The Onomasticon of Eretz Israel Project
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The Onomasticon of Eretz Israel Project

The Onomasticon of Eretz Israel Project

The Onomasticon of Eretz Israel (The Onomasticon of IudaeaPalaestina and Arabia in the Greek and Latin Sources) consolidates all the passages in Greek and Latin that mention geographic and ethnic names in Eretz Israel (Palestine) and its immediate vicinity, from the middle of the fourth century BCE (shortly before the conquest of the area by Alexander the Great) until the Muslim conquest in the middle of the seventh century CE. The project, founded in the 1960s by the late Professor Michael Avi-Yonah, was directed by the late Professor Yoram Tsafrir (a Member of the Israel Academy from 2001) from the 1970s until his passing in November 2015. 

The excerpts collected in the Onomasticon, culled from all the known Greek and Latin sources, are drawn from over 1,300 texts, written or edited by over 750 authors and editors, including major compositions, correspondence, sermons, administrative and ecclesiastical lists, inscriptions and coins; and from sources in Near Eastern languages, mainly Syriac, which were translated from the Greek. In the published volumes, the entries for the place names are arranged alphabetically. The excerpts within each entry are arranged chronologically, in the source language and in English translation, accompanied by essential textual notes, geographical-historical discussions and, where possible, archeological discussions as well, along with a research bibliography. Wherever possible, sites are identified and described based on the most current research. 

Volume I, by Leah Di Segni and Yoram Tsafrir with Judith Green, was published in 2015. This volume presents major texts that mention many names and are therefore excerpted in a number of alphabetical entries. It also contains an annotated directory of Primary Sources, a general list of abbreviations and an index of all the locations included in the series, as well as an introduction and indexes. The collection of all the major texts in the first volume allows easy access to these longer passages, as the entries themselves contain only concise excerpts relating to the specific places. 

Volume II, by Leah Di Segni and Yoram Tsafrir, published in 2017 in two parts, contains all the entries beginning with the letter A, including the prodigious entry on Arabia. 

Volume III, containing the entries for the letter B, is in the final stages of preparation for press. It will also include Addenda to the Primary Sources, primarily critical editions that were not available when the first and second volumes were prepared, as well as new text publications (inscriptions, papyri) and sources of which the authors were unaware in earlier stages of the work. 

Starting with the letter C, the material will be published in electronic format. For this purpose, a digital application was developed by Hagit Bagno to serve as a platform for entering the texts in Greek and Latin, with all of the related information, and making this data available to the entire research community. Thus far, all of the Latin and Greek texts for the letters D and E and about half of those for the letter C have been entered, the majority with their English translations. Further Addenda to the Primary Sources have been prepared for these three letters, and these, along with the Addenda for the letter B, will be combined with the original list of Primary Sources. 

Volume III is to be followed by the publication of an electronic volume devoted to sacred places: shrines, synagogues, churches, monasteries, charitable foundations administered by the church and tombs of saints (if they are identified explicitly by name). The groundwork for this volume has been prepared, including the citations, in chronological order, texts, bibliography and proposed identifications.