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Michael Shenkar

Winner of the the Roman and Tania Ghirshman Prize 2015 by the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. This prize was established in 1973 by the donation made by Roman Ghirshman, one of the prominent French archaeologists of Pre-Islamic Iran. It is awarded annually for a publication in the field of Pre-Islamic Iranian Studies.

In Intangible Spirits and Graven Images, Michael Shenkar investigates the perception of ancient Iranian deities and their representation in the Iranian cults. This ground-breaking study traces the evolution of the images of these deities, analyses the origin of their iconography, and evaluates their significance. Shenkar also explores the perception of anthropomorphism and aniconism in ancient Iranian religious imagery, with reference to the material evidence and the written sources, and reassesses the value of the Avestan and Middle Persian texts that are traditionally employed to illuminate Iranian religious imagery. In doing so, this book provides important new insights into the religion and culture of ancient Iran prior to the Islamic conquest.

The Making of Israel

Cultural Diversity in the Southern Levant and the Formation of Ethnic Identity in Deuteronomy

C.L. Crouch

In The Making of Israel C.L. Crouch presents the southern Levant during the seventh century BCE as a major period for the formation of Israelite ethnic identity, challenging scholarship which dates biblical texts with identity concerns to the exilic and post-exilic periods as well as scholarship which limits pre-exilic identity concerns to Josianic nationalism. The argument analyses the archaeological material from the southern Levant during Iron Age II, then draws on anthropological research to argue for an ethnic response to the economic, political and cultural change of this period. The volume concludes with an investigation into identity issues in Deuteronomy, highlighting centralisation and exclusive Yahwism as part of the deuteronomic formulation of Israelite ethnic identity.

Susa and Elam. Archaeological, Philological, Historical and Geographical Perspectives.

Proceedings of the International Congress held at Ghent University, December 14-17, 2009.

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Edited by Katrien De Graef and Jan Tavernier

In December 2009, an international congress was held at Ghent University in order to investigate, exactly 20 years after the 36th RAI “Mésopotamie et Elam”, the present state of our knowledge of the Elamite and Susean society from archaeological, philological, historical and geographical points of view. The multidisciplinary character of this congress illustrates the present state of research in the socio-economic, historical and political developments of the Suso-Elamite region from prehistoric times until the great Persian Empire. Because of its strategically important location between the Mesopotamian alluvial plain and the Iranian highlands and its particular interest as point of contact between civilizations, Susa and Elam were of utmost importance for the history of the ancient Near East in general.

Tombes D’Époque Parthe

Chantiers de la Ville des Artisans

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Remy Boucharlat and E. Haerinck

Among the hundred or so tombs of post-Alexander date excavated by Roman Ghirshman between 1947 and 1952 on the mound of the “Ville des Artisans” at Susa, six are remarkable for their construction and burial contents. Shortly before his death in 1979, Ghirshman, director of the French “Mission de Suse” from 1946 until 1968, had started to write up his final report. Based on his notes, the authors have engaged to publish these tombs, together with the original plans, drawings and photographs of the burial goods. The grave contents consisted mainly of pottery, but also included glass vessels, figurines, metal objects and other small finds. The study of the material from these large vaulted subterranean structures indicates that they were most likely intended as family tombs, thus remaining in use for several decades and should be dated in the first or second century AD. Similar tombs are known at other sites in the region of Susa, and even in Mesopotamia, e.g. at Seleucia on the Tigris. A synthesis of the evolution in tomb architecture and typology, as well as the burial practices, for the whole site of Susa between the Seleucid and early Sasanian periods (third century BC to third century AD), is also presented, based on the short reports and unpublished excavation notes of Ghirshman, in addition to unpublished reports by his predecessors at the site.

History of Biblical Israel

Major Problems and Minor Issues

Abraham Malamat

The history of Israel of the Bible remains one of the most hotly contested issues in scholarship of the Hebrew Bible today. One of the clearest voices in the debate is that of Abraham Malamat. In the pages Malamat distills years of writing on the history of Israel from its beginnings up to the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem (586 B.C.E.). Malamat divides his study into the following sections: (1) The Dawn of Israel; (2) Forming a Nation; (3) The Rise of the Davidic Dynasty; (4) Twilight of Judah and the Destruction of the First Temple; and (5) Historical Episodes in the Former Prophets and the Prophetical Books. All those interested in the emergence of Israel as a people and the rise of the story of Israel will find this an essential volume.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West (2 vols.)

From the Carolingians to the Maurists

Edited by Irena Backus

Patristic scholarship has arguably been neglected by historians until now. This two- volume reference work is intended to be a guide to some of the most important developments in the history of patristic scholarship from the Carolingians to the Benedictines of the Congregation of St. Maur. Twenty-three authors from Europe and North America address such questions as: What is meant by “The Fathers” in a given socio-cultural and doctinal context? How is the authority of the Fathers measured against that of Scripture? What types and amount of patristic material is available? What are the problems of attribution and of misattribution? How are the Fathers used in theological innovation and, conversely, in conservation of tradition(s)? Whether it be by an institution or an individual, how is patristic literature used overtly in a tendentious or polemical way?

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Early History of the Israelite People

from the Written and Archaeological Sources

Thompson

This is a groundbreaking book on the origins of Israel, taking into account the contexts of geography, anthropology, and sociology, and drawing on a careful analysis of archaeological and written evidence. Thompson argues that none of the traditional models for the origin of biblical Israel in terms of conquest, peaceful settlement, or revolution are viable. The ninth and eighth century BC State of Israel is a product of the Mediterranean economy. The development of the ethnic concept of biblical Israel finds its context in history first at the time of the Persian renaissance. The volume presents a clear historical context and an interpretative matrix for the Bible.

All those Nations

Cultural Encounters within and with the Near East

Edited by H.L.J. Vanstiphout

This collection of studies treats the theme of cultural (and other) confrontations between different groups (ethnic, or linguistic, or political, or religious…) within the Middle East, but also in some contributions, the types of confrontation between the West and the Middle East.

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Wilfred Watson and Nicolas Wyatt

Over the past seven decades, the scores of publications on Ugarit in Northern Syria (15th to 11th centuries BCE) are so scattered that a good overall view of the subject is virtually impossible. Wilfred Watson and Nicolas Wyatt, the editors of the present Handbook in the series Handbook of Oriental Studies, have brought together and made accessible this accumulated knowledge on the archives from Ugarit, called 'the foremost literary discovery of the twentieth century' by Cyrus Gordon.
In 16 chapters a careful selection of specialists in the field deal with all important aspects of Ugarit, such as the discovery and decipherment of a previously unknown script (alphabetic cuneiform) used to write both the local language (Ugaritic) and Hurrian and its grammar, vocabulary and style; documents in other languages (including Akkadian and Hittite), as well as the literature and letters, culture, economy, social life, religion, history and iconography of the ancient kingdom of Ugarit. A chapter on computer analysis of these documents concludes the work. This first such wide-ranging survey, which includes recent scholarship, an extensive up-to-date bibliography, illustrations and maps, will be of particular use to those studying the history, religion, cultures and languages of the ancient Near East, and also of the Bible and to all those interested in the background to Greek and Phoenician cultures.

Alexander the Great and Bactria

The Formation of a Greek Frontier in Central Asia

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Frank Holt

The creation of a Greek Frontier in Central Asia was one of the most famous and far-reaching achievements of Alexander the Great. Yet the process was shaped as much by the political traditions of the natives as by the cultural traditions of the newcomers. This book examines this key historical clash from both sides, and shows that the birth of Hellenistic Bactria was a traumatic one eliciting more bitterness than 'brotherhood'.
The book is composed of four major parts: Part I provides an introduction to both Bactrian and Alexander studies; Part II surveys the land and peoples of Central Asia prior to Alexander's 'conquest'; Part III covers the Graeco-Macedonian invasion and the effects of colonization; Part IV treats the aftermath, from the death of Alexander to the accession of Seleucus.