Baal, St. George, and Khidr: A Study of the Historical Geography of the Levant 9781646020232

In Western tradition, St. George is known as the dragon slayer. In the Middle East, he is called Khidr (“Green One”), an

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Baal, St. George, and Khidr: A Study of the Historical Geography of the Levant

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Baal, St. George, and Khidr

History, Archaeology, and Culture of the Levant Edited by

Jeffrey A. Blakely, University of Wisconsin, Madison K. Lawson Younger, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School 1. The Horsemen of Israel: Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel (Ninth–Eighth Centuries b.c.e.), by Deborah O’Daniel Cantrell 2. Donkeys in the Biblical World: Ceremony and Symbol, by Kenneth C. Way 3. The Wilderness Itineraries: Genre, Geography, and the Growth of Torah, by Angela R. Roskop 4. Temples and Sanctuaries from the Early Iron Age Levant: Recovery after Collapse, by William E. Mierse 5. Poetic Astronomy in the Ancient Near East: The Reflexes of Celestial Science in the Literature of Ancient Mesopotamia, Ugarit, and Israel, by Jeffrey L. Cooley 6. A Monetary and Political History of the Phoenician City of Byblos in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries b.c.e., by J. Elayi and A. G. Elayi 7. The Land before the Kingdom of Israel: A History of the Southern Levant and the People Who Populated It, by Brendon C. Benz 8. Baal, St. George, and Khidr, by Robert D. Miller II

Baal, St. George, and Khidr A Study of the Historical Geography of the Levant

Robert D. Miller II, OFS

Eisenbrauns   |  University Park, Pennsylvania

Library of Congress Cataloging-​in-​Publication Data Names: Miller, Robert D., II, author. Title: Baal, St. George, and Khidr : a study of the historical geography of the Levant / Robert D. Miller II, OFS. Other titles: History, archaeology, and culture of the Levant ; 8. Description: University Park, Pennsylvania : Eisenbrauns, [2019] | Series: History, archaeology, and culture of the Levant ; 8 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary: “Examines the origins of the figure of St. George in Christian, Islamic and Jewish contexts, using primary texts in Arabic, Latin, Ugaritic and other languages. Explores possible connections and continuity with the Canaanite storm god Baal”—Provided by publisher. Identifiers: LCCN 2019028826 | ISBN 9781575069890 (hardcover) Subjects: LCSH: George, Saint, –303—Shrines—Middle East. | Khiḍr (Legendary character)—Shrines—Middle East. | Baal (Canaanite deity) Classification: LCC BR1720.G4 M55 2019 | DDC 235​/.​2—dc23 LC record available at https://​lccn​.loc​.gov​/2019028826 Copyright © 2019 The Pennsylvania State University All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America Published by The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA 16802–1003 Eisenbrauns is an imprint of The Pennsylvania State University Press. The Pennsylvania State University Press is a member of the Association of University Presses. It is the policy of The Pennsylvania State University Press to use acid-​free paper. Publications on uncoated stock satisfy the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Material, ansi z39.48–1992.


List of Illustrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Chapter 1. Mount Carmel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Chapter 2. Western Galilee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chapter 3. Bashan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Chapter 4. Taybeh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Chapter 5. Lod . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Chapter 6. Jerusalem and Elsewhere . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Chapter 7. Discussion and Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89


Where not otherwise credited, all images published here are believed to be in the public domain. Figures 1. Cave of Elijah, exterior   11 2. Cave of Elijah, Carmel   12 3. Kafr Yasif’s El-​Khader   19 4. Horvat Hesheq   23 5. Mt. Hermon seen from Birkat Ram   33 6. Nebi Eliya   35 7. Birkat Ram, seen from Bir en-​Soba   36 8. Nebi Khader at Banias   37 9. Banias, El-​Khader and Cave of Pan   38 10. Banias Cave of Pan, interior   40 11. Massebah at Bir en-​Soba   44 12. Dan High Place   56 13. Sacrificial blood at Taybeh ruins   64 14. View of Tell Asur from Taybeh   69 15. Lod Tomb of St. George   74 16. Dome of El Khader, Haram esh-​Sharif, Jerusalem   77 17. Mar Elias, interior   78




Maps 1. Sites of Upper Galilee   18 2. Ashtaroth and Edrei sites   28 3. Mount Hermon sites   34 Tables 1. Geographic continuity of shrines   81






Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel Freedman. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Edited by James B. Pritchard. 3rd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia. Daniel David Luckenbill. 2 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1926–27. Repr., New York: Greenwood, 1968. Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. A. Kirchhoff et al., eds. Corpus inscriptionum Atticarum. Berlin: Berolini Reimer, 1873–91. Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum. Edited by August Boeckh. 4 vols. Berlin, 1828–77. Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum. Paris: Reipublicae Typographeo, 1881–. The Context of Scripture. Edited by William W. Hallo. 3 vols. Leiden: Brill, 1997–2002. Corpus des tablettes en cunéiformes alphabétiques découvertes à Ras Shamra-​Ugarit de 1929 à 1939. Edited by Andrée Herdner. Paris: Geuthner, 1963. Catalogue des textes hittites. Emmanuel Laroche. Paris: Klinck­ sieck, 1971. D. J. A. Clines, ed., Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. 9 vols. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic / Sheffield Phoenix, 1993–2016. R. Dussaud. Les découvertes de Ras Shamra (Ugarit) et l’Ancien Testament. 2nd ed. Paris: Geuthner, 1941.









El-​Amarna tablets. According to the edition of Jürgen A. Knudtzon. Die el-​Amarna-​Tafeln. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1908–15. Repr., Aalen: Zeller, 1964. Continued in Anson F. Rainey, El-​Amarna Tablets, 359–379. 2nd rev. ed. Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker, 1978. Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Edited by Hans-​ Josef Klauck et al. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009–. Shyam Singh Sashi, ed. Encyclopedia Indica. 1st ed. New Delhi: Anmal, 1996. The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament. Edited by Jan Josef Simons. Leiden: Brill, 1959. Eusebius, Historia ecclesiastica Inscriptiones Graecae. Editio minor. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1924–. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. 4 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979–88. Josephus, Jewish War Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften. Herbert Donner and Wolfgang Röllig. 2nd ed. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1966–69. Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek. Edited by Eberhard Schrader. 6  vols. Berlin: Reuther & Reichard, 1889–1915. Die keilalphabetischen Texte aus Ugarit. Edited by Manfried Dietrich,Oswald Loretz, and Joaquín Sanmartín. Münster: Ugarit-​Verlag, 2013. 3rd enl. ed. of KTU: The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani, and Other Places. Edited by Manfried Dietrich, Oswald Loretz, and Joaquín Sanmartín. Münster: Ugarit-​Verlag, 1995. Keilschrifturkunden aus Boghazköi. Berlin: Akademie, 1921–. Wolfgang Helck et al., eds., Lexikon der Ägyptologie, 7 vols. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1972–92. Liddell, Henry George, Robert Scott, Henry Stuart Jones. A Greek-​English Lexicon. 9th ed. with revised supplement. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996. Palestine Grid map reference Eusebius, Onomostica Palmyran Aramaic Texts Patrologia Latina [= Patrologiae Cursus Completus: Series Latina]. Edited by Jacques-​Paul Migne. 217 vols. Paris, 1844–64. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1898–. Papiri greci e latini. Pubblicazioni della Società Italiana per la ricerca dei papiri greci e latini in Egitto. 15 vols. Florence: F. Le Monnier, 1912–66. The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Assyrian Periods


In 1969, Hassan Haddad suggested that many Levantine shrines of St. George lie on top of earlier shrines of Baal, and this was because George and Baal both slay dragons or because both bring fertility.1 Haddad’s essay did little more than propose a path of research, one that has been followed by no one (save for some musings by the Palestinian anthropologist Ali Qleibo; the ancient Near East scholar Nicolas Wyatt, too, speaks of narrative continuity from Baal to George).2 In this study, I will explore both claims—literary and archaeological continuity—through the archaeology of these shrines, as well as textual evidence. The Canaanite myth of Baal is known from tablets from Late Bronze Age (1300 BCE) Ugarit in Syria, as well as from abundant later prayers and images. Baal was originally a title for the bull-​riding, storm, and fertility god Hadad, but it is eventually used as Hadad’s proper name.3 Baal’s primary myth involves his slaying a dragon whose name is Yamm or “Sea.” The Phoenician form of the storm god was Baalshamem, “Baal of Heaven,”4 identified as Hadad in second-​ century CE inscriptions.5 1.  Hassan S. Haddad, ‘“Georgic’ Cults and Saints of the Levant,” Numen 16 (1969): 21–39. 2.  Ali Qleibo, “Canaanites, Christians, and the Palestinian Agricultural Calendar,” Kyoto Bulletin of Islamic Area Studies 3.1 (2009): 9–20; Nicolas Wyatt, Space and Time in the Religious Life of the Near East (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2001). 3.  Daniel Schwemer, “The Storm-​Gods of the Ancient Near East: Summary, Synthesis, Recent Studies, Part II,” Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 8.1 (2008): 9. 4.  Herbert Niehr, Baʿalsamem: Studien zu Herkunft, Geschichte und Rezeptionsgeschichte eines phönizischen Gottes, Studia Phoenicia 17 (Leuven: Peeters, 2003), 226–27; Botica, “The Theophoric Element Baʾal in Ancient Phoenician Inscriptions,” 78–87; Otto Eissfeldt, “Baalsamem und Jahwe,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 57 (1939): 9, 14; Corinne Bonnet and Herbert Niehr, Religionen in der Umwelt des Alten Testaments II: Phonizier, Punier, Aramaer, Kohlhammer Studienbücher Theologie 4 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2010), 56, 65, 294–95. 5.  Michael Avi-​Yonah, “Mount Carmel and the God of Baalbek,” Israel Exploration Journal 2 (1952): 123–24. In fact, during the Hellenistic and Roman periods the gods designated Baals are indistinguishable from Hadad, the old Syrian storm god; cf. KTU 1.12 i.41; 1.10 ii.33; iii.8; Julien Aliquot, La vie religieuse au liban sous l’empire romain (Beirut: Presses de l’IFPO, 2009), 137.



But before proceeding, we must treat the unusual sort of St. George veneration in the Middle East. The mounted knight depicted slaying a dragon, known to the Christians as St. George or Mar Jirjis, is called El-​Khader or Khidr by Muslims,6 and also many Christians as well. To most Muslims, there is no mistake. St. George is Khidr and Khidr is St. George. Sunni Muslims in Turkey celebrate Khidr’s “Feast of Lydda [Lod]” on April 23 of the Julian calendar, which is the Christian Feast of St. George.7 Incidentally—and this will be significant in what follows—John Malalus (d. 578 CE), in his Chronicles 8, indicates that Selucus Nicator offered his sacrifices to Zeus on Kasios Mons (Mount Zaphon, home of Baal) on April 23. But El-​Khader or Khidr is also a character from the Qurʾan, although he is unnamed in the crucial qurʾanic passage. In Q al-​Kahf 18:60–82, Moses meets an unnamed companion at “the juncture of two seas.” According to the ninth-​ century Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī and the thirteenth-​century Abdullah bin Umar al-​Baidawi (d. 1286), this juncture refers to the Isthmus/Gulf of Suez. According to Al-​Zamakhshari (1075–1144), it means Gibraltar.8 Other suggestions have included the Gulf of Aden, Ras Muhammad on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula (a notorious spot for conflicting currents and winds feared by Greek and Roman sailors; Strabo, Geographica 16.4.18), or even the mouth of the Jordan River at the Dead Sea.9 Some identified it as the northern Persian Gulf, as an ancient shrine of Khidr stood on Falaika Island off the coast of Kuwait, where women prayed for fertility and Shiʾa practiced sheep sacrifice until the shrine was demolished by Wahhabis in the 1970s.10 The companion does various things that seem to afflict the righteous and reward the wicked, and Moses finally challenges him, although he has been told not to. The companion reveals how his actions have prevented future evil in the world and have actually rewarded the good (Q 18:79–82).11 The hadith identify this character as Khidr (Ṣaḥīḥ al-​Bukhārī 6.249; 8.657, 662),12 and one 6.  A. J. Wensinck, “Al-​Khadir,” in Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1978), 4:902. 7.  G. de Jerphanion, “Notes de géographie et d’archéologie pontiques,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 20 (1911): 492–97. 8.  Wensinck, “Al-​Khadir,” 4:902–5. 9.  H. Nuʾaysah, Al-Khiḍr ʿalayhi al-salām (Latakla: Dār Dhū al-Fiqār, 2006), 30. 10.  J. S. Rajab, “Falaika Island–Kuwait, an Island of al-​Hidr, the Green Man or Elias, the Servant of God,” in Proceedings of the Colloquium on Logos, Ethos, Mythos in the Middle East and North Africa, ed. K. Devenyi and T. Ivanyi (Budapest: Eötvös Loránd University Press, 1996), 90–92. 11.  The contrast between salvation with God born of theophanic knowledge on the one hand and separation from God born of human imagination on the other, teaches how weak human imagination is in the face of God’s omniscience; see I. R. Netton, “Theophany as Paradox: Ibn Arabi’s Account of al-​Khadir in his Fusus al-​Hikam,” Journal of the Muhyiddin ibn Arabi Society 11 (1992): 11–22. 12.  This identification was vigorously denied by Sayyid Qutb, the twentieth-​century genius of the Muslim Brotherhood; see P. Smith, Khidr in Sufi Poetry (Campbell Creek, Australia: New Humanity, 2012), 237.



lengthy hadith ascribed to Saʾid bin Jubayr provides the narrative with further details (Ṣaḥīḥ al-​Bukhārī 6.249). Qurʾan commentators Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Thaʿlabī (eleventh century) and Ṭabarī both give Khidr’s full name as Balyā bin Malkan.13 Ṭabarī says that Khidr lived during the reign of the legendary Persian king Fereydūn.14 Khidr becomes highly significant in later tradition, especially among Sufis.15 But what makes matters more complicated is that Khidr is also Elijah.16 The Cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel is a shrine of Khidr. Shrines are regularly named interchangeably Mar Elias, El-​Khader, or Mar Jirjis.17 Jews of Palestine with the name Elijah used to give their names as Khidr in Arabic.18 This identification must be early, as a fourteenth-​century Uighur inscription from the shrine of Mar Behnam, 32 km south of Mosul, calls on the blessing of “Khidr Elias.”19 The Shiʾite Qurʾan commentator Abūʾl-​Futūḥ al-​Rāzī (twelfth century) says that Khidr’s true name is Iliyya bin Malkan (Rawz̤ al-jinān 4)20—Balyā and Illiya are similar in letterform.21 The twelfth-​century Sunni historian Abūʾl-​Faraj ibn al-​Jawzī also insists that Khidr is Elijah.22 In Turkey and among Turkish peoples in general, the names are merged into “Khizrilias” or “Hıdırellez,”23 a festival celebrated also in the Crimea and Azerbaijan that marks the day on which Khidr and Elijah met on the earth—May 6 in the Gregorian Calendar and April 23 in the Julian.24 That these dates come from the solar calendar rather than the Muslim lunar calendar testifies to Khidr’s pre-​Islamic origins.25 Where this festival is kept in Balkan areas formerly under Ottoman rule, it is transferred to St. George: Shëngjergjit in Albania and Gergyovden in Bulgaria, both 13.  A. ibn Sulṭān Muḥammad Qārī al-Harawī and M. K. Ramadan, Al-Ḥadhar fī amr al- Khiḍr (Damascus: Dar al-​Qalam, 1991), 74. 14.  Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-Iṣābah fī tamyīz al-ṣaḥābah (Beirut: Dar al-​Jil, 2000), 2:289. 15.  See the definitive discussion in Hugh Talat Halman, Where the Two Seas Meet (Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2013). 16.  P. Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr (Stuttgart: Beiruter Texte und Studien, 2000), 155. 17.  Haddad, “Georgic Cults,” 21–39. 18.  Ibid., 26. 19.  J. P. G. Finch and F. B. P. Lory, “St. George and El Khidr,” Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 33 (1946): 236–38. 20.  Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr, 159. Alternative pedigrees make Khidr the son of Cain (Abu Dawood, ninth century) or the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; see Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī Ibn Ḥaǧar al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-​Zahr al-naḍr fī nabaʾ al-ḵiḍr (Cairo: Muassasat Qurṭubah al-​Salafiyah, 1984), 4–6. 21.  On letter form, see Wensinck, “Al-​Khadir,” 4:902–5. 22.  Al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-​Zahr, 20. 23.  Haddad, “Georgic Cults,” 26; C. Soeratno, “Khidler est proche, Dieu est loin,” Archipel 15 (1978): 85–94; Oya Pacaroğlu, “The Itinerant Dragon-​Slayer: Forging Paths of Image and Identity in Medieval Anatolia,” Gesta 43 (2004): 151. 24.  M. Arslan, “Popular Islam in Modern Turkey,” Hikmet Yurdu 41 (2008): 71–86. 25.  Louis Massignon, “Elie et son role transhistorique, Khadriya, en Islam,” in Opera Minora (Beirut: Dar al-​Maaref, 1963), 144.


celebrated with sacrifices of lambs. In Alevism, Khizrilias is conflated with Baba İlyas Horasani (fl. 1240).26 Khidr also appears in India, as Khwajah Khizr, patron of sailors, the name adhering to some earlier legendary figure.27 His principal shrine is on the Indus River island of Bukkur, now in Pakistan.28 Khwajah Khizr is clothed in green, travels on water, and is guardian of springs,29 the latter most notably in The Legend of Safidon/Ballad of Princess Niwal Dai.30 He provides inexhaustible bread and water like Elijah, and he is immortal.31 At least some of the Khwajah Khizr stories derive from the Vedic conflict of Indra and Vritra, which is itself genealogically related to the Hittite storm god dragon-​slaying myths (and thus, likely, to Baal).32 The story of Khidr in the Qurʾan mirrors an Arabic Jewish story of Elijah and Rabbi Joshua ben Levi. The story is preserved in the “unidentified material” in the Book of Comfort of Nissim ben Jacob (eleventh-​century).33 The stories are so close that a genetic identity is unquestionable, yet sufficiently dissimilar in detail to reveal independence from one another, contrary to both the mainstream view of William Brinner, I. Friedlander, and A. J. Wensinck that the Qurʾan story is based on the rabbinic, and Brannon Wheeler’s argument that the rabbinic story has no Jewish antecedents and is based on the Qurʾan or its commentaries.34 Although the Joshua ben Levi story is related to the qurʾanic story, some legends of Alexander the Great are also related.35 Diyārbakrī (Ḥusayn ibn Muḥammad, d. 966) says that Khidr was the cousin of Alexander.36 The Qurʾan story of Khidr, which immediately precedes the story of Dhu al-​Qarnayn, who 26.  Pancaroğlu, “Itinerant Dragon-​Slayer,” 158. Khizrilias rites, even those associated with matchmaking, are considered mainstream Islam, unlike the folk Islam of ancestor cults and Cinci Hoca soothsayers; see Arslan, “Popular Islam,” 79–81. 27.  I. A. Omar, “Reflecting Divine Light: Al-​Khidr as an Embodiment of God’s Mercy (rahma),” in Gotteserlebnis und Gotteslehre, ed. T. Martin (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010), 171. 28.  Finch and Lory, “St. George and El Khidr,” 238. 29.  A. K. Coomaraswamy, “Khwaja Khadir and the Fountain of Life, in the Tradition of Persian and Mughal Art,” Ars Islamica 1 (1934): 172–82. 30.  R. Temple, Legends of the Panjab (New York: Arno Press, 1900), 416, 449. 31.  Coomaraswamy, “Khwaja Khadir,” 174–75. 32.  Calvert Watkins, How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-​European Poetics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). 33.  J. Obermann, “The Two Elijah Stories in Judeo-​Arabic Transmission,” Hebrew Union College Annual 23 (1951): 387–404; Nissim ben Jacob ibn Sahin, An Elegant Composition Concerning Relief After Adversity, trans. W. M. Brinner (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977). 34.  Obermann, “Two Elijah Stories,” 400; William Brinner, The Children of Israel (New York: SUNY Press, 1991), 1 n. 1; Brandon Wheeler, Moses in the Quran and Islamic Exegesis, Routledge Curzon Studies in the Quran 4 (New York: Routledge, 2002), 20–23. 35.  Wensinck, “Al-​Khadir,” 4:902–5; I. Friedlander, Die Chadhirlegende und der Alexanderroman (Leipzig: Teubner, 1913). 36.  Ḥusayn ibn Muḥammad Diyārbakrī, Tārīkh al-khamīs fī aḥwāl anfas nafīs (Beirut: Muʾassasat Shuʾbān lil-​Nashr wa-​al-​Tawz, 1970), 107.



is identified with Alexander the Great,37 tells of a fish that miraculously comes to life. Some have theorized the Qurʾan’s story was influenced by the story of the Water of Life mentioned in Syriac versions of the Alexander romance, although Wheeler argues that it is only the Qurʾan commentaries that are influenced by Syriac Alexander, whereas the Ethiopic and Persian Alexander romances are dependent on those qurʾanic commentaries.38 The Persian Alexander romance has several variants in which Khidr figures as a servant or aid of Alexander the Great. In one version, Khidr and Alexander cross the Land of Darkness to find the Water of Life.39 Alexander gets lost looking for the spring, but Khidr finds it and gains eternal life.40 In Nizami Ganjavi’s 1194 Eskandar-​nameh (68–69), Alexander asks Khidr to lead him and his armies to the Water of Life. Khidr agrees, and he eventually stumbles upon the Water of Life on his own.41 Nizami, however, distinguishes Khidr from Ilyas, and the two of them wind up together at the Water of Life, a tradition that shows up with Yunus Emre (fourteenth century).42 The episode with the Water of Life, found also in Ṭabarī (Tārīkh al-​Rusul wa al-​Mulūk 3.414),43 became one of Khidr’s strongest attributes.44 37.  M. Southgate, trans., Iskandernamah: A Persian Medieval Alexander-​Romance, Persian Heritage Series 31 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), 197. This, too, is questioned by Wheeler, Moses in the Quran, 16. 38.  Wheeler, Moses in the Quran, 19. The accepted genesis of the Alexander romances is that a first-​century BCE Greek original, the so-​called Pseudo-​Callisthenes, was translated into both Latin and Syriac in the fourth century CE; the Syriac became the ancestor of all later West Asian forms. See W. L. Hanaway, “Eskandar-​Namah: Alexander the Great and the Adventure Tale about Him Known Generically as the Alexander Romance,” in Encyclopedia Iranica, ed. Ehsan Yar-​Shater (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 609–12. The Persian versions depart significantly from Pseudo-​Callisthenes. 39.  Wensinck, “Al-​Khadir,” 4:904. 40.  Smith, Khidr in Sufi Poetry, 241. In the Syriac version attributed to James of Serug (lines 180–95), and in the Greek β recension (2.39–41), Andreas the Cook replaces Khidr in the narrative. The entire episode is missing in the A recension, the earliest manuscript of the Alexander Romance (third century CE). See Richard Stoneman, The Greek Alexander Romance (New York: Penguin, 1991), 121–22; Ernest W. Budge, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version of the Pseudo-​Callisthenes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1889), 173–74; Soeratno, “Khidler est proche,” 89. 41.  See also the thirteenth-​century Persian version of this episode in Southgate, Iskandernamah. 42.  Smith, Khidr in Sufi Poetry. 43.  Brinner, Children of Israel, 2. 44.  Viz. Anvarī (twelfth century), Afdal al-​Din Kashani (thirteenth century), Rumi (thirteenth century), Saadi Shīrāzī (thirteenth century), Mahmoūd Shabestarī (fourteenth century), Amīr Khusrow (fourteenth century), Ubayd Zakani (fourteenth century), Ḥāfeẓ (fourteenth century). Collected in Smith, Khidr in Sufi Poetry; Muḥammad Khayr Ramaḍān Yūsuf, Al-Khaḍir bayna al-wāqi ʿ wa-​al-tahwīl (Damascus, 1994), 192. A few authors, including the fifteenth-​century Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Hajar al-​Asqalani, held that Khidr was not immortal; see Ibrāhīm ibn Fatḥī ʿAbd al-​Muqtadir, Kashf al-ilbās (Jeddah: Dar al-​Mahammadi, 1997), 40. Other immortals in Islamic tradition are Enoch (Idris), Elijah (when he is not Khidr), and Jesus; see Irfan A. Omar, “Khidr in the Islamic Tradition,” Muslim World 83 (1993): 279–94.


Khidr’s connections to life have resulted in the Turkish ambulance service being called “Khidr-​Service.”45 Another possible Elijan element of Khidr concerns the cloak or khirqa given by Sufi masters to their disciples as a sign of initiation. A Sufi mystic without a master, without formal initiation (e.g., Ibn ʿArabī, Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm Adham), is said to be vested in the cloak of Khidr (khirqa Khidriyya),46 just as Elisha takes on the cloak of Elijah in 2 Kgs 2:13 after Elijah’s departure, using it to part the Jordan River.47 In the Persian Qiṣṣa-​i Amīr Ḥamza, its Arabic translation the Sīrat Ḥamza and Urdu Dâstâne Amir Hamze, Khidr twice, Elijah-​like, provides bread that never runs out (Dâstâne Amir Hamze 11, 22) and teaches Hamza how to destroy a thousand-​armed demon (Dâstâne Amir Hamze 22).48 Khidr appears to righteous Muslims in need throughout history. An account from Arsuz tells of Khidr (as Turkish Hizir) rescuing a Turkish soldier from capture by the Chinese in the Korean War.49 Khidr was identified with St. George and Elijah as early as the fourteenth century, when Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos wrote that the St. George was venerated by the Muslims as chetēr ēlias.50 On the other hand, orthodox Muslim tradition distinguished Khidr from Elijah / Mar Elias.51 Thaʿlabi says that Khidr comes from Persia and Elias from Israel, and that they meet once a year (Qiṣaṣ al-ʾanbiyāʾ 16; also Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-​Rusul 3.424).52 According to ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Abī Rawwād (eighth century), they meet in Jerusalem to fast Ramadan together.53 Ibn ʿArabī (Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam 25; twelfth century) said that Elijah was Enoch (Idris), not Khidr.54 We must address this confusion before considering Khidr’s connection to Baal. 45.  Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr, 26. 46.  Shawkat Toorawa, “Khidr: The History of a Ubiquitous Master,” Sufi 30 (2010). 47.  Massignon, “Elie et son role transhistorique,” 150. The mantle of Elijah appears to be the origin both of the Khirqa Khidriyya and the earliest, pre-​thirteenth century, habit of the Carmelites, who consider Elijah their “founder.” 48.  Southgate, Iskandernamah, 113, 167, 169. This text makes Khidr and Elias brothers, sons of Bibi Asifa Basafa; Francis Pritchett, trans., Dastan-​e amir Hamzah (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 30; Southgate, Iskandernamah, 213. 49.  Warren. S. Walker and Ahmet. E. Uysal, “An Ancient God in Modern Turkey: Some Aspects of the Cult of Hizir,” Journal of American Folklore 86 (1973): 286–89. 50.  See Su Fang Ng and Kenneth Hodges, “Saint George, Islam, and Regional Audiences in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 32 (2010): 264. 51.  Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr, 212. 52.  Brinner, Children of Israel, 3; Yūsuf, Al-Khaḍir, 247. 53.  Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr, 145; al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-​Zahr, 19; al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-Iṣābah, 306, 310. The sixteenth-​century Diyārbakrī, Tārīkh al-khamīs, 1:107 and al-ʿAsqalānī, Al-Iṣābah, 889– 90, 904 say that Khidr lives in Jerusalem; see Wensinck, “Al-​Khadir,” 4:905. Some Islamic traditions place his home between the Golden and Lion’s (St. Stephen’s) Gates; see Diyārbakrī, Tārīkh al-khamīs; Muǧīr al-Dīn al-ʿUlaymī, “Al-​Uns al-jalīl bi-tārīkh al-​Quds wa-​al-Khalīl” (MA Thesis, An-​Najah National University, 1999), 2:28. 54.  Ian R. Netton, “Theophany as Paradox: Ibn Arabi’s Account of al-​Khadir in his Fusus al-Hikam,” Journal of the Muhyiddin ibn Arabi Society 11 (1992): 11–22.



Finally, El-​Khaḍer literatlly means “the Green Man,” shortened to Khiḍr, “Green.”55 As we shall see later in this study, Khidr is the Middle East’s Green Man, in the sense that that term was introduced by Lady Raglan in 1939 for the image in European churches and other architecture as well as in folklore.56 Many writing in Lady Raglan’s wake assume that the European Green Man is a product of pre-​Christian Europe, despite the image being only fully developed in Christian art under the influence of Christian attitudes toward nature.57 Moreover, links between the architectural figure and the leaf-​clad figure of folk life are weak (but see below).58 This brings us back to St. George. Who was he? Samantha Riches writes, “There is no aspect of St. George’s life that is incontrovertible, whether his birthplace, profession, the year of his death or details of his tortures.”59 Attempts in the early twentieth century to eliminate later accretions to the hagiography of George, and so proceed back to an original authentic core, proved fruitless.60 By the sixth century, a well-​defined personality called St. George had come into existence.61 In 1969, during the University of Kentucky excavations at Kulubnarti in Sudanese Nubia, a fifth-​century martyrdom of St. George came to light in House A1, Site 21S–2, found in the second-​story crypt. This fragmentary text preserves what becomes the standard martyrdom account, with George “born” in Diospolis (Lod). George later became a Roman soldier serving in Cappadocia—sometimes the son of a Cappadocian soldier named Gerontonios and a Palestinian Greek mother named Polychronia—who refused to renounce his Christianity during Diocletian’s persecution (in the later Acta, the emperor is “Dacian the Persian”).62 He was first offered rewards should he renounce and then tortured for refusing—not only tortured but executed—only to be miraculously resuscitated and then executed again repeatedly, only finally succumbing to beheading.63 This story was known to Gregory of Tours (In gloria martyrum, 55.  Ali Qliebo, “Nationalising the Sacred: Shrines and Shifting Identities in the Israeli-​Occupied Territories,” Man: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 28 (1993): 413–60; D. R. Howell, “Al Khadr and Christian Icons,” Ars Orientalis 7 (1968): 41–51. 56.  J. Raglan, “The ‘Green Man’ in Church Architecture,” Folklore 50 (1939): 45–57. 57.  William Anderson, Green Man (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1990), 20. 58.  Ibid., 31. 59.  Samantha Riches, St. George: Hero, Martyr, and Myth (Stroud: Sutton, 2000), 6. 60.  Christopher Walter, “The Origins of the Cult of Saint George,” Revue des études byzantines 53 (1995): 295–326. 61.  Ibid., 296. 62.  Greg Friedman and Daniel Koski, “Celebrating St. George in the Holy Land,” Holy Land Review (Summer 2017): 45. 63.  Walter, “Origins,” 303. This account of “Mar Jirjis” is also found in Muslim sources: Al-Masʿ ūdī (tenth century), Muruj al-​dhahab 1.127; Ṭabarī, Tarikh 1.795–812; Ali ibn al-​Athir (twelfth century); and others. See E. Galtier, “Contributions à l’étude de la littérature arabe-​ copte,” Bulletin de l’institut français d’archéologie orientale 4 (1905): 155–63. Thaʿlabi concurs


PL 71:792–93), and by the seventh century churches that were dedicated to George in Mainz, Metz, Amay, Chelles, and Saint Bohaire.64 In the 740s, his head was venerated in Rome.65 But little is certain before the fifth century. Eusebius recorded the names of 135 martyrs in Palestine, and no George is among them (Hist. eccl. 3.126ff). The list given by W. Haubrichs in 1977 of references to the cult of St. George is replete with questionable material.66 As Christopher Walter writes, “Any identification of a building or inscription connected with Saint George’s cult earlier than 400 should be treated with circumspection.”67 The two earliest surviving images of St. George are from sixth-​century Egypt.68 Alongside those two and an image of George on a sixth-​century processional cross now in Paris, no other pre-​Iconoclast representations of St. George exist.69 The dragon story does not appear until the eleventh century.70 Earlier, it is other saints who are the dragon slayers.71 St. Theodore Tyron is represented killing a dragon in the tenth century and possibly as early as the sixth.72 In the early forms of the George story, George subdues the dragon with merely the sign of the cross.73 The earliest picture of St. George killing the dragon is from the early eleventh-​century church of St. Barbara in Soğanh, Cappadocia.74 The first attestation of the whole story, with the rescue of the damsel in distress and so on, is from an eleventh-​century Georgian manuscript now in the Greek

that George’s birth, not martyrdom, was in Palestine; see his Qisas al-​Anbiya, trans. Wheeler Thackston Jr. (Chicago: KAZI, 1997). 64.  Walter, “Origins,” 316. 65.  Ibid., 315. 66.  Ibid., 316. 67.  This would eliminate the supposed fourth-​century basilica church of St. George in Shaqqa (ancient Saccaea), on the northern edge of Jebel Druze, noted by, inter alia, J. Cantero Montenegro, “El dragón de la leyenda de San Jorge,” Archivo Español de Arte 62 (1989): 311–44. 68.  Walter, “Origins,” 317. 69.  Ibid., 318. 70.  Ibid., 297. This is even more remarkable given the proximity of Lod to Joppa, with its tradition of Perseus and Andromeda; see Smith, Khidr in Sufi Poetry, 257 n. 12; David S. Fox, Saint George: The Saint with Three Faces (Shooters Lodge, Berkshire: Kensal, 1983), 44; Richard Carnac Temple, “The Mystery and Mental Atmosphere,” Indian Antiquary (August 1930): 7. The bones of Perseus’s dragon were on display as late as the time of Jerome (Epistles 108) in the early fifth century CE. 71.  Riches, St. George, 25. 72.  Walter, “Origins,” 309; G. Didi-​Huberman, R. Garbetta, and M. Morgaine, Sainte George et le dragon (Paris: Adam Biro, 1994), 42. Theodore and George are shown together slaying a two-​headed dragon on a tenth-​century fresco from Cappadocia; see Pancaroğlu, “Itinerant Dragon-​ Slayer,” 155 fig. 4. 73.  Riches, St. George, 25. 74.  Walter, “Origins,” 320.



Patriarchal Library in Jerusalem (Cod. 2).75 Walter suggests that the story was Georgian in origin, since its earliest depictions on icons are from eleventh- or twelfth-​century Georgia.76 We will return to this history of the growth of the St. George legend at the end when we consider reasons for the cultic continuity from Baal to George. For now, this outline serves to mandate that exploring “Georgian” shrines in the Levant must include holy places of St. George, Khidr, and Elijah, as well as every Mar Jirjis, Nebi Eliyah, and Mar Elias.77 It is important to note at the start that although there are many such shrines, they are concentrated in five locations: Mounts Carmel and Hermon, a cluster in Western Galilee, Lod, and Taybeh.

75.  Ibid., 321. This story enters the Islamic world in one guise unrelated to Khidr, adapted into a version of the Sirat Bani Hilal sung in southwestern Oman, with Abu Zayd substituted for George; see Caroline Stone, “The Great Migration of the Bani Hilal,” Aramco World 67 (2016): 16. On the Sirat Bani Hilal, see Dwight F. Reynolds, “Sīrat Banī Hilāl: Introduction and Notes to an Arab Oral Epic Tradition,” Oral Tradition 4 (1989): 80–100; Arie Schippers, “An Episode in the Life of a Hero in the Sirat Bani Hilal,” Oriente Moderno 22 (2003): 347–59; Bridget Connelly, Arab Folk Epic and Identity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986). 76.  Walter, “Origins,” 322. 77.  Interestingly, Khidr is never a prophet: there are no shrines of “Nebi Khidr” prior to the twentieth century; see Halman, Where the Two Seas Meet, 20.

Chapter 1

Mount Carmel

I will begin with Mount Carmel because in many ways it is the site that best shows the longevity of Baal veneration I am seeking to demonstrate. Carmel is modest compared to Baal’s mountain home, Zaphon, or even to Hermon to which we shall return, but as T. K. Cheyne wrote in the ninetenth century, “Compare it with the romantic hill-​country in the Lower Lebanon, and it may disappoint you; but approach it from the south when fresh from the bare brown hills of Judah, and how you will feast your eyes on its purple slopes!”1

Elijah’s Cave On the northwestern tip of Mount Carmel, the drop to the sea is steep. A Carmelite monastery now sits at the top. About halfway down the slope is Elijah’s Cave (MR 1465.2484; fig. 1). It has been variously known as Elijah’s Cave, the School of the Prophets, and the Mosque of el-​Khader (Druze call it West Khidr to distinguish it from East Khidr at Kafr Yasif, to which we shall return).2 Currently it is a Jewish holy place, but prior to 1948 it was a place of pilgrimage for Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Bahaʾis alike.3 In 1923, some 12,000 pilgrims came from across Galilee, Jaffa, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jenin to the annual July 19–20 (August 2) festival.4 The statue of Mar Elias was processed, pilgrims observed the custom of hitting each other on the head, and prayers for fertility were offered.5 In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, votive blood sacrifices of sheep were performed there by Jews, Muslims, and Christians,6 and 1.  T. K. Cheyne, The Hallowing of Criticism (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1888), 64. 2.  Shimon Avivi, The Druze of Israel and Their Holy Places (Jerusalem: Ariel, 2000), 45. 3.  Samuel Ives Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion To-​Day (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1902), 203; J.-A. Jaussen, “Chronique,” Revue Biblique 32 (1924): 249–59. 4.  Jaussen, “Chronique,” 250–51. 5.  Ibid., 249–59. 6.  Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion, 203.


Mount Carmel


Figure 1  Cave of Elijah, exterior. Photo: author.

there are accounts of “temporary marriage” (nikah al-​mutʿah, which only Druze endorse) playing a part in the festivities, thus suggesting even stronger fertility associations.7 To this day, barren women spend the night in the cave for fertility.8 The site is a 14 × 8 × 5 m natural cave, now much expanded, divided into two sections (fig. 2).9 In the eastern wall is a large cavity, and in the southern wall a niche.10 The west wall has three aediculae carved one above the other, in the middle of which a human figure wearing a toga can be barely seen.11 The buildings surrounding the cave are from the 1880s,12 but the shrine was mentioned by Johannan Qopas in 1185, Benjamin of Tudela in 1165, and Daniel the Russian in 1106.13 The cave has produced pottery remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods14 and abundant Greek, Latin, and Hebrew graffiti from those periods.15 7.  R. Campbell Thompson, Semitic Magic (New York: Ktav, 1908), 79. 8.  Asher Ovadiah and Rosario Pierri, Elijah’s Cave on Mount Carmel and Its Inscriptions (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2015), 5. 9.  Ibid., 3. 10.  Ibid.; Asher Ovadiah, “Elijah’s Cave on Mt. Carmel,” Revue Biblique 118 (2011): 109–15. 11.  Ovadiah and Pierri, Elijah’s Cave, 8. 12.  Avivi, Druze of Israel, 84. 13.  Ovadiah and Pierri, Elijah’s Cave, 10; Ovadiah, “Elijah’s Cave on Mt. Carmel,” 100. 14.  Y. Olami, A. Ronen, and A. Romano, Map of Haifa—West (Jerusalem: Archaeological Survey of Israel, 2003), 23*. 15.  Ovadiah, “Elijah’s Cave on Mt. Carmel,” 111.


Chapter 1

Figure 2  Cave of Elijah, Carmel. Photo: author.

These include menorahs, lulav, shofars, and crosses,16 and memorial inscriptions to persons named Alexandros, Ptolomios, Lucios, Julianus, Candida, Judah, Malcus, Manassius, and Isaac bar Komah.17 One Late Roman Greek inscription (#18) prays for the healing of the writer’s son Cyril.18 Inscription #149 invokes the god Pan (see below).19 The cave is ostensibly the hermitage of Elijah and Elisha, who, according to the text of 2 Kings, spent some time on Carmel (2:25; 4:25).20 But much here is non-​Yahwistic. Roman sources extensively document cultic activity at the site or its vicinity. Suetonius (Vespasian 6), in the early second century CE, describes an oracle on Mount Carmel that Vespasian consulted, and Paulus Orosius (Liber apologeticus 7.9), from the late fourth century, claims that first-​ century Jews also used it.21 Tacitus writes this about the oracle: 16.  Michel Berder, “Au Carmel sur les pas d’Elie,” Le Monde de la Bible 58 (1958): 15–25; Ovadiah and Pierri, Elijah’s Cave, 52. 17.  Ovadiah, “Elijah’s Cave on Mt. Carmel,” 100–101. 18.  Ovadiah and Pierri, Elijah’s Cave, 20–21. 19.  Ibid., 50–51. 20.  Eliane Poirot, “Das prophetische Erbe Israels und die christlichen Eremitagen um den Eliasberg,” in Das Charisma des Ursprungs und die Religionen, ed. P. Bsteh and B. Proksch (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2011), 50. 21.  Ovadiah and Pierri, Elijah’s Cave, 8.

Mount Carmel


Between Judaea and Syria is Mount Carmel; this is the name both of the mountain and the Deity. They have neither image of the god nor any temple; the tradition of antiquity recognizes only an altar and its sacred association. While Vespasian was there offering sacrifice and pondering his secret hopes, Basilides the priest, after repeated inspections of the entrails, said to him, “Whatever be your purposes, Vespasian, whether you think of building a house, of enlarging your estate, or augmenting the number of your slaves, there is given you a vast habitation, boundless territory, a multitude of men.” (History 2.78–79). The Periplus of Pseudo-​Scylax, a fourth-​century BCE text, calls Carmel Karmēlos oros hieron Dios, a mountain holy to Zeus (104.3). Iamblichus of Apamea, writing in the third century CE, refers to Carmel as a “most holy mountain” (On the Pythagorean Way of Life 3.15) and claims that Pythagoras lived for a time in solitude at the peak of the mountain above the beach.22 If true, and Iamblichus’s work does contain reliable information alongside fictional tales,23 that would have been the sixth century BCE, and Persian pottery was found in and around the site.24 Thutmosis III refers to Carmel as “Holy Cape” in the fifteenth century BCE, as did Rameses III in the twelfth: Rš qdš.25 The only piece to fill in would be to determine what deity was venerated here, whether Yahweh in some heterodox, but still aniconic form, or some other god. First, we must note that Shalmaneser III refers in at least three inscriptions to Carmel as “Baʾli-​rasi” (RIMA 3 A.0.102.8:22″–27″; 102.10; 102.12:28–30″).26 This suggests that the mountain was associated with Baal. Second, 2 Kgs 1:2–2:25 has a structure that follows a precise Samaria-​to-​ Samaria arrangement.27 The chiasmic parallels between 1:2; 2:9; 2:12 and 2:9; 2:12; 2:25 are numerous.28 This means that the unidentified mountain (‫)ההר‬ in 2 Kgs 1:9 must be Carmel, and that the sanctuary of Baalzebul of Ekron must be on Carmel.29

22.  Ibid., 6. 23.  Dominic J. O’Meara, “Iamblichus’ On the Pythagorean Life in Context,” in A History of Pythagoreanism, ed. C. A. Huffman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 399, 414. 24.  Olami, Map of Haifa, 24*. 25.  Ahituv, Aharoni, Rainey, Yeivin, and others affirm these identifications; W. Helck does not believe the Rameses III text refers to Carmel. See A. R. Davis, “Tel Dan in Its Northern Cultic Context” (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, 2010), 149. 26.  This identification is upheld by Astour, Aharoni, Ahituv, and others; only Lipiński differs, holding that Baʾli-​rasi is Rosh HaNikra. For discussion, see Davis, “Tel Dan,” 150. 27.  Jack Lundbom, “Elijah’s Chariot Ride,” Journal of Jewish Studies 24 (1973): 39–50. 28.  Ibid., 44–45. 29.  Ibid., 42.


Chapter 1

Third, near Elijah’s Cave the foot of a statue was discovered with a Greek inscription on it. The foot is now in the Carmelite monastery’s museum.30 The foot belonged to Jupiter Carmelus Heliopolitanus, and dates to about 190 CE. If, as Michael Avi-​Yonah believed, it is the foot of a statue, then when complete the statue would have been twice life size.31 Kurt Galling argued it was merely a votive foot, similar to examples from Jerusalem and possibly Beirut.32 Recall that Tacitus said the god was named Carmel like the mountain. The etymology of the mountain’s name is unclear; it is certainly not karm-​el, “God’s vineyard,” and its linguistic affiliation is unknown.33 Lord Carmel is Heliopolitan Zeus, known from coins as far south as Beit Guvrin and Emmaus-​Nicopolis,34 whom Macrobius (Saturnalia 1.23.10–17; fifth century CE) says the Phoenicians called “Adad” and depicted with a bull and a thunderbolt. Here we are probably talking about Baalshamem, not Melqart, who was never a fertility god and ranks far below Baalshamem in Esarhaddon’s treaty with Tyre.35 Baalshamem was a Phoenician storm god, worshipped at Byblos first, and then in Ekron, Hamath, Palmyra, Bosra, Kedesh, and Iturea.36 Baalshamem is identified as Hadad in second-​century CE inscriptions,37 and during the Hellenistic and Roman periods the gods designated “Baals” are overall indistinguishable from Hadad, the old Syrian storm god (cf. KTU 1.12 i.41; 1.10 ii.33; iii.8).38 Now we cannot say for certain that the statue belonged to the niche in the south wall of Elijah’s Cave, as Asher Ovadiah suggests.39 In fact, there are contradictions if Tacitus says that no image or cave temple existed. But the evidence of continuity from Hadad/Baal to Elijah/Khidr is unmistakable. I do not know if this continuity goes back into the Iron Age. Thutmosis and Pythagoras are intriguing, and it is no accident that Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal is set on Mount Carmel. No Iron Age remains have been found from this part of the mountain, but on the beach just below is Tel Shiqmona (MR 1462.2478), Sycaminum.40 It was occupied from the Late Bronze Age into the period of 30.  Ovadiah, “Elijah’s Cave on Mt. Carmel,” 109–15. 31.  Michael Avi-​Yonah, “Mount Carmel and the God of Baalbek,” Israel Exploration Journal 2 (1952): 118–24. 32.  Kurt Galling, “Der Gott Karmel und die Achtung der fremden Gotter,” in Geschichte und Altes Testament, ed. W. F. Albright (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1953), 110–11, 114–15. 33.  E. Lipiński, Semitic Languages: Outline of a Comparative Grammar, 2nd ed. (Leuven: Peeters, 2000), 574. 34.  Avi-​Yonah, “Mount Carmel,” 118–24. 35.  Niehr, Baʾalsamem, 17:187. 36.  Ibid., 17:226–27. 37.  Avi-​Yonah, “Mount Carmel,” 123–24. 38.  Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 137. 39.  Ovadiah, “Elijah’s Cave on Mt. Carmel,” 113; Ovadiah and Pierri, Elijah’s Cave, 4. 40.  Berder, “Au Carmel,” 16; Emil G. Kraeling, “Two Place Names of Hellenistic Palestine,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 7 (1948): 199–201.

Mount Carmel


the Divided Monarchy.41 It was re-​occupied in the fourth century BCE and, finally, evidence of a twelve-​acre Byzantine occupation from the sixth century exists, with clear Jewish and perhaps also Christian remains.42 In Iron II, it produced Hebrew inscriptions,43 Cypriote imports, and what the excavators called an “Astarte Plaque.”44 The Tosefta (t. ʿAbodah Zarah 6:8) reports a pagan sacred sycamore growing at the foot of Mount Carmel, and the Hebrew name of the site Shikmona likely derives from this tree, while Greek συκαμινος means “mulberry tree.”45

Muhraqa The contest of Elijah and the prophets of Baal is actually nowadays commemorated at the other end of the Carmel ridge, at Muhraqa, perched on its own cape 482 m above the Jezreel Valley. The church at this place dates to 1883, and it was frequented by Druze also before 1948,46 but there are numerous references to earlier commemorations here. Numerous references from the late seventeenth century describe a Muslim oratory and stone circle.47 These installations were present as late as 1765 but gone by 1850. They are mentioned in the memoires of Laurent d’Arvieux (1660), Rabbi Moshe Bassola of Ancona (1522), and as early as Rabbi Jacob of Paris in 1235.48 The stone circle by itself is mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela in 1165.49 Few archaeological remains support this location for Elijah’s contest, however. Roman and Byzantine remains were found at an unnamed site just to the east of Muhraqa.50 Just to the north of Muhraqa are two sites—one a Byzantine sarcophagus and the other Khirbet Duweiba (Horvat Dubba), where the parking

41.  J. Elgavish, Shiqmonah le ḥof ha-​Karmel (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1994), 24, 27, 34 fig. 40. 42.  Bellarmino Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2001), 88; Y. Hirschfeld, “Excavations at Shiqmona–1994,” Atiqot 51 (2006): 131–43. 43.  Elgavish, Shiqmonah le ḥof ha-​Karmel, 48. 44.  Elgavish, “Shiqmona, 1975,” Israel Exploration Journal 25 (1975): 257–58. 45.  Gustaf Dalman, Work and Customs in Palestine, trans. Nadia Abdulhadi-​Sukhtian, 2 vols. (Dar Al Nasher, 2013), 1.1:64. 46.  Massignon, “Elie et son role transhistorique,” 145. 47.  E. Friedman, “Antiquities of El-​Muhraqa and 1 Kgs 18,31,” Ephemerides Carmeliticae 22 (1971): 95–104. 48.  E. Friedman, El-​Muhraqa (The Sacrifice, Keren Ha-​Karmel), Here Elijah Raised His Altar (Rome: Order of Discalced Carmelites, 1985), 116–19. 49.  Ibid., 16–17. 50.  Y. Olami, S. Sender, and E. Oren, Map of Yagur (Jerusalem: Archaeological Survey of Israel, 2004), 69*.


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lot for Muhraqa now is, with Hellenistic and Persian remains (MR 15840.23153), including tombs.51 The argument that the author of 1 Kings envisioned the contest at this site, presented by Roland de Vaux among others, is circumstantial.52 1 Kings 18:43 indicates that one must not be able to see the sea from the altar but only from some nearby point higher up.53 The location should have been close enough to the Wadi Kishon as to permit the slaughter of the Baal prophets there.54 The reference in 1 Kgs 18:38 to burning up the “stones and soil” may be an etiology for the presence of volcanic rock.55 The problem is the lack of any pre-​Persian remains.56 Moreover, the entire phenomena of a Baal cult at Mount Carmel is a sort of red herring. Khidr was venerated on the mountain because the Bible reports Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal here, and Baal was venerated on the mountain because the biblical authors knew what they were talking about— if the event was not historical, at least they were aware of Baal worship on the mountain. Baal has not here been replaced by Khidr. On the contrary, Khidr has replaced Elijah as Baal’s nemesis. So while Carmel is in some sense the easiest case, it also offers no evidence in favor of the cultic continuity I am proposing.

51.  Ibid., 63–64*; Shimon Dar, Rural Settlements on Mount Carmel in Antiquity (Oxford: Archeopress, 2015), 60–80. 52.  Roland de Vaux, “Les prophètes de Baal sur le Mont Karmel,” Bulletin du Musée de Beyrouth 5 (1941): 7–9. 53.  Friedman, El-​Muhraqa, 8–9. 54.  Basilea Schlink, Mount Carmel and the Prophet Elijah (Darmstadt: Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, 1988), 4. 55.  Friedman, El-​Muhraqa, 14. 56.  Amos Kloner and Y. Olami, “The Persian and Hellenistic Periods,” in Atlas of Haifa and Mount Carmel, ed. A. Soffer and B. Kipnis (Haifa: Haifa University Press, 1980), 38–39.

Chapter 2

Western Galilee

One area I have found most difficult to explain is a cluster of Khidr / St. George shrines in the southwest corner of Upper Galilee. Kafr Yasif (and Abu Sinan) and El-​Makr are situated at the western edge of the mountains above the Akko Plain, Makr 5 km to the south of Kafr Yasif. About 11 km east of them are Horvat Hesheq and Beth Kerem Valley, about 3.5 km apart. I will treat them in this order.

Kafr Yasif Kafr Yasif is a primarily Christian village containing in its southeast section a Druze shrine of Khidr (MR 1659.2620; fig. 3), with its main feast on January 25. The shrine was built around 1880, but there are remains from the sixth century CE.1 The town was called Cafreysi or Capharsin in the Crusader period, when it was a Jewish village.2 The town itself shows evidence of considerable pre-​ Byzantine Jewish settlement, including Roman mosaics, Greek inscriptions, and tombs.3 On the west side of the town is a third-​century Roman burial cave (MR 1655.2623) with four images of Torah arks.4 A third-​century CE stone door discovered in 1902 is now in the Louvre. It measures 0.8 × 0.6 m and shows a nine-​branch menorah on legs and below that an ark-​like building.5 The town in this period may have been the talmudic Kfar Akko, although that might refer to 1.  Avivi, Druze of Israel, 84. 2.  Salomon E. Grootkerk, Ancient Sites in Galilee (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 36. 3.  R. Frankel et al., Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity in Ancient Upper Galilee (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority Reports, 2001), 14. 4.  Yael Gorin-​Rosen, “Burial Caves in Kafr Yasif,” Atiqot 33 (1997): 71–77, 13–14*. 5.  Mordechai Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians in the Galilee (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2004), 203, 304; Gorin-​Rosen, “Burial Caves in Kafr Yasif,” 71. Bagatti believes the “candelabrum” cannot be a menorah, since it has nine branches; he considers it a tree. Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee, 148.



Chapter 2

Map 1  Sites of Upper Galilee. Map created by Dr. Lawrence Poos.

Makr or Kfar Yosef. A second-​century BCE Greek votive inscription for Hadad and Atargatis (see below) was discovered in the 1950s by Avi-​Yonah, providing a possibility that Khidr is here for a reason.6 Kafr Yasif also had Hellenistic occupation,7 with survey pottery including a Rhodian jar handle and two Phoenician jars.8 The Septuagint uses the name “Yasif” in place of “Hossa” in Josh 19:20, a place that should be in this area, again indicative of at least Hellenistic occupation. The nearest Iron Age occupation to Kafr Yasif is Tel Emez / Tel Mimas, which produced Hellenistic, Persian, Iron Age, and Late Bronze Age pottery.9 The modern Orthodox church in Kafr Yasif is also St. George. On the northeast edge of Kafr Yasif is the Druze village of Abu Sinan, the Crusader Busenen. It has a modern Orthodox church of St. George and another of the prophet Elijah, and on a hillside it has a small grotto of Mar Jiries, used by Christians and Muslims.10 The village has Byzantine church remains.11 6.  Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians, 17. 7.  Frankel, Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity, 14. 8.  Ibid., 79. 9.  The survey pottery collected and housed by Rafael Frankel was examined by the author in March 2012. 10.  Avivi, Druze of Israel, 84. 11.  Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee, 145.

Western Galilee


Figure 3  Kafr Yasif’s El-​Khader. Photo: author.

Makr About 5 km south is the town of Makr (MR 1634–35.2599–2600), where Muslims and Christian venerate St. George at a 7 × 8 m cave.12 The cave is a burial cave of the Byzantine period.13 A modern church here is dedicated to Elijah. The town was known as Makr-​Harsin in the Crusader period, and was a mixed Jewish and Christian town in the Byzantine era.14 Some Byzantine remains were found near the St. George cave, as well as in the town center and eastern section.15 The early sixth-​century basilica, excavated in the 1970s, was called “magnificent . . . high-​quality . . . splendid” by Vassilios Tzaferis.16 In the last century, a bulldozer uncovered a decorated sarcophagus of luxurious red granite, 12.  Eugene Hoade, Guide to the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1984), 778–79. 13.  Idan Shaked, “Kafr Makr,” Excavations and Surveys in Israel 16 (1997): 29. 14.  Grootkerk, Ancient Sites in Galilee, 161; Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians, 19. 15.  The survey pottery collected and housed by Rafael Frankel was examined by the author in March 2012. 16.  Vassilios Tzaferis, “Kafr el-​Makr,” Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel 113 (2001): 11–17; Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians, 244.


Chapter 2

the only granite sarcophagus in Israel, with a Greek inscription.17 The inscription is three words: Steotias, Aneinas, and the letters IAS. Aneinas is a Byzantine Greek name of possible Aramaic origin (NB, p. 517), known from the fourth-​ century British Library P.1655.18 Most interestingly, bronze hands from Makr purchased in Tyre are now held by the Musée Royal de Mariemont, Morlanwelz, Belgium, inscribed in Greek hagie georgi, but their dating is unsure.19 Frankel considers Makr to be the Kfar Akko mentioned in b. Taʿanit 21a and by Josephus in Life 37.188 and J.W. 2.20.573.20 Hellenistic (two Rhodian jars) and Persian (one jar) pottery was also found at Makr.21 I have no good explanation for these sites, although the Hadad inscription from Kafr Yasif is interesting and there seems to be Byzantine St. George veneration. At least we must dismiss David S. Fox’s suggestion that these Georgian sites were invented in the late Crusader period because they were within a safe distance of Acre.22 New information will be forthcoming. In 2011, on the south slope on the same mountain on which Makr covers the north slope, what was probably a Persian-​period temple was discovered at Horvat Turit / Khirbet el-Tantur, a fortress of Saladin and later of Napoleon.23 It is only now being excavated, and perhaps we shall see whose temple it was.

Beth Kerem Only 11 km due east is another cluster of Georgian shrines. The only one still in use is a cave shrine on a cliff face above Beth Kerem Valley (also called Metalul Tsurim), a Khidr shrine frequented by Muslims, especially Sufis. The date of the shrine is uncertain, but it has produced Crusader pottery sherds.24 The Beth Kerem Valley below was known in the Crusader period as the Vallis Sancti Georgii, according to Marino Sanuto the Younger (fifteenth century) and the 1458 map of William of Wey.25 A church of St. George once stood there.26 Burchard of Mount Zion (1283) mentions a village of Sangeor, where St. George

17.  Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians, 271. 18.  = Friedrick Preisigke, ed., Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Ägypten (Strasbourg: Trübner, 1988), 16.13066 = Groningen University Library 75Vo and in Papyrus London 5.1904. 19.  Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee, 144. 20.  Frankel, Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity, 153. 21.  Ibid., 78. 22.  Fox, Saint George, 116. 23.  Frankel, Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity, 11, 78. 24.  Grootkerk, Ancient Sites in Galilee, 69. 25.  Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee, 161. 26.  Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians, 61; Avivi, Druze of Israel, 61.

Western Galilee


was born “five leagues” from Acre, in a “rich valley,” which probably refers to this location.27 At the west end of the valley are two villages, Bʿina and Deir el-​Asad. Bʿina (MR 1758.2596) produced Iron I and II, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader pottery.28 In Deir el-​Asad stood the Crusader monastery of St. George de la Bain or George of el-​Baene (MR 1757.2600). The monastery passed from the Benedictines into Muslim control in 1516, when it was called Deir el-​Bʿina. Deir el-​Bʿina was destroyed by Sheikh Muhammad Al-​Asad, who built the village now called Deir el-​Asad after him when the name later migrated to modern Bʿina.29

A House for Anat Beth-​Anath is a settlement known from both the Bible (Josh 19:38; Judg 1:33) and Egyptian sources whose name suggests a temple of Anat, sister and lover of Baal. Its identification has eluded scholars for centuries. The various identifications given by Victor Guérin (1880), W. F. Albright (1923), Albrecht Alt (1926), and John Garstang (1931) were all expertly discredited by Yohanan Aharoni in 1957.30 Aharoni’s alternative, and several that have appeared since 1957, will be briefly discussed. The Talmud mentions a town of Baina (y. ʿOrlah 3:7–8) within the Land of Israel, but with a mixed Jewish and Gentile population. Samuel Klein equated this site with the byt ʿnh of b. Kilʾayim 2:16, which he determined ought to be a border town in the Bashan region.31 J. M. Grintz accepted Klein’s views and further identified the place with rwm byt ʿnt (t. Miqwaʾot 6:3) and rmt bny ʿ nt (ʾAbot de Rabbi Nathan 27).32 He also equates it with the biblical Beth-​Anath, which Josh 19:32–39 assigns to Naphtali, since Josephus allows the territory of Naphtali to extend northeast as far as Damascus (Ant. 5.86). We shall return to this Bashan proposal below. But it is also possible that the talmudic Baina is Bʿ ina (MR 1758.2596) in western Upper Galilee, regardless of whether this is also the talmudic 27.  Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee, 161. 28.  Frankel, Settlement Dynamics and Regional Diversity, 22, 76, 79. 29.  Tania Forte, “Scripting for Hollywood: Power, Performance and the Heroic Imagination in Abu Hanna’s ‘Real Arabian Nights,’ ” History and Memory 18 (2006): 48–85, 84 n. 27. 30.  Yohan Aharoni, The Settlement of the Israelite Tribes in Upper Galilee (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1957), 70, 97. 31.  S. Klein, Sefer Ha-​Yishuv (Jerusalem: Palestine Historical and Ethnographical Society, 1939), 16. 32.  J. M. Grintz, “Judges Chapter 1,” in Studies in the Bible, ed. J. M. Grintz and J. Liver (Jerusalem: Israel Society for Biblical Research, 1964), 67.


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Beth-ʿAnah.33 It is not clear that Beth-ʿAnah and Beth-ʿAnath are the same place as Grintz maintained. Bʿina cannot be the Beth-ʿAnath mentioned in the Bible and by Egyptian lists of Thutmose III, Seti I, and Ramses II, since it has no Late Bronze Age remains.34 Gal identified the biblical Beth-ʿAnath with nearby Tel Rosh, a site with Middle Bronze IIb, Iron II, and Roman-​Byzantine remains.35 Here, too, the lack of Late Bronze Age remains weighs against the identification. Furthermore, the location is far enough west to be associated more with the tribal territory of Asher than Naphtali. Thus, for a “western” solution, we may have a talmudic Baina and perhaps Beth-ʿAnah in Bʿina, but no Beth-ʿAnath. Aharoni’s candidate for Beth-​Anath of the Bible and Egyptian sources is Safad el-​Battikh (MR 190.289 = 121.141) in Lebanon.36 The Talmud mentions a pool at rwm byt ʿ nt, and C. R. Conder’s Survey of Western Palestine (1.95, 104) found such a pool at Safad el-​Battikh. Aharoni also notes that the Zenon papyri (PSI 554, 594) mention the estate of a Greek officer at Baitanatois to the northwest of Kedesh.37 Finally, Eusebius (Onom. 52) identifies biblical BethʿAnath as Batanaia, “fifteen miles from Caesarea.” Assuming that this is Caesarea Philippi, Aharoni arrives at Safad el-​Battikh.38 The problem is that Safad el-​Battikh is deep inside modern Lebanon, about 10 km due west of modern Kiryat Shmona, 30 km east of Tyre. It is possible that the territory of Naphtali was thought to extend this far north, but unlikely that a Jewish population existed here in the talmudic period. Furthermore, the site lies in the Litani Valley along the Wadi el-​Ma, not at any rwm or rmt (Egyptian lists also mention a mountain). Finally, no modern archaeological evidence provides dates for the antiquities of Safad el-​Battikh; it has produced nothing earlier than Ottoman remains.39

Horvat Hesheq About 3 km northwest of the top of the cliff above Beth Kerem Valley is an ancient shrine of St. George, at Horvat Hesheq / Qasr Asheq (MR 1757.2619; fig. 4). Byzantine Horvat Hesheq was a church belonging to the larger Byzantine 33.  Zvi Gal, Lower Galilee During the Iron Age, American Schools of Oriental Research Dissertations 8 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992). 34.  Ibid., 61. 35.  Gal, Lower Galilee, 29. 36.  Aharoni, Settlement of the Israelite Tribes, 73. 37.  Ibid., 71–72. 38.  Ibid., 73. 39.  Gunnar Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische Fundstellen und Surveys in Syrien und Libanon (Rahden: Verlag Marie Leidorf, 2002), 802.

Western Galilee


Figure 4  Horvat Hesheq. Photo: author.

village of Horvat Mahoz 150 m to the south.40 The entire church is Byzantine, contrary to early reports.41 An inscription in the church dates to April of 519 CE (perhaps the month is significant, being that of George’s feast).42 The inscription reads, “O Lord God of the holy glorious martyr George, remember for good thy servants Demetrius the Deacon who built this holy building and George his son and all their household.”43 Demetrius and his family were buried beneath the church of St. George, which was built with a large reliquary in the central apse.44 Again, I do not know what this Georgian cluster is doing. I think it is reasonable to connect it to the cluster just to the west. These are the only Georgian sites in Galilee. There is little before the Byzantine period, but no logical reason to put George here—unlike Lod, to which we will return. Perhaps the Horvat Turit temple will reveal more.

40.  Doron Bar, “The Christianisation of Rural Palestine during Late Antiquity,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 54 (2003): 401–21. 41.  Aviam, Jews, Pagans and Christians, 208. 42.  Ibid., 237. 43.  Ibid., 226. 44.  Ibid., 232.

Chapter 3


We now come to the most interesting region of my study, Bashan, and in particular Mount Hermon. We begin with intimations of cultic activity in Bashan found in the Old Testament itself. Bashan is mentioned along with its ruler, King Og (Num 21:33; Deut 1:4; 3:1–3, 13; 4:47; Josh 9:10). Og is said to be the last of the rephaim, and Bashan is called the Land of Rephaim (Deut 3:11, 13; Josh 12:4–5; 13:12; Jubilees 29:9–10). Bashan is regularly mentioned in parallel with Carmel (Isa 33:9; Jer 22:20; Nah 1:4; Zech 11:2). Og’s cities are listed as Edrei and Ashtaroth (Deut 1:4; Num 21:33; Josh 12:4; 13:12).1 The nature of the rephaim is debated and beyond the scope of this essay, but while at Ugarit they seem to be the spirit of dead kings (KTU 1.15 iii 2–4, 13–15; KTU 1.108 I 1; KTU 1.20 I 1–3; KTU 1.161 R 2–3, 8–12; KTU 1.6 vi 47–53),2 in the Hebrew Bible they are sometimes also this (Ps 88:11[10]; Prov 2:18; Isa 14:9–11; 26:14, 19; Job 26:5; 2 Sam 5:18, 22 LXX), but at other times merely giants.3 At Ugarit, the ancestral king Ditanu, one of the rephaim, is consulted for healing in KTU 1.15, although there remains debate if the etymology (always with the aleph) suggests “healers” (as per Bordreuil),4 or bears no such relationship

1.  He also appears in the Samaritan Chronicle of Joshua. Parthian fragments of the Book of Ogias the Giant make Og a dragon slayer; see John C. Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992), 22. 2.  N. Wyatt, “À la Recherche des Rephaïm Perdus,” in The Archaeology of Myth, ed. N. Wyatt (London: Routledge, 2010), 76; Pierre Bordreuil, “Ugarit and the Bible: New Data from the House of Urtenu,” in Ugarit at Seventy-​Five, ed. K. L. Younger (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2007), 89–100; S. Y. Cho, Lesser Deities in the Ugaritic Texts and the Hebrew Bible (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2007), 220. 3. Talmon dismisses these references and accepts only the Deuteronomistic rephaim passages, concluding that the rephaim have nothing to do with the underworld; see Shamaryahu Talmon, “Biblical ‫ רפאים‬and Ugaritic Rpu/i(m),” in Literary Studies in the Hebrew Bible: Form and Content (Leiden: Brill, 1993), 82; Brian Doak, The Last of the Rephaim, Ilex Foundation Series 7 (Cambridge, MA: Ilex Foundation, 2013), 81–95, 177–79, 186–87. 4.  Bordreuil, “Ugarit and the Bible,” 92–93.




to healing (so Theodore Lewis and Karel van der Toorn).5 A second-​century CE bilingual Punic-​Latin tomb inscription from coastal Libya (KAI 117) equates the rephaim with Manes. At Ugarit, they are connected to Baal: KTU 1.22 i.8–9 calls them “Rephaim of Baal, Warriors of Baal,” and KTU 1.108 juxtaposes Baal with the rephaim in a royal blessing for Ugarit.6 Remarkably, the rephaim at Ugarit are linked to the exact same cities as Og in the Bible—Athtarat and Edrei (KTU 1.108). In KTU 1.22 i 24–25, they are summoned to a mountain summit in the Lebanon. We shall return to these cities’ identification shortly. Og himself, however, may have some connection to Khidr and Baal. Many later traditions about Og are found in both Judaism and Islam.7 In the fragmentary Parthian-​period Book of Ogias the Giant, Og is a dragon slayer.8 Wyatt draws connections between Og and the Greek character of Ogygos, mythical founder of Thebes and survivor of a global flood (Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica 10; Pausanius, Description of Greece 9.5.1).9 Ogygos is also the namesake of the island of Ogygia, which Homer describes as the “ὀμφαλός . . . θαλάσσης,” “navel of the sea” (Odyssey 1.50).10 Ὠκεανός (Ocean) and Ὤγυγος (Ogygos) are formed on the same root.11 For the Greeks, Ocean was a boundless sea that wrapped like a river around the world (Hesiod, Works and Days 168–71; Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 227; Stasinos of Cyprus, Cypria 8). If one can draw a connection from Ocean to Ogygos to Og, Og of Bashan bears some resemblance to Yamm. On the other hand, the image of Ocean is identified with an ageing Dionysus who descends to the underworld.12 Ocean as the transformation of Dionysus appears on two triumphal arches erected in Rome by Septimius Severus, whose wife Julia Domna was a Syrian priestess.13 Ocean appears as the transformation 5. The Bible wrongly treats the word as coming from the root ‫ רפה‬in 2 Sam 21:16–22 and 1 Chr 20:6–8; see John B. Curtis, “Har-​Basan, the Mountain of God (Ps 68:16[15]),” Proceedings of the Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society 6 (1986): 85–95. 6.  Mark S. Smith, Poetic Heroes: The Literary Commemoration of Warriors and Warrior Culture in the Early Biblical World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014), 271. 7.  Admiel Kosman, “The Story of a Giant Story: The Winding Way of Og King of Bashan in the Jewish Haggadic Tradition,” Hebrew Union College Annual 73 (2002): 157–90; Jan Pauliny, “ʾUg Ibn ʾAnaq, ein sagenhafter Riese: Untersuchungen zu den islamischen Riesengeschichten,” Zborník Filozofickej Fakulty Univerzity Komenského Graecolatina et Orientalia 5 (1973): 249–68. 8.  Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony, 22. 9.  Nicolas Wyatt, There’s Such Divinity Doth Hedge a King: Selected Essays of Nicolas Wyatt on Royal Ideology in Ugaritic and Old Testament Literature, Society for Old Testament Study (Burlington: Ashgate, 2005), 245. 10.  See LSJ, s.v. “Ωγύγιος.” 11.  Nicolas Wyatt, “ ‘Water, Water Everywhere . . .’: Musings on the Aqueous Myths of the Near East,” in The Mythic Mind: Essays on Cosmology and Religion in Ugaritic and Old Testament Literature (London: Equinox, 2005), 219. 12.  Anderson, Green Man, 45. 13.  Ibid.


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of Bacchus on a dish from the Roman Cunetio Hoard (late second century CE) and on a frieze on the temple of Bacchus at Baalbek.14 Dionysus is himself associated with the Green Man through his patronage of agriculture, his ability to make plants grow where he sets foot, and the ability of his followers, according to Euripides, to draw water out of the ground by striking it.15 So one might also propose a resemblance between Og and Khidr or Baal. The term “Bashan” itself can be equated with the Ugaritic bṯn (cf. Akk. bašmu, Aram. ptn, Arab. bathan; KB3, 1.165), which is used to describe Yamm/ Leviathan in KTU 1.5 i.2.16 Bashan appears several times in Psalm 68, which twice calls God “Rider of the Clouds” (68:7, 33), identical with rkb ʿrpt, an Ugaritic title of Baal used repeatedly in the Yamm stories (e.g., KTU 1.3 iv 4, 7). In Ps 68:16[15], Bashan is called the Mountain of God and mentioned right after Zalmon, which Ptolemy identified as Jebel Druze (Geography 5.14.12). This means that in Ps 68:17[16], it is Bashan that “God desired for his abode, where the Lord will reside forever.”17 Then in 68:23[22], Bashan is mentioned in parallel with Yamm.18 Perhaps God lives on Mount Bashan, then, in 68:15[16].19 John Day believes this use of geographical Bashan discounts translating Mount Bashan as “Serpent Mountain,” noting that bṯn already enters Hebrew as ‫( פתנ‬e.g., Ps 91:13, in parallel with ‫ ;תנין‬cf. Arabic baṯanun).20 But common sources can lead to two ulterior forms in a second language,21 either if the Hebrew bet and pe both correspond to the Ugaritic b because this is a composite set with overlapping segments22 or if Bashan and peten are a doublet, borrowed at different times from what is historically the same item in the single source language (cf. castle

14.  Şehnaz Eraslan, “Ocean Figures in Antique Art,” Atatürk Üniversitesi Güzel Sanatlar Fakültesi Sanat Dergisi-​Sayı 22 (2012): 163; Gregor Maurah, “Dionysos von Homer bis heute,” Abhandlungen der Braunschweigischen Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft 44 (1993): 146 n. 54; Anderson, Green Man, 45. 15.  Anderson, Green Man, 39; Tina Negus, “Medieval Foliate Heads,” Folklore 114 (2003): 247. 16.  J. A. Charlesworth, “Bashan, Symbolism, Haplography, and Theology in Psalm 68,” in David and Zion, ed. B. Batto and K. L. Roberts (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2004), 355–56, 358. 17.  Israel Knohl, “Psalm 68: Structure, Composition, and Geography,” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 12 (2012): 1–21. 18. Maria Louisa Mayer Modena, “Il tabù linguistico e alcune denominazioni del serpente in semitico,” Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia 35 (1982): 173–90. Strictly speaking, Bashan is parallel not with Yamm but with the “depths,” ‫ ;מצולות‬see Wyatt, “Water, Water Everywhere,” 223. 19.  Charlesworth, “Bashan, Symbolism, Haplography,” 362; J. H. Eaton, The Psalms (New York: T&T Clark, 2003), 249. Wyatt speculates on connections between the kings in Ps 68:15[14] and the rephaim; see Wyatt, “Water, Water everywhere,” 210. 20.  John Day, God’s Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 115. The phonemic shift b > p is common the world over, but the reverse is unknown; see L. M. Hyman, Phonology (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975), 17. 21.  Wyatt “Water, Water Everywhere,” 222; Curtis, “Har-​Basan, the Mountain of God,” 89. 22.  Wyatt “Water, Water Everywhere,” 222; Curtis, “Har-​Basan, the Mountain of God,” 89.



and chateau or gentle and genteel).23 The word Bashan need not be Hebrew in any case.24 Place-​names are famously tenacious.25 Moreover, Deut 33:22, which says that Dan springs forth from Bashan, uses the oddly sea-​serpentesque verb ‫זנק‬,26 hardly what one expects of the “whelp of a lion,” while Gen 49:17 actually calls Dan a serpent (both ‫ נחש‬and ‫)שפיפן‬.27 Del Olmo Lete pushes things too far in arguing that Bashan was the Canaanite “hell.”28 But a final link between Ugarit and Baal in particular and the Bashan region is the probable presence of Lake Hula as ṯmq in KTU 1.10 ii 6–12, a place “abounding in bulls” where Baal hunts (but not the ṯmk in KTU 1.22 i 17).29

Ashtaroth and Edrei Let us begin with Ashtaroth and Edrei, which the Bible and Ugarit agree are rephaim cities, belonging to Og in the Bible and to Rāpiʾu, “king of eternity” and head of the rephaim in KTU 1.108, identical to Milku in KTU 1.100:40–41′ and 1.107:42′, since Milku lives at Ashtaroth in KTU 1.100:41 and at Hidraʿyu (Edrei) in KTU 1.108:3.30 Ashtaroth, Ugaritic Athtartu, is probably Tell el-​Ashtereh (MR 175.096).31 EA 364 and EA 256 describe an alliance between Ashtaroth 23.  R. L. Trask, The Dictionary of Historical and Comparitive Linguistics (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000), 69, 97. 24.  Wyatt, “Water, Water Everywhere,” 189–237. 25.  E. Lipiński, “El’s Abode,” Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica 2 (1971): 15–41. 26.  Cf. Arabic zināq, “necklace”; zunāq, “horse’s curbstrap/throatlatch” (DRS 764–65). 27.  Wyatt, “Water, Water Everywhere,” 216; Curtis, “Har-​Basan, the Mountain of God,” 91. 28.  Gregorio del Olmo Lete, “Bašan o el ‘Infierno’ cananeo,” La Sel de la vie en Asie du Sud-​ Est 5 (1988): 51–60. 29.  Wyatt, ‘“Water, Water Everywhere,” 245 n. 98. Aliquot combines the two identifications and dismisses both. Julien Aliquot, “Sanctuaries and Villages on Mt. Hermon During the Roman Period,” in The Variety of Local Religious Life in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, ed. T. Kaizer (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 73–96 (here 85 n. 45). 30.  A. Rahmouni, Divine Epithets in the Ugaritic Alphabetic Texts (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 46–48; Dennis Pardee, Ritual and Cult at Ugarit, Writings from the Ancient World 10 (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2002), 204–5. Margalit’s view that KTU 1.108.2b–3a translates “El sits enthroned in Ashtoreth, El rules in Edrei” is to be rejected for multiple reasons; see John Day, “Ashtaroth,” ABD, 1:491, who translates the phrase as “the god in the company of Ashtoret, the god in the copy of Hada the shepherd”; and Pardee, “Ritual and Cult at Ugarit,” 194. Milku is also called “eternal” in KTU 1.22 i.10. The god Milku is known from Emar (Emar 373.124, 378.41) and as an Amurrite god in a Hittite treaty of Murshili II; see Smith, Poetic Heroes, 248 n. 12. Day argues that this god lies behind the biblical Molech (John Day, Molech [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989], 46–47). If this is the case, one should connect Milku to Baal-​Hamon of Carthage, to whom we shall return below. 31.  Yoel Elitzur, Ancient Place Names in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2004), 10, 253; Yuval Goren, Israel Finkelstein, and Nadav Naʾaman, Inscribed in Clay: Provenance Study of the Amarna Letters and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Tel Aviv: Institute of Archaeology, 2004), 218. It is not to be identified with Araru, modern Tell Ein el-​Hariri, 13 km southeast of Qasrin; see Gershon Galil, “Ashtaroth in the Amarna Period,” in Past Links: Studies in the Languages and


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Map 2  Ashtaroth and Edrei sites. Map created by Dr. Lawrence Poos.

and Pella when the cities of Garu (including Aduru; see above) revolted.32 The king of Ashtaroth is named Ayyab (Job).33 A number of other Amarna Letters originated at Ashtaroth.34 More complicating is the reference in Gen 14:5 to Ashtaroth-​Karnaim, not “Ashtaroth of the Two Horns,” but Ashtaroth “near to Karnaim” (Tell Saʾad; MR 247.249), as a home of rephaim.35 Ashtaroth-​Karnaim was identified by the fourteenth-​century Jewish geographer Ishtori Haparchi as al-​Churak 12.8 km northeast of Edrei, by the nineteenth-​century explorer William Martin Leake as Muzayrib, and today as also Tell el-​Ashtereh or as es-​Sunamein 38.6 km to the northeast, given the Samaritan Pentateuch’s rendering of Ashtaroth-​ Karnaim as Sunamein. Finally, Ashtaroth’s place in 1 Chr 6:56[71] is presented as Beeshterah in the parallel list in Josh 21:27.36 If Ashtaroth-​Karnaim is the Cultures of the Ancient Near East, ed. S. Izreʾel, I. Singer, and R. Zadok (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1998), 376. 32.  Albright connected the latter toponym with Golan/Jaulan/Gaulanitis; see W. F. Albright, “Two Little Understood Amarna Letters from the Middle Jordan Valley,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 89 (1943): 7–17. 33.  Goren, Finkelstein, and Naʾaman, Inscribed in Clay, 223; Albright, “Two Little Understood Amarna Letters,” 10. 34.  Goren, Finkelstein, and Naʾaman, Inscribed in Clay, 221–23. 35.  Michael Astour, “Ashteroth-​Krnaim,” ABD, 1:491. 36.  John L. Peterson, “Beeshterah,” ABD, 1:647–48.



same as the Carnaim in 1 Macc 5:43 and 2 Macc 12:26 (as per J. A. Goldstein) it is reported to have had a Hellenistic temple of Atargatis. 37 Karnaim, properly Qarnayim, is also known as the home of the moon god Aramish. The Esarhaddon Succession Treaty from Tell Tayinat (T vi 44) mentions “the God Aramish, lord of the city and land of Qarnē/Qarnīna.” Aramish appears over a wide geographic area (e.g., Nineveh, Assur) often with the title “king of the gods” (e.g., from Rasm it-​Tanjara, from Carchemish).38 Ran Zadok, following Benno Landsberger, argues that Aramish is a vulgar North Syrian form of the Luwian moon god Arma(s)/Arwas.39 Unfortunately, the modern scholarly literature confuses Tell Ashari (modern Alashaary, MR 175.090), 8 km from Muzayrib, and Tell el-​Ashtereh, a large site 75 m high and 1 km across.40 The latter site, some 30 m tall, was excavated by Ali Abu Assaf in the 1960s and revealed Middle and Late Bronze I and II, Iron I and II, Hellenistic, Roman, and Crusader occupation.41 Among the Roman remains was an inscription to Zeus Megistos.42 A copious spring surfaces at the base of Tell el-​Ashtereh.43 This is not the same as the site surveyed by Albright in the 1920s, and it is still unexcavated. Albright’s survey found Early, Middle, and Late Bronze through Iron IIa remains,44 and Lehman believes it was Tell Ashari, which he identifies as Dion of the Decapolis (else placed at Al-​Husn in Jordan).45 A stele of an anthropomorphic bull identified as from “Tell Ashari” is in the Damascus Museum (Inventory #4177), and it is nearly identical to the stelae from Awas near Salkhad,46 from et-​Tell/Bethsaida, from et-​Turra due south of Tell Ashari— all in the same region—and from Gaziantepe.47 37.  J. A. Goldstein, I Maccabees, Anchor Bible 41 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976), 303. 38.  K. Lawson Younger, “ ‘The Deities of Aram’ (Judges 10:6) in Light of Recent Research” (paper presented at the Tyndale Fellowship Study Group Conference, Cambridge, 2017). 39.  Ibid. 40.  Thomas J. Newbold, “On the Lake Phiali,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 16 (1856): 8–31. 41.  A. Abou Assaf, “Tell-​Aschtara 2. Kampagne 1967,” Annales archaéologiques arabes syriennes 19 (1969): 101–8; Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische, 110; Assaf, “Tell Aschtara in Sud-​Syrien,” Annales archaéologiques arabes syriennes 18 (1968): 103–122. 42.  Niehr, Baʾalsamem, 239. 43.  Thomas J. Newbold, “On the Site of Ashtaroth,” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 16 (1846): 331–38. 44.  J. L. Peterson, “Beeshterah,” ABD, 1:647–48. 45.  Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische, 107. Some Dion coinage was found at Tell el-​Ashari; see C. Auge, “Sur le monnayage de Dion de Coele-​Syrie,” in Geographie historique au Proche-​Orient, ed. P. L. Gatier, B. Helly and J. P. Rey-​Coquais (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1988), 331. Dion coins occur with names such as Elgabal (third century CE) and with images (female) of Tyche; see Auge, “Sur le monnayage,” 327–29. 46.  M. Krebernik and U. Saidl, “Ein Schildbeschlag mit Bukranion und alphabetischer Inschrift,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie 87 (1997): 101–11. 47.  Younger, “Deities of Aram.”


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Ashtartu is mentioned also in Egyptian execration texts and Amarna Letters (EA 197 and EA 256). Two kings of Ashtaroth are mentioned in the Amarna Letters, Ayyab (incorrectly identified as Babylonian by earlier scholars) and Biridashwa.48 In EA 364:170–20 Ashtaroth is said to be at war with Hazor.49 Edrei, the ỉ-t-​r-ʿ of Amenhotep III’s list50 and Jerome’s Adarōn, is not to be identified with Izraa/Ezraʿ. This misidentification by some early explorers was based on the inaccurate hearing of names in the nineteenth century.51 The distances involved if Edrei were Izraa are wrong.52 Likewise, Edrei cannot be Aduru of Amenhotep III’s list and P.Anastasi 1, far south of Dan in the Hula Valley.53 The middle u in Aduru cannot simply have dropped out.54 Edrei is Daraa, as Eusebius knew (Onom. 12, 13), where we should not be surprised to find a tomb of Khidr.55 The site is old, Middle Bronze, Hellenistic, and Roman, with Nabatean remains found under the great cathedral and Bronze Age remains in the tell/acropolis on the northern edge of the city.56 Deuteronomy 3:10 and Josh 12:5 give Og another city, Salecah. This is modern Salkhad,57 another old Nabatean city famous for its inscription CIS 2.183. It is a 1.48 m long basalt lintel reused in constructing a church.58 The inscription refers to the dedication of the temple of Allat, founded by Rawaho bar Qasiyo in 95 BCE and renovated by his descendent Gautallah in 56 CE.59 Both Qasiyo and Rawaho are Nabatean (and Safaitic) tribal names.60 An inscription (CIS 174) from Bosra is dedicated to the “god of Qasiyo.”61 A second inscription from Salkhad describes an altar to Baalshamin, erected by Ubaidu bar Utayfiq in 69/70 CE.62 A stele of an anthropomorphic bull was found in the early twentieth century in Awas, a suburb of Salkhad 8 km to the southeast.63 48.  Galil, “Ashtaroth in the Amarna Period,” 373. 49.  Ibid., 375. 50.  Elitzur, Ancient Place Names, 254. 51.  Ibid., 251–54. 52.  Ibid., 252, 377. 53.  Galil, “Ashtaroth in the Amarna Period,” 381. Contra Goren, Finkelstein, and Naʾaman, Inscribed in Clay, 224, Claire Epstein identifies Aduru with Tell Abu Mdawwar on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee, but it has no Late Bronze Age pottery. See J. Pakkala, “What do we Know about Geshur?” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 25 (2010): 155–73. 54.  Pakkala, “What do we Know?” 161. 55.  Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische, 282. 56.  T. Fournet and T. M. Weber-​Karyotakis, “Adraha (Deraa) romain et byzantine,” in Hauran 5, ed. M. al-​Maqdissi, F. Braemer, and J.-M. Dentzer (Beirut: Presses de l’IFPO, 2010), 183; Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische, 281. 57.  Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische, 818. 58.  J.-T. Milik, “Nouvelles inscriptions nabatéennes,” Syria 35 (1958): 227–51. 59.  Ibid., 228. 60.  Ibid., 229 n. 2. 61.  Ibid., 229. 62.  Niehr, Baʾalsamem, 266. 63.  Krebernik and Saidl, “Ein Schildbeschlag mit Bukranion,” 108.



Bosra is interesting, but so far southeast that it can hardly be considered Bashan any more. It is interesting because it too has both a tomb of St. George, or of Mar Elias, and a mosque of Khidr next door. The tomb is early Byzantine,64 the mosque twelfth century,65 although Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-​Harawi (d. 1215) knows it as Elisha’s tomb (Alisa), not Elijah/Khidr’s.66 The “god of Qasiyo” is none other than Baalshamem, who was also venerated at Bosra as god of Sidon,67 later equated with Zeus Ammon, patron of the Third Legion.68 Bosra’s occupation dates back to the Middle Bronze Age, with Late Bronze and Iron II occupations as well, especially in the tell on the western edge of the city under the Roman naumachia.69 Hellenistic occupation was extensive,70 and the city eventually became the northern Nabataean capital.71 We should mention Izraa (MR 197.103) as well, even though it is not Edrei, because it has a strong claim to having the bones of St. George. Supposedly, they were transferred there from Lod,72 although manuscript 417 from St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai—a tenth-​century vellum codex of the Ladder of John Climacus with scholia—says that George died and was buried in the Hauran.73 Izraa’s sixth-​century church of St. George, known today also as the “Living Khoudr of God,” produced a remarkable Greek inscription dated to 515 that describes the entire process I am examining: A house of God has replaced the dwelling of demons. The light of salvation has shone in a place where the darkness previously covered. Where sacrifices were made to idols, there are now choirs of angels. Where God was provoked, God is now appeased. A certain man, a friend of Christ, 64.  M. Meinecke, F. Aalund, and L. Korn, “Weitere religiöse Bauwerke,” in Bosra, ed. M. Meinecke and F. Aalund (Rahden: Marie Leidorf, 2005), 81 n. 1. 65.  L. Korn, “La mosquée Al-​Khidr,” in Bosra: Aux portes de l’Arabie, ed. J. Dentzer-​Feydy and M. al-​Maqdissi (Beirut: Institut Français du Proche-​Orient, 2007), 278. 66.  Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-​Harawi, A Lonely Wayfarer’s Guide to Pilgrimage, trans. J. W. Meri (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 34. 67.  J. Dentzer-​Feydy and L. Nehme, “Les dieux avant la province d’Arabie,” in Bosra: Aux portes de l’Arabie, ed. J. Dentzer-​Feydy and M. al-​Maqdissi (Beirut: Institut Français du Proche-​Orient, 2007), 19. 68.  Henri Seyrig, “Les dieux armés et les Arabes en Syrie,” Syria 47 (1970): 77–116. 69.  F. Braemer, “Bosra avant Bostro,” in Bosra: Aux portes de l’Arabie, ed. J. Dentzer-​Feydy and M. al-​Maqdissi (Beirut: Institut Français du Proche-​Orient, 2007), 5; J.-M. Dentzer et al., “Formation et développement des villes en Syrie du Sud de l’époque hellenistique à l’époque byzantine,” in Hauran 5, ed. M. al-​Maqdissi, F. Braemer, and J.-M. Dentzer (Beirut: Presses de l’IFPO, 2010), 41–42. 70.  Dentzer et al., “Formation,” 139–69. 71.  S. al-​Megdad, “Le role de la ville de Bosra dans l’histoir de la Jordanie aux epoques nabatéenne et romaine,” Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 1 (1982): 267–73. 72.  Walter, “Origins,” 314. 73.  Marlene Kanaan, “Legends, Places and Traditions Related to the Cult of Saint George in Lebanon,” Aram 20 (2008): 203–19.


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the first magistrate John, son of Diomedes, has offered this edifice to God, as a gift at his own expense, having deposed there the precious relic of the victorious saint and martyr George, who appeared to John not in sleep but in reality.74 A separate church of Elijah was erected in 542.75 Both churches incorporated various pre-​Christian spolia into their construction.76 Izraa is the Greek Zorava or Zorowa (mentioned both in inscriptions found at the site and by Alexander Severus)77 probably derived from an Aramaic zuraʿ. It is probably to be identified with the Ziribashani of EA 201–206 (but not 197.2) and P.Anastasi 1 22.5.78 It is said to have had a King Artamaanya (not Artabania), according to EA 201.3–4.79 It was also the birthplace of Bin-​Isina, chief steward of Ramses II and Merneptah (LÄ, 2:306). Note, incidentally, the morpheme “Bashan” in the name of Ziribashani.80 This reinforces the conclusion above that Bashan is not Hebrew and that btn entering Hebrew as ‫ פתנ‬is irrelevant.

Southern Mount Hermon The Bible considers all of this area, modern Al-​Lajat, to be Bashan. The term applies as well to the increasingly mountainous territory moving northwest toward Mount Hermon (Jubilees 29:10; fig. 5).81 Continuing in this direction we come to Mumsiyye (Khirbet Mumsiyya / el-​Ghassaniye; MR 2279–80.2760). On the site of this Circassian village destroyed in 1967 was a Byzantine church dedicated to St. George, dated likely to 487 CE, although others have proposed

74.  Frank R. Trombley, Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370–529 (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 2, 363; E. Wallis Budge, Saint George of Lydda (London: Luzac, 1930), 7–18. 75.  Trombley, Hellenic Religion and Christianization, 361. 76.  Ibid., 363–64. 77.  Maurice Sartre, “Les IGLS et la toponymie du Haurân,” Syria 79 (2002): 217–29. 78.  Galil, “Ashtaroth in the Amarna Period,” 379; Juan Pablo Vita, “Der biblische Ortsname Zaphon und die Amarnabriefe EA 273–274,” Ugarit-​Forschungen 37 (2005/2006): 673–77. 79.  This is an Indo-​Aryan name comparable to the common Sanskrit ṛṭáh, “true” + mányate, “thinking.” See Richard S. Hess, Amarna Personal Names, Dissertation Series—American Schools of Oriental Research 9 (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1993), 367–68; Arnaud Fournet, “La question des mots et noms mittanni-​aryens,” Res Antiquae 9 (2012): 93–122. 80.  Knohl, “Psalm 68,” 13. 81.  Bashan is distinguished from Hermon only in 1 Chr 5:23; see Curtis, “Har-​Basan, the Mountain of God,” 86. “Jaulan” refers to the area from Hermon south to the Yarmuk River; see C. Ben David, “The Preservation of Roman and Byzantine Place Names from the Golan Heights,” Semitica et Classica 3 (2010): 265–71. “Hauran” includes the Jaulan as well as Jebel Druze to the east and the area in between. The Hula Valley does not belong to any of these, but was included in the Late Roman administrative district of Paneas; see Ben David, “Preservation,” 268 n. 18.



Figure 5  Mt. Hermon seen from Birkat Ram. Photo: author.

473, 531, or 534.82 Several Greek inscriptions have been found here, along with Roman period pottery from the third and fourth centuries.83 Continuing north, we come to the Druze village of Buqata, which has two shrines of “Nebi Khader,” but the only one with firm dates goes back only to 1958.84 Another 4 km north, at 1020 m elevation, is the site of Khirbet Hawarit (MR 7555.6809). Excavations here found three pottery phases, the oldest of which is represented by Golan Ware (200 BCE–700 CE), found all over the northern Golan in the second century BCE.85 Hawarit was probably the major 82.  Julien Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie, vol. 11: Mont Hermon (Liban et Syrie) (Damascus: Institute Français du Proche-​Orient, 2008), 24; R. C. Gregg and Dan Urman, Jews, Pagans, and Christians in the Golan Heights (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996), 213. 83.  Gregg and Urman, Jews, 210 n. 38. The name “el-​Ghassaniyye” suggests Ghassanid presence. We know that 35 km away was the seat of the Ghassanid chief Phylarch at Tell el-​Jabiyye/ Djabiya (ibid., 214). Older theories held that all Christians in the Golan were Ghassanids who had come from South Arabia by 490 CE, but we now know that Christians were already in Golan and at Mumsiyya before this (ibid., 295–96). 84.  Avivi, Druze of Israel, 88. 85.  Nicholas Hudson, Andrea Berlin, and Moshe Hartal, “Khirbet El-​Hawarit,” Atiqot 59 (2008): 131–55 (esp. 133, 135, 147). The other two pottery pieces are Hawarit Cookpots (200–450 CE), found also at Banias and Har Senaim, and Banias Ware (100–500 CE). Floral remains of terebinth, olive, oak, and cypress were also found.


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Map 3  Mount Hermon sites. Map created by Dr. Lawrence Poos.

pottery production site for all of Hermon and the Golan in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.86 The site was destroyed after its salvage excavation87 by construction expanding the shrine of Nebi Eliyaʾ (fig. 6)—that is, Elijah—whom locals know to be the same as Khidr.88 Just to the west of Hawarit, on the same ridge, is the Maronite village of Ein Qunya (MR 2185.2935), whose parish is named St. George. Ein Qunya also happens to be one of few sites on the slopes of Mount Hermon to have Iron Age (here Iron II) remains.89 A few hundred meters east of Khirbet Hawarit is the large stagnant pool of Birkat Ram, ancient Lake Phiala (MR 152.144; fig. 7).90 Josephus reports that Philip the Tetrarch threw straws into the lake and that they emerged at Banias (J.W. 3.10.7 §509–515; also Mekilta to Exod 17:14). The idea that Birkat Ram was 86.  Ibid., 133. 87.  Ibid., 131. 88.  Avivi, Druze of Israel, 94. 89.  Shimon Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites on Mount Hermon, Israel (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 1993), 15. 90.  Diocletian constructed water-​works at Caesarea Philippi in 286 CE, and confusion in rabbinic texts (Yalqut to Ps 69:7 vs. Midrash Psalms 24:6; y. Kilʾayim 32c; y. Ketubbot 35b; b. Bava Batra 74b) resulted in Lake Phiala receiving the name “Lake of Diocletian.” Birkat Ram is a volcanic caldera. See F. Neumann et al., “Holocene Vegetation and Climate History of the Northern Golan Heights,” Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 16 (2007): 329–46.



Figure 6  Nebi Eliya. Photo: author.

a source of the Jordan was still folklore among locals in the nineteenth century, only disproven by Captain Thomas Newbold in 1856.91 An interesting midrash on tractate Sanhedrin of the Talmud identifies Birkat Ram as one of the “tehumot rabbot,” or “great deeps.” The Talmud reads: “Rabbi Johanan said: The generation in question sinned with the word rabbha. [Job 6:5]: ‘God saw that rabbha the wickedness of men, and they were punished with the same word [Job 7:11]: ‘All—the fountains of the deep rabbha.’ And he said again: Three of the hot springs of that time remained forever, and they are, of Gedda, of Tiberius and the great springs of Biram.”92 The midrash on this identifies the ‫ עיניא רבתי דבירם‬not as a spring in Biram but as Birkat Ram. Tehumot appears in the plural in only fourteen of its thirty-​five occurrences, while tehom rabbah is a stereotyped compound noun in the text (Isa 51:10; Amos 7:4; Ps 36:6[7]).93 It refers to surface openings of subterranean water (Deut 8:7; Ezek 31:4; ANET, 153), while also standing in parallel to yamm—the literal sea and mythological foe of Yahweh and Baal—in both Ugaritic texts and the Bible (Job

91.  Newbold, “On the Lake Phiali,” 10. 92.  Translation from Michael Levi Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud: Tract Sanhedrin (New York: New Talmud, 1902), with biblical cross-​references updated. 93.  Gerhard F. Hasel, “The Fountains of the Great Deep,” Origins 1 (1974) .


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Figure 7  Birkat Ram, seen from Bir en-​Soba. Photo: author.

28:14; 38:16; Jonah 2:6; CTA 23.30).94 Mount Hermon and the Bashan overall have few bodies of water; in mythic importance, Birkat Ram falls far short of Banias itself (MR 750.682).

Banias If a large natural cave with a seemingly bottomless pool issuing forth from Mount Hermon were not enough reason to pause at Banias, the shrine of Khidr overlooking the pool insists we linger here.95 The earliest record of this shrine by name is by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1810, at which time it was in the hands of Alawites.96 Ulrich Jasper Seetzen reports seeing some mosque above the pool of Banias, but he does not name the shrine.97 Neither Burckhardt nor

94.  Ibid. 95.  John F. Wilson, Caesarea Philippi: Banias, the Lost City of Pan (London: Tauris, 2004), 182 n. 7. 96.  Zvi U. Maʾoz, “En-​Nebi Khader (Khouder) at Baniyas (Dan-​Caesarea-​Philippi-​Paneas),” Aram 20 (2008): 95–100; Avivi, Druze of Israel, 95. 97.  Maʾoz, “En-​Nebi Khader,” 95–100.



Figure 8  Nebi Khader at Banias. Photo: author.

Seetzen describes the shrine as a tomb,98 but several Roman tombs surround it.99 In 1854, Victor Guérin showed evidence of the structure having been a Byzantine church (fig. 8).100 Animal sacrifices were performed here into the early twentieth century.101 The history of the pagan shrines at Banias is well established. By the third century BCE, the cave (fig. 9), set in its oak forest, was dedicated to Pan, as reported in Polybius, Historiae 16.18.2; 28.113.102 We cannot be sure who dedicated the shrine to Pan. The site belonged to the Ptolemies until Antiochus III’s victory near the location in 198 BCE. Ptolemy II Philadelphus established Paneons at Alexandria and elsewhere around 250 BCE, but not outside of Egypt.103 It is farfetched to assume the victorious Selucids dedicated the

98.  Ibid., 95. 99.  Moshe Hartal, “Banias, Final Report,” Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel 120 (2008) . 100.  Wilson, Caesarea Philippi, 106 101.  Lewis B. Paton, “Survivals of the Primitive Religion in Modern Palestine,” Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 1 (1919–1920): 51–65. 102.  Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 21. 103.  Zvi U. Maʾoz, Baniyas in the Greco-​Roman Period (Qazrin: Golan Antiquities Museum, 2007), iii, 6–7.


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Figure 9  Banias, El-​Khader and Cave of Pan. Photo: author.

site in thanks for the “panic” among the Ptolemaic forces they defeated.104 The occurance of another Pan from the Hauran, from Canatha (Qanawat), now in the Damascus Museum, would suggest that the Pan cult needed no such historical justification in this region.105 No remains have been found within the cave, but archaeological evidence shows meals being eaten using local pottery in the forecourt of the cave in the Hellenistic period.106 Andrea Berlin has compared these to the Pan shrine picnics in Menander’s Dyskolos.107 In 18 BCE, Herod the Great began the large-​scale construction at the shrine and the city to the south, placing a marble temple right in front of the Pan Cave (Area A; Josephus, Ant. 15.363–64). Philip the Tetrarch made the city his capital in 2 BCE, renaming it Caesarea Philippi.108 Agrippa II built a temple to Pan in Area B, just to the right of the cave (stratum 8).109 In the first century CE, Trajan built a temple to 104.  Vassilios Tzaferis, “The ‘God Who Is in Dan’ and the Cult of Pan at Banias in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods,” Eretz-​Israel 23 (1992): 128*–35*. 105.  John Boardman, The Great God Pan (London: Thames and Hudson, 1998), fig. 293. 106.  Andrea Berlin, “The Archaeology of Ritual: The Santuary of Pan at Banias/Caesarea Philippi,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 315 (1999): 27–45 (esp. 30). 107.  Ibid., 31. 108.  The forum and the Asclepieion in Area D of the main city also date to this period. 109.  A. Ovadiah and Y. Turnheim, Roman Temples, Shrines, and Temene in Israel (Rome: Bretschneider, 2011), 4. Agrippa also built a palace in Area D.



Zeus to the right of Agrippa’s temple to Pan, and a court to Nemesis just to the right of that.110 It was a temple of Heliopolitan Zeus, whom we met before on Mount Carmel—none other than Hadad.111 A tomb from the second century CE produced a bronze bas-​relief of Aphrodite.112 Even after the city became largely Christian, with a basilica in Area B (Stratum IV), pagan cultic activity continued at the cliff face, with a goat mausoleum constructed in Area D and a temple in Area E dedicated to the dancing goats.113 Cultic activity at the cliff face only stopped around 450 CE.114 The cave and its pool have attracted particular speculation (fig. 10). It was the original cultic center at the site. In antiquity, water, one of the three main sources of the Jordan, issued from the pool in the cave, although this is no longer the case owing to seismic activity (Josephus, J.W. 1.21.3 §404–406; t. Bekhorot 7:4).115 Eusebius claims the “Phoenician” inhabitants of Banias offered human sacrifice into the pool once a year, the victim “marvelously disappearing through the power of the demon” (Hist. eccl. 7.17–18). Josephus held that the pool was bottomless (J.W. 1.404), and he and others believed the water in the pool connected to Birkat Ram (J.W. 3.10.7 §509–515; Mekilta to Exod 17:14). Others thought the water passed underground to Tiberias (y. Terumot 8:10 46b–c). We will return to possible ritual uses of the pool itself shortly. Moreover, I do not think it accidental that it was at this place Jesus asked his disciples who people were saying he was.116 “Some say Elijah” (Matt 16:14). 110.  Y. Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains de a Béqaʾ, de l’Hermon et de l’Abilène à l’époque romaine,” in Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt 18/4, ed. H. Tempoini and W. Haase (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1990), 2593. On connections between Pan and Zeus in general, see Philippe Borgeaud, The Cult of Pan in Ancient Greece (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 42–43. 111.  Ovadiah and Turnheim, Roman Temples, 4. 112.  Shimon Dar, “A Relief of Aphrodite from Paneas, Israel,” Journal of the British Archaeological Association 144 (1991): 116–18. 113.  Alongside a substantial Christian population, which for a time included Eusebius himself (Hist. eccl. 7.18; Commentary on Luke 8.43); two Jewish communities (Babylonian and Palestinian), with a synagogue in Area E, that lasted down into the tenth century; a pagan community that happily tore down the crosses and erected statues of Julian the Apostate during his reign; and eventually a Muslim community famous from the tenth century for its Sufis (Wilson, Caesarea Philippi, 102, 122). 114.  Berlin, “Archaeology of Ritual,” 41. The site also contains, in Area C, the grave of Sheikh Sidi Ibrahim, the controller of weights and measures in Banias during the Ottoman empire, to whose grave Muslims and Druze of Israel make pilgrimages and hold festive meals, hanging sheep’s hooves and intestines in the trees around the grave as evidence of the sacrifices made there for healing. See Paton, “Survivals of the Primitive Religion,” 58. The large “sacred oak” of the tomb has been present since at least the 1920s. Amots Dafni, “On the Present-​Day Veneration of Sacred Trees in the Holy Land,” Folklore 48 (2011): 7–30. 115.  Newbold, “On the Lake Phiali,” 11. 116.  G. W. E. Nickelsburg, “Enoch, Levi, and Peter: Recipients of Revelation in Upper Galilee,” Journal of Biblical Literature 100 (1981): 575–600; Kelly Coblenz Bautch, A Study of the Geography of 1 Enoch 17–19 (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 63.


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Figure 10  Banias Cave of Pan, interior. Photo: author.

This is followed by Jesus mentioning the gates of Hell (Matt 16:18). A moment later, it appears that Satan himself has shown up—at least that is how Jesus addresses Peter (Matt 16:23).117 A few days later (Matthew and Mark have six days; Luke, eight), Jesus takes his inner circle up a high mountain, where Elijah appears. Tradition identifies this mountain with Tabor, but the only high mountain near Banias is Hermon.118 Is there any pre-​Hellenistic cultic activity here? Some rabbis (Targum Ketuvim to Song 5:4; Midrash Tanḥuma 69 + Oxford manuscript addition) believed Banias was Dan,119 as did Jerome.120 Zvi U. Maʾoz has tried to press this identification again.121 It is far more likely that Banias is Baal-​Gad (Josh 11:17; 2 Sam 8:9–10; 1 Kgs 11:38), called Baal-​Hermon in Judg 3:3.122 According to Isa 65:11, Gad was a deity with a consort named Meni (the Septuagint rendered this Daimon and Tyche in most manuscripts, although some reverse the pairs 117.  Bert Gary, “Jesus and Pan,” Newsletter of the Society for Biblical Studies 10.2 (2011) http://​ www​.sbsedu​.org​/L3​_e​_newsletter15​.5​.11JesusPan​.htm. 118.  Ibid. 119.  Maʾoz, “En-​Nebi Khader,” 97. 120.  Wilson, Caesarea Philippi, 107. 121.  Maʾoz, “En-​Nebi Khader,” 99. 122.  Paul Benjamin, “Baal-​Gad,” ABD, 1:551.



so that Gad is Tyche). The Mesha stele’s “men of Gad” might not be just a tribal designation,123 given the abundant seals from seventh-​century Ammon and later Palmyra (and Yemen) with that name,124 including Phoenician Melqartgad, Moabite Gadmelek, and Ammonite (?) Milkomgad.125 The territory of Gad was likely not Israelite until the ninth century BCE.126 1 Chronicles 5:11 places the tribe of Gad “in the land of Bashan as far as Salcha [Salkhad].” Over one hundred attestations of the name Gad have been found in the Hauran.127 The Arabic name Abd al-​Gadd preserves the divine name, which Isaac of Antioch (fifth century) reports worship of near Nisibis.128 Middle Aramaic inscriptions from the first three centuries CE link Gad (sometimes as Tyche) with Malakbel and Atargatis as “ancestral gods” (PAT 0273, 2141, 2254–59).129 All of this suggests “a divine being identified as ‘Gad’ . . . venerated in the Near East long before” the arrival of Hellenistic religion, to be equated ith the Ga-​ad-​dá mentioned in thirteenth-​century Emar rituals.130 Vassilios Tzaferis argues from numismatic evidence that a shrine to Tyche must have existed at Banias before 100 CE.131 Coins from Banias show Tyche with Pan (from the reign of Agrippa II) and Tyche with Zeus (from the reign of Marcus Aurelius).132 Coins from first-​century CE Gerasa also show Tyche with Zeus. Although Greek Tyche was female— as were many Tyches at Palmyra and Dura, Bosra, and even the Hauran, 133 123.  Will Ernest, “La déesse au chien de Palmyre,” Syria 62 (1985): 49–55. 124.  Zvi Maʾoz, “Baniyas and Baal-​Gad ‘Below Mt Hermon,’ ” Transeuphratene 39 (2010): 113–19. 125.  N. Avigad, “Some Decorated West Semitic Seals,” Israel Exploration Journal 35 (1985): 1–7. Cf. Gaddiel (Num 13:10), Gaddi (Num 13:12; 2 Kgs 15:14), Samaria Ostraca Gaddiyau, Arad Ostraca Gaddiyahu noted in Z. Zevit, The Religions of Ancient Israel (New York: T&T Clark, 2000), 605. Gosta W. Ahlström reconstructs the name phrase “My Gad” on a bowl from the LB temple at Lachish in Ahlström, “Was Gad the god of Tell Ed-​Duweir,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 115 (1983): 47–48. 126.  Elizabeth Bloch-​Smith, “A Stratified Account of Israel’s Battles in Judges 11” (paper presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research, Baltimore, MD, November 20–23, 2013). 127.  Maʾoz, “Baniyas and Baal-​Gad,” 115. 128.  Isaac of Antioch, Opera, ed. G. Bickell (Giessen: J. Ricker, 1873–77), 2:210; Julius Wellhausen, Skizzen und Vorarbeiten (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1887), 171. 129.  Ted Kaizer, “De Dea Syria et aliis diis deabusque, Part 1,” Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica 28 (1997): 147–66. 130.  Kaizer, “De Dea Syria et aliis diis deabusque, Part 2,” Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica 29 (1998): 33–62. 131.  Vassilios Tzaferis, “Cults and Deities Worshipped at Caesarea Philippi-​Banias,” in Priests, Prophets and Scribes: Essays on the Formation and Heritage of Second Temple Judaism in Honour of Joseph Blenkinsopp, ed. Eugene Ulrich et al. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), 199. 132.  Dar, “Relief of Aphrodite,” 117. 133.  Dura: Kaizer, “De Dea Syria, Part 2,” 48, 59 n. 88; Bosra: Silke Vry, “Zeus und Tyche in der Dekapolis” (Phd diss., Christian-​Albrechts Universität, 1996), 177–78; Hauran: Robert Wenning, “Hauranite Sculpture,” in Roman Sculpture in the Art Museum of Princeton University, ed. J. M. Padgett (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 338.


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identified by Simplicius of Cilicia (sixth century) as Atargatis herself (Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics 4)134—the “Gad of Dura” depicted in the second-​ century CE temple of the Gad at Dura Europos is a bearded male, drawing on the iconography of Baalshamin and Zeus.135 Perhaps some memory of this Baal association lies behind the alternate Muslim name for Banias of Bellina, attested by accounts of the Crusaders who conquered in 1130 and built their own Bellina Citadel (Stratum V; Qasr el-​Subayba) on the site.136 Pan, mentioned also in Elijah’s Cave (see above), was the chief god of Banias.137 It is certainly tempting to link Pan, patron of success in agriculture, among other things (in, e.g., third-​century BCE epigrams) with the image of the “Green Man,” which is what Khidr is (see below).138 If Ptolemy II built a Pan shrine here, then the equation made by Greeks (Herodotus, History 2.46), as well as a first-​century CE image from Wadi Senna, of Egypt of Pan with Min is suggestive.139 Min was associated with both fertility and the bull,140 which in Asia would have been attached to Hadad/Baal.141 There is a further possible connection. The Old Hittite form of the Indo-​ European dragon slaying myth, known from several copies, is the Illuyanka Myth (CTH 321). In one of the two variants, the storm god and “mortal Hupasiyas” defeat the dragon/serpent Illuyanka (COS 1:150–51 #1.56; CTH 321), who is also called “the river of the watery abyss” (line 17). The Illuyanka myth also parallels the Greek story of Typhon as it is found in Pseudo-​Apollodorus (Bibliotheca–8). A banquet theme in the Hupasiyas variant closely resembles the account of Pan luring the dragon Typhon with a meal of fish to his undoing at Zeus’s hands on Mount Zaphon (as in the Pancrates, Pseudo-​Apollodorus, and Oppian versions of the Typhon story). Scholars have long considered the Typhon myth to derive from the Canaanite Baal myth. “Zaphon” may be related to “Typhon,” the Greek equivalent of the monster Yamm (Iliad 2.781–83; Strabo, Geographica 13.4.6; 134.  Kaizer, “De Dea Syria, Part 2,” 59 n. 88. 135.  Kaizer, “De Dea Syria, Part 1,” 159; Julien Buchmann, “Lokale Kulttraditionen vs. ‘semitisches Pantheon’: Eine ‘männliche Tyche’ in Dura Europos?” Mosaik Journal 1 (2010): 33–66. 136.  Wolf  W. Baudissin, Studien zur semitischen Religionsgeschichte (Leipzig: Fr. Wilh. Grunow, 1878), 155. 137.  Tzaferis, “Cults and Deities,” 195. There would appear to be no connection to “Belinas,” the name in Islamic tradition given to Apollonius of Tyana first by Jabir ibn Hayyan (ca. 800 CE). 138.  Borgeaud, Cult of Pan in Ancient Greece, 71; Patricia Merivale, Pan, the Goat-​God (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969), 2; Phyllis Araneo, “The Archetypal, Twenty First Century Resurrection of the Ancient Image of the Green Man,” Journal of Future Studies 13 (2008): 43–64. 139.  Boardman, Great God Pan, fig. 291, 46 n. 48. 140.  Marie-​Francine Moens, “The Procession of the gon Min to the Ḫtjw-​Garden,” Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 12 (1985): 61–73. 141.  G. Hölscher, “Panias,” in Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. G. Wissowa et al., rev. ed., 49 vols. (Munich: A. Druckenmüller), (RH) 18.3:596



16.2.7; Hesiod, Theogony 304, 306–7, 820–22).142 Moreover, Pan is identified as an Argeiphontēs (Pindar, frag. 95; Euripides, Telephus, frag. 1), a title given otherwise only to Apollo and Hermes.143 Argeiphontes can be translated as “dragon slayer,” as argei regularly means “serpent” (Sophocles, frag. 1024 = Etymologicum gudianum d; Aeschylus, De falsa legatione 99; Plutarch, Life of Demosthenes 4; P.Oxy 8.1085 [= Pancrates Epicus]).144 Thus there is no evidence that “from the beginning Banias was a cult of purely Greek character and origin.”145

Har Senaim Moving higher on to the slopes of Mount Hermon, we leave behind modern shrines of Khidr but find a number of earlier cultic sites. The first of these is Har Senaim, 4 km north of Banias, just north of modern Neve Atif. The modern Arabic name of the site is Tell el-​Hafur or Hafur el-​Qurn, but these are recent names; the older name for the site was Ras Jebel Halawa.146 The entire ridge here seems to have entertained cultic activity. There was both a lower cult site with two temples on a temenos, and an upper cult site with several altars and stelae.147 The stelae stood in a paved, open area, like examples from Nabatean Petra.148 The lower temple had, on its southernmost altar, a relief of Helios.149 Now throughout the Hauran and at Palmyra, Baalshamem-​Zeus was venerated in the form of Helios.150 At least nine Greek inscriptions were also found, most of them on stone altars, some datable to the second century CE.151 The temples at Har Senaim, along with the village that accompanied them, were certainly active in the Roman period.152 Thirty-​nine coins from the second century BCE through fourth century CE were discovered.153 The site was probably at least a century

142.  C. Bonnet, “Typhon et Baal Saphon,” Studia Phoenicia 5 (1987): 101–41; Wyatt, “Water, Water Everywhere,” 113–14. 143.  Christos Tsagalis, “Typhon and Eumelus’ Titanomachy,” Trends in Classics 5 (2013): 19–48. 144.  Ibid., 23, 25–26. 145.  Tzaferis, “God Who Is in Dan,” 129*. 146.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 28. 147.  Ibid., 35. 148.  Ibid., 36–37, 42. 149.  Ibid., 62. 150.  Ibid. 151.  Shimon Dar and Nikos Kokkinos, “The Greek Inscriptions from Senaim on Mount Hermon,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 124 (1992): 9–25. 152.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 39. 153.  Elaine A. Myers, The Itureans and the Roman Near East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 107.


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Figure 11  Massebah at Bir en-​Soba. Photo: author.

older, and one Hellenistic bowl was also found.154 No evidence, however, places the Itureans at the site.155

Bir en-​Sobah The next site up is Bir en-​Sobah (or Bir Nsubba; MR 151.148 = 7570.6852; fig. 11), perched above the modern highway 1 km northwest of Majdal Shams. This 2 ha (20 dunam) village had a cultic structure at its peak, a 60 × 30 × 100 cm Roman aedicule.156 The settlement here was Roman-​Byzantine,157 although a coin of the Iturean tetrarch Ptolemy son of Mennaeus (85–40 BCE) was among the finds. This alone, however, does not identify the site as Iturean.158

154.  Ibid., 108. This dating is not dependent on Dar’s often-​questionable assignment of pottery to the Hellenistic period (see Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 37). 155.  Myers, Itureans and the Roman Near East, 80. 156.  Shimon Dar, “The History of the Hermon Settlements,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 120 (1988): 31; Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 124, 133. 157.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites. 158.  Myers, Itureans and the Roman Near East, 107.



Further up the mountain, although a bit lower in elevation (1000 m) because it is in a cleft, is Kafr Dura (MR 7546.6872). Here was a small temple with a goddess depicted in relief.159 Shimon Dar dated this—as well as several others— to the Hellenistic period, but many problems with Dar’s Hellenistic dating have been pointed out by Andrea Berlin, Julien Aliquot, and others.160 The pottery in question is Roman.161

East Ramta If we swing around Mount Hermon clockwise to the west, remaining at about the same altitude, we come to a set of sites in Lebanon. The first of these, East Ramta (MR 7513.6861), is at 1194 m in the “Shebaa Farms” area. It is an area of modern political importance, probably part of Lebanon but occupied first by Syria and then by Israel until 2013. A stone altar was found here.162

Jebel Sumaq and Sahel Adrin Continuing around the mountain, we come to Jebel Sumaq (MR 2150.3006), a 2 ha (20 dunam) Roman village, but with no apparent cultic installations.163 But just past this is Sahel Adrin (MR 7501.6886), on the south slope of Jebel Rubaʿ et-​Teben (1083 m elevation), with another Roman temple.164

Ain Aata and Ain Harcha High on the northwest slope of Mount Hermon are Ain Aata and Ain Harcha (or Hersha). Foundations and columns of a Roman temple complex were found in the woods near the village of Ain Aata (MR 758.703, at 1450 m elevation), along with a bust of Atargatis.165 We have already met this goddess at Kafr Yasif, with Gad, and at Karnaim. Atargatis or Derceto, the Θὲα Συρία, represents 159.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 104, 109. 160.  Ibid. 161.  Berlin, “Archaeology of Ritual,” 37; Aliquot, “Sanctuaries and Villages on Mt. Hermon,” 89 n. 55; Zvi Maʾoz, Baniyas, the Roman Temples (Qazrin: Golan Antiquities Museum, 2009), 11–13. 162.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 171. 163.  Ibid., 197; Dar, “History of the Hermon Settlements,” 31. 164.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 172. 165.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2533; Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 345–46; Dar, “History of the Hermon Settlements,” 31. Bruce Conde claimed to have found a fifth-​century BCE Persian statue in a rock-​cut shrine 6 km from Ain Aata, but the claim cannot be verified or the site


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a composite of Astarte, Anat—Baal’s sister and lover—and Asherah.166 Her name is likely Phoenician ʿtrʿth, the first element corresponding to Astarte.167 At Jaffa she was identified with Aphrodite (recall the Aphrodite from Banias).168 Another Aphrodite marble torso from the Golan is in the collection of the Nir David Museum.169 Mnaseas of Patrae (third century BCE) and Diodorus Siculus (Bibliotheca historica 2.4.2; first century BCE), quoting Ctesias of Cnidus (fifth century BCE), tell how Atargatis-​Derceto fell in love with a youth and became pregnant, and how in shame she flung herself into a lake near Ashkelon and her body changed into the form of a fish.170 The god who is Atargatis’s consort is identifed by Lucian of Samosata (and his second-​century CE contemporaries) as Zeus (De Syria Dea 31, and passim) and is Baal-​Hadad.171 There are inscriptions to Αταργατι και Αδαδου from Delos and elsewhere,172 including an altar to the two from the second century BCE at Akko, facing Mount Carmel.173 A pool or basin found at Ain Aata probably is related to the cult of Atargatis.174 Such installations are associated with Atargatis and with Leucothea at Kfar-​Dane in the northern Beqaa Valley and at Ashkelon (Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 2.4.2).175 Similar basins were found at Qalat Bustra (MR 143.150 = 7486.6865), a site dating from the second century BCE to the second CE to the southwest of Mount Hermon.176 Ain Harcha (MR 154.168 = 758.705) is just to the north at 1200 m. The name may be Aramaic meaning “house of spirits” or “place of worship” with local folklore suggesting an evil spirit of Ain Al-​Horsh inhabits the springs. About 2 km to the west, 525 m higher than the village, sits one of the best examples of a Roman temple on the mountain. The temple was restored in 1938–1939 and is

identified; see Bruce Conde, “What’s on Top of Mount Hermon?” Middle East Forum 31 (1956): 17–20. 166.  Robert A. Oden Jr., Studies in Lucian’s De Syria Dea (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977), 66. 167.  Yulia Ustinova, The Supreme Gods of the Bosporan Kingdom (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 81. 168.  Dar, “Relief of Aphrodite,” 116. 169.  Ibid. 117. 170.  Ustinova, Supreme Gods, 80–81. 171.  Oden, De Syria Dea, 53; Jonas Greenfield, “The Aramean God Hadad,” Eretz-​Israel 24 (1993): 54–61. 172.  Oden, De Syria Dea, 49; T. J. Lightfoot, trans., Lucian: On the Syrian Goddess (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 5. 173.  Oden, De Syria Dea, 50. Late third-​century CE coins from Akko depict a lightning-​topped foot, relevant to the Carmel foot if it does not belong to a statue, while first-​century BCE coins from Akko depict Zeus with wheat; see Javier Teixidor, The Pagan God (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 56–57. 174.  Emmanuel Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme en Palestine romain (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 92. 175.  Ustinova, Supreme Gods, 82. 176.  Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 89.



dated by a Greek inscription on one of the blocks to 114–115 CE.177 The temple is built of limestone, opens to the east, and carved blocks show busts of Selene the moon goddess and Helios.178 There are two dedicatory inscriptions to “Ancestral Zeus”—one Θεω Πατρωο and the other Διι Πατρωο.179 A bit northeast of Ain Harcha is the modern town of Rashaya, site of an annual pilgrimage on August 6 up the mountain to commemorate the transfiguration, which many Orthodox locate on Hermon.

Ayha Just over 3 km due east of Rashaya is Ayha (or Aaiha; MR 163.173 = 766.710; 1144 m elevation). A small, first- or second-​century Roman temple was found here along with multiple family tombs, some with inscriptions, one of which is dated to 49 CE.180 The temple was probably of a distyle “in antis” design similar to that at Ain Harcha.181 Another large water basin was also found here, designated for the cult of Leucothea.182

Kafr Qouq and Sahel Kenissa About 5 km due north of Ayha is Kafr Qouq (MR 164.177 = 768.714; 1200 m elevation), whose parish church of St. George lies alongside one of two Roman temples; the other is on the west side of the village.183 One of the inscriptions from Kafr Qouq, corrected by Chaker Ghadban and dated to 279 CE, mentions an individual named Beeliabos, a Baal-​theophoric name we will see below from Ain el-​Burj.184 Further north of Kafr Qouq, more properly in the Beqaa Valley than Hermon region, the site of Sahel Kenissa (MR 769.717) has its own Roman shrine and Leucothea water basin.185 177.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2540; Levon Nordiguian, Temples de l’époque romaine au Liban (Beirut: Presses de l’Université Saint-​Joseph, 2005), 114. 178.  Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 343–45. 179.  Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 39, 41; Nordiguian, Temples de l’époque romaine, 113. 180.  Dar, “Temples on the Hermon,” in Greece and Rome in Eretz-​Israel, ed. A. Kasher (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-​Zvi, 1990), 296–317 (here 302–3); Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 51. 181.  J. Dentzer-​Feydy, “Les temples de l’Hermon, de la Bekaa et de la vallée du Barada dessinés par W. J. Bankes (1786–1855),” Topoi 9 (1999): 527–68. 182.  Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme, 94. 183.  Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 339. 184.  C. Ghadban, “Monuments de Hammara,” Ktema 10 (1984): 287–309. 185.  Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme, 94; Dar, “Temples on the Hermon,” 304.


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Rakhleh On the northeast tip of Hermon, within Syria and due east of Ayha, is the site of Rakhleh (MR 172.175 = 776.712), ancient Raēlē, with three temples.186 The smallest apsidal temple was cut out of bedrock.187 The largest temple was later used as a church and is constructed of enormous blocks of limestone, measuring 25.1 × 17 m.188 It features two rows of ionic columns that run along the walls from the entrance to a semicircular altar. One of the walls of the temple had a relief of the face within a wreath that is aligned to look at Mount Hermon and measures 100 cm in diameter. The face has been variously identified as a sun god or of a Medusa.189 It bears a strong resemblance to a relief face on the façade of a temple at Hatra, cultic center for Baalshamem, Atargatis, and Gad, as well as to one on the pediment of the temple of Minerva at Bath,190 both of which have been identified as Dionysus-​Ocean (see above).191 Although these three faces are nearly identical, they bear general resemblance to Ocean heads on a sixth-​century CE capital from Mudanya and Green Man faces from Le Mans in the ambulatory chapel of the thirteenth-​century cathedral, as well as later faces in the cathedrals of Poitiers and Chartres.192 Two stones close to the gate show depictions of a bird with outstretched wings, perhaps a part of the temple’s architrave. Niehr considers this temple to have been dedicated to Baalshamem, but solely on the basis of the Palmyran inscription discussed below.193 A lintel dated to 269 CE on the gate of one smaller temple mentions Leucothea (see below), probably to be identified with Atargatis.194 Leucothea is mentioned on several other inscriptions from Rakhleh, some as early as the mid-​ first century CE,195 and in one she is linked to Tyche: Τυχη θεας Λευκοθεα[ς].196 We have already seen that Tyche, the Greek personified good fortune, was 186.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2541; Aliquot, Vie religieuse, clxxxix, 349–52. 187.  Dentzer-​Feydy, “Temples de l’Hermon,” 533. 188.  René Mouterde, “Cultes antiques de la Coelé Syrie et de l’Hermon,” Melanges de Université Saint Joseph 36 (1959): 53–87; Daniel Krencker and Willy Zschietzschmann, Römische Tempel in Syrien (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1938), 223. 189.  Mouterde, “Cultes antiques,” 78; Dentzer-​Feydy, “Temples de l’Hermon,” 534. 190.  Kathleen Basford, The Green Man (Ipswich: Brewer, 1978), 8, pl. 2b. Hatra is the modern Al Hadr in Iraq; unfortunately, the first letter is not the same as Al Khader and there can be no connection between the two. 191.  Anderson, Green Man, 45. 192.  Ibid., figs. 3, 32, 68, 102. 193.  Niehr, Baʾalsamem, 225. 194.  Aliquot, “Sanctuaries and Villages on Mt. Hermon,” 87; Mouterde, “Cultes antiques,” 79–80; Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme, 93. 195.  Krencker and Zschietzschmann, Römische Tempel in Syrien, v. 196.  Maurice Sartre, “Du fait divers à l’histoire des mentalitiés,” Syria 70 (1993): 51–67.



connected with Gad, the Semitic parallel, at Palmyra for example.197 Tyche imagery occurs with Atargatis at Palmyra and Bambyke–Manbog, and Atargatis conceived of as Gad underlies the false etymology of her name given by Simplicius as Atargatēn = ʾatar-​gadȇ (Aristotle, Physics 4.2).198 If the dedications found in Syria to “Genneas” are to be connected with an inscription from Beth Fasiel near Palmyra that pays tribute to the jinnaye, the “good and rewarding gods” (testimony to pre-​Islamic veneration of jinn), then Genneas would correspond to Tyche and be another representation of Gad.199 The iconography of a Genneas stele from Jubb al-​Jarrah in central Syria is duplicated without inscription in a stele from near Mount Hermon now in the Louvre (AO.4127).200 Moreover, an inscription from Palmyra mentions the name of the god Du-​Rakhleh, “that one of Rakhleh,”201 probably a reference to Baalshamem.202

Qalat Jandal We come around to the east side of Hermon to the site of Qalat Jandal (MR 240.314 = 775.702). A votive niche at this site produced a Zeus Megistos inscription dated to 260 CE.203 A longer inscription from Qalat Jandal reads: On behalf of the health and salvation of our lord emperor M. Antonius Gordianus Augustus, of the holy community and people of Rome and people of Syria, M. Aurelius Eunoikos the crowned and significant ruler, auspicious for Hestia Prytaneia and all the other gods.204 Dedications to Hestia Prytaneia are known from Sinope and elsewhere.205 Hestia is the goddess of the hearth and just as every home had its central hearth fire, likewise most cities had a civic hearth in their prytaneion or city hall. The prytaneion at Olympia also contained an altar to Pan (Pausanias, Description of Greece 5.15.8–9). 197.  Lightfoot, Lucian, 23. 198.  Ibid., 23–24. H. Seyrig and J. Starcky, “Genneas,” Syria 26 (1949): 245. 199.  Seyrig and Starcky, “Genneas,” 230–57. A marble stele in the Louvre dedicated to Genneas originated at Banias, but this likely refers to the northern coastal Banias near Arwad. 200.  Ibid., 235–37. 201.  H. Seyrig, “Les dieux armés et les arabes en Syrie,” Syria 47 (1970): 77–116. 202.  Niehr, Baʾalsamem, 222. 203.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2540; Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 65; Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 357; Leah D. Segni, “On a Dated Inscription from Rakhle and the Eras used on the Hermon Range,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 117 (1997): 277–80. 204.  My thanks to the late Prof. Frank Gignac, S.J. for this translation. 205.  Stephen G. Miller, The Prytaneion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 133.


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Ain el-​Burj Nearby, at Ain el-​Burj, a dedicatory inscription to Leucothea was found in 1885 dating to the early second century CE.206 Here is Maurice Sartre’s translation: For the health of the Emperor, Trajan Augustus Germanicus Dacicus, son of Nerva Augustus, Menneas son of Beeliabos son of Beeliabos, father of Neteiros who received apotheosis in the cauldron, thanks to which [or whom] the festivals are celebrated, [Menneas] supervisor of all the works accomplished here, as a testimony of piety, has offered a dedication to the goddess Leucothea of Segeria.207 Segeria is nearby Kafr Hour (see below), and the names are Semitic;208 the crux is the child in the cauldron. Recall Leucothea-​Atargatis’s connection with basins or pools. One fourth-​ century inscription from Rakhleh (see above), as  reconstructed by René Mouterde, calls Leucothea the “goddess of the myth of the drowned child,”209 although there are all sorts of uncertainties about this reconstruction.210 In any case, the myth in question records that the Boetian princess Ino, daughter of Cadmus, pursued by her husband Athamus, who had himself been driven mad by Hera because Ino had brought up the infant Dionysus, threw herself and her infant son Melicertes into the sea from a high rock between Megara and Corinth. Both were changed into marine deities: Ino into Leucothea, Melicertes into Palaemon (Homer, Odyssey 5.333; Ovid, Fasti 6.473–562 and Metamorphoses 4.416–562). In Pseudo-​Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.4.3, Ino boils Melicertes in a cauldron trying to revivify him, before hurling herself and the boy into the sea.211 The myth could be of Phoenician origin; Cadmus is from Tyre (Pseudo-​ Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.1.1), and Boeotia was heavily influenced by Phoenicians.212 At Tenedos, Palaemon was said to be propitiated by the sacrifice of children, although in practice the sacrifice was of a newborn calf dressed in 206.  Segni, “On a Dated Inscription,” 280. Editions are R. Cagnat, Inscriptiones Graecae ad Romanas Pertinentes, vol. 3 (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1906), #1075; and Wilhelmus Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci inscriptiones selectae: Supplementum sylloges inscriptionum Graecarum (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1905), 2: #611. 207.  Sartre, Histoires Grecques: Snapshots from Antiquity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), 337. 208.  Ibid., 338. 209.  Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme, 93. 210.  Sartre, “Du fait divers,” 55–57. 211.  Lightfoot, Lucian, 71. 212.  Walter Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 112–13.



buskins, after treating the cow like a pregnant women giving birth.213 Excavations at Isthmia of a small sanctuary of Palaemon found evidence of bull sacrifice and a basin that could have been filled with water in an initiation rite for members (as in Plutarch, Theseus 25.5). In spite of being a marine goddess, Leucothea’s cult was ubiquitous in the Anti-​Lebanon mountains, but not on the Phoenician coast.214 Many scholars have identified Leucothea with Atargatis, and assume the maritime character did not accompany the name as it was applied to Atargatis in the mountains.215 Sartre denies that local Atargatis was merely given the name Leucothea by the inhabitants.216 The cauldron itself (and basins of the region) attests to some form of the Leucothea myth entering the region, not just the name. And Sartre argues that Phoenicians would have appreciated the connections in the myth to their own lands and eagerly adopted the goddess and the myth with no connections to Atargatis at all.217 This fails, however, to provide any explanation for the complete absence of Leucothea around Tyre and Sidon and presence instead in precisely the areas where Atargatis was concentrated.218 It leaves unexplained the repeated associations of Leucothea with Heliopolitan Zeus.219 And it ignores the possibility that the Greek Leucothea myth was itself of Syrian origin (on the basis of possible connections between Palaemon and Baal Hamon). In other words, Leucothea may have been Atargatis, or in some way connected to Atargatis, long before Greek cults were being imported into the Anti-​Lebanon Mountains. This brings us back to the child in the cauldron. A lebes is a metal or ceramic kettle large enough to boil a great deal of water. Initial translators interpreted the Ain el-​Burj text to mean that Neteiros was boiled in a human sacrifice.220 C. Fossey, Wilhelm Dittenberger (both of whom thought the lebes was a cremation urn), Julien Aliquot, and Maurice Sartre disagree. Sartre maintains that “this appears totally implausible in the middle of the imperial era: even if such a sacrifice had been carried out, it is certain that no one would have boasted of it in an inscription visible to all.”221 As Lewis Farnell said nearly a century ago, 213.  D. D. Hughes, Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece (New York: Routledge, 1991), 86, 134. 214.  Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme, 94; Sartre, “Du fait divers,” 60. 215.  Aliquot, “Sanctuaries and Villages on Mt. Hermon,” 87; Mouterde, “Cultes antiques,” 79–80; Friedheim, Rabbinisme et Paganisme, 93; Aliquot, “Leucothéa de Segeira,” Syria 79 (2002): 231–48. 216.  Sartre, Histoires Grecques, 340. 217.  Ibid., 344–45. 218.  Kaizer, “Leucothea as Mater Matuta at Colonia Berytus,” Syria 82 (2005): 199–206. 219.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2543. 220.  Sartre, “Du fait divers,” 61. 221.  Sartre, Histoires Grecques, 338. See also B. Haussoullier, and H. Ingholt, “Inscriptions grecques de Syrie,” Syria 5 (1924): 316–41; Aliquot, “Leucothéa de Segeira,” 234.


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“One cannot suppose that the dedicator wished to call the attention of Trajan to the fact that under his rule they were cooking people in cauldrons in Syria.”222 I am not convinced that this is a definitive argument, since we know so little about the Itureans who may have resided here, but the wording is itself vague enough to allow that Neteiros had been divinized, or that he had received funeral honors, or simply that he had died and was buried.223 Sartre’s own view that Neteiros was a child who accidentally fell into a cauldron and died seems to me a bit fanciful.224 But given Pseudo-​Apollodorus’s account of the myth, we must allow possible effigial form of human sacrifice, or at least some sort of immersion ritual, which was Farnell’s explanation in light of comparative Bacchic rituals.225 Coincidentally, the name Neteiros, known from Josephus (J.W. 3.233), has been found on inscriptions at Rakhleh and now at Har Senaim.226

Aarne To the south, following the contour of the mountain, is the village of Aarne (1400 m elevation), ancient Ornea, which produced an early fourth-​century CE inscription to Theou Dios.227 It had two temples in the Roman period.228

Kafr Hour A little further south, on the old Damascus–Banias road, is Kafr Hour (or Kafr Hawar; 1050 m elevation, 7 km from Qalat Jandal), mentioned as Kafr Hawar (entry #81) in the late sixth-​century Letter of the Archimandrites listing Monophysite monasteries of the Hauran,229 and perhaps also the same as ad Ammontem on the fifth-​century CE Tabula Peutingeriana.230 Its small Roman temple to Θεα Συρια Ιερα[π]ολιτων . . . κυριας Αταργατη[ς], known as Kursi el-​Debb,


222.  Lewis R. Farnell, Greek Hero Cults and Ideas of Immortality (Oxford: Clarendon, 1921),

223.  Sartre, Histoires Grecques, 339; Aliquot, “Leucothéa de Segeira,” 235. 224.  Sartre, Histoires Grecques, 339; Sartre, “Du fait divers,” 64. This suggestion was also made by Aliquot, who points out that although Sartre attributed it first to de Mouterde, it was raised but dismissed by Clermont-​Ganneau in 1898; see Aliquot, “Leucothéa de Segeira,” 237. 225.  Kaizer, “Leucothea as Mater Matuta,” 203; Farnell, Greek Hero Cults. 226.  Dar and Kokkinos, “Greek Inscriptions from Senaim,” 15. 227.  Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 76–77; Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2541; Mouterde, “Cultes antiques,” 83. 228.  Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 360. 229.  Ben David, “Preservation,” 270. 230.  Aliquot, “Leucothéa de Segeira,” 241.



was still standing in the nineteenth century.231 Another inscription, probably funerary, reads “Of Aouktos, son of ʿAqqabai, escorted (pemphtheis) [to the underworld?] by the Lady Atargatis.”232

Heenah Let us return to our earlier discussion of Beth Anath. Grintz identified his Bashan Beth-ʿAnath with Heenah, ancient Ina (MR 169.157; 1050 m altitude), on the eastern slope of Mount Hermon.233 The place is only 1 km west of Kafr Hour, with its Roman temple to Atargatis (a composite of Astarte, Anat, and Asherah) known as Kursi el-​Debb, still standing in the nineteenth century.234 Here we expect to find a Beth-ʿAnath, or temple of ʿAnath. Heenah, in fact, had its own Roman temple, of which nothing remains but a 40 m long platform.235 Baitanatois and Batanaia are more likely derived from Bashan than from BethʿAnath; that was how Eusebius took them (Eusebius, Onom., s.v. “Basan”). The modern village of Heenah also shows some Hellenistic remains, and a modern church of Mar Elias that holds a festival every July 20 (August 2).236

Qasr Antar We now go to the peak of Mount Hermon at 2814 m. The site here is Qasr Antar, also known as Qasr esh-​Shabib (MR 765.701). It happens to be within the UN demilitarized zone of the Golan in the AUSBATT area maintained by the Austrian contingent of the UNDOF. This situation enabled a full Austrian excavation of the site in recent years.237 Here at the summit is a “cultic cone” in a hemisphere rising 5.5 m above the hilltop.238 This cone now has the UN base 231.  Ibid., 242–44; Aliquot, Inscriptions Grecques et Latines 78–79; Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 146, 357–58; Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2553. 232.  My thanks to Prof. Sarah Ferrario for this translation of #1890 in M. Philippe Le Bas, Voyage Archéologique en Grèce et en Asie Mineure (Paris: Didot, 1870), 3.1:451. 233.  Grintz, “Judges Chapter 1,” 67. 234.  Oden, De Syria Dea, 66; Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2533; Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 78–79. 235.  Aliquot, Vie religieuse, 358; Krencker and Zschietzschmann, Römische Tempel in Syrien, 255. 236.  Lehmann, Bibliographie der archäologische, 472. 237.  Erwin Ruprechtsberger, “Das Heiligtum vom Mount Hermon,” Archäologie Öesterreichs 5 (1994): 50–58; Ruprechtsberger, Vom Dscholan auf dem Mount Hermon (Linz: Linzer Archäologische Forshungen, 1992), 1–4, 6–7. 238.  Friedrich Ehrl, “Das Hohenheiligtum am Mount Hermon,” in Echo, ed. B. Otto and F. Ehrl (Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, 1990), 125–26; Conde, “What’s on Top of Mount Hermon?” 18.


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on top. On the western side of the cone is a funnel-​shaped basin.239 Surrounding the cone is a curving stone wall 4 m wide, of which 9 m is preserved, marking a path of circumambulation.240 Just to the southeast of the summit outside of the path was a 10 × 11m structure that stood in three separate phases. The final building, a temple of the fourth century CE, stood for more than a century and was remade into a church.241 Beneath this was a temple of the second or third century CE.242 Moreover, Qasr Antar is another place on Mount Hermon where Iron Age sherds have been found.243 Just 110 m to the northeast of the mountain peak, which is 90 m from the edge of the site, is a Grotto of Elias, a large cave with considerable carved rockwork around its entrance,244 perhaps originally a Byzantine monastic lavra.245 Some cultic activity must have continued at the site into the modern era, since in 1902 Samuel Ives Curtiss found a 30 m deep midden of bones and ash east of the summit and north of the temple.246 Charles Warren discovered a Greek inscription in 1869, subsequently lost for two decades and then found by Clermont-​Ganneau in the South Kensington Museum, which unfortunately has been erroneously transcribed ever since Frederick H. Marshall.247 Clermont-​ Ganneau’s edition published in 1903 is accurate.248 Here is Francis Gignac’s 239.  Ehrl, “Das Hohenheiligtum am Mount Hermon,” 125–26. 240.  Ibid. 241.  Erwin Ruprechtsberger, “Vom Mount Hermon zum Djebel Burqush: Archäologische Forschungen in Syrien 1992–1993,” in Vom Mount Hermon zum Djebel Burqush, ed. D. Ertel, K. Haslinger, and P. Kraft (Linz: Linz: Nordico, 1994), 8; Christine Ertel, “Zur Architektur des Tempels auf dem Mount Hermon,” in Vom Mount Hermon zum Djebel Burqush, ed. C. Ertel, K. Haslinger, and P. Kraft (Linz: Nordico, 1994), 25. 242.  Ertel, “Zur Architektur des Tempels,” 24; Ruprechtsberger, “Das Heiligtum vom Mount Hermon,” 58. 243.  Erasmus Gass, Die Ortsnamen des Richterbuchs in historischer und redaktioneller Perspektive (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005), 201. In addition to Ein Qunya and Qasr Antar, there are Iron Age remains (I and II) only at Khirbet Saʾar (MR 22185.2948 = 7577.6823), just north of Birkat Ram. This site also had Middle Bronze II, Late Bronze, Hellenistic, and Roman pottery; see Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 139; Danny Syon, “Tyre and Gamla” (PhD diss., Hebrew University, 2004), 174. Hartal’s survey found no Iron II or Middle Bronze pottery; see Hartal, Northern Golan Heights, 19–20, 122, 177, 228. Confusion arises because Khirbet Saʾar is also called Tellul Surraman, a name that belongs to several other sites including one to the southeast at MR 2286.2784 (also known as el-ʿAdnaniyye) and one higher up in the Hami Kursu Forest. The only Late Bronze Age occupation on the mountain other than Khirbet Saʾar is a dolmen in the Masada Forest (MR 2216.2912 = 7577.6786), which also shows Hellenistic and Roman occupation. Hartal, Northern Golan Heights, 84. 244.  Ruprechtsberger, Vom Dscholan, 13; Conde, “What’s on Top of Mount Hermon?” 18. 245.  Ehrl, “Das Hohenheiligtum am Mount Hermon,” 129, 132. 246.  Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion, 142; Ehrl, “Das Hohenheiligtum am Mount Hermon,” 126. 247.  Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 82. 248.  C. Clermont-​Ganneau, “Mount Hermon and Its God in an Inedited Greek Inscription,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement (1903): 135–40, 231–42.



translation: “By the divine order given by the greatest and holy god, those on oath may not go further.” The meaning is that by the order of Baal-​Hermon, the religious community may not trespass the sacred area beyond the place where the stone was on display.

Dan This region is not complete without discussing Tel Dan. The site is neither on Mount Hermon nor part of Bashan. It is about 6.5 km due west of Banias, on the completely flat terrain of the Hula Valley at only 200 m elevation. But Lake Hula appears as ṯmq in KTU 1.10 ii.6–12, as Baal’s hunting ground.249 In antiquity the entire area north of the tell would have been a lake, and in some seasons the tell would have been an island.250 And Dan belongs with Banias as one of the other headwaters of the Jordan River, and is noteworthy for its longevity as a cultic center.251 The Iron II high place in Area T remained in continuous use from the ninth century BCE through the Hellenistic period (fig. 12).252 Additional cultic activity took place in Area A, the ninth- or eighth-​century gate works, where five standing stones were found along with a basalt incense altar and incense censers. Votive anchors have been found at Dan akin to those at the entrance to the temple of Baal at Ugarit.253 The site itself was occupied in every period from Early Bronze II (twenty-​ninth century BCE) to the fourth century CE.254 Even in the last century, barren women would bathe in the “sacred spring” on the top of the tell beneath the “holy tree” (destroyed by fire in the late 1970s) in search of fertility.255 249.  Wyatt, “Water, Water Everywhere,” 245 n. 98; del Olmo Lete, “Bašan,” 35. Aliquot combines the two identifications and dismisses both; see Julien Aliquot, “Sanctuaries and Villages on Mt. Hermon,” in The Variety of Local Religious Life in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, ed. T. Kaizer (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 85 n. 45. 250.  Zevit, Religions of Ancient Israel, 184. 251.  Newbold, “On the Lake Phiali,” 12. Although the Jordan technically has a third headwater in addition to the water from Dan and from Banias—Hasbani (Snir) which flows through Ghajar—the Dan and Banias contribute most significantly. Lipiński wondered if it was the “source of the two rivers, fountain of two deeps” that designate El’s home of Mount Lul in KTU 1.4 iv.20–25; 1.3 v.6–7; 4 iv.20–24; 6 i.32–36; 1.100:2–3; see Lipiński, “El’s Abode,” 36. The geography seems unlikely, but what about the “juncture of two seas” where Moses meets El-​Khader? Cf. Robert D. Miller II, “Mythic Dimensions of the Sources of the Jordan,” Aram 29 (2017). 252.  Łukasz Niesiołowsk-​Spanò, Origin Myths and Holy Places in the Old Testament, trans. J. Laskowski (London: Equinox, 2011), 92. 253.  Zevit, Religions of Ancient Israel, 185. 254.  A. Biran, D. Ilan, and R. Greenberg, Dan I: A Chronicle of the Excavations, the Pottery Neolithic, the Early Bronze Age and the Middle Bronze Age Tombs (Jerusalem: Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, 1996), 8. 255.  Paton, “Survivals of the Primitive Religion,” 60; Dafni, “On the Present-​Day Veneration,” 17.


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Figure 12  Dan High Place. Photo: author.

The first three phases of the Area T high place must be connected to Israelite worship; the phases correspond to the tenth, ninth, and eighth centuries. At the other end of this temple’s use, it was dedicated Θεωι τωι εν Δανοις, “to the god in Dan,” according to the bilingual Greek and Aramaic inscription of the late second-​century BCE.256 Maʾoz is certainly wrong to identify Tel Dan as Abel Beth Maacah and Banias as ancient Dan, as we have seen.257 Tel Dan is biblical Dan, and the Laish of 256.  Aliquot, Inscriptions grecques et latines, 98. 257.  Elitzur, Ancient Place Names, 375. 1 Enoch 13 locates Enoch’s proclamation to the angels at Abel Beth Maacah (13:9). This place is surely Tell Abil al-​Qamh, currently being excavated by Robert Mullins. It appears in the Amarna Letters as Abel (Yabilima), which is not Abila of the Decapolis, as Albright maintained; see William G. Dever, “Abel-​Beth-​Maʾacah: ‘Northern Gateway of Ancient Israel,’ ” in The Archaeology of Jordan and Other Studies, ed. L. T. Geraty and L. G. Herr (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1986), 207–22 (here 207–10, 213).



Egyptian execration texts, the Thutmosis III list, and Mari texts.258 The Arabic name for the site, Tell el-​Kadi, “Mound of the Judge, judge/judgment” (din), matches semantically. The stream formed by the springs of Tell el-​Kadi, a headwater of the Jordan, was called Al-​Liddān or Ed-​Dān.259 The Greek inscription mentions the god of Dan. Banias shows no evidence of the appropriate occupation periods. And the argument that Tel Dan is Abel Beth Maacah is confused, dubious, and full of inaccuracies.260 So who is the “god of Dan?” The Aramaic of the Hellenistic inscription is simply ‫]להי דן[א‬. Łukasz Niesiołowsk-​Spanò concludes that the Hellenistic cult of Dan was Sidonian, 261 and as we have seen, Baalshamem was venerated at Bosra as god of Sidon.262 We will turn to the biblical text shortly, but first should note that Area T is less than 100 m from the springs of Tel Dan.263 Artifacts and architecture attest to some ritual use of water, most notably the so-​called “Pool Room” in southern Area T, Stratum IVA (tenth to ninth century BCE), where the spring was incorporated into a room sealed by a thick layer of plaster with a channel through one wall.264 A large terracotta basin or cauldron was found outside the entrance this room.265 1 Enoch 13 has Enoch begin his heavenly journey “by the waters of Dan” (13:7). Given the unsavory reputation Dan has in the Hebrew Bible, “It is striking, therefore, to say the least, that the compliers of this post-​biblical document have incorporated into it a vision that grants sacred status to the territory around the ancient and bitterly denounced shrine of the north. The geographical rooting of the tradition must have been unshakably established.”266 The Testament of Levi also asserts “that the patriarch of the Jerusalem priesthood received his call to the priesthood in a vision near to the site” of this same sordid shrine.267 The Liber antiquitatum biblicarum of Pseudo-​Philo (second century CE) connect Dan with Paradise (Liber antiquitatum biblicarum 48:1). 258.  Elitzur, Ancient Place Names, 206–8. 259.  Newbold, “On the Lake Phiali,” 13. The tell has two springs, one from an opening in the basalt at the northwest base of the mound, and another on top of the mound that operated the Ottoman mill. 260.  Davis, “Tel Dan,” 44. 261.  Niesiołowsk-​Spanò, Origin Myths and Holy Places, 111. 262.  Dentzer-​Feydy and Nehme, “Dieux avant la province d’Arabie,” 19. 263.  Davis, “Tel Dan,” 6. 264.  Ibid., 7. 265.  Ibid. 266.  Nickelsburg, “Enoch, Levi, and Peter,” 585–86. 267.  Ibid., 589, citing T. Levi 2. Likewise, Peter experiences his “revelatory calling” nearby at Banias. Multiple verbal connections link Matt 16:18–19 with both 1 Enoch and the longer reading of T. Levi known from the Mount Athos manuscript and 4QLevib. Nickelsburg also notes similarities between Matt 16 and the transfiguration narrative, which the Eastern Orthodox place on Mount Hermon. See ibid., 591–92, 599.


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In the Hebrew Bible, Dan is most famous for the Bull Shrine set up by Jeroboam I. This probably corresponds to the first Iron II structures of Area T. The biblical text suggests the bull was meant to represent Yahweh (1 Kgs 12:26–30). Nevertheless, Jeroboam did not choose this location without an earlier cultic association. 1 Kings 12:28 (“He set one [calf] in Bethel and the other he put in Dan”) suggests not the founding of new sanctuaries but a change of cult at existing shrines.268 Judges 18 describes the installation at Dan of an idol manufactured by Micah the Levite, a Yahwistic/Elohistic shrine presided over by a Mosaic Levite.269 In 1835, Wilhelm Vatke argued that Micah’s idol, like Jeroboam’s, was a bull calf, an equation repeated by Rene Dussaud who ties this to KTU 1.10 ii 6–12 and Baal’s bull hunts at Lake Hula / ṯmq.270 Thus, I agree with Tzaferis that Dan was “a well-​known regional cult place, going back at least to the tenth century BCE.”271 But there are other strange traditions about Dan. Deuteronomy 33:22 says that Dan springs forth from Bashan, using the ophidian verb ‫זנק‬, while Gen 49:17 calls Dan a serpent (both ‫ נחש‬and ‫)שפיפן‬. The tribe of Dan is the only tribe not listed in the 144,000 saved in Rev 7:3–8, and Hippolytus of Rome held that the antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan. Genesis Rabbah, Midrash Tanḥuma, and Midrash Tehilim, on the other hand, all attest that Elijah was from the tribe of Dan.272 The name Dan probably derives from d-​y-​n, “to judge.”273 But Yigael Yadin, followed by David Ilan and others, relates the named Dan to the sea people known as the Denyen (mentioned in the annals of Thutmosis III, the tomb of Amenhotep III, and among the attackers of Egypt in the eighth year of Ramses III).274 The Denyen settled initially near Tel Qasile, perhaps some time after the settlement of the Philistines given the lack of Late Helladic IIIC1b ware.275 They expanded into the Jaffa region and the hinterland of Tel Qasile, in the region first allotted to the biblical tribe of Dan before their northward migration (Judg 18), including the region of Lod.276 The group that the Egyptians 268.  Matthias Kockert, “YHWH in the Northern and Southern Kingdom,” One God—One Cult—One Nation, ed. R. G. Kratz and H. Spieckermann (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010), 369. 269.  Elizabeth C. Larocca-​Pitts, “Of Wood and Stone”: The Significance of Israelite Cultic Items in the Bible and Its Early Interpreters (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2001), 61. 270.  Rene Dussaud, “Cultes cananéens aux sources du Jourdain,” Syria 17 (1936): 283–95. 271.  Tzaferis, “God Who Is in Dan,” 129*. 272.  Israel Klapholz, Stories of Elijah the Prophet (New York: Feldheim, 1970), 11. 273.  HALOT, 1:227. Josephus (Ant. 1.177), Jerome (Hebrew Questions on Genesis 14.14), the Talmud (b. Bekhorot 55a), and Maʾoz derive “Dan” from “Jordan,” yardēn, but this decision is impossible, and nowhere in the Bible are the two linked; see Davis, “Tel Dan,” 45. 274.  Niesiołowsk-​Spanò, Origin Myths and Holy Places, 102–3. 275.  Frederik C. Woudhuizen, “The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples” (PhD diss., Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, 2006), 77. 276.  Ibid., 78.



called Denyen is the Greek Danaoi, and their Amenhotep III reference places them on mainland Greece, alongside Mycenae, Thebes, Messenia, and Nauplia.277 The Danaoi are listed in Homer alongside the Achaeans and Argeioi, and Pindar says the Danaoi were the pre-​Doric inhabitants of Argos, Mycenae, and Lacedaimon (Pythian Odes 4.85–86).278 There is, in fact, a massive Mycenaean tomb at Late Bronze Age Tel Dan: Tomb 387, with forty bodies and five thousand objects including gold, ivory, alabaster, and twenty-​eight Aegean imports.

Summary Concerning Bashan So what can be concluded about Mount Hermon, and Bashan by extension? The mountain is ringed with Georgian shrines on its lower slopes. The abandonment of most of the northern half of Bashan between the Byzantine period and the nineteenth century suggests the Georgian shrines are not the product of medieval veneration.279 There was cultic activity all over the mountain in the Roman period, some of which was dedicated to Zeus, including Heliopolitan Zeus, and Atargatis (Eusebius, Onom. 20.10), along with many anonymous shrines.280 Some scant evidence exists for cultic activity in the Hellenistic period. And before that? Heenah has an unexcavated tell, which would produce some interesting materials. The name, Hermon, from hrm, suggests that there was.281 The root connotes not only “forbidden”282 but also “oath,” as in “Mount of the Oath,” which calls to mind the oath mentioned at Qasr Antar and an oath in Enoch to which we shall shortly turn. Baal-​Gad suggests some connection via Tyche as well. Deuteronomy 3:9; Ps 29:6; Song 4:8; and 1 Chr 5:23 give alternate names for Hermon of Sirion and Senir. Sirion is parallel with Lebanon in Ps 29:6, in  KTU  1.43 (= CTA  33), lines 5.18–21, and in the Hurrian mountain list KUB 37.14.2* 7 (as Shariyana).283 It is possible that Shariyana > Sirion is equivalent to the Saria mentioned in several Old Babylonian texts.284 The latter name reappears in parallel with Mount Amanus in a building inscription of Sennacherib (ARAB, 2:388) and later Assyrian kings, where it marks the southern source 277.  Ibid., 77. 278.  They are not the same as the Danuna of the Amarna Letters, who would have been the people of Adana known from the Phoenician version of the bilingual Karatepe text; see ibid. 279.  Ben David, “Preservation,” 270–71. 280.  Aliquot, “Sanctuaries and Villages on Mt. Hermon,” 81. 281.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 2. 282.  HALOT, 1:353 283.  I. Yukata, “Hermon, Sirion, and Senir,” Annual of the Japanese Biblical Institute 4 (1978): 32–44. 284.  Ibid.


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for cedar as Amanus is the northern.285 Some Old Babylonian versions of the Epic of Gilgamesh state that Annunaki gods live on Saria (Gilgamesh II.016 from Ishchali = CDLI #P273195, 12–13, 19–21).286 In this narrative, Saria and Lebanon are protected by the monster Humbaba, who appears as Hobabish, one of the watchers or nephilim on Mount Hermon in the Qumran Book of Giants (QG11 3.3).287 Senir (Ezek 27:5), may be a variant of Sirion due to the transposing of r and n.288 Senir is mentioned as Saniru in parallel with Lebanon in inscriptions of Shalmaneser III (ANET, 280). In Song 5:23, Senir is distinguished from Hermon and listed alongside Hermon and Amanus. Hermon and Senir are likewise distinct in 1 Chr 5:23, where it is listed alongside Bashan, Baal-​Hermon, and Hermon. The ninth-​century CE geographer Yaʾqubi lists Jebel Sanir as between the Jaulan and Baalbek. Nevertheless, Senir (like Sirion) refers to the extended Anti-​Lebanon ridge, with Senir being unknown in the second millennium.289 Museums all over the world contain metal statuettes from Mount Hermon dated to the second millennium BCE.290 Dar identifies these statuettes as Baal-​ Hermons and consort goddesses.291 Baal-​Hermon is undoubtedly the Hadad consort of Atargatis.292 Baal-​Hermon is invoked along with Baal-​Kasios in the treaty of Mursili and the king of the Amorites (ANET, 205). The mountain is given a fuller name, Mount Baal-​Hermon, in Judg 3:3. 1 Enoch 6:4–7:6 (third century BCE) makes Hermon the site of the descent of the fallen angels come to take human wives for themselves, as in Gen 6, and Jerome repeats this identification (Commentary on Ps 132:3).293 Specifically, it is on Har Hermon—“Mount Oath”—that the watchers/nephilim (identified with rephaim in Deut 2:11 and Ezek 32:27) swear an oath calling down annihilation if any one of them abandons their plan vis-​à-​vis the human women (1 Enoch 6:6).294 Clermont-​Ganneau notes that the Greek text uses precisely the same verb as the Qasr Antar inscription, but concludes that the inscription refers to liturgical activities and not to the story of the watchers.295 The fundamental issue seems to be the “oath,” since in 285.  Ibid., 35. 286.  Lipiński, “El’s Abode,” 18–19, 25; Hans Peter Müller, “Der Libanon in altorientalischen Quellen und im Hohenlied,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-​Vereins 117 (2001): 116–28. 287.  Reeves, Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony, 124. 288.  Yukata, “Hermon, Sirion, and Senir,” 38. 289.  Ibid., 37. 290.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 3; Henri Seyrig, “Antiquités syriennes,” Syria 30 (1953): 12–50. 291.  Dar, Settlements and Cult Sites, 4; Seyrig, “Antiquités syriennes,” 24. 292.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2532. 293.  Nickelsburg, “Enoch, Levi, and Peter,” 575. 294.  Clermont-​Ganneau, “Mount Hermon and Its God,” 233; Bautch, Geography, 61. 295.  Clermont-​Ganneau, “Mount Hermon and Its God,” 238.



the Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (born Said ibn Batriq) and the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian, it is the house of Seth who live on top of Mount Hermon (where Adam is buried; Michael, Chronicle 1.3.2)296 and make an oath by the blood of Abel never to descend the mountain to the Cainites below (Eutychius, Annals 16), an oath broken in the era of Jared (< Heb. yered, “to descend”) except for the family of Noah (Michael, Chronicle. 1.3).297 The basins of Atargatis-​Leucothea are also intriguing, and this brings Banias into a key position with regard to Mount Hermon. Palaemon could be a form of Baal-​Hamon, the god of Carthage (also known as Baal-​Karnaim; see the preceding discussion on Ashtaroth-​Karnaim), but also (if we allow, following Paul Haupt, that the initial ḥet has been changed to a he) a place name in Song 8:11 (perhaps the same location as the Hammon, with ḥet, in Josh 19:28).298 Baal-​ Hamon is identified with Zeus in Hannibal’s treaty with Philip V of Macedon (Polybius, Historiae 7.9.2–3), and is mentioned alongside the Gad of the Bene Agrud on Jebel Muntar.299 Frank Moore Cross believed “Hamon” was Amanus. Excavations at Umm el-​Amed on the southern coast of Lebanon, identified as ancient Hammon in KAI 19, produced two Phoenician inscriptions dedicated to “Milkashtart, god of [or El-] Hammon” (CIS 1.8–9).300 K. Lawson Younger, following Pardee, considers Milkashtart to be a compound name derived from the pattern DN + GN: “Milku or Ashtarot.”301 Palaemon, like Baal of Zaphon, was the patron of ports, sailors, and ships throughout the Mediterranean (Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 270; Aelius Aristides, Isthmian Oration 49; Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47.354; Orphic Hymns 74 and 75).302 On the other hand, Clermont-​Ganneau related the carved basin at Qasr Antar to the yered or katabasis ritual described by Lucian’s Dea Syria, in which water was drawn from the sea and brought across great distances to be thrown into 296.  J.-B. Chabot, trans., Michael the Syrian (Paris, 1899), 4. According to Ibn Isḥāq (eighth century CE), İsmail Hakkı, al-​Bursalı, and others, Adam was buried in a deserted part of Syria by Khidr. See al-Harawī and Ramadan, Al-Ḥadhar, 76. 297.  J.-B. Chabot, trans., Michael the Syrian (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1899), 5; Clermont-​ Ganneau, “Mount Hermon and Its God,” 237. 298.  And perhaps Melicertes becomes Melqart. Day considers it “conceivable” that Melqart is the same as the Ugaritic Milku, which he identifies also with the biblical Molech. For reasons to see Baal-​Hamon as a manifestation of Baal and not El, see Day, Molech, 37; Paul Haupt, “The Book of Canticles,” American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literature 19 (1903): 1–32. 299.  Kaizer, “De Dea Syria, Part 2,” 54. 300.  C. Krahmalkov, “Notes on the Inscription of ʿBDʾDNY from Umm El-​Amed,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 46 (1971): 33–37. 301.  Younger, “Deities of Aram.” 302.  W. F. Albright, “Baal Zaphon,” in Festschrift für Alfred Berholet, ed. W. Baumgartner et al. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1950), 9, 12; J. G. Hawthorne, “The Myth of Palaemon,” Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 89 (1958): 92–98.


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sacred tanks.303 The Jerusalem Talmud (y. ʿAvodah Zarah 39d) describes yered rites performed at Gaza, Akko, and Batna, while Abba Arikka (The Rav) mentions a yered at “En-​Baki,” perhaps Heilopolis.304 From the biblical perspective, Hermon is the mountain of the utmost north, a form of Zaphon, Baal’s mountain home north of Ugarit.305 Hermon functions for some Jewish traditions of the third century BCE through at least the first century CE as a portal between the divine and human realms.306 As for Bashan overall, it appears to extend Hermon’s sanctity to the south and east. Perhaps because of the inaccessibility of the mountain itself, Bashan was associated with spirits like rephaim from an early period, and the Georgic shrines of Bashan probably continue this.

303.  Clermont-​Ganneau, “Mount Hermon and Its God,” 241–42. 304.  Isidore Levy, “Cultes et rites syriens dans le Talmud, ” Revue des études juives 43 (1901): 183–205. 305.  Bautch, Geography, lxix, 61. When the gods of the nations became demons in Christian tradition, the north became their abode. “Hence the Epistle is read on the south side of the altar in the celebration of the Christian Eucharist—the message to the enlightened—and the Gospel is read on the north side—the proclamation to those who are in darkness; hence the Christian emblems on the tympana over the south door, and the emblems of demons over the north door, in Norman churches; and hence the curious superstition which makes people avoid the north side of the churchyard for burial” (H. J. D. Astley, Biblical Anthropology [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1929], 89). 306.  Bautch, Geography, 65.

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The Christian town of Taybeh in the West Bank, slightly east of Ramallah, has a long association with St. George. The Roman Catholic parish church of St. George is new, replacing a nineteenth-​century church, and the Orthodox church of St. George is from 1931, but next to it is a fourth-​century mosaic, now part of a small chapel. Behind the Melkite church of St. George are the remains of a late fifth-​century basilica.1 Modest rebuilding was done on this basilica in the twelfth century, by which time it had long been dedicated to St. George and to this day receives ritual sacrifices of lambs (fig. 13).2 Remains of another Crusader church are at the site called El-​Khader, surveyed by Muhammad Rajabi in 1977. This church also had a Byzantine original.3 The original name of the town was surely not Taybeh, meaning “good.” Taybehs abound in the Arab world, but none in early Arab or classical Muslim sources, so the name must be artificial in all cases.4 The previous name was Ephraim, specifically the Ephraim of John 11:54 where Jesus rested before his Passion.5 First- and second-​century extrabiblical Greek literature records an Aphairema here, probably the same as the site of that name in 1 Macc 11:34. 1.  A. M. Schneider, “Die Kirche von Et-​Taijibe,” Oriens Christianus 6 (1931): 117–23. 2.  H. Jaser, “A Village Called Taybeh,” United Taybeh American Association ; Bellarmino Bagatti, Antichi Villaggi Cristiani di Samaria (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1979), 325. 3.  M. Vincent, “L’esprit des ruines d’el-​Khadr à Taybeh” (conference paper presented at Institut du monde arabe: Table ronde Patrimonie des chretiens d’Orient, une richesse a faire connaitre, 2014), 2. 4.  Elitzur, Ancient Place Names, 272–73. 5.  August Strobel, “Der Gemeindeausflug 1987 nach Et-​Tayibe: Eine Fahrt in die Welt der Bibel,” Jahrbuch des Deutschen Evangelischen Institut für Altertumswissenschaft des Heiligen Landes 1 (1989): 181. The reason being that Ephraim belonged to Samaria in the Roman period and was thus out of the Sanhedrin’s reach; see Pierre Medebielle, Ephrem-​Taybeh et son histoire chrétienne (Jerusalem: Patriarcat Latin, 1993), 3. Ehud Keinan, Andrew Abado, and Robert West, “Where was the City of Ephraim?” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 147 (2015): 223, think Taybeh was not a good place for Jesus to retire, and they add to the New Testament text a requirement that Ephraim must be in a valley, drawing from t. Menaḥot 9:1.


Figure 13  Sacrificial blood at Taybeh ruins. Photo: author.



Eusebius has an Aphra that might also be one of the Ophrah’s of the Old Testament.6 It is immaterial that ʿOphrah is spelled with an ayin and the biblical (Hebrew Bible) territory of Ephraim is spelled with aleph, because the ayin could have easily dropped off in forming the Greek Ephraim of the Gospels, and the fact that this Greek spelling equally translates Hebrew Ephraim is mere coincidence. Salah ed-​Din is credited with the name change. Supposedly having received hospitality from the inhabitants, he did not think it fitting that their name sounded like “evil,” ʿ ifrīt, or rather “evil jinn,” and so he changed it to “good.”7 Alternatively, he did not think it right that the town’s name sounded like “dust,” ʿafara, and so changed it.8 It is more likely, however, that the name changed between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, since the name ʿAfara is attested as late as 1225.9 Several ʿOphrahs appear in the Old Testament. One is ʿOphrah of Manasseh where Gideon lived (Judg 6:11). Taybeh is too far south for Manasseh. Some make ʿOphrah of Manasseh Afula, in the Jezreel Valley, which had an extensive Iron I occupation that would substantiate its mention in Judges.10 The problem is that this would place ʿOphrah far from the conflict area in Judg 8–9.11 C. L. Conder suggested ʿOphrah of Judg 6–9 was modern Ferata, 12 km south of Shechem,12 but this is not in Manasseh; it is in Ephraim, and it is also remote from Gideon’s conflict.13 Galil has shown that this must be ruled out for several reasons.14 Afula, although within Manasseh, does not make a good ʿOphrah for Judg 6–9, since Judg 6:11 refers merely to ʿOphrah belonging to the clan of Abiezer, 6.  Gass, “Saul in En-​Dor,” 272. Contra Keinan, Abado, and West, “Where was the City?” 225, Eusebius makes no distinction between this Aphra and Ephron-​Ephraim; see Strobel, “Gemeindeausflug,” 177–83 (esp. 179); Elitzur, Ancient Place Names, 268. Keinan, Abado, and West misconstrue the reason for identifying Taybeh as Ephraim as based solely on three biblical verses. They also claim that Ephraim’s only connection to ʿOphrah is the Old Testament; see “Where was the City?” 220, 223. 7.  Steve Bonham, Saint George: The Palestinian Saint who Became the Patron Saint of England (Leicester: Leicestershire Holy Land Appeal, n.d.), 9; Strobel, “Gemeindeausflug,” 179. All the spirits held traditionally to inhabit springs in Palestine were known as Efreet. See Tawfiq Canaan, Studies in Palestinian Customs and Folklore (Jerusalem: Palestinian Oriental Society, 1922), 18. 8.  Jaser, “A village called Taybeh.” 9.  Elitzur, Ancient Place Names, 277; Vincent, Esprit des ruines, 1. 10.  M. Dothan, “The Excavations at Afula,” Atiqot 1 (1955): 30–49; Helga Weippert, Palästina in vorhellenistischer Zeit (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1988), 399; Gal, Lower Galilee during the Iron Age, 92. 11.  Gass, Ortsnamen, 273. 12.  C. L. Conder, Tent Work in Palestine: A Record of Discovery and Adventure (New York: D. Aplleton, 1878), 2:339. 13.  Gass, “Saul in En-​Dor,” 277. 14.  G. Galil, “Pirathon, Parathon and Timnatha,” Zeitschrift Des Deutschen Palästina-​Vereins 109 (1993): 49–53 (here 50).


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and only 6:15 states that this clan is in Manasseh. No other part of the Gideon cycle makes ʿ Ophrah Manassite. Niesiołowsk-​Spanò proposes amending ʿOphrah in the Gideon stories to ʿEphrathah, as the Septuagint has it; this is also the Septuagint reading for ʿOphrah in both Josh 18:23 and 1 Sam 13:17.15 ʿEphrathah, spelled with ayin, where Rachel died, is in Judah, and associated with Bethlehem in many texts (Gen 35:16, 19; 1 Sam 17:12; Ruth 1:2; Mic 5:1; etc.), but 1 Sam 10:2 says Rachel died in Benjamin, and Jer 31:15 places this at Ramah. So Niesiołowsk-​Spanò follows Von Rad’s suggestion that Rachel’s ʿEphrathah—and Gideon’s ʿOphrah—is  ʿOphrah near Bethel. This would be nice, as Judg 6 says a shrine to Baal stood at the place. The difficulties here are that this is too far south for Gideon’s home, and the Septuagint of Codex Alexandrinus has Aphra for ʿOphrah in Judg 8:27 and Josh 18:23 (only Vaticanus has ʿEphrathah).16 So Taybeh is not Gideon’s ʿOphrah, but it should be the ʿOphrah of 1 Sam 13:17, which should be located here, and it very well could be the ʿOphrah of Josh 18:23, although that is supposed to be in Benjamin and Taybeh is technically too far north. It would also be the ʿEphron of 2 Chr 13:19, with ayin, which must be in this area. Erasmus Gass considers Ferata to be Pirathon of Judg 12:15.17 Nadav Naaman, however, following W. F.Albright, Zecharia Kallai, and others, identifies Pirathon with Farkha,18 which also has Iron I occupation.19 This does not makes sense, however. 1 Maccabees 9:50 claims that Bacchides “built strong cities in Judea” including Bethel and Pharathon. These locations are along the northern border of Judea running from Jericho to Emmaus, while Farkha was not in Judea at the time.20 But consider the following: Judg 12:15 says Pirathon is in Ephraim in the mountains of Amalek; Judg 5:14 also speaks of an Ephraim “in Amalek”; Pirathon must therefore be near Bethel. Might this suggest that there was also a placed called “Ephraim” with an aleph at Taybeh? In this case there is no “coincidence” in the New Testament name, and Taybeh becomes both Pirathon and the Ephraim of Judg 5 and 12. The difficulty is in assuming that Taybeh/ Ephraim was both an ʿOphrah with ayin and an Ephraim with aleph. 15.  Niesiołowsk-​Spanò, Origin Myths and Holy Places, 147. 16.  L. M. Luker, “Ephrathah,” ABD, 1:557-58. 17.  Gass, Ortsnamen, 277. 18.  Nadav Naʾaman, “Pirathon and Ophrah,” Biblische Notizen 50 (1989): 11–16. 19.  Israel Finkelstein, The Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement (Leiden: Brill, 1988), 167–68, 181; Israel Finkelstein, Zvi Lederman, and Shlomo Bunimovitz, Highlands of Many Cultures (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1997), 255. 20.  Gass, “Saul in En-​Dor,” 355. Galil makes this out to be the southern border of Judah, placing Pharathon near Tell Beit Mirsim, but this would require moving Bethel to a very strange place; see Galil, “Pirathon, Parathon and Timnatha,” 49–53.



At Taybeh, Georgic cultic continuity goes back to the Byzantine period. There are Iron I and II remains, mostly on the western slope of the village hill.21 Some Persian and Hellenistic occupation has been found, but nothing to indicate any cultic activity.22 2 Samuel 13:23, however, refers to a Baal-​Hazor near Ephraim—that is, Ephraim-​Taybeh.23 This would be the Hazor of Neh 11:33. Baal Hazor would then be a Baal cultic site.24 The presence of this Baal site would influence the naming of ʿOphrah-​Taybeh in all its forms, including “evil,” “evil jinn,” and even “good.”25 Baal-​Hazor means—according to the DCH—“Green Baal.” But where is this place? Older scholarship equated it with a “Tell Asur.”26 This cannot be the same as Khirbet Asur (Arsur) near Bir Nebala (Albrecht Alt’s suggestion), which is too far west in Benjamin.27 Taybeh is the closest pre-​ Mamluk site, and so could be Baal Hazor. Deir Jarir, just to the north, has only Mamluk occupation and later.28 Israel Finkelstein, Zvi Lederman, and Shlomo Bunimovitz note only one ancient site northwest of this, at MR 17845.15300, a single building with Hellenistic and Byzantine occupation.29 Otherwise their survey, the most comprehensive of the area, shows a huge zone empty of sites covering the entire area north of Route 449 and west of the road to Kafr Malik, east of Route 4568 to Mazraa esh-​Sharqiya. Thus ISBE, 1:380 and GTTOT, 775 state that no such place as Tell Asur exists. Albright identified Baal-​Hazor (and Ephraim of 2 Sam 13) with Khirbet Marjameh.30 This site, properly Tell Marjama or Ain es-​Samiya (MR 1816.1554) is a small valley oasis, covering 4 ha (40 dunams).31 Iron I pottery was found over an area of 3 ha (30 dunams),32 although no buildings existed on the site until 21.  Finkelstein, Lederman, and Bunimovitz, Highlands, 368–69; Finkelstein, Archaeology, 160, 180. 22.  Finkelstein, Lederman, and Bunimovitz, Highlands, 587–90. 23.  Unless Kallai is correct to translate this as “Baal-​Hazor within Ephraim.” Zecharia Kallai, “Baal Shalisha and Ephraim,” in Bible and Jewish History, ed. B. Uffenheimer (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press, 1971), 191–206. 24.  Strobel, “ Gemeindeausflug,” 181. 25.  Ibid., 180. 26.  Schneider, “Die Kirche von Et-​Taijibe,” 22. 27.  Albrecht Alt, “Hazor, Baal Hazor,” Palästina-​Jahrbuch 24 (1928): 12–16. 28.  Raphael Greenberg and Adi Keinan, Israeli Archaeological Activity in the West Bank, 1967–2007: A Sourcebook (Jerusalem: Ostracon, 2009), 57. 29.  Finkelstein, Lederman, and Bunimovitz, Highlands, 592. 30.  Albright, “The Ephraim of the Old and New Testaments,” Journal of the Palestine Oriental Society 3 (1923): 36–40. 31.  Israel Finkelstein, The Archaeology of the Period of the Settlement and Judges (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1986), 132; Amihai Mazar, “Three Israelite Sites in the Hills of Judah and Ephraim,” Biblical Archaeologist 45 (1982): 167–78. 32.  Amihai Mazar, “The Fortifications of the Israelite City at Khirbet Marjama in the Hills of Ephraim,” Eretz Israel 23 (1992): 174–93.


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the tenth century BCE.33 Marjameh was not inhabited in the Roman period and cannot be New Testament Ephraim.34 Tell Marjama, however, seems more likely to have been Baal-​Shalishah of 2 Kgs 4:42.35 This corresponds to the proximity of the associated Gilgal of 2 Kgs 4:38, which should be near Bethel.36 Yigal Levin, who identifies the Ephraim of 2 Samuel with Ephrathah, but accepts the latter’s usual location near Bethlehem, puts Baal Hazor at modern El-​Khader, southwest of Bethlehem.37 Levin’s rationale is twofold. First, he argues that “Baal” in all Baal-​theophoric toponyms in the central hill country refer not to Baal-​Hadad but to Yahweh, largely based on 2 Sam 5 where Baal-​Perizim means “The Lord [Yahweh] has broken through,” and a view that true Baalism only entered Israel and Judah in the ninth century.38 2 Samuel 5, however, is a strained etiological attempt to provide an orthodox origin for a blatantly Baalistic place-​name,39 and the latter claim seems unsupportable in the light of evidence of Baal worship in the biblical text and archaeological images of Baal-​as-​Seth on thirteenth-​century cylinder seals from Tell el-​Ajjul (Rockefeller Museum 35.4011), Tell es-​Safi (Gath), and Tell el-​Fara South,40 and on a seventh-​century seal from Tell Akko.41 Levin’s second, more specific reason for placing Baal-​Hazor at modern El-​Khader is his interpretation of the second term in Baal-​Hazor deriving from Hezron, the clan of David (1 Chr 2:9) and, in the context of 2 Sam 13:23, of Absalom.42 Nothing in 2 Sam 13 suggests Absalom’s sheep shearing feast was held in his home territory, however. It is unclear if Hezron can be localized at all, since it includes both the Calebites and the Jerahmeelites, two large sections of Judah (1 Chr 2:18–33). The genealogy of Hezron is much confused in any case.43 The association of Levin’s candidate for Baal-​Hazor with El-​Khader is intriguing for my purposes, but 1994 excavations

33.  Dever, “Abel-​Beth-​Maʾacah,” 36. 34.  Contra Keinan, Abado, and West, “Where was the City?” 222. They claim the nearby site of Khirbet el-​Bayadir was Late Khirbet Marjameh, and, without providing any archaeological support, claim that Marjameh was therefore “inhabited continuously until the Crusader period.” 35.  Diane Edelman, “Baal-​Shalishah,” EBR, 3:226. 36.  Jan A. Wagenaar, “ ‘Someone Came from Baal-​Shalisha . . .’ The Significance of Topography in 2 Kings 4.42–44,” Biblische Notizen 135 (2007): 35–42. 37.  Yigal Levin, “Baal-​Hazor,” EBR, 3:215. 38.  Yigal Levin, “Baal-​Shalishah, Baal-​Perazim, Baal-​Hazor and Baal-​Tamar: On ‘Baal’ Toponyms in the Central Hill Country,” Judea and Samaria Research Studies 16 (2007): 17–34. 39.  Mark S. Smith, Early History of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 79. 40.  Silvia Schroer, Die Spätbronzezeit, Die Ikonographie Pälastinas 3 (Fribourg: Academic Press, 2011), nos. 895, 896, 899. 41.  Izak Cornelius, The Iconography of the Canaanite Gods Reshef and Baʾal and Bacal: Late Bronze and lron Age 1 periods (c 1500—1000 BCE) (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994), 210, pl. 50 . 42.  Yigal Levin, Maarav (forthcoming). 43.  Claude F. Mariottini, “Hezron (Person),” ABD, 3:194.



Figure 14  View of Tell Asur from Taybeh. Photo: author.

by Yuval Baruch and Ibrahim Abu Ammar found nothing older than the Persian period.44 There is Tell Asur, however, known to British historians as the site of a major battle in World War I.45 Tell Asur is the highest point on Jebel el-​Asur, also known as Har Hatzor.46 It is 1 km north of Taybeh and dominates the Taybeh skyline (see fig. 14).47 Moreover, it is the furthest south location from which one can see Mount Hermon.48 The only reason the Finkelstein and Bunimovitz survey shows no remains is that the site is now occupied by the Baal Khatsor military base, the main early warning system station for the Israeli Air Force. They were simply unable to survey a site that probably shows an extensive occupational history. While the top of Tell Asur is an Israeli military base, the lower portions of the mountain are not, and the science of tell erosion suggests that significant evidence of a site’s occupational history will be visible in erosional debris.49 44.  Mishael M. Caspi and Gerda Neu-​Sokol, The Legend of Elijah in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Literature (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 2009), 89, 93. 45.  G. F. MacMunn, Military Operations Egypt and Palestine (London: HM Stationary Office, 1930), 1:312–15. 46.  Strobel, “ Gemeindeausflug,” 177. 47.  Medebielle, Ephrem-​Taybeh, 2; Dalman, Work and Customs in Palestine, 1.2:641. 48.  MacMunn, Military Operations, 315. 49.  G. Rapp Jr., “Some Geological Techniques Applied in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology” (paper presented at the Workshop on the Practical Impact of Science on Field Archaeology, Hebrew


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For this reason, I undertook a site survey of the lower south slope of Tell Asur in 2017. Unfortunately, although there were a few Iron I sherds, the majority of artifacts were Late Roman and Byzantine, providing no support for a Hellenistic or earlier cult location. Let us consider one more possible connection of Taybeh and Baal, which draws in the mythical Pegasus-​riding Bellerophon. The second element in the name Bellerophon is φόντης, “slayer.” Belleros has been variously identified but never very convincingly. The D-​Tradition of the Iliad asserts that Belleros was a Corinthian nobleman killed by Bellerophon.50 Geoffrey Kirk, following Paul Kretschmer, sees Belleros as a local daemon of Pelleritis on the border of Corinthia.51 Rhys Carpenter argues for an etymology for Bellerophon from βελλεροφόντης, “bane-​slayer,” slayer of the “bane of humanity” in Iliad 2.329, supposedly derived from a rare Greek word ἔλλερον, explained by some grammarians as equal to κακόν, “evil.”52 This elleron is connected by Joshua Katz to a gloss by Hesychius of ἐλεύς, “water animal,” and the Indo-​European word for serpent found in the Hittite name Illuyanka (cognate to the English “eel”).53 This would make Bellerophon derive from the Hittite (and Indo-​European) dragon slayer. Even more radically, August Pott saw βελλερός as one of two options: as “twisted, serpentine monster,” according to Theodor Benfey’s nineteenth-​ century Lexicon of Greek Roots, derived from Iranian Verethraghna and Indic Vṛtrahan, the epithet of the storm god Indra that means “dragon slayer,” or from Belteros, with the common lt >ll change (e.g., Lat. Pollux from Etrustcan Pultuke), and thence from Vṛtra, the dragon/sea slain by Indra.54 On the other hand, if the name is not Greek at all, then perhaps phontēs was a Semitic term that was misunderstood as Greek by Greek speakers. Michael Astour and Nicolas Wyatt thus argue that Bellerophon is a transcription of the West Semitic Baal Rapiu.55 Now Bellerophon had a temple at Helboun, ancient Chalubon, 35 km north of Damascus. Youssef Hajjar therefore explains the name as deriving from “Baal University, Jerusalem, October 1996); Arlene Miller Rosen, Cities of Clay: The Geoarchaeology of Tells, Prehistoric Archaeology and Ecology 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 27–30. 50.  G. S. Kirk, The Iliad: A Commentary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 2:178. 51.  Ibid. 52.  Rhys Carpenter, “Ageiphontes: A Suggestion,” American Journal of Archaeology 54 (1950): 177–83. 53.  Joshua T. Katz, “How to Be a Dragon in Indo-​European: Hittite Illuyankaš and Its Linguistic and Cultural Congeners in Latin, Greek, and Germanic,” in Mír Curad: Studies in Honor of Calvert Watkins, ed. J. Jasanoff, H. C. Melchert, and L. Oliver (Innsbruck: Universität Innsbruck, 1998), 317–34 (here 325); Tsagalis, “Typhon,” 25. 54.  August F. Pott, “Bellerophon, Vṛtrahán,” Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung auf dem Gebiete des Deutschen, Griechischen und Lateinischen 4 (1855): 420, 436. 55.  Nicolas Wyatt, “À la Recherche,” 79.



of Ephara,” Ephara being the modern Ifry.56 An inscription found in the mosque of Ifry attests to a temple nearby, at Afq Efara, ancient Aphkephara.57 Hajjar’s explanation does not exclude Astour’s and Wyatt’s. Consider now ʿOphrah. Is it possible that Baal-​Raphiu / Baal of Ephara both lost the “Baal” and underwent metathesis on the second term: Ephara/Rapha > ʿOphrah? The metathesis is certainly possible.58 The ayin at the start of ʿOphrah would have to be accounted for, but epenthesis is not uncommon.59 A final note should be made of Taybeh’s proximity to Bethel. The distance is 6 km. Bethel is the southern counterpart to Dan in Jeroboam I’s religious construction and the site of Joseph’s theophanic “ladder to heaven” in Gen 28.60 Bethel was an extensive town in the Iron I period, as well as Iron II, but no Israelite shrine was ever found.61 Bethel is connected with Baal Hazor in the Genesis Apocryphon. In 1QapGen ar (1Q20) XXI, 8–10, Abraham is at Bethel when he is taken up to see the whole country. But because of the terrain, he cannot do this from Bethel, so the author has him go to “Ramat Hazor.” 4Q537 (4QTJacob? ar) 24.2 calls it the “Valley of Ramat Hazor.” Bethel is also connected to ʿOphrah. Bethel has an odd tradition associated with it of liturgical weeping. Weeping at Bethel appears three times in Judg 20–21, Jacob is weeping at Bethel in Hos 12:4–5, Rachel’s maid Deborah is buried “below Bethel at the Oak of Weeping,” and the Septuagint of Judg 2:4 has Israel weeping at Bethel.62 Micah 1:10–11 says one should “not weep at all” in Beth-​le-​Ophrah. But if an aleph were added, this would read Bethel-​Ophrah, which would make sense with regard to the weeping and, more importantly, identify Bethel with ʿOphrah.63 Based on various connections between Phineas and Bethel (his burial, etc.), Amitai Baruchi-​Unna equates Jer 4:15’s Mount

56.  Hajjar, “Dieux et cultes non héliopolitains,” 2557–58. 57.  S. Ronzevalle, “Notes sur quelques antiquités syriennes,” Revue Archeologique 5 (1905): 43–53. 58.  Hyman, Phonology, 14–15. 59.  Trask, Dictionary of Historical and Comparitive Linquistics, 107. 60.  Niesiołowsk-​Spanò, Origin Myths and Holy Places, 60–91. 61.  Robert D. Miller, “Gazetteer of Iron I Sites in the North-​Central Highlands of Palestine,” in Preliminary Excavation Reports and Other Archaeological Investigations, ed. N. Lapp (Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2003), 155–57. 62.  Oak trees are the most common variety of sacred tree in Palestinian folklore; see Nurit Lissovsky, “On Trees and on the Makam,” Cathedra 11 (2004): 46–74; Achva B. Stein, “Landscape Elements of the Makam,” Landscape Journal 6 (1987): 123–31. Snakes are the usual protectors of such trees. See Amots Dafni, “The Supernatural Character and Powers of Sacred Trees in the Holy Land,” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 3 (2007): 1–16. 63.  A. Baruchi-​Unna, “Congregational Weeping at Bethel” (paper presented at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, November 2013).


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Ephraim—in parallel with Dan—with Josh 24:33’s “Gibeah town of Phineas in the highlands of Ephraim,” and concludes that this place has to be Bethel.64 Finally, Bethel itself becomes a sort of omphalos in late texts. The early tenth-​century Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria report that Caliph Umar learned from patriarch Sophronius of Jerusalem that Bethel was the center of the world.65 Pirke de R. Eliezer 37 states that Jacob’s stone pillow from Gen 28 was the navel of the world.66

64.  Ibid. 65.  W. H. Roscher, Omphalos: Eine Philologisch, Archäologisch, Volkskundliche Abhandlung über die Vorstellungen der Griechen und Anderer Völker vom ‘Nabel der Erde.’ (1913; repr., Hildesheim: Olms, 1974), 33. 66.  Ibid., 56.

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Although it lacks the mountain found in all my other examples, Lod (MR 14050.15150) ought to be examined since it is connected to the earliest St. George traditions. These traditions, as we have seen, are from the fifth century CE. Repeated references to a Constantinian church at Lod beneath the Ottoman mosque1 are without any support, archaeological or documentary.2 The site of Lod (MR 14050.15150), which is the modern and the biblical name for the Arabic Lydda or Ludd, was known in classical antiquity as Diospolis (the name given in 199 CE, but which dios is it?). Its modern church of St. George, with his tomb, is from the Crusader period (fig. 15). The earlier church, beneath the mosque and destroyed in 1010, is Byzantine and possibly Justinian, being depicted on the Madaba mosaic map.3 Crusaders reported the Byzantine church had a tympanum depicting George lancing a fallen knight.4 The fifth-​century Nubian reference to Lod being George’s home is abundantly confirmed in the sixth century. Writing circa 518, a Deacon Theodosius (De terra sanctae), about whom nothing more is known, mentions Lod as the place of George’s martyrdom and tomb (and not his birth, as in the earlier texts), as does the Itinerarium (25) of Pilgrim of Piacenza (Pseudo-​Antonius), circa 570.5 By this time, the city had become known as Hagion Georgopolis.6 Does a real human George belong here? If so, that would explain the presence of his shrine apart from any pre-​Roman Baal worship, and the absence of a mountain lends support for this. Interestingly, in the third century, Lactantius (in De mortibus persecutorum) and Eusebius (Hist. eccl.) mention a famous

1.  Montenegro, “Dragón,” 331–44. 2.  Kanaan, “Legends, Places and Traditions,” 205; Walter, “Cult of Saint George,” 317. 3.  R. Gophna and I. Beit-​Arieh, Map of Lod (Jerusalem: Archaeological Survey of Israel, 1997), 67*. 4.  Riches, St. George, 23. 5.  Walter, “Cult of Saint George,” 314. 6.  Ben-​Zion Rosenfeld, Lod and Its Sages (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-​Zvi, 1997), 190–91.



Chapter 5

Figure 15  Lod Tomb of St. George. Photo: author.

martyr being born in Lod (Diospolis), but they do not give the name.7 Eusebius also mentions a deacon named Romulus who was arrested at Lod and killed at Caesarea during Diocletian’s persecution, as well as a priest of Lod named Maximus, whose eyes were put out (De martyribus Palaestinae 3.3). On the other hand, Jerome knows Lod for the healing of Aeneas (Acts 9:32–35), but not for any George or famous martyr.8 Unquestionably, a Hellenistic city was also here.9 Persian remains have been found at MR 14082.15180.10 This would be the Lod of 1 Chr 8:12; Ezr 2:33; and Neh 7:37. There are also Iron II remains, at least from the seventh and sixth centuries.11 There is a lengthy gap between Iron I and early Iron II, but the city is mentioned in lists of Thutmosis III and has Early Bronze and Middle Bronze I through Late Bronze occupations at the tell north of the old city, now largely under Tchernikovsky Street.12 7.  Kanaan, “Legends, Places and Traditions,” 204–5. 8.  Joshua Schwartz, Lod (Lydda), Israel: From Its Origins through the Byzantine Period, 5600 B.C.E.–640 C.E. (Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 1991), 126. 9.  Ibid., 43, 50. 10.  Gophna and Beit-​Arieh, Map of Lod, 19*. 11.  Schwartz, Lod, 43, 50; Gophna and Beit-​Arieh, Map of Lod, 19*. 12.  Gophna and Beit-​Arieh, Map of Lod, 19*.



On the other hand, is there any reason to see Baal here? There would only be two very weak reasons to think so. First, to this day, Orthodox Christians gather here to kill lambs in fulfillment of vows, as at Carmel and other Georgian shrines. Nevertheless, this could easily have been attracted to the shrine of George by virtue of George’s cult as practiced more widely. Secondly, hadith say that on the last day Jesus will defeat the antichrist, Dajjâl, at the gate of Lydda (An-​Nawwas bin Samʿan, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 41:7015). This is the Islamic antichrist, Al-​Masīḥ ad-​Dajjāl, normally predicted to be slain by Jesus (e.g., Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 41:7023).13 Only by quite a stretch, however, could one make this a case of dragon slaying, yet alone tie it to Baal veneration. It is much more likely that the cult of St. George belongs at Lod because it is the tomb of an actual early Christian martyr, a point to which we will return.

13.  The Mukhtasar Tazkirah of Al-​Qurtubi (thirteenth century) places this event at Ramla, 5 km southwest of Lod.

Chapter 6

Jerusalem and Elsewhere

Various places in Jerusalem are identified with Khidr and St. George, although none of them are ancient. There are three churches of St. George in the Old City. The Greek (formerly Serbian) church of St. George on Francis Street (MR 1716.1318) is possibly Crusader, as it is mentioned in the twelfth century.1 The Coptic St. George (MR 1717.1316) is a twelfth-​century Crusader edifice,2 although it corresponds to the site of a church of St. George mentioned in a ninth-​century Commemoratorium.3 Finally, the Armenian church of St. George (MR 1719.1313) dates from the fourtheenth century.4 There are also several Khidr locations on the Haram esh-​Sharif. The most prominent of these, the Dome of El-​Khader, dates only to the sixteenth century (fig. 16). Under the western stairs leading to the central platform of the Haram is the Mawdi el-​Khidr, or “Place of Khidr,” also known as the “Rock Bah Bah.”5 This place is described by Al-Nāṣir li-Dīn Allāh (twelfth century) as the “place where El-​Khader prays,” and it dates to the tenth or eleventh century.6 Several Khidr places were constructed in the Abassid period (ninth to tenth century), including a mihrab of Khidr, with no evidence of location but only a mention by Al-Muqaddasī, and a musallah of Khidr south of the Dome of the Chain on the central platform, mentioned by Ibn al-​Faqīh al-​Hamaḏānī.7 The earliest Khidr shrine on the Haram was a Marwanid “Maskan el-​Khidr” of the seventh or eighth century. It is not the same as the modern site of the same name, but stood 1.  K. Bieberstein and H. Bloedhorn, Jerusalem: Grundzüge der Baugeschichte vom Chalkolithikum bis zur Frühzeit der osmanischen Herrschaft, Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1994), 2:100. 2.  Ibid., 2:136; Conrad Schick, “The Coptic Mar Jirias Church,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement (1896): 217–18. 3.  Kay Prag, Blue Guide Jerusalem (New York: W. W. Norton, 1989), 204. 4.  Bieberstein and Bloedhorn, Jerusalem, 2:248. 5.  Wenceslaus Rzewusky, ed., Fundgruben des Orients (Vienna: K. K. Privil, 1811), 2:90; Andreas Kaplony, The Haram of Jerusalem, 324–1099 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2002), 693. 6.  Kaplony, Haram, 695. 7.  Ibid., 471, 485–86.


Figure 16  Dome of El Khader, Haram esh-​Sharif, Jerusalem. Photo: author.


Chapter 6

Figure 17  Mar Elias, interior. Photo: author.

somewhere between the Golden Gate and the northern edge of the Haram, where sixteenth-​century traditions place Khidr’s Jersualem residence.8 The Marwanid Maskan is mentioned in this spot by Yahyā ibn Maḥmūd al-Wasītī (twelfth century) and Ibn-​al-Muraǧǧā al-Maqdisī (eleventh century).9 About 6.5 km south of Jerusalem, on the way to Bethlehem, is a large monastery named Mar Elias (MR 17008.12691). The monastery is from the sixth century (fig. 17), but the name only goes back to the twelfth. Southwest of Bethlehem is a town called El-​Khader.10 The town church is sixteenth-​century, but a Byzantine church of St. George is at Rujm Khader (MR 1647.1235) on the edge of the town.11 The site, excavated in 1994 by Baruch and Abu Ammar, appears to have been earlier a Roman military camp, although there are some Persian and Hellenistic finds. Finally, a Maqam el-​Khader south of Hebron (MR 15530.09440) was excavated in 1969 by Amin Barhoum and found to have Byzantine remains below the modern weli.12 8.  Mujīr al-​Dīn al-ʿUlaymī, “Al-​Uns al-​Jalil fi Tarikh al-​Quds wa al-​Khalil” (MA Thesis, An-Najah National University, 1999), 2.28. 9.  Kaplony, Haram, 292–93. 10.  Caspi and Neu-​Sokol, Legend of Elijah, 89, 93. 11.  Greenberg and Keinan, Israeli Archaeological Activity in the West Bank, 120. 12.  Ibid., 135.

Jerusalem and Elsewhere


In Ashkelon National Park, on a steep cliff above the sea, lie the remains of a Muslim shrine surrounded by a fence under the threat of collapse, known as Maqam el-​Khidr or the Green Mosque. It dates only to the Ottoman period.13 Finally, as we have seen, there are shrines of Khidr everywhere from India to Mosul to Turkey. There are three Khidr shrines near Ajloun in Jordan and another one in es-​Salt.14 The fifteenth-​century Sāliḥ Ibn Yaḥyá, in his Tārīkh Bayrūt, claims that Christians said George had killed the dragon in the Beirut river lagoon (today Saint George Bay).15 The nineteenth-​century explorer William McClure Thompson assumed this derived from ancient Baal worship.16 The Khidr mosque beside the city gate next to the river contains seven caves and was formerly a church.17 Also in Lebanon, at Sarepta (ancient Zarephath), the site said to be where Elijah visited the widow was venerated by Muslims as a shrine of Khidr.18 But nowhere else do the Khidr or St. George shrines cluster together as they do in the locations discussed herein.

13.  C. R. Conder, The Survey of Western Palestine: Special Papers on Topography, Archaeology, Manners and Customs, etc., 3 vols. (London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1881), 3:240; E. H. Palmer, Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1881), 360, sheet 19. 14.  Vitomir Belaj, “ ‘Zeleni Juraj’ u Svetoj zemlji,” Studia Ethnologica Croatica 1 (1989): 65–78. 15.  Kanaan, “Cult of Saint George,” 206. 16.  William McClure Thompson, The Land and the Book (1859; repr., Hartford: Scranton, 1907), 1:41–45. 17.  Kanaan, “Cult of Saint George,” 207–8. 18.  Thompson, Land and Book, 235–36.

Chapter 7

Discussion and Conclusion

Archaeological Evidence I have not by any means proven that the shrines of Khidr all overlay Iron Age temples of Baal. It is not even the case that they all correspond to Roman and Hellenistic Baalshamem shrines. Nevertheless, we have here a remarkable array of data, including numerous cases where the cultic continuity or at least correspondence is present (e.g., Mount Carmel). In other locations, the Georgic shrines betray early cultic activity that is either unrelated to Baal or only related tangentially, as in the Atargatis/Leucothea presence on Mount Hermon. Table 1 summarizes the most important of these findings.

Landscapes of Memory Such cultic continuity would not be unique, but nor need it involve any mythological continuity as I am proposing here. In Louisiana, Poverty Point culture mounds at Watson Brake were built in the eighteenth century BCE with reference to Middle Archaic mounds built 1,700 years earlier.1 We cannot know if any mental or mythic continuity links these sites. But I am making a stronger argument in favor of mythic continuity. Comparable cases do exist, where a mythological character remains, with nearly identical enduring characteristics, but is no longer identified or named in the context of their original mythology and is instead embedded within a new mythic discourse. The Puri water spirits of the Khasi of India, who are now identified as mermaids, are an example.2 1.  Megan Kassabaum, “Creating Communal Places: Ritual Practice at Early Platform Mounds in the Deep South” (paper presented to the Pre-​Columbian Society of Washington, DC, September 2016). 2.  Margaret Lyngdoh, “The Water-​Spirit and the Snake People: Human-​Animal Transformations in the Context of the Folklore of Water” (paper presented to the International Society for Folk Narrative Research, Miami, FL, October 21, 2016). Examples closer to Baal include Theodosius’s


Local veneration George George

Enoch George George

Zeus Megistos, Tyche Inconclusive Baalshamin Zeus Ammon George Heliopolitan Zeus, Tyche, Elijah, Hell Atargatis, Zeus, Leucothea, Tyche, Helios

Ø Khidr Ø Khidr, George George Khidr Elijah, George

Dan Lod Taybeh

Heliopolitan Zeus Inconclusive Inconclusive George George

Elijah, Khidr Elijah Khidr, George Khidr, George Khidr, George, Elijah

Carmel North Carmel SE Yasif/Sinan/Makr Hesheq/Beth Kerem Bashan Overall Ashtaroth Edrei Salecah Bosra Izraa Banias Hermon Overall




Table 1.  Continuities or correspondences between shrines of Khidr and temples of Baal.

“the god” Inconclusive Unknown

Bull Inconclusive Bull Baalshamin Inconclusive Pan Nephilim

Heliopolitan Zeus Inconclusive Hadad Ø Inconclusive


Rephaim, Milku Rephaim, Milku Rephaim Inconclusive Inconclusive Gad? Baal? Gad? Baal-​Hermon, Baal-​Hamon? Annu­ naki, Humbaba Bull Yahweh Unknown Baal

Baal Ø Turit temple Ø Rephaim



Chapter 7

How are we to explain such continuity? I would begin by noting that perceptions of the past are closely connected to special places, to physical spaces.3 Regions, important villages, or special places becomes “landscapes of memory,” when connected to retold stories, rituals, or sacred calendars.4 The origin of the place’s sacred value may be beyond discovery, an original occasion of indwelling power ascribed to a place where a momentous event occurred.5 Once a locality has gained a cult or a sacred day, however, “the force of inertia it represents enters human consciousness.”6 The landscape or its features function in “collective memory of place.”7 As Gaston Bachelard wrote, “Memories are motionless, and the more securely they are fixed in space the sounder they are.”8 Calendric continuity is easy to note. April 23 is the end of Jewish Passover, the sacrifice of Selucus Nicator on Mount Zaphon, the Feast of St. George, the Sunni festival of Khidr, the Feast of Ludd, and the day Khidr and Elijah meet each year. August 2 (July 20) is a festival at both Mar Elias and Elijah’s Cave on Mount Carmel. Ritual continuity is more difficult to prove, given the lack of evidence. Sheep are sacrificed or were until the last century at Elijah’s Cave, the tomb of Sidi Ibraham at Banias, St. George’s tomb in Lod, St. George’s church in Taybeh (still wet with pools of blood when I visited it in 2017), as well as at Khidr shrines on Falaika Island, in Albania, and in Bulgaria.9 We do not know if animal sacrifice was practiced at the Roman and Hellenistic shrines discussed above. A stele of Baalshamem from Dura-​Europos shows Selucus sacrificing a identification of the ager Domini where Jesus farmed as a youth at Gilgal, where the Israelites first sowed under Joshua (De situ terra sanctae). Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory, ed. and trans. L. A. Coser (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 213–14. 3.  Tobias Nicklas, “New Testament Canon and Ancient Christian ‘Landscapes of Memory,’ ” Early Christianity 7 (2016): 8–9; Alexei Lidov, “Creating the Sacred Space: Hierotopy as a New Field of Cultural History,” Spazi i percoprsi sacri: I santuari, le vie, I corpi, ed. Laura Carnevale and Chiara Cremonesi (Padova: Libreria Universitaria, 2014), 61. 4.  Nicklas, “New Testament Canon,” 8–9; Pierre Nora, Rethinking France: Les Lieux de mémoire (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 2:xii; Nancy Duncan and James Duncan, “Doing Landscape Interpretation,” in The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Geography, ed. D. DeLyser et al. (Los Angeles: Sage, 2010), 242; Alexei Lidov, “Spatial Icons: A Hierotopic Approach,” in Towards Rewriting, ed. P. Ł. Grotowski and S. Skrzyniarz, Series Byzantina 8 (Warsaw: Polish Society of Oriental Art, 2010), 87; Lidov, “Creating,” 77. 5.  Ernst Cassirer, Language and Myth (1925; English trans., New York: Dover, 1953), 23; Mircea Eliade, Sacred and the Profane (New York: Harcourt, 1959), 26; Halbwachs, Collective Memory, 199. 6.  Halbwachs, Collective Memory, 201; Lidov, “Creating,” 73. 7.  Sonia Overall, “The Walking Dead: Or Why Psychogeography Matters” (Re-​enchanting the Academy, Canterbury Christ Church University, 2015), 7 . 8.  G. Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon, 1969), 9. 9.  Dalman, Work and Customs in Palestine, 1.2:445.

Discussion and Conclusion


lamb to the deity.10 Sheep were regularly sacrificed to Atargatis at Hierapolis and elsewhere.11 Sheep are sacrificed to Baal in Ugaritic texts (KTU 1.6 iv.17; 1.14) and elsewhere (Emar 369.11–13), and to Adad in Assyrian texts (Tulul al-ʿAqar [Kār-​Tukultī-​Ninurta] 99/101 iii 7, 16–17, iv 21–22; T 1028–9, 19). Substantial evidence for either calendric or cultic importance for all the Khidr sites is lacking. It should also be noted that almost all of the Khidr shrines are “tombs.” Most of them are designed as saint’s tombs (weli), even where there are two in the same village as in Buqata. Thus sacred space has been “translated,” ostensibly from Lod but only for St. George as an individual—Khidr has no tomb because he is immortal, and yet tombs of Khidr are everywhere. And Baal likewise has no tomb, although he yearly dies and is mourned.12 What we have is the Byzantine and later George output of the black box, and in the significant cases, Roman and earlier Baal input into the box. Perhaps it is merely something as minor as place names that are enshrined in landscapes of memory, without rituals attached.13

Baal, St. George, and Khidr The matter of the origin of Khidr is peripheral to this discussion.14 I am not arguing that Baal is the origin of Khidr, any more than Elijah or St. George are in origin Baal.15 I am arguing that within Khidr and George lies a good deal of Baal, and that one of the key connections is in locations of veneration. That sacred loci serve this function accords with empirical evidence that myths with formulas that localize have higher narrative productivity—that is, they have a

10.  Jaś Elsner, “Sacrifice in Late Roman Art,” in  Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice, ed. C. A. Faraone and F. S. Naiden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 153. 11.  H. J. W. Drijvers, “Sanctuaries and Social Safety,” Visible Religion 1 (1982): 67–68; Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 280. 12.  Lidov, “Creating,” 73. 13.  Halbwachs, Collective Memory, 203; Lidov, “Creating,” 64. 14.  For discussion, see Halman, Where the Two Seas Meet, 49. One of the most extensive treatments is Gürdal Aksoy, Dersim Alevi Kürt mitolojisi: Raa Hagʾda dinsel figürler (Istanbul: Komal, 2006), who argues Khidr is Ugaritic Kothar-​wa-​Hasis, although using much outdated Ugaritic scholarship. 15.  The cult of Khidr replaced various indigenous deities across Asia. In Azerbaijan, Xidr-​Ilyas replaced the goddess Oleng (F. Alakbarli, Azerbaijan: Medieval Manuscripts, History of Medicine, Medicinal Plants [Baku: Nurlan, 2006], 16), and in Punjab Khidr replaces the folk deity Gugga (Temple, “Mystery,” 4). In England, too, Khidr replaced a pre-​Christian divinity whose attributes were similar. See Bob Stewart, Where Is Saint George? (New York: Blandford, 1988), 63, 65, although the discussion in this work must be used with great caution.


Chapter 7

greater ability to stir up new legends and circulate the older variants.16 But why is there this connection of the three characters at all? I do not think the dragon slaying is key in Baal’s identification with George, as Wyatt proposes.17 True, the iconography of every modern shrine of Khidr is the slaying of the dragon, and of course, the slaying of Yamm is Baal’s claim to fame. But the dragon slaying comes late to the St. George myth, as we have seen. So St. George is not somehow Baal as dragon slayer, and we should draw lines of genetic relationship from pre-​Baal, dragon slaying storm gods like Teshub and Tarhunt through Baal, perhaps through Yahweh, on into St. George. St. George is around before he becomes a dragon slayer. And the inhabitants of Western Asia would not have looked at George the dragon slayer and equated him with Baal for that reason. Nevertheless, I do see a place for the dragon myth in the process I envision, as I will explain shortly.18 Instead of the dragon, I believe the connection of George to Khidr and their shared connection to Baal lies in fertility. St. George is “George,” γεωργός, “farmer.”19 Georgos is an epiclesis of Zeus in Athens, with offerings made on 20 Maimakterion, the time of the fall harvest: Μαιμακτηριωνος Διι Γεωργω (IG [CIA] 3.77.12 = CIG 1.523 = Lapis Dawkinsianus Oxonium Translatus Lebas Attique 403; cf. Maximus of Tyre, 29.5). St. George is associated with “spring verdure” throughout Asia and Europe as early as St. Peter Damian.20 Leaf-​covered Green Georges were part of Slovenian and Transylvanian folk life.21 His feast is April 23, approximately when harvests begin in the Levant, and Al-​Muqaddasī refers to the Feast of Ludd on April 23 as early as 985 CE.22 Leviticus 23:11 designates Nisan 23 (Nisan 22 in the Peshitta) as end of the harvest feast of Passover.23 Palestinians know another Eid Lood, November 3 on the Greek calendar (the date of a feast of St. George in Georgia and the Ukraine), marking the onset of winter rainfall and the time of plowing,24 and 16.  Evelina Rudan, “Narrative Productivity of Belief Legend’s Characters in the Light of Genre Features and the Context of Narrating” (paper presented to the International Society for Folk Narrative Research, Miami, FL, October 21, 2016). 17.  Wyatt, Space and Time, viii. 18.  The suggestion of Gossiaux that the dragon represents the “four Spagyric elements” also represented by the instruments of George’s torture is untenable, as is Cantera Montenegro’s view that St. George slew a crocodile. See Pol-​Pierre Gossiaux, “Quel dragons pour nos saints Georges,” Cahiers internationaux de symbolisme 95–97 (2000): 307–319; Montenegro, “Dragón,” 340. 19.  Riches, St. George, 30; Haddad, “Georgic Cults,” 24; Kanaan, “Cult of Saint George,” 204. 20.  E. Burrows, “The Name of St. George and Agriculture,” Journal of Theological Studies 40 (1939): 360–65; Riches, St. George, 30; Fox, Saint George, 53. 21.  Anderson, Green Man, 28–29. 22.  Burrows, “Name of St. George,” 361. 23.  Ibid., 361. 24.  Dalman, Work and Customs in Palestine, 1.2:412; Qleibo, “Canaanites,” 11–13, 18–19. Qleibo reports that Palestinians keep a small plot of garden called baali for vegetables irrigated by dew.

Discussion and Conclusion


Al-​Muqaddasī reports that Muslims used this Christian feast to mark the start of sowing.25 Khidr is patron of fertility throughout the Middle East.26 Khizrilias and its cognates are spring agricultural festivals across the former Ottoman Empire.27 Moreover, Khidr means “green” and El-​Khader means “Green Man.” Khidr is called green “because he sat on a white fur and it shimmered green with him,” according to Ṭabarī.28 His clothing is green.29 Alternatively, according to the thirteenth-​century Al-​Nawawī (Al Minhaj bi Sharh Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim) and many hadith (Ṣaḥīḥ al-​Bukhārī 4.129), when he sits on the ground, it becomes green with plants.30 Khidr, sometimes as Mar Jiryis, is regularly invoked for fertility and rain.31 Arabic ḫadīr is cognate to Hebrew ‫חדיר‬, “grass,”32 which is what Ahab searches for in 1 Kgs 18:5 during the drought that Elijah has called and will eventually end by bringing rain.33 In addition to rain, Elijah has brought miraculous, life-​sustaining food into a widow’s house and revived her dead son.34 Baal is himself the god of agricultural fertility and rain (KTU 1.6 iv.14; 1.16 iii.4–7; 1.19 i.42–46). Carl Jung captured much of this connection when he wrote, “Khidr . . . is the ‘Long-​lived One,’ who continually renews himself, like Elijah. Like Osiris, he is dismembered at the end of time, by Antichrist, but can restore himself to life. He is analogous to the Second Adam, with whom the reanimated fish is identified.”35 Another connection might be the sea. Although Baal is the slayer of the dragon Yamm or “sea,” he becomes a maritime patron (KTU 2.38; KTU 2.4). Khidr is regularly associated with water and the sea, patron of navigators,36 25.  Dalman, Work and Customs in Palestine, 1.1:9. 26.  Walker and Uysal, “Ancient God in Modern Turkey,” 287. 27.  The festival’s Romany song, Ederlezi, which has been recorded in versions from Kurdish to Romanian, features in the movie Borat. In the Crimea, the holiday has taken on Tatar nationalist overtones. 28.  Brinner, Children of Israel, 17. 29.  Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr, 82. 30.  Al-​Muqtadir, Kashf al-ilbās, 22; al-Harawī and Ramadan, Al-Ḥadhar, 78. 31.  Riches, St. George, 34. 32.  HALOT, 1:343–44 33.  A. A. Papazian, “Al-​Khidr and Elijah,” Palestinskii Sbornik 28 (1986): 89–97. 34.  The latter story reappears with Jirjis as protagonist in Palestinian folklore; see Mishael M. Caspi and Gerda Neu-​Sokol, By the Soft Lyres: The Search for the Prophet Elijah (Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 2006), 271. 35.  C. G. Jung, Collected Works: Complete Digital Edition, trans. G. Adler and R. F. C. Hull (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), 9.1, line 247. Jung’s Concerning Rebirth (1939) contains an exegesis of the qurʾanic story of Khidr, about whom he dreamed repeatedly between 1913 and 1948; see Nicholas Battye, “Khidre in the Opus of Jung,” in Jung and the Monotheisms, ed. J. Ryce-​Menuhin (New York: Routledge, 1993), 166–191 (here 167, 178). 36.  Chamamah Soeratno, “Khidlir est proche,” 85–94; D. R. Howell, “Al Khadr and Christian Icons,” Ars Orientalis 7 (1968): 41–51; Temple, “Mystery,” 5.


Chapter 7

even residing beneath the surface of a body of water.37 According to Ali Hujwīrī (ca. 1000), Khidr lives underwater (Kashf al-​maḥjūb 11.43).38 In some Indian images, Khidr rides a fish, although this may owe nothing to Baal “trampling” Yamm, but more to Matsya, the fish avatar of Vishnu.39 The sea and fertility connect as Lebanese folk tradition has it that St. George strikes the sea (like Baal with Yamm) in times of drought, sending up water that comes down as rain.40 The English May Day “Morning Song” used in the Padstow, Cornwall, “ ‘Obby ’Oss festival” (Roud Folk Song Index #305), contains the lines: Oh where is Saint George, where is he Oh? He’s out in his longboat, All on the salt sea oh!41 Another possibility is the martyrdom of St. George itself. George is repeatedly killed and resuscitated in his martyrdom, and this is in the earliest of his legends. Ibn Wahshiyya (tenth century CE) recounts the story of Tammuz being slain several times by a king and then says that this is the same as the story of the Christians’ Jurjis (Filahât al-​Nabâtiyyah, text 24).42 In Islamic legend, Khidr is also able to be killed and resuscitated, owing to his bathing in the waters of life.43 While not a “dying and rising god,” Baal is swallowed by Death (Mot), mourned, and rises again (KTU 1.5 vi.8–1.6 vi). There are also some scattered connections of St. George to bulls. In scholia of some acts of St. George, George miraculously resurrects a bull.44 In Georgian folklore, St. George is called “beef thief.”45 Finally, George may be Baal because he is Elijah. The connection between Elijah and St. George is hard to explain. Elijah is neither a dragon slayer nor a 37.  Franke, Begegnung mit Khidr, 88–89; Peter L. Wilson, “The Green Man: The Trickster Figures in Sufism,” Gnosis 19 (1991): 22–27. 38.  Ali Hujwiri, The Oldest Persian Treatise on Sufism, trans. R. A. Nicholson (Leiden: Brill, 1976), 142. 39.  EI1 4:55. The image became the crest of the kings of the Oudh State, appearing on their coinage. 40.  Kanaan, “Cult of Saint George,” 213. 41.  Stewart, Where Is Saint George?, 64, 130. Archival footage of the song’s performance in 1932 can be found at . 42.  Burrows, “Name of St. George,” 362; J. Hameen-​Anttila, The Last Pagans of Iraq: Ibn Wahshiyya and His Nabatean Agriculture (Leiden: Brill, 2006), lxiii, 229–30. Hämeen-​Anttila (p. 145) suggests that the Harranians had converted to Christianity, imported their weeping for Tammuz, and applied it to St. George.  43.  Riches, St. George, 33. As Goethe wrote, “Soll dich Chisers Quell verjüngen” (“Hegira”). 44.  Franz Cumont, “La plus ancienne légende de saint Georges,” Revue de l’Histoire des Religions 114 (1936): 5–51. 45.  Ibid., 25.

Discussion and Conclusion


multiple martyr, although he does avoid death by being translated into heaven.46 He is a bringer of rain (1 Kgs 18), and it is this that has led Elijah to be associated with storm gods throughout antiquity. Mountain shrines of Zeus became shrines of Elijah on Olympus, on Lykaion, on Kounados, on Arachnaion, on Lichada, on Oche, and on Kizildagh, the name of which comes from Khidr + Ilyas, and which prior to Zeus was dedicated (according to its Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions) to the Hittite storm god.47 In many Indo-​European traditions, Elijah replaces the storm god: he takes over the thunder wagon of the Baltic (Perkūnas), Germanic (Donar/Thor), and North Finnic (Ukko) storm gods, and is identified in southeastern Estonia with the South Finnic storm god of the Setos, although he is also linked with St. George in many collected folk sayings.48 The Slavic storm god Perun was identified with Elijah and St. George in Belarus and northern Russia, and oxen were sacrificed on his feast day.49 The Ossetian storm god Uacilla, identified with Elijah, is the bringer of grain.50 Perhaps it is the Khidr / St. George’s equation with Baal that led to his connection with Elijah. Is it possible that the dragon slaying is attached to St. George because it was attached to Baal? That is, instead of postulating that a dragon slaying George was identified with dragon slaying Baal, perhaps the non-​dragon slaying George was attached to a dragon slaying Baal for agricultural, “resurrectional,” and Elijan reasons, and then the dragon slaying passed into the George mythology 46.  J. Mackley, “The Pagan Heritage of St. George” (paper presented to the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 11–14, 2011). 47.  Olympus: A. B. Cook, Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914–40), 3:103, 178; Lykaion: David G. Romano and Mary E. Voyatzis, “Excavating at the Birthplace of Zeus,” Expedition 52 (2010): 9–21; Arachnaion: David W. Rupp, “The Altars of Zeus and Hera on Mount Arachnaion in the Argeia, Greece,” Journal of Field Archaeology 3 (1976): 261–68. It was formerly believed that mountain Elijah shrines overlay Helios shrines based on the phonological similarity of Elias and Helios. But the genitive of Helias is Helia, the usual iconography of Helios is unlike Elijah, and Elijah has little “solar” association. Solar survivals are more likely to be shrines of St. John. Sea promontory temples of Zeus, on the other hand, were assigned to St. Nicholas; see Ellen C. Semple, “The Templed Promontories of the Ancient Mediterranean,” Geographical Review 17 (1927): 352–86. 48.  Frog, “Germanic Traditions of the Theft of the Thunder-​Instrument (ATU 1148B),” in New Focus on Retrospective Methods, ed. E. Heide and K. Bek-​Pedersen, Folklore Fellows’ Communications 307 (Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 2014), 120–62 (here 127, 131); Nijolė Lureinkienė, “Transformations of the Lithuanian God Perkūnas,” Studia Mythologica Slavica 3 (2000): 152. 49.  Ibid., 150; Mark Yoffe and Joseph Krafczik, Perun: The God of Thunder (New York: Peter Lang, 2003), 15, 28; Belaj, “Zeleni Juraj,” 65. 50.  Patrice Lajoye, “There Is No ‘Perun in the Caucasus’ . . . but Maybe an Ancient Thunder Demon,” Studia Mythologica Slavica 15 (2012): 181; Ilya Gershevitch, “Word and Spirit in Ossetic,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 17 (1955): 478–79. Uacilla can be parsed as uac- + Ilya (Elijah), where uac means not only “saint” but is a pre-​Christian appellative for a spirit, cognate to Old Iranian wāč-, “spirit.”


Chapter 7

from Baal. This would explain the timing of the dragon addition in the eleventh century in the context of the Crusades.51 Equating George, Khidr, and Baal is older, an early addition to the cult of a real martyr of Lod, because nothing places Baal at Lod, and the dragon myth of Baal is added to George’s, and hence Khidr’s, at the time of the Crusades.52 The evidence accumulated in this book points to connections between Elijah, St. George, Khidr, and Baal-​Hadad, at times direct cultic continuity on a single site but more often in terms of localized veneration and subregional traditions. Qleibo is correct that “neither the Christian nor the Muslim narratives succeeded in eradicating . . . the Canaanite rider of the clouds, the god of thunder, rain, and fertility.”53

51.  This was the Bollandists’ conclusion: the Crusaders brought the dragonslaying myth to Europe from the East; see Kanaan, “Cult of Saint George,” 205. This is also the point at which Green Men proliferate in European churches; see Anderson, Green Man, 76. 52.  Khidr entered the West in many guises besides St. George. The Green Knight, who first appears in the fourteenth-​century Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and who has been identified as everything from the Devil to Christ to the dying-​and-​rising vegetation god (on the weakness of this theory see Ng and Hodges, “Saint George,” 267), functions much as Khidr does in the Qurʾan. He appears simultaneously malevolent and just, serving as a judge to test the hero by paradoxes; see L. Besserman, “The Idea of the Green Knight,” English Literary History 53 (1986): 219–39. “He is both godlike and demonic,” and his story at once comic and grace (p. 231). The qurʾanic Khidr underlies some of this character, as was first noted by George Kittredge in 1916; see Ng and Hodges, “Saint George,” 257. Nevertheless, the source would have been of little interest to the poet, and the character has been thoroughly reworked into a tale about Christian knighthood; see J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. and trans., Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo (1975; repr., New York: Ballentine, 1980), 5, 8–9. 53.  Qleibo, “Baal, al-​Khader, and the Apotheosis of Saint George,” This Week in Palestine, no. 163 (November 2011), .


Aaiha, 48 Aarne, 53 Abel Beth Maacah, 57–58, 62, 69 Abou Assaf, Ali, 30 Acre, 18, 21–22, 47, 63, 69 Aduru, 29, 31 Afula, 66 Agrippa II, 39–40, 42 Aharoni, Yohanan, 13, 22–23 Ahituv, Shmuel, 13 Ain Aata, 46–47 Ain Harcha, 46–48 Alawites, 37 Albania, 3, 84 Albright, W. F., 15, 22, 29–30, 57, 62, 67–68 Alevism, 4, 85 Alexander the Great, 4–5, 33 Aliquot, Julien, 1, 15, 28, 34, 38, 46–50, 52–57, 60 Alt, Albrecht, 22, 68 Amalek, 67 Amanus, 60–62 Amarna, Tell el-, 28–29, 31, 33, 57, 60 Amenhotep III, 31, 59–60 Ammonites, 42 Amorites, 61 Anat, 22, 47, 54 Anderson, William, 7, 26–27, 49, 86, 90 Andreas the Cook, 5, 78 Annunaki, 61 Antichrist, 59, 77, 87 Anti-​Lebanon, 52, 61

Antioch, 42 Aphairema, 64 Aphra, 66–67 Aphrodite, 26, 40, 42, 47 Apollodorus, 43, 51 Apollonius, 43 Arachnaion, 89 Argeiphontes, 44 Ashari, Tell, 30 Asher, 11, 15, 23 Asherah, 47, 54 Ashkelon, 47, 81 Ashtaroth, 25, 28–31, 33, 62 Ashtaroth-​Karnaim, 29, 62 Ashtartu, 31 Ashtereh, el-, 28–30 Astarte, 16, 26, 28, 47, 54 Astour, Michael, 13, 29, 71–72 Asur, Tell, 68, 70–71 Atargatis, 19, 30, 42–43, 46–47, 49–52, 54, 60–62, 82, 85 Aviam, Mordechai, 18–21, 24 Avivi, Shimon, 10–11, 18–19, 21, 34–35, 37 Avi-​Yonah, Michael, 1, 15, 19 Ayha, 48–49 Azerbaijan, 3, 85 Baal, 1–2, 4, 6, 9–10, 13, 15–17, 22, 26–28, 36, 41–44, 47–48, 52, 56, 59–63, 67–72, 74, 77, 81–82, 85–90 Baalbek, 1, 15, 27, 61 Baal-​Gad, 41–42, 60 Baal-​Hadad, 47, 69, 90 89



Baal-​Hamon, 28, 62 Baal-​Hazor, 68–69 Baal-​Hermon, 41, 56, 61 Baal-​Karnaim, 62 Baal-​Kasios, 61 Baal-​Perazim, 69 Baal-​Raphiu, 72 Baal-​Shalishah, 69 Baalshamem, 1, 15, 31–32, 43–44, 49–50, 58, 82, 84 Baal-​Tamar, 69 Baalzebul, 13 Bacchus, 27 Bachelard, Gaston, 84 Bagatti, Bellarmino, 16, 18–19, 21–22, 64 Baina, 22–23 Banias, 34–35, 37–44, 46–47, 50, 53, 56–58, 62, 84 Bashan, 22, 25–28, 30, 32–34, 36–38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58–63 Batanaia, 23, 54 Bautch, Richard, 40, 61, 63 Beeliabos, 48, 51 Beeshterah, 29–30 Beirut, 1, 3–4, 15, 31–32, 48, 81 Beit-​Arieh, Itshak, 74, 76 Bellerophon, 71 Belleros, 71 Beth-​Anath, 22–23 Bethel, 59, 67, 69, 72–73 Beth Kerem, 18, 21, 23 Bethlehem, 67, 69, 80 Birkat Ram, 34–37, 40, 55 Bordreuil, Pierre, 25 Bosra, 15, 31–32, 42, 58 Braemer, F., 31–32 Brinner, William, 4–6, 87 Bulgaria, 3, 84 Bunimovitz, Shlomo, 67–68, 70 Buqata, 34, 85 Burqush, Jebel, 55 Burrows, E., 86, 88 Cadmus, 51 Caesarea Philippi, 23, 35, 37–42, 76 Cappadocia, 8 Carmel, Mount, 1, 3, 9–13, 15–17, 25, 40, 47, 77, 82, 84 Carmelites, 6, 16

Caspi, Mishael, 70, 80, 87 Clermont-​Ganneau, Charles, 53, 55, 61–63 Conder, Claude, 23, 66, 81 Crimea, 3, 87 Curtis, John B., 26–28, 33 Curtiss, Samuel I., 10, 55 Dafni, Amots, 40, 56, 72 Dalman, Gustav, 16, 70, 84, 86–87 Damascus, 3, 5, 22, 30, 34, 39, 53, 71 Dan, 13, 28, 31, 34, 37, 39, 41, 44, 56–60, 72–73 Danaoi, 60 Dar, Shimon, 3, 5, 10, 16–17, 35, 40, 42, 44–48, 53, 55, 60–61 Dâstâne Amir Hamze, 6 Day, John, 10, 27–28, 40, 56, 62, 88 Dea Syria, 42–43, 47, 54, 62 Dentzer-​Feydy, J.-M., 31–32, 48–49, 58 Denyen, 59–60 Dhul-​Qarnayn, 4 Diocletian, 7, 35, 76 Diodorus Siculus, 47 Dionysus, 26–27, 49, 51 Diospolis, 7, 74, 76 Dittenberger, Wilhelmus, 51–52 Dragons, 1–4, 8, 25–27, 43–44, 71, 77, 81, 86–90 Druze, 8, 10–11, 16, 18–19, 21, 27, 33–35, 37, 40 Dussaud, Rene, 59 Edrei, 25–26, 28–29, 31–32 Ein Qunya, 35, 55 Ekron, 13, 15 Elgavish, J., 16 Elijah, 3–6, 9–13, 15–17, 19–20, 32–33, 35, 40–41, 43, 59, 70, 80–81, 84–85, 87–90 Elisha, 6, 12, 32 Elitzur, Yoel, 28, 31, 57–58, 64, 66 Emar, 28, 42, 85 Endor, 66–67 Enoch, 5–6, 40, 57–58, 60–61 Ephara, 72 Ephraim, 64, 66–69, 73 Ephrathah, 67, 69 Ertel, Christian, 55

Index Eusebius, 8, 23, 26, 31, 40, 54, 60, 66, 74, 76 Eutychius, 62, 73 Falaika Island, 2, 84 Farnell, Lewis, 52–53 Ferata, 66–67 Finkelstein, Israel, 28–29, 31, 67–68, 70 Franke, Patrick, 3, 6, 87–88 Frankel, Rafael, 18–22 Friedheim, Emmanuel, 47–49, 51–52 Friedlander, Israel, 4 Gad, 41–43, 46, 49–50, 62 Galil, Gershon, 28, 31, 33, 66–67 Galilee, 9–10, 16, 18–24, 31, 40, 66 Gass, Erasmus, 55, 66–67 Gawain, Sir, 6, 90 Genneas, 50 George, St., 1–4, 6–9, 18–24, 32–33, 35, 48, 63–64, 66, 68, 74, 76–78, 80–82, 84–90 Georgia, 9, 86 Ghassanids, 34 Gilgal, 69, 84 Gilgamesh, 61 Golan, 29, 33–35, 38, 46–47, 54–55 Gophna, Ram, 74, 76 Goren, Yuval, 28–29, 31 Greece, 26, 40, 43, 48, 50, 52, 60, 89 Greenberg, Raphael, 56, 68, 80 Grintz, Yehoshua M., 22–23, 54 Grootkerk, Salomon E., 18, 20–21 Hadad, 1, 15, 19, 21, 40, 43, 47, 61, 85 Haddad, Hassan, 1, 3, 86 Haifa, 11, 13, 17 Hajjar, Youssef, 40, 46, 48–50, 52–54, 61, 71–72 Halbwachs, Maurice, 84–85 Halman, Hugh Talat, 3, 9, 85 Hammon, 62 Hamon, 52, 62 Haram esh-​Sharif, 78–80 Hartal, Moshe, 34, 38, 55 Hatra, 49 Hauran, 31–33, 39, 42, 44, 53 Hawarit, Khirbet, 34–35 Hazor, 31, 68–69, 72


Heenah, 54, 60 Helios, 44, 48, 89 Hermon, Mount, 9–10, 25, 28, 33–35, 37, 40–42, 44–50, 52, 54–56, 58, 60–63, 70, 82 Hesheq, Horvat, 18, 23–24 Hesiod, 26, 44 Hestia, 50 Hezron, 69 Hittites, 4, 28, 43, 71, 89 Hizir, 6 Hodges, Kenneth, 6, 90 Homer, 26–27, 51, 60 Hula Valley, 28, 31, 33, 56, 59 Hupasiyas, 43 Ibn Arabī, 2, 6 Ibn Ḥajar al-​Asqalānī, 5 Idris, 5–6 Illuyanka, 43, 71 Indo-​European, 4, 71, 89 Indra, 4, 71 Iskandernamah, 5–6 Itureans, 45 Izraa, 31–33 Jaffa, 10, 47, 59 Jaulan, 29, 33, 61 Jeroboam, 59, 72 Jerome, 8, 31, 41, 59, 61, 76 Jerusalem, 6, 9–11, 15–16, 18, 20, 22, 28, 56, 58, 63–64, 66, 68, 71, 73–74, 78–81 Jesus, 5, 40–41, 64, 77, 84 Jinn, 50, 66, 68 Jirjis, Mar, 2–3, 7, 9, 87 Job, 25, 29, 36 Jordan River, 2, 6, 29–30, 32, 36, 40, 56–59, 81 Josephus, 21–22, 35, 39–40, 53, 59 Julian the Apostate, 2–3, 40 Jung, Carl, 87 Kafr Qouq, 48 Kafr Yasif, 10, 18–21, 46 Kaizer, Ted, 28, 42–43, 52–53, 56, 62 Kallai, Zecharia, 67–68 Kaplony, Andreas, 78, 80 Karnaim, 29–30, 46 Kedesh, 15, 23



Keinan, Ehud, 64, 66, 68–69, 80 Khidr, 2–10, 15, 17–21, 26–27, 31–32, 34–35, 37–39, 41, 43–44, 49, 56, 62, 64, 69, 78–82, 84–90 Khirqa, 6 Khizrilias, 3–4, 87 Khwajah Khizr, 4 Khwaja Khizr, 4 Krebernik, M., 30–31 Krencker, Daniel, 49, 54 Lebanon, 10, 23, 26, 32, 46, 52, 60–62, 81 Lederman, Zvi, 67–68 Lehmann, Gunnar, 23, 30–31, 54 Leucothea, 47–49, 51–53, 82 Levin, Yigal, 69 Lod, 2, 7–9, 24, 32–33, 59, 74, 76–77, 84–85, 90 Lucian, 47, 50–51, 62 Makr, 18–21 Maqdisī, al-​, 31–32, 78, 80, 86–87 Mar Elias, 2–3, 6, 9–10, 32, 54–55, 80, 84, 89 Marjama, Tell, 68–69 Massignon, Louis, 3, 6, 16 Melicertes, 51, 62 Melqart, 15, 62 Milku, 28, 62 Molech, 28, 62 Montenegro, 8, 74, 86 Mouterde, Rene, 49, 51–53 Muhraqa, 16–17 Naaman, Nadav, 28, 67 Nabateans, 31, 44, 88 Naphtali, 22–23 Nebi Eliya, 36 Nephilim, 61 Neteiros, 51–53 Neu-​Sokol, Gerda, 70, 80, 87 Newbold, Thomas, 30, 36, 40, 56, 58 Nickelsburg, George, 40, 58, 61 Niehr, Herbert, 1, 15, 30–31, 49–50 Ocean, 26–27, 49 Og, 25–28, 31 Ogygos, 26

Olami, Y., 11, 13, 16–17 Olmo Lete, Gregorio del, 28, 56 Ophrah, 66–67, 72 Ovadiah, Asher, 11–12, 15, 39–40 Palaemon, 51–52, 62 Palmyra, 15, 42, 44, 50 Pan, 12, 37–44, 50 Pardee, Dennis, 28, 62 Paton, Lewis B., 38, 40, 56 Phiala, 30, 35–36, 40, 56, 58 Phoenicia, Phoenicians, 1, 15, 40, 42, 44, 47, 51–52, 60, 62 Pindar, 44, 60 Pirathon, 66–67 Plutarch, 44, 52 Polybius, 38, 62 Pseudo-​Apollodorus, 43, 51, 53 Pseudo-​Callisthenes, 5 Pythagoras, 13, 15 Qalat Jandal, 50, 53 Qārī al-​Harawī, Alī ibn Sulṭān Muḥammad, 32 Qasile, Tel, 59 Qasiyo, Rawaho bar, 31–32 Qasr Antar, 54–55, 60–62 Qazrin, 38, 46 Qleibo, Ali, 1, 5, 7, 30, 32, 86, 88, 90 Quran, 4–5 Rakhleh, 49–51, 53 Ramta, East, 46 Rashaya, 48 Rephaim, 25–29, 61, 63 Ruprechtsberger, Erwin, 54–55 Safad el-​Battikh, 23 Sahel Adrin, 46, 48 Salkhad, 30–31, 42 Samaria, 13, 42, 64, 69 Samuel, 10, 22, 55, 68–69 Sartre, Maurice, 33, 49, 51–53, 84 Segeira, 51–53 Selucus Nicator, 2, 84 Senaim, Har, 34, 44, 53 Senir, Mount, 60–61 Seyrig, Henri, 32, 50, 61

Index Shiqmona, Tel, 15–16 Sidon, 32, 52, 58 Sirat Bani Hilal, 9 Sirion, Mount, 60–61 Strabo, 2, 43 Strobel, August, 64, 66, 68, 70 Sufism, 2–3, 5–6, 8, 21, 40, 88 Sumaq, Jebel, 46 Ṭabarī, 5–6 Tacitus, 12, 15 Talmud, 22–23, 36, 59, 63 Taybeh, 9, 64–68, 70–72, 84 Thutmosis III, 13, 15, 58–59, 76 Timnatha, 66–67 Trajan, 39, 51, 53 Turit, Horvat, 21, 24 Turkey, 2–3, 6, 81, 87 Tyche, 30, 41–43, 49–50, 60 Typhon, 43–44, 71 Tyre, 15, 21, 23, 51–52, 55, 86 Tzaferis, Vassilios, 20, 39, 42–44, 59

Ugarit, 1, 25–28, 33, 36, 56, 62–63, 85 Vespasian, 12–13 Watchers, 61 Watkins, Calvert, 4, 71 Wensinck, A. J., 2–6 Wheeler, Brannon, 4–5, 8 Wyatt, Nicolas, 1, 25–28, 44, 56, 71–72, 86 Yahweh, 13, 36, 59, 69, 86 Yamm, 1, 26–27, 43, 86–88 Younger, Lawson, 21, 25, 30, 62 Zaphon, Mount, 2, 10, 33, 43, 62–63, 84 Zeus, 2, 13, 15, 30, 32, 40, 42–43, 47–48, 50, 52, 60, 62, 86, 89 Zevit, Ziony, 42, 56 Zschietzschmann, Willy, 49, 54