My research examines identity, textual production and the archaeology of space to reconstruct ancient Jewish practices. My doctoral thesis (University of Birmingham, 2021) analysed spaces of Jewish identity in ancient Galilee. Around 100 BCE, the region was integrated into the Hasmonean kingdom, a Hellenistic state organised around the control of the Jerusalem Temple. Over the next century and a half, the people of this region created spaces that expressed and developed Jewish identity. My work uses spatial theory to further consider the impact of material culture upon personal, communal and regional identity formation. Some of these findings are forthcoming in my monograph, Galilean Spaces of Identity (under review with Brill).
My work on Jewish and Hellenistic identity led to further research on ancient Jewish texts written in Greek, which enable us to understand aspects of the shared culture of the ancient Mediterranean world. I have published articles on shared aspects between the Addition to the Book of Daniel, Susanna, and Chariton’s romance novel, Callirhoe.
I am particularly interested in women’s practices and rituals in Judaism. My future projects involve further assessments of the emergence of women’s bathing rituals and their significance for community formation and self-understanding. My next major research project focuses on the nature of pre-battle speeches in ancient Jewish texts and their relationship to established forms of pre-battle exhortation in Greek and Roman sources.
I also help to produce a podcast about the ancient world called Ancient Afterlives.
Humanities Commons: @josephscales
Academia.edu: Joseph Scales