Professor Anna Kharanauli (Tbilisi) ends her research stay in Helsinki

by Anneli Aejmelaeus

Anna Kharanauli, Professor of Old Georgian Language and Textual Criticism at Tbilisi Javakhishvili State University, ended her research stay in Helsinki July 1, 2014, after five months as a KONE Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Continue reading Professor Anna Kharanauli (Tbilisi) ends her research stay in Helsinki

Horvat Kur 2014 (part 1): no digging, but in the lab

by Rick Bonnie and Raimo Hakola

Two members of CSTT, Raimo Hakola and Rick Bonnie, together with their Helsinki-colleague Ulla Tervahauta, are at the moment participating as team members in the archaeological excavations of Horvat Kur, a hilltop site situated north of the Sea of Galilee (Israel). Unlike previous seasons (2008, 2010–2013), this year no excavations will be conducted at the site. Instead, the research team carries out a two-week study season (June 22–July 6) in the lab at the youth hostel of Karei Deshe, where finds and architecture uncovered in previous seasons are being meticulously analyzed in preparation of the final excavation report of the synagogue. Raimo and Rick write this week in a more general manner about the excavations at Horvat Kur, and will elaborate next week in more detail on the different individual tasks carried out during this study season. Continue reading Horvat Kur 2014 (part 1): no digging, but in the lab

CSTT Meets Contemporary Studies of the Middle East: FIME Colloquium in Turku

by Jutta Jokiranta

Several CSTT members participated in the Third Colloquium of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME), titled ”Concord, Conflict and Co-existence: Religion and Society in the Middle East and North Africa,” 5–7 June, 2014 in Turku, Finland. Continue reading CSTT Meets Contemporary Studies of the Middle East: FIME Colloquium in Turku

The Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award Ceremony and Colloquium 2014

by Mika S. Pajunen

The Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise 2014 (former John Templeton Award) was granted this year to ten scholars for their dissertations or the first book after it that pertained to the topic of God and Spirituality as broadly understood. This year’s award ceremony and an attached colloquium took place in the picturesque town of Heidelberg in Germany on the 23rd– 26th of May.  Continue reading The Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award Ceremony and Colloquium 2014

Call for Papers: “Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East”

Call for papers has closed, please see latest information on the workshop.

Host: Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions, University of Helsinki

Organisers: Saana Svärd (University of Helsinki) / Agnès Garcia-Ventura (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

When and where:  University of Helsinki (Finland), October 26th-28th 2014

After the workshop held in the last Rencontre Assyriologique (Ghent, July 2013) titled “Gender, Methodology and Assyriology” the organisers (Agnès Garcia-Ventura and Saana Svärd) are now pleased to announce a new workshop titled “Gender, Methodology and the Ancient Near East”.

The four keynote speakers are (in alphabetical order): Ann Guinan
(Babylonian Section, University of PA. Museum of Archaeology and
Anthropology) / Stephanie Langin-Hooper (Southern Methodist
University, Dallas, Texas) / Marie Louise Stig Sørensen (University of Cambridge) / Ilona Zsolnay (University of Pennsylvania). The aim of the meeting is to discuss different methodological approaches to
gender within the framework of ancient Near Eastern studies (including archaeology, art history and text studies) and enable a fruitful dialogue between these approaches. Proposals dealing with these issues are welcome.

We encourage you to submit poster proposals instead of presentations as there are currently only a few time slots available for presentations. A specific poster session will be scheduled. Please send titles and abstracts (150-300 words) by June 10th. We will inform about acceptance of proposals (as presentations or posters) before June 20th.

Please send titles and abstracts to Saana Svärd ( and/or Agnès Garcia-Ventura (

Reading Pottery

by Tuula Tynjä

Differences in texts are traced by reading closely manuscripts and comparing them – this work reveals changing patterns in thinking and society. Ideological, social and economic changes also leave an imprint on material culture, which is the focus of archaeological study. Changes in material culture are traced by examining material remains and comparing them with each other. These remains include various things, like settlement patterns, temples, domestic houses, lithic tools and pottery fragments.  Continue reading Reading Pottery

First Conference on Ancient Arbela: ‘Pre-Islamic History of Erbil’ in Erbil, Iraq, 7–10 April, 2014

by Martti Nissinen

Erbil is the capital of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. In the sources of antiquity, it is known as Arbela or Arbail, and it was one of the principal cities of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period. What remains of the ancient city is now buried inside the huge citadel in the heart of the city, under the Citadel Town, dating from the 18th-20th centuries CE and currently being renovated to be a UNESCO world heritage site.  Continue reading First Conference on Ancient Arbela: ‘Pre-Islamic History of Erbil’ in Erbil, Iraq, 7–10 April, 2014

Latin as a Biblical Language

by Tuukka Kauhanen

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew (and partly Aramaic), the New Testament in Greek. That is what we learn in school and read in every introduction to the Bible. However, in recent decades the ancient Bible versions in other languages have gained attention as well, especially in studies concerning the Old Testament, a.k.a. the Hebrew Bible. One cannot totally comprehend the Hebrew Bible without using its oldest translation, the Greek Septuagint. That is because the text of the Hebrew Bible as known to us today from the Hebrew manuscripts contains multiple corruptions.  Continue reading Latin as a Biblical Language

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