Samantha Rainford

First Year

Samantha Rainford received her BA in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations with a focus on Biblical studies from the University of Toronto. She completed her MA at New York University in the Ancient Near Eastern and Egypt Studies program with an emphasis on the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. Her thesis, “Women as Primary Heirs at Emar: Intersexuality as a Legal Fiction for a Patrilineal Society,” investigates the designation of women as primary heirs through their establishment in “male” status in legal texts from Late Bronze Age Syria. Her project explores the connections between inheritance law, gender, and household religion at Emar as they are reflected in extant legal documents concerning the family and household succession.

With her background in Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East, Samantha continues her research in first and second millennium Mesopotamia and hopes to study the interaction between Anatolian and Mesopotamian cultures in second millennium Syria. While at ISAW, she intends to focus her research on the means by which law and religion are intertwined in the ancient Near East. In particular, she hopes to research the relationship between religion and jurisprudence as well as allusions to law in non-legal textual evidence and how they shape cultural memory.