Perceptions and Receptions of Persia (PERSIAS)


This research group seeks to explore perceptions and receptions of Persia in Judean writings from Yehud/Judaea, Samaria, Babylon, and Egypt in Antiquity. Our research aims at scrutinizing why Persia is such a fertile symbol or cipher with which to construct meaning among Judean minorities under Empire, that is, in Persian, Hellenistic and Roman times. We will especially emphasize that these perceptions and receptions were produced among subaltern groups across a variety of socio-cultural systems within a vast geographical area including the ancient Levant, Mesopotamia and Egypt. PERSIAS aims at stimulating multidisciplinary discussions on theoretical and methodological perspectives related to appropriations of conceptualizations, memories, and multifaceted imaginations of Persia, with particular emphasis on local patterns of perception and reception, transmission and translation within approaches grounded on cross-cultural studies. The research group aims at advancing a critical reflection on cultural encounters and dynamics in the Ancient world.


Achaemenid Empire, Historiography, Reception, Postcolonial Studies, Ancient Near East, Yehud, Hebrew Bible


Kristin Joachimsen

MF-Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society

Kristin De Troyer
University of Salzburg

Ehud Ben Zvi

University of Alberta

Member Area

Syracuse 2023 Call for Papers

Ancient Jewish Memories of Achaemenid Persia
Ancient Jewish literature from the Hellenistic and Sasanian periods contains numerous images of prominent figures from the Achaemenid Empire. These include, inter alia, both Jewish heroes, such as Nehemiah, Ezra and Esther and Persian authorities such as the Achaemenid monarchs and government officials. To the extent that these texts are fictitious, foreign, or late depictions of such figures, they can perhaps best be interpreted as imaginative memories of the Achaemenid world. We welcome papers dealing with any of these figures in their broader contexts, especially those that emphasize comparative frameworks between these depictions over time and the groups who produced them.


The sessions will be combined with invited papers and an open call for papers. We plan to publish the contributions in an anthology/ special issue of a journal.