Sunday, July 7, 2013

Great Podcast Resource for Studying Ancient Mediterranean Religion

Philip Harland from York University has a blog of extensive podcasts on Ancient Mediterranean religion. (Disclaimer: I don't take many of his presuppositions.)  Readers of this blog will find many of his lectures and audio studies a useful resource.

Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean blog


  1. Hi,

    I, too, am a Christian irreversibly fascinated with anthropology, Ancient Near Eastern studies, and in what ways they cross paths with our authoritative and inerrant but oft-misunderstood Scripture.

    Are you interested in writing a post on angels and Ancient Semitic mythology? I've done a little research on this myself and have found it to be deeply fertile ground.

    Given that a non-physical messenger being would probably find it worthwhile to appear in symbolic form and in a way that is coterminous and complementary with the message it bears on God's behalf, it would be interesting to look into the apparently common ancient belief of messenger deities (and deities of the dead) having wings at all, and what this is thought by anthropologists and archeologists to imply on mythical and metaphorical levels.

    Not to oversimplify the subject of course. But deities in 'the heavens' having bird-like subjects who carry their will between earth and heaven to human cultures, and knowing / being present for divinely preordained events such as a person's death or birth on earth, has potentially tremendous research potential.

    Based on what I've read from your blog, you of all people will know that this has nothing to do with the validity or existence of angels, just how they are *meant to appear* in an Ancient Near Eastern context.

    As far as I can tell as a layman with an internet connection lol, it's not an uncommon ancient belief in the slightest. 'Angelic accomodation' would make better sense of the varied and 'conflicting' physical descriptions of them in Scripture, and allegedly arbitrary features for beings not in need of interaction with physics for locomotion, such as wings.

    I know you dealt with seraphs and related subjects rather well already, I just thought this particular and peculiar trait of angelic descriptions would carry some purchase for your discussions.

    Given our different presuppositions in the 21st century, would angels appear in a different form today? Perhaps that's a post for another blog lol

    - Matt

    1. PS -

      I'll let you do your own research on it lol - I was interested in this over a year ago and did some scholarly reading on my own at the time, but have since lost track of those resources. I'm sure you have your own anyway, and probably have come across this subject before

      - M