Daniel Fleming

VRS 2013-14

Daniel Fleming received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard in 1990 and came immediately to the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where he has spent his whole career. He works broadly in ancient Near Eastern history, with anchors especially in second-millennium Syria and the first-millennium Levant as matrix for Israel and the Hebrew Bible. While the logical connections are compelling, these pursuits involve straddling two separate and sometimes territorial disciplines: Assyriology and biblical studies, both defined by written evidence that must be placed in context based on archaeological and visual sources as well. The framework for treating these domains as part of a whole is ultimately historical, and Fleming's individual projects have probed various aspects of the social fabric and political patterns that characterize the region in broad terms. His books include The Installation of Baal's High Priestess at Emar (1992), Time at Emar (2000), Democracy's Ancient Ancestors (2004), The Buried Foundations of the Gilgamesh Epic (Sara Milstein coauthor, 2010), and The Legacy of Israel in Judah's Bible (2012).
During his stay at ISAW, Fleming will be returning to the Late Bronze Age city of Emar in northwestern Syria, the archives of which formed the basis for his early research. Now, with Sophie Demare-Lafont of the Universite Pantheon-Assas in Paris, he is undertaking to develop a portrait of a small city that counters expectations of top-down hierarchy and set social order by exploring the diverse pathways of authority and the interplay of tradition and choice as visible especially in the site's unusual variety of legal documents.