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Jennifer Andruska

For some time scholars have debated whether the Song of Songs has connections to the wisdom genre and how this changes our understanding of it. In Wise and Foolish Love in the Song of Songs, J.L. Andruska shows that the influence of the wisdom genre on the Song is pervasive, running throughout the book, and offers an entirely new understanding of the book’s wisdom message. She demonstrates that the Song has combined elements of the ancient Near Eastern love song and wisdom genres to produce a wisdom literature about romantic love, inspiring readers to pursue a particular type of love relationship, modelled by the lovers throughout the poem, and aiming to transform them, through character formation, into wise lovers themselves.
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Round Trip to Hades in the Eastern Mediterranean Tradition

Visits to the Underworld from Antiquity to Byzantium

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Edited by Gunnel Ekroth and Ingela Nilsson

Round Trip to Hades in the Eastern Mediterranean Tradition explores how the theme of visiting the Underworld and returning alive has been treated, transmitted and transformed in the ancient Greek and Byzantine traditions. The journey was usually a descent ( katabasis) into a dark and dull place, where forgetfulness and punishment reigned, but since ‘everyone’ was there, it was also a place that offered opportunities to meet people and socialize. Famous Classical round trips to Hades include those undertaken by Odysseus and Aeneas, but this pagan topic also caught the interest of Christian writers. The contributions of the present volume allow the reader to follow the passage from pagan to Christian representations of Hades–a passage that may seem surprisingly effortless.
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Lindsey A. Askin

In Scribal Culture in Ben Sira Lindsey A. Askin examines scribal culture as a framework for analysing features of textual referencing throughout the Book of Ben Sira (c.198-175 BCE), revealing new insights into how Ben Sira wrote his book of wisdom. Although the title of “scribe” is regularly applied to Ben Sira, this designation presents certain interpretive challenges. Through comparative analysis, Askin contextualizes the sage’s compositional style across historical, literary, and socio-cultural spheres of operation. New light is shed on Ben Sira’s text and early Jewish textual reuse. Drawing upon physical and material evidence of reading and writing, Askin reveals the dexterity and complexity of Ben Sira’s sustained textual reuse. Ben Sira’s achievement thus demonstrates exemplary, “excellent” writing to a receptive audience.
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Moving beyond deeply ingrained orientalist and postcolonial paradigms, this series provides a platform for cross-regional, multidisciplinary and longue durée approaches to the cultural history of the Mediterranean, one of the richest and most dynamic intercultural meeting places in the world. Cultural Interactions in the Mediterranean hosts edited volumes and monographs that focus on the connected histories of all those cultures that shaped their identities on both commonalities and differences with others in this region. These identities were negotiated through a variety of social media, such as public rituals and performances, diplomacy, warfare, codified law, literature and material culture, and were applied to a wide range of political, economic and religious goals. The chronological scope of this series ranges from prehistoric times to the present day.
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Janice P. De-Whyte

In Wom(b)an: A Cultural-Narrative Reading of the Hebrew Bible Barrenness Narratives Janice Pearl Ewurama De-Whyte offers a reading of the Hebrew Bible barrenness narratives. The original word “wom(b)an” visually underscores the centrality of a productive womb to female identity in the ANE and Hebrew contexts. Conversely, barrenness was the ultimate tragedy and shame of a woman. Utilizing Akan cultural custom as a lens through which to read the Hebrew barrenness tradition, De-Whyte uncovers another kind of barrenness within these narratives. Her term “social barrenness” depicts the various situations of childlessness that are generally unrecognized in western cultures due to the western biomedical definitions of infertility. Whether biological or social, barrenness was perceived to be the greatest threat to a woman’s identity and security as well as the continuity of the lineage. Wom(b)an examines these narratives in light of the cultural meanings of barrenness within traditional cultures, ancient and present.
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Early Islamic Law in Basra in The 2nd/8th Century

Aqwal Qatadah b. Da'amah al-Sadusi

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Edited by Abdulrahman al-Salimi

The manuscript of the Aqwāl Qatāda has repeatedly attracted particular interest among modern scholars, as it raises questions concerning the early development of the Ibāḍī Basran community and the emergence of Islamic jurisprudence in Iraq. It is a unique document because it attests to the existence of a scholarly link between Sunnīs and Ibāḍīs during the early development of Islamic law. The fact that the legal responsa and traditions of Qatāda b. Diʿāma al-Sadūsī (60/680-117/735) are part of an Ibāḍī collection, in which the traditions of Ibāḍī Imam Jābir b. Zayd (d. 93/ 711) have been transmitted through ʿAmr b. Harim and ʿAmr b. Dīnār, proves that the Ibāḍī lawyers of the first generations considered Qatāda to be a faithful upholder of Jābir's doctrine. Given the lack of material available for Jābir, instructions must have been given to collect whatever was transmitted through Qatāda. Qatāda's legal responsa must have corresponded to those of the first Ibāḍī authorities, which explains why the collator of the Aqwāl Qatāda (probably Abū Ghānim al-Khurāsānī) included them in an Ibāḍī manuscript. The present volume sheds light on the relationship between the Aqwāl Qatāda and Ibāḍī authorities such as al-Rabī, Abū Ubayda, and Jābir.
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Human Interaction with the Environment in the Red Sea

Selected Papers of Red Sea Project VI

Edited by Dionysius A. Agius, Emad Khalil, Eleanor Scerri and Alun Williams

This volume contains a selection of fourteen papers presented at the Red Sea VI conference held at Tabuk University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2013. It sheds light on many aspects related to the environmental and biological perspectives, history, archaeology and human culture of the Red Sea, opening the door to more interdisciplinary research in the region. It stimulates a new discourse on different human adaptations to, and interactions with, the environment.

With contributions by Andre Antunes, K. Christopher Beard, Ahmed Hussein, Emad Khalil, Solène Marion de Procé, Abdirachid Mohamed, Ania Kotarba-Morley, Sandra Olsen, Andrew Peacock, Eleanor Scerri, Pierre Schneider, Marijke Van Der Veen and Chiara Zazzaro.

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Edited by Mladen Popović, Myles Schoonover and Marijn Vandenberghe

The essays in this volume originate from the Third Qumran Institute Symposium held at the University of Groningen, December 2013. Taking the flexible concept of “cultural encounter” as a starting point, the essays in this volume bring together a panoply of approaches to the study of various cultural interactions between the people of ancient Israel, Judea, and Palestine and people from other parts of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world.

In order to study how cultural encounters shaped historical development, literary traditions, religious practice and political systems, the contributors employ a broad spectrum of theoretical positions (e.g., hybridity, métissage, frontier studies, postcolonialism, entangled histories and multilingualism), to interpret a diverse set of literary, documentary, archaeological, epigraphic, numismatic, and iconographic sources.
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Edited by Kathryn O. Weber, Emma Hite, Lori Khatchadourian and Adam T. Smith

Fitful Histories and Unruly Publics re-examines the relationship between Eurasia’s past and its present by interrogating the social construction of time and the archaeological production of culture. Traditionally, archaeological research in Eurasia has focused on assembling normative descriptions of monolithic cultures that endure for millennia, largely immune to the forces of historical change. The papers in this volume seek to document forces of difference and contestation in the past that were produced in the perceptible engagements of peoples, things, and places. The research gathered here convincingly demonstrates that these forces made social life in ancient Eurasia rather more fitful and its publics considerably more unruly than archaeological research has traditionally allowed.
Contributors are Mikheil Abramishvili, Paula N. Doumani Dupuy, Magnus Fiskesjö, Hilary Gopnik, Emma Hite, Jean-Luc Houle, Erik G. Johannesson, James A. Johnson, Lori Khatchadourian, Ian Lindsay, Maureen E. Marshall, Mitchell S. Rothman, Irina Shingiray, Adam T. Smith, Kathryn O. Weber and Xin Wu.
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Prophets, Gods and Kings in Sīrat Sayf ibn Dhī Yazan

An Intertextual Reading of an Egyptian Popular Epic

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Helen Blatherwick

This book is a literary, intertextual study of an Egyptian popular epic. In this innovative study, Helen Blatherwick investigates how various sources, including Islamic qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ (‘tales of the prophets’), Pharaonic, Graeco-Roman and Coptic Egyptian myths and narratives, and recensions of the Alexander Romance function as intertexts within Sīrat Sayf. Blatherwick argues that these intertexts are deployed as narrative devices which are readily recognisable to the story's audience, and that they are significant carriers of meaning and theme. Crucially, these intertexts also interact within Sīrat Sayf to bring a conceptual continuity to its discussion of kingship and society that stretches from this late-medieval epic back to ancient Egyptian narratives.