Tag Archives: Iron Age

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)

Faces From The Past: Ancient Near Eastern Figurines

On September 17-18 2015, a colloquium on Ancient Near Eastern Figurines took place in the old city of Tallinn (see programme). It was focused on the figurines of Iron Age Palestine and Transjordan, aiming to bring together scholars who study clay figurines from different periods and parts of the southern Levant. Continue reading Faces From The Past: Ancient Near Eastern Figurines

Mini-conference: “What Is ‘Ethnicity’ and Who Belongs to a ‘Minority’ in the Fertile Crescent?” (Helsinki, April 21)

Migration is an age-old phenomenon. Also the Fertile Crescent got its demography and cultures shaped by migration, whether by so-called ‘forced migration’ (deportation) or so-called ‘barbarian invasions’ (mass migration of nations) or by other migration phenomena. Such diversifications, especially when seen over several generations, lead to questions about belonging and calls for reflection on the definition of terminology, in particular ‘ethnicity’ and ‘minority’. These issues are addressed with a focus on the first millennium BCE in a conference, entitled: “What Is ‘Ethnicity’ and Who Belongs to a ‘Minority’ in the Fertile Crescent?”  Continue reading Mini-conference: “What Is ‘Ethnicity’ and Who Belongs to a ‘Minority’ in the Fertile Crescent?” (Helsinki, April 21)

Heidelberg Colloquium – Aram and Israel

by Juha Pakkala

Five members of the CSTT (Katri Saarelainen, Emilia Tapiola, Izaak de Hulster, Martti Nissinen and Juha Pakkala) participated in a colloquium on Aram and Israel in Heidelberg in September 1–4, 2014. The focus of the colloquium was on cultural interaction, political borders and identity-building concerning the relationship between the Aramean realm and Israel in the 12th to 8th centuries bce. Continue reading Heidelberg Colloquium – Aram and Israel