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The cultic fire in the priestly source

Prof. Itamar Kislev (University of Haifa)


Achaemenid Persia left its mark on the Hebrew Bible in manifold ways. Given the profound importance of fire in the Persian religion and cult, we would expect to its influence to be evidenced in the Bible. In the wake of a short comment by David S. Sperling, this paper investigates the notion of perpetual fire in the priestly writings in the Pentateuch and, by analyzing some relevant texts, identifies a thin layer of insertions that represents a very late effort to insert the Zoroastrian concept of divine, cultic, ever-burning fire into the Israelite priestly cult.

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