Iconography and Biblical Studies


The research unit provides space for scholarly discourse linking the Hebrew Bible and New Testament scholarship for the study of ancient Near Eastern visual culture. While most of EABS's research units concern texts and literature, this research unit provides a much-needed space for the study of visual culture as part of the archaeology of the ancient Near East. The research unit encourages engagement beyond the biblical canon with visual culture from the ancient Levant, the Mediterranean, Egypt, and Mesopotamia and its reception. 


Archaeology provides essential data for understanding biblical literature in its historical contexts. An important branch of archaeology is iconography, the study of pictorial expressions. Visual expressions depict various subjects: the natural and cultivated world, daily life, rituals, and ideas. Studying visual material—contemporary and non-contemporary—to biblical literature (the Hebrew Bible and New Testament) affords insights into the historical contexts of the text. It facilitates an awareness of how the people contemporaneous with the text thought, imagined, and observed reality. The research unit “Iconography and Biblical Studies” is interdisciplinary. 


The research unit welcomes diverse approaches and methodologies, including iconographic, art historical, comparative, historical, and cognitive approaches, reception history, gender studies, political and hermeneutical methodologies. These approaches are applied to visual culture relevant for studying biblical literature, its contexts, and contemporary interpretation.


Iconography, Exegesis (Hebrew Bible and New Testament), Archaeology (including sphragistics, coroplastics, and numismatics), Hermeneutics, Reception History


Bruno Bierman
University of Zurich and University of Bern 

Izaak J. de Hulster
University of Helsinki and Georg-August-University in Göttingen 

Florian Lippke
University of Fribourg

Member Area

Syracuse 2023 Call for Papers

For our Syracuse conference, we welcome your proposals on iconography with an open call.