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Series:

Tzvi Abusch

Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures, religions, and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is the large corpus of magical and medical texts directed against witchcraft. The most important of these texts is the Akkadian series Maqlû (“Burning”).

This volume offers a collection of studies on Mesopotamian witchcraft and Maqlû written subsequent to the appearance of the author’s 2002 collection of studies on witchcraft (Brill, 2002). Many of the studies reprinted here take a diachronic approach to individual incantations and rituals and attempt to solve textual difficulties using literary-critical and/or text-critical approaches.

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Rebekah Welton

In ‘He is a Glutton and a Drunkard’: Deviant Consumption in the Hebrew Bible Rebekah Welton uses interdisciplinary approaches to explore the social and ritual roles of food and alcohol in Late Bronze Age to Persian-period Syro-Palestine (1550 BCE–400 BCE). This contextual backdrop throws into relief episodes of consumption deemed to be excessive or deviant by biblical writers. Welton emphasises the social networks of the household in which food was entangled, arguing that household animals and ritual foodstuffs were social agents, challenging traditional understandings of sacrifice. For the first time, the accusation of being a ‘glutton and a drunkard’ (Deut 21:18-21) is convincingly re-interpreted in its alimentary and socio-ritual contexts.

Hrozný and Hittite

The First Hundred Years

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Edited by Ronald I. Kim, Jana Mynářová and Peter Pavúk

This volume collects 33 papers that were presented at the international conference held at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in November 2015 to celebrate the centenary of Bedřich Hrozný’s identification of Hittite as an Indo-European language. Contributions are grouped into three sections, “Hrozný and His Discoveries,” “Hittite and Indo-European,” and “The Hittites and Their Neighbors,” and span the full range of Hittite studies and related disciplines, from Anatolian and Indo-European linguistics and cuneiform philology to Ancient Near Eastern archaeology, history, and religion. The authors hail from 15 countries and include leading figures as well as emerging scholars in the fields of Hittitology, Indo-European, and Ancient Near Eastern studies.

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Greta Van Buylaere and Mikko Luukko

Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is a large body of magical and medical texts written in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. An especially significant branch of this literature centres upon witchcraft. Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations attribute ill-health and misfortune to the magic machinations of witches and prescribe ceremonies, devices, and treatments for dispelling witchcraft, destroying the witch, and protecting and curing the patient. The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals aims to present a reconstruction of this body of texts; it provides critical editions of the relevant rituals and prescriptions based on the study of the cuneiform tablets and fragments recovered from the libraries of ancient Mesopotamia.

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Tzvi Abusch, Daniel Schwemer, Mikko Luukko and Greta Van Buylaere

Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is a large body of magical and medical texts written in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. An especially significant branch of this literature centers upon witchcraft. Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations attribute ill-health and misfortune to the magic machinations of witches and prescribe ceremonies, devices, and treatments for dispelling witchcraft, destroying the witch, and protecting and curing the patient. The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals aims to present a reconstruction of this body of texts; it provides critical editions of the relevant rituals and prescriptions based on the study of the cuneiform tablets and fragments recovered from the libraries of ancient Mesopotamia.

Judeans in Babylonia

A Study of Deportees in the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BCE

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Tero Alstola

In Judeans in Babylonia, Tero Alstola presents a comprehensive investigation of deportees in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. By using cuneiform documents as his sources, he offers the first book-length social historical study of the Babylonian Exile, commonly regarded as a pivotal period in the development of Judaism.
The results are considered in the light of the wider Babylonian society and contrasted against a comparison group of Neirabian deportees. Studying texts from the cities and countryside and tracking developments over time, Alstola shows that there was notable diversity in the Judeans’ socio-economic status and integration into Babylonian society.

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Laurent Bricault

In Isis Pelagia: Images, Names and Cults of a Goddess of the Seas, Laurent Bricault, one of the principal scholars of the cults of Isis, presents a new interpretation of the multiple sources that present Isis as a goddess of the seas. Bricault discusses a wealth of relatively unknown archaeological and textual data, drawing on a profound knowledge of their historical context.

After decades of scholarly study, Bricault offers an important contribution and a new phase in the debate on understanding the “diffusion” as well as the “reception” of the cults of Isis in the Graeco-Roman world. This book, the first English-language monograph by the leading French scholar in the field, underlines the importance of Isis Studies for broader debates in the study of ancient religion.

Piotr Steinkeller

Abstract

This article offers an overview of the early Babylonian priesthood, as it was organized and operated during the third millennium BCE. It is emphasized that the priests and priestesses proper, i.e., individuals who were specifically concerned with cultic matters, represented a relatively small segment of the employees of temple households. Much more numerous within these institutions (which might more appropriately be termed “temple communities”) were the individuals whose roles were of either administrative or economic character. Focusing on the administrators of temple households, and identifying them as “Managerial Class,” the article argues that, during Pre-Sargonic times, this social group wielded great economic and political power, which at times even exceeded that of the emerging secular leaders (such as ensiks and lugals). To demonstrate this point, an interaction between these two competing centers of powers (particularly in the city-state of Lagaš) is studied in detail.

In memory of Itamar Singer

Michael Jursa and Shai Gordin

Louise Quillien

Abstract

Through a study of Babylonian priestly clothing, one can see the social role and attitudes of priests in Babylonian cities, not only when they worship deities, but also in their daily lives. Information on priests’ clothing is rare in cuneiform texts. A Hellenistic ritual from Uruk gives interesting insights that one can compare with the data from the daily records from the Neo-Babylonian period. It appears that outside the temple, the priests wore “civil” clothes. Religious garments were kept in particular rooms of the temples, and their terminology is archaic and similar to the garments of the gods. During worship, each category of priest had its own specific dress identifying its status and its role in the rituals. These garments were sometimes adorned with motifs representing celestial symbols or protective deities.

Shana Zaia

Abstract

Despite a relative dearth of information in the surviving corpus about Assyrian priests’ more routine concerns, the Assyrian state correspondence contains some details that can improve our knowledge of priests’ daily lives, rights, and responsibilities. Using four case studies, this paper analyzes situations in which priests are accused of misconduct or crimes to better understand the powers and expectations of individual priestly offices as well as the realities of everyday life that might have rendered these boundaries more flexible or surmountable. These cases of irregularities reveal that cultic personnel had distinct economic, legal, and judicial roles and were sometimes able to extend their powers when necessary to manage issues such as crime and shortages in resources, only requesting royal intervention as a last resort.

Wiebke Meinhold

Abstract

Office holders in Babylonian temples were provided with an income, a prebend, by the temples in return for their services. In the Old Babylonian period these prebendaries do not occur in ritual texts but are well attested in legal documents. The extensive evidence from Old Babylonian Nippur gives a rough impression of the tasks of these prebendaries and of their remuneration. Moreover, it sheds light on prebend-related economic transactions including inheritance, exchange, and purchase. The development of prebend prices, their suitability for financial investments, their appearance in inheritance divisions and the possession of prebends by women are also addressed.

Dominique Charpin

Abstract

Thirty-two years after the publication of Le Clergé d’Ur au siècle d’Hammurabi (1986), a reappraisal of the situation is made possible by collations of already known texts, and by new tablets provided by the resumption of excavations on the site of Tell Muqayyer. The question of the estate properties within the city of Ur will first be examined: generally, the members of the clergy owned the houses they inhabited, which were not the property of the temple of the Moon-god Nanna. Then the evidence about the specific situation of the purification priests devoted to the god Enki-of-Eridu will be studied: the older data are supplemented by new ones discovered in 2017 in a house occupied by a Babylonian general. Finally, the level of literacy of the clergy and the role they played in education will be examined; here again, the 2017 season provides new evidence thanks to the discovery of a house inhabited by an intendant of the temple of the goddess Ningal.

Paul-Alain Beaulieu

Abstract

This article surveys the Babylonian evidence from inter-city migration of priests and their families. The phenomenon is already attested during the Old Babylonian period and there are some indications that it continued under Kassite rule. However, most of the evidence comes from temple archives of the first millennium and is heavily concentrated during the long sixth century (ca. 626–484 BC). Although many studies have identified specific cases of priestly migrations, the phenomenon has not yet been assessed in its entirety. The article concludes that such migrations were far more common than previously thought. They were motivated primarily by political reasons such as imposing the cult of official deities in local sanctuaries, or the need to maintain a memory landscape of venerable cult centers.

Michael Jursa and Shai Gordin

Abstract

The paper is constructed around a short micro-historical portrait of a priestly family active in Uruk in the sixth century BCE. This introduces two interrelated issues that the paper will subsequently discuss with a view towards a contextualization of the family in question: the interaction between the Neo-Babylonian state and priests outside the capital city, and the drive towards inter-temple interaction and standardization of procedures based on the model of Esangila, the Marduk temple in the capital.

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Jonathan E Soyars

In The Shepherd of Hermas and the Pauline Legacy, Jonathan E. Soyars traces the influence of Pauline literary traditions upon one of the most widely attested and influential apocalyptic texts from early Christianity. Scholarship largely considers Hermas to have known very little about Pauline letters, but by looking beyond verbatim quotations Soyars discovers extensive evidence of his adoption, adaptation, and synthesis of identifiable Pauline material in the Visions, Mandates, and Similitudes sections. Hermas emerges as a Pauline interpreter who creatively engages topics and themes developed within and across the Pauline letters through time. These results reconnect the Shepherd with early Paulinism and extend reconstructions of the sphere of Pauline influence in the second century C.E.

Edited by Howard N. Wallace

Concepts in Middle Kingdom Funerary Culture

Proceedings of the Lady Wallis Budge Anniversary Symposium Held at Christ’s College, Cambridge, 22 January 2016

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Edited by Rune Nyord

Concepts in Middle Kingdom Funerary Culture presents a collection of archaeological and philological papers discussing how ancient Egyptians thought, and modern scholars may think, about Egyptian funerary practices of the early 2nd millennium BCE.
Targeting the concepts used by modern scholars, the papers address both general methodological questions of how concepts should be developed and used and more specific ones about the history and presuppositions behind particular Egyptological concepts. In so doing, the volume brings to the fore occasionally problematic intellectual baggage that have hindered understanding, as well highlighting new promising avenues of research in ancient Egyptian funerary culture in the Middle Kingdom and more broadly.

An Adversary in Heaven

śātān in the Hebrew Bible

Edited by Peggy L. Day

Sacrifices and Offerings in Ancient Israel

Studies in Their Social and Political Importance

Edited by Gary A. Anderson

Edited by Richard Elliot Friedman

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Jean-Jacques Glassner

Le devin historien en Mesopotamie is a combined study of divination and historiography. More than mere custodians of historical memory, diviners approached omens as written signs and developed a sophisticated semiology to recognize and order them. Diviners perceived omens as potentially rich in various meanings and cultivated an elaborate hermeneutic for working these out using hypothetical and inductive reasoning. Even if omens were removed from the recorded facts, diviners endowed them with a wide range of possibilities. Divination sought to establish links among historical, cosmic, and natural events because it investigated at once the past, present, and future. The first study of its kind since 1946, when only about 60 historical omens were known, this work presents 385 in a comprehensive edition.

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Yasmina Wicks

Recent scholarship has begun to unveil the culturally rich and dynamic landscape of southwest Iran during the first half of the first millennium BCE (aka the Neo-Elamite period) and its significance as the incubation ground for the Persian Empire. In Profiling Death. Neo-Elamite Mortuary Practices, Afterlife Beliefs, and Entanglements with Ancestors, Yasmina Wicks continues the investigation of this critical epoch from the perspective of the mortuary record, bringing forth fascinating clues as to the ritual practices, beliefs, social structures and individual identities of Elam’s lowland and highland inhabitants. Enmeshed with its neighbours, yet in many ways culturally distinct, Elam receives its due treatment here as a core component of the ancient Near East.

Nadav Na’aman

Abstract

The article discusses the date and cultural background of the Elisha and Naaman story (2 Kings 5). It first analyses the story and emphasizes the difference in its presentation of the prophet and the way he operates vis-à-vis all other stories in the Elisha story-cycle. It then analyses Naaman’s request to carry soil from the Land of Israel in order to erect an altar for Yhwh in Damascus (5:17) and brings evidence that the transportation of earth from one sacred place to another was known in Mesopotamia from the late second millennium BCE onward. In light of all the available evidence, it suggests that the story is not part of Elisha’s original story-cycle; rather, it illuminates the shift of ideas about the prophet, his prophecy, and the land of Israel in the transition from the monarchical to the early post-exilic period.

Jacques van der Vliet

Abstract

A reedition and analysis of a late (ca. 10th–11th cent.) Coptic magical charm found at Saqqara. The commentary links the charm to pre-Christian models and discusses the possible modes of transmission of traditional ritual knowledge in Christian Egypt.

Collin Cornell

Abstract

In spite of renewed scholarly interest in the religion of Judeans living on the island of Elephantine during the Persian period, only one recent study has addressed the religious significance of the fired clay female figurines discovered there. The present article seeks to place these objects back on the research agenda. After summarizing the history of research, it also makes a new appraisal of the role of these objects in the religious life of Elephantine Judeans. Two factors prompt this reevaluation: first, newly found examples of the same figurine types; and second, Bob Becking’s recent research on Elephantine Aramaic texts attesting the phenomenon of “lending deities.”

M. Victoria Almansa-Villatoro

Abstract

This article sets out to address questions concerning local religious traditions in ancient Nubia. Data concerning Egyptian gods in the Sudan are introduced, then the existence of unattested local pre-Meroitic gods is reconstructed using mainly external literary sources and an analysis of divine names. A review of other archaeological evidence from an iconographic point of view is also attempted, concluding with the presentation of Meroitic gods and their relation with earlier traditions. This study proposes that Egyptian religious beliefs were well integrated in both official and popular cults in Nubia. The Egyptian and the Sudanese cultures were constantly in contact in the border area and this nexus eased the transmission of traditions and iconographical elements in a bidirectional way. The Meroitic gods are directly reminiscent of the reconstructed indigenous Kushite pantheon in many aspects, and this fact attests to an attempt by the Meroitic rulers to recover their Nubian cultural identity.

The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus

The Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom

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Christian H. Bull

In The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus, Christian H. Bull argues that the treatises attributed to Hermes Trismegistus reflect the spiritual exercises and ritual practices of loosely organized brotherhoods in Egypt. These small groups were directed by Egyptian priests educated in the traditional lore of the temples, but also conversant with Greek philosophy. Such priests, who were increasingly dispossessed with the gradual demise of the Egyptian temples, could find eager adherents among a Greek-speaking audience seeking for the wisdom of the Egyptian Hermes, who was widely considered to be an important source for the philosophies of Pythagoras and Plato. The volume contains a comprehensive analysis of the myths of Hermes Trismegistus, a reevaluation of the Way of Hermes, and a contextualization of this ritual tradition.

The Book of Jeremiah

Composition, Reception, and Interpretation

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Edited by Jack Lundbom, Craig A. Evans and Bradford Anderson

Written by leading experts in the field, The Book of Jeremiah: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation offers a wide-ranging treatment of the main aspects of Jeremiah. Its twenty-four essays fall under four main sections. The first section contains studies of a more general nature, and helps situate Jeremiah in the scribal culture of the ancient world, as well as in relation to the Torah and the Hebrew Prophets. The second section contains commentary on and interpretation of specific passages (or sections) of Jeremiah, as well as essays on its genres and themes. The third section contains essays on the textual history and reception of Jeremiah in Judaism and Christianity. The final section explores various theological aspects of the book of Jeremiah.

Aramaic Magic Bowls in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin

Descriptive List and Edition of Selected Texts

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Siam Bhayro, James Nathan Ford, Dan Levene and Ortal-Paz Saar

The collection of Aramaic magic bowls and related objects in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin is one of the most important in the world. This book presents a description of each object and its contents, including details of users and other names, biblical quotations, parallel texts, and linguistic features. Combined with the detailed indices, the present volume makes the Berlin collection accessible for further research. Furthermore, sixteen texts, which are representative of the whole collection, are edited. This book results from an impressive collaboration between Siam Bhayro, James Nathan Ford, Dan Levene, and Ortal-Paz Saar, with further contributions by Matthew Morgenstern, Marco Moriggi, and Naama Vilozny, and will be of interest for all those engaged in the study of these fascinating objects.

"The presentation, transcriptions, translations, and commentaries are excellent examples of the finest scholarship from some of the leading scholars in the study of ancient Aramaic and its dialects.... The manuscript and the bowls it introduces should be eagerly received and examined by graduate students and scholars of the Hebrew Bible, esoteric traditions of later antiquity (like the seals of Solomon, demonology, etc.), and the historical development of Aramaic." - Peter T. Lanfer, Occidental College, in: Review of Biblical Literature 8 (2019)

The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani

Part III: Pages 343-442 (Chapters 321-347)

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Iain Gardner, Jason D. Beduhn and Paul Dilley

The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani, a Coptic papyrus codex preserved at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, describes Mani’s mission, teachings and debates with sages in the courts of the Sasanian empire during the reign of Shapur I; with an extended account of his last days and death under Bahram I. The text offers an unprecedented new source for the history of religions in Late Antiquity, including interactions of Manichaean, Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions in Iran, remarkably transmitted into the Mediterranean world as part of Manichaean missionary literature. This is the first of four fascicles constituting the editio princeps, based on enhanced digital and multispectral imaging and extended autoptic study of the manuscript.

Brett Maiden

Abstract

This paper examines the demons Pazuzu and Lamaštu from a cognitive science perspective. As hybrid creatures, the iconography of these demons combines an array of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic properties, and is therefore marked by a high degree of conceptual complexity. In a technical sense, they are what cognitive researchers refer to as radically “counterintuitive” representations. However, highly complex religious concepts are difficult in terms of cognitive processing, memory, and transmission, and, as a result, are prone to being spontaneously simplified in structure. Accordingly, there is reason to expect that the material images of Pazuzu and Lamaštu differed from the corresponding mental images of these demons. Specifically, it is argued here that in ancient cognition and memory, the demons would have been represented in a more cognitively optimal manner. This hypothesis is further supported by a detailed consideration of the full repertoire of iconographic and textual sources.

Uri Gabbay

Abstract

The article deals with the theology of the lilis kettledrum, used to accompany prayers in ancient Mesopotamian temple cult. The article analyzes the ritual in which the head of the kettledrum was covered with the hide of a bull and the ancient commentary on this ritual, showing that the ancient understanding of this ritual was that it reflected the primordial battle between the gods Enlil and Enmešara over the rule of the universe. The article connects this myth to other mythical episodes, such as the myths of the Bull of Heaven, Anzu, and Atra-ḫasīs. The analysis of these materials leads to the conclusion that the playing of the kettledrum during the performance of ancient Mesopotamian prayers symbolized the beating heart of the deities to whom the prayers were addressed.

Julia Krul

Abstract

After 484 BC, several deities were (re)introduced into the pantheon of Uruk—most importantly the city’s new patron deity, the sky god Anu, but also the netherworld goddess Bēlet-ṣēri (“Lady of the Steppe”). In this article, I investigate the possible reasons behind the introduction of Bēlet-ṣēri’s cult at Uruk and the role ascribed to her by local worshipers. Using literary compositions, ritual texts, and legal documents, I trace the historical development of Bēlet-ṣēri’s divine characteristics, reconstruct her daily worship at Uruk, and examine the socioeconomic status of Urukean individuals bearing a “Bēlet-ṣēri-name.” I conclude that Bēlet-ṣēri was especially popular among non-elite citizens, probably because she could intercede with the queen of the netherworld, Ereškigal, for the lives of her followers and their families.

Sources of Evil

Studies in Mesopotamian Exorcistic Lore

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Edited by Greta Van Buylaere, Mikko Luukko, Daniel Schwemer and Avigail Mertens-Wagschal

Sources of Evil: Studies in Mesopotamian Exorcistic Lore is a collection of thirteen essays on the body of knowledge employed by ancient Near Eastern healing experts, most prominently the ‘exorcist’ and the ‘physician’, to help patients who were suffering from misfortunes caused by divine anger, transgressions of taboos, demons, witches, or other sources of evil. The volume provides new insights into the two most important catalogues of Mesopotamian therapeutic lore, the Exorcist’s Manual and the Aššur Medical Catalogue, and contains discussions of agents of evil and causes of illness, ways of repelling evil and treating patients, the interpretation of natural phenomena in the context of exorcistic lore, and a description of the symbolic cosmos with its divine and demonic inhabitants.

"The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts"

Essays on Assyriology and the History of Science in Honor of Francesca Rochberg

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Edited by C. Jay Crisostomo, Eduardo A. Escobar, Terri Tanaka and Niek Veldhuis

Francesca Rochberg has for more than thirty-five years been a leading figure in the study of ancient science. Her foundational insights on the concepts of “science,” “canon,” “celestial divination,” “knowledge,” “gods,” and “nature” in cuneiform cultures have demanded continual contemplation on the tenets and assumptions that underlie the fields of Assyriology and the History of Science.

“The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts” honors this luminary with twenty essays, each reflecting on aspects of her work. Following an initial appraisal of ancient “science” by Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, the contributions in the first half explore practices of knowledge in Assyriological sources. The second half of the volume focuses specifically on astronomical and astrological spheres of knowledge in the Ancient Mediterranean.

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Julia Krul

In The Revival of the Anu Cult and the Nocturnal Fire Ceremony at Late Babylonian Uruk, Julia Krul offers a comprehensive study of the rise of the sky god Anu as patron deity of Uruk in the Late Babylonian period (ca. 480-100 B.C.). She reconstructs the historical development of the Anu cult, its underlying theology, and its daily rites of worship, with a particular focus on the yearly nocturnal fire ceremony at the Anu temple, the Bīt Rēš.

Providing the first in-depth analysis of the ceremony, Julia Krul convincingly identifies it as a seasonal renewal festival with an important exorcistic component, but also as a reinforcement of local hierarchical relationships and the elite status of the Anu priesthood.

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Edited by Mark Beaumont

Arab Christians and the Qurʾan from the Origins of Islam to the Medieval Period is a collection of essays on the use and interpretation of the Qur’an by Christians writing in Arabic in the period of Islamic rule in the Middle East up to the end of the thirteenth century. These essays originated in the seventh Woodbrooke-Mingana Symposium on Arab Christianity held in Birmingham, UK, in 2013, and are edited by Mark Beaumont.

Contributors are: David Bertaina, Sidney Griffith, Sandra Keating, Michael Kuhn, Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Gordon Nickel, Emilio Platti and David Thomas

Re-Imagining Abraham

A Re-Assessment of the Influence of Deuteronomism in Genesis

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Megan Warner

In Re-Imagining Abraham: A Re-Assessment of the Influence of Deuteronomism in Genesis Megan Warner revisits the tradition that Genesis was edited by editors sympathetic to the theology of the Deuteronomist. On the basis of close, contextual readings of the four passages most commonly attributed to (semi-)Deuteronomistic hands, Warner argues that editorial use of Deuteronomistic language and themes points not to a sympathy with Deuteronomistic theology but rather to a sustained project to review and even subvert that theology. Warner’s ‘re-imagining’ of Abraham demonstrates how Israel’s forebear was ‘re-imagined’ in the post-exilic context for the purpose of offering the returning exiles a way forward at a time when all the old certainties, and even continued relationship with Yahweh, seemed lost.

Ali Shariati and the Future of Social Theory

Religion, Revolution, and the Role of the Intellectual

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Edited by Dustin J. Byrd and Seyed Javad Miri

In Ali Shariati and the Future of Social Theory: Religion, Revolution and the Role of the Intellectual, Dustin J. Byrd and Seyed Javad Miri bring together a collections of essays by a variety of scholars who explore the lasting influence of the Iranian sociologist and revolutionary, Ali Shariati. Thought to be the most important intellectual behind the Iranian Revolution of 1979, these essays engage in a future-oriented remembrance of Shariati’s life and praxis, with the practical attempt to clarify, expand, and apply his liberational Islamic thought to modern conditions. Making use of Shariati’s writings on Shi’a Islam and western philosophy, this text is especially important for those who want to understand the role that intellectuals, both religious and secular, can have in the liberation of mankind.

Contributors are: Mahdi Ahouie, Bader Mousa al-Saif, Sophia Rose Arjana, M. Kürad Atalar, Dustin J. Byrd, Eric Goodfield, Teo Lee Ken, Georg Leube, Seyed Javad Miri, Carimo Mohomed, Chandra Muzaffar, Khosrow Bagheri Noaparast, Fatemeh Shayan, and Esmaeil Zeiny.

Kristine Garroway

Abstract

The current scholarly milieu has placed great interest in the topics of children and family household religion of ancient Israel; however, scholarship exploring the intersection of the two has not yet been undertaken. This article draws attention to children as vital participants in that domestic cult. Using theories of socialization and enculturation, the article explores how ancient Israelite children interact with the religion that surrounded them daily. This child-centered approach examines textual, archaeological, and ethnographical data and concludes that the process of enculturating ancient Israelite children with household religion produced children who were both passive and active participants in the domestic cult. In doing so, the article informs our knowledge of family household religion, while at the same time expanding our understanding of a child’s role within the Israelite household.

M. Richey

Abstract

In an arrival formula that recurs throughout the Ugaritic epics Baˁlu and ˀAqhatu, the dwelling of the chief god, ˀIlu, is described as encompassing, among other things, a {dd}. Scholars have understood this term in various ways, chiefly as “field,” “mountain,” and “defense.” I argue that the etymological rationales grounding the first two semantic analyses are unsound, and that the case for the third understanding, by far the least commonly adopted, can be strengthened by observing a Sabaic cognate that occurs together with terms for land holdings. On these grounds, I offer the English translation “pasture” as the best approximation of the semantics of Ugaritic {dd}. This situates ˀIlu as a tent-dwelling pastoralist, for which there are suggestive parallels elsewhere in West Semitic texts, including the Hebrew Bible.

Shalom E. Holtz

Abstract

In the Akkadian anti-witchcraft ritual Maqlû, the incantation in i.73–121 exemplifies the theme of conducting adjudicatory proceedings against the witch in the divine courtroom. In particular, the patient’s presentation of the witch in effigy and the demand for judgment accord well with similar features attested in Neo-Babylonian trial records. Study of the incantation in light of these court records reveals the incantation’s attention to the details of legal procedure.

Alexander Fantalkin

Abstract

The article puts forward a new hypothesis concerning the origin of the goddess of Ekron, mentioned in Ekron’s royal dedicatory inscription from the early 7th century bce. Contrary to a widely held view, it is suggested that the origin of the Philistine Goddess of Ekron should not be sought in the Aegean world but rather in northern Syria.

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Edited by Louis Jonker, Gideon Kotzé and Christl M. Maier

This volume presents the main lectures of the 22nd Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT) held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in September 2016. Sixteen internationally distinguished scholars present their current research on the Hebrew Bible, including the literary history of the Hebrew text, its Greek translation and history of interpretation. Some focus on archeological and iconographic sources and the reconstruction of ancient Israelite religion while others discuss the formation of the biblical text and its impact for cultural memory. The volume gives readers a representative view of the most recent developments in the study of the Old Testament.

The Prophetic Voice at Qumran

The Leonardo Museum Conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls, 11–12 April 2014 

Series:

Edited by Donald W. Parry, Stephen D. Ricks and Andrew C. Skinner

Contrary to the generally held view, the Second Temple Era was not a time of prophetic dormancy, but of genuine activity, though of a different character than that of the pre-exilic age. The conference on The Prophetic Voice at Qumran, held 11–12 April 2014 at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City, provided a venue for lively discussions of many of the issues connected with the question of prophecy and prophetic writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple texts. Three of the scholars—Emanuel Tov, Eugene Ulrich, and James C. VanderKam—were featured as keynote speakers, and an even dozen scholars made presentations at the conference, of which nine are published in the present volume.

Nadav Na’aman

The Kuntillet ‘Ajrud inscriptions mention blessings by the names of YHWH of Samaria and YHWH of Teman. Like all ancient Near Eastern gods, these two regional gods must have had central temples. This article examines their possible locations and suggests that the combination of the Kuntillet ‘Ajrud inscriptions with the eighth-century prophecies of Amos and Hosea holds the key for identifying these. In light of a detailed analysis of Hosea’s and Amos’ prophecies, it is further suggested that YHWH of Samaria was the name of the major God of the Kingdom of Israel and his main temple was located at Bethel, and that YHWH of Teman was the name of the God of the southern desert regions and his temple was located at Beer-sheba. Israelite traders who traveled southward probably visited the latter god’s temple, offered him sacrifices, made vows to repay him if they succeed in the expedition, and thus turned him to be their patron god during their travel in the desert region. This suggested identification explains why the Judahite cult place of Beer-sheba appears in Amos’ prophecy alongside the Israelite sanctuaries of Bethel, Gilgal, and Dan.

Love of God and Apologia for a King

Solomon as the Lord’s Beloved King in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Contexts

Isaac Kalimi

The birth story of Solomon is unique in the ancient Israelite historiography from the monarchic period. Though the birth name of the newborn child was “Solomon,” he received an additional name “Yedidyah.” The purpose of this name should be understood within three contexts: the immediate passage in 2 Samuel 12; the wider story regarding Solomon’s rise to power in 1 King 1–2; and comparable ancient Near Eastern texts that recount the claims of usurpers outside the royal line to a throne. The latter attempted to legitimize their kingship by introducing themselves as beloved or chosen by patron deities, occasionally taking a new throne-name to reflect their status vis-à-vis the god or gods. This historical and literary phenomenon is clearly reflected from Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Persian, and Egyptian writings of different periods. The discussion here reveals that in ancient Israel and in the surrounding cultures, both Semitic and non-Semitic, the method of self-legitimation by usurpers was to claim that they had divine legitimization.

Joel Travis Hamme

The paper argues that scribes in Mesopotamia and Israel adapted prayers into various contexts for different purposes. The adaptations introduced were governed by the larger purposes of the prayer’s new context. The paper uses Pss 14 and 53 and Sîn 6 to illustrate this point. Psalms 14 and 53 were adapted to fit into the larger purpose and message of the first and second Davidic Psalters, respectively, while Sîn 6 was adapted into rituals or a collection of dingir.ša.dib.ba prayers. The paper concludes that the purposes for which prayers were adapted were based upon setting, and that, as such, it is unwise to suggest that only corruptions in Vorlagen explain text differences.

Ido Koch

This paper reconsiders the Late Bronze Age history of the Fosse Temple at Lachish and reconstructs its context vis-à-vis the broader role of the local Canaanite cult. During the reign of Amenhotep iii the structure’s plan was modified to conform to Egyptian-style and there was a profusion of Egyptian imports to the site, primarily associated with the cult of Hathor. These facts reflect the cultic innovations that were taking place in Egypt itself—the self-deification of Amenhotep iii and his consort, Tiye, including her depiction and worship as Hathor. It is consequently argued that the translation of Hathor/Tiye into the local goddess, Elat, and its continuous practice until the late 13th century bc echo the integration of Egypt within the indigenous cultural world.

Early Mesopotamian Divination Literature

Its Organizational Framework and Generative and Paradigmatic Characteristics

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Abraham Winitzer

In Early Mesopotamian Divination Literature: Its Organizational Framework and Generative and Paradigmatic Characteristics, Abraham Winitzer provides a detailed study of the Akkadian Old Babylonian (ca. 2000-1600 BC) omen collections stemming from extispicy, the most significant Mesopotamian divination technique for most of that civilization’s history. Paying close attention to these texts’ organizational structure, Winitzer details the mechanics responsible for their origins and development, and highlights key characteristics of a conceptual framework that helped reconfigure Mesopotamian divination into a literature in line with significant, new forms of literary expression from the same time. This literature, Winitzer concludes, represents an early form of scientific reasoning that began to appreciate the centrality of texts and textual interpretation in this civilization’s production, organization, and conception of knowledge.

The Metaphor of the Divine as Planter of the People

Stinking Grapes or Pleasant Planting?

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Jennifer Metten Pantoja

In The Metaphor of the Divine as Planter of the People Jennifer Metten Pantoja traces the emergence of the conceptual metaphor YHWH IS THE PLANTER OF THE PEOPLE in ancient Hebrew poetry and follows its development throughout biblical history and Second Temple literature, in order to illustrate how the deep connection to the land shaped ancient thought and belief. Within this broader, primary metaphor, the complex metaphor YHWH IS THE VINTNER OF ISRAEL is also analyzed as an image predominant in the pre-exilic prophetic literature. Recent advances in cognitive linguistics, coupled with traditional historical-critical methods, as well as a survey of the material culture, work in tandem to illuminate one snapshot of ancient Israel’s conception of the divine.

Where Dreams May Come (2 vol. set)

Incubation Sanctuaries in the Greco-Roman World

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Gil Renberg

Where Dreams May Come was the winner of the 2018 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, awarded by the Society for Classical Studies.

In this book, Gil H. Renberg examines the ancient religious phenomenon of “incubation", the ritual of sleeping at a divinity’s sanctuary in order to obtain a prophetic or therapeutic dream. Most prominently associated with the Panhellenic healing god Asklepios, incubation was also practiced at the cult sites of numerous other divinities throughout the Greek world, but it is first known from ancient Near Eastern sources and was established in Pharaonic Egypt by the time of the Macedonian conquest; later, Christian worship came to include similar practices. Renberg’s exhaustive study represents the first attempt to collect and analyze the evidence for incubation from Sumerian to Byzantine and Merovingian times, thus making an important contribution to religious history.

This set consists of two books.

Ve-Eileh Divrei David

Essays in Semitics, Hebrew Bible and History of Biblical Scholarship

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S. David Sperling

Ve-Eileh Divrei David: Essays in Semitics, Hebrew Bible and History of Biblical Scholarship, covers the career of S. David Sperling, a well-known and respected Biblical scholar. It is divided into three sections representing the three foci of the author’s work namely, Semitic philology, Bible, and the history of biblical scholarship. The chapters represent a remarkable 40 years of scholarship and convey deep knowledge of a range of topics that is rarely paralleled in today’s scholarship.

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Kevin T. Van Bladel

This historical study argues that the Mandaean religion originated under Sasanid rule in the fifth century, not earlier as has been widely accepted. It analyzes primary sources in Syriac, Mandaic, and Arabic to clarify the early history of Mandaeism. This religion, along with several other, shorter-lived new faiths, such as Kentaeism, began in a period of state-sponsored persecution of Babylonian paganism. The Mandaeans would survive to become one of many groups known as Ṣābians by their Muslim neighbors. Rather than seeking to elucidate the history of Mandaeism in terms of other religions to which it can be related, this study approaches the religion through the history of its social contexts.

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk R. van den Kamp and Eric Peels

Since ancient times Leviathan and other monsters from the biblical world symbolize the life-threatening powers in nature and history. They represent the dark aspects of human nature and political entities and reveal the supernatural dimensions of evil. Ancient texts and pictures regarding these monsters reflect an environment of polytheism and religious pluralism. Remarkably, however, the biblical writings and post-biblical traditions use these venerated symbols in portraying God as being sovereign over the entire universe, a theme that is also prominent in the reception of these texts in subsequent contexts.
This volume explores this tension and elucidates the theological and cultural meaning of ‘Leviathan’ by studying its ancient Near Eastern background and its attestation in biblical texts, early and rabbinic Judaism, Christian theology, Early Modern art, and film.

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Donald W. Parry, Stephen D. Ricks and Andrew C. Skinner

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk van de Kamp and Eric Peels

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk van de Kamp and Eric Peels

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk van de Kamp and Eric Peels

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk van de Kamp and Eric Peels

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Donald W. Parry, Stephen D. Ricks and Andrew C. Skinner

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Donald W. Parry, Stephen D. Ricks and Andrew C. Skinner

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk van de Kamp and Eric Peels

Ryan Thomas

The question of the identity of the two standing figures at the center of pithos A continues to be a subject of vigorous debate, with the scholarly community divided over whether they should be explained in light of the inscription invoking Yhwh and his asherah that is situated above them. In this article, the author contributes to the discussion by reviewing the main iconographic arguments for identifying the figures as Yhwh and his female partner and in the process responds to some of the common objections that have been raised against the hypothesis. These include the figures’ sexual dualism, overlapping pose as male and female partners, their Bes-like and bovine features and associated mythological compatibility with Yhwh, and the larger iconographic context of the individual pithoi.

Alice Mandell and Jeremy D. Smoak

The following article challenges the widely held view that refugees wrote the inscriptions preserved on the tomb walls of Khirbet Beit Lei. We argue that the so-called “refugee-hypothesis” should be based upon a stronger methodological foundation and that the interpretation of the inscriptions at the site should give more serious consideration to their context in the space of a tomb. Toward this end, the article argues that the inscriptions should be connected to the funerary context in which they appear and that their content should be understood as relating to the larger function and materiality of the mortuary complex at Beit Lei. Rather than reconstructing a hypothetical scenario in which refugees stopped and inscribed “hymns” or “prayers” on the walls of the tomb, the article argues that the function of the inscriptions was largely semiotic and served to mark the boundary between the antechamber and bench rooms of the tomb complex.

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Edited by Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis and Vered Tohar

In Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception, the editors present a collection of essays that reveal both the many similarities and the poignant differences between ancient myths in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and modern secular culture and how these stories were incorporated and adapted over time. This rich multidisciplinary research demonstrates not only how stories in different religions and cultures are interesting in their own right, but also that the process of transformation in particular deserves scholarly interest. It is through the changes in the stories that the particular identity of each religion comes to the fore most strikingly.

Hollow Men, Strange Women

Riddles, Codes and Otherness in the Book of Judges

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Robin Baker

In Hollow Men, Strange Women, Robin Baker provides a masterly reappraisal of Israel's experience during its Settlement of Canaan as narrated in the Book of Judges. Written under Assyrian suzerainty in the reign of Manasseh, Judges is both a theological commentary on the Settlement and an esoteric work of prophecy. Its apparent historicity subtly encrypts a grim forewarning of Judah's future, and, in its extensive treatment of otherness, Judges explores the meaning of God’s covenant with Israel.

Robin Baker's scholarly and perceptive reading draws on a deep understanding of ancient Hebrew and Mesopotamian symbolic codes to interpret the riddles in this many-layered text. The Book of Judges reveals complex literary configurations from which past, present, and future are simultaneously presented.

The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands

Collected Studies in Three Volumes, Volume 2

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Patricia Crone

Edited by Hanna Siurua

Patricia Crone's Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.

The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters
Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness

Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness

Collected Studies in Three Volumes, Volume 3

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Patricia Crone

Edited by Hanna Siurua

Patricia Crone's Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians.

The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters
The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands