Online Encyclopedia

HIGH PLACE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 457 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
HIGH PLACE, in the English version of the Old Testament, the literal translation of the Heb. b¢mdh. This rendering is etymologically correct, as appears from the poetical use of the plural in such expressions as to ride, or stalk, or stand on the high places of the earth, the sea, the clouds, and from the corresponding usage in Assyrian; but in prose bamdh is always a place of worship. It has been surmised that it was so called because the places of worship were originally upon hill-tops, or that the b6.m¢h was an artificial platform or mound, perhaps imitating the natural eminence which was the oldest holy place, but neither view is historically demonstrable. The development of the religious significance of the word took place probably not in Israel but among the Canaanites, from whom the Israelites, in taking possession of the holy places of the land, adopted the name also. . In old Israel every town and village had its own place of sacrifice, and the common name for these places was b¢mfh, which is synonymous with nzikdash, holy place (Amos vii. Isa. xvi. 12, &c.). From the Old Testament and from existing remains a good idea may be formed of the appearance of such a place of worship. It was often on the hill above the town, as at Ramah (I Sam. ix. 12-14); there was a stele (massebah), the seat of the deity, and a wooden post or pole (asherah), which marked the place as sacred and was itself an object of worship; there was a stone altar, often of considerable size and hewn out of the solid rock' or built of unhewn stones (Ex. xx. 25; see ALTAR), on which offerings were burnt (mizbeh, lit. " slaughter place ") ; a cistern for water, and perhaps low stone tables for dressing the victims; sometimes also a hall (lishkah) for the sacrificial feasts. Around these places the religion of the ancient Israelite centred; at festival seasons, or to make or fulfil a vow, he might journey to more famous sanctuaries at a distance from his home, but ordinarily the offerings which linked every side of his life to religion were paid at the bamah of his own town. The building of royal temples in Jerusalem or in Samaria made no change in this respect; they simply took their place beside the older sanctuaries, such as Bethel, Dan, Gilgal, Beersheba, to which they were, indeed, inferior in repute. The religious reformers of the 8th century assail the popular religion as corrupt and licentious, and as fostering the monstrous delusion that immoral men can buy the favour of God by worship; but they make no difference in this respect between the high places of Israel and the temple in Jerusalem (cf. Amos V. 21 sqq.; Hos. iv.; Isa. to sqq.) ; Hosea stigmatizes the whole cultus as pure heathenism—Canaanite baal-worship adopted by apostate Israel. The fundamental law in Deut. xii. prohibits sacrifice at every place except the temple in Jerusalem; in accordance with this law Josiah, in 621 B.C., destroyed and desecrated the altars (b¢moth) throughout his kingdom, where Yahweh had been worshipped from time immemorial, and forcibly removed' their priests to Jerusalem, where they occupied an inferior rank in the temple ministry. In the prophets of the 7th and 6th centuries the word bdmoth connotes " seat of heathenish or idolatrous worship "; and the historians of the period apply the term in this opprobrious sense not only to places sacred to other gods but to the old holy places of Yahweh in the cities and villages of Judah, which, in their view, had been illegitimate from the building of Solomon's temple, and therefore not really seats of the worship of Yahweh; even the most pious kings of ' Several altars of this type have been preserved. made by various highway acts, viz. the Highway Act 1835, and amending acts of 1862, 1864, 1878 and 1891. The leading principle of the Highway Act 1835 is to place the highways under the direction of parish surveyors, and to provide for the necessary expenses by a rate levied on the occupiers of land. It is the duty of the surveyor to keep the highways in repair; and if a highway is out of repair, the surveyor may be summoned before justices and convicted in a penalty not exceeding £5, and ordered to complete the repairs withir, a limited time. The surveyor is likewise specially charged with the removal of nuisances on the highway. A highway nuisance may be abated by any person, and may be made the subject of indictment at common law. The amending acts, while not interfering with the operation of the principal act, authorize the creation of highway districts on a larger scale. The justices of a county may convert it or any portion of it into a highway district to be governed by a highway board, the powers and responsibilities of which will be the same as those of the parish surveyor under the former act. The board consists of representatives of the various parishes, called " way wardens " together with the justices for the county residing within the district. Salaries and similar expenses incurred by the board are charged on a district fund to which the several parishes contribute; but each parish remains separately responsible for the expenses of maintaining its own highways. By the Local Government Act 1888 the entire maintenance of main roads was thrown upon county councils. The Public Health Act 1875 vested the powers and duties of surveyors of highways and vestries in urban authorities, while the Local Government Act 1894 transferred to the district councils of every rural district all the powers of rural sanitary authorities and highway authorities (see ENGLAND: Local Government). The Highway Act of 1835 specified as offences for which the driver of a carriage on the public highway might be punished by a fine, in addition to any civil action that might be brought against him—riding upon the cart, or upon any horse drawing it, and not having some other person to guide it, unless there be some person driving it; negligence causing damage to person or goods being conveyed on the highway; quitting his cart, or leaving control of the horses, or leaving the cart so as to be an obstruction on the highway; not having the owner's name painted up; refusing to give the same; and not keeping on the left or near side of the road, when meeting any other carriage or horse. This rule does not apply in the case of a carriage meeting a foot-passenger, but a driver is bound to use due care to avoid driving against any person crossing the highway on foot. At the same time a passenger crossing the highway is also bound to use due care in avoiding vehicles, and the mere fact of a driver being on the wrong side of the road would not be evidence of negligence in such a case. The " rule of the road " given above is peculiar to the United Kingdom. Cooley's treatise on the American Law of Torts states that " the custom of the country, in some states enacted into statute law, requires that when teams approach and are about to pass on the highway, each shall keep to the right of the centre of the travelled portion of the road." This also appears to be the general rule on the continent of Europe. By the Lights on Vehicles Act 1907, all vehicles on highways in England and Wales must display to the front a white light during the period between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. Locomotives and motor cars, being dealt with by special acts, are excluded from the operation of the act, as`'are bicycles and tricycles (dealt with by the Local Government Act 1888), and vehicles drawn or propelled by hand, but every machine or implement drawn by animals comes within the act. There are two exceptions: (I) vehicles carrying inflammable goods in the neighbourhood of places where inflammable goods are stored, and (2) vehicles engaged in harvesting. The public have a right to pass along a highway freely, safely and conveniently, and any wrongful act or omission which prevents them doing so is a nuisance, for the prevention and abatement of which the highways and other acts contain provisions. Generally, nuisance Judah are censured for tolerating their existence. The reaction which followed the death of Josiah (6o8 B.C.) restored the old altars of Yahweh; they survived the destruction of the temple in 586, and it is probable that after its restoration (520–516 B.C.) they only slowly disappeared, in consequence partly of the natural predominance of Jerusalem in the little territory of Judaea, partly of the gradual establishment of the supremacy of the written law over custom and tradition in the Persian period. It may not be superfluous to note that the deuteronomic dogma that sacrifice can be offered to Yahweh only at the temple in Jerusalem was never fully established either in fact or in legal theory. The Jewish military colonists in Elephantine in the 5th century B.C. had their altar of Yahweh beside the high way; the Jews in Egypt in the Ptolemaic period had, besides many local sanctuaries, one greater temple at Leontopolis, with a priesthood whose claim to " valid orders " was much better than that of the High Priests in Jerusalem, and the legitimacy of whose worship is admitted even by the Palestinian rabbis. See Baudissin, "Hohendienst," Protestantische Realencyklopadie3 (viii. 177-195) ; Hoonacker, Le Lieu du culte clans la legislation rituelle des Hebreux (1894) ; V. Gall, Altisraelitische Kultstadle (1898).
End of Article: HIGH PLACE
[back]
THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON (1823—1911)
[next]
HIGH SEAS

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.