At the end of the exile, the boundaries of sacred geography were open for renegotiation: YHWH could once again dwell in Jerusalem in a rebuilt temple, and temple centrality could be renewed. Yet how were such abstract theological and geographical commitments enacted? To what extent was the influence of the city felt and practiced Yehud or far-away Egypt and Babylon? To answer such questions, this volume examines “centrality” through the practices of animal sacrifice, pilgrimage, tithing, and the use of incense and figurines. Unique in its appraisal of centrality via religious practice and in its integration of the biblical text and archaeological record, Knowles offers a compelling portrait of the variegated centralities of the Jerusalem temple in the Persian period.
Melody D. Knowles is Assistant Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Contesting Texts: Jews And Christians in Conversation about the Bible (Fortress, 2007).