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Grant number: FT-60584-13

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

Text Destruction in the Bible and the Ancient World

I propose to examine a set of ancient artifacts damaged in antiquity and now housed in museums in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. These artifacts constitute the archaeological evidence for the book I am writing about text destruction in the ancient world. This book 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. The book will re-evaluate examples of text-destruction traditions in the Bible, and will illuminate ancient antecedents to modern acts of cross-cultural symbolic violence. It will address a wide audience and explain why public violations of sacred texts remain a preferred mode of attack against representations of political power and social identity throughout the world.

Project fields:
Religion, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013