Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies

Prof PS Vermaak

College of Human Sciences
School of Humanities
Department: Biblical and Ancient Studies
Tel: 012 429 6882
Fax: 012 429 4495


  • DLitt et Phil (Unisa),
  • MA (Stell) & BA Hons (Stell) & BTheol (Stell)
  • BA (UOFS)

Fields of academic interests

  • Ancient Gateways of the Ancient Near East
  • Ancient Sports & Games
  • Cultural background of the Bible

Field of Specialisation

  • Semitic Languages of the Ancient Middle East
  • Ancient Mesopotamia (Neo-Sumerian)
  • Ancient Egypt (Persian period)
  • Middle Eastern Politics


Book chapters:

  • “Relations between Babylonian and the Levant during the Kassite period”, Leick, G (ed), The Babylonian World. 2007. London Routledge: pp 515-526.
  • "Die Ou Testamentiese agtergrond van die Boek Openbaring" in Zeeman (1992).  Die wêreld van die boek Openbaring. Pretoria: Handeling vir die Bybelskool, 1-10.
  • Amos vir vandag; 'n handleiding. 1992. Pretoria: Moreletapark Bybelskool.
  • "Board Games in Mesopotamia", in G. Pfister, Speile der Welt/Games of the World, Berlin, Germany, 116-125.
  • "The meaning of pesha in the book of Amos", D Assaf (ed.), Proceedings of the Eleventh World congress of Jewish Studies: Division A: The Bible and its world, Jerusalem, 1994, 107-114.
  • "The contest theme in the seals from Mesopotamia" in A T Gonzales (ed.): Sport and Contest, Madrid, Spain, 1993, 47-69. 

Journal articles

  • “Foreign triangle in southern Mesopotamia” Journal for Semitics, Volume 21/1 (2012), pp 17-30 .
  • “The Mesopotamian gardens and the cuneiform sign BARA2”, Journal for Semitics, Volume 20/2 (2011), pp 1-16.
  • “Guabba, the Meluhhan village in Mesopotamia” ”, Journal for Semitics, Volume 17/2 (2008), pp 553-570.
  • “A new interpretation of the playing objects in the Gilgamesh epic”, Journal for Semitics, Volume 20/1 (2011), pp 109-138.
  • “The Babylonian gateway during the Kassite period” Journal for Semitics Volume 15/2 (2006), pp 521-543.
  • “Charactersitics of the non-royal non-literary UR III documents”, Journal for Semitics, Volume 11 (1998-2002), pp 175-210.
  • “Ashera, the mother goddess and  ashera, the game board”, Journal for Semitics, Volume 10 (1998-2001), pp 43-71.
  • “Ancient Near Eastern culture: a conceptual basis for a distance education course”, Progressio, Volume 17/2 (1995), pp. 156-166
  • “The mother goddess and her games/gaming connection: an iconographic study, Journal for Semitics, Volume 7/1 (1995), pp. 16-19.
  • “Abi-simti: a Semitic matriarch in Sumer”, Journal of Northwest Semitic languages, Volume 21/2 (1995), pp. 105-122.
  • “The Sumerian gešpú-lirùm-ma, Nikephoros (Hildesheim, Germany), Volume 7 (1994), 65-82.
  • “Die rol van die tempel in Mesopotamië” Journal for Semitics, Vol 6/1 (1994), 14-32.
  • “The prowess of the Benjaminites” in Jewish Bible Quarterley (Jerusalem) Vol 22/1 (1994), 73-84.  It will be reprinted in “Tribesman” (Israel).
  • “Šulgi as sportsman in the Sumerian self-laudatory royal hymns” in Nikephoros (Hildesheim, Germany), Vol 6 (1993/1994), 7-21.
  • "Die posisie van die tempel in Mesopotamië",  Journal for Semitics, Vol 4/1 (1992): 51-80.
  • "The relevance of administrative documents for writing Ancient Mesopotamian history" Journal for Semitics, Vol.3/1 (1991): 85-104.
  • Die rol van die groot families in die Ur III-periode", Journal for Semitics, Vol. 2/1 (1990): 112-124.
  • Several articles in popular journals relating to the Ancient Near East

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

  • 2001-2006: member of the Steering Committee of the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (RAI - International Society for Assyriology and Near Eastern Archaeology) and also hostED the 50th RAI from 2-6 August 2004 at Skukuza, Kruger National Park with the theme: “Fauna and Flora in the Ancient Near East”. Academics  of more than 20 countries particiapation in this congress on their own costs.
  • Founding member of the International Association for Assyriologists (IAA) (2003)
  • Variety of bursaries awarded for research abroad
  • Co-Chairperson two terms for the national society of Southern African society for Near Eastern Studies.
  • Chairperson and founder of the Ancient Egyptian and Near eastern Society since 2002
  • Co-editor for the accredited Journal for Semitics for eight years
  • Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church since 1983.
  • Developed a new course at Unisa in Ancient Near Eastern Studies.
  • Conducted various academic Middle Eastern tours for students to Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
  • Near Eastern analyst on modern Middle East matters in various media.


  • Western Desert in the Persian Period
  • Ancient Gateways in the ancient Near East
  • Fayum in Ancient Egypt