Saturday, March 20, 2010

Irish bog Psalter restored and going on display in 2011

THE IRISH BOG PSALTER has been restored and is going on display next year:
Psalter to go on display in 2011


FOUR YEARS after its sensational discovery in a midlands bog, new photographs today reveal the conservation work on the 1,200-year- old “Faddan More Psalter”.

The National Museum of Ireland has announced that the eighth century religious manuscript “of staggering importance” will go on public display for the first time next year.

The book was found in 2006 by a workman operating a mechanical digger on the bog at Faddan More, near Riverstown in north Co Tipperary.


He praised the “magical and internationally important work” undertaken by senior conservator, John Gillis.

Mr Gillis (49), who is on secondment to the museum from Trinity College Library, was “confounded” when he first saw what had been salvaged from the bog and initially “transfixed with fear” at the scale of the “once-in-a-lifetime” restoration task.

The Psalter is compared favorably, if perhaps a little enthusiastically, to the Dead Sea Scrolls

Background here and here (bottom of post) and follow the links.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tal and Levin receive Israel Prize

CONGRATULATIONS to Abraham Tal and Aryeh Levin:
Israel Prize to two linguists, Abraham Tal and Aryeh Levin

By Or Kashti (Haaretz)

Professor Abraham Tal is the Israel Prize laureate in Hebrew linguistics, and Professor Aryeh Levin is the laureate for general linguistics, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced yesterday.

The prize committee awarded the prize to Tal, of Tel Aviv University, for his achievements in the study of Samaritan traditions and the study of the language of the Targums, in lexicography, for his work as an editor of the Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language and his contribution in producing important students.


The prize committee honored Levin for excellent achievement in the study of the Hebrew language in the Middle Ages and research into Arabic dialects and for promoting literary and spoken Arabic in various state frameworks. ...
I've worked quite a bit with Tal's publications on Samaritan Hebrew and Aramaic.

(Via the Agade list.)

They belong in a museum!

WHOEVER BUYS THESE should donate them to a museum. Or, at the very least, make them freely available to any scholars who want to study them. I don't see anything in the collection that looks unique, but each artifact has its own tale to tell.

Jodi Magness lecturing in Louisville on looting

JODI MAGNESS is lecturing in Louisville, KY, on looting and antiquities trafficking:
Questions & Answers | Archaeologist Jodi Magness

By Diane Heilenman • • March 19, 2010

There is passion in the dust of ages — and evil. Looting is loathsome, said Jodi Magness, a distinguished and passionate archaeologist who gives a 6 p.m. talk on “Loot and Lies: Trafficking in Antiquities” on Thursday at the Speed Art Museum, 2035 S. Third St., Louisville. She will be accompanied by filmmaker Gary Glassman, whose “The Bible's Buried Secrets” has been seen on “Nova.” The film airs at 6 p.m. Friday at the museum. Both events are free.

The article also interviews her briefly.

Angela Kim Harkins lecturing in Bridgeport on DSS

ANGELA KIM HARKINS will be lecturing on the Dead Sea Scrolls in Bridgeport, CT:
Tuesday, March 23

“Dead Sea Scrolls” — Angela Kim Harkins, assistant professor of religious studies at Fairfield University, discusses the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 and today’s perspective on them, 6:30 p.m., Black Rock Branch Library, 2705 Fairfield Ave.; free to the public, 203-337-9676.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gary Anderson interviewed in Christianity Today

PROFESSOR GARY ANDERSON is interviewed in Christianity Today about his new book, Sin: A History.

Earlier review here.

Samuel's Daughter: A Love Story from Third-Century Parthia

A NEW NOVEL by a Hebrew scholar:
Hebraic scholar's historical novel unfolds love story of young woman caught between two cultures

Samuel's Daughter by Ann Brener creates the portrait of a young Jewish girl taken captive in the wars of ancient Iran and her road back to Judaism

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MMD Newswire) March 17, 2010 -- Samuel's Daughter: A Love Story from Third-Century Parthia by Ann Brener uses the story of the capture of Rabbi Samuel's daughter in 259 A.D. to propel a story about one girl's search for identity in the heart of ancient Iran.


Hurva Synagogue restoration

HURVA SYNAGOGUE RESTORATION: Okay, so far I've ignored this story and the accompanying hoo-haw, since it's tangential to PaleoJudaica's interests. But here's an article in The Forward that summarizes briefly what's been going on:
No Longer in Ruins


Published March 17, 2010, issue of March 26, 2010.

There is plenty to criticize when considering the Israeli government’s recent actions and statements on the future of Jerusalem, but that should not diminish its achievement in restoring the ancient Hurva Synagogue in the heart of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ruins of an Umayyad palace in N. Israel

RUINS next to the Sea of Galilee, once thought to be of a synagogue, have now been identified as the remains of a seventh-century Umayyad palace.

UPDATE (18 March): More here on how the misidentification came about.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Phoenicia navigates Cape of Good Hope

THE GOOD SHIP PHOENICIA has successfully circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope:
Phoenicia team navigate Cape of Good Hope

9:00am Tuesday 16th March 2010 (Dorset Echo)

By Laura Kitching

A PRIMITIVE sailing venture being led by a Dorset adventurer has overcome its biggest challenge yet.

A team of 15 international sailors have breathed a sigh of relief as they successfully completed one of the toughest stretches of a 17,000-mile voyage around Africa – navigating the Cape of Good Hope.

This stretch of coastline is a considerable challenge in any modern sailing yacht, but the Phoenicia team managed it in a replica 600 BC Phoenician wooden ship.

Expedition leader Philip Beale, who conceived the project from his base at East Chaldon, near Lulworth, had described it as the ‘critical point in the expedition’.

Congratulations and well done!

Background here.

TIght security at Minnesota DSS exhibit

TIGHT SECURITY at the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Minnesota Science Museum:
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- If you go to see the Dead Sea scrolls exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota, you'll notice you actually have to pass through security first. The museum has beefed up security as part of hosting the historical artifacts.


And keeping the scrolls safe during their stay in Minnesota is a full time job. Some security you'll see, like bag checks, police officers, cameras. But a lot of security you won't see and museum officials can't talk about.

"You have to take every precaution that you can to protect pieces of our history," says Tim Watts who came to the museum to see the scrolls with his family.

While there are no snipers, bomb-sniffing dogs or members of the Israel Antiquities Authority remaining on-site, science museum officials say the scrolls are in good, secure hands for good reason.


Jerusalem Museum of Tolerance under construction

THE JERUSALEM MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE is now under construction.

Background here and here.

The Dead Sea Squirrels

A WISCONSIN TOURIST: "Can you give me more information on the Milwaukee Public Museum's 'Dead Sea Squirrels' exhibit?"

Background here.

UPDATE: Related items here and here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ancient burials at an Ashkelon hospital site

ANCIENT BURIALS at Ashkelon are making the building of a new hospital complicated. Not sure how I missed this story earlier.
Contested gravesite at Ashkelon hospital may have belonged to pagans

By Haaretz Service
Tags: Israel news

The ancient gravesite at the center of ongoing tensions between the Haredi community and the Health Ministry may have belonged to pagans, as opposed to Jews, according to new findings by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The burial site was discovered when Health Minister Yaakov Litzman attempted to add a new wing to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. Once the gravesite was found at the original construction site, the Antiquities Authority confirmed the graves belonged to Jews, and put the project on indefinite hold.

New information gathered by the Antiquities Authority now reveals that the graves belonged to pagan worshippers. The Authority has asked to be given an additional week to conclude the excavations at the contested site.

Finance Ministry officials said a relocation of the new wing would cost at least NIS 160 million, and would be funded either with money designated for reinforcing other hospital departments or by siphoning money from various other government offices.


Opening ceremony for Maimonides Synagogue canceled

THE OPENING CEREMONY for the Maimonides Synagogue in Cairo has been canceled according to the A.P. Zahi Hawass cites the current political situation in Israel and alleged inappropriate behavior ("dancing and drinking") at an earlier ceremony in the synagogue.

Background here.

(Heads up, Carla Sulzbach.)

Pseudepigrapha lecture at the University of Groningen

PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: Lecture today at the University of Groningen:
15 maart Godgeleerdheid en Godsdienstwetenschap: Ancient World Seminar. Titel: Why Should We Read the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha? The Case of the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch. Spreker: Matthias Henze. Plaats: Oude Boteringestraat 38, Groningen. Tijd: 14.00 uur.
UPDATE: More information in English on the Seminar is here. An abstract of of Professor Henze's lecture is here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

James McGrath promoted to rediscovered Chair at Butler

CONGRATULATIONS TO JAMES MCGRATH, who has been promoted to a recently rediscovered Chair at Butler University:
A New Testament Scholar Is Named to a Long-Lost Chair at Butler U.

By Andrea Fuller (Chronicle of Higher Education)

When Harry van der Linden, chair of the philosophy and religion department at Butler University, in Indianapolis, was browsing a registry of endowed funds last fall, he made a curious find: a chair in New Testament studies that had not been filled in over half a century. Immediately, James F. McGrath, an associate professor of religion who blogs about biblical studies, came to mind.

Mr. McGrath, 37, was installed last month as the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair of New Testament Language and Literature, making him the first person to hold the position since 1948.

"It was just listed there, a little paragraph, and it basically said that Mr. Goodwin had given money for this chair and the chair had been occupied one time," Mr. van der Linden says. "And then the story just stopped."


The professor is now doing research on the Mandaeans, an ancient Gnostic group that survives to day. Mr. McGrath says he is interested in the religion's positive portrayal of John the Baptist and negative portrayal of Jesus. He hopes to work with two of the most important sacred Mandaean texts and translate them into English, and although he has applied for a grant to pursue this project, he says funds from his chair could come in handy.

James also runs the very active blog Exploring Our Matrix.

Lectureship in NT/Second Temple Judaism at KCL

JOB: A Lectureship in New Testament/Second Temple Judaism at Kings College London:
King's College London seeks a Lecturer in New Testament Studies with a specialism in Second Temple Judaism to join a cutting-edge and highly motivated team in Biblical Studies with effect from 1 April 2011.

The successful candidate will research and teach New Testament Studies (especially in the area of Jesus and the Gospels) in its historical context within Second Temple Judaism. He or she will teach undergraduate courses in New Testament, especially in the area of Jesus and the Gospels, and areas of Second Temple Judaism such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. He or she will contribute to MA programmes in Biblical Studies and in Bible and Ministry, and will work in collaboration with colleagues to ensure that the Department attracts high quality students at both MA & PhD level and that the Department's research output is of world-leading quality.
Details here.

Via the British New Testament Society list.