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The Ancient Word: New Discoveries in Religion and Language From the Biblical and Near Eastern World

About the Series

The Ancient Word is dedicated to publishing exciting, broadly relevant new research in ancient Near Eastern and biblical studies. Each book represents an advance both philologically, in our understanding of ancient sources, and intellectually, in providing fresh ways to think about what the remote past means. Herder once imagined an "archive of paradise" containing the first writing in the world from its oldest civilization: primordial texts holding the keys to understanding our formation. In unearthing the remains of the ancient Near East, we have something like this archive - but it remains mostly unread. Herder's bold search has been replaced with safer techniques, from sweeping theories of oral vs. literate societies to reductive legitimation theories that boil culture down to power. This series showcases fresh work that helps unlock this archive's potential.

If you would like to discuss contributing to the series, please contact Seth Sanders - [email protected].

6 Series Titles

Per Page

Royal Women at Ugarit Reconceiving the House of the Father

Royal Women at Ugarit: Reconceiving the House of the Father

1st Edition


By Christine Neal Thomas
October 08, 2024

This volume challenges patrimonialism as a political model for the ancient Near East by engaging with letters and legal texts concerning royal women at Late Bronze Age Ugarit, demonstrating women’s pivotal roles in the exercise of power and then bringing these insights to bear on the Hebrew Bible. ...

Ritual in Deuteronomy The Performance of Doom

Ritual in Deuteronomy: The Performance of Doom

1st Edition


By Melissa D. Ramos
May 27, 2024

Ritual in Deuteronomy explores the symbolic world of Deuteronomy’s ritual covenant and curses through a lens of religious studies and anthropology, drawing on previously unexamined Mesopotamian material. This book focuses on the ritual material in Deuteronomy including commands regarding sacrifice,...

Gendered Violence in Biblical Narrative The Devouring Metaphor

Gendered Violence in Biblical Narrative: The Devouring Metaphor

1st Edition

By Esther Brownsmith
April 15, 2024

This book uses three examples of violent biblical stories about women, explored through the lens of conceptual metaphor theory in relation to culinary language used within these texts, to examine wider issues of gender and sexual violence in the Hebrew Bible. Utilising the tools of conceptual ...

Baal and the Politics of Poetry

Baal and the Politics of Poetry

1st Edition

By Aaron Tugendhaft
September 22, 2020

Baal and the Politics of Poetry provides a thoroughly new interpretation of the Ugaritic Baal Cycle that simultaneously inaugurates an innovative approach to studying ancient Near Eastern literature within the political context of its production. The book argues that the poem, written in the last ...

Ea’s Duplicity in the Gilgamesh Flood Story

Ea’s Duplicity in the Gilgamesh Flood Story

1st Edition

By Martin Worthington
November 14, 2019

This volume opens up new perspectives on Babylonian and Assyrian literature, through the lens of a pivotal passage in the Gilgamesh Flood story. It shows how, using a nine-line message where not all was as it seemed, the god Ea inveigled humans into building the Ark.   The volume argues that Ea ...

Beyond Orality Biblical Poetry on its Own Terms

Beyond Orality: Biblical Poetry on its Own Terms

1st Edition

By Jacqueline Vayntrub
February 28, 2019

Central to understanding the prophecy and prayer of the Hebrew Bible are the unspoken assumptions that shaped them—their genres. Modern scholars describe these works as “poetry,” but there was no corresponding ancient Hebrew term or concept. Scholars also typically assume it began as “oral ...

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