Eric Cline, 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

On February 25, 2015, Professor Eric Cline (The George Washington University) delivered a lecture at The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, on the collapse of civilization at the end of the Late Bronze Age. The lecture was on the same subject as his recent book, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (2014).

For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was not the result of a single invasion, but of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end.
Lecture by Eric Cline on “1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

cline

Professor Cline also delivered a similar lecture to the National Capital Area Skeptics, on October 8, 2016, in Bethesda, Maryland:

 

Christopher Hays on the Divine Suckling

college-de-france

Professor Christopher B. Hays (Fuller Theological Seminary) delivered a lecture at the College de France, on April 15, 2016, entitled, “Imagery of Divine Suckling in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East“.

The video may be downloaded or watched online in mp4 format.

Jonathan Ben-Dov: Reinterpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s monuments via the Watcher/Fallen Angel Tradition

Professor Jonathan Ben-Dov (George and Florence Wise Chair of Judaism in the Ancient World, University of Haifa) “explores the reinterpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s monuments from Lebanon as a representation of the myth of the Watchers” in a paper delivered at Boston College on November 20, 2013, “Iconography and Myth: From Nebuchadnezzar to the Fallen Angels”.

ben-dov-nebuchadnezzar

Representing gods and men in the ancient Near East and in the Bible

Representing Gods and Men

The Collège de France hosts the videos of papers delivered at the 2015 Seminar in Thomas Römer’s series The Hebrew Bible and Its Contexts, May 5-6, 2015:

Representing gods and men in the ancient Near East and in the Bible (Représenter dieux et hommes dans le Proche-Orient ancien et dans la Bible)

The videos are available for download in *.mov format.

La question des images est un élément central pour l’intelligence des religions anciennes et modernes. Les religions monothéistes se basent toutes sur le Décalogue qui interdit la fabrication des images. Mais comment comprendre cet interdit : s’agit-il d’un refus de toutes sortes d’images ou « seulement » de la représentation du divin ? Et quelle est la raison d’être d’un tel interdit ? Pourquoi considère-t-on illégitime de représenter des dieux et des hommes, ce qui fut pratique courante dans le Proche-Orient ancien ? Le colloque s’efforcera d’apporter des éclaircissements sur plusieurs questions : Quelle est la fonction des représentations du divin mais aussi des hommes ? Quelles sont les différentes manières de représenter des dieux  et quelle est la fonction de ces représentations ? Les représentations permettent-elles de mieux comprendre les cultes officiels et les cultes privés ? Quel est le rôle des images dans le culte royal ? Le roi est-il l’image des dieux ? Y a-t-il des religions aniconiques ? Pour quelles raisons décide-t-on d’interdire des images ? Y a-t-il des précurseurs au commandement biblique dans le Proche-Orient ou ailleurs ?

The question of images is a central element in the understanding of ancient and modern religions. The monotheistic religions are all based on the Decalogue, which prohibits the making of images. But how should we understand this prohibition: is it a rejection of all kinds of images or “only” of the representation of the divine? And what is the purpose of such a prohibition? Why it is considered improper to represent gods and men, which was common practice in the ancient Near East? The symposium will seek to clarify several questions: What is the function of the representations of the divine and also of men? What are the different ways of representing the gods and what is the function of these representations? Do the representations provide insight into official and private worship? What is the role of images in the royal cult? Is the king the image of the gods? Are there any aniconic religions? For what reasons does one decide to prohibit images? Are there any precursors to the biblical commandment in the ancient Near East or elsewhere?

Mardi 5 mai 2015

9 h 30 Introduction to the Symposium (Ouverture du colloque): Thomas Römer

Pause

Présidence : Thomas Römer

13h00 Discussion

Déjeuner

Présidence : Michaël Guichard

Pause

Présidence : Christophe Nihan

17h45 Discussion

Mercredi 6 mai 2015

Présidence : Nele Ziegler

Pause

Présidence : Dominique Charpin

12h45 Discussion

Déjeuner

Présidence : Jean-Marie Durand

Pause

16h45 Discussion et clôture du colloque

Jacob L. Wright on Aronofsky’s Noah and Flood Traditions

In the latest episode of Emory Looks at Hollywood series, Jacob L. Wright, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory’s Candler School of Theology, discusses the various Flood traditions which lie behind and within, and which were inspired by the biblical Flood story, including one of the most recent developments in the unfolding tradition, Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah (2014).

Wright also has a short article on the same subject in Sacred Matters, “Noah: An Unrighteous Man”.

See also:

Cathleen Falsani, interview with Darren Aronofsky, “The ‘Terror’ of Noah: How Darren Aronofsky Interprets the Bible”, The Atlantic, March 26, 2014

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “Who Gets to Decide if Noah is Biblical?” Religion Despatches, April 1, 2014

h/t: Jim West

John Rogerson on Law and Justice in the Old Testament

Emeritus Professor John Rogerson presents the 2012 Beauchief Abbey Lent lectures at Beauchief Abbey, Sheffield: “Law & Justice in the Old Testament”. The five lectures are available as YouTube videos (the second lecture recorded in audio only).

Handouts for the five lectures may be downloaded here.

The laws of a society reflect to some extent its values and ideals. The laws in the Old Testament also do this, but there is an additional, prophetic factor, which means that Old Testament laws do not just have a regulative purpose, but also a transforming purpose. Thus, to study Old Testament laws means to study the prophetic impulse that sought to shape a society that reflected the divine image.

First Lecture:
‘What is the point of studying these things today?’

Lecture 2:
‘How should we approach the law “codes” in the Old Testament?’

Lecture 3:
‘The Covenant “Code”, Exodus 21.1-23.19’

Lecture 4:
‘The Deuteronomic “Code”, Deuteronomy 12.1-26.19‘

Final Lecture:
‘The Holiness Laws, Leviticus 19-26’

Bruce Lincoln Examines the Evidence for the Identification of the Magi

In two videos of a talk delivered at UC Irvine on 29 November 2012, Prof. Bruce Lincoln examines the evidence for the identification of the Magi, a term strangely bifurcated between somewhat positive and very negative meanings.

“From Ritual Practice to Esoteric Knowledge: The Problem of the Magi”

Philip Harland’s Podcasts on Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

Philip Harland has an ongoing series of podcasts on a wide range of topics relating to religions of the ancient Mediterranean which are available here. These include:

Series 1: Paul and His Communities

Podcast 1.1 Paul in his own words

Podcast 1.2 The situation at Thessalonica

Podcast 1.3 Paul’s response to Jesus-followers at Thessalonica

Podcast 1.4: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 1

Podcast 1.5: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 2

Podcast 1.6: Paul and the followers of Jesus at Corinth, part 3

Podcast 1.7: Paul and the situation in Galatia

Podcast 1.8: Paul’s response to the Galatians

Podcast 1.9: Paul and the situation at Rome

Podcast 1.10: Paul’s response to the Romans

Podcast 1.11: Legacies of Paul – Women’s leadership, part 1

Podcast 1.12: Legacies of Paul – Women’s leadership, part 2

Series 2: Early Christian Portraits of Jesus

Podcast 2.1: Introduction to the Gospels as Portraits of Jesus

Podcast 2.2: Mark’s portrait of Jesus – Suffering Son, part 1

Podcast 2.3: Mark’s portrait of Jesus – Suffering Son, part 2

Podcast 2.4: Matthew’s portrait of Jesus – New Moses, part 1

Podcast 2.5: Matthew’s portrait of Jesus – New Moses, part 2

Podcast 2.6: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 1

Podcast 2.7: Luke’s Portrait of Jesus – Prophet Elijah, part 2

Podcast 2.8: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 1

Podcast 2.9: John’s Portrait of Jesus – Son and Word, part 2

Podcast 2.10: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 1

Podcast 2.11: Hebrews’ Portrait of Jesus – Highpriest Melchizedek, part 2

Series 3: Diversity in Early Christianity: “Heresies” and Struggles

Podcast 3.1: Introduction to Diversity – A Schism in John’s Community, part 1

Podcast 3.2: A Schism in John’s Community, part 2

Podcast 3.3: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius

Podcast 3.4: Docetic and Judaizing Opponents of Ignatius, part 2

Podcast 3.5: Diversity in Asia Minor – A Regional Case Study

Podcast 3.6: Sources for the Study of Diversity – Gnostic, Apocryphal, Patristic

Podcast 3.7: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 1 – Ebionites

Podcast 3.8: Jewish Followers of Jesus, part 2 – Pseudo-Clement

Podcast 3.9: Marcionites and the Unknown God

Podcast 3.10 Introducing Gnostic Worldviews

Podcast 3.11: Secret Book of John, part 1 – The Spiritual Realm

Podcast 3.12: Secret Book of John, part 2 – Salvation from the Material Realm

Podcast 3.13: The Wisdom of Jesus Christ and Middle Platonism

Podcast 3.14: The Gospel of Philip, part 1 – Ideas of Salvation

Podcast 3.15: The Gospel of Philip, part 2 – Ritual Enactments of Salvation

Podcast 3.16: The Gospel of Mary – Secret Knowledge from the Ultimate Disciple

Series 4: Honouring the Gods in the Roman Empire: Asia Minor

Podcast 4.1: Introduction to Honouring the Gods

Podcast 4.2: A City and Its Patron Deity – Artemis of Ephesus

Podcast 4.3: Salvation from the Gods – Asklepios at Pergamum

Podcast 4.4: Messages from the Gods – Apollo at Claros and Didyma

Podcast 4.5: Justice from the Gods in Lydia

Podcast 4.6: Honouring the Emperors as Gods

Series 5: The Historical Jesus in Context

Podcast 5.1: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 1

Podcast 5.2: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 2

Podcast 5.3: Studying the Historical Jesus – Sources and Problems, part 3

Podcast 5.4: Scholarly Portraits of the Historical Jesus, part 1 – Crossan

Podcast 5.5: Scholarly Portraits of the Historical Jesus, part 2 – Sanders

Podcast 5.6: Jesus, Galilee, and Israelite History, part 1 – To the Second Temple

Podcast 5.7: Jesus, Galilee, and Israelite History, part 2 – To the Time of Jesus

Podcast 5.8: Jesus, the Galilean and Judean

Podcast 5.9: Jesus in the Context of Educated Groups and Leaders

Podcast 5.10: Jesus and his Mentor, John the Baptizer

Podcast 5.11: Jesus as Teacher, part 1 – Method and Content

Podcast 5.12: Jesus as Teacher, part 2 – Present or Future Kingdom?

Podcast 5.13: Jesus as Healer and Exorcist

Podcast 5.14: Jesus as Prophet

Podcast 5.15: Jesus as Messianic King?

Series 6: Associations in the Greco-Roman World

Podcast 6.1: Introduction to Associations in the Greco-Roman World

Podcast 6.2: Social, Religious, and Burial Activities of Associations

Podcast 6.3: Judean and Christian Groups as Associations

Podcast 6.4: Associations and Greco-Roman Society (The City)

Podcast 6.5: Associations and the Roman Empire

Podcast 6.6: Approaches to Studying Ethnic Associations and Identities

Podcast 6.7: Phoenician Immigrant Associations, part 1

Podcast 6.8: Phoenician Immigrant Associations, part 2

Podcast 6.9: Judean Immigrant Associations, part 1

Podcast 6.10: Judean Immigrant Associations, part 2

Podcast 6.11 Jesus Groups as Associations and Cultural Minorities, part 1

Podcast 6.12: Jesus Groups as Associations and Cultural Minorities, part 2

Podcast 6.13: Cultural Minority Associations and Ethnic Stereotypes, part 1

Podcast 6.14: Cultural Minority Associations and Ethnic Stereotypes, part 2

Series 7: Visions of the End: Origins of Judean Apocalypticism

Podcast 7.1: Visions of the End – What is Apocalypticism?

Podcast 7.2: Origins part 1 – Ancient Near Eastern Combat Myths

Podcast 7.3: Origins part 2 – Zoroastrian apocalypticism

Podcast 7.4: Origins part 3a – Israelite Prophets 1

Podcast 7.5: Origins part 3b – Israelite Prophets 2

Podcast 7.6: 1 Enoch – An Introduction to the Earliest Apocalypse

Podcast 7.7: 1 Enoch – Fallen Angels in Early Apocalypticism

Podcast 7.8: Introduction to Daniel’s Historical Apocalypse

Podcast 7.9: Daniel’s Visions as Veiled History

Series 8: A Cultural History of Satan – Personified Evil in Early Judaism and in Christianity

Podcast 8.1: A Cultural History of Satan – Predecessors of Satan from Mesopotamia

Podcast 8.2: Predecessors of Satan from Canaan and Israel

Podcast 8.3: Predecessors of Satan from Persia

Podcast 8.4: Other Predecessors of Satan from the Hebrew Bible

Podcast 8.5: Fallen Angels in 1 Enoch (ca. 225 BCE)

Podcast 8.6: Mastema in Jubilees and Beliar in the Dead Sea Scrolls (ca. 100 BCE)

Podcast 8.7: The Devil and Beelzebub in Early Biographies of Jesus (70-100 CE)

Podcast 8.8: Internal Functions of the Rhetoric of Satan in Paul and John (ca. 50-110 CE)

Podcast 8.9: A Satanic Empire in John’s Apocalypse (ca. 80-100 CE)

Podcast 8.10: Jealous Satan, the Image of God, and the Serpent in the Life of Adam and Eve

Podcast 8.11: The Jealous Creator and the Serpent of Wisdom in Gnosticism (2nd century CE)

Podcast 8.12: Satan’s Demons and the Greco-Roman Gods in the Church Fathers (2nd-3rd centuries CE)

The Human Condition: The Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible – Thomas Römer’s 2013 Seminars at the Collège de France

Thomas Römer

Videos of Thomas Römer’s 2013 seminars at the Collège de France, entitled The Human Condition: The Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible, are available at the Collège’s website, or for download at the links provided below (800mb+). The seminars have been overdubbed by an English translator.

Thomas Römer is Professor of Old Testament at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Collège de France, and author of many works, including Israels Väter (1990) on the Patriarchal traditions in the Pentateuch.

In these seminars, Römer discusses the question of the human condition, drawing on ancient Near Eastern texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and, especially, on biblical texts.

07 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Introduction: The Gilgamesh Epic Read as a Reflection on the Human Condition

14 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Man “Image of God” or “Sinner From The Very Beginning”?

21 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Divine Violence, Human Violence

28 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Diversity of Cultures and Languages

21 MARCH 2013, 2:00 pm
Friendship, Love, Sexuality 1/2

28 MARCH 2013, 2:00 pm
Friendship, Love, Sexuality 2/2

04 APRIL 2013, 2:00 pm
Man in the Face of Death

11 APRIL 2013, 2:00 pm
Individual Death and the End of the World – Is Man Able to Imagine an Absolute End?

InscriptiFact: Ancient Near Eastern Inscriptions

InscriptiFact

InscriptiFact provides free online access to high-quality images of Ancient Near Eastern inscriptions, care of the West Semitic Research Project, “an academic project affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Religion and directed by Dr. Bruce Zuckerman”.

The site includes “Dead Sea Scrolls; cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia and Canaan; papyri from Egypt; inscriptions on stone from Jordan, Lebanon and Cyprus; Hebrew, Aramaic, Ammonite and Edomite inscriptions on a variety of hard media (e.g., clay sherds, copper, semi-precious stones, jar handles); and Egyptian scarabs”, and Ugaritic tablets.

In order to use the site, users must download the viewer software and send an application for a username and password by facsimile to Marilyn Lundberg on (001) (310) 541-2361.

Ancient Near East Monographs: SBL Open Access Series

Ancient Near East Monographs/Monografías sobre el Antiguo Cercano Oriente is an open access series from the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL):

The focus of this ambitious series is on the ancient Near East, including ancient Israel and its literature, from the early Neolithic to the early Hellenistic eras. Studies that are heavily philological or archaeological are both suited to this series, and can take full advantage of the hypertext capabilities of “born digital” publication. Multiple author and edited volumes as well as monographs are accepted. Proposals and manuscripts may be submitted in either English or Spanish. Manuscripts are peer reviewed by at least two scholars in the area before acceptance. Published volumes will be held to the high scholarly standards of the SBL and the Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente. The partnership between the SBL and the Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente was initiated under the auspices of SBL’s International Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and represents the type of international scholarly exchange that is the goal of ICI.

The General Co-editors are Ehud Ben Zvi and Roxana Flammini.

PDFs of the titles include:

Israel Finkelstein, The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History

Lester L. Grabbe and Martti Nissinen (eds.), Constructs of Prophecy in the Former and Latter Prophets and Other Texts

Alan Lenzi, Reading Akkaddian Prayers and Hymns: An Introduction

Graciela Gestoso Singer, El Intercambio de Bienes entre Egipto y Asia Anterior: Desde el reinado Tuthmosis III hasta el de Akhenaton

Juan Manuel Tebes, Centro y periferia en el mundo antiquo: El Negev y sus interacciones con Egipto, Asiria, y el Levante an la Edad del Hierro (1200-586 a.C)

Alan Lenzi has also written an accompanying article ‘Why You Should Submit Your Manuscript or Proposal to the Online, Open-Access Ancient Near East Monograph Series’

In Our Time: Online and Podcasts (BBC Radio 4)

In Our Time is a BBC Radio 4 programme on the history of ideas and is presented by Melvyn Bragg. Its range of episodes are classified under the headings ‘Religion’, ‘History’, ‘Culture’, ‘Philosophy’, and ‘Science’. The format consists of Bragg asking questions to, and leading a discussion with, a panel of academics. There are over 600 episodes – either for listening online and/or download – and the full archive is available here. There are numerous episodes covering topics in biblical studies and relevant areas:

Prophecy (13 June, 2013)

Gnosticism (2 May, 2013)

King Solomon (7 June, 2012)

Judas Maccabeus (24 November, 2011)

The Dawn of the Iron Age (24 March, 2011)

The City [Part 1] (25 March 2010)

The Augustan Age (11 June 2009)

St Paul (28 May, 2009)

Miracles (25 September, 2008)

The Greek Myths (13 March, 2008)

Hell (21 December, 2006)

Heaven (22 December, 2005)

Archaeology and Imperialism (14 April 2005)

Angels (24 March, 2005)

Zoroastrianism (11 November, 2004)

Babylon (3 June 2004)

The Fall (8 April, 2004)

The Alphabet (18 December, 2003)

The Devil (11 December, 2003)

The Apocalypse (17 July, 2003)

The Lindisfarne Gospels (20 February, 2003)

The Soul (6 June 2002)

In addition to the episodes listed above, there are episodes on a range of topics and individuals which will be directly relevant to certain areas of biblical studies research (e.g. Plato, Pliny, Roman satire, Wyclif, Erasmus, Milton, historiography, cultural memory).