From east to west, and back again:

Towards a reconstructed Phoenician identity

Prof. Carolina Lopez-Ruiz

Department of Classics, Ohio State University

Fellow of the Fund for the Advancement of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Israel Academy of Sciences

The Phoenicians are trending again. Archaeological advances in the Levant and western Mediterranean, as well as interest in new pan-Mediterranean approaches, have put them in the spotlight. Yet debates still swirl about who exactly they were or whether they really were a discrete group. What makes them so elusive also makes them inevitable, as they form part of multiple disciplines and cultural histories around the Mediterranean. In this talk, I make the case for overcoming the barrier of nomenclature and sidestepping deconstructivist dead-ends so that we can focus on the positive evidence. We can reconstruct Phoenician identity in ways that work across the Mediterranean and correspond to the basic heuristic categories used by historians since antiquity. As for other groups, the Greeks especially, we need not succumb to either skepticism or rigid views of identity in order to treat the Phoenicians on an equal footing with other historical peoples as we continue to study their interactions with others and their considerable cultural impact in and outside the Levant.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 12:00

Room #108, Multi-Purpose Building,

University of Haifa