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Scholarly monographs on the religious iconography of Manichaeism.
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In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
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Abstract

The article deals with a commentary on the Akkadian composition Marduk’s Address to the Demons from the city of Assur. The first part of the article discusses the unique religious view found in Marduk’s Address and its commentary, in which the āšipu priest is identified with the god Marduk. The second part presents a new philological edition of the commentary.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
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In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Abstract

This essay introduces new evidence for an eschatological Phoenician motif that alludes to a final sailing and its perils, represented by a monstrous lion attacking or sinking a boat. The lion-and-boat motif was, so far, only documented in a Phoenician funerary stela from late classical Athens, the Antipatros/Shem stela. Excavations at the fifth-century BCE Tartessic site of Casas del Turuñuelo in southwestern Spain has revealed a set of ivory and bone panels that decorated a wooden box, bearing relevant iconography in the so-called orientalizing style. Additional comparanda from the Levant, Iberia, and Tunisia in various media (coins, ivories, amulets), add weight to this interpretation. Our analysis highlights how the artists behind the Athenian and Tartessic artifacts were innovative in their way of representing a theme that was not codified iconographically. Most remarkable is the use of an ivory-carving convention (the Phoenician palmette motif) to portray the stylized boat, a choice corroborated by a painted pottery sherd from Olympia. This “palmette-boat” depiction, in our view, is coherent with Egyptian Nilotic boats, but also with the use of flat or shallow river-boats in the Tagus and Guadiana region, illustrating mechanisms of local adaptation of Phoenician sailing and life-death “passing” symbolism. If, as we suggest, this representation can be added to that in the Athenian document, we now have testimonies of two different local adaptations of a Phoenician theme at the two ends of the Mediterranean oikoumene between the archaic and late classical periods.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author:

Abstract

No myth about the origin of writing is known so far for Mesopotamia (only a legend). By applying the new Hylistic methodology for research into mythology, the first known myth of the creation of writing can be reconstructed. The myth we call Nissaba Creates Writing for the Sacred Song of Enlil narrates the creation of writing, which serves to immortalise the divine song at the very moment when the supreme god is creating it orally.

Results of this investigation bear important implications for two phenomena, concerning sacred texts and the origin of writing. (1) From an emic perspective, texts created by the gods turn out to be sacred, even numinous, in their conception. Further analysis of the subscript “Nissaba praise!” or of the subscript ka enim-ma, the latter properly understood as “wording of the divine words,” demonstrates that many Sumerian and Akkadian texts were indeed regarded as sacred texts. Ancient Mesopotamia thus proves to be a culture based on sacred texts. (2) The myth Nissaba Creates Writing for the Sacred Song of Enlil sheds new light on the origins of writing as perceived from the culture of the inventors of writing: the decisive function of the creation of writing was seen not in overcoming economic challenges, but in coping with ritual needs. Re-examining the historical evidence from this perspective opens up new possibilities for a cultural history of the origins of writing.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Abstract

Among the ritual practices denigrated through explicit or implicit criticism levied by the biblical writers is the worship of a deity or deities on the rooftops – sometimes of royal architecture, and at other times on private houses. In the present study I interpret this practice using concepts derived from the cognitive science of religion (CSR) and cognitive linguistics. I summarize previous typologies of objects employed in the sacrificial cult of the ancient Southern Levant, confirming prior arguments for understanding shaft-type limestone altars as stylized models of architectural precursors. From a cognitive perspective, these stylized architectural models prompted offrants to run a conceptual blend that replaced the modest small-scale vegetable or incense offering of the offrant’s small-scale input space with the more sumptuous small-scale offering – or even large-scale animal sacrifice – of the monumental-scale input. This cognitive explanation provides explanation for Deuteronomistic and Priestly attempts to limit the practice, and occasions insight into the temporal aspects of “sacred space.”

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author:

Abstract

This paper examines the depiction of the matriarch Leah in the Book of Jubilees. It argues that, through a careful rewriting of the Leah tradition found in the Book of Genesis, the author of Jubilees transforms Leah into the model wife, and in doing so provides a discursive reconfiguration of notions about idealised femininity. The silencing of Leah’s voice is central to the transformative rewriting through which the matriarch becomes the perfect wife and the embodiment of idealised femininity in Jubilees.

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In: Biblical Interpretation
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In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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Abstract

The term ‘intertextuality’ has been in use in biblical studies for over three decades. However, the study of the relationship of biblical elements (e.g. theme and pattern) in the ot and how it functions as a compositional framework in the nt seems to have gained less attention. This paper, thus, aims to investigate whether the temple cleansing-rebuilding tradition in the ot underlies John’s Gospel as a compositional framework by: (1) introducing the term ‘hyper-intertextuality’; (2) discussing the distinctive pericope of Jesus’ temple cleansing in John’s Gospel; and (3) formulating a comparative method adapted from Halliday’s sociolinguistic theory of context of situation as a heuristic tool.

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In: Biblical Interpretation