The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut néerlandais du Proche-Orient

Book Specifications
col. 263-536 pp.

Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXVIII, 3/4 (2021)

2021  |  BiOr Volume 78 3/4 ISSN: 0006-1913


In Memoriam Johan de Roos

by W.J.I. Waal and Th. van den Hout

Van de Mieroop, M. — A New History of the Ancient Near East

The appearance of the first volume of a new comprehensive history of ancient Egypt and the Asiatic Near East provides an opportunity to review whether historiographic practices in the discipline have changed since the publication of the Cambridge Ancient History, which the Oxford History of the Ancient Near East intends to replace.

Bietak, M. — The end of high chronology in the Aegean and the Levant? Recent discussions about the chronology of the Middle and the Late Bronze Ages in the Eastern Mediterranean: Part II

This article deals with the conflicting debate about the chronology of the Middle and the Late Bronze Ages in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant. Radiocarbon chronology and historical/archaeological chronology that depend to some extent on the Egyptian absolute chronology seem to produce results which are 100 to 150 years apart. The debate was not always fair and the differences in dating were never convincingly explained. Yet, a flood of articles and books supporting the high Aegean and Levantine chronology, based solely on radiocarbon dating, seem to have tilted the weight of public opinion in favour of a high chronology by fixing the eruption of Thera to the second half of the 17th century BC. These measurements were the result of highly polished calibration curves, based largely on decadal and semi-decadal tree-ring measurements, which have distorted the resolution of 14C dating. For the past three years, however, a pioneering study by the Arizona University Laboratory has analysed the 17th and the 16th centuries BC on the basis of the annual tree-ring measurements of bristlecone pine, German oak, and Irish oak. The Arizona lab results demonstrated the possibility for a new date range for the Thera eruption nearly a century later, sometime between 1570 and 1510 BC.

The new results buttress the historical/archaeological dating, although due to wiggles in the calibration curve the former radiocarbon measurements allowed the date of the Thera eruption to extend into the 16th century as well – a result that was ignored by the adherents of the high chronology. Recently, the results from the Arizona lab have been confirmed by measurements at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich and Mannheim laboratories and are now included in the IntCal20 calibration curve against which recalibration of previous Thera relevant dates all display probabilities in the 16th century BC. This article will put forth the archaeological and stratigraphic reasons for why the former 14C dates for the Middle Bronze Age were too high when samples were taken from the tell stratigraphies. This article only deals with the most important publications on high Aegean and Bronze Age-Chronology since the output in print and on the internet is not only abundant but very repetitive.

Dijkstra, J.H.F. — Recent Research on the Dakhla Oasis

Despite the fact that excavations by foreign missions are currently on hold in the Dakhla Oasis, much recent work has been conducted on the rich materials that have been unearthed in the oasis over the last several decades. In this review article, three books are discussed that came out in 2018-2019, two conference proceedings and an excavation report.

Kloekhorst, A. — The phonetics and phonology of Hittite intervocalic fortis and lenis stops

In the field of Hittite linguistics, there is a longstanding debate on the phonetics of the Hittite fortis and lenis stops in intervocalic position, and on how to phonologically interpret the distinction between the two series. Although it is usually assumed that the two series were distinct in voice, /t/ vs. /d/, respectively, arguments in favor of a length distinction, /tː/ vs. /t/, have been put forward as well (Melchert 1994 and Kloekhorst 2008; 2014; 2016). This article will discuss two recent publications on this topic: one by Simon (2020), who specifically argues against a length distinction, and adduces new arguments in favor of the traditionally assumed voice distinction; and one by Patri (2009; 2019), who rather posits a distinction /th/ vs. /d/. It will be argued that the arguments used by both Simon and Patri are untenable, and that all evidence rather points to a length contrast, /tː/ vs. /t/.

Key words: Hittite phonology, stop system, cuneiform orthography, historical phonology.

Stadel, C. — On Samaritan Language, Literary Technique and Exegesis in the Midrash Tibåt Mårqe

Tībåt Mårqe is a collection of Samaritan midrashim from Late Antiquity written in Samaritan Aramaic. It is one of the earliest distinctly Samaritan texts and important for assessing the world view of the Samaritans, who formed a substantial part of the population of Palestine in the Byzantine period. The work has been easily accessible since 1988, when Zeev Ben-Ḥayyim produced a reliable edition with a Hebrew translation. Ben-Ḥayyim’s philological work has made it clear that the composition exists in two very different recension, but the earlier one was by then only partially known and consequently could not be published in full. In his new book, Abraham Tal has prepared an edition of all known parts of the earlier recension, complete with an English translation and comments. This article offers supplementary notes and analyses on the new Samaritan Aramaic material published by Tal, touching on various aspects of language, style, genre, and exegetical traditions in Tībåt Mårqe.

Suchard, B.D. — A valediction to Moses W. Shapira’s Deuteronomy document

In his 2021 monograph The Valediction of Moses, Idan Dershowitz argues that the manuscripts offered for sale by Moses Wilhelm Shapira in 1883, generally considered to have been forged, were genuine and contained a pre-exilic source text of Deuteronomy he refers to as V. Based on Dershowitz’s new critical edition of the text, this paper examines the historical and philological evidence for this thesis. V’s literary dependence on the Masoretic Text can be demonstrated on text-critical and linguistic grounds, which makes a pre-exilic date of composition highly unlikely. An analysis of the historical, literary, and linguistic arguments presented by Dershowitz moreover shows that nothing in V proves its authenticity, while the orthography and certain linguistic features strongly support the identification of this text as a forgery produced between 1870 and 1880.

Jacobsen, L. — “Like mother, like daughter” (Ezek. 16:44): Mothers and Daughters in the Prophecies of Ezekiel

Ezekiel’s prophecy is unique in the way he extends the family metaphor to include the parents of Jerusalem – the wife and mother, focusing on the waywardness of Jerusalem’s own mother. An examination of the acts ascribed to the mother of Jerusalem and to her daughter Jerusalem as mother reveals marked similarities, encapsulated in the pithy proverb “Like mother, like daughter”. A new reading of the proverb suggests that despite the fact that the daughter was not raised by her mother, she nevertheless takes after her, as a result of the daughter’s disappointing choices.

Cuciniello, A. — An Emblematic Qur’ānic argument: the Death of Jesus

The main goal of this article is to give an overall picture of the Qur᾿ānic view about the issues of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and second coming. The Qur᾿ān states unequivocally that the Jews did not kill the son of Mary, while another person assumed his appearance and was crucified. Therefore, escaping death, Jesus was assumed into heaven alive and God will send him back to earth in the End Times. Probably, this is the most widely-known view on this issue in the Muslim world today. Hence, the article gives an analysis of the Qur᾿ānic relevant passages, in addition to an overview of the most influential mainstream commentaries of the Sunnī tradition about those references. Finally, stress has been placed on the philological aspects, by focusing the investigation on the Arabic text of the Qur᾿ān, so as to attempt to retrace an emblematic aspect of the Qur᾿ānic account of Jesus.

Book reviews and announcements

Faraonisch Egypte, Grieks-Romeins Egypte, Assyriologie, Hettitologie, Semitisch, Oude Testament, Vroege Jodendom, Archeologie, Islam, Varia



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