“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 (Gen 28:10–22, the Uruk Prophecy), or periods (Persian period in biblical historiography) (Grabbe, Handy, Hurowitz, Scurlock). The volume includes a bibliography of some 1,000 items, an important resource.
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Steven Holloway is Indexer-Analyst, American Theological Library Association (ATLA), Chicago.
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