Chapter 5. Family, Household, and Local Religion at Late Bronze Age Ugarit

  1. John Bodel Professor2 and
  2. Saul M. Olyan PhD Professor3
  1. Theodore J. Lewis PhD academic trustee

Published Online: 23 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444302974.ch5

Household and Family Religion in Antiquity

Household and Family Religion in Antiquity

How to Cite

Lewis, T. J. (2008) Family, Household, and Local Religion at Late Bronze Age Ugarit, in Household and Family Religion in Antiquity (eds J. Bodel and S. M. Olyan), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444302974.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Brown University, USA

  2. 3

    Samuel Ungerleider Jr Professor of Judaic Studies, Brown University, USA

Author Information

  1. Blum-Iwry Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 16 MAY 2008

Book Series:

  1. The Ancient World: Comparative Histories

Book Series Editors:

  1. Kurt A. Raaflaub

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405175791

Online ISBN: 9781444302974



  • family religion at Ugarit;
  • all beliefs and practices - under “family/household religion”;
  • Late Bronze Age city (kingdom) of Ugarit - thriving commerce and industry;
  • religion practiced by family household;
  • viewing gods as family;
  • language of family permeating Ugaritic pantheon at every turn;
  • language of family relations - model of patriarchal household central to Ugaritic texts' presentation of divinity;
  • cultic activities related to family/life cycles;
  • onomastic evidence;
  • everyday letters - apt to provide window into religious life of household


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Four Challenges

  • The Religion Practiced by the Family Household

  • Viewing the Gods as Family

  • Cultic Activities Related to Family/Life Cycles

  • Onomastica

  • Prayer

  • Letters

  • The Tale of Aqhatu

  • Religion at the Local/Community Level

  • Local Sanctuaries

  • Drinking as Religious Activity: Local Drinking Clubs

  • Religious Specialists Working at the Community Level

  • The Archaeology of Family Religion

  • Conclusion