Saturday, May 24, 2003


"Original David's psalms kept in Coptic museum" (Arabic News via Archaeologica News

The original copy of the Book of Psalms, which dates back to the 3rd
or 4th century AD is kept inside the Coptic Museum, said Zahi Hawas,
Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

In statements to MENA, Hawas dismissed the reports that the Psalms of
Prophet David were stolen from the Coptic Museum.


Friday, May 23, 2003


"Even Spock Would Be Amazed!"
By Paul M. Weyrich Commentary
May 19, 2003

I was never one for languages. But I set out to understand Klingon and I must say this is as difficult as Chinese.


Now why would I be interested in Klingon, which so far as I know, is spoken only in Star Trek episodes? Well, it seems that out in Oregon, the Multnomah County Department of Health Services actually advertised for a translator who can speak Klingon. Why? Well, believe it or not, one of the officials said they have to provide information in all the languages their clients speak.

And guess what? If there is anyone in Oregon who actually prefers to speak Klingon, Multnomah County is obligated to employ someone who can address them in their preferred language thanks to an Executive Order (E.O. 13166) signed by then-President Bill Clinton in August 2000. The news media paid it no notice because the order was issued during the time they were traveling to Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention.

Multnomah County's solicitation did not escape attention, however. Eventually, the county health service backed off, calling it a mistake created by overzealousness.


Oh, by the way, I asked Boulet if my taxes were audited, could I have it done in ancient Aramaic since Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and as a practicing Christian, it would be nice to have that done in the same language my Lord actually used? Boulet replied that that was "an open question."


Unemployed Aramaists take note.

TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism

The current volume is volume 8.

Emanuel Tov, "Electronic Resources Relevant to the Textual Criticism of Hebrew Scripture"

Abstract: Numerous electronic resources of interest to text critics are now available, both commercially and free on the Web. This article gives an overview of these resources, then provides a list of currently available tools that the author considers the most valuable.

With lots of useful links.

Peter M. Head, "Fragments of Six Newly Identified Greek Bible Manuscripts in a Cambridge Collection: A Preliminary Report"

Abstract: Vellum fragments of seven different manuscripts, six of them identified as portions of the Greek Bible (five NT, one OT), have recently come to light. The author presents a description of the manuscripts, including the biblical passages the first six contain. He offers a full transcription of the seventh fragment, an unidentified Christian text, perhaps a list of offices.

Thursday, May 22, 2003


From the Review of Biblical Literature:

Briant, Pierre
Daniels, Peter T., translator
From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire

deSilva, David A.
Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance

Pike, Dana M. and Andrew C. Skinner
Qumran Cave 4, XXIII: Unidentified Fragments

Court, John M. and Dan Cohn-Sherbok
Religious Diversity in the Graeco-Roman World: A Survey of Recent

Scarpat, Giuseppe
Parrhesia greca, parrhesia cristiana

Kalimi, Isaac
Early Jewish Exegesis and Theological Controversy: Studies in Scriptures in the Shadow of Internal and External Controversies

Also, some time ago I mentioned the review section of the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, but I don't think I had time to list specific reviews. So here are some paleojudaic ones from the 2002-2003 volume:

C. L. Seow, Daniel
John J. Collins

Charlesworth, James H. et al., eds., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, vol. 6B Pesharim, Other Commentaries, and Related Documents
James C. VanderKam

Bruce Chilton, Redeeming Time: The Wisdom of Ancient Jewish and Christian Festal Calendars
Kim Paffenroth

Anderson, Robert T. and Terry Giles, The Keepers: An Introduction to the History and Culture of the Samaritans
Ingrid Hjelm

Klaus Baltzer, Deutero-Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 40-55
Aaron W. Park

Isaac Kalimi, The Book of Chronicles. Historical Writing and Literary Devices
Ehud Ben Zvi

Leda Ciraolo and Jonathan Seidel, eds., Magic and Divination in the Ancient World
Scott B. Noegel

Weitzman, M. P., The Syriac version of the Old Testament. An Introduction
Bruce Chilton

Francis I. Andersen, Habakkuk: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary
Marvin A. Sweeney

Thiede, C. P. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Origins of Christianity
Rob Kugler

Gabrielle Boccaccini, Roots of Rabbinic Judaism: An Intellectual History, from Ezekiel to Daniel
Martin S. Jaffee

Dobbs-Allsopp, F. W., Lamentations
Michael S. Moore

Bruce K. Gardner, The Genesis Calendar: The Synchronistic Tradition in Genesis 1-11
Heidi M. Szpek

Donald E. Gowan, Daniel
Bill T. Arnold

Wednesday, May 21, 2003


An essay on Shimon Bar Kokhba by Yehiam Sorek (Ha'aretz via Archeologica News)

Sadly, Bar Kochva became a brand name, a national legend, which served national-Zionist goals. He was internalized and absorbed into the national bloodstream, took on the same sanctity as the other myths - and anyone that tries to pose questions about the commander of the revolt, his character and path, is perceived as a saboteur, a vandal. Will this national phase obscure the historical truth?

Read it all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003


This isn�t very relevant to PaleoJudaica (although it is the P Decalogue) but it�s funny, so I�ll post it. It�s from a review by Christopher Hitchens in the New York Times of Adam Nicolson's God's Secretaries, on the making of the King James translation (via Arts and Letters Daily):

"'God's Secretaries': Blessed Are the Phrasemakers"

This work was refined and prepared in order to be heard and memorized, by a congregation still largely illiterate, and to be recalled in time of trouble or of need. Print was secondary: no doubt the audience of the later misprinted 1631 edition, when instructed by Exodus 20:14 that ''thou shalt commit adultery,'' understood that a ''not'' had been omitted at the press rather than in Sinai.

I wouldn't be so sure�

Torrey Seland has kindly pointed me to Peter Kirby's website, which gives the complete works of Philo in the old Yonge translation, which indeed is now in the public domain. David T. Runia has reviewed the Hendrickson edition of Yonge for Ioudiaos Review. (I remember being very annoyed by the high density of typographical errors in the Hendrickson edition - Philo deserves better proofreading!) You can find lots more on Philo online at Torrey Seland's Philo page.

Monday, May 19, 2003


Reader Harold Clumeck has forwarded the following letter from Benyamim Tsedaka in response to the UPI article I linked to last week (sorry, the @*$%^^! Blogspot archive is down as usual) and Mr. Tsedaka has kindly given me permission to publish it here.

Dear Mr. Uwe Siemon-Netto
United Press International

Dear Mr. Siemon-Netto,

My friend, Mr. Harold Clumeck from San Rafael/California has forwarded me to your article of May 8, 2003.

I have to make some corrections to your positive attitude article.

The Samaritans divide in two centers, 350 in Holon/Israel and 310 in Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim. Most of the Samaritans speaking Arabic in a special dialect of the Syrian Palestinian dialect of the Arabic. But this is third dialect to their original Ancient Hebrew and Samaritan Aramaic that all of them learn in the ages 5-15 after school hours every day, and to the modern Hebrew that most of them speak as it is spoken in the State of Israel. I am speaking about the whole Israelite Samaritan people as one.

I had to make these corrections not to let the readers of your article to have the wrong impression that we are struggling to preserve a special Samaritan Arabic dialect. As far as I know it is only Syrian-Palestinian dialect with some different Samaritan Arabic idioms that spoken for the last 1200 years and never entered our ritual practices. It is naturally spoken but again it is only third to the Samaritan Hebrew and Samaritan Aramaic we have preserved proudly for thousands of years and we still use it in our prayers and many new composition.

Dr. Arnold Werner is my close friend. I am sorry to say that some of his words were taken in the wrong way. In the contrary I have followed him to the all Samaritan personalities he spoke with for his research and we both never found any difficulty of these personalities in speaking the different languages.

Scholars and readers of your article are welcomed to visit the organized Israelite-Samaritan web-sites and and learn more about our current rich cultural activities.

We are keeping our survival and our own struggle to keep our original languages, the Ancient Hebrew and the Samaritan Aramaic, that according to scholars have never changed since Second Temple period, it is part of our survival. Come to visit us and enjoy the Ancient languages by the Samaritans. At present times that languages spoken by tens and hundreds of million peoples close to be dying before the English language influence the way we preserve our original languages without change and other language influence considered to be a great achievement.


Benyamim Tsedaka
Head of the A.B. - Institute of Samaritan Studies
Co-editor of A.B. - The Samaritan News

I�ve corresponded a little more with Mr. Tsedeka about this and I think his main point is that he considers Samaritan Hebrew and Samaritan Aramaic to be the real languages of his community, even though the community does use Palestinian Arabic and Modern Israeli Hebrew.

I think I may have already blogged on this exhibit in Michigan but, just in case, here's some information. This is the museum's website on the exhibit, and here's a sound bite from it:

"The Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibition will include fragments of 12 different scrolls, including fragments from the books of Exodus and Psalms. There are also numerous artifacts from Qumran, the ancient Judaean settlement located near the caves where the scrolls were discovered, including ancient coins, leather sandals, a scroll storage jar, and a pottery inkwell believed to be connected with the writing of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

And here's an article from the Calvin College Spark with more information and links:

"Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition in Grand Rapids Michigan"

The exhibit runs from February to June.

Sunday, May 18, 2003


(extracts from "Middle East Research Institute Special Report � No. 16" [my (bold font) emphasis])

"The Think Tank of the Arab League:
The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up (ZCCF)"

By: Steven Stalinsky

Since its founding in 1999, The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up has hosted events and produced studies on a variety of issues. The Zayed Centre has dealt with the September 11th attacks, arguing that they were perpetrated by Americans and Israelis. It has discussed "[The] Factual Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and has hosted Holocaust deniers. Dr. Umayma Al-Jalahma, known for her article explaining how Jews use the blood of non-Jews for pastries for the Jewish holiday of Purim, was a recent lecturer at the Centre. A report today suggested that the SARS virus could be a product of "an American war against the world."


"Al Buraq Wall Not Wailing Wall" is the title of a report released by the Zayed Centre on December 20, 2001. [36] The Zayed Centre website's summary of the report states: "This study is released in line with the Centre's message to serve Arab causes and refute the false Zionist allegations in regard to Palestine� and shows the falsehood of the Zionist religious claims and anthropological fabrications. The study gives a historical account of the Jews from the days of the Temple of Solomon, which was destroyed in 586 B.C., through their persecution under Roman rule, to the occupation� The study also underlines that Al Aqsa Mosque was built more than a thousand years before Solomon, giving evidence that refutes the Zionist allegations that the Mosque was constructed on the ruins of Solomon's Temple� all of which demonstrate that the Zionist alleged rights to the [Wailing] Wall are simply baseless."

The claim that the Al Aqsa Mosque pre-dates Solomon's temple is preposterous, as is obvious to anyone who knows anything about the history and archaeology of the region.

On January 27, 2002, Dr. Hassan Ali Khater, editor-in-chief of the Al Quds Al-Sharif Encyclopedia, spoke at the Zayed Centre. [37] A summary of his lecture on the Zayed Centre website states: "Dr. Hassan Ali Khater� added that Israelis are falsifying history by inscribing Jewish inscriptions on rocks [and] then calling international experts to re-discover [them] as Jewish monuments."

All I can say about this one is that I don't believe it and, if people want to make a serious accusation like this, they need to name names and inscriptions and call on the international community of scholars to expose the fakes. Also, in another report on the same website, Dr. Hassan Ali Khater is quoted as denying that Solomon's temple ever existed:

"Muslim�s First Qibla in danger. A report prepared by ZCCF to commemorate arson of Al Aqsa Mosque"

Dr. Hassan Ali Khater, the chief editor of �Encyclopedia of Al Quds Al Shareef� commenting on Israeli designs of Judaization of Jerusalem said, �There are 15 Israeli concepts to occupy Jerusalem. The Mosque is in danger to collapse due to underground diggings and use of acids to dissolve rocks. Nobody knows the degree of damage caused to the structure due to Israeli obsession with the idea of building The Solomon Temple, the foundation stone of which was laid down in the glare of media a few months ago in spite of the historical facts that deny existence of any such temple.

My emphasis.

RELS 3000: Jewish Apocrypha & Pseudepigrapha
RELS 3000: Rewriting the Book of Genesis
RELS 4107: Varieties of Early Judaism
Dr. John C. Reeves
University of North Carolina at Charlotte