Friday, September 12, 2008

"THE DUMBEST HEBREW TATTOO YET!" It's certainly an impressive specimen of tattoo dumbness. More on Danielle Lloyd's tattoo (and Victoria Beckham's, which seems to be in real Hebrew) here. Other ancient-language-tattoo posts are here, here, and here.
THE PHOENICIA is putting into port at Yemen:
Phoenicia vessel to visit Yemen soon
[09 September 2008]

ADEN, Sep. 09 (Saba)- The Phoenicia vessel and on its board 20 sailors from different nationalities is going to arrive in the Aden port within next two days in the formwork of its journey which started last August from Arwad Island off the coast of Syria.

The sailing ship attempts to replicate what the Greek historian Herodotus mentions as the first circumnavigation of Africa in about 600 BC. It would involve the circumnavigation of Africa, a feat which has not been undertaken for two and a half millennia.

Background here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

BELATED HAPPY FIFTH BLOGIVERSARY to Mark Goodacre's New Testament Gateway blog and to David Meadows's Rogue Classicism.
Religion today
By DONNA ABU-NASR – 18 hours ago

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — On a sweltering August morning, a small group of Iranians crowded outside the green metal door of a cemetery. They wanted to go in to look at the remains of one particular tomb: the tomb of biblical Eve.

Like hundreds of Muslims who visit Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage in nearby Mecca, the Iranians had heard the legend that Eve was buried in that spot. The two blue signs inscribed with "The Graveyard of our mother Eve" flanking the cemetery entrance appeared to add credibility to a story passed on by generations of Saudis but never scientifically proven.

"We hear this is the tomb of Eve," said Minoo Ghadimkhani, 45. "That is why we want to go in."

There is no archaeological evidence old enough to authenticate the story of Eve's burial in Jiddah, according to many Bible experts. But that hasn't kept the legend from persisting.

William Dever, a professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at the University of Arizona and a prominent U.S. archaeologist, said there just isn't any archaeological evidence going back far enough to back up the claims.

"The problem is that these are all legends, these are all myths and we can't date them," said Dever, who specializes in the history of Israel and Near East in biblical times. "My guess is the story could go back two or three thousand years, but we don't have any archaeological proof."

"There are lots of traditional tombs of saints of various kinds in the Middle East," he added. "But they are never excavated or investigated scientifically."

Asked if he had heard of any other final resting place for Eve, Dever said, "No. There are tombs of Abraham all over the place, but I don't honestly know in Israel or the West Bank or Jordan of any Eve tomb in these places."

As Mark Twain would say, it comforts my heart to encounter the revered burial place of a relative.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A JOB in Premodern Judaism at UC Davis:
The Religious Studies Program at the University of California Davis announces a search for a tenure-track faculty position in “The History of Premodern Judaism.” Applicants must have strong research plans and teaching records and an expertise in Jewish texts for either the biblical, Second Temple, rabbinic or medieval periods. Applicants should be prepared to teach a broad range of introductory and advanced courses in Jewish Studies and to take an active role in UC Davis’ Jewish Studies Program. The program also welcomes applicants with an interest in the historical, comparative and theoretical study of religion. Rank is assistant professor and a Ph.D. is required. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and expertise.

Please submit application materials—a cover letter including a statement of research and teaching interests and curriculum vitae--electronically to:
(3) professional letters of reference via e-mail to, followed by signed original copies to:
David Biale
Search Committee Chair
Religious Studies Program
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA
Please also submit a writing sample (electronic PDF)to David Biale via e-mail at

For full consideration applications should be received by October 15, 2008. The position is open until filled.

The University of California, Davis, is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer with a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of diversity among its faculty and staff.
(Via the H-JUDAIC list.)
CAESAREA'S underwater archaeological park: the video.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

BNTC 08 REPORTS: I've been lax about commenting on the British New Testament Conference this year, but others have made up for that. Sean the Baptist (congratulations on the Australia job, Sean!) has his own report and he links to others. And let me echo his and Mark's thanks to Louise Lawrence, who did a great job of keeping things running smoothly.

I'm looking forward to the Aberdeen meeting in 2009 (assuming the world doesn't end tomorrow - maybe toss up a prayer to Michael and the Hashmal just in case).
“Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver” Exhibit Opens
(September 8, '08, 6:47 Edahn Golan) (IDEX online)

Small, delicately designed gold jewelry items dating as far back as 2,500 BCE document fashion, class and even manufacturing capabilities in an exhibit about to open at the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum in Ramat Gan, Israel.

More than 100 gold jewelry items found in archeological digs in Israel are on display at the exhibition, the latest from the Ottoman period (1517-1917). Animals, goddesses and geometric shapes dominate the designs, used to signify power, wealth, status as well as beliefs. The items, on loan from the Hecht and Rockefeller museums, are mostly minute and could be a reflection of the scarcity of gold.

UPDATE: And more from Diamond Intelligence Briefs (Tacy):

8 September 2008

The Harry Oppenheimer Israel Diamond Museum, located within the Israeli Diamond Industry complex, has opened the ‘Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver’ exhibition of rare and ancient jewelry excavated in archeological sites throughout Israel.

The exhibition, which takes its name from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 25, verse 11: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver", features gold jewelry that has never before been seen, much of which dates from Biblical times and even earlier. In the days of the Bible, golden balls used in intricate jewelry designs were known as ‘apples’. Though the exhibit does not focus solely on diamonds, it makes a clear statement about the vital nature of the interaction between the diamond industry and the jewelry industry, throughout the world.

The jewels, some of which are set with precious stones, enable a rare glimpse into the lifestyle and culture of the ancient Israelites, and attest to the Land of Israel's unique position as a cultural and commercial crossroad of the ancient world. All of the items have been lent to the Diamond Museum courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The exhibition also reveals a great deal about the creation of ancient jewelry – the methods, the craftsmen, the influences of other ancient civilizations and the role jewelry played in the religion and culture of the times. Over 100 pieces from the huge collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hecht Museum were individually chosen by curator Yehuda Kassif to shed light on this subject.


Monday, September 08, 2008

MARTIN GOODMAN'S Rome and Jerusalem: the Clash of Civilizations is reviewed by Rivkah Fishman-Duker in Jewish Political Studies Review. Excerpt:
Rome and Jerusalem appears at a time of world crisis for the Jewish people and religion. Many doubt the very existence of a Jewish people and call Jews an "imagined community." The ancient heritage and roots of the Jews in the Land of Israel have been subject to corrosive deconstruction and doubt and have come under vicious and libelous attacks. A wide array of intellectuals, politicians, and Christian and Muslim leaders challenge the existence of a sovereign Jewish state of Israel. Moreover, Judaism often seems so diluted that it cannot be clearly defined.

In light of this background, Martin Goodman's erudite and encyclopedic volume restores ancient Jewish civilization to its proper place in world history and contributes to the ongoing debate about the origins of hatred toward Jews and Judaism. The work is indeed a tour de force.
Earlier reviews are noted here and here.
GOT BACK TO ST. ANDREWS on Saturday evening. There was heavy flooding in northern England and the train was delayed repeatedly while the tracks were cleared. But we made it. Many thanks to everyone at Durham for hosting a very good conference.