Tag Archives: mark-smith

For me, undergraduate teaching all begins and ends with the ancient classics, both "high" and "low": books of the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls; the Baal Cycle and all sorts of other Ugaritic texts; all the Mesopotamian varia—Atrahasis and Gilgamesh, magic spells and various incantations (especially one against the worm-causing toothache with its creation account). The translations that make these texts alive—by Thorkild Jacobsen, Benjamin Foster, Michael Coogan, and many others—are longtime companions.

In-between, I am inspired by:

Catherine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (Oxford University Press, 1997)

Unlike her earlier better known work, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, this book aims to be more holistic and pragmatic. For American culture increasingly devoid of a sense of ritual, a book like this stimulates the senses for understanding what ancient rituals are all about.

Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager, Life in Biblical Israel (Westminster John Knox Press, 2001)

Where archaeology, texts, and iconography come together and make ancient Israel come alive.

George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, with a new afterword (University of Chicago Press, 2003)

A challenge to the usual ways in which many students think about metaphor and about that entire realm of ancient reality understood only through metaphor—divinity.