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Click for enlargementThis bronze figurine from a site in Lebanon,
circa 1400-1200 BC,
could depict the goddess Anat or Astarte

With idol
Sakkie Cornelius
Professor in Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Department of Ancient Studies
Stellenbosch University
Private Bag X1
Matieland 7602
South Africa
(never phone, send an e-mail:)

Fax 8083480

Sakkie Cornelius

Author of academic books on Ancient Near Eastern cultures
Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Chair of the Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University

Izak (Sakkie) Cornelius was born on 29 August 1958 in the Military Hospital, Wynberg, Cape. He attended school in Voortrekkerhoogte and studied at the universities of Stellenbosch and Tübingen (Germany): cum laude BA, BTh., Lic. Theology, Hons. BA , MA and DLitt (last three in Semitic Languages) at Stellenbosch. His MA (supervisor: Hannes Olivier) thesis was on the ancient Syrian kingdom of Ugarit (c. 1400-1190 BCE) and his doctorate (promoters Charles Fensham and Hannes Olivier) on international trade in the Mari texts of the 18th century BCE (the famous law-giver Hammurabi of Babylon destroyed this city on the middle Euphrates). Sakkie spent Sabbaticals in Fribourg (Switzerland: Othmar Keel), Heidelberg (Jan Assmann and Manfred Weippert) and Tübingen (Germany: Siegfried Mittmann and Herbert Niehr).

In 1986 he was appointed as Lecturer at Stellenbosch University (Dept of Semitic Languages), and in 1994 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer (ad hominem). He became a full Professor in the new Department of Ancient Studies in 1999.
He specialises in Ancient Near-Eastern culture, religion, art & iconography with emphasis on the interface between art and religion. His teaching includes ancient cultures, societies, art and religion. He has guided 18 Masters and 7 doctoral studies and often acts as external examiner for post-graduate studies.
Cornelius is an editor of the internationally acclaimed Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages which is edited and published by the Department of Ancient Studies. He has a particular interest in the use of digital media in research and teaching and the communication of the ancient world to the public (he is a well-known speaker at the meetings of The Egyptian Society of South Africa).

Baal The authors of Götter und Kulte in Ugarit next to a stela depicting the god Baal, Louvre Paris April 2003

Extra-departmental activities at Stellenbosch University:
1.Central Disciplinary committee: 1998-1999.
2. Council for Theology and Religion: 1998-1999.
3. Institutional Taskgroup for Learning & Teaching: 2000-2001.
4. Chair: Taskgroup for Electronic Learning: 2000-2001.
5. Member of Forum for Electronic Campus: 2000-2002.
6. Chair: Subcommittee for Learning & Teaching Faculty of Arts: 2001-2002
7. Chair: Faculty Committee for Welcoming of new students (2001-2002)
8. Member: Senate since June 1999.
9. Chair: Subcommittee for e-Learning, Faculty of Arts: 2002, 2004-

Current serious academic research includes:
Articles for the "Iconography of Deities and Demons in the Biblical World" on Anat, Astarte, Mistress of Animals and Qudshu.
The culture (art and religion) of Ugarit
A corpus of Palestinian female terrracotta plaques.
The Bible in art.
The art and iconography of the Persian period.

He is a member of various academic societies: Old Testament Society of South Africa, South African Society for Near Eastern Studies, Classical Association of South Africa, the International Association of Egyptologists and American Schools of Oriental Research.
Hobbies: Travelling, movies
Favourite books: Books on ancient and other art
Favourite quote: Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get

His partner in life is Magna Krijnauw and they have a daughter, Elnalene, and a son, Pieter-Willem. (see photo: Pieter-Willem in the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin)


Various research grants from the Human Sciences Research Council (now National Research Foundation) and Stellenbosch University including Harry Crossley scholarships and a George Grey Stipend from Stellenbosch.
Swiss Confederacy Research Stipend.
Research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (Germany).
Research fellow of the Kate Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr-Universität Bochum.


The Iconography of the Canaanite Gods Reshef and Baal. Late Bronze and Iron Age I Periods (c 1500-1000 BCE), (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 140) Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht & Fribourg: University Press, 1994
From the Nile to the Euphrates: An Introduction to the Cultures of the Ancient Near East . Stellenbosch: MACU (with Pierre J Venter), 2002
The Many Faces of the Goddess. The Iconography of the Syro-Palestinian Goddesses Anat, Ashera, Astarte and Qedeshet c. 1500-1000 BCE (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 204), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht & Fribourg: University Press, 2004
Götter und Kulte in Ugarit. Kultur und Religion einer nordsyrischen Königsstadt der Spätbronzezeit (ca. 1350-1185 v.Chr (with Herbert Niehr, Tčbingen), Mainz: Von Zabern, 2004
(with L. Jonker eds), "From Ebla to Stellenbosch." Syro-Palestinian Religions and the Hebrew Bible (ADPV 37), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008.
The Many Faces of the Goddess. The Iconography of the Syro-Palestinian Goddesses Anat, Asherah, Astarte and Qedeshet c. 1500-1000 BCE (Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 204), Second Enlarged Edition, Fribourg: Academic Press & Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008

Text by Sakkie Cornelius, August 2003/2012

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