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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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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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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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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

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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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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Sandra L. Olsen

Abstract

The Arabian Peninsula has served as a conduit for people leaving Africa for over a million years. During that time it has developed its own indigenous cultures, as well. The Neolithic was a time of Holocene climatic amelioration when bands of nomadic hunter-herders could have flowed relatively easily both directions. In this study, Neolithic rock art in Saudi Arabia is compared and contrasted with petroglyph localities across North and East Africa. Similarities are documented, but whether these reflect direct cultural connections or parallel economies and shared fauna is difficult to discern definitively. Aspects of the Neolithic life ways in western Arabia are reconstructed from the scenes depicted in the rich petroglyph localities of Jubbah, Shuwaymis, and Bi’r HIma.