Scholarship on our Assyrian Relief

Date: December 11, 2023

We have two Assyrian Reliefs situated in Bicentennial Hall. The room honors these remarkable treasures. One is a replica, and the other is original. Plaques around the wall explain their significance.

Over the years, there has been some limited work done about the Reliefs. Dr. James Ross wrote an important article back in the 1980s, and there have been other occasional references. However, I am proud to announce today two important publications that reflect our commitment to scholarship and dissemination. The first is an article by Amanda Bourne and Melody Knowles, The Assyrian Reliefs at Virginia Theology Seminary: A History of Decisions, Anglican & Episcopal History 90 (2021): 251-272. This document covers with extraordinary care and detail the difficult decision to sell one relief to enable us to care for the other relief. The second is the result of a  symposium held in 2019.  This book capturing the papers has now been published under the title Architecture, Iconography, and Text: New Studies on the Northwest Palace Reliefs of Ashurnasirpal II. The editor is Dr. J. Caleb Howard. We made Caleb our Zabriskie Visiting Professor in 2019. It was while he was here that the Seminary funded and organized the symposium.

Taken together, we are seeking to honor these remarkable antiquities. We are being transparent about the factors that forced the sale, and we are supporting cutting edge scholarship on the reliefs. We have advanced the world’s understanding of the knowledge of, and care of, these remarkable treasures. At the heart of this hard work was the Rev. Dr. Melody Knowles. Thank you Melody. This continues to be important work.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
The Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and the President of The General Theological Seminary

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