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Prayer in the Ancient World (PAW) is an innovative resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The over 350 entries in PAW showcase a robust selection of the range of different types of prayers attested from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant, early Judaism and Christianity, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Iran, enhanced by critical commentary.
The project illustrates the variety of ways human beings have sought to communicate with or influence beings with extraordinary superhuman power for millennia. By including diverse examples such as vows and oaths, blessings, curses, incantations, graffiti, iconography, and more, PAW casts a wide net. In so doing, PAW privileges no particular tradition or conception of how to interact with the divine; for example, the project refuses to perpetuate a value distinction between “prayer,” “magic,” and “cursing.”

Detailed overviews introduce each area and address key issues such as language and terminology, geographical distribution, materiality, orality, phenomenology of prayer, prayer and magic, blessings and curses, and ritual settings and ritual actors. In order to be as comprehensive as practically possible, the volume includes a representative prayer of every attested type from each tradition.

Individual entries include a wealth of information. Each begins with a list of essential details, including the source, region, date, occasion, type and function, performers, and materiality of the prayer. Next, after a concise summary and a brief synopsis of the main textual witnesses, a formal description calls attention to the exemplar’s literary and stylistic features, rhetorical structure, important motifs, and terminology. The occasions when the prayer was used and its function are analyzed, followed by a discussion of how this exemplar fits within the range of variation of this type of prayer practice, both synchronically and diachronically. Important features of the prayer relevant for cross-cultural comparison are foregrounded in the subsequent section. Following an up-to-date translation, a concise yet detailed commentary provides explanations necessary for understanding the prayer and its function. Finally, each entry concludes with a bibliography of essential primary and secondary resources for further study.
Author:
This study reframes and reorients the study of 2 Enoch, moving beyond debates about Christian or Jewish authorship and considering the work in the context of eclectic and erudite cultures in late antiquity, particularly Syria. The study compares the work with the Parables of Enoch and then with a variety of writings associated with late antique Syrian theology, demonstrating the distinctively eclectic character of 2 Enoch. It offers new paradigms for research into the pseudepigrapha.
With this analysis of Sol images, Steven E. Hijmans paints a new picture of the solar cult in ancient Rome. The paucity of literary evidence led Hijmans to prioritize visual sources, and he opens this study with a thorough discussion of the theoretical and methodological issues involved. Emphasizing the danger of facile equivalencies between visual and verbal meanings, his primary focus is Roman praxis, manifest in, for instance, the strict patterning of Sol imagery. These patterns encode core concepts that Sol imagery evoked when deployed, and in those concepts we recognize the bedrock of Rome’s understandings of the sun and his cult. Case studies illustrate these concepts in action and the final chapter analyzes the historical context in which previous, now discredited views on Sol could arise.
With this analysis of Sol images, Steven E. Hijmans paints a new picture of the solar cult in ancient Rome. The paucity of literary evidence led Hijmans to prioritize visual sources, and he opens this study with a thorough discussion of the theoretical and methodological issues involved. Emphasizing the danger of facile equivalencies between visual and verbal meanings, his primary focus is Roman praxis, manifest in, for instance, the strict patterning of Sol imagery. These patterns encode core concepts that Sol imagery evoked when deployed, and in those concepts we recognize the bedrock of Rome’s understandings of the sun and his cult. Case studies illustrate these concepts in action and the final chapter analyzes the historical context in which previous, now discredited views on Sol could arise.

This is part I of a two-part set.
With this analysis of Sol images, Steven E. Hijmans paints a new picture of the solar cult in ancient Rome. The paucity of literary evidence led Hijmans to prioritize visual sources, and he opens this study with a thorough discussion of the theoretical and methodological issues involved. Emphasizing the danger of facile equivalencies between visual and verbal meanings, his primary focus is Roman praxis, manifest in, for instance, the strict patterning of Sol imagery. These patterns encode core concepts that Sol imagery evoked when deployed, and in those concepts we recognize the bedrock of Rome’s understandings of the sun and his cult. Case studies illustrate these concepts in action and the final chapter analyzes the historical context in which previous, now discredited views on Sol could arise.

This is volume II of a two-volume set.
Scholarly monographs on the religious iconography of Mandaeism.
Restauration, sacrifice et naissance prophétique dans la Sīra d’Ibn Ishạq
Author:
This book aims to demonstrate that the accounts that feature Muḥammad’s grandfather in Ibn Isḥāq’s Sīra are the product of narrative engineering. Through a narrative sequence in which ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib is the hero, several intriguing episodes follow one another in a causal manner and lead to the birth of a future prophet. Articulated with a historical anthropology, the narrative analysis reveals that the Sīra is the heir to the royal literature of the ancient Near East. Using motifs and themes from the culture of the Fertile Crescent, the Sīra makes ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib a royal figure in the service of legitimising the Abbasid dynasty, heir par excellence to Ishmael and restorer of the Abrahamic covenant.

Cet ouvrage entend démontrer que les récits qui mettent en scène le grand-père de Muḥammad dans la Sīra d’Ibn Isḥāq sont le produit d’une ingénierie narrative. À travers une séquence narrative dont ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib est le héros, plusieurs épisodes intriguants s’enchainent d’une manière causale et aboutissent à la naissance d’un futur prophète. Articulée à une anthropologie historique, l’analyse narrative révèle que la Sīra est l’héritière de la littérature royale du Proche-Orient ancien. À partir de motifs et de thématiques issus de la culture du croissant fertile, la Sīra fait de ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib une figure royale au service de la légitimation de la dynastie abbasside, héritier par excellence d’Ismaël et restaurateur de l’alliance abrahamique.
In: Le Cycle de ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib
In: Le Cycle de ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib
In: Le Cycle de ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib