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Elizabeth Agaiby

In The Arabic Life of Antony Attributed to Serapion of Thmuis, Elizabeth Agaiby demonstrates how the redacted Life of Antony, the “Father of all monks and star of the wilderness”, gained widespread acceptance within Egypt shortly after its composition in the 13th century and dominated Coptic liturgical texts on Antony for over 600 years – the influence of which is still felt up to the present day. By providing a first edition and translation, Agaiby demonstrates how the Arabic Life bears witness to the reinterpretation of the religious memory of Antony in the Coptic Orthodox Church.
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The Book of Jeremiah

Composition, Reception, and Interpretation

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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Uri Gabbay

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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.

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Brett Maiden

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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.

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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.
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Sources of Evil

Studies in Mesopotamian Exorcistic Lore

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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.
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“The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts”

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

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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.