amulet A small figure of a god or object worn as a protective charm.

Amun The chief god of the New Kingdom in Egypt; usually represented as a ram or a goose, or as wearing a tall, feathered crown.

aniconism The prohibition against representations of a deity. In its less stringent form, aniconism refers to the practice of using symbolic representations of the deity but not depictions of the deity.

anthropomorphic Having a human form or features.

apostasy The renunciation of a religious faith.

astragali Knuckle bones from various animals, often sheep, used in religious ceremonies.

Aten A variant of the sun god in the early New Kingdom in Egypt, elevated to the status of an exclusive creator god by Pharaoh Akhenaten; often represented by the Sun-disc extending its rays downward towards earth.

Ba‘al The Canaanite storm god, whose consort was the goddess Asherah.

bamot “High places” (singular, bamah); large open-air platforms used for cultic rituals such as sacrifices.

Belial A name for the devil found in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Bes Egyptian god usually associated with music, the household and especially childbirth; often portrayed as a lion or as a dwarf with a crown of feathers.

Canaanites A Semitic people who inhabited the Levant from about 3000 B.C.E.

chthonic From a Greek word for earth; meaning of the earth, as opposed to of the heavens.

Dead Sea Scrolls Texts and textual fragments in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, dating from about 250 B.C.E. to 70 C.E., most of them found in the late 1940s in 11 caves near the town of Qumran, on the northwestern coast of the Dead Sea.

deification The act of making an object or being into a god.

Diaspora Jewish settlements outside the Land of the Bible.

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