Religious life took place in the few large temples such as those in Jerusalem and Samaria and many small sacrificial altars,

Babylon, Ishtar Gate, reconstruction
Babylon, Ishtar Gate, reconstruction

later known as heights in the Old Testament. In pre-Roman times, the Jews handed down holy words in oral form only to dedicated adepts; they were reluctant to set down holy words and the name of God in written documents that could be stolen or desecrated.

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