore, the Hebrew terms tabernacle and tent of meeting, used interchangeably in the Bible, are attested in Ugaritic texts from ca. 1200 B.C., and a number of the technical terms associated with the tent and related cultic utensils are of Egyptian etymology. These factors argue against the late portrayal of the tabernacle in the Torah and support the antiquity of this sanctuary.

Keywords:   Egyptian etymology, Priestly writer, Ramesses II, tabernacle, tent of meeting, Ugaritic, Wellhausen

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