Skip to Main Content
Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Middle East, Near East and North Africa: Ancient Near East

Guide to resources on the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on the current events in Syria, Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere in the Near and Middle Eastern world. This is a work in progress.

Ancient Near East

Considered the ‘cradle of civilization,’ the dawn of agriculture happened in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. The history of the Middle East begins with "Civilization" [c.3,100 BCE] with the development of the world’s first writing, cities, government and laws. The geographic area of Ancient Near Eastern Studies can reach into central Asia, and the eastern Mediterranean regions including Anatolia (Turkey), Egypt and Cyprus. The end of the Ancient Near East is generally considered to be either at either the fall of Assyria in 662 B.C.E., the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E. or the coming of Islam in 622 C.E. Many also consider Ancient Near Eastern History to cover the Biblical history in the Old and New Testaments.

Ancient Near Eastern Laws

Modern Translations of Several Ancient Near Eastern Laws may be found in

Roth, M., Hoffner, Harry A, Michalowski, Piotr, & American Council of Learned Societies. (1995). Law collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (2nd ed., Writings from the ancient world ; no. 6). Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press. Available as an eBook with a JJay login

Chapters include English translations of:

Many English translations of these and other Ancient Near Eastern texts may be found in: Hallo, W., & Younger, K. (2003). Context of Scripture : Canonical Compositions, Monumental Inscriptions and Archival Documents from the Biblical World. Leiden: BRILL. available as an e-book with a JJay logon

Reference Books on the Ancient Near East

The Anchor Bible In addition to offering a definitive text of The Old Testament, these volumes discuss the contemporary historical and literary context of specific Biblical passages and stories. Lloyd Sealy Library does not own all volumes. Other Bibles are also in this area of the stacks. Stacks: BS192.2 .A1

Baines, J and J. Malék (1982) Atlas of Ancient Egypt. This volume covers the history, culture and geography of ancient Egypt, much of the book covers the individual archaeological sites, which are arranged geographically. Reference: DT56.9 .B34 1982

Coogan, Michael (1998) Oxford History of the Biblical World. Includes several very readable topical essays related to ancient periods in the Levant and other geographic areas of the Middle East that appear in the Bible. Reference: BS635.2 .O94 1998

Manley, B. (1996) Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt This small book includes the history and geography of ancient Egypt, including Nubia and the Levant, when relevant. Chronologically, this volume extends from prehistory to Classical times. Reference and Stacks: DT49.9 .M36 1996

Neusner, Jacob and William Scott Green (1996) Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical World 450 B.C.E. to 600 C.E Entries include information on people, places and events during Biblical times. Reference BM50 .D525 1996

Sasson, J, ed, (1995) Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. These volumes include essays on Ancient Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Ancient Iran. There are several essays on the history and ancient laws of each region. Reference: DS57 .C55 1995

Web Resources on the Ancient Near East

Web Resources Requiring a John Jay Login

Podany, Amanda H., The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: OUP.

Shaw, Ian, (2004) Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: OUP.

Bryce, Trevor, (2016) Babylonia: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: OUP

Cline, Eric H (2009) Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction New York: OUP

Riggs, Christina (2014), Ancient Egyptian Art and Architecture: A Very Short Introduction Oxford: OUP

Gosden, Chris (2018) Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edn Oxford: OUP

Beard, Mary and John Henderson (2013) Classics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP

Pinch, Geraldine, (2013) Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: OUP