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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.
From the Books of Maccabees to the Babylonian Talmud
This volume offers a comprehensive discussion of all relevant sources concerning Jewish martyrdom in Antiquity. By viewing these narratives together, tracing their development and comparing them to other traditions, the authors seek to explore how Jewish is Jewish martyrdom? To this end, they analyse the impact of the changing social and religious-cultural circumstances and the interactions with Graeco-Roman and Christian traditions. This results in the identification of important continuities and discontinuities. Consequently, while political ideals that are prominent in 2 and 4 Maccabees are remarkably absent from rabbinic sources, the latter reveal a growing awareness of Christian motifs and discourse.
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity
In: Jewish Martyrdom in Antiquity