EXC 2060 Projekt A3-21 West and Central Asia as a Place of Origin and Exchange – Persia and the Hebrew Bible

In Progress
Funding Source
DFG - Cluster of Excellence
Project Number
EXC 2060/1


  • Description

    The importance of West- and Central Asia as a cultural place of origin and exchange in the ancient world can hardly be overstated. Through the reorganization of the Western World from the end of the 19th century, the perception of Iran as a place of (intellectual and cultural) exchange has been greatly displaced and often reduced to a few comparative linguistic aspects of Indo-Aryan. However, those influences – which were often perceived to be comprehensive and cultural historically formative – were all heavily scrutinized and – in part correctly, in part incorrectly – nearly destroyed. Several of these influences have since received a reassessment, including the Parthians, the connection between the Avesta and Buddhism, the influence of Sasanian science on the Talmud and Manichaeism. One such reassessment is currently taking place for the Achaemenid Empire. This reassessment concerns the formation of religious traditions and their influence upon the border zones of the Achaemenid Empire (language contact and linguistic aspects, trade relations, leadership structures in the Satrapies, etc.).

    The Southern Levant, which lies in the periphery of the Empire, and their relevant network of traditions – the Hebrew Bible – are in this respect paradigmatic and require a reevaluation in five comparative fields, which this project addresses: 1) Issues of religious history – the development of biblical monotheism with respect to Zoroastrian influences, 2) The formation of traditions and emergence from a normative textual foundation, such as the conclusion of the Torah and the so-called Persian Imperial Authorization, 3) storage media and Achaemenid Iconography in the Southern Levant, 4) Ritual dynamics and the intensification of purity regulations, and 5) the worldview-shaping influence of the personification of cosmic and spiritual powers.



  • Persons

    Professor of Old Testament Studies
    Department of Catholic Theology
    Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, GA 7/149
    44721 Bochum
    Tel +49 234 32 22 611