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Grant number: FB-57593-14

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Nathaniel Benjamin Levtow
University of Montana (Missoula, MT 59801-4494)

Text Destruction in the Bible and the Ancient World

This project investigates the destruction and violation of texts in the ancient world. The book I am writing will be the first to catalog and explain literary and archaeological evidence for strategic acts of text destruction in antiquity, from the beginnings of writing to the formation of the Bible. My goals are 1) to provide a survey of this ancient phenomenon, and 2) to identify and explain its patterns, distribution and cultural significance. I draw from perspectives in religious studies, ancient studies, social anthropology and cognitive science to re-evaluate this widespread phenomenon. The project identifies ancient antecedents to modern acts of cross-cultural symbolic violence and illuminates familiar biblical traditions in a new light. The book will address a wide audience and explain why public violations of sacred texts have long been and still remain a preferred mode of attack against representations of political power and religious identity throughout the world.

Project fields:
Ancient History; Ancient Literature; Religion, General

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 6/30/2016