All posts by Rick Bonnie

Conference program: “The Strange and the Familiar: Identity and Empire in the Ancient Near East” (Aug 23–24)

The international conference “The Strange and the Familiar: Identity and Empire in the Ancient Near East” will take place at the University of Helsinki on August 23–24, 2019. The location of the conference is Porthania P673, Yliopistonkatu 3. The conference is generously hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions (CSTT), the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE), and the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME).

Friday, August 23

9:10 – 9:30 – Gina Konstantopoulos; University of Helsinki
Defining Others, Defining Ourselves: Constructing Identity in Empire

Center and Periphery in the Late Bronze Age:

9:30 – 10:15: Müge Durusu-Tanrıöver, Bilkent University
The Identities of an Empire: The Case of the Hittite Empire and its Borderlands

10:15 – 11:00: Phillip Strosahl, University of Pavia
Identity and Place: The Use of Ālu and Mātu to Define People in Syria Under the Hittite Empire

11:00 – 11:15: Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:00: Jacob Lauinger, Johns Hopkins University
Imperial and Local: Audience, Identity, and the Idrimi Inscription

12:00 – 12:45: František Válek, Charles University
Foreigners and Religion at Ugarit

12:45 – 2:00: Lunch Break

Assyria and Babylonia
Moderator: Caroline Wallis, University of Helsinki

2:00 – 2:45: Jonathan Valk; Universiteit Leiden
An Empire State of Mind: Domesticating the Other in the Assyrian Empire

2:45 – 3:30: Johannes Bach; University of Helsinki
On the Use of Similes in MA Royal Texts

3:30 – 4:00: Coffee Break

4:00 – 4:45: Ben Dewar, University of Birmingham
The Burning of Captives in the Assyrian Royal Inscriptions and Early Neo-Assyrian Conceptions of the Other

4:45 – 5:30: Eva Miller, University College London
Drawing Distinctions: Assyrians, Enemies, and Others in Neo-Assyrian Art

7:00: Dinner for Conference Participants

 

Saturday, August 24:

Assyria and Babylonia
Moderator: Johannes Bach; University of Helsinki

9:00 – 9:45: Güzin Eren, Boston University
Imperial Identity by Architecture: The Fortifications of Sardis in the Late 7th and 6th centuries BCE

9:45 – 10:30: Marta Lorenzon and Melanie Wasmuth, University of Helsinki
Where is the Border? Shifts in the South-Western Fringe Zone of the ANE Empires in the 1stMillennium BCE

10:30 – 10:45: Coffee

10:45 – 11:30: John P. Nielsen, Bradley University
Assyrian Engagement with Chaldea and the Emergence of Chaldean Power in Babylonia

11:30 – 12:15: Michael Kozuh, Auburn University
The Roving Other: Shepherds, Ungovernable Spaces, and Imperial Authority

12:15 – 1:30: Lunch

Successors of Mesopotamia: Later Empires and Biblical Traditions
Moderator: Jason Silverman, University of Helsinki

1:30 – 2:15: Silvia Balatti, Kiel University
Being Yauna: the Limits of Imperial Integration at the Western Margins of the Achaemenid Empire

2:15 – 3:00: Jennifer Finn, Marquette University
Making a Third Space in Susa: Achaemenid Displays of the Periphery in the Center

3:00 – 3:30: Coffee

3:30 – 4:15: Ehud Ben Zvi, University of Alberta
The Art of Bracketing Empire Out and Creating Parallel Worlds: The Case of late Persian Yehud

4:15 – 5:00: Hanna Tervanotko; McMaster University
“You Must Now Learn to Imitate the Abhorrent Practices of those Nations:” Ancient Jewish Texts and Polemics against Divination

5:00 – 5:45: Martti Nissinen and Saana Svärd; University of Helsinki
Response and Final Discussion

For further information and questions, please contact Gina Konstantopoulos: gina.konstantopoulos@helsinki.fi

 

Cover photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg), CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Assyrian_king_Shalmaneser_III_receives_tribute_from_Sua,_king_of_Gilzanu,_The_Black_Obelisk..JPG

Understanding Jewish Ritual Baths: Archaeometric insights into the production of its plaster

In last month’s Yliopisto Lehti, Rick Bonnie’s fieldwork in Israel was featured. Together with Dr. Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä and Dr. Paula Kouki, Rick has been sampling the plaster of stepped pools (commonly identified as Jewish ritual baths) across various sites in Israel in order to conduct archaeometric analysis. The aim of the research is to get better insights into the production of these pools and whether their ritual functioning also had an impact on the materials used for constructing these pools.

 

The fieldwork forms part of the University of Helsinki-funded project “Religious Responses to Climate Change in the Southern Levant: Understanding the rise and fall of Jewish ritual purification baths in the Hasmonean-Roman period.” This project, which runs from 2019 to 2021, aims at examining to what extent environmental factors affected the introduction, change and upkeep of Jewish water purification rituals in the southern Levant from around the late second century BCE into the second and third centuries CE.

Call For Pa­per: Liv­ing Communities and Their Archaeologies, Helsinki, 12–14 Sept. 2019

We are happy to announce the Call for Papers for the “Living Communities and Their Archaeologies: From the Middle East to the Nordic Countries” conference (LiveArch2019), hosted at the University of Helsinki, from Thursday 12 September to Saturday 14 September 2019.

It is our pleasure to announce that the following keynote speakers: Shatha Abu Khafajah (Hashemite University), Tawfiq Da’adli (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Paula Kouki (Director of Cultural services, Museums and Events, Town of Hamina, Finland), and Gabriel Moshenska (University College London)

Paper proposals can now be submitted via the EasyChair CFP platform: https://easychair.org/cfp/LiveArch2019. Please note that the deadline for submission is 30 April 2019.

The “Living Communities and Their Archaeologies” conference welcomes presentations addressing the fundamental issue of what we understand as “community archaeology”. This seemingly simple question refers both to the “communities” and the “archaeologies” concerned, and to the interrelations between them. Which communities are we addressing when doing community archaeology (and which are ignored)? What approaches to archaeology do we employ? Is it only excavation, does community archaeology end when the excavation season is over? How do we affect the community in which (or with which) we work? How does the community affect us, the archaeologists? And how can we measure and explain success or failure of “community archaeology” projects?

These questions are still to be expanded upon within the contexts of Middle Eastern archaeology and archaeology in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The aim of this conference is to think critically about relationships between communities and archaeologies theoretically as well as by discussing practical cases from cultures that are quite different from each other.

We especially welcome paper proposals that focus on the following themes within the geographical contexts of the Middle East and/or the Nordic and Baltic countries:

  • Defining and reflecting on “community” in community archaeology;
  • Archaeologists as a community in themselves;
  • Which archaeologies to employ in community archaeology;
  • Measuring the success and failure of community archaeology.

We are happy to emphasise that accommodation cost for the full duration of the conference will be covered by the organisers for all presenters whose papers are selected.

More information about the conference can be found on our website: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/living-communities-and-their-archaeologies

Organizers: Rick Bonnie, Suzie Thomas, Raz Kletter, and Marta Lorenzon

Photo courtesy of G. Sulymani.

Workshop: “Global and Local Cultures in the Roman East” (Helsinki, 28-30 Nov 2018)

Workshop:  Global and Local Cultures in the Roman East: From Domination to Interaction

Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, 28–30 November 2018

The workshop is organized by the Globalization, Urbanization and Urban Religion in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Roman and Early Islamic period workshop series, funded by The Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS) and by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki.

The workshop is the first in a series of three workshops organized jointly by the University of Helsinki (Raimo Hakola, Rick Bonnie), Aarhus University (Rubina Raja) and the University of Bergen (Simon Malmberg, Eivind Heldas Seeland).

The program of the workshop can be found using the following link: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/sacredtexts/files/2018/10/Helsinki-workshop_schedules-29102018.pdf.

The workshop is free and open to all. However, we would like participants to register using the following form before November 15: https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/93066/lomake.html

For further information about this workshop, please email raimo.hakola@helsinki.fi and/or rick.bonnie@helsinki.fi.

 

 

The Final Excavation Season at the Horvat Kur synagogue

By Raimo Hakola  

A team representing the University of Helsinki and the CSTT has participated in what the excavation team believes to be the final season of digging at the Horvat Kur synagogue. The Kinneret Regional Project, a joint expedition of the University of Helsinki, Leiden University, Bern University and Florida Atlantic University, finished the excavations of the Byzantine-era synagogue that was first found in 2010. During this year’s excavations, led by Jürgen Zangenberg, Raimo Hakola, Stefan Münger and Byron McCane, the team tried to find traces of the earliest phase of the building, which was apparently constructed for the first time in the second half of the fourth century.

Earlier excavation seasons have revealed the detailed layout of a so-called broadhouse synagogue that was built at the site around 450 CE and later renovated at least once in the late sixth or early seventh century, before it went out of use in the seventh century. The team thought to be finishing the excavations of this synagogue already in 2015, when a mosaic floor predating the excavated synagogue was found. The mosaic contained a menorah, seven branched candle holder and the name of a synagogue benefactor (for an earlier report on the excavation of this mosaic, click here). The finding of the mosaic came as a surprise, because it soon became clear that the mosaic did not belong to the excavated broadhouse synagogue, but was from an unknown building predating it. During subsequent excavations, our team has tried to find more traces of this early building in order to understand better its layout and function.

Students at work during the excavations. Photo by Raimo Hakola.

During this year’s campaign, carried out in June and July 2018, the team focused on excavations below the floor level of the broadhouse synagogue. The team was able to expose, among other things, a terrace wall running from north to south. Our initial interpretation is that this wall served as a foundation wall for the eastern wall of the mosaic synagogue. The preliminary analysis of the pottery suggests that the wall was constructed in 350-400 CE, which corroborates with the dating of the so-called “mosaic synagogue” based on a coin found in the bedding of the mosaic. The team now has enough evidence to postulate that the synagogue with the mosaic floor was built in the second half of the fourth century. After the destruction of this building in the early fourth century, a new and larger broadhouse synagogue was built on the site of the earlier building and this new building remained in use for over 200 years.

Excavations beneath the floor of the later synagogue. Photo by Raimo Hakola.

Raimo Hakola, one of the co-directors of the Horvat Kur excavations, led the Helsinki excavation team in 2018. Helena Wahala took care of find registration and prof. Ismo Dunderberg and theology student Yoon-Hee Choi participated in the excavations as volunteers. The Kinneret Regional Project now focuses on the analysis of the finds and findings and continues the preparation of the final excavation report. Raimo Hakola, Rick Bonnie and Ulla Tervahauta will contribute to the forthcoming publication. The Horvat Kur excavations are a part of the research program of CSTT. These excavations clarify the changes that took place in Jewish society after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE when synagogues became important local centers and assumed some of the roles that the temple earlier had. CSTT has been an important sponsor of the excavations that have been carried out in co-operation with the Finnish Institute in the Middle East.

Welcome to Helsinki! A List of CSTT Contributions to the EABS/ISBL Meeting

In only two weeks, hundreds of biblical scholars will gather in Helsinki to attend the combined meetings of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS) and the International meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), which takes place from 31 July to 3 August.

As the meetings are held in our hometown, we hope to showcase to you all the diverse and wide range of research the CSTT is currently engaged in. To make your conference experience easier, we have brought together all contributions by our research centre to this year’s EABS/ISBL meeting.

The contributions are grouped under four headings corresponding to the different research teams in our centre. The list includes contributions from our full and associate members. You can find the abstracts of the papers and more information on the sessions by using the excellent online program book.

We warmly welcome you all to lovely Helsinki!


TEAM 1. Society and Religion in the Ancient Near East

July 30 – 16:00–17:30
CSTT-director Martti Nissinen: Presiding in panel discussion “What I Would Like to See Happening in Biblical Studies,” in Opening Session

Aug 1 – 14:00 – 17:00
Martti Nissinen: Presiding, in themed-session “Timo Veijola’s Contribution to Biblical Studies,” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Martti Nissinen: “Why Prophets Are (Not) Shamans,” in themed-session “Shamanism in the Bible and Cognate Literature” in Anthropology and the Bible (EABS)

July 31 – 9:00–11:00
Izaak J. de Hulster: “Hermeneutical Reflections on a Recently Excavated Cylinder Seal Fragment from Abel-beth-maacah,” in Iconography and Biblical Studies (EABS)

July 31 – 14:00–17:00
Izaak J. de Hulster: Presiding, in Iconography and Biblical Studies (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Izaak J. de Hulster: “Predecessors of Hilma Granqvist: Women Exploring the Land(s) of the Bible before 1920,” in themed-session “Holy Land Explorers: In Recognition of Hilma Granqvist” inHistory of Biblical Scholarship in the Late Modern Period

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Jason Silverman: “Imperium as Context for Defining “Elite”: Persians and Yahwistic Socio-economic Structure,” in themed-session “Elite Cultures and Achaemenid Koine” inJudaeans in the Persian Empire (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Kirsi Valkama: “Aapeli Saarisalo and Biblical Archaeology” in themed-session “Holy Land Explorers: In Recognition of Hilma Granqvist” inHistory of Biblical Scholarship in the Late Modern Period

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Kirsi Valkama and Rick Bonnie: Presiding, in Archaeology and the Biblical World

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Joanna Töyräänvuori: “The Ambiguity and Liminality of the Mediterranean Sea in Ancient Semitic Mythology,” in Ugarit and the Bible: Life and Death (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Gina Konstantopoulos: Presiding, in Dispelling Demons: Interpretations of Evil and Exorcism in Ancient Near Eastern, Jewish and Biblical Contexts (EABS)

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
ShanaZaia: “‘My Brothers Were Plotting Evil’: Family Violence in the Ancient Near East,” in Families and Children in the Ancient World

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Sebastian Fink: “Visual Poetry in Sumerian Lamentations: A Diachronic View,” inDiachronic Poetology of the Hebrew Bible and Related Ancient Near Eastern and Ancient Jewish Literature (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Sebastian Fink: “Entering and Leaving This World: Birth and Death in Mesopotamia,” inUgarit and the Bible: Life and Death (EABS)

Aug 3 – 9:00–10:30
Andres Nõmmik: “A Consideration of the City-States of the Late Bronze Age Southern Levant,” in Ancient Near East

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Patrik Jansson: “Prophesying and Twisting: Exploring the Metaphorical Description of Prophesying Women in the Greek Text of Ezekiel 13:17–23,”in Metaphor in the Bible (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Lauri Laine: “What God Should Not Be, but Still Somehow Is? Cognitive Perspectives on ‘Theological Incorrectness’,” inWhat a God is Not – the Early History of Negative Theology (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–15:30
Helen Dixon(Wofford College): “Sign, Performance, Possession, Home: What Are Non-royal Phoenician Mortuary Stelae Doing?” in themed-session “Texts in Space” in Ancient Near East


TEAM 2. Text and Authority

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Team 2 leader Anneli Aejmelaeus: “Re-linking 1 Sam 3 and 4,” inSeptuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Tuukka Kauhanen: Presiding, in themed-session “Septuagint Syntax” in Septuagint Studies

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Tuukka Kauhanen: “Editing the Septuagint of 2 Samuel,”in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

July 31 – 16:00–17:30
Katja Kujanpää: “Job or Isaiah? What Does Paul Quote in Rom 11:35?” in themed-session “Textual History”, in Septuagint Studies

Aug 2 – 16:00–17:30
Jessi Orpana: Presiding, in themed-session “History, Kingship and the Economy” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Paavo Huotari: “Characteristics of the Lucianic Reviser in 2 Samuel,” in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

July 31 – 16:00–17:30
Miika Tucker:“Continuity and Change: A Historical Perspective on the Assessment of Septuagint Jeremiah as a Textual Witness,”in themed-session “Textual History” in Septuagint Studies


TEAM 3. Literary Criticism in the Light of Documented Evidence

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Team 3 leader Juha Pakkala: Presiding, in themed-session “Evoking Coherence in Redactional Processes of Fortschreibung and in Re-writing Biblical Texts” in Developing Exegetical Methods (EABS)

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Mika Pajunen: “The Functions of Extensive Psalms and Prayers in Narrative Contexts,”in themed-session “Evoking Coherence in Redactional Processes of Fortschreibung and in Re-writing Biblical Texts” inDeveloping Exegetical Methods (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Ville Mäkipelto: Presiding, in themed-session “Translation Technique and Revisions” in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Ville Mäkipelto: Presiding, in themed-session “Joshua 8 – Literary Development in Light of Text, Literary, and Redaction Critical Perspectives” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00 – 11:30
Timo Tekoniemi: Presiding, in themed-session “Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in Light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00 – 17:30
Timo Tekoniemi: Presiding, in themed-session “Textual Criticism” in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:00
Reinhard Müller(Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster): “Timo Veijola’s Commentary on Deuteronomy,” in themed-session: “Timo Veijola’s Contribution to Biblical Studies” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:00
Reinhard Müller (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster):“Eckart Otto’s Models of ‘Urdeuteronomium’ and Deuteronomistic Deuteronomy,” in themed-session: “Eckart Otto’s Commentary on Deuteronomy” in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Urmas Nõmmik: “Changes in Form and Genre: Five Research Questions,” inDiachronic Poetology of the Hebrew Bible and Related Ancient Near Eastern and Ancient Jewish Literature (EABS)

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Anssi Voitila(University of Eastern Finland): “Usage-Based Translation Syntax of the Septuagint,”in themed-session “Septuagint Syntax” in Septuagint Studies

Aug 3 – 9:00–10:30
Anssi Voitila (University of Eastern Finland): Presiding, in themed-session “Interpretation” in Septuagint Studies


TEAM 4. Society and Religion in Late Second Temple Judaism

July 30 – 16:00–17:30
Team 4 leader Jutta Jokiranta: Member in panel discussion “What I Would Like to See Happening in Biblical Studies,” in Opening Session

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Matthew Goff (Florida State University) and Jutta Jokiranta:“Survey Results on Ethics and Policies Regarding Unprovenanced Materials” in themed-session “Ethics and Policies Regarding Unprovenanced Materials” inQumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Jutta Jokiranta: Presiding, in themed-session “Ritual and Qumran” in Ritual in the Biblical World

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Raimo Hakola:“The Ancient Synagogue at Horvat Kur, Galilee: Excavations 2010-2018,” in Archaeology and the Biblical World

July 30 – 16:00–17:30
Rick Bonnie: Member in panel discussion “What I Would Like to See Happening in Biblical Studies,” in Opening Session

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Rick Bonnie: ”Researching Cultural Objects and Manuscripts in a Small Country: The Finnish Experience of Raising Awareness of Provenance, Legality, and Responsible Stewardship,” in themed-session “Ethics and Policies Regarding Unprovenanced Materials” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 9:00–10:30
Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, in themed-session “Gendered Virtue?” in Virtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Aug 1 – 16:00–17:30
Charlotte Hempel (University of Birmingham) and Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, Early Career Development Workshop

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Elisa Uusimäki: “Is There ‘Virtue’ in Semitic texts? An Analysis of the Testament of Qahat,” in themed-session “Is there Virtue in Semitic texts?” in Virtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, in themed-session “Portraying Virtue” inVirtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Aug 3 – 9:00–11:00
Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, in themed-session “Open Session” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Katri Antin:“Intellectual Illumination as a Visionary Experience,” in themed-session “Visions and aspects of Spatial Theory – Focus OT” in Vision and Envisionment in the Bible and its World (EABS)

Aug 3 – 9:00–11:00
Katri Antin:“Implicit Exegesis as a Mean of Transmitting Divine Knowledge in the Thanksgiving Psalms,”in themed-session “Open Session” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 16:00–17:30
Hanna Tervanotko: Member in panel discussion “Teaching Gender and the Bible,” in Status of Women in the Profession

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Hanna Tervanotko: “Reading 1 Samuel 28 and Odyssey 11 through the Lens of Shamanism,” in themed-session “Shamanism in the Bible and Cognate Literature” inAnthropology and the Bible (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–15:30
Sami Yli-Karjanmaa: “Philo’s Reincarnational Anthropology: A Comparison with Clement,” in themed-session “Philo of Alexandria” in Judaica

Aug 3 – 9:00–11:15
Hanna Vanonen: “Apocalyptic Vision or Ritual Instructions? The Qumran War Texts as Apocalyptic Literature,” in themed-session “Apocalyptic Literature: Second Temple Judaism” in Apocalyptic Literature

Conference “Conceptualizing the Divine in the Levant” (Helsinki, 21-23 March)

Deities in Aram, Israel, and Phoenicia: an Iron Age perspective on conceptualizing the divine in the Levant

(21–23 March 2018 in Helsinki)

The shift from Late Bronze Age to Iron Age in the Levant is usually characterized by the collapse of ‘empires’ and the rise of (so-called) ‘national states’ or ‘territorial kingdoms’. These political changes had their repercussions on how identities were negotiated and how ‘the divine’ (realm) was conceptualized and deities understood. The Iron Age Levantine kingdoms comprise ‘Aram’, ‘Phoenicia’ (or broader: Sea Peoples), and as a third ‘Israel’ (and Judah) is singled out here (among the kingdoms around the Jordan). These territorial kingdoms had their own ‘national deities’ – partly in continuity with the Bronze Age city states. For instance as heirs to Bronze Age Syrian religion Phoenicians and Aramaeans carried on prophecy, the ancestor cult for the king, and the prime position of the weather god (cf. M. Hutter, Religionen in der Umwelt des Alten Testaments I: Babylonier, Syrer, Perser, 1996: 177–178). Next to different forms of reception (incl. reinterpretation), the new historical context also demonstrates change. Contemporary cultural contacts, fostered by economics (trade) and politics (treaties and war), raised questions of cultural ‘translatability’ of deities (cf. M.S. Smith, God in Translation,
2010) and also resulted in ‘ligatures’ (a merger of deities, sometimes marked by hyphenated names, such as ‘Baal-Seth’) and ‘transnational’ veneration (e.g., Melqart). These conceptualizations of the divine found expression in names, religious practice (cult, ritual), texts (e.g., myths, prophecies) and material artefacts (both in monumental and miniature art). Continue reading Conference “Conceptualizing the Divine in the Levant” (Helsinki, 21-23 March)

Global and local cul­ture in­ter­mingled in the Middle East in An­tiquity

The research project Globalization, Urbanization and Urban Religion in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Roman and Early Islamic Periods studies the urbanisation, urban culture and the interactions between cities and their surrounding rural areas in the Eastern Mediterranean during antiquity.
The project, which recently was awarded funding from the Nordic research funding body NOS-HS, combines the research interests of classical historians, scholars of Islam, archaeologists and theologians. Dr. Raimo Hakola, a Senior Researcher in the CSTT, will co-direct this project together with colleagues from the Universities of Aarhus (Prof. Rubina Raja) and Bergen (Profs. Simon Malmberg and Eivind Seland).
The Nordic funding will be used to arrange three interconnected multidisciplinary workshops in the period 2018-2020. The first one will be held in Helsinki during the autumn of 2018.
For further information, read the full article here.

“CSTT and Gender” e-booklet

From June to August 2017, we have hosted on our website a forum discussion on various aspects related to “gender”. The papers by Saana Svärd and Hanna Tervanotko, Rick Bonnie, Francis Borchardt, and Anneli Aejmelaeus that were posted on our website were originally presented during the last Annual Meeting in May 2018 in Tvärminne, Finland. Continue reading “CSTT and Gender” e-booklet

Trading in the Babylonian Exile

by Tero Alstola

This blog post is a summary of Tero Alstola’s recent article “Judean Merchants in Babylonia and Their Participation in Long-Distance Trade” in Die Welt des Orients 47 (2017), pp. 25–51. https://doi.org/10.13109/wdor.2017.47.1.25.

The Babylonian exile of Judeans does not equal to enslavement and miserable conditions in a foreign land. The available sources attest to remarkable diversity within the deported population: although the majority of Judeans worked as small farmers, some of them lived in cities, enjoyed a good socio-economic status, and were integrated into Babylonian society. Judean merchants are an example of exiles who did relatively well in Babylonia. Continue reading Trading in the Babylonian Exile