Archeology: Why do the seals of biblical kings depict Egyptian gods?
I've transformed my recent Sheffield-Phoenix paper into an animated presentation. The video showcases some of my digital art and explores several questions:
1) Of the thousands of Hebrew seals in biblical archeology that have surfaced, which ones can we reliably say belonged to biblical characters?
2) Why do some of these seals plainly depict Egyptian gods?
3) How did Egyptian solar theology influence Yahwism of the biblical classical period.
Ancient Israel and Egypt were primarily papyrus manuscript cultures. Since papyrus decays easily, extremely few of these documents survive from history. However, what does survive are thousands of seals, typically carved of semi-precious stone. A soft lump of clay called a bulla would be fixed onto a closed document or other container, often molded around binding cords. A seal would then be used to stamp a characteristic, presumably unimitatable marking into the clay. After the bulla impression dried, it would be presumably impossible to gain access to the sealed object without breaking the bulla or cutting its cord binding. In this manner, seals were important as ancient security devices and served proof of authenticity—the legal signatures of the ancients.