Review of Ovadiah, Asher., Israel Roll and Moshe Fisher, “The Roman Temple at Kedesh in Upper Galilee: A Response.”

Ovadiah, Asher., Israel Roll and Moshe Fisher, “The Roman Temple at Kedesh in Upper Galilee: A Response.”  Israel Exploration Journal 43, n. 1 (1993): 60-63. [Rome/Architecture/Design]

This short article is a rejoinder to a criticism of earlier work done by the authors.  Since 1976 they have published a number of articles about their archaeological dig at Kedesh in Upper Galilee.   Those reports discussed a Roman temple complex found.  It is, according to the authors, “the southernmost link in a chain of temples of the Syro-Phonecian region….”(p. 60)  Its architectural design and decoration are similar to those in the region.

In 1990 Jodi Magness criticized their interpretation of many details, but she primarily argued that the temple they found was an “ocular shrine” to Apollo rather than a temple to Baalshamin.  If this rejoinder is accurate, the authors maintain, that most of Magness’ ideas were dealt with in previous articles.  From their reviews it appears she did not read closely, misunderstood some of their writing, and her criticisms appear to be generally without substance.  On the matter of the complex being a “ocular shrine” to Apollo they write:

“Magness’ discussion of the sanctuaries of Apollo throughout Syria and Palestine during the Hellenistic and Roman periods and the assimilation of Apollo to the Babylonian god Nabu is superfluous, as long as the author has not succeeded in disproving the exclusive connection of the temple at Kedesh to Baalshamin.  We would like to thank Magness for her effort to elaborate on the discussion of this site, but do not believe that anything has been added that negates our conclusions regarding the architectural design and function of the temple at Kedesh, the identification of the deity, or the character of the worship practiced there.  (p. 63)

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