Ancient Studies
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Prof Izak (Sakkie) Cornelius


​BTh, Licenciate Theology, DLitt Semitic Languages (Stellenbosch)


Lecturing specialisation

Ancient North African and Western Asian culture, religion, mythology, everyday life and material imagery

Research specialisation

Ancient North African and Western Asian material imagery; connection between the Hebrew Bible and the ancient world

Current research projects

  • Catalogue of Ancient Egyptian and Western Asian artefacts in South African collections
  • South African Mummy Project (with Ruhan Slabbert, Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University, Salima Ikram, American University in Cairo/Stellenbosch University and Liani Swanepoel, Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University)
  • The material imagery of Sam’al and Guzana (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)
  • The art of the southern Levant in the pre-Hellenistic period        

Academic service/Community interaction

Co-editor of the Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages


Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (since 1996); Käte Hamburger Collegium for Research in the Humanities "Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe" (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) Research Fellowship (2009-2010); Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) (2013); Exchange Programmes with Berlin, Tübingen and Leipzig (also Erasmus+)

Selected publications

  • 2019
    (with C. van der Merwe). A Profile of yád in the Book of Jeremiah: A Perspective from Lexical Typology and Material Imagery. In: Jeremia, Deuteronomismus und Priesterschrift. Beiträge zur Literatur- und Theologiegeschichte des Alten Testaments. Festschrift für Hermann-Josef Stipp zum 65. GeburtstagA. Michel & N.C. Rüttgers (Hgg.). 279-304. Sankt Ottilien: Eos.
    The Material Imagery of the Sam'al (Zincirli) Monuments and "Aramaean Identity". Welt des Orients* 49/2: 183-205.

  • 2018
    The "Face of Death" and the "Face of Baal"? Masks from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. In: The Physicality of the Other: Masks as a Means of Encounter/Die Leibhaftigkeit des Anderen: Masken als Medium der Begegnung, A. Berlejung & J. Filitz (eds.). 115-133. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck.
    Communicating Divine Order and Authority: The Stela of Hammurapi of Babylon. In: Teaching Morality in Antiquity: Wisdom Texts, Oral Traditions, and Images/Morallehren in der Antike: Weisheitstexte, mündliche Traditionen, und Bilder (Orientalische Religionen der Antike), T. Oshima (ed.)219-232. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • 2017
    From Bes to Baal: Religious Interconnections between Egypt and the East. In: Pharaoh’s Land and Beyond: Ancient Egypt and its Neighbours, P.P.Creasman & R.H. Wilkinson (eds.). 209-217. Oxford: University Press.
    The Study of the Old Testament and the Material Imagery of the Ancient Near East, with a Focus on the Body Parts of the Deity. In: IOSOT Congress Volume Stellenbosch 2016, L.C. Jonker et al. (eds.). 195-227. Leiden: Brill.
    (with S. Ikram, R. Slabbert, L.C. Swanepoel, F. Teichert and T. van Zyl). Animal Mummies in South African Collections. In: Proceedings of the XI International Congress of Egyptologists: Florence Egyptian Museum, Florence, 23-30 August 2015, G. Rosati & M.C. Guidotti (eds.). Archaeopress Egyptology 19, 131-136. Oxford: Archaeopress.
    "The Eyes Have It and the Benign Smile:" The Iconography of Emotions in the Ancient Near East: From Gestures to Facial Expressions? In: Visualizing Emotions in the Ancient Near East, S. Kipfer (ed.). 123-148. Fribourg: University Press.