Abstract of Greer, Jonathan Samuel. “Dinner at Dan: A Biblical and Archaeological Exploration of Sacred Feasting at Iron Age II Tel Dan.”

Greer, Jonathan Samuel.  “Dinner at Dan: A Biblical and Archaeological Exploration of Sacred Feasting at Iron Age II Tel Dan.”  PhD diss., Pennsylvania State University, 2011. [Israel/Canaan/Dan/Ritual/Liturgy/Worship/Sacrifice/Festivals]

Abstract:  This study provides a biblical and archaeological investigation of sacred feasting at the Iron Age II site of Tel Dan and seeks to evaluate the historicity, nature, and significance of these events from the late 10th century – mid-8th century BCE. Biblical texts concerning the establishment of a cult at Dan are examined and seen to be reflective of a Yahwistic and traditional religious context in which these feasts may have been acted out. The contents of seven distinct deposits of animal bone, ceramic, and material remains from a temple complex at Tel Dan are analyzed and argued to be the remains of sacred feasts. From this analysis, contrast is noted between two spheres of activity and change in practice over time is suggested. A synthesis of the biblical and archaeological data highlights the correlation of these archaeological remains to biblical texts concerning sacrificial prescriptions, realia , and movements within sacred space, refining the reconstruction of the activities within the precinct. The study concludes by affirming that sacred feasts were indeed carried out at Iron Age II Tel Dan and by suggesting that they were likely Yahwistic and traditional in nature. It further places these events in their socio-political and religious contexts and suggests that these sacred feasts at Dan may have been utilized by the Northern monarchs of ancient Israel for kingdom building, initially to unify tribal factions and later to reinforce distinct social structures, as a society strove to incorporate its tribal past within a monarchic framework.

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