Jewish Studies

In Search for Aram and Israel

Politics, Culture, and Identity
Ed. by Omer Sergi, Manfred Oeming, and Izaak J. de Hulster

[Auf der Suche nach Aram und Israel. Politik, Kultur und Identität.]

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How did the constantly changing relations between Aram and Israel affect their history, their identity and the collective historical memory reflected in the Bible and other sources? The authors of this volume address the interactions between the Aramaean kingdoms and the Israelite Northern Kingdom during the Early Iron Age (12th-8th century BCE) focusing on archaeology and material culture vis-à-vis textual sources and historical memory.
Throughout its history, the Kingdom of Israel had strong connections with the Aramaean world. Constantly changing relations, from rivalry and military conflicts to alliances and military cooperation, affected the history of the whole Levant and left their marks on both Biblical and extra-Biblical sources. New studies demonstrate that Israelite state formation was contemporaneous with the formation of the Aramaean polities (11th-9th centuries BCE). Consequently, the Jordan Valley (and especially its northern parts and its extension to the valley of Lebanon) was a constantly changing border zone between different Iron Age polities. In light of that, there is a need to study the history of Ancient Israel not only from the »Canaanite« point of view but also within the political and cultural context of the Aramaean world. This volume brings together experts working in different fields to address the relations and interactions between Aram and Israel during the Early Iron Age (12th to 8th centuries BCE) through three main aspects: the first aspect, relates to the archaeology and the material culture of Aram and Israel, with a special focus on the Jordan valley as a political and cultural border zone. The material culture of the region is examined in its spatial as well as chronological context in order to discuss cultural traits as against political affiliation. The second aspect relates to the history of the Aramaean kingdoms highlighting the formation of territorial kingdoms in the Levant and the history of Israel in its Aramaean context. The third aspect relates to the question of historical memory especially as it was preserved in the biblical traditions. The place of the Aramaeans in the Biblical literature is discussed as a mean to clarify the construction of Israelite and Aramaic identity in a fluid cultural region.
Survey of contents
Omer Sergi/Izaak J. de Hulster: Some Historical and Methodological Considerations Regarding the Question of Political, Social and Cultural Interaction between Aram and Israel in the Early Iron Age

I. Aram and Israel: Political Relations, Political Borders

Israel Finkelstein: Israel and Aram: Reflections on their Border – Erhard Blum: The Relations between Aram and Israel in the 9th and 8th Centuries BCE: The Textual Evidence – Assaf Kleiman: The Damascene Subjugation of the Southern Levant as a Gradual Process (ca. 842–800 BCE)

II. In Search of 'Aramaean' Material Culture

Aren M. Maeir: The Aramaean Involvement in the Southern Levant: Case Studies for Identifying the Archaeological Evidence – Amihai Mazar: Culture, Identity and Politics Relating to Tel Reḥov in the 10th-9th Centuries BCE (with an Excursus on the Identification of Tel Reḥov) – Jutta Häser/Katja Soennecken/Dieter Vieweger: Tall Zirāʿa in north-west Jordan between Aram and Israel – Nava Panitz-Cohen/Robert A. Mullins: Aram-Maacah? Aramaeans and Israelites on the Border: Excavations at Tell Abil el-Qameḥ (Abel-beth-maacah) in Northern Israel – Yifat Thareani: Enemy at the Gates? The Archaeological Visibility of the Aramaeans at Dan – Benjamin Sass: Aram and Israel during the 10th-9th centuries BCE, or Iron Age IIA: The Alphabet – Izaak J. de Hulster: Material Aramaeisms? Sphragistic Reflections on the Aram-Israel Border Zone through a Case Study on Hazor

III. Aram and Israel: the Question of Identity

Guy Bunnens: Confrontation, Emulation and Ethno-genesis of the Aramaeans in Iron Age Syria – Stefania Mazzoni: Identity and Multiculturality in the Northern Levant of the 9th-7th century BCE: With a Case Study on Tell Afis – Herbert Niehr: The Power of Language: Language Situation and Language Policy in Samʾal – Omer Sergi: The Gilead between Aram and Israel: Political Borders, Cultural Interaction, and the Question of Jacob and Israelite Identity – Angelika Berlejung: Family Ties: Constructed Memories about Aram and the Aramaeans in the Old Testament – Nili Wazana: Ahaz and the Altar from Damascus (2 Kings 16:10–16): Literary, Theological, and Historical-Political Considerations – Manfred Oeming: »And the King of Aram was at war with Israel«: History and Theology in the Elisha Cycle 2 Kings 2–13

Omer Sergi is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University.

Manfred Oeming Geboren 1955; 1984 Promotion und 1989 Habilitation in Bonn; seit 1996 Professor für alttestamentliche Theologie an der Universität Heidelberg.

Izaak J. de Hulster Born 1979; 2008 PhD (Utrecht); since 2014 University Researcher at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki; 2017 Habilitation (Göttingen).


The following reviews are known:

In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 42.5 (2018) (Cat Quine)
In: Bulletin for Biblical Research — 28.3 (2018), S. 459–462 (Caleb Chow)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — (3/2020) (Brandon Simonson)
In: Salesianum — 80 (2018), S. 559–561 (Rafael Vicent)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 41 (2018), S. 235 (C.T.B.)