Karel van der Toorn, born in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1956. Ph.D. from the VU University, Amsterdam. Professor of History of Ancient Religions and the History of Israelite Religion at Leiden University.
Fellow (1 September 1994 – 30 June 1995)
I came to NIAS, first and foremost, to write a monograph on the topic of family religion in the ancient Near East. I had been working on the subject for some five years, but never had the opportunity to turn my earlier publications and observations into a structured and comprehensive book. In addition to the peace and quiet which I had been looking forward to, NIAS provided me with a climate of intellectual impetus compared to which that of the university paled. The presence of the theme group on “Magic and Religion in the Ancient Near East” turned out to be very important. From the beginning, the group functioned as a kind of hot-house for ideas. Much of the work I personally did could be discussed during our weekly sessions. It is difficult to imagine a better and more stimulating environment for one’s research.