The Iconography of Palestine / Israel
and the Ancient Near East

A History of Religion in Pictures


Institute of Old Testament Studies
University of Bern
Prof. Dr. Silvia Schroer

Deutsche Version


IPIAO is a four volume compendium about the history of religion in Palestine/Israel on the basis of iconographic findings. It encompasses the time period from the 12th century BCE to the earliest Persian era. Images from Palestine / Israel are frequently fragmentary and in bad condition; as a rule, they are juxtaposed with more complete images from the great neighbouring cultures, especially Syria, Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Egypt, and used for the reconstruction of the underlying religious symbolic system. This project is one-of-a-kind. Never before has the entire pictorial art of Palestine/Israel been presented – from its beginnings and related to the Ancient Near East - in a similar way. The volumes’ centre is a catalogue organized by epochs and themes. The images are rendered in an aesthetically appealing way.

Each object is described and explained. A critical apparatus follows, containing detailed dates about origins, current place of keeping, measurements, publications and parallels. Images and related text can be found side-by-side in a reader-friendly way.
In the fashion of a manual, introductions open the image catalogue of each epoch. Historico-cultural backgrounds and themes of image art are presented as an overview, as well as the relations between the images and the Biblical texts.
The indices (locations, text passages), maps, tables and lists of literary sources in each volume and general indices in the fourth volume are an important help.