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CALL.20.12.2017: Economy of Religions in Anatolia and Northern Syria: From the early second to the m


Two ancient texts – outside of Anatolia – are well known examples of the topic “money and religion”: The Hebrew Bible tells that the priest Jehoi’adah set up a chest close to the altar in the temple in Jerusalem in the early 8th century. All the financial means which were given to the temple were put into it and later craftsmen and workers for the temple could be paid from this money (2 Kings 12:10-17). During the last quarter of the 1st century, the Roman historian Livy mentions that the pontifex maximus was in charge of registering with what offerings, on what days, and at what temples the various sacrifices were to be offered, and from what sources the expenses connected with them were to be defrayed (Liv 1,20,5). Both texts bring us close to the central questions to be discussed at the conference of “Economy of Religions”. “Religions” are always costly – one has to give offerings (with material value) to the gods, one has to provide the salary forreligious specialists who offer their service for their clients, one has to arrange festivals and liturgies – and of course, one has toprovide the material means for building temples or shrines. But these costs also repay – as the gods give health or well-being as reward for the offerings. Even if one can never be absolutely certain about sucha reward, one at least might earn social reputation because of one’s (financial) involvement in religion. But temples are also economic centres – “employing” (often in close relation to the palace) people as workers, craftsmen or “intellectuals” in different positions whose“costs of living” are supplied by the temple. Individual religiousspecialists receive payment for their service to cover their own costsof living. Though this might sound “modern”, religion and economy wereintertwined with each other in ancient society also – religion contributing to economy and economy supplying the interest of religious authorities or institutions.

This leads to some general questions: Are ancient religions functioning like economic markets? Do the available sources for this conference supply information oo such questions? How do the cults, rituals and institutions in Anatolia and Syria contribute to the economic process in those areas? Answering such questions can help to analyse also differences between “official” or “private” religion, in the first case giving answers to questions about how many cults, temples or holidays a country can bear, in the second case, if different levels of one’s religious commitment may also depend on if one is “rich” or “poor”.



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Department of History of ReligionsInstitute of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn (Bonn, Germany)




The papers to be presented at the conference focus on textual and archaeological sources from Anatolia and Northern Syria by analysing the connections between religion and economy. The geographical and chronological scope covers all the Hittite period and includes further the area of Hurrians and Northern Syrians from the middle of the second millennium until the political and social changes in the early 12th century. But the research questions should also be taken into account for the first millennium with the so-called “Neo-Hittite States” and emerging Aramaic Kingdoms in Anatolia and Northern Syria as well as with the “states” in Phrygia, Lycia and Lydia until the middle of the first millennium. Thus the conference covers a broad geographical range spanning roughly one millennium. This makes it possible to detect changes and continuity, but also spheres of interference and differentiation. Therefore we invite – with this call for papers – anyone to present her or his studies on textual or archaeological materials which can shed new light on well-known sources or help to get deeper knowledge about the economic side of ancient religions. Whoever is interested in taking part in the conference, might send her or his preliminary title of the proposed paper to Prof. Manfred Hutter, Department of History of Religions ( no later than December 20, 2017. Specifics concerning the exact length of the presentations (in German or English), information regarding travelling and accommodation etc. will be given in the second circular (by end of January 2018). It is regretted that the department cannot provide any support for travel expenses or accommodation costs, but similar to the publication of our previous conferences (cf. AOAT 318 [2004], AOAT 337 [2006], AOAT 391 [2011]) we again intend to publish the proceedings soon after the conference.

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