Priests and profits 2.0. The role of the temple in the old babylonian economy, 1911-1499 BC

Priesters en profijten 2.0. De rol van de tempel in de oud-babylonische periode, 1911-1499 vgt
Start - End 
2017 - 2020 (ongoing)



The aim of this project is to develop the first comprehensive study of the economic role of the Old Babylonian temples as institutions and their evolving relation with the Palace and the urban elites, by combining data from the temple archives as well as private archives from different cities in southern, central and northern Babylonia.

As such, we will focus on three main issues: (1) the wealth of the temples and the management of this wealth (assets, expenditures and income), (2) the organization of the temple management (priestly titles, functions and prebends, their value, hierarchy and ideology), and (3) the involvement of urban elites in the Temple economy integrating the temples in the economic fabric of the Old Babylonian urban society.

The ‘régulation’ approach will allow us to investigate the (economic, social and ideological) procedures by which the Temple was able to stabilize its position as an extractive institution until the end of the Old Babylonian Period.

As a result, we will we able to determine the functioning and autonomy of the Temple throughout the Old Babylonian period and to test our research hypothesis according to which the encroachment of the Crown on the Temple was only a temporary phenomenon, the Temple being a much more stable factor in economy than formerly supposed.