TERREN WELN: Hello, everybody. Welcome to today’s
Wednesday Lunch here at the Divinity School. I’m Terren Weln, the
Director of Communication. I organized this series. So it’s my pleasure to see you
today on this cold Wednesday. Before we get started, I just
want to do our housekeeping. I want to thank our crew
for today, and our chefs, [INAUDIBLE] and [? Brett. ?] [APPLAUSE] So delicious, thank you. We’re going to have
dessert in a few minutes. So just a reminder, they
did cook this from scratch here in our kitchen. And we ask you to clean
up after yourselves. So we have garbage, we
have– are we composting? AUDIENCE: No. TERREN WELN: No
composting today. Everything is garbage
unless you eat it. So [INAUDIBLE] Put
your silverware into our yellow soaking
[INAUDIBLE] back there. And if you can bring your cups
and stuff to the back table, that just help us out. Also, if you can turn off your
ringers before we get started, that’s helpful. Thank you. I want to remind you, sign
up now for next week’s lunch. Next week we have two
[INAUDIBLE] actually. So it’s going to be
a little [INAUDIBLE].. We’re going to hear
from both the Senior Fellows in the
Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding
of Religion, which is on our second floor,
if you haven’t been there. They’re going to be
talking about the research projects that brought
them here for the year. So they work on quite
different things. I’m not going to get into it. Check the website and sign
up in advance for whatever. It’s going to be
delicious next week. But today, I’m really
delighted that we’re hearing one of our
own professors, Simeon Chavel, who’s Associate
Professor of Hebrew Bible. He studies the literature
of the Hebrew Bible, the religion of ancient
Israel and Judea, and their relationship. His approach to combines
theory of literature, religious studies, with ancient
historical and social context, and early Jewish [INAUDIBLE]. But we’re not going to
hear about that today. We’re going to hear
about the art of finger pointing between the Syrian
queens and their gods. So please join me in
welcoming Dr. Chavel. [APPLAUSE] SIMEON CHAVEL:
Thank you very much. I am stepping a little
bit out of my usual. I came to this, like so
many research projects go, while I was working on
something somewhat aligned, came across artistic
material, specific motif. And it drew my
attention, because it’s a motif that scholars have had
trouble deciding what it means, how it works, what
it means, what it is. And it got my– that kind of puzzle and
challenge piques my interest. So I’m going to
jump right into it. This is our region
of interest, which is Southwest Asia and the
Eastern Mediterranean. You can see Far East Persia,
or what is today Iran. Mesopotamia, what is today Iraq. You have Syria, over Eram,
where it says Levant, you’ve got a slice of
Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories,
Egypt, and today’s Turkey. In several different sites,
in the third Millennium, second Millennium,
are found a series of objects that express an
interesting motif and a value, the idea of looking at the
gods, being in their presence, and looking at them. They have these statues
that are found in temples. They’re placed there. More often than not,
they’re not found placed in particular
spots anymore, but either heaped in
corners or under the floors. You can see they’re
drawn, they’re painted, with these
big dilated eyes, because the gods are beautiful. And oftentimes, the statues
have them craning their necks, because the gods are big. Quantity and quality
are themes that are intertwined in the
expressive artwork and language of religious thought. The poses of adoration,
submission, fascination, from the different cities. And there are
different techniques for demonstrating
what the eyes are doing, whether it’s
in on the top left, humongous, blue, all blue. Or on the bottom,
the stark outlines of the black highlighting the
pupils, staring, submissive poses. A loving couple, it has
an inscription dedicated to the goddess of love. So this is one set of objects. There’s actually an earlier
set that is rather, again, in the region, little
bit north of there. The archaeologist,
his name was Mallowan. His wife was even more
famous, Agatha Christie. That was his wife, yes. And this is what he discovered,
discovered at this site. These are sort of
schematic abstractions of the idea of the eyes. The eyes have it. The eyes are the
crucial component. These things are very
thin, very small, and they’re found in
hundreds, and even thousands, beneath the floor. So they’re obviously
not positioned somewhere before a statue. They’re just there in bunches. People evidently would
come and give them as a token of their expression
of desire to look at the gods. If only they could be there
themselves all the time, they would, but they can’t. They’ve got to go farm
and sustain themselves. So at least with
the earlier ones, where there might be
inscriptions, the later ones, the ones we saw
beforehand, which are centuries and even
1,000 years later, there are inscriptions with
people’s names on them. And so the statue that
it would be before would represent the
deity who is supposed to remember that person’s name,
and then think well of them, and send them good blessing,
good love, lots of crops, health, lots of
children, And so on. Now we’re going to look
at the other sites, and images where people
don’t represent themselves, but artisans create
representations of deities. So we move a little
bit west to a site called Ain Dara, near
modern-day Aleppo, where there’s a temple
seemingly to Ishtar. And outside this temple,
facing the temple, are a bunch of footprints,
humongous footprints. So you can see,
first, she stands, assuming it is the
goddess Ishtar. She stands. Then her left foot goes
forward, kind of close. And then her right
foot goes really far. In other words,
we’re watching her go from zero to 60 and the
rate of acceleration changes. It’s not just that
she’s accelerating, the rate of
acceleration changes, like a person starting off from
zero, a first step, and then that second step,
you’re going to propel. So it suggests a
number of things. Number one, she’s taking stock. And then, she must
love what she sees. She must be thrilled. And so she runs into it. Now if you’re a pilgrim
and you show up there, and you look at
these footprints, and you think to
yourself, OK, number one, the deity inside here
that I’m coming to visit, her emotion is love. It’s a scary thing to show
up in front of the most powerful anything in the land. You just never know. Number one, she’s in a good
state of mind, love, gratitude. She’s probably more
inclined to give blessing. Number two, as you stand
there looking at them, and sort of playing
it in your mind, it seems like you
just missed her. You just missed her,
there are the footprints. She was just there. And that kind of
temporal proximity, that’s meaningful too. Sometimes, oh, you were at
that party, I was just– I just miss you, or
other things like that. Traces, remnants, are
things that can be evocative and can inspire
emotional response. And, of course, it also suggests
she really is there right now, she’s there right now. Now, really interesting is
that this statue is so big, it’s so big, that apparently, it
wouldn’t fit inside the temple. In other words, there
was no procession of the statue in which person
first it was carried over, the two feet together, and
then one leg was moved, and then the other
leg was moved. It’s an experience
all on its own. No actual statue. It’s just the experience. Someone crafted
this so that when you come you feel that
the goddess is there, the goddess is in a good
mood, and you just missed her. So you have that kind
of closeness to it. But it has nothing to do
with the actual statue that may have been there. OK, let’s look now at– flash forward a
couple of centuries, and going further
south, in Judea. We have representations of,
again, Judeans and their god. Different kinds of objects now. First, we’ve got a coin. This is an utterly unique coin. It’s found– it’s in
the British Museum. You can see on the
right side, there’s a three quarter profile of
bearded man with a helmet. That was a motif
of the Persian– in the Persian period, in the
[INAUDIBLE] where Judea is. And on the other side, on the
left side is a divine figure– it looks like a male figure– seated on a wheel with
wings, holding a bird. And in the lower corner,
there’s a bearded face looking at it, but at the
lower half, at the legs. Across the top, you can see
the ancient letters that say, [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] the
consonant [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, which is
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Judea. What is this exactly? Well, number one, it
takes the motif from Zeus. This is a– it starts, in
fact, with Alexander the Great. And you can see it says
Alexandre, along the side. But the character
is Zeus seated, holding an Eagle or a Falcon. So it takes that motif. But [? Judea, ?] as I said,
takes some additional motifs. For instance, number one,
in the book of Ezekiel, the character Ezekiel
describes having seen the deity on his chariot. The chariot has
a wheel under it. It has four in Ezekiel, but
wheeled, and it has wings. So it’s a wheeled, winged
seat, a kind of mobile throne, a mobile throne. Number two, the lower, the
face on the lower right corner, the bearded face, it represents
something like a Judean, a Jew, an Israelite. Then there’s a play on the word,
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, Israel. [INAUDIBLE] has such a
derivation, a play on the name. What does it mean? It means the one who looks
at [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH],, the one who looks at God. So you get a play. Secondly, related to that,
there’s even a closer play. There’s a story about
Jacob, who wrestles with this nighttime attacker,
and says about it afterwards, I saw God face to face,
and I came out alive. I was saved. And so he names the place
Face of God, [INAUDIBLE],, Face of God. So you have some wordplay
embedded in this coin. It’s a coin, an object. You’re supposed to
pay for things or not. It’s just an object
you’re supposed to use. It’s highly symbolic. But the images, in order
for them to be meaningful, call to mind verbal content
and verbal gymnastics. You’ve got to do a little
bit of interpretation, not just of the image,
but of what the words are behind the image and how the
words– what the words express with respect to the image. An Israelite who looks at God. So a way of expressing
relationships between people are what they get to
see, religious vision. There are the elements of that. A few centuries later, this
is now the Roman period, after the destruction
of the Judean polity, an attempt to restore
it under [INAUDIBLE],, there’s another coin. The coin has what looks
like the facade of a temple. And in the doorway, is
some kind of a piece of furniture, it’s an object. On the other side of the coin
is a branch, and a bundled up of some things, which represent
a pilgrimage festival, the Feast of Tabernacles. People would come with
branches and engage in various activities with them. So pilgrimage to the
temple, where one gets to see a piece of furniture. What is that supposed to mean? Well, number one, in the Roman
world, around the Roman world, are many coins that have this
notion, this image, this motif, of the front of the temple, in
which the deity inside presents herself to the pilgrims. The deity is so pleased
that the pilgrims came to show some kind of homage,
some kind of acknowledgment, leave a gift, offer
a prayer, petition for whatever they need,
that she steps outside and she shows herself. And this kind of
exposure, this kind of allowing people to look,
is a mark of love, intimacy, blessings, benevolence. This is a wonderful
experience, captured on a coin. It’s not that you
look on the coin, and you feel like, oh, I
got the deity in my pocket. That’s not it. The relationship between
using this quotidian object and this utterly special and
unique event represented on it needs some kind of
interpretation and discussion, for another time. For our purposes,
this helps give us the backdrop for what is that
other coin, [INAUDIBLE] coin. Well, notice that that
piece of furniture stands exactly in the place
where the goddess would stand. So you would think,
OK, so if it’s supposed to represent
the Jewish god, wouldn’t you want the Ark
of the Covenant, maybe? Wouldn’t you want
the candelabra, that’s on Titus Arch, or
whatever, the menorah. Maybe you want that. Those are classic. What is this? This is a table with
loaves of bread on it. Why in the world would
you have the bread table represent the deity. I come to see the deity. I come to the temple
to show, acknowledge, and I get to see
the bread table. Like the coin, the table of
bread has a particular name. It’s the table of the
bread of the face. That’s the name of it in
Hebrew, same word as face, in face of God, same word. So there’s a pun here
that requires thinking of the words that
express that object, that designate that object. The object’s not
actually important. But because it calls to
mind the expression face, namely face of God– oh, now the image makes sense. I’m there and I get
to see face of God. So by this very late
point, there’s reticence, there’s hesitation about a
direct depiction of the deity, so there’s a piece
of furniture instead. But its furniture,
the name of which, are the reference to
which, has face in it. So it’s this really
nice switcheroo. But it requires, it
presupposes that you have verbal processes going on. You’ve got verbal knowledge, and
that knowledge is your evoked, you understand what
the relationship is. So indirect and a kind
of audience participation in expressing what’s
the meaning here. Now we get to the
motif that’s the heart of today’s exploration. All around the
Assyrian Empire, one finds a very interesting motif. It’s a little strange. An important figure,
most often it seems to be the King coming
into the space of the deity and pointing at the deity. Now, it’s not pointing, like
the accusatory pointing. There’s an expression
in the literature, in the Assyrian
literature for that. And that’s pointing the finger. I point my finger at you. It’s accusatory,
it’s derogatory, it’s got negative tones. This never has that. This is always in
a positive scene and it’s an unnatural pose. Instead of this, it’s this. I shouldn’t be
pointing, but I have to point, I can’t do it any
other way, I’m pointing. Why? Why would an artisan
use that in order to express something
about coming into the space of the deity? The last thing you
would do is point. You should prostrate
yourself, something. You should do
something in service. Pointing is just an articulation
of your own cognition. The index finger, I
index, I indicate, I mark. I’m just acknowledging my own
understanding of something. What a thing to put
into such a scene. Let’s see some of these. We start off in
the 13th century, it’s called middle Assyrian
period, temple of Ishtar. There’s a stone. This is a stone pedestal
of Tukulti-Ninurta, a King. And in this pedestal is
an image of a pedestal. This recursion of mini and
macro, this recursive feature, shows up in not
just the Assyrian art of this period
and later periods, but it shows up in a
whole variety of ways across the entire region. Things mimic
themselves in miniature and in macro, motifs
double up like that. It’s a very
interesting phenomenon. And it, I think, relates to
the religious imagination, literary imagination, the
imagination as a faculty that we have. And it’s expressed there. This, if you’ll notice,
really carefully, it’s exactly the same figure. And so we must understand that
these are two different poses within the same frame. We’re seeing two scenes at once. But instead of putting
them next to each other to indicate sequence,
they’re superimposed. So it’s kind of economical. So here, you have the one frame. First, he stands
and he’s pointing. And then he gets on his
knees and he’s pointing. He’s in the same– wow, this is what I’m seeing. He’s moving. He’s moving into position in
recognition of what is there. What is there? A tablet and a stylus,
a tablet on the stylus. That’s an interesting
way to represent a deity. Surely, there wasn’t on the
pedestal a tablet and a stylus that he came into view of,
and then got on his knees. It’s a representation
for someone else. He would have seen either
nothing or a statue. But the artisan of
this piece decided not to represent that,
represented something else. This should represent
the god Nabu. That would only be
meaningful to someone looking at the piece,
the audience, the viewer. So the viewer knows, oh,
he’s worshipping Nabu. He sees Nabu. That’s what’s going on here. Now, the text on the bottom
actually says something else. The relationship
between text and images has its own problematics. But that’s OK. So that’s scene one. We’ve got the recursive element. We have the surprising
representation of the deity for
us, not for him. He sees probably nothing. He’s got the mace, the
beard, the long back hair, and the pose, either holding and
pointing, holding and pointing. We’ll see these again. So these are elements that
recur, not all of them exactly. And there are other
variations we’re going to see. OK, here’s another one. Roughly a century later, next
century, Tiglath-Pileser, a little bit more
than a century. OK, stands with– I don’t think this is
typically a royal hat. This is more a priest’s hat. Robes slightly different, the
position is slightly different. The hand is out. It’s hard to tell. This is a seal impression. So you have a cylinder
role that’s very small and it’s got etched
into it a scene. And then you roll it out on
something, clay, or something else. So you don’t have
the same precision. Even though, if you think about
it, that’s incredibly detailed. And there are even more
detailed scenes than this. It’s hard to tell if that’s his
thumb that he’s pointing with or that’s a finger. It’s a little hard to tell. And I need to get a
better photograph of this, or go myself and
make a photograph. I got to raise money for that. Not from you, this is not
a fundraising exercise. Notice that he’s
disproportionate to the temple before which he stands. This is the doorway, evidently. And this is his size. So that didn’t disturb
the artisan too much. Inside, if it’s
something he can see, doesn’t quite look like it’s
something he’s looking directly at, is some kind of
base, on top of it a dog that represents the
goddess Gula, and then a star on top. Potentially, Ishtar, potentially
another god or goddess, or not. So this is another
variation on the theme. And you see the mismatch. He’s not quite looking,
but he’s pointing. Not quite looking, but pointing. The previous fellow,
Tukulti-Ninurta, was pointing at
something, but not what we see him pointing at. We see him pointing at a tablet. He probably didn’t see a tablet. So there’s a mismatch between
the representation of pointing and the representation of
what they’re pointing at. The images seems to speak
to two audiences at once. There’s the world
of the character, and then there’s our world
looking at the character, and it’s moving between those. This is hard for
you to see, I guess. Ashur-nasir-pal, 9th century,
earliest 9th century. There’s an image of
him on two sides. It’s him twice. First, one three quarter side,
and then on a one quarter side, let’s say. Pointing at a tree, an
important tree, symbol of life. It’s hard to see
what he’s doing, but he’s pointing
on both sides of it. And here is the symbol
of what should be Ashur, might be Shamash, winged disk,
with a little figure inside. So here, it kind of
looks like he really is pointing at the image
that he sees, the symbol. But this motif of two
symmetrical images of the same character
pointing shows up again. And it’s not always that direct. So the next character,
Shalmaneser, III, who comes right after
Ashur-nasir-pal, another image, glazed brick, painted. There are two of him
over here, again. And he’s not pointing
at himself, right– I see myself. He’s not looking in the mirror. That’s not what this is. And the divine image
is raised a little bit. And he’s not quite
pointing at it either. So the sum total
would be one who can point– one who
can point at divinity, one who does point at divinity. We know divinity is there. We know that he’s
indicating he knows. But we can’t see that
he’s pointing at what we see the way we see it. Does that makes sense? We see the divine emblem. He says he sees
the divine emblem. Well, we don’t see him
seeing the divine emblem, because it’s too high and
he’s looking somewhere else. And we’re going
to see this again. This is Adad-Nirari a
beautiful marble monument that was found in the temple. Now, it’s very interesting. First of all, it’s got signs
of the gods around his head. And he points this way. He doesn’t point up at them. He points off
screen, off screen. So he’s looking at something. And he’s pointing
at it and asserting. There’s the mace, there’s the
hair, the beard, the dress, a lot of the same postures. Now centuries, centuries later,
and we have the same image. These represent a
variety of deities. This could be Shamash
or Ishtar, [INAUDIBLE].. This would be Nabu again,
Marduk, Adad, [INAUDIBLE],, and I think Anu, [INAUDIBLE],,
or just one of them. And this is either the
[? Saban ?] or Ishtar. So they’re kind of across the
top and a little behind him. And he’s pointing. But not quite
pointing at that them. Now that would be a
nice verbal residence, like we saw in some
of the Judea material, where the verbal is enough. You can enclose the
verbal into the visual. Here, it’s behind him. They’re just sort of around him. Now in this particular
case, this monument was found inside a temple. There was a podium
right next to it. And it’s at the right
height for a statue to have been standing there. No statue was found there. So in this particular
case, it could be that he was situated to
point at the statue, which would be pretty neat. But there are a dozen more
like this, different figures, different Assyrian kings. And they’re not all
found set up in that kind of a neat and tidy way. This is a glazed brick
that was found in a house, not quite a King’s palace,
but someone important. You never know if it’s
been reused, taken from somewhere else, and put. But it’s large. And the coloring has been
cleaned up a little bit. It’s quite messy. You have a character, again,
looks like the same royal character, but the
dress isn’t quite there. All the refinements
aren’t quite there. So can’t be 100% sure this
would Ashur, staff, and ring, signs of authority
of the King, being given to him, shown to him. A strange grasshopper
or locust, has yet to be explained
in the literature. And again, divine symbols. He’s looking, he’s pointing. We see him pointing
at the wrong place. He’s pointing at
his belly button. Does he have an
innie or an outie? What’s he doing? He’s not looking up. He’s not kneeling and
looking at his feet, which would be a
submissive pose. That would be an
appropriate pose, etiquette. But he’s not doing that. He’s asserting something. I know, I see. Because he’s indicated it,
the finger of indication. I know. And yet, we can see that his
eyes aren’t at the right place. So we can see what he sees,
but he can’t see what he sees, but he knows that
something’s there. So the image is working,
again, at two different levels at the same time. Whoa, that wasn’t
supposed to go so fast. We’ll go backwards. OK, so, we’re just
moving forward in time. You see how this motif can be
deployed in a whole variety of settings with variations. This was not in Sargon,
the King’s own palace, but seems to have been in
a house of a high official near the palace at its capital. This would be Sargon. This would be Ashur,
the god Ashur, holding a staff and a ring. And inside is himself,
standing in the same pose, a recursive feature. That would be the image of
him standing in the same pose. Hello, no weapon here. Something that represents what
I’m giving you, authority. And that’s how he stands. And he’s in the same pose there. And he stands and
he points at him. Now, in this case, it’s a match. It looks logical
within its own terms. But against the background of
the variety that we’ve seen, it’s hard to know
what to make of that. It could mean he really sees
exactly that character in front of him, or there’s
less of a concern to create a multi-dimensional
experience out of it. One asserts what he knows, and
even though he can’t see it, we can see it, so
we know he’s right. Those are some of
the possibilities. And we get more variations. Now this was found
as quite a mess. This was painted on plaster. The plaster and come off a wall. It was all over the floor. There are fragments all over the
world now in different museums. And the artist, archaeologist,
this fellow, Charles Altman, from the Oriental
Institute, spent time flicking off with a knife,
trying to get out the images. It wasn’t all painted
like this, but there were enough paint that to
figure out what the whole must have looked like. So this is a very
optimistic reconstruction. But I don’t know if
this really exists anywhere without the
colors as an image of it. And I have to look
upstairs, a humongous book a gorgeous publication. And what a found is that there
was sort of enough intact that reconstruct was
sort of part of this. And they filled in
the rest logically, based on this and
other parts they found. Is it going to keep flipping? Yeah, I’ll have to go backwards. Sorry about that. Next one, uh-oh, it’s
going to flip again, sorry. [INAUDIBLE] run amok. OK, so now, this is an
interesting adaptation. Because we’ve seen– well,
we saw one seal impression early on. And we’ve seen a
lot of monuments. This now is the seal impression
in a treaty, a contract. This is a document,
a tablet now, not stone it’s a tablet,
in which an image is rolled to say, you’re
going to abide by this. Here’s my signature, My John
Hancock, your John Hancock. And these signatures
are these images, along with some wording around
it, but it’s these images. And these are treaties by
the King Esarhaddon, who wanted to make sure that various
polities around the empire would commit to his son. He was setting up his
son, Ashurbanipal, to take over for
him, and he wanted to make sure no revolutions. This is not an
opportunity for one of those changing of
the guard revolutions. Don’t withhold your tribute,
not for one year, not for three years, until we come get you. I’m making you swear
to that right now. And there are images here of– let’s see, this
one was connected with [INAUDIBLE] in [INAUDIBLE],,
the father of [INAUDIBLE].. He’s there to sort of authorize
what [INAUDIBLE] wants. He stands behind it,
[INAUDIBLE] And you see him– it’s a little bit more– it’s not clear that
it’s a pointing gesture. It could be. It’s hard to tell from the
sketch and then the drawing afterwards. But in front of Ashur, with the
staff, and the ring, behind him a goddess, or a
consort, and this is the representation
for the King, who’s being sworn to fidelity,
just after Ashurbanipal. Now the image is the image
that we saw originally of Tukulti-Ninurta– yeah, Tukulti-Ninurta, it
looks very close to that. And he stands before– well, I’ve seen
in the literature, both have been sort of
described as looking Ashur. He stands with the
trappings and materials and positioning of Ashur. But in standing in this
[INAUDIBLE] position, he might be the god, Ashur. Behind him is Hadad
with lightning. But he stands in the
submissive pose, pointing up. Now, why do we have
such an old image on such a new moment so
many centuries later? Well, the image itself
might have been in use. The ceiling
impression might have been in use for a long time. But someone painted over it
and [INAUDIBLE] with their own. So the seal itself, the
cylinder might be old, but the impression might new
and used in a much later period. So can end up with this sort
of discordant or diachronic dimension to how the
images were used. So now we’re in contracts. Very expressive use. And now we go a little bit
outside of Assyrian use proper, and rather influence of Assyrian
empire on satellite polities. So this is Kilamuwa, who has
on the entrance to his palace an inscription, that
basically describes everything fantastic that he’s done. He was a super-duper
King, very successful. And he was better than
anybody who came before him. And he was the first one
to do all kinds of things, bring peace, harmony,
security, and what not. And don’t mess with
my inscription. And the representation of him
is very close to the Assyrian representations. One interesting difference is– so this is a difference. He’s holding a wilting
Lotus, which suggests that he’s dead or dying. And he’s pointing at the
symbols across the top. Which may just be a
variation on the theme, or it may be a
misunderstanding of the motif. He’s pointing what looks
like at the symbols as if, I know these. I know these. I can see them. I know where they. And it’s a representation
of the deities, a verbal representation or
iconic representation of them, without direct anthropomorphic
figures, symbols of them. And even in a cylinder seal,
found in southern Israel, Be’er Sheva, Judea at the
time, with cuneiform on it. And so it’s rolled out. And you see both
sides of the rollout, where it gets impressed. You see the depression
side and the other side, where it pops out. And so they’re also the
reverse of each other. And it looks like
there’s a pointing motif. The staff, the ring, on
the pedestal, the robes, with a hand in the position. It looks like the pointing. So this now is used– the name of the person
who dedicates it is [INAUDIBLE]
beloved of the gods. And he names– wait,
I have it here. I don’t have it here. He names– he makes
reference to Hadad. It’s a composite
name with Hadad. And [INAUDIBLE] Hadad. And so this argument
is this would have been not a Judean
cylinder seal, but rather a Aramean or Transjordanian one,
by someone who worships Hadad. And then it’s left
there as a gift, or dropped on a visit,
or something like that. Shows up in Be’er
Sheva by accident, or in an indirect usage. And that would be from sometime
in the middle of the Iron Age. The archaeological description
of the [? strata ?] is not very clear by
Aharoni, and it could just– just found it inside the temple
and he didn’t really date it. So a little unclear on that. So [INAUDIBLE] images
and that’s what I’m kind of working with,
I’m working on, the notion that artisans would do
with art that authors would do with literature. And that is, deploy
various kinds of elements that are not for
the characters in the discourse, in the role being
portrayed or conjured in that discursive continuum. It’s for the people encountering
it, reading it or seeing it, who are then given
externally knowledge. Even though it’s in the
continuum of the characters who are being represented, there
is material put in there that can only be understood,
recognized, by audience, by those that are
reading the characters, looking at the characters,
and engaging with them. So the tentative argument
is that in these cases, are in its earliest
instances, the artisan wants to indicate that the
King doesn’t see anything. But the King expresses
certain knowledge. And that’s why the King
is an indicating pose. It’s a respectful one, not
because it exists anywhere in literature where someone’s
described ever pointing this way, which they aren’t. But just by contrast
with this pose. Instead of the accusatory,
there’s the respectful. But it’s still the
indication of knowledge. It’s still the
idea, I am pointing at something, which
means I know there’s something to be pointed at. So it is a pure,
cognitive motion. It’s got no practical
effect at all. It’s just to say
I know something. And what the artisan
has done has then put in a representation
or some signal to the viewing
audience two things. Number one, the King doesn’t
quite see it, but, number two, the King is right. We see it. And that’s the indication
that the King is right. There really is something there. There really that deity. It really is whatever. And it fits within the world
of these indirect modes of religious expression
and conjuring that we saw with the
footprints, and the coins, and everything else. So thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] If there’s time for questions,
I can take questions. So anybody and everybody who
has to go, please feel free. Yes, [? Shandra. ?] AUDIENCE: I can’t
remember all the images, but with the finger pointing
[INAUDIBLE] and then the palm open– SIMEON CHAVEL: Yes. AUDIENCE: So, could it
signify that the King may not necessarily see the deity, but
his hand is open to receive the [INAUDIBLE], the ring. So in that sense, the
audience would say, well, the King if being given the
authority, by the deity, through the [INAUDIBLE]. In some of the images you
see the deity, I believe, holding the [INAUDIBLE],,
the ring, the [INAUDIBLE],, towards the king. SIMEON CHAVEL: Right. AUDIENCE: And with
that open palm gesture, I’m wondering if in
some of those images, that’s actually a case
of giving authority. So the viewer then could
say, this authority is being given to the
King by the deity, hence thinking he
has that knowledge and authority over me. SIMEON CHAVEL: I think
that’s a great suggestion. I have to look. I have several dozen of these. And I’m trying to
collect as many as I can. Right now, my
impression is that we don’t have that many instances
in which the staff and the ring are together with open palm. Most of the time I
think they’re not. But that’s not– that’s
not a contradiction. It’s a complication. So I’m going to
keep that in mind. My instinct is that most of the
hand gestures are contrasted. They are– and the point
is they are not threatened. The idea is that they’re
not reaching for this or doing something else
inappropriate with the hand. So they are sort of
non-threatening gestures. If this is a giving or a taking,
that would be very interesting. So I like that suggestion. It’s a helpful
suggestion for me. Thank you. Steve– AUDIENCE: I have a
[INAUDIBLE] from this period, from the time of the– since [INAUDIBLE] And on
it, it talks in cuneiform of building the temple. He says, I built this
temple for this god, and quotes his
grandfather as well. And I was just wondering,
if pushing forth that hand, or pointing, is he
potentially talking about the temple I built. SIMEON CHAVEL: I’d have to
look at every single one of these cases. Clearly, that would be
of a comparable direction to go of the hand
being part of– AUDIENCE: What I did. SIMEON CHAVEL: What
else is in the scene, or if not in this
specific scene, coming from a stereotypical scene, and
sort of gesturing in that way, look at what I did. But most of them don’t
really fit that scenario, it seems a little bit further. But I’m going follow and look. Yes– AUDIENCE: Can you go back to
that coin from [INAUDIBLE] SIMEON CHAVEL: Yeah. AUDIENCE: I would
have expected, given that he was under Persian
rule at this time, that you have some sort
of Persian propaganda on this coin. Was the local population
responsible for creating their own coin designs, so
they could put [INAUDIBLE] propaganda on them? SIMEON CHAVEL: Evidently. AUDIENCE: Are there
other examples of this? SIMEON CHAVEL: Let’s see,
I’m not a coin expert, but it is something that
I was curious about. And so it’s something
I’m going to follow up. But, yes, you see there’s
Samaritan coins minted, and they’ve got local elements
that are ideological, likewise, about however you want to
put it, religious commitment or identity. I think most of the
time, imperial forces didn’t really care about
your local identity politics. You believe in this guy,
great, that’s fantastic. Is it like mine? Or is it alongside mine? Can we identify them? Or are they just
alongside each other? And, of course, mine
is bigger and better. But there’s no sort of
enforcing or eradicating a local religion, or religious
affiliation, or set of beliefs, to replace them
by imperial ones. So all of that is less
surprising than it would seem. After having read
up a little bit, it turns out to be
not such a surprise. AUDIENCE: Are there other
coins that depict [INAUDIBLE]?? SIMEON CHAVEL: Not
directly like this, no. It’s utterly unique. There is one coin
with just a ear on it. It’s just an ear. So people say, OK, that’s
Yahweh always ready to listen. It’s just so out there. It’s far more out there
than the coin we saw. The coin we saw is deeply
embedded in things we know. Yeah, John– AUDIENCE: One thing, I wanted
to give you guys another example from [INAUDIBLE] area
that’s unrecognized because the gesture’s
complicated, by the fact that he’s holding– it’s a [INAUDIBLE] He’s
holding a vessel, in his hand, but he’s pointing
with his finger. And if you follow the
trace of the finger, it goes directly to
[INAUDIBLE] in the inscription. [INAUDIBLE] So that’s
another example to add to your illustrations. SIMEON CHAVEL: Thank you. AUDIENCE: That’s a very nice
[INAUDIBLE] right there, [INAUDIBLE] on the subject, so
that was one thing [INAUDIBLE].. And sort of following up on
some things that have been said, you were mentioning
very early on, you were talking about
calling attention to yourself. It’s like I’m here,
and I would like to go more strongly that
way with the gesture. You said the index finger
index, indexes something, it indexes yourself. Could it be saying
simply, here I am, I’m going to
go see my authority and whatever we’re going to do. I’m your priest, whatever
else one wishes to say. He’s calling
attention to himself. In the presence of [INAUDIBLE]
from his perspective, what he’s trying to do. I presume that he makes
the gesture, [INAUDIBLE] so that he’s calling
attention to himself, which is a suggestion you actually
made earlier on about some of the other things. And I think more in
connecting, all the way up, through the time of the
different way of representing a similar desire to be
noticed by the community. SIMEON CHAVEL: Yeah, I’m
going to follow that up. Thank you. That’s great. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] Last
question, very quickly, what really intrigued me was,
those are not Persian coins. Those are Greek coins. The iconography is purely Greek
and has absolutely nothing to do with Persian at all. I have Persian [INAUDIBLE]
and [INAUDIBLE] And it’s very odd for
the Persian period to have these Greek [INAUDIBLE] And the other thing that’s even
weirder, one is a silver coin. If they are Hellenistic,
only polities were allowed to
issue silver coins. Places underneath
who were not polities could actually
[INAUDIBLE] copper coins. So the copper coins
could be printed locally. I’m adding more complications
that early coin, which they call fourth
century, but the only reason it’s fourth century
is because it’s so distinct from later coins
in Judea, in [INAUDIBLE].. And because of the
way it mimics Zeus. And the Alexandrian coins, which
are within a very small window, the 10 years that he
minted those coins, the Alexandrian
coins, the drackens, it’s only a short
number of years. So they put it in those years. I think it’s more likely
that it will take time for it to have purchase in
Judea, it could very well be a little bit later. So I said fourth century
following the coin experts, but sort of noticing
how they came to that, I’m a little suspicious. When I say Persian, it’s only
within the Persian period that it’s [INAUDIBLE]
specifically. And the character on the flip
side, with the helmeted soldier is a Persian motif. So from that point,
there are other elements I saw that are related to what’s
on some Sumerian coins that also show a mixed set
of imperial motifs or cultural motifs
that also show under Persian control, but
cultural and expressive influence from Hellenistic. So it’s a pretty
interesting problem. It’s a pretty interesting
problem, the global freedom to express through different
motifs, internal motifs. So I have more to do on
that for sure, absolutely. But, thank you. All right, if there
are no more questions, please feel free to go
on to your next thing. Thanks, everybody. [APPLAUSE]