This award recognises excellent research and writing by early career scholars in the areas covered by the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. Since Prof. Philip Davies was strongly committed to mentoring early career scholars and to innovation in publishing, this award appropriately reflects two of his greatest contributions to the field. The award is funded through the generosity of Routledge/Taylor & Francis in memory of Davies and in recognition of his contribution to scholarship and to publishing during his lifetime.
2019 Winner: Dr Matthew Susnow, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Palestine Exploration Fund is pleased to announce that Dr Matthew Susnow’s entry—‘Liminality and Canaanite Cultic Spaces: Temple Entrances, Status Transformations and Ritual in Threshold Contexts’—has been selected for the 2019 Davies Award. Dr Susnow summarised the essay thus:
This article investigates the applicability of the concept of liminality to the archaeological analysis of temple thresholds, with a primary focus on the Bronze Age southern Levant. Previously, studies on cultic spaces have emphasized temple cellas as the central focal point of ritual. In contrast, ritual performed at temple thresholds has largely been an ignored phenomenon. This study presents theoretical, textual, and archaeological data to support the argument that thresholds, in general, elicited ritual activity, and that within temple contexts, a wide range of rituals were conducted and offerings presented. After investigating the topic of liminality in rites of passage, an array of ANE texts will be used to shed light on threshold rituals. This is followed by a presentation of archaeological studies that have attempted to apply the concept of liminality to the archaeological record. Bronze Age temples from two sites, Lachish and Hazor, will be used as case studies to investigate whether there is evidence from the southern Levant for ritual in entrances and thresholds. The results of this study demonstrate that temple thresholds in Canaan did in fact function as liminal spaces within which ritual was conducted. Additionally, this study identifies an important distinction between rituals that were performed in the liminal space of thresholds and those that were performed in the temple’s cella. Ritual in the cella was theocentric, with the primary focus on the deity, while ritual at thresholds was anthropocentric, concerned with humans and their status transformations.
The Palestine Exploration Fund is pleased to announce that Dr Michael Zellmann-Rohrer’s entry—‘Something borrowed, something new? Semitic loanwords and transcriptions in the Greek epigraphy of Palestine and Arabia’—has been selected as the first runner-up in the competition. Dr Zellmann-Rohrer-Rohrer summarised the entry as follows:
This article considers Semitic loanwords and transcriptions in the Greek epigraphy of the southern Levant, roughly corresponding to the Roman provinces of Judaea- Palaestina and Arabia, through three case studies entailing Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic as source languages. The texts are a bilingual Hebrew-Greek ossuary inscription from a burial cave in Jerusalem; a Greek mosaic inscription from the cathedral church of Madaba; and a bilingual Greek-Old Arabic rock-cut graffito from Wadi Salma in north-west Arabia. This consideration complements a similar survey for Syria and Phoenicia by J.-B. Yon and reinforces his conclusion of a connection between loanwords and epichoric religious traditions. It also provides a counterpoint to the more recent study of J. Price and S. Naeh, who associate transcription with ‘marginality’ and ‘liminality’; the cases assembled here show that, at least for the inscribers, the practice was instead centrally integrated with religion and culture.
Congratulations to both Drs Sunsnow and Zellmann-Rohrer. The Palestine Exploration Fund is pleased to support their work, and that of many early career scholars in the future, through this award. Details of the 2020 Davies Award will be available soon.