Both scholars and popular writers have long been fascinated with the cult of Molek in the Old Testament. Writers from John Milton to Charles Dickens have been tantalized by the awful rite of sacrifice. Heider’s volume evaluates the significance of the Molek cult with regard to the biblical, archaeological, and literary evidence. He begins with a broad history of scholarship on Molek from the seventeenth century onward, paying special attention to the contributions of Otto Eissfeldt and Moshe Weinfeld. He also surveys the literary evidence—in particular the Eblaite, Amorite, Ugaritic, Akkadian, and Phoenician evidence. He also examines the archaeological evidence from the Mesopotamian region. The book concludes with a detailed look at the relevant biblical texts, with a detailed look at Leviticus 18 and 20, Genesis 22, and various passages in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets.
This is a remarkably comprehensive . . . thesis. . . . The main subject, the enigmatic Molek cult in the Old Testament, is thoroughly explored on the basis of earlier major contributions, particularly the important work of O. Eissfeldt, Molk als Opferbegriff . . . und das Ende des Gottes Moloch (1935). Much new light is thrown upon the subject through the consideration of the ancient Near Eastern comparative material, especially from Ebla, Mari, and Ugarit.
—Journal of Semitic Studies
George C. Heider is Associate Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University. He received a B.A. and M.Div. from Concordia, and earned masters degrees and a Ph.D. from Yale University.