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Journal Article

Phoenician Religion

Richard J. Clifford
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
No. 279 (Aug., 1990), pp. 55-64
DOI: 10.2307/1357208
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1357208
Page Count: 10

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Topics: Christianity, Deities, Treaties, Judaism, Bible, Kings, Infants, Divinity, Children, Death
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Phoenician Religion
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Abstract

The primary sources on Phoenician religion do not yield a satisfactory picture. The more than 6,000 extant inscriptions do little more than mention gods, clients, and rituals, hindering interpretation of excavations. Scholars must be cautious in using non-Phoenician material (from Ugarit, the Bible, and the Hellenistic work of Philo of Byblos) to make up for the lack of native prayers, god lists, and mythologies. Each major Phoenician city had distinctive emphases in the common religion. Some common elements were the assembly of the city gods, gods' association with striking natural phenomena, dying and rising gods, funerary feasts (the biblical marzeah), and infant sacrifice. Some distinctive features of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, and the Tyrian colony Carthage are noted. Regarding Tyre and Carthage, evidence from state treaties (respectively, the seventh-century treaty of Baʿal of Tyre with Assyria, and the second-century treaty of Hamilcar with Macedonia) provides fresh information about the local pantheons.

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