Ancient Mesopotamian Beliefs in the Afterlife

The Mesopotamians did not view physical death as the ultimate end of life. The dead continued an animated existence in the form of a spirit, designated by the Sumerian term gidim and its Akkadian equivalent, eṭemmu. Unlike the rich corpus of ancient Egyptian funerary texts, no such “guidebooks” from Mesopotamiadetail the afterlife and the soul’s fate after death. Instead, …

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When Egyptian Pharaohs Ruled Bronze Age Jerusalem

Peter van der Veen investigates an Egyptian presence before the time of David What were Egyptian pharaohs doing in Bronze Age Jerusalem?   In a BAR feature 13 years ago,1 Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay investigated evidence of an Egyptian temple in Jerusalem, exposing the “Egyptianizing” of Bronze Age Jerusalem. In the March/April 2013 issue, Peter van der Veen …

The Land Between The Two Rivers: Early Israelite Identities in Transjordan

By: Thomas Petter, Associate Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Were there Israelites in Transjordan in the early Iron Age? How would we know from archaeology? Or if not Israelites (and Moabites), who should we be looking for? The task of plotting identities in the past is tricky business. It becomes even more problematic when opinions diverge …

Bronze Age Collapse: Pollen Study Highlights Late Bronze Age Drought

During the Late Bronze Age (1500–1200 B.C.E.), the Eastern Mediterranean boasted a flourishing network of grand empires sustaining sophisticated infrastructures, the likes of which the world would not see again for centuries to come. An interregional destruction (attested in Greece, Turkey, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt) known as the Bronze Age collapse is one of …

The Bible: Most important book ever written designed for people, not states

In 1896 Flinders Petrie discovered what is for many the most important achievement of his long and celebrated career as an archeologist. It is a large granite stela, over ten feet high, dating to 1208 BCE. This stone bears an account of how Egypt’s King Merneptah conquered his enemies in Libya and Canaan. As the …