4. The Evolution of an Edomite/Idumean Identity: Hellenistic Maresha as a Case Study

About Edom and Idumea in the Persian Period - Recent Research and Approaches from Archaeology, Hebrew Bible Studies and Ancient Near East Studies - Benedikt Hensel

Ian Stern [+-]
Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem
Ian Stern has been the director of the Maresha excavations since 2000. His many publications have focused primarily on the material finds from Maresha as well as how they reflect ethnic interactions within this multicultural Hellenistic period city. His PhD is from the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar Ilan University. He is associated with the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology of Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem

Description

Ian Stern’s essay immediately continues this line of inquiry concerning Idumea and the Idumean province. Stern takes Maresha as an example in his overview, entitled “The Evolution of an Edomite/Idumean Identity: Hellenistic Maresha as a Case Study.” He discusses questions of identity in Idumea in its historical context from Iron Age Edom to the second half of the second century BCE and the conquest of Maresha by John Hyrcanus I. Excavations at Hellenistic Maresha have revealed an eclectic material culture which includes both generic Levantine characteristics such as pig avoidance, ossilegium, circumcision, and even certain aniconic tendencies, as well as features with a distinctly Judean affiliation: ritual bathing facilities and hundreds of punctured vessels that seem to suggest Judean purity laws. In stark contrast, there is an almost total disconnect between Maresha and Judah/Judea in the ceramic repertoire. Ceramic parallels are primarily from coastal Hellenistic-period pagan sites; Phoenician, Greek and Egyptian influences are prevalent as well. This suggests a lack of exchange or perhaps a deliberate policy of boundary-creation with Judah/Judea, or both. This hybridized material culture assemblage would appear to reflect a hybridized group identity – a Maresha/Idumean identity, but perhaps some boundary-making as well.

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Citation

Stern, Ian. 4. The Evolution of an Edomite/Idumean Identity: Hellenistic Maresha as a Case Study. About Edom and Idumea in the Persian Period - Recent Research and Approaches from Archaeology, Hebrew Bible Studies and Ancient Near East Studies. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. May 2022. ISBN 9781800501331. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42821. Date accessed: 01 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42821. May 2022

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