Distinguished historian of Islam and SOAS Alumna: Patricia Crone

By Dominique Akhoun-Schwarb|July 16, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, History, Middle East, Central Asia & Islamica, Religions|0 comments

One of the most important historians of Islam in the last 50 years and whose contributions were pivotal in the study of early Islam, Patricia Crone died at the age of 70 on 11th July 2015 in Princeton, New Jersey. Patricia Crone graduated from SOAS, University of London in 1969 where she learnt Arabic, adding later Persian and Syriac. Upon graduating with a First, she went on to write her

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Anti-witchcraft rituals in ancient Mespotamia

By Mary Fisk|July 10, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica|0 comments

Hosted by the University of Würzburg as part of the DFG-funded project Corpus babylonischer Rituale und Beschwörungen gegen Schadenzauber: Edition, lexikalische Erschließung, historische und literarische Analyse, directed by former SOAS staff member, Daniel Schwemer, the Critical Catalogue of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals (CCMAwR) allows users to search for particular cuneiform tablets indexed in the collection or to browse by language or place or origin. The site also links to related websites (please note that

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The Palestine Exploration Fund celebrates 150th anniversary

By Mary Fisk|July 8, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, Art and Archaeology, History|0 comments

The Dome of the Rock, viewed from the roof of the Austrian Hospice (via Wikimedia Commons at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jerusalem_Dome_of_the_rock_BW_11.JPG) The Palestine Exploration Fund was founded on May 12th 1865 in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey. One of its founding members was the Dean, Arthur Penhryn Stanley and its roots lay in his involvement with the Jerusalem Water Relief Fund which had necessitated comprehensive professional surveying work in the city in 1864.

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Benjamin Harshav, scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish (1928-2015): an appreciation

By Mary Fisk|June 18, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, Linguistics, Literature|0 comments

Professor Benjamin Harshav, the distinguished scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature, died on April 23rd 2015, aged 86. He was born in Vilna in Lithuania in 1928 (a town which he described as the “self-styled bastion of Yiddish culture“) but escaped across the Urals in 1941, along with his family, after the Germans ousted the Soviets from the city After the war, he moved to Israel, where he established the Department

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Palmyra in 1926 (from the Guardian Archive, originally published 12th June 1926)

By Mary Fisk|June 16, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, History|0 comments

Palmyra panorama view shortly after sunrise (2005) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PalmyraPanoramaZoom.jpg In April 1926, the Manchester Guardian’s correspondent was in Beirut for a congress. After the exacting business of formal dinners and fetes,  the party set out to explore the historic sites of the region, including Byblos, Tripoli and Krak des Chevaliers – and finally to Palmyra. This account (whilst coloured with some of the stereotypes of the day) gives a vivid depiction

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Open access book series for the study of the Ancient Near East

By Mary Fisk|May 18, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica|0 comments

Several major series from academic publishers Brill now have selected volumes available on open-access via Ancient World Digital Library. Click on the links below to access the collections Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East (10 titles) Titles include: Family religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel / Toorn (1996) The care of the elderly in the Ancient Near East / Stol & Vleeming History and historical writing

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Open-access publications on Byzantine Studies from Dumbarton Oaks

By Mary Fisk|May 11, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, History, Middle East, Central Asia & Islamica, Religions|0 comments

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is an institute in Washington DC, administered by the Trustees for Harvard University. The Library specializes in Byzantine Studies, garden and landscape historyand pre-Columbian studies. A selection of open-access titles in Byzantine Studies (along with other institutional publications) have recently been made available. These can be read online (with Adobe Acrobat) or single copies may be downloaded for personal use. Click here to go

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Recent Acquisitions to SOAS Library reviewed

By Mary Fisk|May 5, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica, Gender, History, Middle East, Central Asia & Islamica, Music, Media and Film Studies, Religions|0 comments

The following books have all been recently acquired by SOAS Library either in print or as e-books. Slandering the Jew: sexuality and difference in early Christian texts / Susanna Drake. [e-book only, via ebrary] – reviewed by Gail Labovitz on H-Net (who states that there is “much to be learnt” from this study on gender, sexuality and stereotypes of Jews within early Christian writings) Ancient Syria : a three thousand year

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New and updated web resources for cuneiform studies

By Mary Fisk|March 5, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica|0 comments

  King Sargon and a dignitary (bas-relief in the Louvre Museum) (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sargon_II_and_dignitary.jpg) Assyrian Empire builders This project is a joint co-operation between the University of Cambridge, UCL and the University of Pennsylvania, and is linked to the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus project (State Archives of Assyria) at the University of Helsinki. The focus  is on the correspondence between Sargon II of Assyria (721-705 BC), his predecessor Tiglath-pileser (744-727) and their governors and

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Ancient Near Eastern studies book reviews

By Mary Fisk|February 16, 2015|Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica|0 comments

Two recent acquisitions by SOAS Library on ancient Near Eastern studies and comparative ancient Near Eastern literatures  have been reviewed in the Society of Biblical Literature’s Review of Biblical Literature  Poetic astronomy in the ancient Near East : the reflexes of celestial science in ancient Mesopotamian, Ugaritic, and Israelite narrative / Jeffrey L. Cooley. (Eisenbrauns, 2013) – reviewed by Stephen C. Russell of John Jay College (City University of New

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