People in Asia Minor whose empire in the 2d millennium BC rivaled and threatened the power of Babylonia and Egypt. The name is derived from Heth (Gn 10:15), occurs repeatedly in the OT (e.g., Gn 23:120; 26:34; Jos 9:1; 2 Sm 11), and is assoc. with Khatti (Hatti), a city or region in E Asia Minor. Much information about the Hittites was gained from archaeol. finds at Bogazköy (Boghazkeui; Khatti; Hattushash; Hattusa; Gk. Pteria), N cen.; Turkey, where ruins of a probable capital of a Hittite dynasty (ca. 16thca. 12th c. BC) were found.
The Hittite empire began with people who spoke an Indo-Eur. language and who founded city-states in Asia Minor ca. 2, 000 BC Consolidation of power into an empire dates from ca. 1, 800 BC Hittites engaged in war with Babylonia and Egypt. Hittites had settled in Palestine by the time of the patriarchs.
The Hittite religion was anthropomorphic. The gods were immortal, possessed a numinous ethical power (para handandatar), were masters of men, and were worshiped in temples or at open air sanctuaries. They were derived from many sources including the Hattie (e.g., Katahzipuris [Hittite: Kamrusipas]: goddess of healing; Wurusemu: sun-goddess; Taru: storm-god; Telepinus: vegetation god) and Hurrian (e.g., Hebat and Teshub, identified by many with Wurusemu and Taru; Shaushka, identified with Ishtar [see Babylonians, Religion of the, 1]).
Prominent elements in Hittite religion included concepts of sin, magic, prophecy, divination, myth. EL
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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