AMME Seminar 16.03.23: ‘Embodied Emotions in the Ancient World’

This spring semester’s third Ancient and Medieval Middle East (AMME) seminar will be organised as a hybrid event on Thursday 16 March (16:15-18:00 EET/Helsinki).

The session will consist of two papers – by Marika Pulkkinen and Ellie Bennett – followed by a shared question round and discussion on the seminar specific theme of ‘embodied emotions in the ancient world’. The topics of the talks are:

‘Embodied Emotions: Shame and Disgust Provoked through Sexual Invectives in Hebrew Bible and in the Septuagint’ (Dr. Marika Pulkkinen)

This paper will examine the uses of vocabulary of sex work (ZNH/πορνεύω) as sexual slander or invective in the Hebrew Bible (HB) and in the Septuagint (LXX). Similar uses of sexual invectives are attested in Graeco-Roman literary and documentary sources: there were specific contexts and manners in which derogatory speech was tolerated or even encouraged whereas in other contexts such a behavior would be considered transgressive. Moreover, members of foreign nations tend to be tagged by using sexual invectives, hence the use of sexual invectives has a marginalizing function. I will compare the uses of sexual slander in the HB and in the LXX to these Graeco-Roman sources. The paper will address the question how the imagery that refers to sexual acts and attitudes is attached to and detached from its concrete meaning in each context where it is used. Moreover, I will discuss what role does the emotions of shame and disgust play in the use of the word-group and how do corporeality of these emotions and the sexual invectives intertwine with each other.

Embodying Emotions in Neo-Assyrian Texts: Initial Results from Co-Occurrence Networks(Dr. Ellie Bennett)

The project 'Embodied Emotions: Ancient Mesopotamia and Today' deals with a complex research question: what are the similarities and differences in how emotions were felt in the body in Akkadian, English, and Finnish? The three-year project began in September 2022, and requires the expertise of Assyriologists, computational linguists, and neuroscientists to solve through word co-occurrence networks and heat maps of the body. In this presentation I will be giving an overview of our approach, and some initial findings from the word co-occurrence networks.

All are welcome, so please share and join us in person or online!

Time: Thursday 16 March at 16:15-18:00 EET (UTC+2h).

Live venue: Faculty hall (Faculty of Theology, Fabianinkatu 24, room 524).

Virtual venue: Zoom (Meeting ID: 678 8979 2118 /

Wonder what else is on the menu? Check out the spring program at: