The inhabitants of the ancient biblical world—including many ancient Israelites—viewed their cosmos as the home of many unseen forces: for example, powerful gods and their entourages, but also malevolent demons. This talk explores the possibility that beating upon drums may have been one means by which the ancients warded off these demonic agents. We will particularly consider whether the one hundred or so figurines from ancient Israel and Transjordan that depict females holding round disks (arguably drums) are representations of guardian figures who protected their owners from demonic acts through their drumming activities.
Susan Ackerman joined the Religion Department in 1990 after teaching at the University of Arizona and at Winthrop College in South Carolina. She is a specialist in the religion of ancient Israel and the religions of Israel’s neighbors (Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Canaan), an interest she first developed as an undergraduate religion major at Dartmouth (A.B., 1980) and continued to explore in graduate school at Harvard (M.T.S., 1982; Ph.D., 1987).
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