Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Excavating a new Qumran cave

ARCHAEOLOGY: Could This Newfound Cave Hold More Dead Sea Scrolls? (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
Archaeologists are excavating a newfound cave in Qumran, with the hope of finding new Dead Sea Scrolls.

[...]

Hebrew University archaeologist Oren] Gutfeld and Randall Price, of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, are now leading an archaeology team that is excavating this newfound cave.

"Dr. Gutfeld and I have been at Qumran since December, working with our team on excavating a new cave in the Qumran area," Price told Live Science in an email. No other details about this "new cave" have been released, but the team will release a statement soon, Price said.

[...]
Presumably there was something about this cave that led the excavators to think it was likely to have more scrolls in it. I look forward to more details.

Background on the so-called Qumran Cave 12, which only produced a piece of blank parchment, is here.

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

Daf Yomi begins Avodah Zarah

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: The Talmud’s Revenge Fantasies. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the oft-banned tractate that indulges a God ‘making sport’ with the enemies of a persecuted and oppressed people.
This week, Daf Yomi readers began Tractate Avodah Zarah, the section of the Talmud devoted to the laws forbidding idolatry. As we already learned in Tractate Sanhedrin, avodah zarah—literally, “strange worship”—is one of the most serious sins in Jewish law. Not only are Jews who worship other gods liable to be stoned to death, but Jews must avoid even mentioning the names of those gods, in accordance with Exodus 23:13: “Make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard out of your mouth.” In the Roman Empire, where images of gods were omnipresent and pagan festivals governed the calendar, this would have presented a constant challenge.

[...]
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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

Truth, Lies, and Language Conference

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT:
Truth, Lies, and Language in Ancient Mediterranean Religion

March 11 - 13, 2018
University of California, Davis

“Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech” (Gen. 11:7)

How did Jews, Christians, and others in the ancient Mediterranean world understand each other? What did they think about the possibilities of communication across the different languages and cultures around them? What made something true, believable—or suspect?

The Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies at UC Davis are proud to host an international conference on concepts of religious language, particularly issues of credibility, propaganda, and translation between languages and cultures in the ancient world, with a focus on Jewish and Christian texts of the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Local faculty, graduate students, and invited guests will spend three days discussing the possibilities of communication and credibility—issues that seem particularly salient in today’s political climate, but were no less vital in the ancient world.

We would be happy if you would join us. The conference is free and open to the public. To view the list of attendees, find the conference schedule, or contact the organizers, please visit our website:

www.truthliesandlanguage.com

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

More on the Museum of the Bible from Mosaic

MOSAIC MAGAZINE has now published two responses to its earlier review of the Museum of the Bible by Diane Muir Appelbaum, which I linked to here.

Biblical Illiteracy = Cultural Illiteracy. The Bible molded modern English and shaped American society and culture. Now, as attacks on the Museum of the Bible suggest, it has been cripplingly tossed aside (Edward Rothstein).

The Bible Has Long Deserved a Museum. Now it Finally Has One. Anyone expecting to find a politicized museum dedicated to hot-button “culture-war” issues needs to look elsewhere than the new Museum of the Bible (Peter Wehner).

For past posts on the Museum of the Bible and related matters, start here and follow the many links.

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

Orion Newsletter 23 (2017)

THE ORION CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND ASSOCIATED LITERATURE in Jerusalem has published Orion Newsletter 23 (2017). When you click on the link the current newsletter comes up as a pdf file ready to download. You can also download earlier newsletters from the same link. The last one I noted on PaleoJudaica was the one for 2015. The 2016 newsletter is here.

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

Newly deciphered calendrical DSS

RECONSTRUCTED AND DECODED: UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA RESEARCHERS DECIPHER MYSTERIOUS DEAD SEA SCROLL. “An important peculiarity of the present discovery is the fact that the [Qumran] sect followed a 364-day calendar" (Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post).
They [the Qumran sect] wrote numerous scrolls, a small number of them in code – including the 60 relics on parchment that Dr. Eshbal Ratson and Prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov of Haifa University’s Department of Bible Studies were able to translate.

The researchers spent a year painstakingly studying the tiny fragments from the second-to-last scroll, some which measured smaller than one square centimeter.

“The reward for their hard work is fresh insight into the unique 364-day calendar used by the members of the Judean Desert sect, including the discovery for the first time of the name given by the sect to the special days marking the transitions between the four seasons,” the university said in a statement on Sunday.

Although an earlier researcher who examined the 60 pieces postulated that they came from several different scrolls, Ratson and Ben-Dov proved in an article recently published in the Journal of Biblical Literature that the fragments actually constitute a single scroll.
The JBL article is available on JSTOR, but only to subscribers. The abstract is at the link.
A Newly Reconstructed Calendrical Scroll from Qumran in Cryptic Script
Eshbal Ratzon and Jonathan Ben-Dov
Journal of Biblical Literature
Vol. 136, No. 4 (Winter 2017), pp. 905-936
Bit by bit, a letter at a time, whatever it takes. Until we're done.

UPDATE: The JBL article is available at Academia.edu here. HT Joseph I. Lauer.

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Lifta update

CONSERVATION CONTROVERSY CONTINUED: EXCLUSIVE: The archaeological report Israel wants to bury. A survey obtained by i24NEWS warns Lifta, a unique heritage site, could be destroyed (Maya Margit). If Israel wants to bury the report, they haven't done too well so far. Haaretz got hold of a copy more than a year ago and publicized it then. I noted that story here. A key issue is that the site turned out to have been inhabited earlier than anyone thought – as early as the Hellenistic period.

Still the i24 article is longer and a bit more detailed. But the most important thing we learn from it is that the matter is not yet resolved. The ILA's development plan for the village is still active, but it appears none of it has been implemented. Watch this space.

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

Climate change and the fall of the Roman Empire

LARRY HURTADO: “The Fate of Rome”: Kyle Harper’s New Book.
The book focuses on a period later than my own competence, and so later than the stated focus of this blog site, but Kyle Harper’s most recent tome is just so good that I have to mention it: The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Princeton University Press, 2017). The publisher’s online catalog entry here.

[...]
Cross-file under New Book.

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

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Podcast interview with Patrick Hunt

PUNIC WATCH: What Can An Ancient General Teach Us About Modern Leadership? Patrick N. Hunt discusses his new book on Hannibal and how much of his success was based on solid financing. (Knowledge@Wharton, ValueWalk).
Few military leaders hold as much allure for historians as Hannibal Barca of Carthage (today’s Tunisia). Born in 247 B.C., he is still studied today because of his unparalleled ability to strategize and get inside the mind of his opponent in battle. Archaeologist Patrick N. Hunt, who had been the director of Stanford’s Alpine Archaeology Project, has written a new book about the legendary figure that is simply titled Hannibal. He joined the Knowledge@Wharton show on SiriusXM channel 111 to explain why Hannibal was so intriguing and why his story still endures. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
For more on Dr. Hunt's new book and his research, see here and links.

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Interview with Josephine Quinn

PHOENICIAN WATCH: Books interview: Josephine Quinn. The historian and author of In Search of the Phoenicians on reading the Bible under the blankets, DIY Latin lessons and the keys to unlocking the ancient world (Times Higher).

For more on Professor Quinn's new book etc., see here and links.

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

Inside Higher Ed. reviews Bible Nation

RELIGION PROF: Bible Nation around the Blogosphere. James McGrath notes, inter alia, a review of Moss and Baden, Bible Nation by Scott McLemee in Inside Higher Ed.

For past posts on Bible Nation, the Museum of the Bible, and related matters, start here and follow the many links.

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

Review of Bar-Asher Siegal et al., Perceiving the Other

REVIEWS OF BIBLICAL AND EARLY CHRISTIAN STUDIES: Perceiving the Other.
2017.12.29 | Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Wolfgang Grünstäudl, and Matthew Thiessen, eds. Perceiving the Other in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. WUNT 394. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

Reviewed by Max Botner, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main.


Scholars of religion are becoming increasingly attuned to the ways in which groups represent and conceive of the “other.”

As Johnathan Z. Smith notes, “While the ‘other’ may be perceived as being LIKE-US or NOT-LIKE-US, he is in fact most problematic when he is TOO-MUCH-LIKE-US, or when he claims to BE-US”.[1] The task of the present volume—which grew out of a colloquium at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev—is to explore this “problematic” space in the literary production of ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

[...]
I noted the publication of the book here and here.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tickets on sale for Denver DSS exhibit

COMING SOON: TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS EXHIBIT IN DENVER (Sadye Hazan, 303 Magazine).
Tickets are now on sale for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, which is coming to Denver on March 16, 2018, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. ...
And here's one bit of information about the exhibition:
For the first 10 scrolls [of 20 total that will be displayed], the one piece that has never been seen in public is scroll 4Q247 Tohorot (Purities) A. This scroll discusses purity and people in the Second Temple period and how they strove to preserve the community’s purity. The scrolls will be on display in a massive, dramatic exhibit case with carefully regulated individual chambers with a transcript of the scrolls in English (since the scrolls were originally written in Hebrew).
The show opens on 16 March.

Background here. Other important scrolls-related goings-on in Denver were noted here.

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Wandrey (ed.), Jewish Manuscript Cultures

OPEN-ACCESS BOOK FROM DE GRUYTER: Jewish Manuscript Cultures. New Perspectives. Ed. by Wandrey, Irina. Series: Studies in Manuscript Cultures 13.
Aims and Scope
Hebrew manuscripts are considered to be invaluable documents and artefacts of Jewish culture and history. Research on Hebrew manuscript culture is progressing rapidly and therefore its topics, methods and questions need to be enunciated and reflected upon.

The case studies assembled in this volume explore various fields of research on Hebrew manuscripts. They show paradigmatically the current developments concerning codicology and palaeography, book forms like the scroll and codex, scribes and their writing material, patrons, collectors and censors, manuscript and book collections, illuminations and fragments, and, last but not least, new methods of material analysis applied to manuscripts.

The principal focus of this volume is the material and intellectual history of Hebrew book cultures from antiquity to the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, its intention being to heighten and sharpen the reader’s understanding of Jewish social and cultural history in general.
The TOC is here. For you, special deal!

HT Michelle Chesner, Library Lorax via AJR Twitter.

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More on the palaeographic dating of NT etc. manuscripts

FURTHER TO THIS POST, two more recent blog posts deal with the problem of the palaeographic (paleographic) dating of early Christian manuscripts.

Larry Hurtado: My List of Second/Third Century Manuscripts.

ETC Blog: Justified Commitment Issues in Dating P.Egerton 2 + P.Köln VI 255 (and Other Literary Papyri).

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

Chaverdi, Callieri, and Callieri, Persepolis West

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Persepolis West (Fars, Iran). Notice of a new book, an archaeological report on the Persepolis excavation:
Askari Chaverdi, Alireza & Pierfrancesco Callieri. 2017. Persepolis West (Fars, Iran): Report on the field work carried out by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission in 2008–2009 (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2870). BAR Publishing.
Follow the link for a description. Note that in this case "BAR" does not stand for Biblical Archaeology Review, which also uses that acronym.

For past PaleoJudaica posts on ancient Persepolis (some of whose artifacts have been the subject of an important legal case in America for years), start here and follow the links.

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

Friday, January 19, 2018

A potsherd with an image from the Parthenon?

ANCIENT CERAMIC ART: ISRAEL: ANCIENT VASE SHOWING GREEK GODS DISCOVERED IN BIBLICAL SITE WHERE JESUS MAY HAVE PERFORMED MIRACLES (Kastalia Medrano, Newsweek).
Archaeologists in northern Israel discovered an ancient Italian vase featuring an image originally found on the Parthenon in Athens. The location where it was unearthed was once the biblical kingdom of Geshur, according to Haaretz. The site might also correspond to a second biblical location—a mysterious town referenced in the New Testament.

The archaeologists discovered the ceramic artifact at e-Tell, which sits about a mile north of the Sea of Galilee. E-Tell is among the leading contenders to be the original site of the biblical town Bethsaida, purportedly the hometown of apostles Philip, Andrew and Peter, according to Haaretz.

[...]
Classicist David Meadows is skeptical of the identification of the image with the one from the Parthenon: ‘Parthenon Pediment’ Image from Bethsaida: Yeah … about that. This is well outside my field of expertise, so I do not have a view myself.

For the proposed identifications of the site of Bethsaida, see here and follow the links. The site of el-Araj is also a contender. Again, the question is outside my expertise. I blog, you decide.

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

About that mysterious "Hebrew" fragment

ARAMAIC WATCH? A Proposed Reading of a New Aramaic Fragment. As an update to my earlier post Mysterious Hebrew fragment from Oxyrhynchus, I note that Jim West has posted a communication from Richard Steiner which proposes to read the mystery fragment as Aramaic.

For more on Professor Steiner's work, see here.

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Rupschus, Frauen in Qumran

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR-SIEBECK: NICOLE RUPSCHUS, Frauen in Qumran. [Women in Qumran.] 2017. XII, 335 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 457. 84,00 €. sewn paper. ISBN 978-3-16-155647-0.
Published in German.
Nicole Rupschus touches upon classical and current issues in Qumran research relating to the community’s inhabitants, the intention of its texts, and the source value of the Essenes accounts to discover the role played by women. Her consideration of three important elements – the archaeology, the sectarian texts found in caves near and next to Qumran, and the ancient accounts of the Essenes – are vital in enabling her to draw conclusions about the skeletons of women and children found in burial grounds. Other focal points are the Damascus and Serekh texts as well as the Rule of the Congregation, the connections between them, and their assignments to the community. Together with a final content analysis of the ancient Essene texts, a fresh image of women is revealed that opens up new perspectives in Qumran research.

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

The decipherment of the Rosetta Stone

EGYPTOLOGY PHILOLOGY:The Quest to Decipher the Rosetta Stone (Evan Andrews, History.com). An oft-told story, but always worth hearing again.

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

AJR Forum in Honor of Ben Wright

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: A Genius for Mentorship: A Forum in Honor of Ben Wright on his 65th Birthday (Francis Borchardt and Eva Mroczek). So far there are ten essays posted. Follow the first link above for abstracts or excerpts of each.

INTRODUCTION TO A GENIUS FOR MENTORSHIP: A FORUM IN HONOR OF BEN WRIGHT ON HIS 65TH BIRTHDAY
by Francis Borchardt and Eva Mroczek

DAY ONE:
VOICE AND PRESENCE IN THE GENESIS APOCRYPHON
by Jacqueline Vayntrub

BEN SIRA AS A BABY: THE ALPHABET OF BEN SIRA AND AUTHORIAL PERSONAE
by Jillian Stinchcomb

THE ROLE OF WISDOM FOR THE SCRIBE AND SCHOLAR
by James Tucker

DAY TWO:
THE TRANSLATION OF THE TORAH IN ALEXANDRIA AND THE RELEVANCE OF THE ROSETTA STONE
by Stewart Moore

EMULATION IN BEN SIRA AND ITS HELLENISTIC CONTEXT
by Elisa Uusimäki

ERASING THE HYPHEN FROM THE STUDY OF EARLY JUDAISM
by Francis Borchardt

DAY THREE:
EDUCATION AS DEMONSTRATED AND EDUCATION AS DISCUSSED IN THE LETTER OF ARISTEAS
by Jason M. Zurawski

SOLOMON, THE SEPTUAGINT, AND SECOND TEMPLE STUDIES
by James Nati

ON BEN WRIGHT AND THE MODELING OF SCHOLARSHIP
by Sean Adams

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

Conference at Yale - Inscribing Death

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT:
Inscribing Death: Memorial and the Transmission of Text in the Ancient World
Yale University, February 23, 2018

Cross-culturally, spaces of the dead have been productive places for considering the inherent difficulty of transmitting traditions and texts. This nexus between text, tradition, and death is seen across a range of genres including law, treaties, and wisdom sayings. Within these genres, the efficacious and correct reception of texts and traditions as lived by actual individuals is paramount. "Inscribing Death" brings scholars together to explore the dynamic connections between textual anxiety and anxiety about death in the ancient world, including ancient Mesopotamia and the Levant, Greco-Roman Egypt, and late antique Judaism and Christianity. It will also seek to integrate ongoing interdisciplinary work with ritual theory, sociolinguistic approaches to ancient textuality, linguistic anthropology, and, more broadly, the material turn in the study of the ancient world in order to further our understanding of ancient attitudes toward the nature of transmission and the reception of traditions and texts in the spaces of the dead.

We would be delighted if you would join us. Registration is free. To register and for a full schedule, please visit: www.inscribingdeath.com

​For questions, please contact Mark Lester at mark.lester@yale.edu


Speakers:
Emily Cole, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
Maria Doerfler, Yale University
Ellen Muehlberger, University of​ ​Michigan
Laura Quick, Princeton University
Annette Yoshiko Reed, New York University
Seth Sanders, University of California, Davis
Jeremy Smoak, University of California, Los Angeles
Kerry Sonia, Bowdoin College
Matthew Suriano, University of Maryland, College Park
Jacqueline Vayntrub, Brandeis University


*This conference is supported by the Kempf Fund, Yale Religious Studies, Yale Divinity School, and Archaia.

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Elledge on Resurrection in Early Judaism

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
Resurrection in Early Judaism

While it remained popular within sectors of early Judaism, some writings clearly prefer the immortality of the soul, without particular regard for resurrection (Wisdom of Solomon, 4 Maccabees, Philo of Alexandria). Resurrection was also opposed or ignored by a significant proportion of the Jewish populace.

See Also: Resurrection of the Dead in Early Judaism, 200 BCE-CE 200 (Oxford University Press, 2017).

By C.D. Elledge

Gustavus Adolphus College
January 2018
Cross-file under New Book.

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

On palaeographical dating of literary manuscripts

LARRY HURTADO: The Limits and Difficulties of Palaeographical Dating of Literary Manuscripts. I have mentioned Brent Nongbri's important work on paleographic dating here and links. But it is worth underlining again. When palaeographers (or paleographers) give a specific date for an ancient manuscript, they mean that date plus or minus fifty years.

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Massive looting in Archelais

THE TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT BLOG: ISIS-Style Destruction of Antiquities, Right Here in Israel. The staff of the Temple Mount Sifting Project made a very disturbing discovery at the site of Archelais, north of Jericho, while on a recreational field trip at the end of 2017.
This is quite possible the biggest archaeological destruction in Israeli history. While the Temple Mount may be a more important site rich in antiquities from all different time periods, in size, the whole-sale destruction, covering about 100 dunams (about 25 acres of land) in Archelais is much larger than that of the south-eastern corner of the Temple Mount. We were shocked. We never saw such massive destruction, and we’ve been working with the Temple Mount material for 13 years. There were hundreds of pits, many trenches, and the entire site was turned over by bulldozers looking for archaeological “hot spots.” We could see many archaeological artifacts strewn across the site, including ashlar stones, pieces of architecture, column drums, and farming tools.

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

The aqueduct at Caesarea

THE HOLY LAND PHOTOS' BLOG: Seldom Visited Aqueduct at Caesarea (Carl Rasmussen).

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

Taylor, What Did Jesus Look Like?

FORTHCOMING BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
What Did Jesus Look Like?
By: Joan E. Taylor

Published: 08-02-2018
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 288
ISBN: 9780567671509
Imprint: T&T Clark
Illustrations: 77 colour illus
Dimensions: 216 x 170 mm

About What Did Jesus Look Like?

Jesus Christ is arguably the most famous man who ever lived. His image adorns countless churches, icons, and paintings. He is the subject of millions of statues, sculptures, devotional objects and works of art. Everyone can conjure an image of Jesus: usually as a handsome, white man with flowing locks and pristine linen robes.

But what did Jesus really look like? Is our popular image of Jesus overly westernized and untrue to historical reality?

This question continues to fascinate. Leading Christian Origins scholar Joan E. Taylor surveys the historical evidence, and the prevalent image of Jesus in art and culture, to suggest an entirely different vision of this most famous of men.

He may even have had short hair.
Related post here.

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

Robinson, Jude on the Attack

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Jude on the Attack
A Comparative Analysis of the Epistle of Jude, Jewish Judgement Oracles, and Greco-Roman Invective


By: Alexandra Robinson

Published: 14-12-2017
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 272
ISBN: 9780567678782
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Library of New Testament Studies
Volume: 581
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm

About Jude on the Attack

Alexandra Robinson examines the letter of Jude in the light of repeated scholarly references to this source as an invective, a polemic, and an attack speech, with a dependence on both Jewish and Greco-Roman sources. Moving beyond the 'Hellenism/Judaism divide', Robinson specifies what these elements are, and how they relate to the harsh nature of the discourse.

This study shows how, where, and why Jude borrows from these contemporary genres, with a detailed survey of Greco-Roman invectives and Jewish judgement oracles; comparing and contrasting them to the epistle of Jude with consideration of structure, aims, themes, and style. Robinson argues that Jude has constructed a 'Jewish invective,' and that his epistle is a polemical text which takes the form (structure, aims, and style) of a typical Greco-Roman invective but is filled with Jewish content (themes and allusions), drawing on Israel's heritage for the benefit of his primarily Jewish– Christian audience.

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