Hellenistic Temple at Tel Beersheva
|Author: ||Derfler, Steven|
As we learn more about cultic tradition of ancient Israel, and the carryovers into the Hellenistic world, the site of Beersheva grows in importance. Long a site of cultic significance, the excavations revealed the only full-sized Israelite horned altar of the 10th-8th centuries BCE, and the probable location of only the second confirmed temple complex (archaeologically) of ancient Israel's monarchy. Between 1973-1975, a temple complex was cleared dating to the late Hellenistic/Hasmonean era of the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE. Starting life as a pagan place of worship, it was later converted and cleansed during the reign of John Hyrcanus I. This archaeological evidence helps us to understand the development of Jewish syncretic religion in the face of Hellenism, and to clarify and confirm the accounts of John Hyrcanus I.
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