Sara Milstein Receives Award for Book, "Tracking the Master Scribe"

Sara Milstein Receives Award for Book, “Tracking the Master Scribe”


Dr. Sara Milstein, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near Eastern Studies, received the Frank Moore Cross Award at the meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research last week in Boston for her book Tracking the Master Scribe: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Literature (Oxford UP, 2016).

This award is presented to the editor/author of the most substantial volume(s) related to one of the following categories:  a) the history and/or religion of ancient Israel; b) ancient Near Eastern and eastern Mediterranean epigraphy; c) textual studies on the Hebrew Bible; or d) comparative studies of the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern literature. It was also announced that Dr. Milstein is the first female recipient of this award.


Lisa Cooper runner-up for British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Award


Dr. Lisa Cooper, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, has just been awarded the runner-up book award prize from the British-Kuwait Friendship Society for her book In Search of Kings and Conquerors: Gertrude Bell and the Archaeology of the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2016).

The prize is awarded annually to the best scholarly book on the Middle East. This year there was one runner-up prize (Cooper) and two first-place winners. The award ceremony was held in the Kuwaiti Embassy in London on Thursday, October 19th. Presiding over the ceremonies was the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Britain and Shaikh Mubarak al-Abdullah al-Mubarak Al Sabah, on behalf of the Abdullah Mubarak Charitable Foundation. Congratulations on this recognition, Dr. Cooper!

Emma Ramsden (MA ACRE) a Highly Commended Entrant in the Undergraduate Awards

One of our new students in the MA in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity, Emma Ramsden, has had her paper, “Which Witch is Which: Understanding the Use of the Roman Witch in the Early Imperial Period”, ranked in the top 10% of all submissions in the category of Classical Studies and Archaeology in the Undergraduate Awards, an international program recognizing excellence in undergraduate student work. The UA assemble a panel of experts from around the world to assess the entries in each category. This year they received 6,432 submissions from students in 299 institutions across 47 countries. The winner in this category has yet to be decided. Emma has been invited to attend the UA Global Summit 2017 in Dublin this November. Congratulations, Emma, on this achievement!

New Publications from C.W. Marshall

Dr. C.W. (Toph) Marshall has just published a book, The Libation Bearers (Bloomsbury). In this introduction to the second play of Aeschylus’ trilogy, the Oresteia, Dr. Marshall draws on his expertise in performance to help readers understand the ancient audience’s experience of the text in performance and explores other themes of the play in their historical context.

Toph also guest-edited a special section of the latest volume of Illinois Classical Studies on “Wet-Nursing and Breastfeeding in Greece and Rome,” and contributed the introduction and a paper (“Breastfeeding in Greek Literature and Thought”) to the section. You can read it here: 


“Hellenism, Hellenization, and Ancient Cultural Exchange”

Hellenism, Hellenization, and ancient cultural exchange are a powerful trio.  Since the late 18th century, Hellenism has been regarded as the cornerstone of Western civilization, as the ancient Greeks were credited with creating the earliest recognizable forms of modernity, such as rationality, democracy, progress, philosophy, and art.  For this reason, Hellenism has also been viewed as culturally contagious, necessitating the creation of the term Hellenization.  Hellenization is rarely precisely defined, but it involves the idea of non-Greek populations becoming culturally Greek, speaking Greek, organizing their societies like the Greeks, using Greek material culture, and worshipping Greek divinities.  In modern scholarship, not surprisingly, Hellenism and Hellenization have traditionally been the strongest and most frequently evoked causes of ancient cultural exchange in the Mediterranean and lands beyond.

In this seminar course, we will critically investigate three main questions: 1) What is Hellenism? 2) What is Hellenization? and 3) What role do Hellenism and Hellenization play in ancient cultural exchange?  Related topics, themes, and questions also include the following.  How has Hellenism been defined over the course of time?  Why has Hellenism been put on a pedestal and given such explanatory force in discussing ancient cultural exchange?  Is it still valid to do so?  How did ancient Greeks think about cultural exchange, and how have their concepts, terminologies, and values been interpreted and translated into other languages, both ancient and modern?  How has ancient Greece been used and abused by the ancient Greeks themselves, Romans, and modern Europeans and their descendants who settled elsewhere in the world?  Is Hellenization still a valid concept to explain ancient cultural exchange?  Are there other equally relevant and perhaps better ways of viewing ancient cultural exchange, such as middle ground theory and globalization?

Students will be exposed to the latest readings and thinking and will be offered the opportunity to engage in scholarly debates and present their own research findings.

There are currently no open positions with CNERS

Sara Milstein promoted to Associate Professor

Dr. Sara Milstein has been granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. Sara’s scholarship is viewed by leading experts in the field as thought-provoking and innovative and we are fortunate to have her among our faculty. In addition, Sara is an award-winning teacher and a caring, contributing, department citizen.

Archaeology of Mithraism Oct 23-29 in Alba Iulia, Romania

Dr. Matthew McCarty, Assistant Professor of Roman Archaeology, is on the organizing committee of an international conference on the Archaeology of Mithraism taking place this October 23-29 in Alba Iulia, Romania. Dr. McCarty has been involved in excavations at the Apulum Mithraeum III in Alba Iulia as well.

Here is some information from the conference website:

Despite being known primarily from its material remains, cults of Mithras across the empire have rarely been studied side-by-side from an archaeological perspective to answer questions about connectivity and ritual practice. The canonical studies of the cult focus instead on monumental remains, on images, and on questions of doctrine and belief. Yet this insistence on understanding symbolic content of a cult stands in sharp contrast to the directions of scholarship on Roman religion more broadly. It is widely accepted that religion in the Roman world was predicated upon ritual practice. There was no doctrine, or orthodoxy; instead, any propositional claims concerning divine powers were made, learned, and proved via action: “faire, c’est croire.”As an integral part of this ritualized religious system, Mithraism ought to be studied first on the basis of its practices, and new scientific excavations of mithraea offer the unique opportunity to see the ways that ancient worshippers conducted their rites.

To harness the possibilities of archaeological approaches to Mithraism, this colloquium will bring together scholars from across Europe and North America who have excavated or worked closely with the material remains from mithraea. Many of these sites remain un- or only partially published; the opportunity to share and discuss this material is thus doubly important for moving Mithraic studies forward. Alba Iulia, the site of a newly discovered mithraeum (and the first to be scientifically excavated in the province of Dacia), will host the gathering.

For more information visit:

Professor Katharine (Kat) Huemoeller gives the goods on the Ides of March

Listen to Professor Huemoeller talk to Chris Walker on Daybreak South about the Ides of March, that most fateful of political anniversaries:

Daybreak South, March 15, 2017

(Dr. Heumoeller’s piece starts at about 11 minutes in)


RELG 475E/RELG 500B The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Modern Contexts

An exploration of the Bible’s continued influence in today’s world, with attention to how and why the Bible continues to be recycled in so many different contexts.

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