Iconography and Biblical Studies


Why iconography? Archaeology provides Biblical Studies with information essential for understanding the biblical text in its historical context. An important branch of archaeology is iconography, the study of pictorial expressions. Pictorial expressions depict a vast range of subjects: the natural and cultivated world, daily life, rituals, ideas - even imaginative notions (e.g. symbols, imagery). Thus, ancient Near Eastern iconography provides the (scholarly) community not only with information about the world in which the Bible emerged and was written, but also evidence relating to the perception, symbol systems, and so forth of the people who inhabited this 'world'. Studying pictorial material contemporary to the biblical documents (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) affords insight into the historical context of the text and facilitates an awareness of how the people contemporaneous with the text thought, imagined, and observed reality. For these reasons, and others, iconography merits sustained attention and effort as a road which leads to a more nuanced and more complete picture of many aspects of Biblical Studies. Papers presented in this programme will deal with methodological issues and/ or address case studies in the common area of ancient Near Eastern iconography and Biblical Studies. Papers can be presented in the field of exegesis or history of religion (Israelite, Judaist, early Christian and pre-Islam). Because of methodological interests, occasionally papers can address topics of later date or cover larger time periods in presenting iconological overviews (history of a motif).


Iconography, Archaeology, Exegesis, Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Cultural History, Art History, Visual Studies


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

Florian Lippke
University of Fribourg

Member Area

Wuppertal 2021 Call for Papers

The Iconography and Biblical Studies research unit has been invited to organize a plenary session at the Wuppertal meeting. In addition to this contribution to the program we invite for an open session. So, if you want to present a paper on (ancient) iconography, possibly in relation to the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament, please, submit an abstract. We consider having a special session on nature imagery in the Bible. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the chairs.