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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter summarizes the roles and tasks of ritual experts and participants within the Hebrew Bible and its cultural environment. The first part reflects on the responsibilities of the kings, the priests, and the priestesses within the ancient Near East (Mesopotamia, Mari, Hittite Anatolia) and ancient Egypt. Then the chapter turns to the concepts of the Hebrew Bible. The second part demonstrates how the priests and Levites take care for the rituals, the sacrifices, purity, teaching, and administration. Cult prophets and the king have their limited and special functions. Third, at certain points lay people may participate in the cult: the offering person, women, children, and the non-Israelite (the foreigner). The fourth section provides a brief overview over the historical development within the first millennium bce regarding the concepts and circumstances as they are represented in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

Keywords: ancient Near East, ancient Egypt, cult, king, Levite, priest, priestess, purity, ritual, sacrifice

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