Anthropology and the Bible


The aim of this unit is to foster ethnographic readings of biblical stories, both Old and New Testaments, and anthropological perspectives on the archaeology, the history and the literature of ancient Palestine in its Near Eastern context. Relevant topics for discussion are:

  • Political and historical anthropology of ancient Palestine (city-states, urbanization, state-formation processes, ethnogenesis).
  • Mediterranean anthropology in biblical narrative (patronage, hospitality, feud, honour and shame, food).
  • Sociology and anthropology of religion and ancient Palestinian cultic and ritual data (aniconism, iconography, burial, cultic places, etc.).
  • Sociology and anthropology of biblical studies (the production of academic knowledge and its impact on society).
  • Comparative analysis of Biblical and Eastern Mediterranean literature from an anthropological perspective.


Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ethnographic method, Old Testament, New Testament, East Mediterranean


Anne Katrine Gudme

University of Oslo

Emanuel Pfoh

National University of La Plata & National Research Council (Argentina)

Member Area

Toulouse 2022 Call for Papers

For the EABS meeting in Toulouse, we plan to have a session on the anthropology of names and naming in Biblical and Eastern Mediterranean literature and culture. The session will be planned in collaboration with members of the ERC-funded and Toulouse-based MAP project and it will have invited speakers. We also plan to have an open session, accepting a variety of proposal from different topics and themes relevant to the research group.


For future meetings of the research group, we plan to have a special session in 2023 discussing the now forthcoming publication of The T & T Clark Handbook of Anthropology and the Hebrew Bible (Bloomsbury), and for 2024 we envision a special session on historical anthropology in biblical studies.