Saturday, January 28, 2006

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS EXHIBITION at Discovery Place in Charlotte, North Carolina, starts on 17 February. And its weekly lecture series has an impressive lineup of speakers.
ADOLFO ROITMAN, curator of the Shrine of the Book, will be giving a lecture in Springfield, Massachusetts, next week.
Scrolling through history
Saturday, January 28, 2006
By RONNI GORDON [The Republican]

In 1947, young Bedouin shepherds, searching the cliffs in Israel along the Dead Sea for a stray goat or possibly for treasure, found a cave containing jars filled with manuscripts.

The shepherds removed seven scrolls that led to the discovery of several more scrolls and thousands of fragments from the surrounding area, called the Qumran ruin. Archaeologists and other researchers determined that the scrolls were ancient and authentic.

"The Dead Sea Scrolls are the most outstanding archaeological discovery of the 20th century," according to Adolfo Roitman, an expert who will present a lecture at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Roitman is curator of the Shrine of the Book, which contains the Dead Sea Scroll collection and other ancient manuscripts at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The topic of his lecture is "From Serpent to Satan: The Story of Paradise in Literature and Art."


Friday, January 27, 2006

STILL MORE LOST BOOKS: Robert A. Kraft's website has endless goodies. I've just run across a couple that deal with ancient lost parabiblical books. First is a page associated with course he taught in 2002-03 on parabiblical literature. It consists of a critical evaluation of material found in:
RESCH, ALFRED. Agrapha. Aussercanonische Schriftfragmente. Gesammelt und untersucht und in zweiter völlig neu bearbeiteter durch alttestamentliche Agrapha vermehrter Auflage hrsg. von Alfred Resch. Mit fünf Registern. (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 30.3-4, Neue Folge 15.3-4) Leipzig, 1906 [first ed 1889]. [Pp. XVI + 426.]

Particularly notable are these quotes from what appear to be lost Old Testament pseudepigrapha:
  • L[ogion] 3b [Syr Didasc 26, as scripture says: Jacob will be blessed in his firstborn]
  • L 4a [Barn 15.1-2, and in another place it says: If my sons keep the sabbath, then will I put my mercy on them]
  • L 4b [Syr Didasc 21, regarding sabbath: You shall not lift a foot to do any work, and you shall not emit a word from your mouth]
  • L 5 [Barn 7, in the prophet: And let them eat from the goat ...]
  • L 7 [Tertullian, exhort cast 7, in Leviticus: Let my priests no longer marry]
  • L 10 [Didasc 2.23, thus says the Lord: I stretched my hands over him and it is for a myth and a parable]
  • L 14 [Clement Alex, Strom 6.9.78, the Lord: ask and I will do, be aware and I will give]
  • L 20 [1 Clement 26.2, somewhere it says: And if you elevate me, I will also confess you]

There's also a discussion of lost apocrypha/pseudepigrapha of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

In addition Bob has a large and impressive page on Lost Apocrypha of the New Testament, conceived along the lines of M. R. James's Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament. (Bob is also expanding and revising the latter; more on both projects here. And note his collection of material on Og the Giant, which I only just noticed.)
A PHOENICIAN INSCRIPTION IN NEW MEXICO? Well, more like Hebrew, and old, but not all that old.
Phoenician Inscription Rock: History or hoax?

By Joseph Maes The New Mexican |
January 26, 2006

RIO PUERCO — Concealed within a small valley at Hidden Mountain is a 15-square-foot piece of basalt. The surface is carved with 216 characters that resemble Phoenician or old Hebrew. Translations have postulated buried treasure, a battle description and a exiled Greek named Zakyneros from 500 B.C.

“I believe someone decided to write down the Ten Commandments , but the question is who and when,” said Richard Melzer, a professor at The University of New Mexico-Valencia branch.


In 1949, Professor Robert Pheiffer, of the Harvard Semitic Museum, translated the writing on the stone and concluded that the text is Paleo-Hebrew and is based on Exodus 20:2-17.


Like Melzer, UNM history professor Ferenc Szasz believes this to be the correct translation, he also has a theory on who the mysterious author might be. “I think it’s old, but not pre-Columbian , more likely from the 18th century,” Szasz said Near the large rock are the initials A.M. the same initials are also present at Inscription Rock at El Morro near Grants. The initials are attributed to Andres Muñiz , chief interpreter of the 1776 Dominguez-Escalante Expedition.


That's Robert Pfeiffer, actually.

Kind of cool.

UPDATE (30 January): More here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON JUDAS: On 12 January the Times of London published an article (scroll down) that claimed that there was a "campaign led by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science ... aimed at persuading believers to look kindly" on Judas. But on the 20th I linked to a Zenit article that quoted Monsignor Brandmüller to say:
Reading the Times I discovered that a campaign exists to rehabilitate Judas and that I am the leader," the Vatican official said. "I have not talked with the Times. I can't imagine where this idea came from.

The original Zenit link seems now to be dead, but you can read the article here.

Since the 20th I have been monitoring both Google and the Times website and, although a number of other media outlets including Reuters, have picked up the Vatican's repudiation of the Times story, the Times itself (at least if its dodgy search engine is accurate) has ignored it entirely. What is going on here? If the Times has misrepresented Monsignor Brandmüller's position, it owes him a retraction and an apology. In any case, it owes its readers an explanation.

Is this another example of the professional media's much vaunted system of fact-checkers and editors? I can't say I'm impressed. The original Times article is still online. If they had the standards of a decent blogger, they would have added an update at the end of it as soon as the Zenit piece came out, linking to it and explaining the discrepancy.
ANOTHER OBITUARY FOR J. T. MILIK, this one by Felix Corley in the Independent:
Jozef Milik
Scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Published: 26 January 2006

Józef Tadeusz Milik, priest and biblical scholar: born Seroczyn, Poland 24 March 1922; ordained priest 1946; married Jolanta Zalowska; died Paris 6 January 2006.


(Heads up, Stephen Goranson on the G-Megillot list.)
MO'ED 17 - CALL FOR PAPERS: Jonathan Safren posts the following announcement on Ioudaios-L:
Mo'ed - Annual for Jewish Studies, is now accepting papers for Vol. 17, to appear in March-April 2007. Mo'ed is a peer-reviewed annual devoted to all branches and periods of Jewish Studies, and welcomes original contributions in these fields. Articles may be submitted for publication either in Hebrew or in English. Hebrew articles are to include an English abstract and English articles are to include a Hebrew abstract of 200-300 words. Articles are to be typed using a Word for Windows-compatible word processor and should be submitted in two hard copies accompanied by a diskette. Electronic transmission as an e-mail attachment is an acceptable alternative, but it is recommended to submit hard copies and diskette as well. Bibliographical references and other notes are to be typed as footnotes. For all other matters of style and usage - spelling and punctuation, use of numbers, emphases, abbreviations, citation of texts and bibliographical references, contributors are referred to the Guidelines for Contributors appearing (in both Hebrew and English) in Mo'ed 15 (2005), or to Tarbiz 51 (1982), pp.167-169. The final date for submission of articles to Vol. 16 [I think this is supposed to be "Mo'ed 17" - JRD] is 30 September 2006. Articles are to be submitted to:
Dr. Arie Don
Dr, Jonathan D. Safren
Mo'ed - Annual for Jewish Studies
Center for Jewish Culture
Beit Berl College
Beit Berl Post Office
44905 Israel

For some of the contents for Moed 16, follow the link to the announcement above.
THE COMMENTATORS' BIBLE -- A new Torah commentary series focusing on medieval Jewish commentators:
New Liberal Torah Commentary Spotlights Work of Medieval Luminaries
January 27, 2006

For decades, English-speaking rabbis have been employing innovative academic, literary and theological approaches to produce fresh commentaries on the Bible that would resonate with their modern-day congregants. But as the yearly Torah cycle reached the book of Exodus this month, Rabbi Michael Holzman tried out what qualifies these days as a more radical approach: He is directing his Reform students to an all-medieval lineup of Judaism's most revered biblical commentators.

At a class held last week at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, a Reform synagogue in Philadelphia, Holzman — along with Orthodox and Reconstructionist colleagues — introduced 100 students to "The Commentators' Bible," an annotated edition of Exodus released last September by the Jewish Publication Society. The new commentary relies predominantly on four medieval rabbis — Rashi, Rashbam, Ibn Ezra and Nachmanides — who generally wrote from what typically would be described today as an Orthodox perspective. Among their assumptions is the belief that the Torah was a unified document revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. Additional commentary from a half-dozen other medieval scholars, including Abarbanel and Sforno, is also included.


According to [Arielle] Levites, [a JPS spokesperson,] JPS would like to follow up the new commentary on Exodus with similar works dedicated to the four other books of the Torah. She said that JPS and Carasik opted to do Exodus first, because tackling Genesis, which has more associated commentary, would have been a tougher opening act. In addition, she said, Exodus contains a representative sampling of the Torah's various literary styles, including narrative and legal portions.


Sounds very useful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

ANOTHER COSMIC SYNCHRONICITY: David Meadows points out that today is both Robbie Burns Day and the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Well, I guess it's cosmic if you're in Scotland. I'll be going to a belated Burns Night supper a week from Saturday.
"DON'T BE EVIL" ... unless the price is right.

I try to keep PaleoJudaica out of politics most of the time, but this really annoys me and -- especially since I and many other bloggers use Google so much -- I think it merits a mention:
Google to Censor Search Results in China
# The company agrees to omit Web content that Beijing objects to in a new version of its service for the country.

From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country's free-speech restrictions in return for better access to the Internet's fastest-growing market.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a version of its search engine bearing China's Web suffix, .cn, today. A Chinese-language version of Google's search engine has previously been available through the company's dot-com address in the United States.


To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country's government found objectionable.

Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, certain topics, such as Taiwan's independence and 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects.


When Google censors results in China, it intends to post notifications alerting users that some content has been removed to comply with local laws. The company provides similar alerts in Germany and France when, to comply with national laws, it censors results to remove references to Nazi paraphernalia.

That's right: Google is treating websites on the Tianamen Square massacre the same as Nazi propaganda.

I note that PaleoJudaica is already banned in China, perhaps because I poked fun at the Chinese Government for censoring Lara Croft.

I accept that Google is -- so far -- being less evil than Yahoo or Microsoft, but this still won't do. And I don't buy the arguments (noted, but not accepted here) that they may as well do it, since the Chinese Government will do it anyway, or that what Google is doing for China is morally equivalent to banning Nazi websites for Germany and France. (If I had my way, even those would not be banned unless they contained specific incitements to criminal acts -- not just criminal thoughts. But I acknowledge that Germany and France have historical considerations that lead them to take another view. In any case, this is still not comparable to censoring Tianamen Square.)

Bottom line: unless Google's policy changes, I will no longer click on any Google sponsored links or Google ads. I urge you not to either. And if you run Google ads, I encourage you to take them down.

(Via Instapundit.)
SORCERY כשפים: I'm not sure why, but Israel Today has an article on sorcery and magic in ancient Judaism and the New Testament:
Sorcery, in Hebrew keshafim and Biblical Hebrew nachash (Numbers 23:23), is the same as magic or the “black arts.” Using sorcery, people try to control or dominate nature through all kinds of customs, ceremonies and sacrifices, and then use it for their own purposes. Along with the acquisition of power, belief in spirits plays the most important role in sorcery.

"ISRAEL: ARCHAEOLOGY FROM THE AIR" is an exhibition currently on display in Orissa, India:
Photo exhibition on semitic nation’s archaeological sites

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, Jan. 24. — People of the state had the opportunity to have a glimpse of a few best known and most interesting archaeological sites of Israel through a photo exhibition titled as “ Israel: Archaeology from the Air”.
The exhibition, organised by the Embassy of Israel in collaboration with the state museum, was inaugurated by the ambassador of Israel to India, Mr David Danieli and state’s culture minister Dr Damodar Rout here today. It will be opened to public till 10 February, said the organisers.


Photos of 25 selected archaeological sites shot from the air were on display. The sites on display included the citadel of Jerusalem, the biblical city of King David etc. It may be noted that Israel has the highest density of known archaeological sites per square kilometre. The land is the birth place of two of the greatest monotheistic faiths of the world — Judaism and Christianity.
Ancient church may cause jail relocation
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS (Jerusalem Post)

In an unprecedented move, Israel's top archaeological body is recommending that the Megiddo Prison be relocated due to the recent discovery of the most ancient Christian place of worship ever found in Israel on the grounds of the prison.

The ruins of the Christian prayer hall, which was located inside a Roman villa, date back to the first half of the third century CE, making the chapel the earliest place of Christian worship ever unearthed in the Holy Land, excavation director and Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Yotam Tepper said Tuesday.


Haaretz has an article on it too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

BLOG OF THE MONTH: PaleoJudaica is the blog of the month over at and I am interviewed there by Brandon Wason. In the interview you'll read something about me that you probably don't already know.
International conference to be focused on the important second-century Christian figure, Justin Martyr
20-22 July 2006

University of Edinburgh

The first international conference to be focused on the important second-century Christian figure, Justin Martyr, will be held 20-22 July 2006 in Edinburgh, sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins. The aim is to bring together scholars across disiplinary lines, e.g., New Testament/Christian Origins, early Patristics, Roman history, and ancient Philosophy, with the crucial figure Justin Martyr as the focus. Key questions to be explored include these: Justin and the Gospels, Justin and Early Christian Apologetics, Justin and Early Christian Interaction with its Intellectual/Philosophical Environment, Justin and Early Christian. Interaction with the State, Justin and Second-Century Doctrinal/Creedal Developments.

For more information, see

Besides being an important Church Father, Justin Martyr preserves considerable information about his encounters with Judaism in the first half of the second century.

(Again, via the British New Testament Society announcements list.)
PAGAN MONOTHEISM CONFERENCE: I've already noted the Pagan Monotheism Conference at the University of Exeter, but here's the full program:
University of Exeter, Department of Classics and Ancient History

International conference: Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire,
Exeter, 17-20 July 2006

Keynote Speakers include M. Frede, G. Fowden, J. North, A. Chaniotis, C. Markschies, L. Rutgers, and S. Mitchell.

Please find below the provisional programme.

Further details and a registration form can be found on the website

Please contact with any questions.

Provisional programme

17 July 2006

5-6: Plenary: S. Mitchell - P. Van Nuffelen (Exeter): Definition and Methodology

18 July 2006

9.30-10.30: Plenary: M. Frede (Oxford), tba (philosophy and pagan monotheism)

Subsidiary A:
11-11.30: R. Seaford (Exeter), The early history of Greek monotheism
11.30-12: Y. Ustinova (Beer Sheva), Monotheism as a Cognitive State: The Case of Parmenides
12-12.30: G. Van Riel (Leuven), Monotheistic tendencies in Plato

Subsidiary B:
11-11.30: Y. Lehmann (Strasburg): L' avènement du monothéisme philosophique à Rome (de Varron à Sénèque)
11.30-12: G. Winkle (Calvin College): Coram Deo Platonic Deity and Theurgic Ascent in Apuleius' Metamorphoses
12-12.30: Y. Maes (Ghent): The savior of (Ro)Man? Cato Uticensis in Lucan.


2.30-3.30: Plenary: G. Fowden (Athens): Plotinus A pagan, Christian and Muslim monotheist

Subsidiary C:
4-4.30: P. Scade (Exeter): The early history of the Timaeus
4.30-5: A. Magny (Bristol): The "Blasphemous" Philosopher: Porphyry and the Remains of Against the Christians in the Christian Literature
5-5.30: S. Klitenic Wear (Creighton): The Pseudo-Dionysian Trinity and the Porphyrian One

Subsidiary D:
4-4.30: P.R. Bosman (South Africa): The imperial Cynic and the one god
4.30-5: J.P. Kenney (Saint Michael's College): Plotinus and the Foundations of Pagan Monotheism
5-5.30: D. Caluori (Oxford): Plotinus on god and gods

19 July 2006

9.30-10.30: Plenary: C. Markschies (Berlin): Some new insights into the "Heis-Theos-Formula"

Subsidiary A:
11-11.30: N. Belayche (Paris): Les acclamations " Heis theos " : pratiques eulogiques et représentation du panthéon
11.30-12: B. Selter (Ghent): Eadem spectamus astra. Monotheistic tendencies in the Carmina latina epigraphica.

Subsidiary B:
11-11.30: A. Tugendhaft (Chicago): The aniconic idols of the ancient Nabateans.
11.30-12: G. van Kooten (Groningen): The Aniconic, Monotheistic Beginnings of Rome's Pagan Cult, According to Varro, Plutarch, and St Paul: Romans 1.19-25 in a Roman Context

12-1: Plenary: A. Chaniotis (Heidelberg): Megatheism The search of the almighty God and the competition of cults


2.30-3.30: Plenary: J. North (London): Ritual and religiosity

Subsidiary C:
4-4.30: A. Busine (Brussels): Apollo's oracles between polytheism and monotheism
4.30-5: C. Addey (Bristol): Monotheism, Henotheism and Polytheism in Porphyry's Philosophy from Oracles
5-5.30: V. Hirschmann (Heidelberg): tba (Phrygians)

Subsidiary D:
4-4.30: I. Sandwell (Bristol): Monotheism, Polytheism and the Basis of Religious Toleration in the Fourth century AD
4.30-5: M. Kahlos (Helsinki): Refuting and reclaiming monotheism. Monotheism in the debate between 'pagans' and Christians in 380-430
5-5.30: G. Sfameni Gasparro (Messina): One God and divine Unity. Late Antique theologies between exclusivism and inclusiveness

20 July

9.30-10.30: Plenary: L. Rutgers (Utrecht): Judaism in a Greco-Roman World: Problems and Perspectives

Subsidiary A:
11-11.30: F. Stavrakopoulou (Exeter): Minimalising Monotheism: Perspectives on the biblical and scholarly re-imaging of ancient Israelite Yahweh-worship.
11.30-12: L. Capponi (San Marino): The temple of Leontopolis and the conversion of Egypt from "pagan monotheism" to Judaism.
12-12.30: C. Hywel (Ripon College): Pagan Monotheism in Philo Judaeus

Subsidiary B:
11-11.30: A. Fürst (Münster): Images of God and Concepts of Social and Political Order. The Controversy between Celsus and Origen about Pagan and Christian Monotheism
11.30-12: M. Amerise (Perugia): One God, One Emperor. Monotheism and political theology in Eusebios of Caesarea.
12-12.30: O. Nicholson (Minnesota): Licinius, 'pagan monotheism' and Lactantius On the Anger of God
12.30-1: J. Schott (Charlotte, North Carolina): The Conversion and Apostasy of Pagan Monotheists: Representation and Reality

Dr Peter Van Nuffelen


(Via the British New Testament Society annoucements list.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

AN OBITUARY FOR J. T. MILIK, by Émile Puech, has appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde:
Joseph Milik, déchiffreur des manuscrits de la mer Morte

(Via Anders Aschim at
ASSIMILATED TO THE BLOGOSPHERE: Targumist and New Orleans hurricane survivor Christian Brady has a blog, the superhero-name-evoking Targuman. Introduction here. Welcome Chris!
THE CHALDEAN LITURGY (in Aramaic) underwent a reform last year and Zenit has an article on it.
Praying in Jesus' Own Language

Interview With Professor of Chaldean Liturgy

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2006 ( The Chaldean Church, whose patriarch resides in Baghdad, Iraq, takes pride in its ancient liturgy which uses the same language Jesus used.

In November, the Chaldean liturgy underwent a reform following a special synod in Rome.

To assess the extent of the reform, ZENIT interviewed Monsignor Petrus Yousif, professor of Syro-Chaldean patrology and Chaldean liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Catholic Institute of Paris. He is also the parish priest of France's Chaldean community.

In this interview, Monsignor Yousif, consultor of the Special Liturgy Commission for the Oriental Churches, shares his insight into the Chaldean rite, which uses Aramaic.


I have to say that I doubt that the Aramaic of the liturgy is really "pronounced as Jesus pronounced it," i.e., in first-century Galilean Aramaic. But it's true that it's a dialect of the same language.
THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA is renovating its Manuscript Institute, which has a very important collection:
"We can surprise the whole world!": Saakashvili calls for construction of new manuscript museum
By Eka Basilaia (in The Messenger)

A modern and beautiful museum built according to European standards will be set up in the centre of Tbilisi soon, according to a decree signed by President Saakashvili at the Korneli Kekelidze State Institute of Manuscripts on Friday.

Saakashvili visited the manuscript institute and publicly called for an improvement of the institute's facilities and resources. To this end, the President has proposed building a new branch of the institute in the city centre.


The construction of the museum building will start in a year's time and it will be equipped with all the technology and apparatuses needed for keeping and displaying manuscripts and carrying out scientific research.

The collection contains approximately 10,000 Georgian manuscripts, 60,000 Georgian historical documents, 4,000 manuscripts in Greek, Hebrew, Syrian, Armenian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Slavic languages, while 5,000 historical documents in these languages are preserved. 20,000 documents in different languages from the personal archives of distinguished Caucasian writers and scientists of the 19th and 20th centuries are also held in the museum.


Sounds like a good place to look for more Old Testament pseudepigrapha.
THE BIBLICAL STUDIES CARNIVAL has been revived by Tyler F. Williams, and he will be hosting it in February at his Codex Blogspot. He's put up a Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage and aims to have a new carnival out monthly, hosted by different bibliobloggers. Well done!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: That model of Jerusalem and the Second Temple is finally being moved from the Holyland Hotel to the Israel Museum:
The Temple Mount will be towed away at the end of January
By Amiram Barkat (Haaretz)

At the end of January, the Temple Mount will be sawed into pieces and carted away. Not the real Temple Mount, of course, but its miniature model on the hillside next to the Holyland Hotel in southeast Jerusalem. The mountain and the temple compound built by King Herod are part of a model of Jerusalem in 66 C.E., on the eve of the revolt against the Romans that ended in the destruction of the city.

For almost 40 years, the miniature city sat proudly in the garden surrounding it, but the desire of the site's owners to build a residential tower led them to seek and finance the model's transfer to an alternative location. The institution chosen to host the model is the Israel Museum, which has prepared a terraced field beside the Shrine of the Book to accommodate the model.


(Via this week's Explorator.)
THE VILLA OF THE PAPYRI AT HERCULANEUM is the subject of a 2005 monograph by David Sider which is reviewed by Jan P. Stronk in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
David Sider, The Library of the Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005. Pp. 128. ISBN 0-89236-799-7. $40.00.

(Via Jack Sasson's Agade e-mail list, for which I have been unable to find an online archive.)
GNOSTIC REVIVAL? Traditions about the sacred feminine in the Nag Hammadi Library have considerable appeal to some women in mainstream Christian denominations. Here's some evidence in the Dallas Morning News:
Lectures to offer scholarly look at feminine imagery of God

12:00 AM CST on Saturday, January 21, 2006

By MARY A. JACOBS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

CONNECTIONSMost scholars call Christianity a patriarchal religion: Jesus was a man, and God is typically called "he." But others argue that, after a careful reading of Christian history, that's only half the picture.

An upcoming lecture series will give participants a closer look at this other side of Christian spirituality. "The Feminine Face of God in Christianity" begins Sunday at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

"Because of the ways in which our Christian tradition developed, one stream was emphasized, and of course it's all masculine imagery," said Rosalind de Rolon, a member of the church who organized the series. Organizers say the five-week program integrates "fine art, music, distinguished theological scholarship and participants' own epiphanies."

Ms. de Rolon will deliver the opening lecture with a look at "the ancient wisdom tradition's concept of feminine and masculine, the organizing principles of the universe." She draws from scholars such as Huston Smith and Marcus Borg as well as the Old and New Testaments and the Gnostic gospels.


One lecture will present an "inclusive liturgy honoring Christ-Sophia." Another will look at Mary Magdalene in the light of "Gnostic texts and Carl Jung's Collected Works."
MORE ON THE LOOTING of the Hebrew archives in the French National Library: This case has been quiet for a while, but it figures in this Observer (i.e., Sunday Guardian) piece on the larger problem of looted antiquities in the hands of collectors and museums.
Europe bids to halt tide of art smuggled to America

Court cases aim to break the billion-pound global trade in stolen antiquities that end up with wealthy US collectors and museums

Felix Lowe, Jason Burke in Paris and Barbara McMahon in Rome
Sunday January 22, 2006
The Observer

A series of legal actions has been launched by European governments to regain priceless works of art which they claim have been illegally smuggled to America to be sold off to wealthy collectors and museums.

One of the highest profile cases is in France, where what has been dubbed 'The Affair of the Hebrew Manuscripts' is reaching its climax. The case centres on Michel Garel, a specialist in ancient documents at the National Library in Paris, who is alleged to have systematically pillaged medieval religious texts to satisfy a demand from America. One manuscript, a 600-year-old French Hebrew version of the biblical books of the Pentateuch, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and the Lessons of the Prophets, has been traced to a New York collector who bought it for £200,000 at Christie's. Garel, who maintains his innocence, is to appear before a French court on theft charges.

Agnes Saal, the library's director, said: 'The National Library is motivated by a strong desire to recover this manuscript so that it can once more take its place as part of the national heritage.'