The Religion of the Nabataeans: A Conspectus

Overview

The history of the Nabataean Kingdom of Hellenistic-Roman times, centred on Petra, is now well known, but until the publication of this book, no monograph has been devoted to Nabataean religion, known to us principally from inscriptions in Nabataean Aramaic, iconography, archaeology and Greek literary texts. After a critical survey of the sources, the author analyses systematically the information on the individual gods worshipped by the Nabataeans, including a detailed illustrated account of temples and ...
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Overview

The history of the Nabataean Kingdom of Hellenistic-Roman times, centred on Petra, is now well known, but until the publication of this book, no monograph has been devoted to Nabataean religion, known to us principally from inscriptions in Nabataean Aramaic, iconography, archaeology and Greek literary texts. After a critical survey of the sources, the author analyses systematically the information on the individual gods worshipped by the Nabataeans, including a detailed illustrated account of temples and iconography. A further major section discusses religious themes: aniconism, henotheism, death-cult and the divinisation of kings. In a final chapter, Nabataean religion is considered in relation to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The book will be of particular interest to historians of religion in the Greco-Roman Near East and to Semitic epigraphists.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John F. Healey, Ph.D. (1977), SOAS, University of London, is Professor of Semitic Studies at the University of Manchester. He has published extensively on Ugaritic and Aramaic Studies. His publications include The Nabataean Tomb Inscriptions of Mada'in Salih (Oxford, 1993) and, with H. J. W. Drijvers, The Old Syriac Inscriptions of Edessa and Osrhoene (Leiden, 1999).

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Abbreviations in Text
Note on Transliteration of Names
List of Maps and Plates and their Sources
Ch. 1 Problems of Method and a Survey of Sources 1
Nabataean "Religion" 2
The Study of Dead Religions 3
"Nabataean" Religion 9
The Transformations of Nabataean Religion 13
Syncretism or Assimilation 14
The Sources 17
Ch. 2 Background: Nabataean History and Trade 25
Nabataean History 25
Nabataean Trade 32
The Nabataean Regions 33
Connections with Arabia 34
Ch. 3 Sacred Places 38
Religious Installations at Nabataean Sites 39
Religious Architecture 71
Excursus: Architectural and Related Terms 75
Ch. 4 The Nabataean God and Goddess 80
The Nabataean Conception of the Gods 80
Dushara, the Nabataean God 85
Dushara's Assimilation to Non-Nabataean Deities 97
The Nabataean Goddess: Allat, al-Uzza 107
Ch. 5 Other Deities Worshipped by the Nabataeans 120
Kutba and Al-Kutba 120
Deities of Regional Importance 124
Foreign Goddesses 137
Evidence of Other Deities 141
The Protective Deities 143
Ch. 6 Images and Rituals 155
Objects of Worship 155
Sacred Times and Persons 160
Private Cults 165
Religious Formulae 175
Ch. 7 The World of Nabataean Religion 181
A Desert Tradition? 184
Aniconism 185
Emergent Monotheism 189
Nabataean Religion in the pre-Islamic Context 191
Bibliography 211
Indices 235
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