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Feasting in the Archaeology and Texts of the Bible and the Ancient Near East
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Feasting in the Archaeology and Texts of the Bible and the Ancient Near East

Edited by Peter Altmann and Janling Fu


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This volume brings together the work of scholars using various methodologies to investigate the prevalence, importance, and meanings of feasting and foodways in the texts and cultural-material environments of the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. Thus, it serves as both an introduction to and explication of this emerging field. The offerings range from the third-millennium Early Dynastic period in Mesopotamia to the rise of a new cuisine in the Islamic period and transverse geographical locations such as southern Iraq, Syria, the Aegean, and especially the southern Levant. 

The strength of this collection lies in the many disciplines and methodologies that come together. Texts, pottery, faunal studies, iconography, and anthropological theory are all accorded a place at the table in locating the importance of feasting as a symbolic, social, and political practice. Various essays showcase both new archaeological methodologies--zooarchaeological bone analysis and spatial analysis--and classical methods such as iconographic studies, ceramic chronology, cultural anthropology, and composition-critical textual analysis.

Product Details

Publisher: Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2014
Bibliographic info: xii + 303 pp.
Language(s): English


Cover: Paper



The archaeological and historical contributions of this volume are a tremendous achievement and showcase where the field has been heading ever since anthropologist Michael Dieter’s work considered the symbolic, social, and political dimensions of feasts. Food is indeed good to think about, not just to eat. Even nonspecialists will find the volume accessible, as there are clear explanations, pictures, and diagrams throughout. . . . This is a phenomenal volume, and there is no doubt that the texts presented in it will increase and refine our understanding of the history of ancient Mesopotamia and its neighbors. . . . [It] will be of tremendous interest to those working in the history of ancient Mesopotamia and its neighbors. Specialists will want to have a copy on their own shelves, and graduate school and seminary libraries should make it available to their students. — Ralph Hawkins in Bulletin for Biblical Research 25.2 (2015)

Die weite räumliche und zeitliche Erstreckung, aber auch die unterschiedlichen inhaltlichen und methodischen Schwerpunkte, machen den Band sehr lesenswert und sind extrem anregend. Den Herausgebern und Autoren ist—bei aller Einzelkritik—für diesen gelungenen Sammelband zu danken.—Wolfgang Zwickel in

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