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Archive for the ‘Ancient Near East’ Category

Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology

In A. R. George, Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, Kurtis Peters, Mohr Siebeck, Mythology, T. M. Oshima, W. G. Lambert on September 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

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2017.09.20 | W. G. Lambert, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology: Selected Essays, ed. A. R. George and T. M. Oshima, Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 15 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016). ISBN: 9783161536748.

Review by Kurtis Peters

W. G. Lambert’s contributions to Assyriology are unquestionably many. His work in Babylonian wisdom literature and the publishing of the Atra-Ḫasīs epic are alone testament to the enduring value of his work. In the present volume one finds a range of Lambert’s essays on the pantheon, myth, and religion found in ancient Mesopotamia. The editors, A. R. George and T. M. Oshima, divided the volume into five sections. First is “Introductory Considerations”, within which one finds two essays, “Morals in Mesopotamia” and “Ancient Mesopotamian Gods: Superstition, Philosophy, Theology”. Though the material here overlaps with much of what comes in later essays, these set some necessary groundwork and do so in a more generalist way. That the latter was published in Revue de l’histoire des religions confirms its broad scope. 

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Mantik im Alten Testament

In Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, divination, HB/OT, Mantik, Rüdiger Schmitt, Ugarit-Verlag, William L. Kelly on June 17, 2016 at 3:17 am

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2016.06.11 | Rüdiger Schmitt, Mantik im Alten Testament, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 411, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014. pp. xi + 212. ISBN: 978-3-86835-100-2.

Review by William L. Kelly, University of Edinburgh

Many thanks to Ugarit-Verlag for generously providing a review copy.

Divination is a topic which has enjoyed a growing amount of attention in contemporary scholarship, especially the relationship between divination and prophecy in the Hebrew Bible. Scholars now recognise that ancient prophecy was not an isolated phenomenon; it existed within a larger complex of religious ideas, symbols and practices related to communication between humans and gods. In Mantik im Alten Testament, Rüdiger Schmitt examines the practitioners, instruments and discourses related to divination in the Hebrew Bible. Schmitt is already a contributor to this area of research, e.g. as with his Habilitationsschrift published as Magie im Alten Testament (AOAT 313, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2004). Read the rest of this entry »

A History of the Ancient Near East

In Ancient Near East, HB/OT, Kurtis Peters, Marc Van De Mieroop, Wiley Blackwell on December 27, 2015 at 4:52 am

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2015.12.23 |Marc Van De Mieroop. A History of the Ancient Near East: ca. 3000-323 BC. 3rd Edition. Chichester, West Sussex, UK; Malden, MA, USA: Wiley Blackwell, 2016. Pp. Xxii + 400. ISBN: 9781118718162.

Review by Kurtis Peters, University of British Columbia.

Many thanks to Wiley Blackwell for providing a review copy.

Flip open nearly any page of a Hebrew Bible and you will find yourself brushing up against the history of the Ancient Near East. At times it is quite obvious: Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invades Judah in 2 Kings, Isaiah, and 2 Chronicles; Ezra and Nehemiah, in the books named after them, return to Palestine with the blessing of the Persian emperor; Nahum prophesies the fall of Nineveh. Yet, the history of the Ancient Near East (ANE) influences other parts of the Hebrew Bible (HB) in more subtle ways. According to broadly held views, Deuteronomy was composed as a reaction to the suzerainty of Assyria over her vassals in the period of the Neo-Assyrian empire. The opening chapters to Genesis, according to many, are written so as to make sense of the life of exile in Babylon.1 Read the rest of this entry »

A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition

In Ancient Near East, Brill, Kurtis Peters, Semitics, Ugaritic on July 17, 2015 at 5:04 am

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2015.07.17 | Gregorio del Olmo Lete and Joaquín Sanmartín. A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Third Revised Edition. 2 vols. Translated and Edited by Wilfred G.E. Watson. (Leiden, Brill: 2015. $330. pp xliv + 989. ISBN: 978-90-04-28864-5).

Review by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

The value of Ugaritic studies for the understanding of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament needs hardly to be underscored. Countless comparisons, accurate or otherwise, between the Ba’al cycle and the Canaanite/Israelite worship of said deity have already been made. One cannot question the wealth of information that Ugaritic texts have provided us about religion in the Levant in the Late Bronze Age. They have also illuminated a good deal of the geopolitical situation during that time period. But one would be remiss to neglect the impact of Ugaritic studies on the study of Semitic philology and linguistics. Read the rest of this entry »

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

In Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, Archaeology, commentary, HB/OT, John H. Walton, Kurtis Peters, Zondervan on June 11, 2015 at 9:52 pm

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2015.06.13 | Walton, John H., ed. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. $249.95. ISBN 978-0-310-25572-7).

Review by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Zondervan for providing a review copy.

John Walton, chief editor of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, has taken on an enormous task. Enormous, of course, is simply the gathering of data and contributors for a multi-volume commentary. But perhaps more significant yet is his aim: to have the evangelical world engage with the ancient Near East (hereafter ANE) in a meaningful way. 5 volumes, 32 contributors, and nearly 3,000 pages later, Walton has, it seems, succeeded at least insofar as he has provided the evangelical community with perhaps the most thorough and most accessible resource for them to grapple with the reality of the Old Testament and its ANE setting. Read the rest of this entry »

El-Amarna Correspondence

In Ancient Near East, Anson F. Rainey, Brill, Egypt, HB/OT, Kurtis Peters, William Schniedewind, Zipora Cochavi-Rainey on March 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

2015.03.08 | Rainey, Anson F. Z”L. The El-Amarna Correspondence: A New Edition of the Cuneiform Letters from the Site of El-Amarna based on Collations of all Extant Tablets, edited by William Schniedewind and Zipora Cochavi-Rainey. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Reviewed by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

Many students, and perhaps even some scholars, of the Bible are unaware of the corpus of material that comes to us from el-Amarna in Egypt. Of course, this material is not written in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, nor does it tell of any events that can easily correlate with the biblical corpus. Why, then, ought those who study the Bible to know these texts? Or more to the point, what does Rainey’s extensive work on them offer to biblical studies?

These texts from el-Amarna (an artificial name derived from a misunderstanding in the early 19th century – p.1), consist largely of letters written to and sometimes from Egypt during the reigns of the 18th dynasty Pharaohs Amenḥotep III and Amenḥotep IV (who later famously adopted the name Akhenaten). Read the rest of this entry »

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE

In Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, Ann E. KILLEBREW, Archaeology, Kurtis Peters, Margreet L. STEINER, Oxford University Press on November 17, 2014 at 12:14 am


2014.11.18 | Margreet L. Steiner and Ann E. Killebrew, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. £110. pp. 912. ISBN 978-0-19-921297-2.

Reviewed by Kurtis Peters,
University of Edinburgh.

Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.

Steiner and Killebrew have delivered exactly what those of us in Biblical Studies needed – an access point for engaging with the world of archaeology as it pertains to the Levant. In the past it has been difficult for biblical scholars and students to engage critically with archaeological research on a particular subject, or time period, or geographic region. A quick glance through the table of contents will immediately reveal that this book is designed for such novice or intermediate readers. It is as a guidebook for interested amateurs, such as many of RBECS’ readers, that it will be evaluated here. Read the rest of this entry »

Prophets Male and Female

In Ancient Near East, Corrine L. CARVALHO, Gender Studies, HB/OT, Jonathan STÖKL, Kerry Lee, Prophecy, Society of Biblical Literature, Women on November 15, 2013 at 11:54 pm

2013.11.21 | Jonathan Stökl and Corrine L. Carvalho (eds.). Prophets Male and Female: Gender and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Ancient Near East. Ancient Israel and Its Literature 15. Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2013. xiv + 347 pages (PB) ISBN 9781589837768.

Review article by Kerry Lee, University of Edinburgh.

Many thanks to SBL for providing a review copy.

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Concise Review

Prophets Male and Female is an edited collection of papers presented in the Prophetic Texts in Their Ancient Context section of the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual meetings in 2009 and 2010.

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