Ancient Jewish and Christian Religions in their Broader Religious Landscapes


If we were to imagine the Mediterranean basin in Antiquity, we would willingly agree with Keith Hopkins, and Plato much before him, in describing it as “a world full of gods”. This is true because of the more central role of religion in everyday matters, especially due to the absence of separation between “religious” and “secular”, which seems today, on the contrary, crucial. Moreover, hundreds of gods and thousands of divine names were visible, audible or, in one word, present everywhere. The landscape, arts, calendar, toponymy, and onomastic were also saturated by gods, by means of their effigies, their temples and goods or simply their names. Such a proliferation is equally due to the extreme mobility of specific gods who “travelled” throughout the known world. Many years passed since the time when ancient Judaism and Christianism were considered exceptions in such a context. This Research Unit aims, however, at fostering the understanding the religious aspects (rituals, literature, divine names and iconographies, cult places, etc.) of “biblical religions” – both Old and New Testament – as part of the religious landscape of the Mediterranean and in particular of the Levant.


Old and New Testament Studies, Biblical Theology, Ancient Near East Religion and Iconography, Mediterranean Studies, Semitic and Greco-Roman Epigraphy


Corinne Bonnet

University of Toulouse

Christophe Nihan
University of Lausanne

Fabio Porzia
University of Toulouse

Member Area

Toulouse 2022 Call for Papers

Since this will be the first year of the Research Unit, we would like to organise an exploratory session focussing on the Old Testament in order to offer a state of art in the study of Israelite religion and identifying new trends of research. For this reason, we encourage scholars dealing with the Israelite religion and, in particular, with its Levantine / Near Eastern connections during the first millennium BCE, to present a paper proposal. Papers dealing with, but not exclusively, the following aspects are particularly welcome:

  • new trends in the study of ancient Israelite religion;

  • new methodological approaches to the study of ancient Semitic religions;

  • a reassessment of the opposition between the notions of “monotheism” and “polytheism”, “urban” and “extra-urban” or even “nomadic” religions, etc.;

  • comparative studies between the biblical god and other similar gods (especially in the Phoenician and Aramaic religions and in those of the Transjordan and Arabic peninsula);

  • studies on similar strategies of representing the divine in iconography or onomastic (divine or human) in different religious systems.