Doak explores how the giants of the Hebrew Bible—which represent a connection to primeval chaos—offer insight into central aspects of Israel’s symbolic universe. By placing biblical traditions within a broader Mediterranean context regarding giants and the end of the heroic age, Doak sheds new light on monotheism and monarchy in ancient Israel.
The Hebrew Bible contains a prohibition against divine images (Exod 20:2-5a). Explanations for this command are legion, usually focusing on the unique status of Israel's deity within the context of the broader Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds. Doak explores whether or not Israel was truly alone in its severe stance against idols. This book focuses on one particular aspect of this iconographic context in Israel's Iron Age world: that of the Phoenicians. The question of whether Phoenicians employed aniconic (as opposed to iconic) representational techniques has significance not only for the many poorly understood aspects of Phoenician religion generally, but also for the question of whether aniconism can be considered a broader trend among the Semitic populations of the ancient Near East.
More than fifty images and illustrations
Examination of textual and archaeological evidence