Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Whoever Saves a Life Saves the World"

PHILOLOGOS: The Origins of the Precept "Whoever Saves a Life Saves the World." And what they tell us about particularism and universalism in Jewish tradition (Mosaic Magazine).
An Islamic principle? Isn’t the precept cited by Saleh, the startled reader asks, a Jewish one, one of the noblest of its kind, found in the Mishnah as well as other talmudic-period texts? How can it be claimed for the Quran, which was written in the 7th century after the entire Talmud was redacted?

And yet Saleh was not making it up. In the 32nd verse of the fifth Sura, or chapter, of the Quran is a retelling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. ...
There follows a wending journey through medieval Mishnah manuscripts and back to the Qur'an.

This essay is from October of 2016. This was before I noticed Philologos's new home at Mosaic, so I missed it. Here it is now.

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Lombatti: The Shroud of Turin is still a forgery

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION: The Shroud Is Just Another Hoax Forged During the Middle Ages (Antonio Lombatti).

Past PaleoJudaica posts on the Shroud of Turin are here with many links. Professor Lombatti has been writing on the Shroud for many years.

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Ascension of Isaiah 6-11

READING ACTS: Christian Visions and the Ascension of Isaiah. Phil Long has a second post on the Ascension of Isaiah as part of his ongoing series on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. For the preceding post on the Ascension of Isaiah, along with my comments see here. And follow the links from there for earlier posts in the series.

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YHWH and Dionysus?

THE ASOR BLOG: Were YHWH and Dionysus Once the Same God? This essay sounds wildly speculative to me, although I concede that a blog post is not an adequate venue for a full defense of it. But I'm going to wait until the case passes muster in a peer-review journal before I take much notice of it.

Meanwhile, I don't doubt that there will a response from others in the Blogosphere. I'll let you know when I hear of something and you please do likewise.

UPDATE: A reader has pointed out the article (published in JSOT) on which the essay is based: Was YHWH worshipped in the Aegean? You can read it at Okay, fair enough. It has been published in a peer-review journal. It will be interesting to see what responses it receives.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Online database of Jewish art

DIGITAL ARCHIVE: Hebrew U Launches World’s Largest Jewish Art Index (JNi.Media).
The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art is a collection of digitized images and information about Jewish artifacts from all over the world. The online collection includes more than 260,000 images of objects and artifacts from 700 museums, synagogues and private collections in 41 different countries, as well as architectural drawings of 1,500 synagogues and Jewish ritual buildings from antiquity to the modern day.
The site can be accessed here. There are many sub-categories in the collection. There are also many indices. Especially interesting for the purposes of PaleoJudaica is the section on Ancient Jewish Art. It has two sections, one with 3428 images and the other with 310 objects.

This will be a very useful resource for the study of Jewish art in all periods.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

On the hoarding of DNA-rich ancient bones

OSTEOLOGY: Stop hoarding ancient bones, plead archaeologists. Scientists call for wider access to rare samples rich in DNA (Ewen Callaway, Nature).
The quest to chronicle the past using DNA from ancient humans and animals has become a cut-throat ‘game of bones’, in which a handful of genetics laboratories are hoarding precious samples, three archaeologists charge in a 9 August letter to Nature.

The scientists call for more careful stewardship of DNA-rich bone specimens to ensure that they remain available to multiple research teams to study. They point to the example of a newly established centre in Israel that will act as a national clearing house to curate animal bones from archaeological sites, so that many researchers can access samples for genetic analysis.

Did you know what part of the body preserves DNA the best? This article will tell you.

Genetic analysis is becoming ever more important for the study of the ancient past. Some examples from the last couple of years are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and links.

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The Ascension of Isaiah: unity and provenance

READING ACTS: The Martyrdom of Isaiah (Phil Long).
The first five chapters of this work are a Jewish expansion of 2 Kings, detailing the martyrdom of Isaiah. Chapters 6-11 are a Christian work which detail Isaiah’s ascension through the seven heavens. This section is akin to the apocalyptic literature of Enoch in that Isaiah’s soul is ushered through various stages of heaven. Each section is a composite of various sources. This complicates the dating of the book. The Jewish section was likely written in Hebrew and translated into Greek. Hebrews 11 appears to refer to the martyrdom of Isaiah (“some were sawn asunder”) or the same tradition that Isaiah the prophet was martyred by being sawn in half. This would imply a date prior to the late first century.

This was the state of the question until the early 1980s. But more recent scholarship on the Ascension of Isaiah (the preferred title now) doubts this division into a Jewish source and a Christian source. Rather, it seems to be a single second-century Christian composition. The work by Mauro Pesce, Enrico Norelli. et al., is in French and Italian, and so has not always received adequate attention in the English-speaking world. The work in English by Robert Hall and Jonathan Knight has also been important. Richard Bauckham has also published on this text and he surveys the major issues in his article "The Ascension of Isaiah: Genre, Unity and Date," which you can read part of here. See also Darrel Hannah's article, Isaiah's vision in the ascension of Isaiah and the early church.

For notice of past posts in Phil Long's ongoing series on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, start here and follow the links.

UPDATE: At the Vridar Blog, Neil Godfrey has summarized some of Norelli's work on the Ascension of Isaiah.

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Reform or repeal of the Fiscus Iudaicus under Nerva?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Roman Emperor Nerva’s Reform of the Jewish Tax. How Jews and Christians became further differentiated under Nerva (Nathan T. Elkins).
The coins of Nerva have sometimes been interpreted as evidence of the abolition or partial repeal of the Fiscus Iudaicus by him.2 But a strong case can be made that the coins instead celebrated a reform of the tax rather than its abolition. After all, ostraca from Egypt indicate that Jews there paid the tax at least through Trajan’s reign (98–117 C.E.).3 The meaning of the coin can be sharpened as referring to the charge of atheism and the harsh prosecutions that resulted in death and/or the confiscation of property of that second group of people prosecuted by the tax under Domitian: Jewish sympathizers and gentile Christians, as these appear to have been the new victims in Domitian’s reign.
This essay was first published in 2014, but I seem to have missed it at the time.

I noted a book on the Fiscus Iudaicus here some years ago.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

One letter can make a big difference

PALEOLOGRAPHY: Alphabet Soup in Dead Sea Scrolls Opens a Window to an Ancient Hebrew World. With a little help from his wife, researcher Alexey Yuditsky substituted one letter for another and got a lesson on the expulsion of man from the Garden of Eden (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
Yuditsky says his wife proposed that if this was the story of the Garden of Eden, then one of the words he didn’t understand, dalal (thin out) should be kalal (curse). The problem was that the letter involved looked like a dalet (ד) or a resh (ר), not a qoph (ק) as kalal would seem to require.

Sure enough, things made more sense when he substituted a qoph for a dalet or a resh in a few cases. The qoph he found was part of a little-known Hebrew alphabet. Later, the researchers viewed the Israel Antiquity Authority’s new photographs of the Dead Sea Scrolls – a product of multispectral photography that can reveal letters invisible to the human eye.

Understanding the use of the qoph and examining the new photographs allowed Yuditsky to decipher 25 words from the scroll.
(This is a premium Haaretz article, so you may need a (free) registration to view it.)

The revived paleo-Hebrew script of the Second Temple and Roman periods can be difficult to understand. And surprisingly often with the fragmentary Dead Sea Scrolls, the proper reading of a single letter, or even a single blank space, can be of significant aid for deciphering the text. For another example, see my story about 4QGenesisj here.

Bit by bit, a letter (or blank space!) at a time, whatever it takes. Until we're done.

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More on the Reina stone-vessel workshop

ARCHAEOLOGY: Ancient Stone Workshop Sheds New Light on Roman-era Galilee Jews' Faith. Turns out Galilee Jews were as devout as their Judean counterparts ■ Chalk cave could be source of stone jars whose water Jesus turned into wine at nearby Kafr Kana. (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).

Much of this article recaps earlier reports on the story, sometimes with additional details. I do not post it because of any speculative connection between this workshop and the stone vessels in the water-into-wine story. I would not get too excited about that. But the article does have a worthwhile discussion of the importance of stone vessels for ritual purity in Second Temple Judaism.
Stone is heavy, chalkstone is absorbent and it’s no walk in the park to clean. This adoption of this considerable inconvenience was apparently based on evolving thought about purity, originating with a curious omission in the Bible’s Book of Leviticus, explains Yonatan Adler of Ariel University, director of the excavations for the IAA.
Read on.

Background here.

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More 19th-century correspondence on the LXX

WILLIAM ROSS: A LETTER OF H. REDPATH. William publishes some correspondence relating to a Septuagint concordance project.

For his posts on some other LXX-related correspondence from the same period, see here.

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Numismatic evidence of Hannibal's defeat

PUNIC WATCH: Roman coins show evidence of Hannibal's defeat, scientists say (The Telegraph).
Study co-leader Dr Katrin Westner, of Goethe University in Frankfurt, Gemrany, said: "Before the war we find that the Roman coins are made of silver from the same sources as the coinage issued by Greek cities in Italy and Sicily.

"In other words the lead isotope signatures of the coins correspond to those of silver ores and metallurgical products from the Aegean region.

"But the defeat of Carthage led to huge reparation payments to Rome, as well as Rome gaining high amounts of booty and ownership of the rich Spanish silver mines.

"From 209BC we see that the majority of Roman coins show geochemical signatures typical for Iberian silver.

"This massive influx of Iberian silver significantly changed Rome's economy, allowing it to become the superpower of its day.

"We know this from the histories of Livy and Polybius and others, but our work gives contemporary scientific proof of the rise of Rome.
Cross-file under Numismatics and Technology Watch.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Crowdsourcing the Cairo Geniza

GENIZA WATCH: This Amazing Project Invites The Public To Help Unlock Medieval Jewish Documents (Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, The Forward). And be sure and watch the video on the work of Professor Marina Rustow.

It happens that this summer I have been working on material from the Cairo Geniza. I have been deciphering and translating the main Judeo-Arabic manuscript of the Talmudic-era Hebrew magical treatise Sefer HaRazim ("The Book of the Mysteries"). Judeo-Arabic is Arabic written in Hebrew letters. The two alphabets match up very imperfectly, so it is quite a challenge.

This work is contributing to my English translation of Sepher HaRazim for volume two of the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project.

A post on the Princeton Geniza Project from some years ago is here. For other and more recent posts on digitizing the Cairo Geniza, start here and follow the links. From this current article, it sounds as though they have made impressive progress.

For many other manuscript digitization projects, start here and here and follow the links.

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Mastrocinque, The Mysteries of Mithras

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: ATTILIO MASTROCINQUE The Mysteries of Mithras: A Different Account. 2017. XXI, 363 pages. Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 24, 99,00 €, cloth, ISBN 978-3-16-155112-3.
Published in English.
In this work, Attilio Mastrocinque cautions against an approach to Mithraism based on the belief that this mystic cult resembles Christianity. While both Christian and pagan authors testified that Mithraic elements were indeed borrowed, according to Attilio Mastrocinque this was only done by some gnostic Christians. He counters that Roman Empire ideology and religion provide better clues on how to approach the matter, contending too that Virgil proves to be more important than the Avesta in understanding Mithraic iconography. The meaning of the central scene – the Tauroctony – thus becomes clear when the Roman triumph's central act of bull sacrifice is thought of as just that, with Mithras playing the role of victor as author of this success. The episodes depicted on many reliefs relate to a prophecy known to Firmicus Maternus and other Christian polemists, and which foretold the coming of a saviour, i.e. the first emperor, when Saturn returns and Apollo-Mithras will rule.

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Brooke and Smithuis (eds.), Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
Studies in Honour of Philip S. Alexander

Edited by George J. Brooke and Renate Smithuis, The University of Manchester
In Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages fifteen scholars offer specialist studies on Jewish education from the areas of their expertise. This tightly themed volume in honour of Philip S. Alexander has some essays that look at individual manuscripts, some that consider larger literary corpora, and some that are more thematically organised.

Jewish education has been addressed largely as a matter of the study house, the bet midrash. Here a richer range of texts and themes discloses a wide variety of activity in several spheres of Jewish life. In addition, some notable non-Jewish sources provide a wider context for the discourse than is often the case.
Congratulations to Professor Alexander on this well-deserved honor.

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Engels, Benefactors, Kings, Rulers

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Studies on the Seleukid Empire between East and West. Notice of a new book: Engels, David. 2017. Benefactors, Kings, Rulers. Studies on the Seleukid Empire between East and West (Studia Hellenistica 57). Leuven: Peeters. Follow the link for ordering information and a description.

For some comments on the importance of the Seleucid (Seleukid) Empire for biblical studies, see here.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Chabad's citrons — archaeology to the rescue?

CITRON CATASTROPHE: As Italy’s citron crop fails, an archaeologist looks to fruit’s 2,500-year history in Israel. After a disastrous frost that looks to wipe out the majority of this year’s etrog yield, Chabad Jewry braces for a crisis ahead of the Feast of Tabernacles (Amanda Borschel-Dan).
The natural disaster, alongside the closure of the small family citron farms to make way for tourism, make for a dim future for Chabad Jews reliant on this citron, which has been grown in the region for at least 2,000 years.

So perhaps they should look to a place where they have been cultivated for even longer — Israel.

A recent study of the migration of citrus fruit to the Mediterranean region by Tel Aviv University Prof. Dafna Langgut illustrates through archaeobotanical proof that the citron first appeared in Israel, and only about 500 years later in Italy.

Langgut’s discipline of archaeobotany involves the identification of botanical remains in archeological contexts. In the case of the citron (Citrus medica), she and her team discovered pollen from the fruit in a private garden in Jerusalem which dates back to the First Temple period.
It is not clear to me whether Chabad is actually considering using Israeli citrons for Sukkot. The Calabrian ones were prescribed by their late leader Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, so there is considerable authority behind their use. But the losses of the Calabrian citron crop sound catastrophic. I suppose they may need to look to other options.

The discovery of ancient citron pollen at Ramat Rachel was noted here in 2012. For more on the Ramat Rachel excavation, see here and links. And I noted that recent study of the ancient use of citrus fruit, including citrons, here.

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Saving — and conserving — Mosul's manuscripts

SYRIAC (ETC.) WATCH: This priest preserves Iraqi culture found in historic manuscripts (Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency).
Since 1750 many antique manuscripts had been kept in the library of the Dominican monastery in Mosul. They were moved from the monastery starting in 2007, amid the backdrop of increased violence against Christians and other minorities at the hands of extremist groups. The documents include more than 25 subjects, including theology, philosophy, astronomy, medicine, history, and geography, many of which date back to the 10th, 11th, and 12th century in Aramaic, which is the language of Jesus Christ.
Regular readers may remember the story of the rescue of thousands of manuscrips from Mosul by Father Najeeb Michaeel and his colleagues. PaleoJudaica followed it here and here. This article covers those events. It also tells more about the contents of the manuscripts, which are written in "Syriac, Arabic, Turkish, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, and more." And it brings the story to the present. The rescuers and their coleagues have not been idle.
Rome hosted an exhibit and conference on just a small sample of the many photos and manuscripts June 10-17.

This exhibition was “just a small fragment of what we have in Iraq with respect to manuscripts and archives and materials and photos, because we have as well the largest deposit of photos in Iraq,” Najeeb explained.

The more than 10,000 photos “tell the story of the past: the face, the work and much more,” he continued. “Even the archaeology. And we have many archaeological documents in cuneiform as well, very ancient.”

Since 2009 the Dominicans in Iraq have also partnered with Benedictine monks, who also help with the supply of equipment and organizing internships.

Their internship program has about 10 young university students, Najeeb said, which provides “practical information for true professionals in the field of the restoration of manuscripts, for their protection and digitization, and also the process of storing them and protecting them with sophisticated technology to be able to officially protect them in a scientific way.”
Good news.

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The Talmud in Hungarian

TALMUD WATCH: Hungary Emissary Presents Netanyahu With Translated Talmud ( Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Budapest last week.
[Hungary Rabbi Shlomo] Koves presented netanyahu with a copy of the Hungarian Talmud, which was recently published weeks after a decade of work by Hungary’s chief Chabad emissary, Rabbi Boruch Oberlander.

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Jubilees: Isaac, Jacob, the Amorites, and Esau

READING ACTS: Expansions on the Stories of Isaac and Jacob in Jubilees 24-38. Phil Long continues his series on the Book of Jubilees as part of his larger series on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. For notice of past posts, start here and follow the links.

The stories of Judah's wars with the Amorites and with his brother Esau and Esau's sons, are not found in the Bible. But, as I have noted here, they do appear elsewhere.

Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Privatizing Israeli salvage archaeology?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Israel to Begin Privatizing Large-scale Archaeological Excavations. Senior archaeologists warn the decision will lead to unprecedented destruction of archaeological findings and serious harm to archaeology as a science in Israel. Netivei Israel, the company that normally handles salvage excavations, has some big projects coming up. So they are planning to privatize the process. But the IAA and others see problems.
The Antiquities Authority and university archeological institutes were shocked to discover the conditions included in the bidding process. The contractor is required to meet strict deadlines, for example in the Motza dig, the authority estimated just the initial stage would take about a year; while the tender requires the entire dig to be completed in seven months – with almost no taking into account of the findings. In addition, the experience required for the archeologist n charge of the excavation is minimal, only 10 squares over the past 10 years. Now the archeologist will be required to dig hundreds of squares in a few months. “It’s like taking a home renovator to build the runway at Ben-Gurion Airport,” said someone involved in the matter.

Another problem is that the tenders do not require the scientific publication of the findings, which means the results might not be available to scholars in the future, say archeologists. The bids also do not specify the depths of the excavations, giving the contractors an incentive to dig as little as possible and discover as little as possible to keep to the tight schedule.
I'm sure we'll hear more about this.

You may need a (free) registration with Haaretz to access this article.

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Collins, The Invention of Judaism

THE ASOR BLOG: The Invention of Judaism. Torah and Jewish Identity from Deuteronomy to Paul. John J. Collins gives us a preview of his new book. Excerpt:
The official status of the Torah after the time of Ezra did not entail that it was closely observed. Rather, it had iconic importance, in the sense that people revered it even if they did not pay much attention to its content. This iconic importance can be seen in the Book of Ben Sira, in the early second century BCE. Ben Sira declares that all wisdom is the Torah of Moses, but he does not engage it in any detail.

Attitudes to the Torah changed, however, after the attempt by Antiochus Epiphanes to suppress it. The Maccabees, and their descendants, the Hasmoneans, were not especially pious, but they insisted on the observance of those aspects of the Law that had symbolic importance. During the century of Hasmonean rule, we see a “halakic turn” in the emergence of literature such as the Temple Scroll and Jubilees, that engages the legal aspects of the Torah in great detail. We also see the rise of sectarianism, fueled by disagreements over the details of the Law, as can be seen especially in the Dead Sea Scroll called the Halakhic Letter (4QMMT).

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Jubilees: Abraham

READING ACTS: Expansions on the Story of Abraham in Jubilees 11-23. Phil Long gives us a nice summary of the section on Abraham in Jubilees.

A couple of past PaleoJudaic posts on the same subject are here and here.

Phil Long has been blogging on the Book of Jubilees as part of his series on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. For notice of past posts, start here and follow the links. Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.

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Goat's milk — A Talmudic remedy

TALMUD WATCH: How A Two Thousand Year Old Remedy Cured My Daughter (Ilana Kurshan, The Forward).
“Well,” he told me, “There is one proven remedy – you can give her fresh goat’s milk to drink. That works like a charm.” I looked at him like he was crazy. “Goat’s milk? Can I get that at the supermarket?”

“You can,” said the doctor, “But what you really want is the unpasteurized kind, and that you can only get from a farm. It’s best if they milk the goat for you, and then she drinks it right away, while it’s still warm.” I couldn’t really believe that my daughter’s recovery would come from squeezing the udders of a goat, and so I ran down the block to the pharmacy, where I was told the same thing. “Take her to a goat farm, and get her some fresh milk.” On the one hand, my heart was sinking – was there no other way to help my child? On the other hand, my mind was racing – now I was finally beginning to understand a Talmudic story that had long baffled me.
I post this because it is a good story that involves the Talmud. It is not medical advice. You should not look for medical advice from philologists.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Another Galilean stone-vessle workshop

ARCHAEOLOGY: Galilee Excavation Reveals 2,000 Year-Old Stone Vessel Workshop (JNi.Media).
A rare workshop for the production of chalkstone vessels, dated to the Roman period, is currently being excavated at Reina in Lower Galilee. The excavations are unearthing a small cave in which archaeologists have found thousands of chalkstone cores and other types of production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production.

The ancient site was uncovered during the course of construction work at a municipal sports center conducted by the Reina local council. This is the fourth workshop of its kind ever to have been uncovered in Israel; an additional workshop is currently being excavated near Reina, located one kilometer from the current site. The two remaining known sites were uncovered decades ago far to the south, in the Jerusalem area.

About a year ago there were reports of a stone-vessel workshop excavated in a cave in the Galilee. The name of that site was Einot Amitai. (See here and here.) Perhaps that is the other site, the one being excavated near Reina? In any case, both sites are producing some exciting finds.

For more on stoneworking in the Roman world, see here.

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The NLI Kitv Collection online

DIGITIZATION: Israel’s national library launches online database of Jewish manuscripts (Jewish News/
The National Library of Israel (NLI) has launched a massive online database of centuries-old Jewish manuscripts from across the world.

The archive is known as the “Ktiv: The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts.” Ktiv is Hebrew for “written word.” The archive contains nearly 4.5 million images from 45,000 manuscripts, including prayer books, biblical texts, commentary, philosophy, literature and scientific writings in various Jewish-related languages such as Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Judeo-Arabic. The Ktiv was launched at the opening of the World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem on Aug. 6.

Some examples of the contents:
According to the NLI, the digitized archive also contains the Leningrad Codex, writings from Maimonides, the Aleppo Codex, “some of the oldest extant Talmudic manuscripts, documents from the 13th century detailing struggles within the Yemenite Jewish community, [and] commercial and personal records chronicling Jewish life in Afghanistan in the 11th century.”
You can access the Ktiv Collection here. I ran a few searches on mystical and magical subjects. Not surprisingly, the searches yielded better results if I typed them in Hebrew rather than English. The listing of manuscripts looks vast and probably comprehensive, but the digitization itself is only well started.

This collection will be an increasingly important resources as it develops.

For many other manuscript digitization projects, start here and follow the links.

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More on the St. Catherine's Monastey palimpsests

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: The Invisible Poems Hidden in One of the World's Oldest Libraries. A new technique is revealing traces of lost languages that have been erased from ancient parchments (Richard Gray, The Atlantic).
For centuries they have gathered dust on the shelves of a library marooned in a rocky patch of Egyptian desert, their secrets lost in time. But now a collection of enigmatic manuscripts, carefully stored behind the walls of a 1,500-year-old monastery on the Sinai Peninsula, are giving up their treasures.

The library at Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest continually operating library in the world. Among its thousands of ancient parchments are at least 160 palimpsests—manuscripts that bear faint scratches and flecks of ink beneath more recent writing. These illegible marks are the only clues to words that were scraped away by the monastery’s monks between the 8th and 12th centuries to reuse the parchments. Some were written in long-lost languages that have almost entirely vanished from the historical record.

But now these erased passages are reemerging from the past. In an unlikely collaboration between an Orthodox wing of the Christian faith and cutting-edge science, a small group of international researchers are using specialized imaging techniques that photograph the parchments with different colors of light from multiple angles. This technology allows the researchers to read the original texts for the first time since they were wiped away, revealing lost ancient poems and early religious texts and doubling the known vocabulary of languages that have not been used for more than 1,000 years.

I noted this story back in March here, but this article has much more detail. For example, Caucasian Albanian is a language whose vocabulary has been been vastly expanded. (The article is not very clear on whether it has been doubled or increased by 50%, which are not the same thing.) There are also new discoveries in Christian Palestinian Aramaic. And then there is the Syriac Galen palimpsest, on which more here, here, and here. And there is more, so read the article

For other past PaleoJudaica posts on palimpsests, start here and follow the links.

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Jubilees 1-10

READING ACTS: From Creation to Flood – Jubilees 1-10. Another post in Phil Long's series on the Book of Jubilees, which is part of his much longer series on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. For both, start here and follow the links.

Past PaleoJudaica posts on the relationship between the Watchers, the giants, and the demons (and the role of the last in the New Testament) are here, here, here, here, here, and links. Dr. Who and Sauron come up as well.

Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.

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