OIS 4.

Religion and Power: Divine Kingship in the Ancient World and Beyond

Nicole Brisch, ed.

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Oriental Institute Seminars 4

This volume represents a collection of contributions presented during the Third Annual University of Chicago Oriental Institute Seminar “Religion and Power: Divine Kingship in the Ancient World and Beyond,” held at the Oriental Institute, February 23–24, 2007. The purpose of this conference was to examine more closely concepts of kingship in various regions of the world and in different time periods. The study of kingship goes back to the roots of fields such as anthropology and religious studies, as well as Assyriology and Near Eastern archaeology. More recently, several conferences have been held on kingship, drawing on cross-cultural comparisons. Yet the question of the divinity of the king—the king as god—has never before been examined within the framework of a cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary conference. Some of the recent anthropological literature on kingship relegates this question of kings who deified themselves to the background or voices serious misgivings about the usefulness of the distinction between “divine” and “sacred” kings. Several contributors to this volume have pointed out the Western, Judeo-Christian background of our categories of the human and the divine. However, rather than abandoning the term “divine kingship” because of its loaded history it is more productive to examine the concept of divine kingship more closely from a new perspective in order to modify our understanding of this term and the phenomena associated with it.

Table of Contents:

Preface. Nicole Brisch

  1. Introduction. Nicole Brisch, University of Chicago
  2. The Divine Prototypes. Gebhard J. Selz, University of Vienna
  3. The Mortal Kings of Ur: A Short Century of Divine Rule in Ancient Mesopotamia. Piotr Michalowski, University of Michigan
  4. Aspects of Kingship in Ancient Egypt. Paul Frandsen, Copenhagen University
  5. Touched by the Gods: Visual Evidence for the Divine Status of Rulers in the Ancient Near East. Irene Winter, Harvard University
  6. Dieu et Mon Droit: Kingship in Late Babylonian and Early Persian Times. Erica Ehrenberg, New York Academy of Art
  7. The King Is Dead, Long Live the King: The Last Days of the Shu-Sin Cult at Eshnunna and Its Aftermath. Clemens Reichel, University of Chicago
  8. Royal Deification: An Ambiguation Mechanism for the Creation of Courtier Subjectivities. Reinhard Bernbeck, Binghamton University
  9. The Sacralized Body of the Akwapim King. Michelle Gilbert, Sarah Lawrence College
  10. Maya Divine Kingship. David Freidel, Southern Methodist University
  11. Human and Divine Kingship in Early China: Comparative Reflections. Michael Puett, Harvard University
  12. The Role of Religion in Achaemenian Imperialism. Bruce Lincoln, University of Chicago
  13. Divinity and Power in Ancient Rome. Greg Woolf, St. Andrews University
  14. Divine Kingship in Mesopotamia, A Fleeting Phenomenon. Jerrold S. Cooper, Johns Hopkins University
  15. When Gods Ruled: Comments on Divine Kingship. Kathleen D. Morrison, University of Chicago
  • Oriental Institute Seminars 4
  • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2008. Second printing with minor corrections, 2012.
  • ISBN: 978-1-885923-55-4, 1-885923-55-4
  • Pp. xiii + 271; 50 figures, 7 tables
  • Softcover 7×10 inches
  • $24.95