front cover of 4QInstruction
Matthew J. Goff
SBL Press, 2013
The wisdom tradition of ancient Israel, represented in the Hebrew Bible by Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes and in the Apocrypha by Ben Sira and the Wisdom of Solomon, is also well-attested in the texts from Qumran. 4QInstruction (1Q26, 4Q415–418, 4Q423), the largest wisdom text of the Dead Sea Scrolls, is considered a sapiential text primarily because of its explicit and insistent pedagogical nature. To make this significant wisdom text more widely available, this volume offers a critical edition, translation, and commentary on the main fragments of 4QInstruction. It examines particular texts of 4QInstruction as well as broader issues, including its date, genre, main themes, and place in Second Temple Judaism. Finally, in order to contextualize this pivotal work, 4QInstruction’s relationship to the sapiential and apocalyptic traditions is also explored.

front cover of The Ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books
The Ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books
John Coleman Darnell
SBL Press, 2018

The first, complete English translation of the ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books

The ancient Egyptian Netherworld Books, important compositions that decorated the New Kingdom royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, present humanity's oldest surviving attempts to provide a scientific map of the unseen realms beyond the visible cosmos and contain imagery and annotations that represent ancient Egyptian speculation (essentially philosophical and theological) about the events of the solar journey through the twelve hours of the night. The Netherworld Books describe one of the central mysteries of Egyptian religious belief—the union of the solar god Re with the underworldly god Osiris—and provide information on aspects of Egyptian theology and cosmography not present in the now more widely read Book of the Dead. Numerous illustrations provide overview images and individual scenes from each Netherworld Book, emphasizing the unity of text and image within the compositions. The major texts translated include the Book of Adoring Re in the West (the Litany of Re), the Book of the Hidden Chamber (Amduat), the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns, the Books of the Creation of the Solar Disk, and the Books of the Solar-Osirian Unity.


  • Accessible presentations of the main concepts of the Netherworld Books and the chief features of each text
  • Notes and commentary address major theological themes within the texts as well as lexicographic and/or grammatical issues
  • An overview of later uses of these compositions during the first millennium BCE

front cover of The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
James P. Allen
SBL Press, 2005
The Pyramid Texts are the oldest body of extant literature from ancient Egypt. First carved on the walls of the burial chambers in the pyramids of kings and queens of the Old Kingdom, they provide the earliest comprehensive view of the way in which the ancient Egyptians understood the structure of the universe, the role of the gods, and the fate of human beings after death. Their importance lies in their antiquity and in their endurance throughout the entire intellectual history of ancient Egypt. This volume contains the complete translation of the Pyramid Texts, including new texts recently discovered and published. It incorporates full restorations and readings indicated by post-Old Kingdom copies of the texts and is the first translation that presents the texts in the order in which they were meant to be read in each of the original sources.

front cover of The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Second Edition
The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Second Edition
James P. Allen
SBL Press, 2015

Completely revised and updated

James P. Allen provides a translation of the oldest corpus of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the six royal pyramids of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties (ca. 2350–2150 BCE). Allen’s revisions take into account recent advances in the understanding of Egyptian grammar.


  • Sequential translations based on all available sources, including texts newly discovered in the last decade
  • Texts numbered according to the most widely used numbering system with new numbers from the latest 2013 concordance
  • Translations reflect the primarily atemporal verbal system of Old Egyptian, which conveys the timeless quality that the text’s authors understood the texts to have

front cover of Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent
Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent
Edited by Brad H. Koldehoff and Timothy R. Pauketat
University of Alabama Press, 2019
Analyses of big datasets signal important directions for the archaeology of religion in the Archaic to Mississippian Native North America

Across North America, huge data accumulations derived from decades of cultural resource management studies, combined with old museum collections, provide archaeologists with unparalleled opportunities to explore new questions about the lives of ancient native peoples. For many years the topics of technology, economy, and political organization have received the most research attention, while ritual, religion, and symbolic expression have largely been ignored. This was often the case because researchers considered such topics beyond reach of their methods and data.

In Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent, editors Brad H. Koldehoff and Timothy R. Pauketat and their contributors demonstrate that this notion is outdated through their analyses of a series of large datasets from the midcontinent, ranging from tiny charred seeds to the cosmic alignments of mounds, they consider new questions about the religious practices and lives of native peoples. At the core of this volume are case studies that explore religious practices from the Cahokia area and surrounding Illinois uplands. Additional chapters explore these topics using data collected from sites and landscapes scattered along the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.

This innovative work facilitates a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, ancient native religious practices, especially their seamless connections to everyday life and livelihood. The contributors do not advocate for a reduced emphasis on technology, economy, and political organization; rather, they recommend expanding the scope of such studies to include considerations of how religious practices shaped the locations of sites, the character of artifacts, and the content and arrangement of sites and features. They also highlight analytical approaches that are applicable to archaeological datasets from across the Americas and beyond.

front cover of The Art of Visual Exegesis
The Art of Visual Exegesis
Rhetoric, Texts, Images
Vernon K. Robbins
SBL Press, 2017

A critical study for those interested in the intersection of art and biblical interpretation

With a special focus on biblical texts and images, this book nurtures new developments in biblical studies and art history during the last two or three decades. Analysis and interpretation of specific works of art introduce guidelines for students and teachers who are interested in the relation of verbal presentation to visual production. The essays provide models for research in the humanities that move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries erected in previous centuries. In particular, the volume merges recent developments in rhetorical interpretation and cognitive studies with art historical visual exegesis. Readers will master the tools necessary for integrating multiple approaches both to biblical and artistic interpretation.


  • Resources for understanding the relation of texts to artistic paintings and images
  • Tools for integrating multiple approaches both to biblical and artistic interpretation
  • Sixty images and fifteen illustrations
  • [more]

    logo for Harvard University Press
    The Ascension of Authorship
    Attribution and Canon Formation in Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian Traditions
    Jed Wyrick
    Harvard University Press, 2004

    The Ascension of Authorship traces the history of the idea of the author in the ancient world, beginning with the attribution practices of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism. Jed Wyrick explores the testimony of Josephus on the succession of prophetic scribes and their superiority to Greek historiographers, and interprets the formation of the biblical canon in this light.

    The Ascension of Authorship also examines the Greek scholarly methodology that questioned traditional connections between names and texts, a methodology perfected by Hellenistic grammarians and inherited by early Christian scholars. Wyrick argues that the fusion of Jewish and Hellenistic approaches toward attribution helped lead to St. Augustine’s reinvention of the writer of scripture as an author whose texts were governed by both divine will and human intent.


    front cover of The Athenian Adonia in Context
    The Athenian Adonia in Context
    The Adonis Festival as Cultural Practice
    Laurialan Reitzammer
    University of Wisconsin Press, 2018
    Ancient sources and modern scholars have often represented the Athenian festival of Adonis as a marginal and faintly ridiculous private women’s ritual. Seeds were planted each year in pots and, once sprouted, carried to the rooftops, where women lamented the death of Aphrodite’s youthful consort Adonis. Laurialan Reitzammer resourcefully examines a wide array of surviving evidence about the Adonia, arguing for its symbolic importance in fifth- and fourth-century Athenian culture as an occasion for gendered commentary on mainstream Athenian practices.
                Reitzammer uncovers correlations of the Adonia to Athenian wedding rituals and civic funeral oration and provides illuminating evidence that the festival was a significant cultural template for such diverse works as Aristophanes’ drama Lysistrata and Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus. Her fresh approach is a timely contribution to studies of the ways gender and sexuality intersect with religion and ritual in ancient Greece.

    front cover of Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America
    Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America
    An Interpretive Guide
    Cheryl Claassen
    University of Alabama Press, 2015
    A comprehensive and essential field reference, Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America reveals the spiritual landscape in the American Archaic period

    Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America describes, illustrates, and offers nondogmatic interpretations of rituals and beliefs in Archaic America. In compiling a wealth of detailed entries, author Cheryl Claassen has created both an exhaustive reference as well as an opening into new archaeological taxonomies, connections, and understandings of Native American culture.
    The material is presented in an introductory essay about Archaic rituals followed by two sections of entries that incorporate reports and articles discussing archaeological sites; studies of relevant practices of ritual and belief; data related to geologic features, artifact attributes, and burial settings; ethnographies; and pilgrimages to specific sites. Claassen’s work focuses on the American Archaic period (marked by the end of the Ice Age approximately 11,000 years ago) and a geographic area bounded by the edge of the Great Plains, Newfoundland, and southern Florida. This period and region share specific beliefs and practices such as human sacrifice, dirt mound burial, and oyster shell middens.
    This interpretive guide serves as a platform for new interpretations and theories on this period. For example, Claassen connects rituals to topographic features and posits the Pleistocene-Holocene transition as a major stimulus to Archaic beliefs. She also expands the interpretation of existing data previously understood in economic or environmental terms to include how this same data may also reveal spiritual and symbolic practices. Similarly, Claassen interprets Archaic culture in terms of human agency and social constraint, bringing ritual acts into focus as drivers of social transformation and ethnogenesis.
    Richly annotated and cross-referenced for ease of use, Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America will benefit scholars and students of archaeology and Native American culture. Claassen’s overview of the archaeological record should encourage the development of original archaeological and historical connections and patterns. Such an approach, Claassen suggests, may reveal patterns of influence extending from early eastern Americans to the Aztec and Maya.

    front cover of Beyond the Texts
    Beyond the Texts
    An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah
    William G. Dever
    SBL Press, 2017

    A handbook for biblical scholars and historians of the Ancient Near East

    William G. Dever offers a welcome perspective on ancient Israel and Judah that prioritizes the archaeological remains to render history as it was—not as the biblical writers argue it should have been. Drawing from the most recent archaeological data as interpreted from a nontheological point of view and supplementing that data with biblical material only when it converges with the archaeological record, Dever analyzes all the evidence at hand to provide a new history of ancient Israel and Judah that is accessible to all interested readers.


    • A new approach to the history of ancient Israel
    • Extensive bibliography
    • More than eighty maps and illustrations

    front cover of Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity
    Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity
    An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanite
    Ann E. Killebrew
    SBL Press, 2005
    Ancient Israel did not emerge within a vacuum but rather came to exist alongside various peoples, including Canaanites, Egyptians, and Philistines. Indeed, Israel’s very proximity to these groups has made it difficult—until now—to distinguish the archaeological traces of early Israel and other contemporary groups. Through an analysis of the results from recent excavations in light of relevant historical and later biblical texts, this book proposes that it is possible to identify these peoples and trace culturally or ethnically defined boundaries in the archaeological record. Features of late second-millennium B.C.E. culture are critically examined in their historical and biblical contexts in order to define the complex social boundaries of the early Iron Age and reconstruct the diverse material world of these four peoples. Of particular value to scholars, archaeologists, and historians, this volume will also be a standard reference and resource for students and other readers interested in the emergence of early Israel.

    front cover of Caring for the Dead in Ancient Israel
    Caring for the Dead in Ancient Israel
    Kerry M. Sonia
    SBL Press, 2020

    A new reconstruction of cultic practices surrounding death in ancient Israel

    In Caring for the Dead in Ancient Israel, Kerry M. Sonia examines the commemoration and care for the dead in ancient Israel against the broader cultural backdrop of West Asia. This cult of dead kin, often referred to as ancestor cult, comprised a range of ritual practices in which the living provided food and drink offerings, constructed commemorative monuments, invoked the names of the dead, and protected their remains. This ritual care negotiated the ongoing relationships between the living and the dead and, in so doing, helped construct social, political, and religious landscapes in relationship to the past. Sonia explores the nature of this cult of dead kin in ancient Israel, focusing on its role within the family and household as well as its relationship to Israel’s national deity and the Jerusalem temple.


    • A reevaluation of whether burial and necromantic rituals were part of the cult of dead kin
    • A portrait of the various roles Israelite women played in the cult of dead kin
    • A reassessment of biblical writers’ attitudes toward the cult of dead kin

    front cover of The Christianization of Western Baetica
    The Christianization of Western Baetica
    Architecture, Power, and Religion in a Late Antique Landscape
    Jerónimo Sánchez Velasco
    Amsterdam University Press, 2017
    The province of Baetica, in present-day Spain, was one of the most important areas in the Roman Empire in terms of politics, economics, and culture. And in the late medieval period, it was the centre of a rich and powerful state, the Umayyad Caliphate. But the historical sources on the intervening years are limited, and we lack an accurate understanding of the evolution of the region. In recent years, however, archaeological research has begun to fill the gaps, and this book-built on more than a decade of fieldwork-provides an unprecedented overview of urban and rural development in the period.

    front cover of Creating Capitals
    Creating Capitals
    The Rationale, Construction, and Function of the Imperial Capitals of Assyria
    Aris Politopoulos
    Leiden University Press, 2020
    An archaeological history of the Assyrian Empire’s four capitals.

    The Assyrian Empire moved and rebuilt its capital city three times—at Kar-Tukulti-Ninurta, Kalhu, Dur-Šarruken, and Nineveh. Creating Capitals explores why and how Assyria constructed these capitals as well as how they functioned within the empire. Drawing on extensive research, Aris Politopoulos offers a sweeping comparative analysis of these four ancient cities and proposes a new framework for understanding the construction of capitals in human history.

    front cover of Creation of the Sacred
    Creation of the Sacred
    Tracks of Biology in Early Religions
    Walter Burkert
    Harvard University Press, 1996

    Sacrifice—ranging from the sacrifice of virgins to circumcision to giving up what is most valued—is essential to all religions. Could there be a natural, even biological, reason for these practices? Something that might explain why religions of so many different cultures share so many rituals and concepts? In this extraordinary book, one of the world’s leading authorities on ancient religions explores the possibility of natural religion—a religious sense and practice naturally proceeding from biological imperatives.

    Because they lack later refinements, the earliest religions from the Near East, Israel, Greece, and Rome may tell us a great deal about the basic properties and dynamics of religion, and it is to these cultures that Walter Burkert looks for answers. His book takes us on an intellectual adventure that begins some 5,000 years ago and plunges us into a fascinating world of divine signs and omens, offerings and sacrifices, rituals and beliefs unmitigated by modern science and sophistication. Tracing parallels between animal behavior and human religious activity, Burkert suggests natural foundations for sacrifices and rituals of escape, for the concept of guilt and punishment, for the practice of gift exchange and the notion of a cosmic hierarchy, and for the development of a system of signs for negotiating with an uncertain environment. Again and again, he returns to the present to remind us that, for all our worldliness, we are not so far removed from the first Homo religiosus.

    A breathtaking journey, as entertaining as it is provocative, Creation of the Sacred brings rich new insight on religious thought past and present and raises serious questions about the ultimate reasons for, and the ultimate meaning of, human religiousness.


    front cover of The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks
    The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks
    Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant
    University of Chicago Press, 1989
    For the Greeks, the sharing of cooked meats was the fundamental communal act, so that to become vegetarian was a way of refusing society. It follows that the roasting or cooking of meat was a political act, as the division of portions asserted a social order. And the only proper manner of preparing meat for consumption, according to the Greeks, was blood sacrifice.

    The fundamental myth is that of Prometheus, who introduced sacrifice and, in the process, both joined us to and separated us from the gods—and ambiguous relation that recurs in marriage and in the growing of grain. Thus we can understand why the ascetic man refuses both women and meat, and why Greek women celebrated the festival of grain-giving Demeter with instruments of butchery.

    The ambiguity coded in the consumption of meat generated a mythology of the "other"—werewolves, Scythians, Ethiopians, and other "monsters." The study of the sacrificial consumption of meat thus leads into exotic territory and to unexpected findings.

    In The Cuisine of Sacrifice, the contributors—all scholars affiliated with the Center for Comparative Studies of Ancient Societies in Paris—apply methods from structural anthropology, comparative religion, and philology to a diversity of topics: the relation of political power to sacrificial practice; the Promethean myth as the foundation story of sacrificial practice; representations of sacrifice found on Greek vases; the technique and anatomy of sacrifice; the interaction of image, language, and ritual; the position of women in sacrificial custom and the female ritual of the Thesmophoria; the mythical status of wolves in Greece and their relation to the sacrifice of domesticated animals; the role and significance of food-related ritual in Homer and Hesiod; ancient Greek perceptions of Scythian sacrificial rites; and remnants of sacrificial ritual in modern Greek practices.

    front cover of Daily Life in Biblical Times
    Daily Life in Biblical Times
    Oded Borowski
    SBL Press, 2003
    While the history of Israel during the period from ca. 1200 to 586 B.C.E. has been in the forefront of biblical research, little attention has been given to questions of daily life. Where did the Israelites live? What did people do for a living? What did they eat and what affected their health? How did the family function? These and similar questions form the basis for this book. The book introduces different aspects of daily life. It describes the natural setting and the people who occupied the land. It deals with the economy, both rural and urban, emphasizing the main sources of livelihood such as agriculture, herding, and trade. These topics are discussed in relation to the family in particular and the social structure in general. Other topics include urban society, the bureaucracy and the military. Beyond material culture, the book delves into daily and seasonal cultural, social and religious activities, art, music, and the place of writing in Israelite society. Drawing on textual and archaeological evidence, and written with nontechnical language, the book will be especially helpful for undergraduates, seminarians, pastors, rabbis, and other interested nonspecialist readers as well as graduate students and faculty in Hebrew Bible.

    front cover of A Dark Pathway
    A Dark Pathway
    Precontact Native American Mud Glyphs From 1st Unnamed Cave, Tennessee
    Jan F. Simek
    University of Tennessee Press, 2022

    In A Dark Pathway: Precontact Native American Mud Glyphs from 1st Unnamed Cave, Tennessee, Jan Simek and his colleagues present two decades of research at a precontact dark zone cave art site in East Tennessee. Discovered in 1994, 1st Unnamed Cave ushered in an extensive and systematic effort to research precontact cave art sites in the Eastern Woodlands, where the tradition of cave art production was widespread among ancient peoples. Indeed, when a preliminary report about 1st Unnamed Cave was first published in 1997, there were only seven known cave art sites across the Southeast; today, that number exceeds ninety.

    From the tale of the cave’s discovery in chapter 1 to descriptions of its art in later chapters, A Dark Pathway boasts nearly one hundred maps, high-resolution photographs, and illustrations that bring the story of one of North America’s premier cave art sites to life. Importantly, Simek and his colleagues also orient 1st Unnamed Cave within the broader context of cave art sites across the Southeast, elevating them as a whole to the notable prominence they deserve. Yet his analysis does more than present and situate the discovery of 1st Unnamed Cave within the greater realm of regional cave art site studies; it also calls for the protection and preservation of these fragile sites and for the acknowledgment of the still-vibrant indigenous cultures that produced them.

    With a foreword by Russell Townsend, tribal historic preservation officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, A Dark Pathway is a long-awaited volume more than twenty years in the making. Even as he delivers a comprehensive archaeological analysis, Simek’s clear presentation makes for accessible and thrilling reading not only for students of archaeology, anthropology, and Native American studies, but for interested readers as well.


    front cover of Designating Place
    Designating Place
    Archaeological Perspectives on Built Environments in Ostia and Pompeii
    Edited by Hans Kamermans and L. Bouke van der Meer
    Leiden University Press, 2020
    A collection of diverse archaeological approaches to Roman cities.
    Designating Place showcases the diverse ways archaeologists approach ancient urban spaces—including geophysical, spatial, iconographic, and epigraphic analyses. Drawing on techniques as wide-ranging as Space Syntax, shallow seismic reflection surveys, linguistic landscape studies, and collective memory studies, this international team of scholars presents the latest insights from cutting-edge research into urban societies near Rome and Pompeii.

    front cover of Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?
    Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?
    An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination
    Paul Veyne
    University of Chicago Press, 1988
    "[Veyne's] present book has some kinship with his sprightly theoretical work Comment on ecrit l'histoire; and he declares that its aim was to provoke reflection on the way our conception of truth is built up and changes over the centuries. . . . The style is brilliant and exhilarating."—Jasper Griffin, Times Literary Supplement

    logo for SBL Press
    Disembodied Souls
    The Nefesh in Israel and Kindred Spirits in the Ancient Near East, with an
    Richard C. Steiner
    SBL Press, 2015

    A reevaluation of the concept of the soul based on the latest evidence

    Biblical scholars have long claimed that the Israelites “could not conceive of a disembodied nefesh [soul].” Steiner rejects that claim based on a broad spectrum of textual, linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological evidence spanning the millennia from prehistoric times to the present. The biblical evidence includes a prophecy of Ezekiel condemning women who pretend to trap the wandering souls of sleeping people. The extrabiblical evidence suggests that a belief in the existence of disembodied souls was part of the common religious heritage of the peoples of the ancient Near East.


    • A re-examination of the evidence for and against disembodied souls in the Hebrew Bible
    • A new look at the nature and behavior of disembodied souls in the Hebrew Bible
    • A new study of the meaning and sociolinguistic background of the Katumuwa inscription

    front cover of The Dome of the Rock
    The Dome of the Rock
    Oleg Grabar
    Harvard University Press, 2006

    The Dome of the Rock, the beautiful Muslim shrine in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, was fully restored to its original state in the last half-century. Thus, this structure, sited on the third holiest spot on earth for Muslims, is at once a product of the seventh century and almost entirely the work of our own times--a paradox in keeping with the complexities and contradictions of history and religion, architecture and ideology that define this site.

    This book tells the story of the Dome of the Rock, from the first fateful decades of its creation--on the esplanade built in the fourth decade B.C.E. for the Second Jewish Temple--to its engulfment in the clashes of the Crusades and the short-lived Christianization of all of Jerusalem, to its modern acquisition of different and potent meanings for Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures.

    Oleg Grabar's presentation combines what we know of the building with the views of past observers and with the broader historical, cultural, and aesthetic implications of the monument. Primarily it is as a work of art that the Dome of the Rock stands out from these pages, understood for the quality that allows it to transcend the constrictions of period and perhaps even those of faith and culture. Finally, Grabar grapples with the question this monumental work of art so eloquently poses: whether the pious requirements of a specific community can be reconciled with universal aesthetic values.


    front cover of Edom at the Edge of Empire
    Edom at the Edge of Empire
    A Social and Political History
    Bradley L. Crowell
    SBL Press, 2021

    A comprehensive history of a state on Judah’s border

    Edom at the Edge of Empire combines biblical, epigraphic, archaeological, and comparative evidence to reconstruct the history of Judah's neighbor to the southeast. Crowell traces the material and linguistic evidence, from early Egyptian sources that recall conflicts with nomadic tribes to later Assyrian texts that reference compliant Edomite tribal kings, to offer alternative scenarios regarding Edom's transformation from a collection of nomadic tribes and workers in the Wadi Faynan as it relates to the later polity centered around the city of Busayra in the mountains of southern Jordan. This is the first book to incorporate the important evidence from the Wadi Faynan copper mines into a thorough account of Edom's history, providing a key resource for students and scholars of the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible.


    logo for Harvard University Press
    Ephesos, Metropolis of Asia
    An Interdisciplinary Approach to Its Archaeology, Religion, and Culture
    Helmut Koester
    Harvard University Press

    This volume brings together studies of Ephesos—a major city in the Greco-Roman period and a primary center for the spread of Christianity into the Western world—by an international array of scholars from the fields of classics, fine arts, history of religion, New Testament, ancient Christianity, and archaeology. The studies were presented at a spring 1994 Harvard Divinity School symposium on Ephesos, focusing on the results of one hundred years of archaeological work at Ephesos by members of the Austrian Archaeological Institute.

    The contributors to this volume discuss some of the most interesting and controversial results of recent investigations: the Processional Way of Artemis, the Hadrianic Olympieion and the Church of Mary, the so-called Temple of Domitian, and the heroes Androkolos and Arsinoe.

    Since very little about the Austrian excavations at Ephesos has been published in English, this volume should prove useful in introducing the archaeology of this metropolis to a wider readership.


    front cover of Eusebius of Emesa
    Eusebius of Emesa
    Church and Theology in the Mid-Fourth Century
    Robert E. Winn
    Catholic University of America Press, 2011
    Through a careful examination of his extant sermons, some of which survive in Latin and others in classical Armenian, this book invites readers to hear a bishop's voice from the mid- fourth century, an important period in late antique Christianity

    front cover of The Fifth Sun
    The Fifth Sun
    Aztec Gods, Aztec World
    By Burr Cartwright Brundage
    University of Texas Press, 1979

    The ancient Aztecs dwelt at the center of a dazzling and complex cosmos. From this position they were acutely receptive to the demands of their gods. The Fifth Sun represents a dramatic overview of the Aztec conception of the universe and the gods who populated it—Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent; Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror; and Huitzilopochtli, the Southern Hummingbird. Burr Cartwright Brundage explores the myths behind these and others in the Aztec pantheon in a way that illuminates both the human and the divine in Aztec life.

    The cult of human sacrifice is a pervasive theme in this study. It is a concept that permeated Aztec mythology and was the central preoccupation of the aggressive Aztec state. Another particularly interesting belief explored here is the “mask pool,” whereby gods could exchange regalia and, thus, identities.

    This vivid and eminently readable study also covers the use of hallucinogens; cannibalism; the calendars of ancient Mexico; tlachtli, the life-and-death ball game; the flower wars; divine transfiguration; and the evolution of the war god of the Mexica. A splendid introduction to Aztec religion, The Fifth Sun also contains insights for specialists in ethnohistory, mythology, and religion.


    front cover of The First Urban Churches 1
    The First Urban Churches 1
    Methodological Foundations
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2015

    A fresh look at early urban churches

    This collection of essays examines the urban context of early Christian churches in the first-century Roman world. A city-by-city investigation of the early churches in the New Testament clarifies the challenges, threats, and opportunities that urban living provided for early Christians. Readers will come away with a better understanding of how scholars assemble an accurate picture of the cities in which the first Christians flourished.


    • Analysis of urban evidence of the inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, coins, and iconography
    • Discussion of how to use different types of evidence responsibly
    • Outline of what constitutes proper methodological use for establishing a nuanced, informed portrait of ancient urban life

    front cover of The First Urban Churches 2
    The First Urban Churches 2
    Roman Corinth
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2016

    Investigate the challenges, threats, and opportunities experienced by the early church

    Volume two of The First Urban Churches focuses on the urban context of Christian churches in first-century Roman Corinth. An investigation of the material evidence of Corinth helps readers today understand properly the challenges, threats, and opportunities that the early Corinthian believers faced in the city. The essays demonstrate decisively the difference that such an approach makes in grappling with the meaning and context of the Corinthian epistles in the New Testament.


    • Analysis of urban evidence of the inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, coins, and iconography
    • Proposed reeconstructions of the past and its social, religious, and political significance
    • A nuanced, informed portrait of ancient urban life in Corinth

    front cover of The First Urban Churches 3
    The First Urban Churches 3
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2018

    Investigate the challenges, threats, and opportunities experienced by the early church in Ephesus

    The third installment of The First Urban Churches focuses on the urban context of Christian churches in first-century Ephesus. As with previous volumes, contributors illustrate how an investigation of the material evidence will help readers understand properly the challenges, threats, and opportunities that the early Ephesian believers faced in that city. Brad Bitner, James R. Harrison, Michael Haxby, Fredrick J. Long, Guy M. Rogers, Michael Theophilos, Paul Trebilco, and Stephan Witetschek demonstrate decisively the difference that such an approach makes in grappling with the meaning and context of the New Testament writings, particularly Ephesians, Acts, and Revelation.


    • Analysis of urban evidence of the inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, coins, and iconography
    • Proposed reconstructions of the past and its social, religious and political significance
    • A nuanced, informed portrait of ancient urban life in Ephesus

    front cover of The First Urban Churches 4
    The First Urban Churches 4
    Roman Philippi
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2018

    Investigate the challenges and opportunities experienced by the early church

    This fourth installment of The First Urban Churches, edited by James R. Harrison and L. L. Welborn, focuses on the urban context of Christian churches in first-century Roman Philippi. The international team of New Testament and classical scholars contributing to the volume present essays that use inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, coins, and iconography to examine the rivalries, imperial context, and ecclesial setting of the Philippian church.


    • Analysis of the material and epigraphic evidence relating to first- and second-century CE Roman Philippi
    • Examination of important passages from Philippians within their ancient urban context
    • Investigation of the social composition and membership of the Philippian church from the archaeological and documentary evidence

    front cover of The First Urban Churches 5
    The First Urban Churches 5
    Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2019

    A fresh examination of early Christianity by an international team of New Testament and classical scholars

    Volume 5 of The First Urban Churches investigates the urban context of Christian churches in first-century Roman Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea. Building on the methodologies introduced in the first volume and supplementing the in-depth studies of Corinth, Ephesus, and Philippi (vols. 2-4), essays in this volume challenge readers to reexamine preconceived understandings of the early church and to grapple with the meaning and context of Christianity in its first-century Roman colonial context.


    • Analysis of urban evidence found in inscriptions, papyri, archaeological remains, coins, and iconography
    • Proposed reconstructions of the past and its social, religious, and political significance
    • A nuanced, informed portrait of ancient urban life in the cities of the Lycus Valley

    front cover of The First Urban Churches 6
    The First Urban Churches 6
    Rome and Ostia
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2021

    An examination of early Roman Christianity by New Testament and classical scholars

    Building on the methodologies introduced in the first volume of The First Urban Churches and supplementing the in-depth studies of Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea (vols. 2–5), essays in this volume challenge readers to reexamine what we know about the early church within Rome and the port city of Ostia. In the introductory section of the book, James R. Harrison discusses the material and documentary evidence of both cities, which sets the stage for the essays that follow. In the second section, Mary Jane Cuyler, James R. Harrison, Richard Last, Annelies Moeser, Thomas A. Robinson, Michael P. Theophilos, and L. L. Welborn examine a range of topics, including the Ostian Synagogue, Romans 1:2–4 against the backdrop of Julio-Claudian adoption and apotheosis traditions, and the epistle of 1 Clement. In the final section of this volume, Jutta Dresken-Welland and Mark Reasoner engage Peter Lampe’s magnum opus From Paul to Valentinus; Lampe wraps up the section and the volume with a response. Throughout, readers are provided with a rich demonstration of how the material evidence of the city of Rome illuminates the emergence of Roman Christianity, especially in the first century CE.


    front cover of The First Urban Churches 7
    The First Urban Churches 7
    James R. Harrison
    SBL Press, 2022

    The First Urban Churches 7 includes essays focused on the development of early Christianity from the mid-first century through the sixth century CE in the ancient Macedonian city of Thessalonica. An international group of contributors traces the emergence of Thessalonica’s house churches through a close study of the archaeological remains, inscriptions, coins, iconography, and Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians. After a detailed introduction to the city, including the first comprehensive epigraphic profile of Thessalonica from the Hellenistic age to the Roman Empire, topics discussed include the Roman emperor’s divine honors, coins and inscriptions as sources of imperial propaganda, Thessalonian family bonds, Paul’s apostolic self-image, the role of music at Thessalonica and in early Christianity, and Paul’s response to the Thessalonian Jewish community. Contributors include D. Clint Burnett, Alan H. Cadwallader, Rosemary Canavan, James R. Harrison, Julien M. Ogereau, Isaac T. Soon, Angela Standhartinger, Michael P. Theophilos, and Joel R. White.


    front cover of The Forgotten Kingdom
    The Forgotten Kingdom
    The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel
    Israel Finkelstein
    SBL Press, 2013

    A new understanding of the history of the northern kingdom from 1350 B.C.E. to 720 B.C.E.

    Beginning with the Canaanite city-states, through the Saulide dynasty, to the fall of Israel, Finkelstein presents the first comprehensive history of Israel integrating the analysis of more than thirty years of archaeological work with interpretation of ancient Near Eastern and biblical texts. Though Judah dominates the pages of the Hebrew Bible and contemporary studies, Israel dominates here as Finkelstein reveals the glory of the Omride dynasty, outlines how the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah developed parallel to one another, and highlights Israel’s transformation from kingdom to foundational idea.


    • Archaeological analysis of the region of the northern kingdom
    • Primary and secondary textual analysis from the ancient Near East and the biblical narrative
    • Maps, tables, and images
    • Discussion of Israel’s legacy

    front cover of The Galilean Economy in the Time of Jesus
    The Galilean Economy in the Time of Jesus
    David A. Fiensy
    SBL Press, 2013
    In order to provide an up-to-date report and analysis of the economic conditions of first-century C.E. Galilee, this collection surveys recent archaeological excavations (Sepphoris, Yodefat, Magdala, and Khirbet Qana) and reviews results from older excavations (Capernaum). It also offers both interpretation of the excavations for economic questions and lays out the parameters of the current debate on the standard of living of the ancient Galileans. The essays included, by archaeologists as well as biblical scholars, have been drawn from the perspective of archaeology or the social sciences. The volume thus represents a broad spectrum of views on this timely and often hotly debated issue. The contributors are Mordechai Aviam, David A. Fiensy, Ralph K. Hawkins, Sharon Lea Mattila, Tom McCollough, and Douglas Oakman.

    front cover of The Gods of the Greeks
    The Gods of the Greeks
    Erika Simon, Translated by Jakob Zeyl, Edited by Alan Shapiro
    University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
    Originally published in Germany fifty years ago, The Gods of the Greeks has remained an enduring work. Influential scholar Erika Simon was one of the first to emphasize the importance of analyzing visual culture alongside literature to better understand how ancient Greeks perceived their gods. Giving due consideration to cult ritual and the phenomenon of genealogical relationships between mortals and immortals, this pioneering volume remains one of the few to approach the Greek gods from an archaeological perspective. From Zeus to Hermes, each of the major deities is considered in turn, with Simon’s insights on their nature and attributes guiding the reader to a fuller understanding of how their followers perceived and worshipped them in the ancient world.

    This careful and fluid translation finally makes Simon’s landmark edition accessible to English-language readers. With an abundance of beautiful illustrations, the book examines portrayals of the thirteen major gods in art over the course of two millennia. Scholars who study the lives and practices of those living in ancient Greece will value this newest contribution.

    front cover of Greek and Egyptian Mythologies
    Greek and Egyptian Mythologies
    Edited by Yves Bonnefoy
    University of Chicago Press, 1992
    The seventy-two entries in this volume explore, among other topics, the history, geography, and religion of Greece, Plato's mythology and philosophy, the powers of marriage in Greece, heroes and gods of war in the Greek epic, and origins of mankind in Greek myths. Ancient Egyptian cosmology, anthropology, rituals, and religion—closely linked to Greek mythology—are also discussed.

    "In a world that remains governed by powerful myths, we must deepen our understanding of ourselves and others by considering more carefully the ways in which the mythological systems to which we cling and social institutions and movements to which we are committed nourish each other. Yves Bonnefoy's Mythologies not only summarizes the progress that has already been made toward this end, but also lays the foundation for the difficult work that lies ahead."—Mark C. Taylor, New York Times Book Review

    "The almost 100 contributors combine, with characteristic precision and élan, the arts of science and poetry, of analysis and translation. The result is a treasury of information, brilliant guesswork, witty asides, and revealing digressions. This is a work of genuine and enduring excitement."—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian cience Monitor

    front cover of Hasmonean Realities behind Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles
    Hasmonean Realities behind Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles
    Archaeological and Historical Perspectives
    Israel Finkelstein
    SBL Press, 2018

    A thorough case for a later date for of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles

    In this collection of essays, Israel Finkelstein deals with key topics in Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles, such as the list of returnees, the construction of the city wall of Jerusalem, the adversaries of Nehemiah, the tribal genealogies, and the territorial expansion of Judah in 2 Chronicles. Finkelstein argues that the geographical and historical realities cached behind at least parts of these books fit the Hasmonean period in the late second century BCE. Seven previously published essays are supplemented by maps, updates to the archaeological material, and references to recent publications on the topics.


    • Analysis of geographical chapters of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles
    • Study of the Hasmonean period in the late second century BCE
    • Unique arguments regarding chronology and historical background

    front cover of The History and Archaeology of Phoenicia
    The History and Archaeology of Phoenicia
    Hélène Sader
    SBL Press, 2019

    An insightful historical account of Phoenicia that illustrates its cities, culture, and daily life

    Hélène Sader presents the history and archaeology of Phoenicia based on the available contemporary written sources and the results of archaeological excavations in Phoenicia proper. Sader explores the origin of the term Phoenicia; the political and geographical history of the city-states Arwad, Byblos, Sidon, and Tyre; and topography, climate, and natural resources of the Phoenician homeland. Her limited focus on Phoenicia proper, in contrast to previous studies that included information from Phoenician colonies, presents the bare realities of the opportunities and difficulties shaping Phoenician life. Sader’s evaluation and synthesis of the evidence offers a corrective to the common assumption of a unified Phoenician kingdom.


    • Historical as well as modern maps with the locations of all relevant archaeological sites
    • Faunal and floral analyses that shed light on the Phoenician diet
    • Petrographic analysis of pottery that sheds light on trading patterns and developments

    front cover of A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE
    A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE
    Burton MacDonald
    SBL Press, 2020

    An essential resource for scholars and students of the Hebrew Bible and history

    A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE incorporates archaeological, epigraphic, biblical, and postbiblical evidence to construct a picture of the formation of Moabite society, polity, religion, and economy. MacDonald prioritizes the archaeological evidence as our most secure source for constructing Moabite history, while drawing on the ninth-century Mesha Inscription, later Assyrian texts, the Hebrew Bible, and Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities to supplement the historical account. MacDonald presents the argument that the Moabites were indigenous Transjordanian, agro-pasturalists called Shûtu or Shasu in Egyptian sources. When provided an opening by warring neighbors, Moab emerged as a nation on the international stage and prospered from the eighth to early sixth centuries under the Assyrian Empire until the rise of the Neo-Babylonians led to their demise.


    • Maps specifying archaeological sites, survey areas, and locations mentioned in texts and inscriptions
    • Images of Moabite architectural features and other important artifacts
    • An analysis of Neo-Babylonian trade routes that shifted eastward, leading to Moab’s decline

    front cover of Hittite Local Cults
    Hittite Local Cults
    Michele Cammarosano
    SBL Press, 2018

    An innovative translation and analysis of Hittite local festivals and of their economic and social dimensions for students and scholars

    This English translation of the Hittite cult inventories provides a vivid portrait of the religion, economy, and administration of Bronze Age provincial towns and villages of the Hittite Empire. These texts report the state of local shrines and festivals and document the interplay between the central power and provincial communities on religious affairs. Brief introductions to each text make the volume accessible to students and scholars alike.


    • Critical editions of Hittite cult inventories, some of which are edited for the first time, with substantial improvements in readings and interpretations
    • The first systematic study of the linguistic aspects of Hittite administrative jargon
    • An up-to-date study of Hittite cult images and iconography of the gods

    Michele Cammarosano currently leads a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-funded project on Hittite cultic administration at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. His research interests focus on cuneiform palaeography and Hittite religion.


    front cover of The Hittites and Their World
    The Hittites and Their World
    Billie Jean Collins
    SBL Press, 2007
    Lost to history for millennia, the Hittites have regained their position among the great civilizations of the Late Bronze Age Near East, thanks to a century of archaeological discovery and philological investigation. The Hittites and Their World provides a concise, current, and engaging introduction to the history, society, and religion of this Anatolian empire, taking the reader from its beginnings in the period of the Assyrian Colonies in the nineteenth century B.C.E. to the eclipse of the Neo-Hittite cities at the end of the eighth century B.C.E. The numerous analogues with the biblical world featured throughout the volume together represent a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the varied and significant contributions of Hittite studies to biblical interpretation.

    front cover of The Hodayot (Thanksgiving Psalms)
    The Hodayot (Thanksgiving Psalms)
    A Study Edition of 1QHa
    Eileen M. Schuller
    SBL Press, 2012
    1QHodayota is recognized as one of the most important of the Dead Sea Scrolls and key to understanding the specific worldview and piety of the Qumran community. It contains a collection of psalms giving thanks for deliverance, salvation, knowledge, and divine mercy. This volume contains the text of the reconstructed scroll of 1QHodayota published in Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume 40 and the English translation from that volume, lightly revised. It provides the most up-to-date, accessible, and inexpensive access to the text, translation, and official numbering of the columns and lines of 1QHa.

    front cover of Honor and Personhood in Early Modern Mexico
    Honor and Personhood in Early Modern Mexico
    Osvaldo F. Pardo
    University of Michigan Press, 2015
    Osvaldo F. Pardo examines the early dissemination of European views on law and justice among Mexico’s native peoples. Newly arrived from Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, mendicant friars brought not only their faith in the authority of the Catholic Church but also their reverence of the monarchy. Drawing on a rich range of documents dating from this era—including secular and ecclesiastical legislation, legal and religious treatises, bilingual catechisms, grammars on indigenous languages, historical accounts, and official reports and correspondence—Pardo finds that honor, as well as related notions such as reputation, came to play a central role in shaping the lives and social relations of colonists and indigenous Mexicans alike. Following the application and adaptation of European ideas of justice and royal and religious power as they took hold in the New World, Pardo sheds light on the formation of colonial legalities and long-lasting views, both secular and sacred, that still inform attitudes toward authority in contemporary Mexican society.

    front cover of Inventing Superstition
    Inventing Superstition
    From the Hippocratics to the Christians
    Dale B. Martin
    Harvard University Press, 2004

    The Roman author Pliny the Younger characterizes Christianity as “contagious superstition”; two centuries later the Christian writer Eusebius vigorously denounces Greek and Roman religions as vain and impotent “superstitions.” The term of abuse is the same, yet the two writers suggest entirely different things by “superstition.”

    Dale Martin provides the first detailed genealogy of the idea of superstition, its history over eight centuries, from classical Greece to the Christianized Roman Empire of the fourth century C.E. With illuminating reference to the writings of philosophers, historians, and medical teachers he demonstrates that the concept of superstition was invented by Greek intellectuals to condemn popular religious practices and beliefs, especially the belief that gods or other superhuman beings would harm people or cause disease. Tracing the social, political, and cultural influences that informed classical thinking about piety and superstition, nature and the divine, Inventing Superstition exposes the manipulation of the label of superstition in arguments between Greek and Roman intellectuals on the one hand and Christians on the other, and the purposeful alteration of the idea by Neoplatonic philosophers and Christian apologists in late antiquity.

    Inventing Superstition weaves a powerfully coherent argument that will transform our understanding of religion in Greek and Roman culture and the wider ancient Mediterranean world.


    front cover of Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions
    Iron Age Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions
    Annick Payne
    SBL Press, 2012
    Hieroglyphic Luwian belongs to the Anatolian group of ancient languages and was inscribed primarily on stone, using an indigenous Anatolian pictorial writing system. These Hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions were written over a period of centuries in the region of Anatolia and northern Syria. Their authors were primarily the rulers of the so-called Neo-Hittite states, contemporaries and neighbors of early Israel. This volume collects some of the most important and representative of the inscriptions in transliteration and translation, organized by genre. Each text is accompanied by relevant information on provenance, dating, and other points of interest that will engage specialist and nonspecialist alike.

    front cover of Judah in the Neo-Babylonian Period
    Judah in the Neo-Babylonian Period
    The Archaeology of Desolation
    Avraham Faust
    SBL Press, 2012
    The Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. was a watershed event in the history of Judah, the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the exilic period, during which many of the biblical texts were probably written. The conquest left clear archaeological marks on many sites in Judah, including Jerusalem, and the Bible records it as a traumatic event for the population. Less clear is the situation in Judah following the conquest, that is, in the sixth century, a period with archaeological remains the nature and significance of which are disputed. The traditional view is that the land was decimated and the population devastated. In the last two decades, archaeologists arguing that the land was not empty and that the exile had little impact on Judah’s rural sector have challenged this view. This volume examines the archaeological reality of Judah in the sixth century in order to shed new light on the debate. By expanding research into new avenues and examining new data, as well as by applying new methods to older data, the author arrives at fresh insights that support the traditional view of sixth-century Judah as a land whose population, both urban and rural, was devastated and whose recovery took centuries.

    front cover of The Last Century in the History of Judah
    The Last Century in the History of Judah
    The Seventh Century BCE in Archaeological, Historical, and Biblical Perspectives
    Filip Čapek
    SBL Press, 2019

    An incomparable interdisciplinary study of the history of Judah

    Experts from a variety of disciplines examine the history of Judah during the seventh century BCE, the last century of the kingdom’s existence. This important era is well defined historically and archaeologically beginning with the destruction layers left behind by Sennacherib’s Assyrian campaign (701 BCE) and ending with levels of destruction resulting from Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian campaign (588-586 BCE). Eleven essays develop the current ongoing discussion about Judah during this period and extend the debate to include further important insights in the fields of archaeology, history, cult, and the interpretation of Old Testament texts.


    • A new chronological frame for the Iron Age IIB-IIC
    • Close examinations of archaeology, texts, and traditions related to the reigns of Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Josiah
    • An evaluation of the religious, cultic, and political landscape
    • < /UL>

    front cover of
    "Let the Little Children Come to Me"
    Childhood and Children in Early Christianity"
    Cornelia B. Horn
    Catholic University of America Press, 2009

    front cover of The Middle Maccabees
    The Middle Maccabees
    Archaeology, History, and the Rise of the Hasmonean Kingdom
    Andrea M. Berlin
    SBL Press, 2021

    A focused, interdisciplinary examination of a tumultuous, history-making era

    The Middle Maccabees lays out the charged, complicated beginnings of the independent Jewish state founded in the second century BCE. Contributors offer focused analyses of the archaeological, epigraphic, numismatic, and textual evidence, framed within a wider world of conflicts between the Ptolemies of Egypt, the Seleucids of Syria, and the Romans. The result is a holistic view of the Hasmonean rise to power that acknowledges broader political developments, evolving social responses, and the particularities of local history. Contributors include Uzi ‘Ad, Donald T. Ariel, Andrea M. Berlin, Efrat Bocher, Altay Coşkun, Benedikt Eckhardt, Gerald Finkielsztejn, Christelle Fischer-Bovet, Yuval Gadot, Erich Gruen, Sylvie Honigman, Jutta Jokiranta, Paul J. Kosmin, Uzi Leibner, Catharine Lorber, Duncan E. MacRae, Dvir Raviv, Helena Roth, Débora Sandhaus, Yiftah Shalev, Nitsan Shalom, Danny Syon, Yehiel Zelinger, and Ayala Zilberstein.


    • Up-to-date, generously illustrated essays analyzing the relevant archaeological remains
    • A revised understanding of how local and imperial histories overlapped and intersected
    • New analysis of the book of 1 Maccabees as a tool of Hasmonean strategic interest

    front cover of My Nine Lives
    My Nine Lives
    Sixty Years in Israeli and Biblical Archaeology
    William G. Dever
    SBL Press, 2020

    Experience a lifetime of adventure

    This autobiography of prominent American archaeologist William G. Dever is unabashedly his story, in which he offers candid, often brutally honest, reflections on his life and sixty-five-year career. Dever places himself in the midst of a remarkable generation of giants in archaeology in Israel during a period when the fields of biblical and Israeli archaeology were evolving. With technical expertise developed over a lifetime of working alongside four generations of Israeli and foreign excavators, he recalls their exploits and shares numerous personal stories that few others would know. His memoir concludes with a postscript on the likely future of biblical archaeology and an annotated bibliography for serious readers who wish to explore some of the scholarly literature to flesh out Dever’s narrative.


    front cover of Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia
    Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia
    Edited by Giovanni Casadio and Patricia A. Johnston
    University of Texas Press, 2009

    In Vergil's Aeneid, the poet implies that those who have been initiated into mystery cults enjoy a blessed situation both in life and after death. This collection of essays brings new insight to the study of mystic cults in the ancient world, particularly those that flourished in Magna Graecia (essentially the area of present-day Southern Italy and Sicily).

    Implementing a variety of methodologies, the contributors to Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia examine an array of features associated with such "mystery religions" that were concerned with individual salvation through initiation and hidden knowledge rather than civic cults directed toward Olympian deities usually associated with Greek religion. Contributors present contemporary theories of ancient religion, field reports from recent archaeological work, and other frameworks for exploring mystic cults in general and individual deities specifically, with observations about cultural interactions throughout. Topics include Dionysos and Orpheus, the Goddess Cults, Isis in Italy, and Roman Mithras, explored by an international array of scholars including Giulia Sfameni Gasparro ("Aspects of the Cult of Demeter in Magna Graecia") and Alberto Bernabé ("Imago Inferorum Orphica"). The resulting volume illuminates this often misunderstood range of religious phenomena.


    front cover of New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World
    New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World
    Meir Lubetski
    SBL Press, 2012
    This volume continues the tradition of New Seals and Inscriptions, Hebrew, Idumean and Cuneiform (Sheffield Phoenix, 2007) by featuring analyses by eminent scholars of some of the archaeological treasures from Dr. Shlomo Moussaieff’s outstanding collection. These contributions signal fresh approaches to the study of ancient artifacts and underscore the role of archaeological evidence in reconstructing the legacy of antiquity, especially that of the biblical period. The contributors are Kathleen Abraham, Chaim Cohen, Robert Deutsch, Claire Gottlieb, Martin Heide, Richard S. Hess, W. G. Lambert†, André Lemaire, Meir Lubetski, Matthew Morgenstern, Alan Millard, Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, and Peter van der Veen.

    front cover of Of God and Gods
    Of God and Gods
    Egypt, Israel, and the Rise of Monotheism
    Jan Assmann
    University of Wisconsin Press, 2008

    For thousands of years, our world has been shaped by biblical monotheism. But its hallmark—a distinction between one true God and many false gods—was once a new and radical idea. Of God and Gods explores the revolutionary newness of biblical theology against a background of the polytheism that was once so commonplace.
        Jan Assmann, one of the most distinguished scholars of ancient Egypt working today, traces the concept of a true religion back to its earliest beginnings in Egypt and describes how this new idea took shape in the context of the older polytheistic world that it rejected. He offers readers a deepened understanding of Egyptian polytheism and elaborates on his concept of the “Mosaic distinction,” which conceives an exclusive and emphatic Truth that sets religion apart from beliefs shunned as superstition, paganism, or heresy.
        Without a theory of polytheism, Assmann contends, any adequate understanding of monotheism is impossible.

    Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association


    front cover of Of Summits and Sacrifice
    Of Summits and Sacrifice
    An Ethnohistoric Study of Inka Religious Practices
    By Thomas Besom
    University of Texas Press, 2009

    In perhaps as few as one hundred years, the Inka Empire became the largest state ever formed by a native people anywhere in the Americas, dominating the western coast of South America by the early sixteenth century. Because the Inkas had no system of writing, it was left to Spanish and semi-indigenous authors to record the details of the religious rituals that the Inkas believed were vital for consolidating their conquests. Synthesizing these arresting accounts that span three centuries, Thomas Besom presents a wealth of descriptive data on the Inka practices of human sacrifice and mountain worship, supplemented by archaeological evidence.

    Of Summits and Sacrifice offers insight into the symbolic connections between landscape and life that underlay Inka religious beliefs. In vivid prose, Besom links significant details, ranging from the reasons for cyclical sacrificial rites to the varieties of mountain deities, producing a uniquely powerful cultural history.


    logo for Harvard University Press
    Out of the Cave
    A Philosophical Inquiry into the Dead Sea Scrolls Research
    Edna Ullmann-Margalit
    Harvard University Press

    More than fifty years ago the discovery of scrolls in eleven caves beside the Dead Sea ignited the imagination of the world--and launched a vast academic field. Expectations abounded that the scrolls would reveal actual contemporaneous accounts of the birth of Christianity, perhaps even of the life of Jesus. The research that followed--its inner logic, and what its impassioned and often highly controversial theories reveal about the framing of facts and the interpreting of texts--is what interests philosopher Edna Ullmann-Margalit in this thoroughly absorbing book.

    Since the inception of Dead Sea Scrolls research, a central theory has emerged. Known as the Qumran-Essene Hypothesis, it asserts that the scrolls belonged to the Essenes, a sect whose center was at the nearby site of Qumran. In Out of the Cave, Ullmann-Margalit focuses on this theory and the vicissitudes of its career. Looking at the Essene connection, the archaeology of Qumran, and the sectarian nature of the scrolls community, she explores the different arenas, and ways, in which contesting theories of the scrolls do battle. In this context she finds fascinating examples of issues that exercise philosophers of science as well as the general public--issues that only amplify the already intrinsic interest of the Dead Sea scrolls.


    logo for SBL Press
    Paul the Martyr
    The Cult of the Apostle in the Latin West
    David L. Eastman
    SBL Press, 2011

    Ancient iconography of Paul is dominated by one image: Paul as martyr. Whether he is carrying a sword—the traditional instrument of his execution—or receiving a martyr's crown from Christ, the apostle was remembered and honored for his faithfulness to the point of death. As a result, Christians created a cult of Paul, centered on particular holy sites and characterized by practices such as the telling of stories, pilgrimage, and the veneration of relics. This study integrates literary, archaeological, artistic, and liturgical evidence to describe the development of the Pauline cult within the cultural context of the late antique West.


    front cover of The Philistines and Other Sea Peoples in Text and Archaeology
    The Philistines and Other Sea Peoples in Text and Archaeology
    Ann E. Killebrew
    SBL Press, 2013
    The search for the biblical Philistines, one of ancient Israel’s most storied enemies, has long intrigued both scholars and the public. Archaeological and textual evidence examined in its broader eastern Mediterranean context reveals that the Philistines, well-known from biblical and extrabiblical texts, together with other related groups of “Sea Peoples,” played a transformative role in the development of new ethnic groups and polities that emerged from the ruins of the Late Bronze Age empires. The essays in this book, representing recent research in the fields of archaeology, Bible, and history, reassess the origins, identity, material culture, and impact of the Philistines and other Sea Peoples on the Iron Age cultures and peoples of the eastern Mediterranean. The contributors are Matthew J. Adams, Michal Artzy, Tristan J. Barako, David Ben-Shlomo, Mario Benzi, Margaret E. Cohen, Anat Cohen-Weinberger, Trude Dothan, Elizabeth French, Marie-Henriette Gates, Hermann Genz, Ayelet Gilboa, Maria Iacovou, Ann E. Killebrew, Sabine Laemmel, Gunnar Lehmann, Aren M. Maeir, Amihai Mazar, Linda Meiberg, Penelope A. Mountjoy, Hermann Michael Niemann, Jeremy B. Rutter, Ilan Sharon, Susan Sherratt, Neil Asher Silberman, and Itamar Singer.

    front cover of Phoenician Aniconism in Its Mediterranean and Ancient Near Eastern Contexts
    Phoenician Aniconism in Its Mediterranean and Ancient Near Eastern Contexts
    Brian R. Doak
    SBL Press, 2015
    A close look at Phoenician religion

    The Hebrew Bible contains a prohibition against divine images (Exod 20:2-5a). Explanations for this command are legion, usually focusing on the unique status of Israel's deity within the context of the broader Near Eastern and Mediterranean worlds. Doak explores whether or not Israel was truly alone in its severe stance against idols. This book focuses on one particular aspect of this iconographic context in Israel's Iron Age world: that of the Phoenicians. The question of whether Phoenicians employed aniconic (as opposed to iconic) representational techniques has significance not only for the many poorly understood aspects of Phoenician religion generally, but also for the question of whether aniconism can be considered a broader trend among the Semitic populations of the ancient Near East.


    • More than fifty images and illustrations
    • Examination of textual and archaeological evidence
    • Application of art historical methods

    front cover of A Political History of the Arameans
    A Political History of the Arameans
    From Their Origins to the End of Their Polities
    K. Lawson Younger Jr.
    SBL Press, 2016
    An up-to-date analysis of the history of the ancient Near East and the Arameans

    K. Lawson Younger Jr. presents a political history of the Arameans from their earliest origins to the demise of their independent entities. The book investigates their tribal structures, the development of their polities, and their interactions with other groups in the ancient Near East. Younger utilizes all of the available sources to develop a comprehensive picture of this complex, yet highly important, people whose influence and presence spanned the Fertile Cresent.


    • The best, recent understanding of tribal political structures, aspects of mobile pastoralism, and models of migration
    • A regional rather than a monolithic approach to the rise of Aramean polities
    • Thorough integration of the complex relationships and interactions of the Arameans with the Luwians, the Assyrians, the Israelites, and others

    logo for Harvard University Press
    Practitioners of the Divine
    Greek Priests and Religious Officials from Homer to Heliodorus
    Beate Dignas and Kai Trampedach
    Harvard University Press, 2008
    “What is a Greek priest?” The volume, which has its origins in a symposium held at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., focuses on the question through a variety of lenses: the visual representation of cult personnel, priests as ritual experts, variations of priesthood, ideal concepts and their transformation, and the role of manteis. Each chapter looks at how priests and religious officials used a potential authority to promote themselves and their posts, how they played a role in conserving, shaping and reviving cult activity, how they acted behind the curtain of polis institutions, and how they performed as mediators between men and gods. It becomes clear that Greek priests had many faces, and that the factors that determined their roles and activities are political as well as historical, religious as well as economic, idealistic as well as pragmatic, personal as well as communal.

    front cover of Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine
    Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine
    Zeev Weiss
    Harvard University Press, 2014

    Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine introduces readers to the panoply of public entertainment that flourished in Palestine from the first century BCE to the sixth century CE. Drawing on a trove of original archaeological and textual evidence, Zeev Weiss reconstructs an ancient world where Romans, Jews, and Christians intermixed amid a heady brew of shouts, roars, and applause to watch a variety of typically pagan spectacles.

    Ancient Roman society reveled in many such spectacles—dramatic performances, chariot races, athletic competitions, and gladiatorial combats—that required elaborate public venues, often maintained at great expense. Wishing to ingratiate himself with Rome, Herod the Great built theaters, amphitheaters, and hippodromes to bring these forms of entertainment to Palestine. Weiss explores how the indigenous Jewish and Christian populations responded, as both spectators and performers, to these cultural imports. Perhaps predictably, the reactions of rabbinic and clerical elites did not differ greatly. But their dire warnings to shun pagan entertainment did little to dampen the popularity of these events.

    Herod’s ambitious building projects left a lasting imprint on the region. His dream of transforming Palestine into a Roman enclave succeeded far beyond his rule, with games and spectacles continuing into the fifth century CE. By then, however, public entertainment in Palestine had become a cultural institution in decline, ultimately disappearing during Justinian’s reign in the sixth century.


    front cover of The Quest for the Historical Israel
    The Quest for the Historical Israel
    Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel
    Israel Finkelstein
    SBL Press, 2007
    Three decades of dialogue, discussion, and debate within the interrelated disciplines of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, ancient Israelite history, and Hebrew Bible over the question of the relevance of the biblical account for reconstructing early Israel’s history have created the need for a balanced articulation of the issues and their prospective resolutions. This book brings together for the first time and under one cover, a currently emerging “centrist” paradigm as articulated by two leading figures in the fields of early Israelite archaeology and history. Although Finkelstein and Mazar advocate distinct views of early Israel’s history, they nevertheless share the position that the material cultural data, the biblical traditions, and the ancient Near Eastern written sources are all significantly relevant to the historical quest for Iron Age Israel. The results of their research are featured in accessible, parallel syntheses of the historical reconstruction of early Israel that facilitate comparison and contrast of their respective interpretations. The historical essays presented here are based on invited lectures delivered in October of 2005 at the Sixth Biennial Colloquium of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in Detroit, Michigan.

    front cover of Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls
    Reading the Dead Sea Scrolls
    Essays in Method
    George J. Brooke
    SBL Press, 2013
    The Dead Sea Scrolls, which have long captured the public imagination, are now all available in principal editions and accessible translations. This book addresses the next stage in their analysis by raising questions about how they should be read and studied. The essays collected here illustrate two approaches. First, some essays argue that traditional methods of studying ancient texts need to be refined and broadened in the light of the Scrolls. The volume thus contains studies on text criticism, literary traditions, lexicography, historiography, and theology. Second, the book also argues that innovative methods of study, applied fruitfully in other areas, now also need to be applied to the Scrolls, such as studies that consider the relevance for the Scrolls of deviance theory, cultural memory, hypertextuality, intertextuality, genre theory, spatial analysis, and psychology. Many of the examples in these studies relate to how authoritative scripture was handled and appropriated by the groups that gathered the Scrolls together in the caves at and near Qumran, so some of the same texts are analyzed from several different perspectives.

    front cover of Religion in Ancient Etruria
    Religion in Ancient Etruria
    Jean-René Jannot, Translated by Jane K. Whitehead
    University of Wisconsin Press, 2005
        This lively translation of Devins, Dieux et Démons is the first English-language edition of Jean-René Jannot’s highly informative examination of Etruscan religion.  Jannot tackles this elusive subject within three major constructs—death, ritual, and the nature of the gods—and presents recent discoveries in an accessible format.  Jane K. Whitehead’s translation updates Jannot’s innovative text and introduces readers of all types—students, scholars, and the general audience—to this thorough overview of ancient Etruscan beliefs, including the afterlife, funerary customs, and mythology.
        Provocative insights and thoughtful discussions contribute to an understanding of the prophetic nature of Etruscan culture.  Jannot investigates the elaborate systems of defining space and time that so distinctly characterize this ancient society.  Religion in Ancient Etruria offers a unique perspective that illuminates the origins of some of our own "modern" religious beliefs.
        This updated edition includes more than 100 illustrations that demonstrate early temples, statues, mirrors, tablets, and sculptures.

    1998 French edition, Picard

    front cover of Santos
    Enduring Images of Northern New Mexican Village Churches
    Marie Romero Cash
    University Press of Colorado, 1999
    Richly illustrated with examples of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art from northern New Mexico's village churches, Santos is an in-depth investigation into the artistic heritage of the New Mexican santero (saint maker). It is also an important study of northern New Mexican artisans and their craft.

    Along with photographer Jack Parsons, Marie Romero Cash visited every church in the region and documented, identified, and measured each santos. Together they photographed more than 500 pieces, including 19 moradas (places of worship for Penitentes) and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Collection housed at the Museum of International Folk Art.

    Cash's extensive research into these formerly "anonymous" artisans fills a gap in the study of this unique form, making Santos indispensable for art historians and the general reader interested in the culture and art of the American Southwest.


    front cover of Saul, Benjamin, and the Emergence of Monarchy in Israel
    Saul, Benjamin, and the Emergence of Monarchy in Israel
    Biblical and Archaeological Perspectives
    Joachim J. Krause
    SBL Press, 2020

    Ponder questions of the united monarchy under Saul and David in light of current historical and archaeological evidence

    Reconstructing the emergence of the Israelite monarchy involves interpreting historical research, approaching questions of ancient state formation, synthesizing archaeological research from sites in the southern Levant, and reexamining the biblical traditions of the early monarchy embedded in the books of Samuel and Kings. Integrating these approaches allows for a nuanced and differentiated picture of one of the most crucial periods in the history of ancient Israel. Rather than attempting to harmonize archaeological data and biblical texts or to supplement the respective approach by integrating only a portion of data stemming from the other, both perspectives come into their own in this volume presenting the results of an interdisciplinary Tübingen–Tel Aviv Research Colloquium.


    • Essays on Israel's monarchy by experts in biblical archaeology and biblical studies
    • Methods for integrating archaeology and biblical traditions in reconstructing ancient Israel's history
    • New research on the sociopolitical process of state formation in Israel and Judah

    front cover of Stone Houses and Earth Lords
    Stone Houses and Earth Lords
    Maya Religion in the Cave Context
    Keith M. Prufer
    University Press of Colorado, 2021
    Cave archaeology in the New World, now a focus of intense research, was still a peripheral area of inquiry just fifteen years ago. Stone Houses and Earth Lords is the first volume dedicated exclusively to the use of caves in the Maya Lowlands, covering primarily Classic Period archaeology from A.D. 100 through the Spaniards' arrival. Although the caves that riddled the lowlands show no signs of habitation, most contain evidence of human use - evidence that suggests that they functioned as ritual spaces.

    Demonstrating the importance of these subterranean spaces to Maya archaeology, contributors provide interpretations of archaeological remains that yield insights into Maya ritual and cosmology. Compiling the best current scholarship in this fast-growing area of research, Stone Houses and Earth Lords is a vital reference for Mayanists, Mesoamerican specialists, and others interested in the human use of caves in the New World. Contributors include: Juan Luis Bonor, James E. Brady, Robert Burnett, Allan B. Cobb, Pierre Robert Colas, Cesar Espinosa, Sergio Garza, David M. Glassman, Christina T. Halperin, Amalia Kenward, Andrew Kindon, Patricia McAnany, Christopher Morehart, Holley Moyes, Vanessa A. Owen, Shankari Patel, Polly Peterson, Keith M. Prufer, Timothy. W. Pugh, Frank Saul, Julie Saul, Ann M. Scott, Andrea Stone, and Vera Tiesler.


    front cover of Tel Dan in Its Northern Cultic Context
    Tel Dan in Its Northern Cultic Context
    Andrew R. Davis
    SBL Press, 2013
    This work presents in detail a description of archaeological data from the Iron II temple complex at Tel Dan in northern Israel. Davis analyzes the archaeological remains from the ninth and eighth centuries, paying close attention to how the temple functioned as sacred space. Correlating the archaeological data with biblical depictions of worship, especially the “textual strata” of 1 Kings 18 and the book of Amos, Davis argues that the temple was the site of “official” and family religion and that worship at the temple became increasingly centralized. Tel Dan's role in helping reconstruct ancient Israelite religion, especially distinctive religious traditions of the northern kingdom, is also considered.

    logo for Harvard University Press
    Thresholds of the Sacred
    Architectural, Art Historical, Liturgical, and Theological Perspectives on Religious Screens, East and West
    Sharon E. J. Gerstel
    Harvard University Press, 2006

    From the veils of the first-century Jewish temple, to the Orthodox iconostasis, to the tramezzi of Renaissance Italy, screens of various shapes, sizes, and materials have been used to separate spaces and order communities in religious buildings. Drawn from papers presented at a recent Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies symposium, the contributors to this volume use a variety of perspectives to approach the history of religious screens and examine the thresholds that they mark. Focusing on the Middle Ages and Renaissance in the East and West, the volume includes discussions of screens in Egypt, Byzantium, the Gothic West and Italy. Some authors argue that screens, and particularly the one marking the threshold between the sanctuary/choir and nave, were conduits rather than barriers. Other authors emphasize the critical role of screens in dividing the laity and clergy, men and women, the pure and impure.

    This volume provides new research on the history of religious screen and important insights into the many ways in which the sacred and profane are separated within ecclesiastical contexts.


    front cover of Transforming the Dead
    Transforming the Dead
    Culturally Modified Bone in the Prehistoric Midwest
    Eve A. Hargrave
    University of Alabama Press, 2015
    Transforming the Dead is a collection of essays that examines culturally modified human bones and their roles as “cultural and ritual objects” among prehistoric Eastern Woodland cultures. Previous scholarship has explored the role of human body parts in Native American cultures as trophies of war and revered ancestors. This collection discusses new evidence that human elements were also important components of daily and ritual activities across the Eastern Woodlands. The contributors to this volume discuss each case study within the unique regional and temporal contexts of the material, rather than seeking universal answers to how these objects were used.
    Most research addressing modified human bone has focused on cut marks and trauma associated with warfare, trophy taking, and burial practices. The editors and contributors of Transforming the Dead document the varied and often overlooked ways that human bone was intentionally modified through drilling, incising, cutting, and polishing for utilitarian, ornamental, spiritual, or ritual use. Examples include bracelets and gorgets to be worn, as well as musical rasps, pipe stems, masks, and protective talismans. The form and function of these objects are not unusual; their construction from the remains of “another” sets them apart.
    Through a flexible but systematic analysis of the archaeological record, the contributors bring into focus how the careful selection, modification, and retention of particular bones or body parts of an individual after death offer insights into concepts of personhood, the body, life, and death among the prehistoric Native Americans in the Midwest.


    front cover of Uncovering Ancient Footprints
    Uncovering Ancient Footprints
    Armenian Inscriptions and the Pilgrimage Routes of the Sinai
    Michael E. Stone
    SBL Press, 2017

    Explore pilgrimage routes, epigraphy, and the history of writing with an expert guide

    From the late 1970s through 1982, Michael E. Stone conducted a number of expeditions to the Sinai peninsula, searching for ancient inscriptions. In this book Stone describes his search, crowned by the discovery of the most ancient Armenian inscriptions known. Here Stone describes not only the inscriptions discovered along his journeys but also the Sinai, its past and present, its human inhabitants, its flora and fauna, and its history. Though once common, well-informed travel books to the Middle East with a broad academic interest and a specific focus have become rare. Stone’s diary of his expeditions in the Sinai fill this gap with vivid descriptions, poetry, and illustrations.


    • An account of five expeditions into the Sinai
    • Thirteen poems written by Stone
    • Twenty-six figures and five maps

    logo for Harvard University Press
    Urban Religion in Roman Corinth
    Interdisciplinary Approaches
    Daniel Schowalter
    Harvard University Press, 2005

    This book discusses the history, topography, and urban development of Corinth with special attention to civic and private religious practices in the Roman colony. Expert analysis of the latest archaeological data is coupled with consideration of what can be known about the emergence and evolution of religions in Corinth. Several scholars consider specific aspects of archaeological evidence and ask how enhanced knowledge of such topics as burial practice, water supply, and city planning strengthens our understanding of religious identity and practice in the ancient city. This volume seeks to gain insight into the nature of the Greco-Roman city visited by Paul, and the ways in which Christianity gradually emerged as the dominant religion.

    This is a collaborative effort by scholars of archaeology, Greco-Roman studies, and early Christian literature who met at Harvard University in January 2002. It is the third in a series of volumes on ancient cities utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to understand urban life in ancient times. The earlier books are Ephesos, Metropolis of Asia (1995) and Pergamon: Citadel of the Gods (1998).


    front cover of Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons
    Vestal Virgins, Sibyls, and Matrons
    Women in Roman Religion
    By Sarolta A. Takács
    University of Texas Press, 2007

    Roman women were the procreators and nurturers of life, both in the domestic world of the family and in the larger sphere of the state. Although deterred from participating in most aspects of public life, women played an essential role in public religious ceremonies, taking part in rituals designed to ensure the fecundity and success of the agricultural cycle on which Roman society depended. Thus religion is a key area for understanding the contributions of women to Roman society and their importance beyond their homes and families.

    In this book, Sarolta A. Takács offers a sweeping overview of Roman women's roles and functions in religion and, by extension, in Rome's history and culture from the republic through the empire. She begins with the religious calendar and the various festivals in which women played a significant role. She then examines major female deities and cults, including the Sibyl, Mater Magna, Isis, and the Vestal Virgins, to show how conservative Roman society adopted and integrated Greek culture into its mythic history, artistic expressions, and religion. Takács's discussion of the Bona Dea Festival of 62 BCE and of the Bacchantes, female worshippers of the god Bacchus or Dionysus, reveals how women could also jeopardize Rome's existence by stepping out of their assigned roles. Takács's examination of the provincial female flaminate and the Matres/Matronae demonstrates how women served to bind imperial Rome and its provinces into a cohesive society.


    front cover of Women of Assur and Kanesh
    Women of Assur and Kanesh
    Texts from the Archives of Assyrian Merchants
    Cécile Michel
    SBL Press, 2020

    Vivid sources for reconstructing the lives of Assyrian women

    In this collection Cécile Michel translates into English texts related to wives and daughters of merchants and to their activities in nineteenth-century BCE Aššur and Kaneš. Discovered in excavations of the Old Assyrian private archives at Kültepe (ancient Kaneš) in Central Anatolia, these letters sent from Aššur reflect the preeminent role of Assyrian women within the family and in the domestic economy, as well as their contribution to long-distance trade. Contracts and other legal texts excavated at Kültepe attest to Assyrian and Anatolian women as parties in marriage and divorce contracts, last wills, loans, and purchase contracts. These unique finds paint a vivid portrait of women who aspire to be socially respected and provide a rare opportunity to reconstruct their daily lives as both businesswomen and housewives.


    • More than three hundred letters and documents transliterated and translated with commentary
    • An overview of the study of women and gender in Assyriology
    • A reconstruction of women's roles as textile producers, investors, and creditors within a long-distance commercial network

    Cécile Michel is Senior Researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, France) and Professor at Hamburg University (Germany). She is a member of the international group of scholars in charge of the decipherment of the 23,000 tablets found at Kültepe (ancient Kaneš) and of the Kültepe archaeological team. She is the coeditor of and contributor to The Role of Women in Work and Society in the Ancient Near East (2016), Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe, 1000 BC to 1000 AD (2017), and Mathematics, Administrative and Economic Activities in Ancient Worlds (2020).


    Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter