Book of Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Christian Old Testament and of the Jewish Torah, where it is called "Devarim". Chapters 1–30 of the book consist of three sermons or speeches delivered to the Israelites by Moses on the plains of Moab, shortly before they enter the Promised Land; the first sermon recounts the forty years of wilderness wanderings which had led to that moment, ends with an exhortation to observe the law referred to as the Law of Moses. The final four chapters contain the Song of Moses, the Blessing of Moses, narratives recounting the passing of the mantle of leadership from Moses to Joshua and the death of Moses on Mount Nebo. Presented as the words of Moses delivered before the conquest of Canaan, a broad consensus of modern scholars see its origin in traditions from Israel brought south to the Kingdom of Judah in the wake of the Assyrian conquest of Aram and adapted to a program of nationalist reform in the time of Josiah, with the final form of the modern book emerging in the milieu of the return from the Babylonian captivity during the late 6th century BC.
Many scholars see the book as reflecting the economic needs and social status of the Levite caste, who are believed to have provided its authors. One of its most significant verses is Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema Yisrael, which has become the definitive statement of Jewish identity: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one." Verses 6:4–5 were quoted by Jesus in Mark 12:28–34 as part of the Great Commandment. Patrick D. Miller in his commentary on Deuteronomy suggests that different views of the structure of the book will lead to different views on what it is about; the structure is described as a series of three speeches or sermons followed by a number of short appendices – Miller refers to this as the "literary" structure. Chapters 1–4: The journey through the wilderness from Horeb to Kadesh and to Moab is recalled. Chapters 4–11: After a second introduction at 4:44–49 the events at Mount Horeb are recalled, with the giving of the Ten Commandments. Heads of families are urged to instruct those under their care in the law, warnings are made against serving gods other than Yahweh, the land promised to Israel is praised, the people are urged to obedience.
Chapters 12–26, the Deuteronomic code: Laws governing Israel's worship, the appointment and regulation of community and religious leaders, social regulation, confession of identity and loyalty. Chapters 27–28: Blessings and curses for those who keep and break the law. Chapters 29–30: Concluding discourse on the covenant in the land of Moab, including all the laws in the Deuteronomic code after those given at Horeb. Chapters 31–34: Joshua is installed as Moses's successor, Moses delivers the law to the Levites, ascends Mount Nebo or Pisgah, where he dies and is buried by God; the narrative of these events is interrupted by two poems, the Song of Moses and the Blessing of Moses. The final verses, Deuteronomy 34:10–12, "never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses," make a claim for the authoritative Deuteronomistic view of theology and its insistence that the worship of the Hebrew God as the sole deity of Israel was the only permissible religion, having been sealed by the greatest of prophets.
Deuteronomy 12–26, the Deuteronomic Code, is the oldest part of the book and the core around which the rest developed. It is a series of mitzvot to the Israelites regarding how they ought to conduct themselves in Canaan, the land promised by Yahweh, God of Israel; the following list organizes most of the laws into thematic groups: All sacrifices are to be brought and vows are to be made at a central sanctuary. The worship of Canaanite gods is forbidden; the order is given to destroy their places of worship and to commit genocide against Canaanites and others with "detestable" religious beliefs. Native mourning practices such as deliberate disfigurement are forbidden; the procedure for tithing produce or donating its equivalent is given. A catalogue of which animals are permitted and which forbidden for consumption is given; the consumption of animals which are found dead and have not been slaughtered is prohibited. Sacrificed animals must be without blemish. First-born male livestock must be sacrificed.
The Pilgrimage Festivals of Passover and Sukkot are instituted. The worship at Asherah groves and setting up of ritual pillars are forbidden. Prohibition of mixing kinds (22
Canaan was a Semitic-speaking region in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name Canaan appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the Levant, in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible: Phoenicia, Philistia and other nations; the word Canaanites serves as an ethnic catch-all term covering various indigenous populations—both settled and nomadic-pastoral groups—throughout the regions of the southern Levant or Canaan. It is by far the most used ethnic term in the Bible. In the Book of Joshua, Canaanites are included in a list of nations to exterminate, described as a group which the Israelites had annihilated. Biblical scholar Mark Smith notes that archaeological data suggests "that the Israelite culture overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture... In short, Israelite culture was Canaanite in nature; the name "Canaanites" is attested, many centuries as the endonym of the people known to the Ancient Greeks from c. 500 BC as Phoenicians, following the emigration of Canaanite-speakers to Carthage, was used as a self-designation by the Punics of North Africa during Late Antiquity.
Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna period as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite and Assyrian Empires converged. Much of modern knowledge about Canaan stems from archaeological excavation in this area at sites such as Tel Hazor, Tel Megiddo, Gezer; the English term Canaan comes via Greek Χαναάν Khanaan and Latin Canaan. It appears as in the Amarna letters, knʿn is found on coins from Phoenicia in the last half of the 1st millennium, it first occurs in Greek in the writings of Hecataeus as Khna. Scholars connect the name Canaan with knʿn, Kana'an, the general Northwest Semitic name for this region; the etymology is uncertain. An early explanation derives the term from the Semitic root knʿ "to be low, subjugated"; some scholars have suggested that this implies an original meaning of "lowlands", in contrast with Aram, which would mean "highlands", whereas others have suggested it meant "the subjugated" as the name of Egypt's province in the Levant, evolved into the proper name in a similar fashion to Provincia Nostra.
An alternative suggestion put forward by Ephraim Avigdor Speiser in 1936 derives the term from Hurrian Kinahhu, purportedly referring to the colour purple, so that Canaan and Phoenicia would be synonyms. Tablets found in the Hurrian city of Nuzi in the early 20th century appear to use the term Kinahnu as a synonym for red or purple dye, laboriously produced by the Kassite rulers of Babylon from murex shells as early as 1600 BC, on the Mediterranean coast by the Phoenicians from a byproduct of glassmaking. Purple cloth became a renowned Canaanite export commodity, mentioned in Exodus; the dyes may have been named after their place of origin. The name'Phoenicia' is connected with the Greek word for "purple" referring to the same product, but it is difficult to state with certainty whether the Greek word came from the name, or vice versa; the purple cloth of Tyre in Phoenicia was well known far and wide and was associated by the Romans with nobility and royalty. However, according to Robert Drews, Speiser's proposal has been abandoned.
Canaanite culture developed in situ from the earlier Ghassulian chalcolithic culture, which pioneered the Mediterranean agricultural system typical of the Canaanite region, which comprised intensive subsistence horticulture, extensive grain growing, commercial wine and olive cultivation and transhumance pastoralism. Ghassulian itself developed from the Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from a fusion of their ancestral Natufian and Harifian cultures with Pre-Pottery Neolithic B farming cultures, practicing animal domestication, during the 6200 BC climatic crisis which led to the Agricultural Revolution/Neolithic Revolution in the Levant; the Late Bronze Age state of Ugarit is considered quintessentially Canaanite archaeologically though its Ugaritic language does not belong to the Canaanite language group proper. A disputed reference to Lord of ga-na-na in the Semitic Ebla tablets from the archive of Tell Mardikh has been interpreted by some scholars to mention the deity Dagon by the title "Lord of Canaan" If correct, this would suggest that Eblaites were conscious of Canaan as an entity by 2500 BC.
Jonathan Tubb states that the term ga-na-na "may provide a third-millennium reference to Canaanite", while at the same time stating that the first certain reference is in the 18th century BC. See Ebla-Biblical controversy for further details. A letter from Mut-bisir to Shamshi-Adad I of the Old Assyrian Empire has been translated: "It is in Rahisum that the brigands and the Canaanites are situated", it was found in 1973 in the ruins of an Assyrian outpost at that time in Syria. Additional unpublished references to Kinahnum in the Mari letters refer to the same episode. Whether the term Kinahnum refers to people from a specific region or rather people of "foreign origin" has been disputed, such that Robert Drews states that the "first certain cuneiform reference" to Canaan is found on the Alalakh statue of King Idrim
Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian, born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. He fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 CE to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a slave and interpreter. After Vespasian became Emperor in 69 CE, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius. Flavius Josephus defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship, he became an advisor and friend of Vespasian's son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem. Since the siege proved ineffective at stopping the Jewish revolt, the city's destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod's Temple soon followed.
Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War, including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish Antiquities of the Jews; the Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation. Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Greek and Roman audience; these works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.. Born into one of Jerusalem's elite families, Josephus introduces himself in Greek as Iōsēpos, son of Matthias, an ethnic Jewish priest, he was the second-born son of Matthias. His older full-blooded brother was called Matthias, their mother was an aristocratic woman who descended from the royal and ruling Hasmonean dynasty. Josephus's paternal grandparents were Josephus and his wife—an unnamed Hebrew noblewoman, distant relatives of each other and direct descendants of Simon Psellus. Josephus's family was wealthy.
He descended through his father from the priestly order of the Jehoiarib, the first of the 24 orders of priests in the Temple in Jerusalem. Josephus was a descendant of the high priest Jonathon, he was educated alongside his brother. In his early twenties, he traveled to negotiate with Emperor Nero for the release of 12 Jewish priests. Upon his return to Jerusalem, at the outbreak of the First Jewish–Roman War, Josephus was appointed the military governor of Galilee, but he strove with John of Gischala over the control of Galilee, who like Josephus, had amassed to himself a large band of supporters from Gischala and Gabara, including the support of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Josephus fortified several towns and villages in Galilee, among which were Tiberias, Bersabe and Tarichaea, in anticipation of a Roman onslaught, resisted the Roman army in its siege of Yodfat until it fell to the Roman army in the lunar month of Tammuz, in the thirteenth year of Nero's reign. After the Jewish garrison of Yodfat fell under siege, the Romans invaded.
According to Josephus, he was trapped in a cave with 40 of his companions in July 67 CE. The Romans asked the group to surrender. Josephus suggested a method of collective suicide. Two men were left, who became prisoners. In 69 CE, Josephus was released. According to his account, he acted as a negotiator with the defenders during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, in which his parents and first wife died. While being confined at Yodfat, Josephus claimed to have experienced a divine revelation that led to his speech predicting Vespasian would become emperor. After the prediction came true, he was released by Vespasian, who considered his gift of prophecy to be divine. Josephus wrote that his revelation had taught him three things: that God, the creator of the Jewish people, had decided to "punish" them. To many Jews, such claims were self-serving. In 71 CE, he went to Rome in the entourage of Titus, becoming a Roman citizen and client of the ruling Flavian dynasty. In addition to Roman citizenship, he was granted accommodation in a pension.
While in Rome and under Flavian patronage, Josephus wrote all of his known works. Although he uses "Josephus", he appears to have taken the Roman praenomen Titus and nomen Flavius from his patrons. Vespasian arranged for Josephus to marry a captured Jewish woman, whom he divorced. About 71 CE, Josephus married an Alexandrian Jewish woman as his third wife, they had three sons. Josephus divorced his third wife. Around 75 CE, he married his fourth wife, a Greek Jewish woman from Crete, a member of a distinguished family, they had two sons, Flavius Justus and Flavius Simonides Agrippa. Josephus's life story remains ambiguous, he was described by Harris in 1985 as a law-observant Jew who believed in the com
Mount Ebal is one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, forms the northern side of the valley in which Nablus is situated, the southern side being formed by Mount Gerizim. The mountain is one of the highest peaks in the West Bank and rises to 940 m above sea level, some 60 m higher than Mount Gerizim. Mount Ebal is 17 km2 in area, is composed of limestone; the slopes of the mountain contain several large caverns which were originally quarries, at the base towards the north are several tombs. In advance of the Israelites' entry to the Promised Land, Deuteronomy 11:29 records Moses' direction that "when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal". In the masoretic text and the Septuagint version of Deuteronomy 27, an instruction is given to build an altar on Mount Ebal, constructed from natural stones, to place stones there and whiten them with lime, to make peace offerings on the altar, eat there, write the words of this law on the stone.
According to the Samaritan Pentateuch version, this instruction concerns Mount Gerizim, which the Samaritans view as a holy site. Recent Dead Sea Scrolls work supports the accuracy of the Samaritan Pentateuch's designation of Mount Gerizim rather than Mount Ebal as the sacred site. An instruction subsequent to this orders that, once this is done, the Israelites should split into two groups, one to stay on Mount Ebal and pronounce curses, while the other goes to Mount Gerizim and pronounces blessings; the tribes of Simeon, Judah, Issachar and Benjamin were to be sent to Gerizim, while those of Reuben, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, were to remain on Ebal. No attempts to explain this division of tribes either by their Biblical ethnology or by their geographical distribution have been accepted in academic circles. More however, some argue that the tribes were divided as as possible given the population's census data given in the Book of Numbers; the division found in the book of Deuteronomy is the most equal out of 462 possible divisions.
The text goes on to list twelve curses, which were to be pronounced by the Levite priesthood and answered by the people with Amen. These curses resemble laws, they are not followed by a list of blessings described in a liturgical framework; the present position of these explicit blessings and curses, within a larger narrative of promise, a far larger narrative of threat, is considered to have been an editorial decision for the post-exilic second version of Deuteronomy, to reflect the deuteronomist's worldview after the Babylonian exile had occurred. In the Book of Joshua, after the Battle of Ai, Joshua built an altar of unhewn stones there, the Israelites made peace offerings on it, the Law of Moses was written onto the stones, the Israelites split into the two groups specified in Deuteronomy and pronounced blessings and cursings as instructed there. There is some debate between textual scholars as to whether this incident in Joshua is one account or spliced together two different accounts, where one account refers to Joshua building an altar, making sacrifices on it, while the other account refers to Joshua placing large stone slabs there, whitened with lime and had the Torah inscribed on them.
Either way there is general agreement that the sources of Joshua predate Deuteronomy, hence that the order to build the altar and make the inscription is based on these actions in the sources of Joshua, rather than the other way round to provide an aetiology for the site acceptable to the deuteronomist's theology. Much in the Book, when Joshua was old and dying, he gathered the people together at Shechem, gave a farewell speech, wrote these words in the book of the Torah of God, took a great stone, set it under the doorpost, in the sanctuary of the Lord. Depending on the way in which the sources of Joshua were spliced together, this may just be another version of the earlier narrative Joshua placing the whitened stones slabs with the Torah inscribed on them, some scholars believe that this narrative may have been in an earlier location within the Book of Joshua. In the Biblical narrative, the terebinth next to the sanctuary, was evidently in existence as early as the time of the Patriarchs, as Jacob is described in the Book of Genesis as having buried the idols of strange gods beneath it.
According to a midrash, one of these idols, in the shape of a dove, was recovered by the Samaritans, used in their worship on Mount Gerizim. The higher part of the mountain, on the west, contains the ruins of some massive walls called Al-Kal'ah, east of this are other ruins now called Kunaisah; however much more significant remains have been found on the northern side. Like many other sites in the region, by the 20th century there was a large stone heap found on Mount Ebal.
Balata al-Balad is a Palestinian suburb of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, located 1 kilometer east of the city center. Its own village, it was annexed to the municipality of Nablus during Jordanian rule; the village's name is Balata, the name of an old Arab village, preserved by local residents. Its pseudonymn, al-Balad, is used to distinguish it from the Palestinian refugee camp of Balata which lies to the east and was established in 1950; the village's name is transcribed as Balanus or Balata. In the Samartian chronicles, its Arabic names are transcribed as Shejr al-Kheir. In the writings of Yaqut al-Hamawi, the Syrian geographer, its name is transcribed as al-Bulāṭa. One theory holds that balata is a derivation of the Aramaic word Balut, meaning "acorn", while another theory holds that it is a derivation of the Byzantine-Roman era, from the Greek word platanos, meaning "terebinth", a type of tree that grew around the village spring. A suburb of the city of Nablus, the village is situated on the southern part of Tell Balata, covers about one-third of the tell.
The built-up area was made up of 2.5 hectares in 1945, increased to more than 10 hectares in 1980. To the east, is a vast plain, with the ways running east-west leading out through the pass from Jerusalem to Nablus and the coast, the way to the northeast around Mount Ebal leading down to Wadi Fa'rah and the ford across the Jordan River at Jisr el-Damiyah. Balata is a village on an ancient site, it has ancient cisterns and canals; the history of the village is tied to Joseph's Tomb. Benjamin of Tudela, who visited the site in the 12th century, places it "A sabbath-way distance from Sichem," and says it contains Joseph's sepulcher. Yaqut al-Hamawi wrote; the Jews say. There is here the spring called Ain al Khidr. Yusuf as Sadik -peace be on him! - was buried here, his tomb is well known, lying under the tree". The church built around Jacob's Well and the lands of the village of Balata belonged to the Benedictine nuns of Bethany in the 12th century. Written documentation from this time of the Crusades indicates that, Balata known as Balathas, was a Frankish settlement.
Balata al-Balad, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, in the census of 1596 the village appeared under the name Balata as being in the Nahiya of Jabal Qubal, part of Nablus Sanjak. It had a population of all Muslim, they paid a fixed tax-rate of 33.3% on agricultural products, including wheat, summer crops, olive trees and beehives, in addition to occasional revenues. In 1870, Victor Guérin found here a small village, with about twenty houses, it had abundant waters, which were distributed to the fields in a canal, with "beautiful antique tiles". In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Balata as a small hamlet in the valley, of low howels, near a beautiful spring. On the east were mulberries. A 1900 report by Conrad Schick for the Palestine Exploration Fund describes Balata as a hamlet made up of a few huts surrounded by gardens that lay to the west of Jacob's Well and its accompanying church complex, at that time in ruins.
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Balata had a population of 461. In the 1945 statistics, Balata had a population of 770 Muslims, with a total of 3,000 dunams of land, living in a built-up area of 25 dunams. Of the land, 95 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, while 1,832 dunams were used for cereals. Following the 1948 Arab–Israeli war, the Palestinian refugee camp of Balata was established directly adjacent to the village in 1950, its population is larger than that of the village of Balata. In 1961, the population was 2,292. Since the 1967 Six-Day War, Balata al-Balad has been under Israeli occupation. During the First Intifada, whenever the refugee camp was placed under curfew by the Israeli occupying authorities, so too was the village; the village contains an old mosque, five schools, the village spring, which served as the main water source, is known as'Ain el-Khidr. Education and medical services in the Balata refugee camp are provided by UNRWA.
While electricity and running water supplies were irregular, the camp was better off in terms of public services than the village of Balata, which lacked piped water, depended upon private electricity generators and Israeli-run education and medical services, until some after the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. USAID sponsors a flagship program involving the Balata Al-Balad Women's Society in the village that seeks to increase coordination between community-based organizations and the Palestinian Ministry of Health to improve the provision of health care services. Balata-Albalad Website Welcome To Balata Survey of Western Palestine, Map 11: IAA, Wikimedia commons
Habiru is a term used in 2nd-millennium BCE texts throughout the Fertile Crescent for people variously described as rebels, raiders, bowmen, servants and laborers. The word Habiru, more properly'Apiru, occurs in hundreds of 2nd millennium BCE documents covering a 600-year period from the 18th to the 12th centuries BCE and found at sites ranging from Egypt and Syria, to Nuzi and Anatolia used interchangeably with the Sumerian SA. GAZ, a phonetic equivalent to the Akkadian word saggasu. Not all Habiru were murderers and robbers: one'Apiru, Idrimi of Alalakh, was the son of a deposed king, formed a band of'Apiru to make himself king of Alalakh. What Idrimi shared with the other'Apiru was membership of an inferior social class of outlaws and slaves leading a marginal and sometimes lawless existence on the fringes of settled society.'Apiru had no common ethnic affiliations and no common language, their personal names being most West Semitic, but many East Semitic, Hurrian or Indo-European. In the 18th century a north Syrian king named Irkabtum "made peace with Shemuba and his Habiru."
In the Amarna tablets from 14th century BCE, the petty kings of Canaan describe them sometimes as outlaws, sometimes as mercenaries, sometimes as day-labourers and servants. They are marginal, but Rib-Hadda of Byblos calls Abdi-Ashirta of Amurru and his son'Apiru, with the implication that they have rebelled against their common overlord, the Pharaoh. In "The Conquest of Joppa", an Egyptian work of historical fiction from around 1440 BCE, they appear as brigands, General Djehuty asks at one point that his horses be taken inside the city lest they be stolen by a passing'Apir; the biblical word "Hebrew", like Habiru, denotes a social category, not an ethnic group. Since the discovery of the 2nd millennium BCE inscriptions mentioning the Habiru, there have been many theories linking these to the Hebrews of the Bible, but modern scholars see the'Apiru/Habiru as only one element in an early Israel composed of many different peoples, including nomadic Shasu, the biblical Midianites and Amalekites, runaway slaves from Egypt, displaced peasants and pastoralists.
Foreign relations of Egypt during the Amarna period
The Madaba Map known as the Madaba Mosaic Map, is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba Map is of the Middle East, part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and Jerusalem, it dates to the 6th century AD. The Madaba Mosaic Map depicts Jerusalem with the New Church of the Theotokos, dedicated on November 20, 542. Buildings erected in Jerusalem after 570 are absent from the depiction, thus limiting the date range of its creation to the period between 542 and 570; the mosaic was made by unknown artists for the Christian community of Madaba, the seat of a bishop at that time. In 614, Madaba was conquered by the Sasanian Empire. In the eighth century, the ruling Muslim Umayyad Caliphate had some figural motifs removed from the mosaic. In 746, Madaba was destroyed by an earthquake and subsequently abandoned; the mosaic was rediscovered in 1884, during the construction of a new Greek Orthodox church on the site of its ancient predecessor.
Patriarch Nicodemus I of Jerusalem was informed, but no research was carried out until 1896. In the following decades, large portions of the mosaic map were damaged by fires, activities in the new church and by the effects of moisture. In December 1964, the Volkswagen Foundation gave the Deutscher Verein für die Erforschung Palästinas 90,000 DM to save the mosaic. In 1965, the archaeologists Heinz Cüppers and Herbert Donner undertook the restoration and conservation of the remaining parts of the mosaic; the floor mosaic is located in the apse of the church of Saint George at Madaba. It is not oriented northwards, like modern maps, but faces east towards the altar in such a fashion that the position of places on the map coincides with the actual compass directions, it measured 21 by 7 m and contained over two million tesserae. Its current dimensions are 16 by 5 m; the mosaic map depicts an area from Lebanon in the north to the Nile Delta in the south, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Eastern Desert.
Among other features, it depicts the Dead Sea with two fishing boats, a variety of bridges linking the banks of the Jordan, fish swimming in the river and receding from the Dead Sea. The map may have served to facilitate pilgrims' orientation in the Holy Land. All landscape units are labelled with explanations in Greek. A combination of folding perspective and aerial view depicts about 150 towns and villages, all of them labelled; the largest and most detailed element of the topographic depiction is Jerusalem, at the centre of the map. The mosaic shows a number of significant structures in the Old City of Jerusalem: the Damascus Gate, the Lions' Gate, the Golden Gate, the Zion Gate, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the New Church of the Theotokos, the Tower of David and the Cardo Maximus; the recognisable depiction of the urban topography makes the mosaic a key source on Byzantine Jerusalem. Unique are the detailed depictions of cities such as Neapolis, Gaza and Charachmoba, all of them nearly detailed enough to be described as street maps.
The mosaic map of Madaba is the oldest known geographic floor mosaic in art history. It is used for the localisation and verification of biblical sites. Study of the map played a major role in answering the question of the topographical location of Askalon. In 1967, excavations in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem revealed the Nea Church and the Cardo Maximus in the locations suggested by the Madaba Map. In February 2010, excavations further substantiated its accuracy with the discovery of a road depicted in the map that runs through the center of Jerusalem. According to the map, the main entrance to the city was through a large gate opening into a wide central street; until the discovery, archaeologists were not able to excavate this site due to heavy pedestrian traffic. In the wake of infrastructure work near the Jaffa Gate, large paving stones were discovered at a depth of 4 meters below ground that prove such a road existed. A copy of the map is in the collection of the Archaeological Institute at Göttingen University.
It was produced during the conservation work at Madaba in 1965 by archaeologists of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Trier. A copy produced by students of the Madaba Mosaic School is in the foyer of the Akademisches Kunstmuseum at Bonn; the lobby of the YMCA in Jerusalem has a replica of the map incorporated in the floor. M.-J. Lagrange. "JÉRUSALEM D'APRÈS LA MOSAÏQUE DE MADABA". Revue Biblique. Peeters Publishers. 6: 450–458. JSTOR 44101959. Leal, Beatrice. "A Reconsideration of the Madaba Map." Gesta 57, no. 2: 123-143. Madden, Andrew M. "A New Form of Evidence to Date the Madaba Map Mosaic," Liber Annuus 62, 495-513. Hepper, Nigel. Herbert Donner: The Mosaic Map of Madaba. Kok Pharos Publishing House, Kampen 1992, ISBN 90-390-0011-5 Herbert Donner. Die Mosaikkarte von Madeba: Tafelband. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-01866-1. Michael Avi-Yonah: The Madaba mosaic map. Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem 1954 Michele Piccirillo: Chiese e mosaici di Madaba. Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Collectio maior 34, Jerusalem 1989 Kenneth Nebenzahl: Maps of the Holy Land, images of Terra Sancta t