CERES Palais, room "Ruhrpott" (4.13)
This conference seeks to explore and contextualize the configuration of the varied desert cultic practices from the southern Levant and northern Arabia during the Late Bronze/Iron Ages that may have contributed to the emergence of the Yahwis-tic cult. Recent archaeological excavations in the Negev, southern Transjordan and Hejaz and new interpretations of old epigraphic and iconographic evidence are ra-pidly changing the biblical-based paradigm of the interactions between the desert cults and the Iron Age Levantine religions.
The conference adopts an interdisciplinary approach, assessing textual, archaeolo-gical, as well as epigraphic data. The papers presented here contribute in a unique way to big historical questions of the LBA/IA desert religions: Was there something unique in the desert cults? How were the religious experiences shaped by the interactions between the local rituals and the sanctuary cults that penetrated from the agricultural lands? The conference also touches the much wider debate of the role played by trade–in copper, incense, pastoral products–and cultural intercon-nections in the diffusion of religious ideas. It particularly explores how these data relate to those religious practices attested in Judah and Israel of the later Iron Age and beyond, thereby providing new insights into the prehistory of the Yahweh cult.