The Religion of the Nabataeans

A Conspectus


The history of the Nabataean Kingdom of Hellenistic-Roman times, centred on Petra, is now well known, but until the publication of this book, no monograph has been devoted to Nabataean religion, known to us principally from inscriptions in Nabataean Aramaic, iconography, archaeology and Greek literary texts.
After a critical survey of the sources, the author analyses systematically the information on the individual gods worshipped by the Nabataeans, including a detailed illustrated account of temples and iconography. A further major section discusses religious themes: aniconism, henotheism, death-cult and the divinisation of kings. In a final chapter, Nabataean religion is considered in relation to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The book will be of particular interest to historians of religion in the Graeco-Roman Near East and to Semitic epigraphists.

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John F. Healey, Ph.D. (1977), SOAS, University of London, is Professor of Semitic Studies at the University of Manchester. He has published extensively on Ugaritic and Aramaic Studies. His publications include The Nabataean Tomb Inscriptions of Mada'in Salih (Oxford, 1993) and, with H. J. W. Drijvers, The Old Syriac Inscriptions of Edessa and Osrhoene (Leiden, 1999).
'Healy, has composed a well-organized synopsis of what has been wirtten about Nabatean religion so far.
Lucinda Dirven, Bibliotheca Orientalis, 2002.

This welcome study finally fills a gap by supplying for the first time a monograph devoted to the Nabataean religion.
L.L. Grabbe, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 2002.

The book under review is compulsory (and rewarding) reading for everyone involved, or thinking of becoming involved, in the study of the Nabateans, or of the Pre-islamic Arabs in general, or even more generally, of 'dead' or 'semi-dead' religions. - E.A. Knauf, Orientalistische Literaturzeigung 103, 2008
Those interested in Semitic religion in the Greco-Roman Middle East and pre-Islamic northern Arabia and in Semitic epigraphy (especially Nabataean Aramaic epigraphy).
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