Brill’s New Pauly

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(1,794 words)

[German version]

I. Ancient Near East

The relatively few mentions of prostitution in the Ancient Near East, differing in context as in time and place, are too sparse to provide an internally consistent picture of the phenomenon. Prostitution had an accepted place in the societies of the Ancient Near East.

An instance from the OT is the prostitute Rahab, who conceals Joshua's spies in her house (Josh. 2). The story presupposes that, in spite of her profession, she was no outcast, but continued to be a member of her family group.

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Haas, Volkert (Berlin) and Hartmann, Elke (Berlin), “Prostitution”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 18 September 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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