My broad research area is Babylonian and Assyrian intellectual history, literature and religion, with an emphasis on the late second and first millennia BC. I specialize in the evolution of cuneiform scholarship, particularly in response to cultural and political change in Babylonia. My interests also extend into the wider ancient Middle East.
My last monograph (published by OUP) presents a critical edition and contextual study of an Akkadian calendar treatise composed in Babylon, probably in the Hellenistic period. My book explores the use and adaptation of traditional material relating to political history, mythology, astrology, ritual and hermeneutics, and situates this in the context of late cuneiform scholarship under imperial rule.
In addition to my ongoing work on Late Babylonian scholarship, the longer-term development of Akkadian hymns focusing on particular cities is another facet of my research.
Religion, literature, and scholarship in the Late Babylonian period: exegetic traditions
Cuneiform reception of Enūma eliš, the Babylonian 'Epic of Creation' (Library of Akkadian Poetry)
Akkadian city hymns
Elementary Akkadian: language and texts
Advanced Akkadian: language and texts
Mesopotamian cultural and historical topics
Religions and Mythologies of the Ancient Middle East
2017. ‘Prayer and Praise in the City of Assur’. In Heffron, Y., Stone, A. B., and M. J. Worthington (eds), At the Dawn of History: Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honour of J. N. Postgate, 797-811. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.
2018. Contributor, 'Epic of Gilgamesh' in Bragg, M., and S. Tillotson, In Our Time: Celebrating Twenty Years of Essential Conversation, 270-78. London: Simon & Schuster UK.
2019. A Babylon Calendar Treatise: Scholars and Invaders in the Late First Millennium BC: Edited with Introduction, Commentary, and Cuneiform Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press: ISBN: 9780199539949 (2019 UK; 2020 USA).
2021. 'Politics, cult, and scholarship: Aspects of the transmission history of Marduk and Ti'amat's battle', in Kelly, A., and C. Metcalf (eds), Gods and Mortals in Early Greek and Near Eastern Mythology, 58-79. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: ISBN: 9781108480246.
2022. ‘Cuneiform myths and epics in the Ancient Near East’, in Dell, K. J. (ed.), The Biblical World, 255-78. 2nd revised ed. London and New York: Routledge: ISBN: 9781138932920.
2016. BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time: The Epic of Gilgamesh’ with Melvin Bragg: Guest speaker with Andrew George and Martin Worthington. Episode voted into Listeners’ Top 10 to mark 750th edition. Live broadcast and podcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b080wbrq
2018. Canadian Broadcasting Corportion: Interview on Gilgamesh.
2019. ‘Cuneiform Discoveries from Ancient Babylon’, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford: Humanities Light Night - Oxford Research Unwrapped! Talk and podcast: https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/people/frances-reynolds
Oxford University Students' Union: Teaching Award nomination (2017).
Humanities Division: Award of the title of Associate Professor (2021)
Recent Doctoral Students
Adam Howe, The Experience and Removal of Impurity in Ancient Mesopotamia. Supervisor. Awarded, University of Oxford 2021.
Bernardo Ballesteros Petrella, Divine Assemblies in Ancient Near Eastern and Early Greek Narrative Poetry. Co-supervisor with Dr Adrian Kelly. Awarded, University of Oxford 2017.
L. Selena Wisnom, Intertextuality in Babylonian Narrative Poetry: Anzû, Enūma Elish, and Erra and Ishum. Supervisor. Awarded, University of Oxford 2015.
Peerapat Ouysook, Make Babylon Great Again: an exploration of Nebuchadnezzar II's political ideology as seen through the composition of his inscriptions. Examiner with Professor Michael Jursa, Wien. Awarded, University of Cambridge 2021.
Nadia Ait Said-Ghanem, Sentence Types and Word-Order Patterns in Old Babylonian Omen Texts: An Investigation of Akkadian using Arabic Grammatical Theory. Examiner with Professor Philip Jaggar, SOAS. Awarded, SOAS 2019.
Eva Miller, Enemy Punishment and the Creation of the Assyrian World: Ashurbanipal's Teumman-Dunanu Narratives in Reliefs, Epigraphs, and Prisms. Examiner with Professor Marian Feldman, Johns Hopkins. Awarded, University of Oxford 2018.
Moudhy Al-Rashid, Mental Symptoms in the Akkadian Diagnostic Handbook: A study of patterns in the description of depression, anxiety, and madness. Examiner with Dr Mark Weeden, SOAS. Awarded, University of Oxford 2015.