B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), used by this author, is the alternate designation corresponding to B.C. often used in scholarly literature.


See the first part of this interview, “Israelite Origins,” BR 08:04.


Note that Amos’ oracle here quoted includes these words about the usual practice of religion: “I hate, I despise your feasts, And I will take no delight in your sacred assemblies. Yea, though you offer me holocausts [burnt offerings] and your meal offerings, I will not accept them; Neither will I regard the communion offerings of your fat beasts. Take away from me the noise of your hymns; And let me not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice well up as waters …” (Amos 5:21–24).



David Noel Freedman and Frank M. Cross, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry, Society of Biblical Literature Dissertation Series 21 (Missoula, MT: Society of Biblical Literature, 1975).


A long exposition and documentation of the languages of revelation in the Hebrew Bible can be found in the section “The Storm Theophany in the Bible,” in Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1973), pp. 156–194.


I am indebted to Professor Lawrence Stager for this information.


The best treatment of the stele and its implications for Israel’s occupation of the land is, in my opinion, the paper of Lawrence Stager, “Merenptah, Israel and Sea Peoples: New Light on an Old Relief,” Eretz Israel 18 (1985), pp. 56*–64*; see also Frank J. Yurco, “3,200-Year-Old Picture of Israelites Found in Egypt,” BAR 16:05.


See Cross and Freedman, “An Inscribed Jar Handle from Raddana,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 201 (1971), pp. 19–22.


On occasion a god may be restricted to the underworld, or Yamm, deified sea, may be banned from dry ground. But even then, Ba’al is resurrected from the dead (and confinement to the underworld), and the cosmic waters may break out of their bounds in bringing the flood.


The masculine or patriarchal language used in describing God in the Bible gives offense to many. At least one should note, however, that Israel’s deity is without a female counterpart and, in contrast to the gods in central myths of sacral marriage in the ancient Near East, engages in no sexual activity. In reality a god without a spouse is sexless.