Yahwistic Cultic Practices

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In the seventh century, the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel faced the rising empires of Assyria and Babylon. In order to survive possible invasion or annexation, the Kingdom of Judah issued many religious reforms under Kings Hezekiah and Josiah. Religious practices before these threats were much more decentralized and had roots in earlier Yahwistic cultic practices. An example of these practices would be the High Places as areas of worship. With the downfall of the northern Kingdom of Israel, Judah had to prepare for an Assyrian annexation and tried to differentiate itself from their northern neighbors. In order to do so King Hezekiah and King Josiah both created religious reforms attempting to centralize the Jerusalem cultic practice and unite the people against both Assyrian and Babylonian aggression. High places became an easy target in the reforms of both kings. A high place is an elevated cultic installation where religious rites were performed. They could be in either a rural or an urban setting and were sometimes found on naturally higher areas or were sometimes artificially built up. These High Places could possibly represent the oldest Yahwistic cultic practices in Israel. Originally, Biblical passages supported …show more content…
Before there was no one place to worship or a place that had a perceived higher religious meaning. With the building of the Temple, there became an authority on religious matters. Therefore, the fact that priests in Jerusalem had little control over the High Places out in the country led to them to believe that practices in use at the High Places could be heterodox or idolatrous. This led to an effort in Deuteronomist theology to centralize worship at the Temple in Jerusalem before King Hezekiah or King Josiah. Biblical texts also started to connect High Places with cultic practices devoted to the Canaanite deities instead of accepted Yahwistic

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