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Prayer in the Ancient World is the resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. With over 350 entries it showcases 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 Prayer in the Ancient World will also be available online.

Preview of the 'Prayer in the Ancient World’, 2022
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.
Author:
Akkadian Royal Letters in Later Mespotamian Tradition reconsiders the question of the authenticity of the letters attributed to earlier royal correspondents that were studied in Assyrian and Babylonian scribal centres ca. 700–100 BCE. By scrutinizing the letters’ contents, language, possible transmission histories ca. 1400–100 BCE and the epistemic limitations of authenticity criticism, the book grounds scepticism about the letters’ authenticity in previously undiscussed features of the texts. It also provides a new foundation for research into the related questions of when and why these beguiling texts were composed in the first place.
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Delve into Ezekiel’s tumultuous world, discovering his role as YHWH’s מוֹפֵת, a unique ‘sign’, among many others, and a divine communicator. Does the Exile’s trauma find an ‘ameliorating’ perspective through Ezekiel’s symbolic actions and identity? From temple absence to YHWH’s ‘glory’ departure, from loss and prohibited grief to intermittent mutism, is Ezekiel a response to a communication crisis between YHWH and Israel? Uncover how מוֹפֵת’s elusive meaning sheds light on Ezekiel’s role as an ‘embodiment’ of YHWH’s presence, a bridge in YHWH’s intricate relationship with Israel. Through meticulous exegesis and linguistic-theological analysis, you will experience afresh Ezekiel’s narrative and theology.
The Dynamics of Mediation in the Biblical World and Old Babylonian Mari
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In Prophet, Intermediary, King: The Dynamics of Mediation in the Biblical World and Old Babylonian Mari, Julie B. Deluty investigates the mediation of prophecy for kings in biblical narratives and the Old Babylonian corpus from Mari. In many cases, the prophet’s message is delivered through a third party—sometimes a royal official or family member—who may exercise a degree of autonomy in the transmission of the words. Drawing on social network theory, the book highlights the importance of third-party intermediaries in the process of communication that lies at the core of biblical and ancient Near Eastern prophecy. Recognition of the place of non-prophetic intermediaries in a monarchic system offers a new dimension to the study of prophecy in antiquity.