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This is a first notice and invitation to a full-day seminar (hosted by the Department of Land of Israel Studies, the Institute of Archaeology, and Minerva RIAB Center, of Bar-Ilan University) on
“Material Religion in the Ancient Near East”
by Prof. Nicola Laneri (Università degli studi di Catania and School of Religious Studies at CAMNES/Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence)
to be held at Bar-Ilan University on Thursday, June 4th, 2020
Description: The seminar will follow an innovative material-oriented approach within which the materiality of the remains of ancient ritual actions (i.e., relics of human body, senses, objects, built environment, natural phenomena and animals, utterance) will be viewed and interpreted as part of a complex network of relationships between forms of materiality and beliefs in supernatural beings (i.e., ancestors, spirits, creation of a cosmos of deities, belief in one god) among ancient Near Eastern communities from 12.000 years ago until the first millennium BCE. In particular, after a broad methodological and theoretical introduction, some case-studies (e.g., the relics of the cult of the ancestors in prehistoric Near East, the temples of ancient Mesopotamia during the fourth and third millennia BCE, an early second millennium BCE ceremonial complex in southeastern Turkey, and, finally, the rise of monotheism in Israel during the first millennium BCE) will be tackled in order to further understand the role played by materiality in framing the evolution of the religious mind of ancient Near Eastern societies.