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Levantine Entanglements

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This cross-disciplinary volume makes the case for the Levant, including the use of the term, as a unit of analysis for the study of cultural production and change over the long-term in the Eastern Mediterranean. It offers a new perspective on the history of this region that overcomes Orientalist approaches and introduces a global history perspective. It posits a way forward for studying the agency of the local as a key to understanding the long-term history of cultural production over the long-term in the region. Finally, it tells the story of the crystallization within the region of a type of sub-imperial power, illustrated by the canonical discourses popularly associated with the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Published: Jan 1, 2021

Section Chapter Authors
Introduction Terje Stordalen, Øystein LaBianca
Preface Terje Stordalen, Øystein LaBianca
Part 1: Levantine Localities and La Longue Durée
1. Introduction: The Region of the Levant and the Resurgence of the Local Perspective Terje Stordalen, Øystein LaBianca
2. Cultural Production in the Iron Age Southern Levant Terje Stordalen
3. Lenses on Accumulative Cultural Production in the Southern Levant: Toward a Middle Range Interpretive Methodology Øystein LaBianca
4. Local Power and Social Discourse: Villages in Early Globalizations of the Southern Levant Terje Stordalen
5. Conclusion to Part 1 Terje Stordalen, Øystein LaBianca
Part 2: The Levant through Time - Case Studies
6. Panel A Introduction Øystein LaBianca
7. Drivers of Accumulative Cultural Production in the Southern Levant: The View from Tall Hisban, Jordan Øystein LaBianca, Jeffrey Hudon
8. Place-Making in the Jordanian Madaba Plains: The Contested Space of Tall Ḥesbān and Its Village Surroundings Frode Jacobsen
9. Local Dynamics of Globalization in the Roman Near East: The Case of Palmyra Eivind Seland
10. Panel B: Ideologies Giving Shape to Communities Terje Stordalen
11. Dynamics of Power and the Re-Inventing of “Israel” in Persian Empire Judah Kåre Berge
12. Early Forms of Judaism as a Mixture of Strategies of Cultural Heterogeneity and the Re-embedding of Local Culture in Archaic Globalization Diana Edelman
13. The Production of Authority in Levantine Canonical Ecologies: An Example of Accumulative Cultural Production Terje Stordalen
14. Panel C: Pilgrimage, Places and Communities Øystein LaBianca
15. Constantine’s Palestine: The Construction of the Holy Land as an Imperial and Ecclesiastical Project Øyvind Norderval
16. Local Cult, Transforming Miracles, and Global Discourses: Saint George in Lydda Christine Amadou
17. The Infrastructure of Shared Pilgrimage Sites in Hatay, Turkey: Interreligious Dynamics of Saint Veneration in the Northern Levant Jens Kreinath
18. Panel D: Homelands and Networks Bethany Walker
19. Manichaean Networks in the Levant and Egypt Håkon Teigen
20. Reconstructing Homeland at a Time of Globalizing Change: Peasant Migration in Late Medieval Syria Bethany Walker
21. Honor, Shame and Hospitality and the Distribution of Power in the Premodern Levant Eveline van der Steen
Part 3: Reflections
22. Introduction to Part 3 Terje Stordalen, Øystein LaBianca
23. History and Levantine Entanglements Øystein LaBianca
24. Biblical Studies and Levantine Entanglements Øystein LaBianca
25. Religious Studies and Levantine Entanglements Birgit Meyer
26. Insights from the Project Terje Stordalen, Øystein LaBianca


This volume will change the way we write our histories of Palestine and the Levant well beyond the next decade. It is a very important contribution to anyone working on the history of the Levant or Palestine.
Thomas L. Thompson, Professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen