Spencer Allen, The Splintered Divine: A Study of Ištar, Baal, and Yahweh Divine Names and Divine Multiplicity in the Ancient Near East. Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Records 5. Berlin; Boston; Munich: De Gruyter, 2015. Pp. xxi, 457. ISBN 9781614512936. $154.00.
Reviewed by Gina Konstantopoulos, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A revision of the author's doctoral dissertation, Spencer Allen's The Splintered Divine: A Study of Ištar, Baal, and Yahweh Divine Names and Divine Multiplicity in the Ancient Near East, is an ambitious undertaking in both its conceptual breath and the many sources with which the author engages on the way to his conclusions. Allen investigates the phenomenon by which a divine figure may be named with different, often geographically associated titles, when invoked in hymns, treaties, and other, often dedicatory, texts. Allen's work aims from the outset to be comparative, and he thus focuses his attentions on three divine figures that manifest this multiplicity: Ishtar, Baal, and Yahweh. Any one of these figures is complex enough that it could easily serve as the sole basis of a dedicated study, instead of occupying a single chapter within this work. The author first concerns himself with the question of divine multiplicity itself, a survey of the field as it were, and then proceeds to devote a chapter to broader comparative insights and exploration, before proceeding with his case studies and overall conclusions. The work closes with a long listing of the various god lists, excerpted from treaties and other, mostly political, texts, that serve as one of the major bases for Allen's analysis and his own attempts to create a grand unifying god list for the respective periods under review.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Review of Allen, The Splintered Divine
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