Recent political events have demonstrated the continuing entanglement between ma- terial culture and religion by believers, which reminds us why we should consider the material aspects of religious beliefs as quintessential elements in the process of inves- tigating and interpreting ancient, modern, and contemporaneous forms of religiosity. Such a ‘material turn’ in research is recognizable over the last 30 years within numerous branches of the humanities including religious studies, anthropology, and archaeology, in which the relationship between the spiritual and material di- mension of religiosity is envisioned as part of a whole. Thus, the materialization of religious beliefs represents an answer in the process of defining the role played by religious ‘things’ and ‘action’ in framing the cognitive schemata of the members of a given group as well as their relationship with the divine and their consequent reli- gious beliefs. In archaeology, materiality has slowly become a useful tool in the search for the interpretation and reconstruction of ancient religious beliefs and ritual practi- ces, especially in contexts in which textual sources are not available. In fact, as cor- rectly pointed out by Insoll1 ancient material culture cannot be considered only as just ‘there’, but rather ‘interrogated as to how it symbolizes, represents, misleads, and informs the archaeologist attempting to explore the subtleties of ritual practice and religion’. Thus, this contribution will follow such an approach within which the material- ity of ancient religiosity will be viewed and interpreted as part of a complex network of relationships between forms of materiality and beliefs in supernatural beings. In particular, I will focus my attention towards religious architecture and how it framed the religiosity of ancient Near Eastern communities and specifically how the concept of the High Temple, the so-called ziggurat, originated and developed in an- cient Mesopotamian during the fourth and third millennia BCE, slowly becoming a symbol of ancient Near Eastern religions as highlighted in the Old Testament as a negative symbolic element for the emplacement of the divine.

From High to Low: Reflections about the Emplacement of Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia

Laneri, Nicola
Methodology
2022-01-01

Abstract

Recent political events have demonstrated the continuing entanglement between ma- terial culture and religion by believers, which reminds us why we should consider the material aspects of religious beliefs as quintessential elements in the process of inves- tigating and interpreting ancient, modern, and contemporaneous forms of religiosity. Such a ‘material turn’ in research is recognizable over the last 30 years within numerous branches of the humanities including religious studies, anthropology, and archaeology, in which the relationship between the spiritual and material di- mension of religiosity is envisioned as part of a whole. Thus, the materialization of religious beliefs represents an answer in the process of defining the role played by religious ‘things’ and ‘action’ in framing the cognitive schemata of the members of a given group as well as their relationship with the divine and their consequent reli- gious beliefs. In archaeology, materiality has slowly become a useful tool in the search for the interpretation and reconstruction of ancient religious beliefs and ritual practi- ces, especially in contexts in which textual sources are not available. In fact, as cor- rectly pointed out by Insoll1 ancient material culture cannot be considered only as just ‘there’, but rather ‘interrogated as to how it symbolizes, represents, misleads, and informs the archaeologist attempting to explore the subtleties of ritual practice and religion’. Thus, this contribution will follow such an approach within which the material- ity of ancient religiosity will be viewed and interpreted as part of a complex network of relationships between forms of materiality and beliefs in supernatural beings. In particular, I will focus my attention towards religious architecture and how it framed the religiosity of ancient Near Eastern communities and specifically how the concept of the High Temple, the so-called ziggurat, originated and developed in an- cient Mesopotamian during the fourth and third millennia BCE, slowly becoming a symbol of ancient Near Eastern religions as highlighted in the Old Testament as a negative symbolic element for the emplacement of the divine.
9783110798432
Mesopotamia, material religion, archaeology
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/545862
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