Kiveen hakattu? Olemme mukana kirjamessuilla uutuuskirjan kera

Miten pyhät tekstit ja perinteet ovat historian saatossa muuttuneet? Huippuyksikömme tutkijoiden kirjoittama uutuskirja valottaa tutkimuksen uusimpia näkökulmia aiheeseen. Martti Nissisen ja Leena Vähäkylän toimittama Kiveen hakattu? Pyhät tekstit ja perinteet muutoksessa (Gaudeamus, 2018) julkaistaan virallisesti Helsingin Kirjamessuilla torstaina 25.10. klo. 15:30.

Messuilla Martti NissinenKatja Kujanpää ja Leena Vähäkylä esittelevät kirjan teemoja ja keskustelevat pyhien tekstien ja perinteiden muuttumisesta.

Uutuuskirja kuuluu Suomen Akatemian Tutkitusti-sarjaan. Alla on kirjan kuvausteksti kustantajan verkkosivuilta:

“Tulipalo tuhoaa kaupungin, kivenhakkaajan taltta lipsahtaa, käsikirjoituksen jäljentäjä tekee kynttilänsä valossa kirjoitusvirheen, paperi rasahtaa rikki terävän mustekynän alla.

Pyhät tekstit eivät ole ajan hampaalta ja inhimillisiltä erheiltä suojattuja sen paremmin kuin maallisetkaan hengentuotteet, vaikka Raamattuun ja vanhoihin traditioihin usein liitetään ajatus juuri muuttumattomuudesta.

Tekstit ja perinteet elävät jatkuvasti, toisinaan myös tietoisen valinnan seurauksena: esimerkiksi Paavali siteeraa Vanhan testamentin tekstejä omaan retoriikkaansa sopivasti, ei välttämättä sanatarkasti. Tekstien muutoksiin ovat vaikuttaneet myös kulttuuriset ja yhteiskunnalliset muutokset, esimerkiksi väestönsiirrot, kaupunkien tuhoutumiset sekä erilaisten kulttuuriperinteiden kohtaamiset ja sulautumiset.

Kiveen hakattu? raottaa pyhien tekstien historiaa ja teksteihin tehtyjä perusteltuja ja dokumentoituja muutoksia vieden samalla pohjaa fundamentalismilta. Esimerkiksi Raamatun muuttumattomuus on illuusio: vanhat käsikirjoitukset ovat aina olleet erilaisia sekä kokoonpanoltaan että sisällöltään. Muinaiset tekstit ovat suodattuneet meidän aikaamme lukuisten kirjureiden ja kääntäjien kätten kautta.”

Kirjan voi ostaa kirjamessuilta tai tilata itselleen kustantajan verkkosivuilta.

Muinaista Lähi-itää entisessä Itä-Saksassa: CSTT:n tutkijat Jenan yliopiston nuolenpääkurssilla

Kirjoittanut Joanna Töyräänvuori.

Huippuyksikön Yhteiskunta ja uskonto muinaisessa Lähi-idässä –tiimin jäsenet, tutkijatohtorit Sebastian Fink ja Joanna Töyräänvuori ottivat lokakuussa Muinaisen Lähi-idän imperiumit –huippuyksikön avustuksella osaa kurssille, jonka puitteissa luettiin nuolenpäitä aidoista savitauluista. Kurssi järjestettiin saksalaisessa Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jenassa professori Manfred Krebernikin johdolla. Suomalaisten tutkijoiden ja assyriologiopiskelijoiden lisäksi kurssille osallistui saksalaisia, japanilaisia ja espanjalaisia opiskelijoita läheisestä Leipzigin yliopistosta.

Kurssin aikana tutustuttiin saksalaisamerikkalaisen assyriologian professorin ja orientalistin Hermann Volrath Hilprechtin (1859–1925) vaimon Sallie Crozer Robinson Hilprechtin yliopistolle lahjoittamaan varsin laajaan ja kattavaan savitaulukokoelmaan, Babylonialaisten muinaismuistojen Frau Professor Hilprecht –kokoelmaan.

Kokoelmaan kuuluu savitauluja esidynastiselta kaudelta aina persialaiseen akhemenidiaikaan asti, eli tekstejä löytyy noin kahden vuosituhannen jänteeltä (vuosilta 2600-300 eaa.). Suurin osa kokoelman teksteistä on tuotu Nippurista, nykyisen Irakin Nuffarista, joiden Pennsylvanian yliopiston kaivauksia Hilprecht johti 1800-luvun loppupuolella. Kokoelman kuuluisin ja arvokkain yksittäinen esine on Nippurin kaupungin kartta, joka on yksi historian vanhimmista tunnetuista kartoista.

Savitaulukokoelmalla on myös yhteys Helsingin yliopistoon, jonka edesmennyt seemiläisten kielten professori Jussi Aro oli laatimassa editiota eräistä kokoelman vanhimmista teksteistä Ur III –kaudelta. Aro oli harvoja länsimaalaisia tutkijoita, joiden sallittiin tutkivan tekstejä entisen Itä-Saksan alueella sijaitsevassa yliopistossa.

Kurssin aikana tutkijat ja opiskelijat saivat jokainen työstettäväksi savitaulun eri aikakaudelta ja erityyppisistä tekstigenreistä. Tekstejä käsiteltiin varovaisesti hansikkaat kädessä ja työstettiin suurennuslasien sekä valon avulla. Tutkijat tekivät teksteistä jäljennökset millimetripaperille, minkä lisäksi teksteistä tehtiin transkriptiot (eli nuolenpäät muutettiin merkkiarvoikseen) ja näiden perusteella käännökset. Esimerkiksi ohesta löytyvässä kuvassa työstetään muinaista sumerin kielellä kirjoitettua ja virallisella sinetillä leimattua velkakirjaa (4,2 x 4,8 cm), jossa Azida-niminen virkamies kuittaa saaneensa lainaamansa viljan korkoineen osanimikaimaltaan Lugal-Azidalta.

(Kuva: Joanna Töyräänvuori)

Kurssin aikana tutkijat pääsivät myös näkemään savitaulukokoelman 3D-skannausta ja digitointia. 3D-skannauksen avulla tekstit saadaan tutkijoiden käyttöön ympäri maailmaa. Korkean resoluution kuvia voi käännellä tietokoneen avulla ja toisin kuin alkuperäisiä, useimmiten hyvin pienellä ruo’onpäällä saveen painettuja tekstejä, digitoituja versioita voi myös suurentaa lukemisen helpottamiseksi. Skannattuja savitauluja voi myös tulostaa muovista, antaen tutkijoille tai opiskelijoille mahdollisuuden käännellä tekstejä kädessään. Suurin osa kokoelman noin 3000 tekstistä on jo skannattu ja digitoitu tutkijoiden käyttöön.

Moments fom EABS Annual Conference / SBL International Meeting 2018 in Helsinki

The EABS Annual Conference / SBL International Meeting was organized successfully at the University of Helsinki on July 30th – August 3rd, 2018. As many as 1043 researchers from over 50 different countries took part in the diverse meeting.

CSTT took actively part in the preparations of the conference and our researchers presented widely in different sessions. Below are some moments from the wonderful meeting. The pictures were taken by Lauri Laine from team 1. More pictures can be found here.

Outi Lehtipuu, the chair of the local organizing committee, welcoming people at the opening session. Picture by Lauri Laine.

 

EABS Executive officer Dominika Kurek-Chomycz giving greetings from the EABS to the joint meeting. Picture by Lauri Laine.

 

The opening session ended with a panel discussion “What I would like to see happen in biblical studied?” The panel was chaired by CSTT leader Martti Nissinen and the other participants were Jutta Jokiranta (team 4), Ismo Dunderberg, Siiri Toiviainen and Rick Bonnie (team 4). Picture by Lauri Laine.

 

The plenary sessions took place at the Think Corner of the University. In the picture, Raija Sollamo and Antti Marjanen reflect on their career. Interview conducted by Cecilia Wassén, with an introduction by Marianne Bjelland Kartzow. Picture by Lauri Laine.

 

A magnificent cultural event, concert at the famous rock church, took place on Thursday evening. The concert was sponsored by CSTT. Picture by Lauri Laine.

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

What has Tbilisi to Do with Helsinki?

By Jutta Jokiranta.

Georgia (Tbilisi) and Finland (Helsinki) have a lot in common, we discovered when CSTT members spent a successful week in Tbilisi Javakhishvili University. People in both countries speak a strange language, their number is around 5 million, and both countries have gained independence a hundred years ago (Finland in 1917, Georgia for a short period in 1918).

Tbilis as seen from the hill of the Mtatsminda Pantheon (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

CSTT is about “cross-fertilization,” making scholars from different fields and areas of expertise to communicate and learn from each other. This was a specific purpose of the Tbilisi meeting, “Texts, Traditions and Transmission: Global and Local Transitions in the Late Second Temple Period,” 21‒25 May 2018, organized by CSTT Teams 2 and 4, in cooperation with local hosts in Tbilisi, especially Anna Kharanauli, Natia Mirotadze, and their students.

The aim of the symposium was to find points in common in the study of the history of the Second Temple period—the scribal milieu—and the study of scribal revisions of scriptural texts and traditions.

Picture by Ville Mäkipelto

Did we find points in contact? To give an example, special interest was on the so-called kaige-recension, in which the translators at the turn of the era brought the original text of the Septuagint into closer conformity with the Hebrew proto-Masoretic text. Anneli Aejmelaeus explored its origins and suggested tracing it to Greek speaking synagogues in Palestine. Rick Bonnie gave an overview of early synagogue finds in Palestine and showed how their architecture could be characterized by restricted access and private visibility; these buildings were used by only part of the village population. Raimo Hakola reassessed the evidence for the assumed village scribes in Galilee behind the Q-document that Matthew and Luke used, and identified a more likely home place for them in the Judean setting.

Keynotes from outside CSTT were Catherine Hezser and Mladen Popović. Hezser challenged us to think in more precise terms about scribes who were craftsmen and sages who were learned writers of literary texts. Popović presented a model of “book publishing” in the ancient world and compared the Dead Sea Scrolls scribes to Roman literati and reading communities.

The 9th/10th century three-nave basilica in Uplistsikhe (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

The meeting organization was exceptional as CSTT members prepared to the meeting in a brainstorming session already in the spring. This was worthwhile as communication took place “behind the scenes” outside the meeting too. The organizers, Raimo Hakola, Paavo Huotari, and Jessi Orpana are now planning a publication on the basis of the meeting.   

Georgian scholars have long-standing contacts with Helsinki Septuagint scholars. We also learned from rich Georgian manuscript collections and their research. Inscriptions have been found in Iberia—as the former kingdom in Eastern Georgia was called—in five different languages, Persian, Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin.

CSTT director Martti Nissinen exploring the caves of the ancient rock town Uplistsikhe (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

Two excursion days at several archaeological sites and churches were a true climax for the week. In the end, a visit to the National Museum of Georgia as well as our exquisite evening meal experiences proved that Finland and Georgia are not quite the same: in Georgia, archaeological finds start from early hominids onwards—and fruit and wine do grow better in Georgia.

Exploring a local archaeological site (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).
Enjoying the amazing Georgian food culture (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

Kenen pääkaupunki Jerusalem on? Tutkijat avaavat kaupungin historiaa, osa II

Kirjoittanut Paavo Huotari

Tämä haastattelu on jatkoa 15.1. julkaistulle haastattelulle “Kenen pääkaupunki Jerusalem on? Huippuyksikön tutkijat avaavat kaupungin historiaa” (Juha Pakkala & Kirsi Valkama), jossa keskityttiin Jerusalemiin Vanhan testamentin ja juutalaisuuden näkökulmasta. Tämä haastattelu tarkastelee kaupungin merkitystä varhaisten kristittyjen ja muslimien näkökulmasta. Viime aikoina esimerkiksi Pyhän Haudan kirkko on ollut esillä mediassa (HS 25.2.).

Keisarillista politiikkaa vai hengellisten totuuksien etsintää?

Helsingin yliopiston yliopistutkijan ja Uuden testamentin eksegetiikan dosentin Raimo Hakolan mukaan kristittyjen kiinnostus pyhään maahan kehittyi vähitellen. Miksi Jerusalem kiinnostaa kristittyjä? “Evankeliumien kuvaukset Jeesuksen viimeisistä päivistä sijoittuvat Jerusalemiin. Kun Jeesuksen pikaisen paluun odotus vähentyi, kiinnostus näihin pyhiin paikkoihin päinvastoin lisääntyi. Taustalla oli usko, että pyhissä paikoissa hengelliset totuudet avautuvat”, Hakola kertoo pyhiinvaelluksen motiiveista.

Jerusalem ei merkitse kristityille ainoastaan Jeesuksen viimeisten päivien muistelua. Hakolan mukaan myös Jeesuksen julistuksessa korostui silloin tällöin Jumalan valtakunnan konkreettinen tuleminen. Jotkut kristityt odottivat tuhatvuotista valtakuntaa, joka laskeutuu Jerusalemiin. ”Tämä näkyy esimerkiksi Justinos Marttyyrin (n. 114–165) kirjoituksissa. Varhaisille kristityille Jerusalem ja siellä olevat rauniot osoittivat myös, että Jeesuksen evankeliumeissa esittämät ennustukset olivat toteutuneet. Pyhiinvaelluskultti saikin pian juutalaisvastaisia piirteitä. Kristityt tulkitsivat tyhjän temppelivuoren ja temppelin rauniot Jumalan rangaistuksena juutalaisille, jotka surmasivat Jeesuksen. Kirkkojen lisääntyminen Jerusalemissa nähtiin taas osoituksena Jumalan suosiosta kristittyjä kohtaan. Itse asiassa joissain kristillisissä lähteissä todetaan, ettei temppelivuorelle saa rakentaa mitään”, Hakola avaa Jerusalemin merkitystä varhaisille kristityille.

”Kun Jeesuksen pikaisen paluun odotus vähentyi, kiinnostus näihin pyhiin paikkoihin päinvastoin lisääntyi”

Mutta miten pyhiinvaelluskultti oli mahdollista ei-kristillisessä Jerusalemissa? “Toisen vuosisadan jälkipuoliskolta on säilynyt vain muutamia kristittyjen miesten matkakertomuksia Jerusalemiin. Laajempi pyhiinvaelluskultti oli mahdollista vasta 300-luvulla, kun keisari Konstantinus (n. 273–337) antoi kristityille oikeuden vapaaseen uskonnonharjoitukseen. Kristityt saivat takaisin takavarikoidun omaisuuden. Uusia kirkkoja rakennettiin Palestiinaan, niihin pakkoihin missä Jeesus oli vieraillut kristillisen perimätiedon mukaan. Kristittyjen suosiminen oli seurausta Konstantinuksen omista poliittisista pyrkimyksistä”, Hakola tarkentaa.

Konstantinuksen rakennuttama Pyhän haudan kirkko (kuva: Pixabay)

Pyhiinvaelluskultin vaikutus on tuntunut Palestiinan alueella. Jerusalemin lisäksi pyhiinvaellusta esiintyi myös Galilean seudulla, minne Jeesuksen toiminta keskittyi evankeliumien mukaan. Arkeologisen aineiston perusteella Galilean taloudellinen tilanne oli hyvä 400 ja 500-luvuilla. Hakolan mukaan tämä saattoi olla osittain seurausta vakiintuneesta ja laajasta pyhiinvaelluskultista, sillä useat pyhiinvaeltajat edustivat yhteiskunnan varakasta eliittiä.

Jerusalemin tärkeimmäksi pyhiinvaelluskohteeksi nousi Konstantinuksen rakennuttama Pyhän haudan kirkko. Viimeaikaisten restaurointitöiden yhteydessä on nykyisen kirkon alta löytynyt viitteitä 300-luvulla rakennetusta kirkosta. Kristittyjen lähteiden mukaan kirkko rakennettiin Hadrianuksen 100-luvulla rakentaman Venuksen temppelin paikalle.  Hadrianuksen ajateltiin rakentaneen temppelin tarkoituksellisesti Jeesuksen tyhjän haudan paikalle ja näin pyrkineen turmelemaan kristittyjen jo olemassa olevia pyhiä paikkoja. ”Ajatus Jeesuksen kuolin- ja hautapaikan sijainnista Venuksen temppelin alla on mahdollisesti syntynyt vasta Konstantinuksen rakennusprojektin yhteydessä. Temppelin korvaaminen kirkolla oli todennäköisesti osa Konstantinuksen politiikkaa yhdistää valtio ja uskonto. Toisaalta tyhjä hauta on keskeinen osa varhaiskristillistä ajattelua. Jeesuksen kuolinpaikan konkreettinen osoittaminen oli tärkeää”, Hakola pohtii.

Jerusalemin ja muiden Jeesuksen elämään liittyvien paikkojen merkitys kristillisenä pyhiinvaelluskohteena näkyy yhä tänä päivänä. 1960-luvulta lähtien erityisesti fransiskaanien sääntökuntaan kuuluneet arkeologit ovat pyrkineet osoittamaan näitä paikkoja koskevan tradition luotettavuuden ja katkeamattoman ketjun ensimmäisiin kristittyihin asti. Hakolan mukaan tällainen johtopäätös perustuu usein löytöjen yksipuoliseen tulkintaan ja aikaiseen ajoitukseen. ”On usein mahdotonta sanoa tarkasti, missä jotkut evankeliumeissa kerrotut tapahtumat ovat tapahtuneet, jo siitä syystä, että Jeesuksen aikaiset kadut ovat usein monta metriä nykyisten katujen alla. Esimerkiksi nykyisen Via Dolorosan reitti vakiintui 1700-luvulla, vaikka varhaisimmat maininnat Jeesuksen kärsimystietä seuraavista kulkueista ovatkin jo 300-luvun lopulta”, Hakola sanoo.

Profeetta Muhammadin yöllinen matka kaukaiseen moskeijaan

Helsingin yliopiston tutkijatohtori ja tutkijakollegiumin jäsen Ilkka Lindstedt on varhaisen islamin asiantuntija. Jerusalemia pidetään perinteisesti islamin kolmanneksen pyhimpänä paikkana, miksi? ”Koraanin 17. Suura kertoo palvelijasta, jonka Jumala johdattaa jostain rukouspaikasta kaukaiseen moskeijaan (jae 17:1). Mahdollisesti jo Muhammadin aikaan mutta ainakin myöhemmin tämä palvelija on tulkittu profeetta Muhammadiksi (n. 570–632), joka teki yöllisen matkan Mekasta Jerusalemiin, ja sieltä taas taivaaseen. Taivaassa Muhammad olisi nähnyt entisiä profeettoja, kuten Aabrahamin. Hän myös neuvotteli Mooseksen välityksellä Jumalan kanssa päivittäisestä rukousten määrästä, jota muslimilta edellytetään. Yksi Jerusalemin moskeijoista on myöhemmin saanut nimensä tämän tekstin mukaan ”al-masjid al-aqsā ” eli kaukaisin moskeija,” Lindstedt kertoo.

Vaikka Koraani ei mainitse Jerusalemia nimeltä, Jerusalem oli pyhä kaupunki muslimeille jo islamin syntyaikoina. Varhainen islam on syntynyt pitkälti kristinuskon ja juutalaisuuden pohjalta. Arabian niemimaalla on mahdollisesti liikkunut juutalais-kristillisiä ryhmiä, ebionien jälkeläisiä, jotka noudattivat tiukasti Jumalan lakia, Tooraa. He ovat saattaneet vaikuttaa uuteen uskontoon ja sen myönteiseen suhtautumiseen lakia kohtaan. ”Koska Jerusalem oli tärkeä kaupunki juutalaisille ja kristityille, sitä sen oli oltava myös varhaisille muslimeille. Juutalaisuutta ja Islamia yhdistää erityisesti monoteismi, yksijumaluus. Koraani kuvaa Aabrahamia eräänlaisena proto-monoteistina ja idolatrian vastustajana, joka ei ollut juutalainen tai kristitty. Erityisesti profeetta Aabrahamin perintö yhdistetään Muhammadiin”, Lindstedt avaa uskontojen välisiä yhteyksiä.

Muhammadin elämänkertakirjallisuus kertoo, että muslimit olisivat rukoilleet alussa Jerusalemia kohti. Rukoussuunta kuitenkin kääntyi Mekkaa kohti, kun Muhammad pettyi juutalaisiin, jotka eivät tunnustaneet häntä Raamatun profeettana. ”Tämän elämänkertakirjallisuuden historiallisuus on epävarmaa. Toisaalta Koraanin 2. suura antaa myös viitteitä siitä, että muslimien rukoussuunta olisi vaihtunut”, Lindstedt pohtii.

Muhammadin pettymyksestä tai rukoussuunnan kääntymisestä huolimatta Jerusalem säilyi muslimien pyhänä kaupunkina. Kun Muhammad kuoli vuonna 632, uusi uskonnollis-poliittinen liike oli valloittanut suuren osan Arabian niemimaata. Tämän jälkeen alkoivat arabivalloitukset. Varhaiset muslimit valloittivat alueita muun muassa Lähi-idästä ja sitä myötä myös Jerusalemin pitkän piirityksen päätteeksi vuonna 637. Valloituksen jälkeen muslimit antoivat juutalaisten palata Jerusalemiin. Lindstedtin mukaan juutalaisissa aikalaisteksteissä arabivalloitukset nähdään hyvässä valossa, koska kristittyjä rangaistaan juutalaisten vainoamisesta.

”Kaiken kaikkiaan Jerusalemin merkitys muuttuu sitä mukaan mikä on ajankohtainen tilanne, niin rauhassa kuin sodassa”

Valloitusta seuranneiden tapahtumien historiallisuudesta ollaan epävarmoja. Myöhemmän historiankirjoituksen mukaan kalifi, muslimien hallitsija Umar (v. 634–644), olisi saapunut paikalle, mikä korostaa Jerusalemin tärkeyttä. ”Kertomuksen mukaan patriarkka Sophronius olisi luovuttanut Jerusalemin avaimet muslimeille. Sophronius myös esittelee kaupunkia Umarille. Kun Umar huomaa, että temppelivuorella ei ole temppeliä, hän määrää moskeijan rakennettavaksi sinne. Umar vierailee myös Pyhän haudan kirkolla, missä Sophronius kehottaa häntä rukoilemaan. Umar olisi kuitenkin kieltäytynyt rukouksesta, koska hän ei halunnut antaa mielikuvaa, että muslimit olisivat tulleet ryöstämään kristittyjen pyhiä paikkoja”, Lindstedt kuvaa myöhäisten lähteiden sisältöä.

Abd al-Malikin rakennuttama Kalliomoskeija (kuva: Unsplash).

600-luvun loppupuolella muslimien keskuudessa oli paljon sisäistä hajaannusta ja useita kalifeja. Ibn al-Zubair (v. 683–692) hallitsi Arabian niemimaata ja Mekkaa. Kilpaileva kalifi Abd al-Malik (v. 685–705) hallitsi puolestaan osia suur-Syyriasta ja Jerusalemia. Koska Mekka oli jo tuolloin keskeinen muslimien pyhiinvaelluskaupunki, useat muslimit pitivät juuri Ibn al-Zubairia oikeana hallitsijana. ”Kalliomoskeijan rakentaminen (v. 688–692) Jerusalemiin saattoi olla Abd al-Malikin pyrkimys muuttaa tätä asetelmaa. Kalliomoskeijan arkkitehtuuri viittaa siihen, että se rakennettiin alun perin pyhiinvaelluskohteeksi, ei rukouspaikaksi. Moskeijan keskellä on kivi, jossa Aabraham uskottiin olleen uhraamassa poikaansa tai mistä Muhammad nousi taivaaseen – tai molempia. Ibn al-Zubair kuitenkin kuolee vuonna 692, samana vuonna, kun Kalliomoskeija valmistuu. Kun Abd al-Malik onnistui valloittamaan Mekan, hänen uskonnollinen reforminsa Jerusalemia varten käy tarpeettomaksi”, Lindstedt pohtii kaupungin roolia muslimien välienselvittelyssä.

Umaijadi-dynastian (v. 661–750) aikana kalifaatin pääkaupunki oli Damaskoksessa, lähellä Jerusalemia. Vuonna 750 valta islamilaisessa kalifaatissa vaihtuu abbasidi-dynastialle (v. 750–1258). Samalla myös kalifaatin pääkaupunki siirtyi Bagdadiin. ”Toisaalta vaikka Jerusalemin poliittinen merkitys vähenee vuoden 750 jälkeen, sen apokalyptinen merkitys säilyy. Arabiankielisessä apokalyptisessä kirjallisuudessa useat lopun ajan tapahtumat sijoitetaan Jerusalemiin. Jeesus kuvataan esimerkiksi taistelemassa muslimien rinnalla, kun hän palaa Jerusalemiin. Kaupunkiin liittyvissä taisteluissa Jeesus lyö anti-Kristuksen (arab. al-dajjal) ja luovuttaa vallan toiselle lopun aikojen hahmolle, Mahdille, joka on profeetta Muhammadin jälkeläinen. Kaiken kaikkiaan Jerusalemin merkitys muuttuu sitä mukaan mikä on ajankohtainen tilanne, niin rauhassa kuin sodassa”, Lindstedt tiivistää Jerusalemin merkityksen islamilaisessa maailmassa.

”David shot first!” Seeking parallels between the editing of Star Wars and the Hebrew Bible

By Timo Tekoniemi.

What do Han Solo and King Solomon have in common? How about the many deleted scenes of the first Star Wars film A New Hope, and Yahweh’s consort Asherah? Certainly no association can be made between George Lucas and the genesis of the ancient sectarian Qumran community?

Despite over two millennia separating these characters and texts, these phenomena are indeed linked to one another. Not only has it been often noted that Star Wars fandom resembles in many respects a religion of its own, but both the Hebrew Bible and modern films are shaped and revised by editors, who are also bound to use similar editorial techniques. Like the ancient scribes, professional film editors have omissions, transpositions, harmonizations, and even theological/ideological corrections in their toolbox. In this light, one immediately recognizes the similarities between the many omissions made to the very first preliminary cut of A New Hope (“The Lost Cut”), which was deemed as a failure and in need of radical re-editing, and the likely omission of the Israelite goddess Asherah from the Hebrew Bible. Both of these radical and vast omissions were made necessary in their respective new contexts, whether a need for a watchable movie or a new theological paradigm where Yahweh was understood as the sole god of the Israelites.

The editorial interventions of scribes and editors were/are not always this drastic, however, but, more often than not, rather small and slight – but far from inconsequential. For example, when we note that in the Septuagint edition of 1 Kings 11:1 King Solomon seems to become less sinful, being simply a “lover of women” instead of “lover of foreign women” (thus breaking against Deut 7:1–4, where intermarrying with foreigners is prohibited), we are likely dealing with a slight ideological enhancement of the picture of the pious king Solomon. This impression is corroborated by a similar “pious correction” later made by George Lucas to his re-edited Special Edition (1997) of A New Hope. Despite being the only one to shoot in the original version of the film, in the now infamous scene of the Special Edition one of the heroes, Han Solo, seems to shoot in self-defence only after the bounty hunter Greedo, who is after the reward on his head. This change mitigates the blame of Han’s cold-blooded murder – and, in fact, renders Han a victim of Greedo’s aggression!

Depiction by Giovanni Battista Venanzi of King Solomon being led astray into idolatry in his old age by his wives, 1668. Source.

Despite its minor scale, this alteration made by Lucas has incited widespread opposition in the fan community, as it considerably changes the depiction of Han Solo, and has therefore larger ideological repercussions to the whole saga. Thus, when the fans maintain to this day that “Han shot first”, they are in fact defending both their right to claim authority to maintain their view of the old canon (where Han still shoots first) and the earlier, untampered textual edition, the original trilogy. There is an ongoing battle between the different Star Wars canons, which forms a very close parallel to the current scholarly dispute concerning the canonicity of different books and editions of the biblical books. It is likely that observations of this ongoing modern “battle of canons” could also help biblical scholars to better understand how the ancient communities (and their leaders) may have understood and contested the different ideas of textual canon(s) of their time.

Like the Qumran community, which seems to have severed its ties with the Jerusalem priesthood after some theological disagreements, also parts of the fan community have gone as far as completely denouncing George Lucas as the “high priest” of the saga. To them, Lucas no more has any authority in matters concerning Star Wars. Many of these fans have taken matters in their own hands in the form of fan-editing, i.e. editing the movies themselves to better conform to their own canonical picture of the saga, which is mainly based on the original trilogy. In the process these fan-editors have created a fluid and massive textual plurality of different versions and editions of the loved Star Wars movies (to date at least 137 fan edits!). Somewhat paradoxically, however, the fan-editors see themselves not as rebellious renegades, but, on the contrary, as the keepers of the flame for “the original Star Wars,” now seemingly desecrated and abandoned by Lucas. This massive interpretive textual plurality resembles in many ways that found in the caves of Qumran.

It has become clear that there are multiple parallels between the Star Wars saga, its editing, and its reception by the fan community, on one hand, and the editing of the Hebrew Bible, on the other. Viewpoints taken from Film Studies are therefore not only valid when assessing the editorial techniques reflected by the Hebrew Bible, but might, with further research, prove to be an invaluable parallel and aid to text- and literary critics alike, enhancing our understanding of the textual evolution of the Hebrew Bible. Since the Star Wars franchise is also currently in a textually active situation, with new instalments being filmed at the very moment (the next film, focused on young Han Solo, will be published in May), the saga is an excellent example of a constantly evolving literary work.

Portion of the Temple Scroll, labeled 11Q19, found at Qumran. Source.

Texts were and are thus rewritten exactly because of – not in spite of – their importance to the community. Even radical editing of a text is, at least to a certain degree, always a means to preserve an earlier text that is perceived as somehow important. An immutable text becomes, in a way, dead, and in danger of being simply forgotten; or, in the words of George Lucas, “films never get finished, they get abandoned.”

Timo Tekoniemi’s article “Editorial In(ter)ventions: Comparing the Editorial Processes of the Hebrew Bible and the Star Wars Saga,” was published in the Journal of Religion & Film 22/1 (2018): 1–30. It can be downloaded either at the journal’s home page or his academia.edu page.

Antiquarianism for Fun and Profit: Financing Your (God’s) Home in Ancient Mesopotamia

By Shana Zaia.

Buying a house or apartment, paying a mortgage, maintaining your home: these are common concerns of property-owners in the modern world and most people turn to banks to finance their real estate ventures. But what if you’re an ancient Mesopotamian priest with the god’s house—that is, a temple—to run? Here, the funding agency is not your bank but rather your king, and you’ll need to make quite a persuasive case to get his attention.

Temples in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) were not only religious spaces: they controlled property and slaves, acted in legal cases, and stored money and precious goods in their inner sanctums. Even with these riches, upkeep was expensive and required additional resources as temples needed renovations and particular accessories for the performance of routine rituals, especially for larger festivals such as for the New Year. So, the king was in charge of reconstruction projects and he and other elites often made donations to the main temples, which also benefitted from royal exemptions from taxation and from other means of support such as receiving spoils of the king’s military campaigns.

A stele from Babylonia showing King Ashurbanipal (687-c. 627 BCE) performing the “basket bearing” ritual to mark the start of temple construction. British Museum 90865.

But not all temples were so lucky when it came to royal patronage; wealth was generally concentrated in the major temples, the ones that were most important to royal ideology. Peripheral and provincial temples were not necessarily as financially stable and may have struggled with maintaining the building, keeping the rituals running, and paying the officials and staff. A temple in this situation was best served by trying to attract the attention of the king so that he would support their cult. So how did local priests try to convince the king to grant them privileges and financial assistance? The answer was by invoking ancient history—or something like it.

Stele from Babylon showing a ziggurat and the temple at its top. Source.

For example, the priests of the Sippar temple of the sun god, Šamaš, got quite creative. At some point, probably the Neo-Babylonian period (626-539 BCE), the priests approached the king with an impressive inscription, the Cruciform Monument, that was written in an antique form of Akkadian and explained privileges and funds granted to their temple by the third millennium king Maništušu. The monument claims that the temple received land, renovations, provisions for the priestesses and temple, mandated labor from 38 cities, and gifts for Šamaš and his consort Aya. This was an effective strategy—kings paid careful attention to the deeds of ancient predecessors, especially construction projects and granting privileges, often to outdo them and receive divine favor. Thus, the appeal for the king to follow in Maništušu’s footprints was strong.

Cruciform Monument, British Museum 91022. Source.

There was, of course, one tiny detail that king, who was probably illiterate, wasn’t aware of—the monument was not ancient at all! The Sippar priests created the text themselves, imitating the ancient script and language of Old Akkadian to convince the king to provide support. They didn’t quite get the Old Akkadian right and perhaps went a bit too far in ending the text with “this is no lie, it is the truth.” It is unknown whether the king saw through their ruse or if the priests were successful, but the fact that this monument exists shows the importance of texts and ancient theological ideals. This is not our only example of “pious frauds,” which usually had to do with temple privileges in a similar way as this case, so it’s clear that this was not an isolated incident.

Later, in Seleucid period Uruk (312-63 BCE), the local elites took an even more elaborate approach to promote their temples. Uruk had a long history of being the main cult center in southern Mesopotamia as the home of Ištar (called Inanna in earlier periods) and Anu (earlier, An). But, the city was overshadowed by the rise of Babylon and its city god Marduk in the Old Babylonian period (c. 2000-1600 BCE). When Babylon’s status later declined, Uruk’s literate elites took the power vacuum as an opportunity for a religious reform that would put Uruk back on the cultic map.

Marduk of Babylon depicted on a Babylonian cylinder seal. Source.
Map of Mesopotamia, including the Babylonian cities of Sippar, Uruk, Babylon, and Nippur. Source.

Even though Uruk had become marginal, Ištar remained one of the most popular deities throughout Mesopotamia’s history, especially in royal ideology. But the reform did not promote Uruk’s Ištar cult—no, strangely enough, the Urukean elites revived the cult of Anu, the god of the heavens, who did not have the same popularity despite historically being the highest god in the pantheon. The exact timeline is not clear, but by the Seleucid period, Anu’s dominance in Uruk was indisputable and rising. Local archives show how the scribes promoted Anu from a local god to a universal god through ancient texts that recognized him as the head of the pantheon, sometimes reinterpreting the texts to prove their theological ideals.

Example of an Akkadian text that exalts Anu found in Seleucid period Uruk (312-63 BCE). Full edition.

Why did the Urukeans revive a long-defunct cult instead of capitalizing on their powerful and popular local goddess? Like the Šamaš priests in Sippar, the answer lies in strategic antiquarianism and the tendency in ancient Mesopotamia to repackage theological innovations as a return to ancient traditions. Anu’s status as the traditional head of the pantheon meant that his relative unimportance in living cult mattered less than the fact that he outranked all other gods. Most importantly, he outranked Marduk of Babylon and even Enlil of Nippur, another rival cult city in Babylonia. A governor of Uruk even created an ancient past for the (new) temple complex built for Anu by claiming that it was actually built by a legendary sage who was said to have lived before the Great Flood.

Reconstruction of the Bīt Reš, the Seleucid period temple complex of Anu and his consort Antu (image by Staatliche Museen zu Berlin/Deutsches Archäologisches Institut). Source.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how these reforms played out regionally or to what extent non-literate classes knew about them. We are left to wonder if the Urukeans managed to draw the king’s attention to their ancient and powerful (if somewhat neglected) god Anu and thereby to channel imperial wealth and resources into their city.

Šamši-Adad V of Assyria (c. 815 BCE) shown facing the symbols of the gods. The horned crown representing Anu is the highest in the sequence (British Museum 118892). Source.

As we can see, the stakes for temples to attract royal patronage were quite high and temple staff could resort to some rather drastic measures. Luckily, this was probably not the norm, as many temples were important enough in royal ideology that they were supported by the king with no further prompting. Generally this was because the temples’ resident gods were considered supporters or protectors of the king in his political and military endeavors and so the king patronizing their temples would inspire these gods to continue showing favor to him. Still, these gods and their associated temples were subject to changing beliefs and many temples, especially smaller ones, likely quietly faded into obscurity and neglect. But, thanks to a few cases such as the ones above, we can see how some temples fought back against their increasing marginalization by invoking an ancient—if fictitious—past in which their gods and temples were high priority for an esteemed royal ancestor

Written by Shana Zaia.

Further Reading

P.-A. Beaulieu, “Antiquarian Theology in Seleucid Uruk,” Acta Sumerologica Japonica, vol. 14 (1992): 47-75.

A. Berlejung. 2009. “Innovation als Restauration in Uruk und Jehud. Überlegungen zu Transformationsprozessen in vorderorientalischen Gesellschaften” in Reformen im Alten Orient und der Antike. Programme, Darstellungen und Deutungen, ed. E. – J. Waschke. Mohr Siebeck.

N. Na’aman. “The ‘Discovered book’ and the Legitimation of Josiah’s Reform.” Journal of Biblical Literature 130: 1 (2011): 47-62.

Raamatuntutkijat radiossa pääsiäisen alla

Pääsiäisen tienoilla Yle tarjoili radioaalloillaan noin kahden tunnin verran eksegetiikkaa eli tieteellistä raamatuntutkimusta. Haastateltavien joukossa olivat huippuyksikömme tutkijat Martti Nissinen ja Kirsi Valkama. Ohjelmat voi kuunnella verkossa jälkeenpäin.

Perttu Häkkisen ohjelman jaksossa “Raamattu ja Magia” haastateltiin Kirsi Valkamaa ja Nina Nikkiä heidän toimittamansa kirjan aihepiireistä. “Onko Raamatussa magiaa? Oliko Jeesus maagi? Mikä on magian ja uskonnon ero? Onko uskonnon ja magian käsitteellinen erottelu silmänlumetta?” Jakson voit kuunnella täältä.

Ylen Tiedeykkösessä Ville Talola keskittyi Vanhan ja Uuden testamentin kriittisen tutkimuksen peruskysymyksiin Martti Nissisen ja Matti Myllykosken kanssa. “Kristityt tutkivat Raamattua Jumalan sanana, mutta tiedeyhteisöä Raamatussa kiinnostaa tekstien synty, niiden kuvaama maailma, myytit ja historiallinen aines. Miten Raamatusta tuli Raamattu, mitä Raamatussa on ja ovatko siinä esiintyvät henkilöt kuten Mooses tai Jeesus oikeasti historian hahmoja?” Jakson voit kuunnella täältä.

The Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki