The documents closest in time to the Elephantine papyri would be the books of the Hebrew Bible themselves, right? How do you read the evidence in the Hebrew scriptures? How are altars outside of the Jerusalem temple treated? (Did you read Joshua 22?)
The last time I studied the OT regarding this matter I came away with the impression that sacrificing outside of Jerusalem (or one particular place) was fairly normal until the establishment of Deuteronomy (at least in Judah). I see Joshua 22 as being part of the Deuteronomistic writings, and so it of course promotes the idea of sacrificing in one place. And I see Deuteronomy as possibly being a product of the Northern Kingdom and that "the place God chooses to put his name" was in various places there, culminating with Shiloh, as von Rad, for example, suggests in Deuteronomy: A Commentary
https://books.google.com/books?id=oLW7B ... oh&f=false
Cf. Jer. 7:12-15:
Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’
Prior to the establishment of Deuteronomy in Judah (which was presumably first brought there by exiles from the Northern Kingdom, even if it didn't take hold in Judah until later) there were altars all over the place. And Lev. 17:1-9 says that sacrificial animals must be brought to a sanctuary so their blood can be put on an altar, otherwise it would be bloodshed and the person would be cut off; how would this be possible for Jews who lived outside Jerusalem (or outside one particular place)? This, in my view, is why Dt. 12:15-16 allows for the killing of sacrificial animals anywhere, unlike the older Lev. 17:1-9, for which this would not be an issue when there were multiple altars (in Judah).
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘This is what the Lord has commanded: Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord—that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people. This is so the Israelites will bring to the Lord the sacrifices they are now making in the open fields. They must bring them to the priest, that is, to the Lord, at the entrance to the tent of meeting and sacrifice them as fellowship offerings. The priest is to splash the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting and burn the fat as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.’
“Say to them: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the Lord must be cut off from the people of Israel.
Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer, according to the blessing the Lord your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it. But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
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