‘apiru (AH-pee-roo): a group of people outside the mainstream of Canaanite society in the 14th–13th centuries B.C.E., described in some ancient texts as mercenaries or outlaws; some scholars believe they were one of the components of the early Israelites.

apotheosis (ah-POTH-ee-oh-sis): the elevation of a mortal to the rank of a god; also, a glorified ideal.

Ba’al (BAHL) the Canaanite storm god who, under the aegis of the father of the gods (El), became regent of cosmos. Ba’al means “lord”; his personal name was Haddu or Haddad.

collared-rim jars: tall storage jars with collarlike rims, widely used in Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.E.), with a capacity of 10 to 15 gallons; most archaeologists believe this type of jar is characteristic of Israelite sites.

docetism (DOH-set-ism): the belief that Jesus only appeared to be human but was in fact completely divine; a view opposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 C.E., which affirmed that Jesus was “truly God and truly man.”

‘El: head of the Canaanite pantheon, the father of the gods and creator of heaven and earth.

epic: a literary term applied to poetry or prose on a large subject, such as the history of a people; as Cross uses it regarding the Bible and early Israelite literature, it refers to traditions originating in oral narratives, especially poetic oral narrative. The great Greek and Hebrew epics characteristically give expression to the identity of a people, its values, its vocation and its destiny.

Gnosticism (NAH-sti-sism): from Greek gnosis (knowledge, wisdom); a religious movement that flourished in the first and second centuries C.E., it taught that there was a higher knowledge given by God to the enlightened and stressed a duality between matter (which was deemed evil) and spirit (which was deemed good). A characteristic Gnostic belief was the idea that the creator of the world was evil.

henotheism (HEN-oh-thee-ism): the belief in one god for one locale or people and other gods for other locales or peoples.

monolatry (meh-NAHL-eh-tree): the worship of one god while believing that other gods exist.

stele (STEE-lee): an upright stone slab or pillar, frequently bearing an inscription or a design or both.

theophany (thee-AHF-eh-nee): the manifestation of a god to a human.