Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East
Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Ancient Near East (IDD) is designed as a companion to the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (DDD), edited by Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter van der Horst (Leiden: Brill, 2nd edition 1999). Its focus will be on visual sources, which are essential for interpreting the religious symbol systems of antiquity.
IDD will not restrict itself to DDD’s selection of lemmata. As a matter of fact, numerous DDD lemmata do not have visual correlatives; on the other hand, visual sources attest ‘icon types’, which cannot always be identified or labeled with a divine name. Moreover, while DDD demonstrates how many of the Near Eastern deities and demons have found their place into the Bible in some way or another, there are others, including major deities, who are not mentioned in the Bible and thus remain absent from DDD.
Our project aims at restoring the balance by establishing a selection of lemmata on an historical and archaeological basis: IDD should refer to all major deities and demons of the areas covered, regardless of whether they are attested in the Bible or not. On the other hand, in order to control the material boundaries of IDD, we take the ‘biblical world’ to cover the Eastern Mediterranean and Near Eastern area to the extent that were part of the biblical writers’ geographical horizon. Wherever possible, reference will be made to visual evidence attested on objects recovered from known archaeological contexts in Palestine/Israel.