The Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive
Article "The Documentary Hypothesis in Trouble"
in Bible Review by Joseph Blenkinsopp (1985)
© Erich Lessing/Library of the Cathedral in Gerona Spain
A colorful manuscript illumination telescopes several phases of the Flood story into one scene. The ark is represented with childlike simplicity as a rectangular house or barn with triangular pediment resting on top of the fourth story. The house is open so as to show the animals arranged two by two and according to size and species in the lower stories; Noah and his family occupy the pediment story. Noah reaches up through a gap in the roof to receive the olive branch from the dove signifying the end of the Flood.
In the rectangular scene below the ark the waters surge above the mountain peaks as bodies cascade into the depths. Only the topmost branches of a tree—perhaps the olive tree whose branch the dove carries Noah—and the hand of a drowning victim are above water level. The raven, sent out before the dove was ever released according to Genesis 8:7, pecks at the victim’s hand ... These pages from a Spanish manuscript were illuminated by the monk Emeterio and by a nun between 970 and 975 A.D.
(January 19th 2020) Todays Research Interest:
Leontopolis (Greek) --Tell el-Yahudiya in Egypt
Frontispiece --- Seventh Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund (1890)
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography by William Smith (1854)
Leontopolis: In the reign of Ptolemy Philometor (B.C. 180--145) a temple, modelled after that of Jerusalem, was founded by the exiled Jewish priest Onias. (Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews 13.3.3; in Hieronymus Daniel Chapter xi). The Hebrew colony, which was attracted by the establishment of their national worship at Leontopolis, and which was increased by the refugees from the oppressions of the Seleucid kings in Palestine, flourished there for more than three centuries afterwards. In the reign of Vespasian the Leontopolite temple was closed amid the general discouragement of Judaism by that emperor (Josephus: The Jewish War 7.10.4)
Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews 13.3.1-3
 BUT then the son of Onias the high priest, who was of the same name with his father, and who fled to king Ptolemy, who was called Philometor, lived now at Alexandria. When this Onias saw that Judea was oppressed by the Macedonians and their kings, out of a desire to purchase to himself a memorial and eternal fame he resolved to send to king Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra, to ask leave of them that he might build a temple in Egypt like to that at Jerusalem and might ordain Levites and priests out of their own stock. The chief reason why he was desirous so to do was that he relied upon the prophet Isaiah who lived above six hundred years before and foretold that there certainly was to be a temple built to Almighty God in Egypt by a man that was a Jew ... Now I found a very fit place in a castle that hath its name from the country Diana; this place is full of materials of several sorts and replenished with sacred animals; I desire therefore that you will grant me leave to purge this holy place which belongs to no master and is fallen down and to build there a temple to Almighty God after the pattern of that in Jerusalem and of the same dimensions that those Jews which dwell in Egypt may have a place whither they may come and meet together in mutual harmony one with another ...
"King Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra to Onias, send greeting. We have read thy petition, wherein thou desirest leave to be given thee to purge that temple which is fallen down at Leontopolis, in the Nomus of Heliopolis, and which is named from the country Bubastis; on which account we cannot but wonder that it should be pleasing to God to have a temple erected in a place so unclean and so full of sacred animals" ...
So Onias took the place and built a temple and an altar to God like indeed to that in Jerusalem but smaller and poorer ... Onias found other Jews like unto himself together with priests and Levites that there performed Divine service ...