Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Kerry Muhlestein about his recent Near Eastern Archaeology article, “Sacred Violence: When Ancient Egyptian Punishment was Dressed in Ritual Trappings.” Near Eastern Archaeology Vol. 78, No. 4, is a special issue on crime and punishment in the Bible and the Near East. Muhlestein’s article focuses on evidence spanning from the Old Kingdom through the Libyan Era of institutionally sanctioned ritual violence. Muhlestein says it’s clear that many executions included a ritual element, but the evidence regarding the forms of punishment that received ritual trappings remains inconclusive.
Kerry Muhlestein received an M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University (BYU) and his Ph.D. in Egyptology from UCLA. His first full-time appointment was a joint position in Religion and History at BYU-Hawaii, after which he accepted an appointment at BYU in Provo as a Professor in the Ancient Scripture Department, where he serves as Associate Chair and is affiliated with the Ancient Near Eastern Studies program. He is the director of the BYU Egypt Excavation Project and is a Senior Fellow, William F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research. He has served as the chairman of a national committee for the American Research Center in Egypt and currently serves on the Board of Trustees and as a Vice President of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities/Société pour l’Étude de l’Égypte Ancienne.
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