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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Disembodied Souls: The Nefesh in Israel and Kindred Spirits in the Ancient Near East, with an Appendix on the Katumuwa Inscription
Steiner, Richard C.

Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015 pp. xvi + 210. $27.95

Series Information
Ancient Near East Monographs, 11

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Description: Biblical scholars have long claimed that the Israelites “could not conceive of a disembodied nefesh [soul].” Steiner rejects that claim based on a broad spectrum of textual, linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological evidence spanning the millennia from prehistoric times to the present. The biblical evidence includes a prophecy of Ezekiel condemning women who pretend to trap the wandering souls of sleeping people. The extrabiblical evidence suggests that a belief in the existence of disembodied souls was part of the common religious heritage of the peoples of the ancient Near East. Features: •A re-examination of the evidence for and against disembodied souls in the Hebrew Bible •A new look at the nature and behavior of disembodied souls in the Hebrew Bible •A new study of the meaning and sociolinguistic background of the Katumuwa inscription

Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Ancient Near Eastern History, Other Methods

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Review by Michael S. Moore
Published 7/14/2016
Citation: Michael S. Moore, review of Richard C. Steiner, Disembodied Souls: The Nefesh in Israel and Kindred Spirits in the Ancient Near East, with an Appendix on the Katumuwa Inscription, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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