Ancient Near East (ancient + near_east)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Curses and Cursing in the Ancient Near East

Anne Marie Kitz
As many extant texts demonstrate, the world of the Ancient Near East was replete with curses. They managed almost every feature of life from simple business affairs to complex international relations. Of significant importance for the survivability of any society at that time was the maintenance of the happiness of the local deity or deities whose ongoing presence and patronage was inexorably linked to the preservation of their respective tribe, city, or empire. Cursing importuned these patron deities, as well as personal deities, to injure others so that the well-being of their tribal or city residents might be sustained. A curse's ultimate purpose was to inspire heavenly rage by soliciting supernatural powers to intercede in situations that were believed to be beyond mortal control such as injustices, disease, injury, or just plain bad luck. The following study will review the underlying features of all curses in the Ancient Near East. The deities, as will be shown, played a central role in the execution of maledictions. They were viewed as the agents who would, in one way or another, realize the requested punishment should they judge in the speaker's favor. This analysis will be followed by an examination of the most common types of curses the Ancient Near Easterners used. [source]

Understanding Israelite Religion: New Challenges for Chinese Bible Translations

Yiyi Chen
With improvements in archaeological methodology, new discoveries in Syria-Palestine, as well as tremendous progress of knowledge about the Ancient Near East in the past several decades, we have never understood Israelite religion as reflected in the geographical and chronological scope of the Hebrew Bible better than now. However, today the most widely distributed and utilized Chinese translation of the Bible is the Union version, which was produced more than 100 years ago. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the preparation of an improved translation of the Bible based on our better understanding of Israelite religion is brought to the agenda. However, in order not to produce yet another paraphrased Chinese version of one or a combination of several existing English versions that most probably would not outlast the one-hundred-year-old Union version, a group effort of seminary-trained theologians, scholars in the Ancient Near East fields, as well as different sectarians among Christians, is called for. Never before in the history of China is this country more ready than today to execute such a plan, and the general public to embrace a translation reflecting Israelite religion as recorded in the Bible. [source]

The Riddle of Ishtar's Shoes: The Religious Significance of the Footprints at ,Ain Dara from a Comparative Perspective

PAUL BRIAN THOMASArticle first published online: 12 AUG 200
This essay analyzes the carved footprints in the Iron Age temple at ,Ain Dara, Syria from a broadly comparative perspective. This methodology is necessitated by the fact that footprint iconography is very rare in ancient Near Eastern art. The diverse examples utilized in this paper to help explicate the footprints at ,Ain Dara range from the Footprints of the Buddha (Buddhapadas) to the sullied feet of Jesus. Through analysis of footprint iconography in other religious contexts, I have drawn conclusions concerning the form and function of the temple footprints at ,Ain Dara that have escaped other scholars of the ancient Near East. [source]

A Monkey Figurine from Tel Beth Shemesh

Raz Kletter
This paper presents a unique clay figurine found at Tel Beth Shemesh, Judah, in a late Iron Age II context. The figurine portrays a monkey-faced horse, a combination that is rare in the ancient Near East and unknown, so far, from Judah. Comparisons are sought, followed by a discussion of the Monkey in small representations in the ancient Near East and Mesopotamia. Monkeys were exotic, held as pet animals by the higher classes and related to sex, music, ugliness, lack of intelligence, and various other human characteristics. It is suggested that the significance of this figurine lies in such ,secular' connotations, rather than in a religious realm [source]

Cylinder seals and their use in the Arabian Peninsula

D.T. Potts
Cylinder seals were used in the ancient Near East from the fourth to the first millennium BC. Although the numbers known from sites in the Arabian Peninsula seem relatively small, more have been found there than is generally recognised. A comprehensive overview of the cylinder seals of Arabia is presented, and the cylinder and stamp sealing traditions of the region are discussed. [source]

New approach to the study of city planning and domestic dwellings in the ancient Near East

Christophe BenechArticle first published online: 8 MAY 200
Abstract This paper presents the results of a magnetic survey on the Hellenistic and Roman site of Doura- Europos in Syria. The interpretation of the magnetic data is based on an original approach by considering the use of space in a domestic unit. This type of study has been developed for sociological research but is adapted to the information carried within geophysical data. After a brief presentation of the role of geophysical methods for the study of city planning, the most important components of the ,space syntax' will be presented and applied to two blocks of Doura-Europos, one that has been excavated in the twentieth century by the Yale University and another surveyed using the magnetic method. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]