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Orientalism, Assyriology in the Bible
Steven W. Holloway
Publication Date
October 2006


“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.

Click here for the paperback edition.



Orientalism, Assyriology and the Bible
—Steven W. Holloway


The Beginnings of Assyriology in the United States
—Benjamin R. Foster

Images of Assyria in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Western Scholarship
—Eckart Frahm

The Smithsonian Institution’s Religious Ceremonial Objects and Biblical Antiquities Exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893) and the Cotton States and International Exposition (Atlanta, 1895)
—Steven W. Holloway

Egyptology under Khedive Ismail: Mariette, al-Tahtawi, and Brugsch, 1850–82
—Donald Malcolm Reid

Mari and the Holy Grail
—Jack M. Sasson

The Production of Ancient Near Eastern Text Anthologies from the Earliest to the Latest
—K. Lawson Younger Jr.


Inventing Assyria: Exoticism and Reception in Nineteenth-Century England and France
—Frederick N. Bohrer

Dalziels’ Bible Gallery (1881): Assyria and the Biblical Illustration in Nineteenth-Century Britain
—Donato Esposito

Picturing Biblical Pasts
—Burke O. Long


From “Semiramis of Babylon” to “Semiramis of Hammersmith”
—Julia M. Asher-Greve

Another Look “Inside”: Harems and the Interpretation of Women
—Elna K. Solvang


Biblical Historiography in the Persian Period: or How the Jews Took Over the Empire
—Lester L. Grabbe

Josiah in a New Light: Assyriology Touches the Reforming King
—Lowell K. Handy

Babylon in Bethel—New Light on Jacob’s Dream
—Victor Avigdor Hurowitz

Whose Truth and Whose Justice? The Uruk and Other Late Akkadian Prophecies Re-revisited
—JoAnn Scurlock

Steven Holloway is Indexer-Analyst, American Theological Library Association (ATLA), Chicago.

The SBL is the North American distributor for Sheffield Phoenix Press. Customers outside of North America can purchase this book directly from Sheffield Phoenix by clicking here.