Bulletin of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan
Online ISSN : 1884-1406
Print ISSN : 0030-5219
ISSN-L : 0030-5219
Current issue
No. 2
Showing 1-7 articles out of 7 articles from the selected issue
  • A Survey of Child Burial Customs
    Koichiro WADA
    2018 Volume 60 Issue 2 Pages 141-156
    Published: March 31, 2018
    Released: April 01, 2021

    Settlement burials existed in dynastic Egypt, like in other agricultural societies throughout the world. Since the ancient Egyptians thought that the dead should be separated from the living, it is important to consider the meaning of this. This paper carries out a comprehensive study of settlement burials in dynastic Egypt.

     Although both children and adults were buried within settlements, the interments of the latter always pre- or post-date the period of occupancy of the settlement. It is therefore possible to say that the separation of the dead and the living was carried out for adult burials. For analysis in this study, settlement burials are divided into three types based on the age of the deceased and the simultaneity of burial and settlement: (Type 1) child burials contemporary with a settlement, (Type 2) pre- or post-dated settlement burials only children were interred, and (Type 3) pre- or post-dated settlement burials where children and adults were mixed.

     The age distributions for Type 1 and 2 are somewhat different: the former type is exclusively of children under six months old, while the latter also includes children of up to two years. This tendency suggests that “true” settlement burial in dynastic Egypt may have been a burial custom only for fetuses and very young infants, and that nursing children were at least buried in settlements, even if in houses already abandoned. Except for the age distribution, the difference between Type 1 and 2 is obscure. Since some Type 2 burials were found in the same space as Type 1, these might share the perceptions of the place as a burial site. Other Type 2 burials seem to follow the idea of separation of the dead from the living. The variety of child settlement burials suggests that the ancient Egyptians treated the young dead as having a different kind of existence from the adult dead.

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  • Tokihisa HIGO
    2018 Volume 60 Issue 2 Pages 157-168
    Published: March 31, 2018
    Released: April 01, 2021

    Maat (mꜣꜥt) is an ancient Egyptian comprehensive concept connoting justice, truth, and fairness while focusing on the meaning of the order of the universe. This concept was deified as a goddess of justice or truth (mꜣꜥt) and appeared in various texts throughout ancient Egyptian history. This article analyzes the portrayal of goddess Maat in the Coffin Texts, which are known as funerary texts during the Middle Kingdom. In addition to the Pyramid Texts from the Old Kingdom and the Book of the Dead from the New Kingdom, the Coffin Texts are some of the most important resources for understanding ancient Egyptian religion. The Coffin Texts contain over 1,000 spells and include more than 190 descriptions of Maat requiring further examination.

     Furthermore, this article examines the eight expressions known as the Dual Maat (Mꜣꜥty), written as the dual form of the goddess Maat. The reduplication of a deity who was usually represented in a single form is unique among ancient Egyptian deities. The results of the analysis reveal that the Dual Maat reflected three noticeable qualities of Maat: (1) the dual goddesses had a specific relationship with Sokar, the god of the netherworld (spells 479 and 660); (2) they were independent goddesses that empowered and stood by the deceased (spells 660, 149, and 416); and (3) they developed a unique relationship with Re, the sun god (spells 682 and 693).

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  • Chuichiro AOSHIMA
    2018 Volume 60 Issue 2 Pages 169-183
    Published: March 31, 2018
    Released: April 01, 2021

    This paper discusses how rebellions were described in the Assyrian royal inscriptions and the role of such descriptions, taking the inscriptions of Esarhaddon as an example.

     The inscription written in 676 BC (RINAP 4, No. 2) describes only the event concerning Bīt-Dakkuri as a rebellion. In contrast to this inscription, a later inscription written in 673 BC (RINAP 4, No. 1) begins with an “apology” that details Esarhaddon’s succession through suppressing the coup of his brothers, and then reports the rebellions in the “Sea land” and in Sidon, which are not described as rebellions in the earlier inscription.

     The addition of the “apology” and the rewriting of the accounts are related to the political circumstances at the time of the composition of the inscription: the Assyrian defeat in Egypt and the appointment of Ashurbanipal as the crown prince. These events pressed Esarhaddon to legitimate his authority and to pay more attention to the risk of rebellion. The series of accounts of rebellions placed at the top of the inscription functioned to warn potential rebels against plotting a rebellion, by presenting typical rebellions by ruling elites and describing the fate that they met.

     The ruler of Arzā, whose behavior is not described as rebellious in the earlier inscriptions, is first described as a rebel in the inscription written after the conquest of Egypt (RINAP 4, No. 30). Arzā had been topographically important as the boundary that was used to glorify royal deeds in Assyrian royal inscriptions. Therefore the campaign to Arzā had been described as military activity in a foreign land, but after the conquest of Egypt the city lost its significance as the boundary.

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  • Kazumitsu TAKAHASHI
    2018 Volume 60 Issue 2 Pages 184-195
    Published: March 31, 2018
    Released: April 01, 2021

    This paper aims to examine the pottery dating to the reign of Amenhotep III in a layer of limestone chips which had accumulated above the tomb of Userhat, Overseer of King’s Private Apartment under Amenhotep III, at al-Khokha area in the Theban necropolis, Egypt, in order to understand how the pottery was used at the tomb. The chisel marks on the limestone suggest that the layer of limestone chips above the tomb of Userhat had been deposited as debris from the tomb construction. Furthermore, the location and direction of the layers show that the limestone chips originated from surrounding tombs constructions, the most probably from the tomb of Userhat. Therefore, the pottery from this layer is assumed to be related to the tomb construction activities.

     The pottery vessels from the limestone chips layer are classified into two groups: the vessels associated with the actual construction of the tomb, such as plaster containers and lamps, and the vessels related to the tomb construction rituals, such as red slipped lids and dishes, white washed bowls with burned traces and a blue painted pottery jar. It has been generally recognized that the ritual pottery vessels from tombs were used in funerary rituals or in cults carried out subsequently at the tomb. However, the pottery above the tomb of Userhat is related to the tomb construction activities, hence, it seems that those pottery vessels were used in the tomb construction rituals. Little is known about tomb construction rituals at private tombs so far, and the study of pottery above the tomb of Userhat has revealed new possibilities of tomb construction rituals.

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  • In Comparison with His Sufi Predecessors
    Yuta SAGARA
    2018 Volume 60 Issue 2 Pages 196-207
    Published: March 31, 2018
    Released: April 01, 2021

    In Islam, the concept of the heart (qalb) is central to the mystical doctrine of soul and discipline. Sufis often connect this term to the concept of “fluctuation” (taqallub), which shares the same Arabic root, q-l-b, and claim that the heart is called thus because it fluctuates. Some modern scholars have contended that Ibn ʿArabī (d. 1240), known as the greatest mystic of Islam, also described the heart using this semantic connection with “fluctuation.” However, these scholars have not considered discussions made by the Sufis before him. It thus remains unclear which aspects of his theory are distinct from earlier thought. With the aim of resolving this problem, I clarify the originality of his discussion connecting “heart” to “fluctuation” through a comparison with his Sufi predecessors.

     Famous Sufis before Ibn ʿArabī, including Sahl al-Tustarī (d. 896), Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 1111), and Rūzbihān Baqlī (d. 1209), regarded the “fluctuation” as the essential characteristic of a heart. Inheriting this concept, Ibn ʿArabī explained the “fluctuation of a heart” in the framework of his own theory of “new creation” (khalq jadīd), which reflects the constant fluctuation of the whole cosmos. In this theory, the semantic connection of “heart” and “fluctuation” offers a base to examine the relationship between the human heart and the fluctuating cosmos. This phenomenon is not found in earlier thought; thus, it is considered a fruit of his own thought.

     Ibn ʿArabī is said to have inherited previous mystical ideas and developed them into ontological mystical philosophy, or ʿirfān. The concept of the heart, which belongs to the doctrine of human soul, is closely tied to the ontological doctrine of creation in his system. This phenomenon appears to be one aspect of his historical role in constructing Islamic mystical philosophy.

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