Just in Time for Christmas: David C. Brown’s Catalogue for Books in Egyptology and Other Ancient Near Eastern Studies

David C. Brown / Oxbow Books is perhaps the “go to” site and catalog for finding books related to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamian, Israel, and other civilizations of the ancient Near East. They have hundreds of titles in each area — lots of stuff you won’t find anywhere else, including used books and back issues of journals in these areas.

In a word, it’s an awesome site and resource. Enjoy!

Ancient Astronauts and Comic Books

Jason Colavito has an informative post on the “big-business-factual-data-be-damned” approach of Ancient Aliens. The early section of his post notes connections between ancient astronaut theory and pop-culture, specifically with respect to Marvel comics.

The connections between ancient astronaut worldview and the sort of science fiction of comic books are deep. The comic book worlds pre-date the work of Sitchin and von Daniken. As Jason notes, there are secure roots in the writings of Lovecraft and others, but the more “vulgar” genre of the comic book also plays a significant role in where ancient astronaut theory really gets its “data”.

I recommend to readers two works in this regard. The first is a popular work of non-fiction. The second is a scholarly work (Univ of Chicago Press). Both are fascinating. The second, naturally, is dense and a harder read.

Christopher Knowles, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes

Jeffrey Kripal, Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction. Superhero Comics. and the Paranormal

Some Online Digital Resources of Interest

In recent days several valuable online resources have been posted on the web that will no doubt be of interest to readers. One is temporary (the month of April only) but the other two are permanent.


Some time ago over at my Naked Bible blog I blogged on the importance of scholarly journals for biblical research. I also lamented the fact that digital access to these materials is restricted. But now some good news — The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) is making digital access to their scholarly journals available for free for a limited time. Granted, there are only a few journals, and the access is only for the last four years, but you may still find something you’d like to download. The available journals are:

  • Near Eastern Archaeology
  • Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
  • Journal of Cuneiform Studies


The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago has a number of volumes available in PDF. Readers who are familiar with my website devoted to debunking Zecharia Sitchin’s ancient astronaut theory will recall that the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary is on that site. The Institute recently posted a note that the file for the valuable book, Religion and Power: Divine Kingship in the Ancient World and Beyond had been updated. I recommend that book for serious students and researchers, as well as many of the other titles on the Oriental Institute Publications page.

Volume 5 of Egyptological (a new online Egyptology magazine) has just hit the web. The more of the material I read in these volumes, the more appreciative I am that Kate Phizackerley and Andrea Byrnes initiated the endeavor and have maintained the effort. I especially recommend the series (continued in vol. 5) on Egyptian religion. I suspect many readers will also want to read about the online Certificate in Egyptology now being offered by the University of Manchester. It’s a three-year program headed by Dr. Joyce Tyldesley, who is interviewed in this issue.

Hoaxing Ancient Documents Isn’t New

Quite an interesting post from Prof. Larry Hurtado’s blog today. The post focuses on an out-of-print book byEdgar J. Goodspeed (Famous Biblical Hoaxes, or, Modern Apocrypha). It was originally published in 1931 (repr. 1956). Hurtado’s post sketches a litany of (in)famous hoaxed “ancient” documents covered by Goodspeed in his book. He notes:

Goodspeed was a shining star of NT scholars in the University of Chicago, and among the most important (if not the most important) American NT scholars of his time. In this book, Goodspeed discusses a number of “curious frauds that when they first appear  . . . are promptly unmasked; but a generation, or a century, later, long after their exposure has been forgotten, they are revived by somebody and make a fresh bid for acceptance” (viii).   Though ignored by scholars as unworthy of attention, such texts get peddled to the unsuspecting (or credulous) general public, and in these internet-days they can be touted around the world in a matters of weeks.  To his credit, Goodspeed took the time to research, describe, and examine critically a number of these items.  His book is no longer in print, but is worth perusing still.

Yeah – these internet days. The art of offering claptrap to a gullible public by “researchers” trying to make a fast buck has never been more evident.