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592 pp.

£60 / $110 / €90
List Price

£22.50 / $27.50 / €25

Orientalism, Assyriology and the Bible
Edited by Steven W. Holloway

‘Orientalism’ refers both to the academic study of the Orient and to Western scholarship that clings to stock images of the timeless East and oriental despotism. This landmark collection of essays, the first in its field, is written by seasoned art historians, Assyriologists and biblical specialists; it is organized under four rubrics:

1. Intellectual and Disciplinary Histories identifies waymarks in the rise of Assyriology in America, shifting images of ancient Assyria in their cultural context, Smithsonian Institution exhibits of ‘biblical antiquities’ at the world’s fairs of 1893 and 1895, the rise of Egyptology in the nineteenth century, Mari scholarship and its impact on biblical studies, and the ancient Near Eastern text anthology as genre (Foster, Frahm, Holloway Reid, Younger).

2. Visual Perspectives suggests itself as a corrective to the academic habit of conjuring a ‘texted Orient’. Here are contributions that describe Assyrianizing engravings in the famous Dalziels’ Bible Gallery, the reception of ancient Assyria in nineteenth-century England versus France, and artwork for twentieth-century American histories of Israel (Bohrer, Esposito, Long).

3. Of Harems and Heroines explores gender issues in the context of the figure of Semiramis and the idea of the harem in biblical research and Assyriology (Asher-Greve, Solvang).

4. Assyriology and the Bible offers essays that focus on specific figures (Josiah), texts (Genesis 28.10-22, the Uruk Prophecy), or periods (Persian period in biblical historiography) (Grabbe, Handy, Hurowitz, Scurlock).

The volume includes a Bibliography of some 1000 items, an important resource.

Steven Holloway is Indexer-Analyst, American Theological Library Association (ATLA), Chicago.

Series: Hebrew Bible Monographs, 10
978-1-905048-37-3 hardback / 978-1-906055-33-2 paperback
Publication October 2006

Holloway, Steven W. Orientalism, Assyriology and the Bible

1. Foster, Benjamin R. The Beginnings of Assyriology in the United States
2. Frahm, Eckart. Images of Assyria in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Western Scholarship
3. Holloway, Steven W. The Smithsonian Institution's Religious Ceremonial Objects and Biblical Antiquities Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893) and the Cotton States and International Exposition (Atlanta, 1895)
4. Reid, Donald Malcolm. Egyptology under Khedive Ismail: Mariette, al-Tahtawi, and Brugsch, 1850-82
5. Sasson, Jack M. Mari and the Holy Grail
6. Younger, K. Lawson, Jr. The Production of Ancient Near Eastern Text Anthologies from the Earliest to the Latest

7. Bohrer, Frederick N. Inventing Assyria: Exoticism and Reception in Nineteenth-Century England and France
8. Esposito, Donato. Dalziels' Bible Gallery (1881): Assyria and the Biblical Illustration in Nineteenth-Century Britain
9. Long, Burke O. Picturing Biblical Pasts

10. Asher-Greve, Julia M. From “Semiramis of Babylon” to “Semiramis of Hammersmith”
11. Solvang, Elna K. Another Look “Inside”: Harems and the Interpretation of Women

12. Grabbe, Lester L. Biblical Historiography in the Persian Period:. or How the Jews Took Over the Empire
13. Handy, Lowell K. Josiah in a New Light: Assyriology Touches the Reforming King
14. Hurowitz, Victor Avigdor. Babylon in Bethel - New Light on Jacob's Dream
15. Scurlock, JoAnn. Whose Truth and Whose Justice? The Uruk and Other Late Akkadian Prophecies re-Revisited

On the one hand, some of the contributions that scarcely touch explicitly on Orientalism (e.g., Foster, Younger, and Hurowitz) are of great value, and one hopes they will not be overlooked by scholars who might wrongly prejudge the volume as merely an exercise in the latest fad adopted from literature departments. On the other hand, it seems to the present reviewer that, on the whole, its distinctive and fresh contribution lies in its first term, Orientalism.
Christopher Hays, Review of Biblical Literature.

[A] major collection … a welcome and fascinating study.
Patricia Dutcher-Walls, Review of Biblical Literature