Top 5 ASOR Articles of 2016

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By: Kaitlynn Anderson

2017 has officially begun! We’d like to thank all of our Friends of ASOR (and lurkers) who come back to the ASOR Blog to read article after article! Here’s a look back at the five most popular articles of 2016. A lot happened in 2016, here’s hoping 2017 is even better and full of interesting articles and discoveries.

No. 5. New Light on the Priestly Blessing from Ancient Judah

Plan of Ekron Temple

There is a blessing that both Jewish and Christian traditions refer to as the “priestly blessing.” Until recently, the background and early function of this blessing outside of the Book of Numbers was rather limited. In August, Jeremy Smoak shed new light on the blessing. Read the full article here. 

No. 4. The So-Called Jehoash Inscription: A Post Mortem

Closeup showing part of the right side of the central fissure of the tablet (now a full break) cutting through the engraved letters. The patina covers the letters as well as the fissure.

In this article, Ed Greenstein discusses the issues with fake inscriptions, and the difficulty they add to the jobs of philologists and paleographers. Check out his full article here. 

No. 3. Ask a Near Eastern Professional: How the Sumerians Got to Peru

Exterior of bowl

Exterior of bowl

Jerry Cohen asked, “Is it true that an ancient bowl was found in Lake Titicaca in Peru that had Sumerian cuneiform writing on it? If so, what was its translation?” The Ancient Near East Today editor, Alex Joffe, answered. Short answer, yes a bowl was found, but that is not the end of this scandalous story. Read the full article here. 

No. 2. “Godnapping” in the Ancient Near East

The Sun-God Tablet from Sippar, modern Tell Abu Habba, Iraq (British Museum 91000)

You know how some rival sports teams will steal the other team’s mascots? One could argue this was a lot like that, but on a much larger and personal scale. In this article Shana Zaia talks about when Mesopotamian polities went to war, the successful party would take the gods of the losing king or polity and bring the cult images to victorious king’s homeland. Read the full article here.

And the most popular ASOR article of 2016 was ………….

No. 1. Ask a Near East Professional: Who are the Sea Peoples and what role did they play in the devastation of civilizations?

Ramses III fighting the Sea Peoples at Medinet Habu.

The Ancient Near East Today combined the questions from Michael Ferris and Lloyd Dunaway in our September ‘Ask a Near East Professional’ segment. We then asked Dr. Eric Cline for his answer to who are the Sea Peoples and what role did they play in the devastation of civilizations after 1200 BCE. His answer? There is no simple answer, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a lot to say on the subject. Check it out!

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