Susannah Rees (KCL) - 2019-20 Students

Cosmetics in the Hebrew Bible

This thesis is about cosmetics in the culture that gave rise to the Hebrew Bible. I argue that it is only by contextualising the use of cosmetics against the whole processes of production, distribution and consumption that we can fully understand their significance. I draw on archaeobotanical, artefactual, iconographic and epigraphic evidence in order to attempt to identify these processes which imbue cosmetics with meaning. This complex network of meaning is crucial for unpicking the significance of the descriptions of cosmetics in the Hebrew Bible. When explored through this lens, we are able to avoid resorting to stale assumptions that cosmetics in the Hebrew Bible are exclusively the preserve of the seductive femme fatale.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Paul Joyce, KCL

Secondary supervisor: Dr Jonathan Stokl, KCL

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