Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


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Deifying Leaders

During clearing work around the Petra Deir monument in 1990-91, an inscription was discovered nearby. It referred to “the symposium of Obodas the God.” The Deir, which is dated to the latter part of the first century BC, contains a feasting hall. From this inscription, some archeologists believe that the Deir was created as a meeting place for members of the cult of Obodas. Others feel that the Deir may have been a tomb and monument, used by the family and descendants of Obodas.

Bowersock writes in 'Roman Arabia:' “Aretas IV seems to have fostered a new respect for the Nabataean royal house and accordingly to have encouraged the memory of his predecessors. An inscription at Petra from the time of his rule reveals a cult of an Obodas, presumably the first of that name. The text proclaims a statue of “Obodas the God,“ a deity known also to the Greek world (as a passage in Stephanus of Byzantium makes plain) and worshipped in his eponymous city, Oboda, several centuries later under the name of Zeus Obodas.”

In the next chapter on burial rites, we will examine the question of why the Nabataeans might consider a particular king worthy of elevation to divinity, and what was the nature of his cult.


Nabataean Culture   Clothing
Desert Life   Coins
 The Price of Honor   Pottery
 Honor and Shame in a Middle Eastern Setting   Writing
 Nabataean Graffiti   The Multi-Alphabet Theory
 Writing Chart (Arabic base)  Writing Charts (German, English) 
 The Petra Scrolls  The Cave of Letters 
 Nabataean Pantheon of Gods  Burial Practices
 Block Gods  Nabataean Zodiac
 Making Sense of Middle Eastern Religion  Forms of Worship
 Deifying Leaders  Pre-Islamic Gods in Arabia

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