Objects discovered in archaeological excavations in the southern Levant (Israel/Palestine, the Holy Land) identified as “art” are discussed. The first issue is what constitutes art. Secondly, because of the presumed prohibition on images in the Hebrew Bible, one has to decide whether there was art in the southern Levant and especially ancient Israel/Judah. Is there something that could be called southern Levantine art, or are there only copies or imitations of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Syrian, or Phoenician art?

“Art” refers to the skill to fashion material things with tools or to fashion visual materials with some aesthetic value. The word “art” is related to “craft” in the same way it is related to “artifact.” (The term “iconography” will not be used as it is used more in relation to religion and symbol systems [as by the so-called Fribourg school].) Both “art” and “craft” refer to valuable expensive objects worked by hand. In the premodern world, artists were really artisans. Whether one can speak of “aesthetics” in ancient Near Eastern art is a matter of dispute, but this might be the case in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In this region there was no theoretical reflection, as was the case in Greece. There are no specific words for “art” or “artist” in the languages of the ancient Near East. There was no case of “art for art’s sake”; rather, art was functional. Egyptian statues were not on display in an art gallery but served as substitute bodies in tombs in the funerary cult. The depiction of the lion hunt of Ashurbanipal of Assyria might be part of royal ideology, but the representation is still very realistic. The art of this region comprised mostly anonymous works. It is biased to argue that there was no art (or that it was rare) in the southern Levant, especially in Israel, because of the presumed prohibition on images. The so-called Bildverbot is not against images or art as such; there were images in Israel. According to the biblical description, the temple of Solomon was decorated. The use of images continued even into later periods, as shown by Persian coins from Yehud and Samaria.

Did the southern Levant have its own type of art? There is very little information on the southern Levant in books on ancient Near Eastern art. Some argue that ancient Israel contributed little, and the art of this region is usually described as “Phoenician.” This is also based on a misconception, namely, that Phoenician artists decorated the temple of Solomon. The in-depth study of the art of this region has hardly begun. Very important projects are to publish the seal corpus and the ivories from Samaria.

Southern Levantine art is not as easy to identify and describe as Greek or Egyptian art. There is no continuity as in Egypt, nor stylistic unity as in Greece. The region was never wholly unified politically, and there were different cultural identities at play. The quality of its art can be ascertained only by what has survived and has been found, by the materials available and the artistic techniques (molding, carving, engraving, sculpting, painting) used. The region was not all that sophisticated culturally when compared to regions such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Phoenicia. During the Bronze Age, there were very strong Egyptian and Hittite influences. The influence from Egypt extended over a long period. During the Iron Age, there were Phoenician and Assyrian influences. The region was open to conquerors and to a range of influences, while art and artifacts were imported and used for trade. For this reason, the art of the region reflects syncretism and hybrid forms. In spite of this, there are still some pieces that might be considered to represent “southern Levantine art.” Some objects might be local in origin, though influences in the Qitmit material are evident. A “Philistine” iconography has been described. As for Judah and Israel, there might have been no significant difference between the arts of these regions.

An overview in historical order will be presented with selected “masterpieces” from the major media: stone (reliefs, statues, and glyptic but excluding architecture), metal (bronze, gold, and silver including figurines, pendants, plaques, and jewelry), ivory carvings, clay (or terra-cotta including decorated pottery, plaques, and figurines), and painting (walls and shards). The following dating system will be used (all ca. and B.C.E.): Early Bronze Age, 3200 to 2300; Middle Bronze Age, 2300 to 1550; Late Bronze Age, 1550 to 1200/1150; Iron Age I, 1200/1150 to 980; Iron Age IIA, 980 to 830; Iron Age IIB, 830 to 722/701; and Iron Age IIC, 722/701 to 587.

Art, Bronze and Iron Age

Lion and lioness relief from Beth-Shean. Kim Walton, courtesy of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

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Bronze Age.

Although sculpture and reliefs are rarer in this region, there are examples made of stone. A bull statuette comes from Early Bronze–Age Arad, as does a stela with incised figures, which might show an erotic scene. Incised stone from Megiddo shows images of humans (e.g., a lyre player) and animals; one, an “abbreviation” of the motif of the pharaoh as a lion with the enemy, shows the poor quality of the art. A crude stone image of a naked woman (goddess?) is from Tel Kitan.

Beth-Shean has Middle Bronze–Age and Late Bronze–Age statues and reliefs of pharaohs and Egyptian officials. Local deities such as Mekal, the goddess Anat, and an unknown goddess in Egyptian style are depicted. Mekal is seated, with a crown that features horns and a streamer; he is holding an Egyptian ankh and was scepter. He is worshipped by Egyptians, and there are inscriptions in hieroglyphs. One stela shows a lion and a dog fighting or, possibly, a lion and lioness at play. This is a rare example of narrative art and a fusion of foreign and local elements. Statues in the form of sculptures come from Hazor. One shows a basalt orthostat of a crouched lion (combining relief and sculpture in the round, the body in low relief and the head and paws sculpted in the round). Parts of a lion and the head of a lioness, a badly damaged headless and legless god with weapon on a bull pedestal, a seated headless man with a cup, another man on a chair with freestanding legs with a broken cup (head intact), and an altar showing a disk with four rays reflect northern (Hittite) influences. Ten stelae, a male statue, offering tablet and lion orthostats, all of basalt, come from a sanctuary in the lower city of Hazor (Area C). The stelae are small (between 25.6 and 8.6 in [65 and 22 cm] high); one shows two hands raised to a moon crescent with a disk. The seated figure holding a cup might be an ancestor, as is the case with other examples known from Ebla and Qatna in Syria. Egyptian statues come from Megiddo. A serpentine statuette was found in the garden of the École Biblique in Jerusalem, as was part of what might be an Egyptian-style capital.

A stela from Balu’a (Jordan) depicts a ruler with a god and goddess in Egyptian style. A stela fragment from Tell Beit Mirsim is not a snake goddess but rather a ruler with a cloak with rolled borders, as on a limestone plaque from Shechem. A seated ruler (headless) comes from Zippor. Lachish graffiti show a god with a large raised spear, which might be described as Baal-Seth slaying a serpent. Naked women lying on a bed are shown on limestone statuettes from Deir el-Balah and might be linked with Egyptian material sometimes called “concubines.”

In metal, there is a beautiful silver beaker from En Samiya with Mesopotamian mythological motifs: a Janus figure with a bull body holding plants, an upright serpent, a crawling serpent, and two figures holding a sun disk with a face. Various bronze statuettes are known, including a mold for a horned goddess from a sanctuary at Nahariya and horned ladies (goddesses) from Megiddo. Figurines of gold leaf, silver, and lead depict naked women, some of whom might be goddesses. Menacing and seated bronze statuettes are usually identified with the gods Baal and El, but the figurines with shields are, rather, the god Reshef. A menacing goddess from Dan might be Anat or Astarte. There are bull images from Hazor and an exceptional sixteenth-century B.C.E. bull figurine of bronze overlaid with silver, found in a clay shrine at Ashkelon; a bull with its shrine also comes from Hazor. A gold foil from a temple in Lachish depicts a naked woman on a warhorse and a plaque from Hazor, a ruler. Pendants and earrings from Ajjul are in the forms of stars, crescents, and falcons. They were ornamental but, even more importantly, magical-protective. A stylized woman with a Hathor hairdo and a plant is also known. A crude bronze snake was found in a temple in Timnah (thirteenth–twelfth centuries), and snakes also come from Ekron and Hazor. An Egyptian bronze mirror from Akko shows a naked woman and a bronze from Beth-Shean, a naked female lute player.

Although paintings are not as well known in the southern Levant as in, for example, Egypt, new finds have changed the picture. Frescoes decorate the floors and walls of the Middle Bronze–Age palace at Tel Kabri. The floor of its Ceremonial Hall is well preserved, with a checkerboard pattern of red lattice. In the center of the room is a design surrounded by floral motifs including lilies, pomegranate blossoms, and crocuses. Only small fragments of plaster from the wall paintings have survived. The paintings of swallows in the sky, flora, and ships at sea are Aegean in style, similar to the frescoes from the West House at Akrotiri (on the island of Thera). The artists might even have been brought from there.

In the Late Bronze–Age temple at Lachish, painted plaster decorated the eastern wall of the main hall in red, yellow, white, black, and especially light blue. From Beth-Shean comes painted plaster, and a trumpeter is painted on pottery. A shard from Megiddo shows warriors.

Early Bronze–Age bull heads of ivory, bone, and stone are known. From Middle-Bronze Pella in Jordan comes an ivory box with Egyptian motifs (winged sun disk, two lions standing on uraei), which was presumably made in the Levant. Ivories are important sources for art, and most famous are the Late Bronze–Age Megiddo ivories. These have Egyptian motifs like a dancing Bes (an Egyptian household god, never winged) and a female sphinx. A winged demon is depicted. There are scenes with war chariots and banquets. One shows a triumphant king on a sphinx throne with a queen attending him (handing him a lotus flower and a towel), with servants, and in a chariot with captives under a winged sun. Another ivory has a woman with inlaid glass eyes. An elaborately decorated ivory shows Hittite influence with figures supporting a winged disk with their uplifted arms, as well as bulls and sphinxes. A beautiful box or casket was carved from a single piece of ivory and decorated with lions and sphinxes. The bodies are in relief and the heads, sculpted in the round, face front. Ivories also come from Tell el-Farʿah, which experienced strong Egyptian influence, and from Lachish with the heads of humans, ducks, and gazelles and a cat figurine.

A large hand of ivory from Lachish might have been part of a statue. Only the back of an ivory figurine showing a woman with a royal headdress survived. An ivory box is flanked by lions, sphinxes, and griffins. Bone inlay on an ivory box from Hazor shows the head of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, who is also on an ivory clapper and other decorations. A small wooden chest with bone inlays from Middle-Bronze Dan shows four doves. A bronze bowl from a tomb in Jordan contained an ivory box in the form of a fish. A vessel of faience in the form of a lion from Hazor was used for liquid offerings. An alabaster vessel of a fish imported from Egypt comes from Tell el-Ajjul.

From the Early Bronze Age, clay figurines from Leisan depict women with raised arms (goddesses or worshippers/wailers?), while a rider on a donkey and a man with a stand on a table (a banquet or offering scene) come from Zeraqon. Clay anthropoid sarcophagi from Lachish, Beth-Shean, and especially Deir el-Balah reflect Egyptian burial customs from the fourteenth to the twelfth centuries. Decorated pottery was imported from Cyprus and the Aegean; one, a charioteer, comes from Mycenae. Other decorated pottery depicts a tree, interpreted as a tree goddess, flanked by goats. Middle Bronze–Age vases in the form of a fish, animals, and human heads are also known.

Clay stands (sometimes called “cult” stands) are decorated with plants and animals, sphinxes, and naked women, with good examples from Megiddo. Terra-cotta plaques depict naked women with raised arms holding plants (not snakes!) or their breasts. A unique mold shows a woman on a horse flanked by two smaller male figures. A plaque from Dan shows a dancer. Also unique is a clay plaque from Revadim showing a woman who has been called a “Dea Nutrix” but might be in childbirth. Clay masks were found at Hazor and might be linked with the ancestor cult. These have holes but are too small to have been worn; they were hung on a wall or tied to the head of a statuette.

Southern Levantine seals (glyptic) are commonly stamp seals and not of the cylinder type. Most seal-amulets were made of steatite (soapstone). Some have images of a naked woman with large ears flanked by plants, perhaps a goddess, and a couple in an embrace. Sealings from Zeraqon have depictions of animals with a shepherd and a man and a woman in presumed coitus.

Iron Age.

There are fewer stone statues and stelae than in the Bronze Age. Nothing comparable to the monumental statues and reliefs of Neo-Hittite art from, for example, Aleppo, Tell Halaf, Carchemish, and Zincirli (in southern Turkey) is known from the southern Levant. Two reliefs with the symbol of the moon god were found flanking the entrance at a sanctuary in Rudschm el-Kursi near Amman. Limestone statuary (24 pieces) from the Citadel of Amman (eighth–sixth centuries) is unique; some depict rulers and not necessarily gods. One has an inscription: “Yerah-Azar, son of Zakir, son of Sanipu.” One ruler wears a scarf and holds a lotus flower and the other, Egyptian atef crowns. There are also a female statue and the heads of a bearded man and a woman. Foreign influence is clear in these statues, but there are still some indigenous elements. A rare example of Moabite statuary is from Al Karak and might depict a ruler. At Shihan, a stele of a warrior (a deity?) was found, but the dating is disputed; it might be from the eighth century or even earlier (ca. thirteenth–twelfth centuries). An arm fragment of a small basalt statue was found in Diban. From Bethsaida comes the very important discovery of a ninth- to eighth-century stela, which stood and formed part of the cult in the gateway. It depicts a bull-headed warrior, who might be a combination of the weather god Hadad and the moon god Sin of Harran, but might represent a local deity.

No statues or stelae of the kings of Israel and Judah have survived, nor have any royal inscriptions. A fragmentary royal relief of the Babylonian king Nabonid is from Khirbet es-Sela in Jordan. In Judah, a Tel Eton tomb has crude figurines of lions flanking the entrance and facing into the tomb to protect the living from the dead. From Tell Beit Mirsim (ninth–eighth centuries or perhaps still Late Bronze IIB) come a crouching lion statuette (part of a lion base for a statue) and a libation tray. From Ekron comes a limestone baboon representing the Egyptian god Thoth. At Khirbet el-Qom, there is a graffito in the form of a hand (with an inscription).

The glyptic material of the Iron Age contains various motifs. Among these are the smiting pharaoh, winged sun disk (with inscription “to the king”), moon god, lion, and the goddess Ishtar (which shows Assyrian influences).

Bronze statuettes of seated gods of the “El” type continued, as one example from Kinneret shows. A well-known bull figurine comes from the so-called bull site near Samaria. The bull of the Zebu type was cast in the lost-wax technique. This was a symbol of the storm god. A ritual stand was found at Megiddo. Sometimes thought to depict a deity and worshipper, its lack of divine attributes shows it instead to be a ruler receiving homage.

A bronze and silver scepter head decorated with animal heads was found under the stones of an altar at Dan. It is understood to have belonged to a priest or a king. From Philistine Ekron comes a silver hoard with pendants, earrings, and beads; one incised pendant depicts a goddess identified with Ishtar. A metal plaque from Dan shows a goddess on a bull. A jewelry box with earrings was found at Achzib. From Tel Sera comes a crescent-shaped standard of the moon god Sin of Harran, left by the Assyrian army. More Assyrian influence is shown by a bronze head of the demon Pazuzu and by a plaque of the demon Lamashtu. A hoard of 26 bronze figurines (mostly of Egyptian gods such as Osiris and Horus but also of two more local types of figurines) from Ashkelon (and an example from Gibeon) might be dated to the pre-Persian period. Bronze situlae used in religious ceremonies were found at Ashkelon.

Carved bone handles from Tell Abu el-Kharaz and Tell en-Naṣbeh depict a sphinx and a bull and have analogies with objects from Nimrud. From Hazor comes a carved handle depicting a winged being. An ivory statuette from ninth-century Rehov depicts an enthroned ruler. A large collection of ivories comes from Iron–Age IIB Samaria. One depicts a ruler (a crowned queen) on a throne with a male servant behind. Another shows Egyptian goddesses and the Egyptian Horus child on a lotus flower. The “woman at the window” (who need not be a goddess or a prostitute, perhaps a queen) motif is well known. Other motifs include a striding winged sphinx, lions and bulls, and floral patterns. Ivories are now known from Iron–Age I Ashkelon, thus filling the gap that followed the Late Bronze–Age material.

Faience amulets come from Achzib, Dor, and Atlit, many depicting Egyptian deities and symbols. There are 100 engraved Tridacna shells; some depict birds and a deity in a nimbus.

The material from Horvat Teiman (Kuntillet Ajrud) in Sinai (ca. 830–750 B.C.E.) is famous because of the inscriptions on pithos A mentioning YHWH and Asherah, but there are also examples of drawings and paintings. This might be called “popular art” and, because of its low quality, the work of provincial artists. Egyptian, Phoenician-Syrian, and Assyrian influences might indicate itinerant artists. The pithoi show two Bes figurines, a seated figure playing a lyre, animals (a cow and calf, bull, lions, horses, ibex, boar, animals flanking a tree), and a procession of worshippers. There is a seated figure on a potsherd. Most of the 12 identified mural paintings were originally on gypsum-plastered walls but found in the debris of the floors (with the exception of No. 12, found on a doorjamb). Shown are figures on a city wall, a checkered border design, and the remains of a guilloche border (9 in [23 cm] high) of lotuses and buds. One painting shows a seated figure (female?) in red, yellow, and black, with a lotus flower. It might be a ruler (Judean?), like the figure on a painted shard from the palace of Ramat Rahel. This seated, bearded figure is more in Assyrian style. Before being painted in red, it was first outlined in black. It might be described as official art; some understand it to be a ruler of Judah. On the Tell Deir Alla material (eighth century), above one of the inscriptions is a reclining sphinx with raised wings, but part of its head is missing. As is the case at Kuntillet Ajrud, this is more a drawing than a real painting.

Art, Bronze and Iron Age

Taanach cult stand. Kim Walton, courtesy of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

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Cult stands in terra-cotta come from tenth-century Taanach. Two famous examples, 35.4 in (90 cm) and 17.7 in (45 cm) high, are known. Both are hollow and have basins on top, but the decoration is different. The first one shows five superimposed pairs of lions and sphinxes (which go back to Anatolia) and a scene of a tree with animals and a figure grappling with a serpent. The second is even more intriguing. It has four elaborately decorated tiers with pairs of animals and Mischwesen (hybrid, mythological creatures) on the sides. On top there are griffins, lions on tiers two and four, and sphinxes on tier four. On the lower register is a nude woman with raised arms between two lions. Whether she is a “mistress-of-the-lion” is uncertain because she hardly touches their ears. Above her are two winged sphinxes with female faces. Then, there are animals flanking a tree and, on top, a winged sun disk above a calf flanked by volutes. Each cult stand might have served as the podium for a statue of a deity. A cult stand from Pella in Jordan shows women on lions, which might mean that they are goddesses. An example showing faces was found at Beith Aula (eleventh century) near Hebron. A fragment from Jerusalem (tenth–ninth centuries) has been linked with the motif of the defeat of Humbaba. The “dancers stand” comes from the temple of Stratum X (eleventh century) at Tell Qasile. Another stand is the “musicians’ stand” from Ashdod Stratum (tenth century), with a bowl mounted on top and five figures with large heads and eyes with musical instruments (cymbals, pipes, lyre, hand-drum). Figurines of women with their hands on their heads (wailing) formed part of a container used in wailing and burial rites. Other stands from Beth-Shean are decorated with snakes and birds or women. A new find from Rehov is a four-horned stand or altar with a gate and windows, a tree, and two nude women; there is also a model shrine decorated with a lion on the roof. Fragments of model shrines come from a pit outside a Philistine shrine at Yavneh, presumed to have been intentionally (ritualistically?) broken. Depicted are lions, women, and musicians.

Art, Bronze and Iron Age

Incised ivory from Megiddo showing a king and his court. Kim Walton, courtesy of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

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A terra-cotta head of 2.4 in (6 cm) from Beth-Shean formed part of a statue of ca. 8.6 to 9.8 in (22–25 cm); a hand and forearm from Deir Alla formed part of another statue. A fragment of a male bearded head from Dan belonged to a half life-sized painted statue of a king or deity. Also to be mentioned is a faience head of the statuette of a ruler from Dan and heads with the atef crown (gods or rulers?).

A unique clay figurine is the so-called Ashdoda, named after the city where it was found. It shows a female figurine, with a long neck and breasts, merging with a chair; there are comparative examples in the Aegean world. The terra-cotta plaques of naked women show continuity with the Late Bronze Age but are not typical of Judah. There are women supporting their breasts, holding children, and disks (hand-drums and not the sun or cakes). Typically Judean, with 50 percent of the figurines from Jerusalem, are the female figurines called “Judean pillar figurines,” of which around 1,000 are known. The lower body, which was made on the potter’s wheel, is “pillar”-shaped (and not a tree trunk). Some heads, made in molds, are large and wear wigs. They were joined to the body with a peg. Others have pinched, bird-like faces. All of the figurines have large breasts, which they support or present. Some figurines show remains of paint. Whether these represent the goddess Asherah is debatable; they might be “prayers in clay,” representing the devotee and not the deity, the worshipper and not the one being worshipped. Horse riders start to appear in the seventh century (Lachish and Meqabelein). One example from Jerusalem shows not a sun disk but a flower. These are not necessarily gods and might be symbols of a new military elite. An object in the shape of an otter with wheels has been described as a toy.

Important hoards of clay figurines were found at Achzib and Horvat Qitmit. From Achzib come women with hand-drums, a seated pregnant woman, animals (a cat, a baboon, a donkey, horse riders), a woman in a bath washing her legs, a woman baking, and masks. At Qitmit, objects representing a goat, a pig, a dog, a bull, ostriches, doves, a lion, ibexes, and a winged sphinx were found. There are also large jars in the form of a bearded male worshipper (known from Carthage), a nude woman holding her breasts (part of a shrine model), and a figure of a dancer and a double-pipe player (perhaps part of a stand). A head of a horned goddess is part of a larger statue of ca. 11.8 to 15.7 in (30–40 cm), as is an arm. A dagger and a hand grasping the hilt of a dagger were also found. These figurines show foreign (Phoenician) influences but also local styles; the objects were locally produced, although no workshop has been found. Whether the objects can be described as truly “Edomite” art is debatable. From Ain Hazeva come human figurines (male and female) in the form of offering stands; these are not deities or ancestors but rather offering bearers as they have containers on their heads.

Containers made of clay might be decorated. Bowls for offering liquids (wine, oil, milk) are decorated with animal heads, the mouth serving as a spout. Cups are made in the form of the heads of lions or flasks and containers in the form of the bodies of women or even the Egyptian household god Bes.

Pottery, including jugs, is decorated with birds, fish, flora, and geometric patterns. Philistine bichrome ware has bird motifs; an exceptional work of art is the so-called Orpheus jar (because of its animals and lyre player) from Megiddo. A painted jar from Tell Zera’a shows lions and other animals as well as a lyre player.

Assessment.

Material art from the Early to Middle Bronze Age in the southern Levant is very limited, but there is more from the Late Bronze Age. The number of pieces dated to the Iron Age is growing by the day, and the picture is slowly changing. Stone statuary from Judah and large terra-cotta statues from various regions (from Dan in the north to Qitmit in the south) refute the idea of aniconism in these regions.

In both the Bronze and Iron Ages, there were trends toward what has been called an “international” style because of clear influences from foreign regions. Such influences were adapted, but there are also instances of innovation. Assimilation is clear but so too is the development of indigenous styles. The material at our disposal is primarily from the upper classes and the elite. Some objects reflect prestige value and were imported for this reason. Some objects, such as the ivories, might have served as booty or as gifts from abroad.

In spite of the poor quality of the material from some regions and periods, one might still speak of “art” in the broad sense of the word. Southern Levantine art was “eclectic” because it adapted influences from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, and Phoenicia. This was especially true in periods of foreign rule such as that of Egypt in the Late Bronze Age and Assyria in Iron Age II. But then there are contributions that might be described as “indigenous.” Because there were local differences and characteristics, one should distinguish between the different regions within the southern Levant. Whether one can easily distinguish specifically “Philistine,” “Judean,” or “Edomite” art is not clear; rather, it is a matter of dispute in need of further study. But there does not seem to have been much difference between the arts of Judah and of Israel.

Not all anthropomorphic representations should be identified as deities, as has been the case especially with nude women; they may be representations of worshippers and not of the worshipped. Some biblical texts might be linked with some of the material that has been discussed. Texts refer to the manufacture of idols or the “graven image” and “molten image” (e.g., Judg 17:3–4). There is sculpted stone (e.g., Judg 3:19) and cast-metal work (e.g., Num 33:52; Isa 40:19), which are linked with idols in a negative sense (e.g., Isa 40:19–20, 44:9–17). Ezekiel 23:14 could refer to wall paintings. 1 Kings 22:39 mentions the “ivory house” of King Ahab, and Amos 3:15 mentions houses of ivory.

[See also BETH-SHEAN, BRONZE AND IRON AGE; DAN; EKRON; HAZOR; JERUSALEM, BRONZE AND IRON AGE; LACHISH; and MEGIDDO.)]

Bibliography

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  • Ben Shlomo, David. Philistine Iconography: A Wealth of Style and Symbolism. Fribourg, Switzerland: Academic Press, 2010.
  • Bienkowski, Piotr, ed. The Art of Jordan: Treasures from an Ancient Land. Stroud, U.K.: Sutton, 1991. Description of artworks from Jordan.
  • Caubet, Annie. “Art and Architecture in Canaan and Ancient Israel.” In Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, edited by Jack Sasson, vol. 4, pp. 2671–2691. New York: Hendrickson, 1995.
  • Collon, Dominique, L. Copeland, and J. B. Hennessy. “Syria-Palestine.” In The Dictionary of Art, edited by Jane Turner, vol. 30, pp. 178–199. New York: Grove, 1996. Articles dealing with aspects of the culture and art of the Levant.
  • Crowfoot, John W., and Grace M. Crowfoot. Early Ivories from Samaria. London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1938.
  • Eggler, Juerg, and Othmar Keel. Corpus der Siegel-Amulette aus Jordanien. Fribourg, Switzerland: Academic Press, 2006. Corpus of seal-amulets from Jordan.
  • Erlich, Adi. The Art of Hellenistic Palestine. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2009.
  • Frankfort, Henri. The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin Books, 1979.
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  • Keel, Othmar. Corpus der Stempelsiegel-Amulette aus Palästina/Israel von den Anfängen bis zur Perserzeit. 3 vols. Fribourg, Switzerland: Academic Press Fribourg; Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997–2010. Detailed catalog of the corpus of seal-amulets from the southern Levant (from Tell Abu Farag to Tell el-Fir). Still incomplete.
  • Keel, Othmar, and Christoph Uehlinger. Gods, Goddesses, and Images of God in Ancient Israel. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998. Best seller that deals with religious imagery and symbols.
  • Loud, Gordon. The Megiddo Ivories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939.
  • McGovern, Patrick E. Late Bronze Palestinian Pendants: Innovation in a Cosmopolitan Age. Sheffield, U.K.: JSOT Press, 1985.
  • Negbi, Ora. Canaanite Gods in Metal: An Archaeological Study of Ancient Syro-Palestinian Figurines. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Institute of Archaeology, 1976. Catalog of metalwork and metal figurines, somewhat biased in identifying these with deities.
  • Reifenberg, Adolf. Ancient Hebrew Arts. New York: Schocken, 1950. One of the earliest books on the arts and crafts of the southern Levant.
  • Schroer, Silvia. Die Ikonographie Palästinas/Israels und der Alte Orient: Eine Religionsgeschichte in Bildern. 3 vols. Fribourg, Switzerland: Academic Press, 2005–2011. A description of the material from the Bronze Age with new line drawings. Future volumes will cover the Iron-Age material.
  • Schroer, Silvia. In Israel gab es Bilder: Nachrichten von darstellender Kunst im Alten Testament. Freiburg, Switzerland: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1987. Deals with descriptions of art in the Hebrew Bible and argues that in ancient Israel there were images.
  • Stern, Ephraim, ed. The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. 5 vols. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993–2008. Deals with the sites discussed in the article and includes visual material.
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  • Uehlinger, Christoph. “Anthropomorphic Cult Statuary in Iron Age Palestine and the Search for Yahweh’s Cult Images.” In The Image and the Book, edited by Karel van der Toorn, pp. 97–155. Louvain, Belgium: Uitgeverij Peeters, 1997.
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Izak Cornelius