Library of Sacred Scrolls
Canaanite & Phoenician Studies
- Attridge, Harold W. and Oden, Robert A., Jr. Philo of Byblos, The Phoenician History: Introduction, Critical Text, Translation, Notes. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 9, Washington, D.C.: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1981.
An English translation facing the original Greek, with extensive notes, of all that remains of the works of Philo of Byblos about the Phoenician myths, extracted from writings of early Christian authors, primarily Eusebius. Scholars long considered Philo's work to be of dubious value. The discoveries at Ugarit have raised him in their estimation, as they verify much of what Philo said. His work is definitely Hellenized, and includes a Phoenician creation myth, which is missing from Ugarit.
- Brouillet, Monique Seefried, ed. From Hannibal to Saint Augustine: Ancient Art of North Africa from the Musee du Louvre. Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University: Atlanta GA, 1994.
I saw this travelling exibit at a small museum in Sacramento - it didn't come to San Francisco. I went on a Sunday when it was crawling with California's equivalent of Middle Americans. I controled my urge to fall on the floor and worship (there wasn't enought floor space) and make offerings (everything was wired and watched by guards) in front of the votive offering plaques to Tanith. And the jewelry was really nifty. And as a priestess, I deserve it! Sorry, i was channeling someone. Anyway, this informative book has numerous essays on the history of Carthage and other North African Phoenician cities, through their Roman occupation and eventual Christian conversion, and not nearly enough color plates for my taste. They used a symbolic image of Tanith as the logo for the exhibit! Yessss!
- Caquot, Andr & Sznycer, Maurice. Ugaritic Religion. Iconography of Religions, Section XV: Mesopotamia and the Near East; Fascicle 8; Institute of Religious Iconograpy, State University Groningen; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1980. Still in print.
A slim volume packed with photographic plates and a detailed overview of the religion of Ugarit, the major Canaanite site. The writers are hampered a bit by not being Pagan, but you can't have everything. Take it out of the library, if they have it; it's too expensive to buy unless you're building a scholarly library.
- Cassuto, U., trans. by Israel Abrahams. The Goddess Anath. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University, 1951.
I liked this book. Although written a while ago, it's full of useful information and texts, but, then, i am a priestess of Anat. It comprises excerpts from the Ugaritic myths concerning Anat, analysis of them, and comparison of Ugaritic and Hebrew Biblical literary styles, showing that they represent a cultural continuum. And there's a photograph of one of the few definitive and stylistically Canaanite representations of Anat. Although at first it appears crude, if you look carefully at the worn surface, She emerges with surprisingly naturalistic detail. I think She smiled at me.
- Coogan, Michael David. Stories from Ancient Canaan. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1978. May still be in print.
A set of translations of the Ugaritic myth of Baal and Anat, and the mythological legends of Aqhat and Keret. Not the best, but always useful for comparison and in a convenient, small paper-bound book. If you can't find anything else, or if you're building a library, it's worth having.
- Crawford, Timothy G. Blessing and Curse in Syro-Palestinian Inscriptions of the Iron Age. American University Studies, Series VII, Theology and Religion, Vol. 120, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1992.
Comparison of blessings & curses in Akkadian (the written language of Mesopotamia), Ugaritic, Aramaic, Phoenician and Punic, inscriptional Hebrew, and biblical Hebrew. Some are useful for liturgy or magic.
- de Moor, Johannes C. The Seasonal Pattern in the Ugaritic Myth of Ba'lu, According to the Version of Ilimilku.
Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Band 16. Neukirchen - Vluyn: Verlag Butzon & Berker Kevelaer, Neukirchener Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1971 (in English).
Many scholars discussing the possible seasonal pattern in the Ugaritic myths have not bothered to look at actual agricultural and meteorological patterns in the Levant. But what can you expect from the deity-challanged? This author studied the records to validate the theory that the Ugaritc myths represent a seasonal cycle, a concept still hotly debated among scholars. His work has been criticized by other scholars, some of whom have good points. No matter what the failings, a very valuable resource.
- de Tarragon, Jean-Michel. La Culte a Ugarit, d'apres les textes de la pratique en cun iformes alphabetiques. Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 19. J. Gabalda et Cie., diteurs, Paris: 1980.
Covers the basics of worship: priests, offerings and sacrifices, etc. Very philologically oriented (necessary for scholars, but boring for pagan practitioners), but the author is not without a bit of humor. Gives us names for nearly all twelve months. Unfortunately, most of the texts only document days of offerings, who made the offering, to which deity and what the offering consisted of. No full texts of rituals or prayers. Sometimes "city doves" are sacrificed, so now you have a new use for those annoying pigeons. In French.
- Fulco, William J., S.J. The Canaanite God Reshep. New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society, 1976.
A slim but enlightening study of this deity who was worshipped even in Egypt and his apparently contradictory associations with disease, war, and fertility.
- Gibson, J.C.L., originally edited by G.R. Driver. Canaanite Myths and Legends. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, Ltd., 1956, 1977.
Translations, analysis, and interpretations of many important mythological Ugaritic texts and transliterations of nearly all texts which had been found by the time of publication. Pretty straight forward work, much more so than Gaster. And includes a glossary of Ugaritic words in the texts. An ESSENTIAL book for Canaanite studies.
- Gray, John. The Canaanites. Ancient Peoples and Places Series; New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1964. Paperback, probably out of print
Excellent compendium of information about the Canaanites from Syria through Palestine, incorporating relevant information found in Egypt, Turkey, and Mesopotamia, as well as on Canaanite sites themselves. Many photographic plates and line drawings. Covers geography, history, daily life, social structure, religion, writings and art.
- Harden, Donald. The Phoenicians. Ancient Peoples and Places Series; New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1962. Paperback, probably out of print.
Excellent compendium of information about the Phoenicians and their world of economic expansion and political conflict. Many photographic plates and line drawings. Covers geography, history at home and overseas, with a separate chapter on Carthage, government and social structure, religion, industry and commerce, and writings and art.
- Herm, Gerhard, trans. Caroline Hillier. The Phoenicians: The Purple Empire of the Ancient World. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1975. Out of print.
While not scholarly or academically accurate, the book presents a useful and vivid picture of the Phoenicians as a living culture. Watch out for his purple prose (pun intentional). (NOTE: you may be able to find this in the library, 'cuz i'm sure it's out-of-print. It's NOT 100% historically accurate, but it is very lively.) I enjoyed this book very much, but bear in mind, a lot of what he says is just plain WRONG.
- Jeffers, Ann. Magic & Divination in Ancient Palestine & Syria. Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East, Volume VIII. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1996.
An analysis of terminology used in Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, & Hebrew to indicate various types of techniques and specialists in what we now call magic. The word "magic" is a very sloppy term, but in our culture we're stuck with it. The ancients who really used magic had a very rich vocabulary for practices and practitioners and rarely used such catch-all terms, except for the Romans, who were control-freaks.
- L'Heureux, Conrad E. Rank Among the Canaanite Gods: El, Ba'al, and the Repha'im. Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard Semitic Monographs No. 21, Missoula MT: Scholars Press, 1979.
Contains some information about 'El, within the context of whether Ba'al overthrew 'El, reasonably concluding that Ba'al did not. Most interesting to me was the chapter on the Repha'im. Exactly what this term means is still uncertain: were they elemental spirits, deities, dead kings, ghosts, healers, perhaps even, as Wiccans say, The Mighty Dead ?
- Maier, Walter A. III. Asherah: Extrabiblical Evidence. Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard Semitic Monographs No. 37, Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1986.
Analysis of non-Biblical texts, primarily inscriptions, from all over the Levant. Monotheistic scholars still argue whether the "asherah" mentioned in the "Old Testament" refers to a goddess, a holy site, or a holy object. Obviously, they don't want to concede that the ancient people of the Bible worshipped a Goddess. It's still nice to see Her remembered over such a long period of time.
- Mullen, E. Theodore, Jr. The Assembly of the Gods: The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature. Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard Semitic Monographs No. 24, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1980/ Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press Reprint, 1986.
Comparison of Ugaritic and Old Testament literature, with the relationship of 'El and Ba'al as the subplot. Some interesting stuff here.
- Oden, R.A., Jr. Studies in Lucian's De Dea Syria. Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard Semitic Monographs No. 15, Missoula MT: Scholars Press, 1977.
This is an analysis of De Dea Syria with much interesting and useful commentary. Unfortunately, Attridge and Oden's translation of the actual text by the Levantine satirist Lucian of Samosata is out-of-print and hard to find, but most of it is reproduced in Meyer's The Ancient Mysteries (see above), minus a Hitto-Syrian castration myth and some interesting insights into Syrian stylites, indicating that Christians like saint Simon weren't the only ones to sit on pillars to get closer to the Divine. The missing parts (pun intended) are in the coyly antique Harvard Loeb Classics Library translation. But it is helpful to read the Studies, if you can find it, along with the actual text.
- Odijk, Pamela. The Phoenicians. The Ancient World Series. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett Press, 1989.
A simple book meant for grade-school children, yet a marvelous source of general information. My daughter found this in her grade school library when she was in fifth grade and took it out for me. I eventually bought a copy of my own.
- Olyan, Saul M. Asherah and the Cult of Yahweh in Israel. Society of Biblical Literature, Monograph Number 34, Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1988.
Biblically oriented, naturally, but this author offers some genuine consideration of 'Asherah and some valuable insights and interpretations, especially concerning 'Asherah and Tanith. This author is pretty reasonable, and besides, i think he's a nice Jewish boy.
- Pettey, Richard J. Asherah: Goddess of Israel. American University Studies, Series VII, Vol. 74. New York, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Paris: Peter Lang, 1990.
Petty looks at the evidence and decides that, yes, 'Asherah was worshiped by the Israelites. Wow!
- *Smith, Mark S. The Ugaritic Baal Cycle. Volume 1: Introduction with Text, Translation & Commentary of KTU 1.1-1.2. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Volume LV. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1994.
An essential book for Canaanite studies, the author compares all tranlations with the original tablets, and posits his own translations. This book only covers the first two tablets, the Battle of Ba'al and Yam. I am eagerly awaiting the next volume. This is a high point in Ancient Near Eastern scholarship. Expensive, but *ESSENTIAL* *ESSENTIAL* *ESSENTIAL*
- Walls, Neal H. The Goddess Anat in Ugaritic Myth. Society of Biblical Literature, Dissertation Series 135. Scholars Press, Atlanta GA: 1992.
Hot damn! This book is cool! Another one of those scholarly books that gives a good rundown of all the previous scholarly books on the subject. Recommended.
- Weiss, Harvey, ed. Ebla to Damascus: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Syria. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, 1985.
A beautiful book full of photos and drawings of art from 8000 B.C. through A.D. 1600. Of particular interest are the first seven chapters covering the prehistoric period through the Hellenistic and Roman periods, ending around A.D. 400.
- Wiggins, Steve A. A Reassessment of 'Asherah': A Study According to the Textual Sources of the First Two Millenia B.C.E. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Band 235. Neukirchen - Vluyn: Verlag Butzon & Berker Kevelaer, Neukirchener Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1993 (in English).
Wiggins looks at the evidence and decides that it's inconclusive. But he occasionally concedes it is possible, with enough qualifying adverbs and adjectives, just maybe the Israelites could have worshiped 'Asherah, sort of. Good overview of all the scholarly literature and worth looking at for this reason alone. Bear in mind that scholars often feel constrained to not say what they really believe because of academic politics. Wiggins is damn rational, but underneath it all, he still admits that the evidence that they worshiped a goddess named 'Asherah is highly suggestive. Worthwhile reading.
- van Zijl, Peter J. Baal: A Study of Texts in Connexion with Baal in the Ugaritic Epics. Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Band 10. Neukirchen - Vluyn: Verlag Butzon & Berker Kevelaer, Neukirchener Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1972 (in English).
Magic of the Classical and Hellenic Periods and Later
- Betz, Hans Dieter. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, including the Demotic spells, second edition, Vol. One: Texts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986, 1992.
This is one great book. The spells are truly Hellenistic/Levantine, mixing Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hebrew, and Greek magic and words of power. The niftiest ones have magical drawings and graphical arrangements of words. Look for this second edition, which has been amended and expanded. Now available paperbound. Highly recommended. *ESSENTIAL* *ESSENTIAL* *ESSENTIAL* And now you can see some of the real papyri in an exhibit at the University of Michigan
- Faraone, Christopher A. and Obbink, Dirk, eds. Magika Hiera, Ancient Greek Magic & Religion. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Luck, Georg. Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.
Two excellent books on Classical magic. The first deals only with Greece and analyzes amulets and ostraca (texts written on potsherds) and various magical practices. The second book covers both Greece and Rome with many quotes from literature, such as Homer, Ovid, et al, about magical practices. Those ancient guys weren't as rational as our teachers tried to tell us. Similar techniques were used in the Levant. *ESSENTIAL* *ESSENTIAL* *ESSENTIAL*
- Montgomery, James. Aramaic Incantation Texts from Nippur. Philadelphia, 1913.
One of the seminal works. And you can see some of these bowls in an exhibit at the University of Michigan
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