Here on awilum.com I am putting together a curated collection of open-access resources to supplement my course on Ancient Near Eastern Culture that I am teaching as part of the Master of Liberal Arts program at Houston Baptist University in the Spring of 2013. Here is a description of the course:

This course will survey the history and culture of the civilizations that inhabited the areas from Iran to Egypt from the Neolithic period (ca. 10,000 BCE) to Alexander the Great (ca. 323 BCE). Topics of study include art, literature, religion, law, politics, geo-political effects of climate change, health care, economics and commerce, war and peace, and women. Special attention will be given to exploring the significance of the study of the ancient world for contemporary society as well as for biblical interpretation.

Starting in January, each week I will post a list of resources that pertain to one of eleven selected topics: art, literature, religion, law, scribal culture, geo-political effects of climate change, health care, economics and commerce, war and peace, and women. The lists will contain links to open-access resources such as interviews, lectures, essays, pictures, and online exhibits. For instance, here is the list for the first topic, art:

Furthermore, each week I will post a short video introducing the topic and the resources provided for it. In the videos I will also suggest ways in which studying these topics as they relate to the ancient world can help us understand more deeply our contemporary society.

Lastly–and I am very excited about this–the course will have a guest lecture by Seth Sanders, author of The Invention of Hebrew and one of the world’s experts on the scribal cultures of the ancient Near East. Dr. Sanders is Assistant Professor of Religion at Trinity College, CT. HBU students who are registered in the class will be able to ask questions but anyone is welcome to watch the seminar either live or recorded on my YouTube channel (I will announce the date and time here on this website in January).

We are using three main textbooks for this course: Salima Ikram, Ancient Egypt: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2009); Benjamin Foster and Karen Foster, Civilizations of Ancient Iraq (Princeton University Press, 2009); and David Wengrow, What Makes Civilization? The Ancient Near East & the Future of the West (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Reading these three books, interacting with the content curated here, as well as viewing Dr. Sanders’s lecture, will provide a substantial introduction to the history and culture of the ancient Near East as well as its significance for better understanding modern civilization. I invite anyone interested in this topic to join us in our studies.