Cristiana Conti, York University
The epigraphic findings of Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, a 9th-8th century BCE site at the intersection of several land routes that connected Sinai to the major trade networks of the time, reveal the existence of “Yhwh of Teman,” a southern manifestation of the cult of Yahweh. The travelers and merchants who paused their journey at this site worshiped this version of Yahweh alongside a northern one, whose principal temple was most likely located in Samaria, then the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Interestingly, Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, although located in southeast Sinai, was culturally and politically affiliated with the Northern Kingdom rather than Judah. This lecture will review the epigraphic and archaeological evidence found at Kuntillet ‘Ajrud and evaluate the merits of the site’s association with the Northern Kingdom of Israel but also its underlying and distinctive cultural identity.