Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hanukkah 2017

HAPPY HANUKKAH (CHANUKKAH, CHANUKAH) to all those celebrating! The eight-day festival begins tonight at sundown.

Last year's Hanukkah post is here. It links to past Hanukkah posts with additional historical background. For PaleoJudaica posts in the last year that relate to Hanukkah, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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

Pereginations of an ancient stone menorah-incised door

ARCHAEOLOGY: Archaeologists uncover bittersweet end of 1,800-year-old Tiberias menorah. Once carved on a Jewish grave, the menorah had two more lives -- as the base of a mosque and then in a Crusader-period sugar factory (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).
The 68×78-centimeter (27×31 inch) seven-stemmed menorah was uncovered in a dig led by The Hebrew University’s Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman, which has been ongoing since 2009. The door the menorah decorated was typical of a Jewish tomb from circa 150-350 CE, said Silverman in conversation with The Times of Israel on Monday.
For many past PaleoJudaica posts on ancient menorahs and representations of menorahs, start here and follow the links. Cross-file under 'Tis the Season (Hanukkah Edition).

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

Maccabean-era candle holder excavated by porcupine

DISCOVERY: MOTHER AND DAUGHTER DISCOVER ANCIENT CLAY LAMP FROM HELLENISTIC PERIOD Second century CE relic dates to Judah Maccabee’s battles against ruler of Antiochus (Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post).
A leisurely afternoon hike in the North’s Beit She’an Valley turned into much more when a mother and daughter discovered an ancient clay candle holder dating to the Hellenistic period – when Judah Maccabee fought against the ruler of Antiochus 2,200 years ago.

While making their way through the mounds near the historic area by the Jordan River Valley one week ago, Hadas Goldberg-Kedar, 7, and her mother, Ayelet, first noticed the well-preserved pottery vessel near the entrance to a porcupine cave.

[...]
Yes, the porcupine was the excavator. For another, similar example of porcupine archaeology, see here. Cross-file under 'Tis the Season (Hanukkah Edition).

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

Reprising an ancient menorah sketch

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Understanding the Jewish Menorah. Does this ancient menorah graffito show the Temple menorah?
The Jewish menorah—especially the Temple menorah, a seven-branched candelabra that stood in the Temple—is the most enduring and iconic Jewish symbol. But what did the Temple menorah actually look like?

In early August 2011, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) issued a press release announcing the discovery of “an engraving of the Temple menorah on a stone object” in a 2,000-year-old drainage channel near the City of David, which was being excavated by Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron. (An unusually well preserved iron sword in its leather scabbard, which presumably belonged to a Roman soldier, was also found there.) The IAA release went on to say that “a passerby who saw the [Temple] menorah with his own eyes … incised his impressions on a stone.” The excavators were quoted as saying that this graffito “clarifies [that] the base of the original [ancient] menorah … was apparently tripod shaped.”

But does it?

[...]
I noted the discovery of this menorah sketch at the time here. This BHD essay was first published in 2011, but I missed it then, so here it is.

Another ancient (nine-branched) menorah graffito was discovered in Aphrodisias in Turkey in 2015.

Cross-file under 'Tis the Season (Hanukkah Edition).

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Halvorson-Taylor and Southwood (eds), Women and Exilic Identity in the Hebrew Bible

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Women and Exilic Identity in the Hebrew Bible
Editor(s): Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor, Katherine E. Southwood
Published: 28-12-2017
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 192
ISBN: 9780567668424
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
Volume: 631
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm

About Women and Exilic Identity in the Hebrew Bible

Notions of women as found in the Bible have had an incalculable impact on western cultures, influencing perspectives on marriage, kinship, legal practice, political status, and general attitudes. Women and Exilic Identity in the Hebrew Bible is drawn from three separate strands to address and analyse this phenomenon. The first examines how women were conceptualized and represented during the exilic period. The second focuses on methodological possibilities and drawbacks connected to investigating women and exile. The third reviews current prominent literature on the topic, with responses from authors.

With chapters from a range of contributors, topics move from an analysis of Ruth as a woman returning to her homeland, and issues concerning the foreign presence who brings foreign family members into the midst of a community, and how this is dealt with, through the intermarriage crisis portrayed in Ezra 9-10, to an analysis of Judean constructions of gender in the exilic and early post-exilic periods. The contributions show an exciting range of the best scholarship on women and foreign identities, with important consequences for how the foreign/known is perceived, and what that has meant for women through the centuries.

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Stuckenbruck, Angel Veneration & Christology

REISSUED IN PAPERBACK BY BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PRESS:
Title: Angel Veneration & Christology
Sub-title: A Study in Early Judaism & in the Christology of the Apocalypse of John

Series: (Library of Early Christology Series)
By (author): Loren T. Stuckenbruck
ISBN10-13: 1481307983 : 9781481307987
Format: Paperback
Size: 230x155mm
Pages: 366
Weight: .614 Kg.
Published: Baylor University Press (US) - August 2017
List Price: 38.50 Pounds Sterling
Availability: In Stock Qty Available: 8
Subjects: Ancient history: to c 500 CE : History of religion : Church history : New Testaments : Biblical studies & exegesis : Christian theology : Judaism

The public worship of the risen Christ as depicted in John's Apocalypse directly contradicts the guiding angel's emphasis that only God should be worshiped (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). Loren Stuckenbruck explores this contradiction in light of angel veneration in Early Judaism. Stuckenbruck surveys a wide variety of Jewish traditions related to angelic worship and discovers proscriptions against sacrificing to angels; prohibitions against making images of angels; rejections of the "two powers"; second-century Christian apologetic accusations specifically directed against Jews; and, most importantly, the refusal tradition, widespread in Jewish and Jewish-Christian writings, wherein angelic messengers refuse the veneration of the seer and exhort the worship of God alone. While evidence for the practice of angel veneration among Jews of antiquity (Qumran, pseudepigraphal literature, and inscriptions from Asia Minor) does not furnish the immediate background for the worship of Christ, Stuckenbruck demonstrates that the very fact that safeguards to a monotheistic framework were issued at all throws light on the Christian practice of worshiping Jesus. The way the Apocalypse adapts the refusal tradition illuminates Revelation's declarations about and depictions of Jesus. Though the refusal tradition itself only safeguards the worship of God, Stuckenbruck traces how the tradition has been split so that the angelophanic elements were absorbed into the christophany. As Stuckenbruck shows, an angelomorphic Christology, shared by the author of Revelation and its readers, functions to preserve the author's monotheistic emphasis as well as to emphasise Christ's superiority over the angels -- setting the stage for the worship of the Lamb in a monotheistic framework that does not contradict the angelic directive to worship God alone.
Another in Baylor's new Library of Early Christology reprint series, on which more here and links.

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Lehmhaus and Martelli, Collecting Recipes

NEW BOOK FROM DE GRYUTER: Collecting Recipes. Byzantine and Jewish Pharmacology in Dialogue. Ed. by Lehmhaus, Lennart / Martelli, Matteo.
Aims and Scope
With a clear comparative approach, this volume brings together for the first time contributions that cover different periods of the history of ancient pharmacology, from Greek, Byzantine, and Syriac medicine to the Rabbinic-Talmudic medical discourses. This collection opens up new synchronic and diachronic perspectives in the study of the ancient traditions of recipe-books and medical collections. Besides the highly influential Galenic tradition, the contributions will focus on less studied Byzantine and Syriac sources as well as on the Talmudic tradition, which has never been systematically investigated in relation to medicine. This inquiry will highlight the overwhelming mass of information about drugs and remedies, which accumulated over the centuries and was disseminated in a variety of texts belonging to distinct cultural milieus. Through a close analysis of some relevant case studies, this volume will trace some paths of this transmission and transformation of pharmacological knowledge across cultural and linguistic boundaries, by pointing to the variety of disciplines and areas of expertise involved in the process.

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Howell, The Pharisees and Figured Speech in Luke-Acts

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: JUSTIN R. HOWELL, The Pharisees and Figured Speech in Luke-Acts. [Die Pharisäer und die figurierte Rede im lukanischen Doppelwerk.] 2017. XII, 386 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 456. 94,00 €. sewn paper. ISBN 978-3-16-155023-2.
Published in English.
A scholarly consensus holds that Luke is ambivalent toward the Pharisees, or at least that he has left readers with an ambiguous depiction of them. What previous evaluations of the Lukan Pharisees have left unanswered, however, is why Luke would give such an impression of these characters and then what might lie behind the rhetorical effects of ambiguity. Justin R. Howell reevaluates the long-standing debate about the Pharisees in Luke-Acts, arguing the thesis that there is ambiguity in the Lukan Pharisees because, in his portrayals of them, the author has applied what ancient Greco-Roman rhetoricians call “figured speech.” The fact that the Lukan Pharisees appear ambiguous to some readers does not necessarily mean that Luke was also undecided about or ambivalent toward them, for the use of figured speech can presuppose a firm and critical stance on the characters in view.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

More on the Greek fragment of the First Apocalypse of James

CANDIDA MOSS: ‘New’ Text About James, Brother Of Jesus Isn’t Exactly New. Whatever you might have heard, what was discovered isn’t a previously unknown text. Instead, it’s the first Greek manuscript of a text previously known only from copies in Coptic (The Daily Beast).
Sadly, what was significant about this discovery got lost in reporting. Whatever you might have heard, Landau and Smith did not discover (or claim to discover) a previously unknown text. Instead, they discovered the first Greek manuscript of a text previously known only from copies in Coptic that are presumed to have been translated from the Greek original. Having a copy of the text in the original language makes it easier for scholars to piece together the text’s history. Landau told The Daily Beast that the “probable” date of the fragments is the fifth or sixth century, which makes them “roughly contemporaneous” with the Coptic texts we already have.
Background here. None of the above is news to regular readers of PaleoJudaica. But, with her usual perceptiveness, Professsor Moss succinctly summarizes the main points about this discovery and then explores its implications. Read it all.

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CFP: EAJS panel on pre-modern Jewish medicine and sciences

H-JUDAIC: CFP: Panel on pre-modern Jewish medicine and sciences, EAJS Congress, July 2018, Krakow.
CALL for PAPERS - EAJS Conference 2018, Krakow: Pre-organized Panel on Jewish medicine and sciences

Jewish Roots and routes of knowledge - approaches to medicine, sciences and knowledge in pre-modern Jewish cultures

The Berlin based research project on “Talmudic medicine” (Prof. Mark Geller, Dr. Lennart Lehmhaus) seeks to organize for the EAJS Congress 2018 in Krakow, Poland a pre-organized panel. The sessions will explore Jewish approaches to medicine and adjacent scientific fields (astrology/astronomy; physiognomy; zoology/biology etc.) in their respective historical and cultural contexts. The panel, thus, addresses knowledge of medicine, illness and the body, and its complex entanglement with other scientific and religious discourses (various scientific fields as well as cosmology and medical approaches in Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, philosophy) throughout pre-modern Jewish history.

[...]
Follow the link for more details. The deadline for proposals is 16 December 2017.

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First-century Jewish coin replica at the U. N. Security Council

POLITICS AND NUMISMATICS: Second Temple coin at the UN Security Council. Israeli Ambassador Danon tells UN Security Council, 'All the nations of the world should join us this year in Jerusalem' (Arutz Sheva).
Addressing to the Council members, [Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny] Danon held up a replica of a first-century coin, stressing the fact that the Jews are indigenous to the land.

"I have here a replica of an ancient coin found on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is dated from the year 67 A.D. during the time of the second Jewish Temple. The words 'Jerusalem the Holy' are written on it," Danon said.
This was, of course, in the context of a session on the recent U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. embassy there.

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

Menorahs

'TIS THE SEASON (HANUKKAH EDITION): From high art to Disney-esque, menorahs of all kinds light the way during Hanukkah (Colleen Smith, Denver Post).
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, has for centuries outshined the darkness of bigotry.

“Hanukkah is even more important this year because this holiday brings light and hope into the world at a time when it’s really needed,” said Melanie Avner of the Mizel Museum, a Jewish cultural center in Denver.

That Hanukkah light originates from menorahs, which come in all sizes and shapes and are made of a variety of materials and range in tone from somber to silly.

This year, Hanukkah begins the evening of Dec. 12.

[...]
Cross-file under Exhibition. For many past PaleoJudaica posts on ancient menorahs and representations of menorahs, start here and here and follow the links.

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

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Niehoff (ed.), Journeys in the Roman East: Imagined and Real

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Journeys in the Roman East: Imagined and Real Ed. by Maren R. Niehoff. [Reisen im Osten des Römischen Reichs: Fiktiv und Real.] 2017. XI, 440 pages. Culture, Religion, and Politics in the Greco-Roman World 1. 59,00 €. cloth. ISBN 978-3-16-155111-6.
Published in English.
In the Roman Empire, travelling was something of a central feature, facilitating commerce, pilgrimage, study abroad, tourism, and ethnographic explorations. The present volume investigates for the first time intellectual aspects of this phenomenon by giving equal attention to pagan, Jewish, and Christian perspectives. A team of experts from different fields argues that journeys helped construct cultural identities and negotiate between the local and the particular on the one hand, and wider imperial discourses on the other. A special point of interest is the question of how Rome engages the attention of intellectuals from the Greek East and offers new opportunities of self-fashioning. Pagans, Jews, and Christians shared similar experiences and constructed comparable identities in dialogue, sometimes polemics, with each other. The collection addresses the following themes: real and imagined geography, reconstructing encounters in distant places, between the bodily and the holy, Jesus' travels from different perspectives, and destination Rome. The articles in each section are arranged in chronological order, ranging from early imperial texts to rabbinic and patristic literature.

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Review of Howe and Brice (eds.), Brill's Companion to Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Timothy Howe, Lee L. Brice (ed.), Brill's Companion to Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean. Brill's Companions in Classical Studies: Warfare in the Ancient Mediterranean World. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2016. Pp. xvi, 372. ISBN 9789004222359. $175.00. Reviewed by Gabriel Moss, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (gwmoss@live.unc.edu).
From its very title, Brill’s Companion to Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean invites controversy. Setting out to test the validity and utility of applying modern military terminology to ancient evidence, this volume dares critics to charge it with gross anachronism. Yet its best chapters make a strong claim that, with cautious and considered application, the theoretical toolsets of insurgency, counterinsurgency, and terrorism provide useful ways to narrate and analyze conflict in the ancient world. This said, in contrast to modern, popular understandings of the term, the terrorism discussed in this volume is mostly perpetrated on behalf of states, not against them. The relative silence of ancient sources on non-state terrorism certainly justifies this focus, although co-editor Lee Brice’s technologically deterministic argument that non-state terrorism was all but impossible before the invention of gunpowder and mass media fails to convince.

[...]
Of special interest is the article by Frank Russell: “Roman Counterinsurgency Policy and Practice in Judaea.”

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This is what a manger looks like

'TIS THE SEASON: Away in a Manger (feeding trough!) (Carl Rasmussen, The Holy Land Photos' Blog). Kind of cool, even though we are now told that Jesus wasn't born in a stable.

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Review of Diaspora

REVIEW Diaspora: A Fantastic Play Besieged By Questionable Content (Matthew Silkin,YU Commentator).
Diaspora, a new play written by Nathaniel Sam Shapiro and directed by Saheem Ali, tells two separate but intertwined stories - it follows a Birthright group on their tour of Masada in the present day, as well as the struggles of the Jewish fighters in Masada in 73 CE, during their last days before committing mass suicide rather than falling to the Romans. Shapiro makes the interesting artistic decision to have the scenes weave between the present day and 73 CE, rather than have specific breaks in between the timelines, made easier by the minimal -- to the point of lacking -- set design. This is also benefitted by having the actors portray multiple characters in both the present and the past, making the audience connect the story of the Birthright students to the story of the Jewish rebellion.
He thought the play was excellent, but unnecessarily crude.

Background here. Cross-file under Performing Arts.

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Friday, December 08, 2017

Greek influence on Jewish martyrdom traditions

'TIS THE SEASON (HANUKKAH EDITION): Chanukah: The Greek Influence of Martyrdom (Prof. Rabbi Martin Lockshin, TheTorah.com).
On Chanukah we celebrate the miraculous military victories of the “few over the many,” and of Jewish culture over Greek. Ironically, however, Chanukah has also bequeathed to us a new genre of Jewish literature, one that has been in frequent use ever since: Greek-style stories of bravery in defeat and dying for the cause.

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Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day 2017

IT'S THAT DAY AGAIN: Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day.

This is the tenth anniversary of its founding. One of the original announcements, with some instructions, is here. The Facebook page is here.

Here's someone who got started early on his pretending.

I assume he's pretending. He makes predictions for 2021. What do you think?

Follow this link for past posts on the day and related links.

Have fun and try to stay out of trouble.

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Review of Rabbinic Judaism 20 (2017) issue 2

A NEW ISSUE OF REVIEW OF RABBINIC JUDAISM: Volume 20, Issue 2, 2017. TOC:
Research Article
The People, Not the Peoples: The Talmud Bavli’s “Charitable” Contribution to the Jewish-Christian Conversation in Mesopotamia
Author: Alyssa M. Gray
pp.: 137–167 (31)

Research Article
Early Rabbinic Judaism and the Danger in Ezekiel 1
Author: Rick Van De Water
pp.: 168–192 (25)

Research Article
The Use of Numbers as an Editing Device in Rabbinic Literature
Authors: Ariel Ram Pasternak and Shamir Yona
pp.: 193–234 (42)

Research Article
The Death of Honi the Circle Maker
Author: Zvi Ron
pp.: 235–250 (16)

Research Article
The Individual vs. Society in Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s Halakhic Rulings
Author: Amir Mashiach
pp.: 251–271 (21)

Other
Machiavelli and Sforno
Authors: Bernard Pinchuk and Lawrence Zalcman
pp.: 273–278 (6)

Book Review
Matthew and the Mishnah. Redefining Identity and Ethos in the Shadow of the Second Temple’s Destruction, written by Akiva Cohen
Author: Bruce Chilton
pp.: 279–281 (3)

Book Review
Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition. The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library, written by Benjamin D. Sommer
Author: Gary G. Porton
pp.: 282–286 (5)

Book Review
The Value of the Particular: Lessons from Judaism and the Modern Jewish Experience, written by Michael Zank and Ingrid Anderson
Author: David Ellenson
pp.: 287–289 (3)

Book Review
Modern Orthodox Judaism: A Documentary History, written by Zev Eleff
Author: Aaron I. Reichel
pp.: 290–297 (8)
Requires a paid personal or institutional subscription for full access.

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Hempel and Brooke (eds.), T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls

Editor(s): Charlotte Hempel, George J. Brooke
Media of T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls
See larger image
Published: 12-07-2018
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 512
ISBN: 9780567352057
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: Bloomsbury Companions
Illustrations: 60 bw and colour illus
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm

RRP: £130.00
Online price: £117.00

About T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls
This companion provides the ideal resource for those seriously engaging with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In 30 concise articles all of the key texts and documents are examined. A section on the complex methods used in anaylzing the scrolls then follows before the focus moves to consideration of the scrolls in their various contexts; political, religious, cultural, economic, historical. The genres ascribed to groups of texts within the scrolls are examined in the next section with due attention given to both past and present scholarship. The main body of the companion then concludes with crucial issues and topics discussed by leading scholars. The book finishes with appendices and indexes giving: timelines, lists of kings, family trees of the Seleucids, Ptolemies, Hasmoneans, lists of places and scrolls, information on electronic resources and classified bibliographies. The volume is illustrated throughout with some 60 images enabling readers to consider key texts from the scrolls not only in transcription but simultaneously with photographs.

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Judah the Hammer

PHILOLOGOS: Judah the Maccabee, Judah the Mace-Man. A modest suggestion for a new way of thinking about the original meaning of the word “Maccabee” (Mosaic Magazine).
The derivation of makkabi from makevet or makava certainly makes better sense than any of the contending explanations. What I would take issue with is the assertion made by First and others before him that since a hammer “is not a military weapon,” Judah Maccabee must have been likened to one because of his physical appearance, or else because of his physical power or strength of character.
I agree with Philologos that this is not really a problem. Philologos's solution, that "Maccabee" refers to a hammer in the sense of a mace — hence a military weapon — is possible. But I don't think it is necessary.

Not for the first time I've seen, this problem arises only because scholars sometimes seem incapable of thinking like regular people or imagining language being used the way regular people use it. If you meet someone whose nickname is "The Hammer," you don't think "A hammer is not technically a weapon, so maybe this is about the shape of his head." You think, "I don't want to mess with this guy." It's just a vivid metaphor, something quite common in nicknames.

Think, for example, of "The Rock." A rock is not technically a weapon either, but someone with that nickname is probably a good wrestler.

"The Hammer" makes perfectly good sense as a nickname for Judah, who hammered his enemies on the battlefield.

Cross-file under 'Tis the Season (Hanukkah Edition).

UPDATE (8 December): Perhaps I should have included a link for "The Rock" above. Readers have also written to draw my attention to Thor's hammer and to an early medieval comparison of Charles Martel to a hammer, because he broke his enemies and foreigners in battle.

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Landman on the biblical law of bailment

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight | Yael Landman (Yael Landman Wermuth).
Yael Landman, “The Biblical Law of Bailment in Its Ancient Near Eastern Contexts,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Yeshiva University, 2017
Excerpt:
Through its study of a multifaceted legal institution thickly embedded in the socio-economic fabric of ancient Israel and the ANE, this dissertation offers a window into models of jurisprudence in the biblical world. When viewed in conjunction with the wealth of pertinent biblical and ANE sources, the biblical law of bailment can tell us about a law in its many contexts, about divine justice and compassion, about the interactions of law with literature, about everyday life in ancient societies, and about the earliest articulations of a legal topic whose relevance has persisted into the modern era.

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Hurtado on Philo of Alexandria and Early Christianity

LARRY HURTADO: Philo of Alexandria and Early Christianity. Professor Hurtado posts a previously published article of his on this topic.

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Fertility in the Bible

PROF. JOEL BADEN: “God Opened Her Womb”: The Biblical Conception of Fertility (TheTorah.com).
Is infertility a divine punishment?
He argues that it is not.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Festschrift for Moshe Bernstein

A WELL-DESERVED HONOR FOR A SENIOR LEADER IN THE FIELD: Scholars Pay Tribute to Bernstein in New Festschrift. Volume Published in Dr. Moshe Bernstein’s Honor Explores Jewish Scriptural Interpretation (YU News).
At the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November in Boston, MA, Dr. Moshe Bernstein ’62YUHS, ’66YC, ’69R, ’69BR , The David A. and Fannie M. Denenberg Chair in Biblical Studies, was presented with a Festschrift titled HĀ-‘ÎSH MŌSHE: Studies in Scriptural Interpretation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature in Honor of Moshe J. Bernstein (Brill). The book, featuring 19 essays related to his work in biblical interpretation in antiquity (a bibliography of which runs eight single-spaced pages), was edited by Binyamin Goldstein (currently a PhD student at Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies), Michael Segal ’93YC, Father Takeji Otsuki, professor of Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Dr. George Brooke, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis Emeritus at the University of Manchester.

[...]

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Divination

THE ANXIOUS BENCH BLOG: Divination – A Most Neglected Most Important Element of Religion (Philip Jenkins).
Now this is a treat! I was recently corresponding with the excellent English scholar of religion Linda Woodhead, who made some very interesting comments about the importance of divination as a badly under-studied theme within religion – in fact, within all religions. At my request, she put together a summary of her views, and it is a privilege to include her guest contribution to the blog. As you see, she ranges widely in the examples she offers. Reading her observations makes us look afresh at the many examples of divination in various forms that we find in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

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On child sacrifice in ancient Israel

THE ASOR BLOG: Child Sacrifice in Ancient Israel (Heath D. Dewrell).
In my recent monograph, Child Sacrifice in Ancient Israel, I address these arguments and, like most scholars, argue that at least some Israelites did sacrifice their children, probably to Yahweh. My primary objective, however, is not merely to address the existence or non-existence of Israelite child sacrifice. Instead, I collect all of the different types of evidence—biblical, archaeological, and epigraphic—to attempt to untangle the various forms of child sacrifice. “Child sacrifice” was not a homogeneous phenomenon any more than “sheep sacrifice.”
Cross-file under Punic Watch. Some related posts on this ghastly topic are here and links.

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The meaning of the Dinah story

DR. ALISON L. JOSEPH: Who Is the Victim in the Dinah Story? (TheTorah.com).
We can not imagine anyone but Dinah as the victim, but does the Torah? Do the Rabbis? Understanding the story of Dinah and its reception in historical context can help us reflect on the role of women in ancient Israel and the meaning of sexual violence in a patriarchal society.

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