This chapter provides an overview of methodological approaches used in the book and briefly introduces the culture and history of ancient Israel. The methodology is both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, and important to the study are verbal and nonverbal forms of cultural expression that feature portrayals of hair. Treatments of hair in African art provide an excellent model for the exploration of hair in ancient Near Eastern art, including works produced in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, and ancient Israel. The contributions of anthropologists, sociologists, art historians, and scholars of religion also frame the work, including Victor Turner’s observations about rites of passages, Gananath Obeyesekere’s emphasis on the emotional, personal, and psychological roots and dimensions of embodied symbols, and Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret Lock’s examination of “the social body” and “the body politic.”
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