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Dr. Irene Sibbing-Plantholt

Research Associate

Phone: +49 (0)30 838-65553

Address: Otto-von-Simson-Straße 7, 14195 Berlin

Research Interests: Social and cultural history of ancient Mesopotamia, social time and time consciousness in the ancient world, Mesopotamian religion, social history of medicine, social and medical anthropology, Thanatology.

Irene Sibbing-Plantholt obtained B.A. and M.Phil. degrees in Assyriology from Leiden University and the University of Pennsylvania, with additional training in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Archaeology as well as Ancient History at the Free University of Amsterdam and the Freie Universität Berlin. In 2017, she earned her doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s department of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, where she continued to serve as a lecturer.

Her dissertation, published as The Image of Mesopotamian Divine Healers. Healing Goddesses and the Legitimization of Professional asûs in the Mesopotamian Medical Marketplace (Brill, 2022), investigates the relationship between patients and different types of healers operating in the Mesopotamian medical marketplace. She continued to pursue her research on the social history of health and healing in ancient Mesopotamia at the Einstein Center Chronoi, where she has been a post-doctoral research associate since July 2018.

Her project in the scope of the Einstein Center Chronoi concerns the different concepts and perceptions of human lifetime presented in ancient Mesopotamian textual, archaeological, and iconographical sources. Her most recent work is on illness and death as confrontations with time and the (emotional) responses to human mortality found in daily-life sources.

Selected Publications

Please find a complete list of publications here:

2022. The Image of Mesopotamian Divine Healers. Healing Goddesses and the Legitimization of Professional asûs in the Mesopotamian Medical Marketplace. Cuneiform Monographs 53. Leiden: Brill.

Forthcoming. “Sadness and Grief in Akkadian Texts.” In Routledge Handbook of Emotions in the Ancient Near East, edited by U. Steinert and K. Sonik. London; New York: Routledge / Taylor & Francis.

2021. "Coping with time and death in the Ancient Near East." Religion Compass 15(11): e12420. 

2021. "Visible Death and Audible Distress: The Personification of Death (Mūtu) and Associated Emotions as Inherent Conditions of Life in Akkadian Sources." In The Expression of Emotions in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, edited by J. Llop and S.-W. Hsu, CHANE 116, 335-389. Leiden: Brill.

2020 (with Prof. Dr. Elena Devecchi). “See Hattuša and Die. A New Reconstruction of the Journeys of the Babylonian Physician Rabâ-ša-Marduk.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 79(2): 305-322.

2014. “A New Look at the Kassite Medical Letters, and an Edition of Šumu-Libši Letter N 969.” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie 104(2): 171-181.

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