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In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author: Christian Zgoll

Abstract

The present paper deals with the controversially discussed relationships between the gods Alalu, Anu, Kumarbi, and Tarḫunnaš in the Hittite Song of Going Forth (CTH 344). On the basis of a new philological analysis, of comparisons with theogonies or succession myths in other ancient cultures and on the background of considerations on the cross-cultural stratification of various mythical traditions in the surviving Hittite text, various proposals on the genealogical relationship of the deities in question are weighed against each other and reasons are presented for the plausibility of the proposed new translation and general reconstruction that the divine kingship always passes from father to son within a single genealogical line.

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

Abstract

The article treats the value of economic generosity (usātu) in the Babylonian Dialogue of Pessimism and compares it to almsgiving in the biblical book of Sirach. It attempts to resolve a longstanding obscurity: whether usātu is placed in Marduk’s “ring” (kippatu) or “basket” (qappatu). External evidence suggests that, while both readings have support and a similar theological significance, the reading “basket” (qappatu) is preferable and should be related to the temple quppu, “cash box,” used for collecting donations. The article then addresses the relevance of mortality to the Dialogue’s discussion of doing usātu. Appeal to other Akkadian wisdom literature suggests that doing usātu was connected with a reward of extra life. An analysis of the theological structure of usātu in the Dialogue and Akkadian wisdom literature leads to a comparison with the theology of almsgiving and the heavenly treasury in Ben Sira and other Second Temple Jewish literature.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Abstract

Divine epithets are short nouns, adjectives, and participles which are in apposition to the actual name of a deity or which even replace it. Since incantations and incantation-prayers must be effective, they are enhanced by a variety of strategies. Divine epithets can be understood as strategies used to improve the effectiveness of ritual speeches. They evoke divine qualities that are relevant for a particular context and allow for a more effective interaction with the deities. Divine epithets may also refer to successful mythical deeds of the gods which provide positive analogies for the present situation and, therefore, guarantee the achievement of the supplicant’s request.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author: Kerry M. Sonia

Abstract

The cross-cultural connection between ceramic production and the creation of humans in the ancient Near East offers a new lens through which to examine biblical discourse about procreation and subject formation. The physical properties of clay make it an effective discursive tool in ancient Near Eastern texts, including the Hebrew Bible, for conceptualizing the processes that form and shape the human. Adopting a materialist approach, this article argues that biblical writers are not simply thinking about clay in relation to procreation and subject formation, but are thinking with it – that the raw materials, technologies, and objects of ceramic production helped to generate the ideologies and ritual processes that shape the human from gestation to birth and into early childhood. Material culture from ancient Israel supports this assessment. The manufacture of Judean Pillar Figurines out of clay and their apparent association with childbirth and the nurture of young children further suggest the prevalence of the ceramic paradigm in ancient religious ideology and ritual.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Free access
In: Vigiliae Christianae
In: Vigiliae Christianae

Abstract

The controversial account of Jesus in Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities 18.63–64, known as the Testimonium Flavianum, has puzzling similarities to Luke 24.18–24, a portion of the Emmaus narrative. This article proposes an explanation based on established research into Josephus’s methods of composition. Through a phrase-by-phrase study, this article finds that the Testimonium can be derived from the Emmaus narrative using transformations Josephus is demonstrated to have employed in paraphrasing known sources for the Antiquities. Precedents are identified in word adoption/substitution and content modification. Consequently, I submit that the Testimonium is Josephus’s paraphrase of a Christian source. This result also resolves the difficulties that have raised doubts about the Testimonium’s authenticity, with implications for the understanding of the historical Jesus.

Open Access
In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

(article written together with Joonas Maristo): The article discusses an Arabic tradition about a hairdresser and her children in the Pharaoh’s court, arguing that the narrative belongs to the martyrological tradition about “the mother and her seven sons,” popular in Christian and rabbinic literature in late antiquity. Specific to this Arabic and Muslim literary context, the mother is a hairdresser, and the story reaches the Prophet Muhammad through a beautiful fragrance on his nocturnal journey. Stories that have travelled, been transmitted, told, and retold in the oral and literary corpora of the three Abrahamic faiths are significant examples of what the article terms “the Jewish-Christian-Muslim contact zone” of shared traditions in late antiquity and the medieval era.

In: Religious Identities in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
In: Religious Identities in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages