Saturday, September 04, 2010

Half a decade of search engine referrals

SEARCH ENGINE REFERRALS: For the past five years and several months I have been saving up especially entertaining search-engine referrals that have directed readers to PaleoJudaica. It's pretty obvious that most of those readers did not find what they were looking for. Here, for your amusement, is the list of search terms. I swear I did not make any of them up.
  • the pit and the pendulum prologue translation
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  • sabbatai SEVI AND united nations
  • an extreme makeover for christians according to the holy bible King james version
  • sumerian dictator - elementary level
  • how meet christian wife OR bride OR single OR girl OR woman OR match speaking arabic OR french carrying american nationality for marriage?
  • 'places where to have baby's first birthday in poughkeepsie' near New York
  • Lilith fragments prehistoric hieroglyphs
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  • a list of the ten largest whiskey seller companies in the world
  • "i like monica" free pics
  • angelina jolie, circumcise
  • antique velvet chairs from the catholic church
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  • Durham University and Pink Panther
  • love phrases in sindarin
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  • tree houses .com/links.
  • Post- doctoral fellowship on Solar Cooker
  • Welcome back to church sample letter
  • how long did it take the passion of the chris actors to learn Aramaic
  • shipping international order usps israel digital cameras
  • Why Dubai seems like blessed by Jesus instead of Jeruselam
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  • the book of enoch and 911
  • Highland Village adress in iran villages 2009
  • red sea scroll conspiracy
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  • why do i see temples and mazar in my dreams
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  • What is the counter spell for Sectarianism in Happy Potter?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Coptic Unicode font now available

A COPTIC UNICODE FONT is now available.

The Flood story at Ugarit

THE FLOOD STORY AT UGARIT: It isn't terribly well known, but a version of the Mesopotamian Flood story was found among those "Canaanite" alphabetic cuneiform texts at Ugarit. This tablet, however, was written in Akkadian and tells the story in the first person with Atrahasis as the Flood hero. The name of the hero is Utnapishtim in the Gilgamesh Epic and Atrahasis in the Atrahasis epic. Duane Smith has posted an edition and translation of the Flood story from Ugarit at Abnormal Interests.

I published a discussion and partial translation of this tablet in my article "The Flood Hero as King and Priest," JNES 53 (1995): 199-214, esp. pp. 205-206. Despite its fragmentary nature, it is a very interesting text.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Bishop Tom Wright on moving to St. Andrews

BISHOP TOM WRIGHT is interviewed by the BBC on moving to St. Andrews.

Via Mark Goodacre's NT Blog.

BNTC 2010

I'M OFF to the British New Testament Conference, which is in Bangor, Wales, this year. I'm not presenting a paper this time, but I will be co-chairing the New Testament and Second Temple Judaism Seminar, as usual. The programs of all the seminars are available here.

The conference takes place today, Friday, and Saturday. I will try to keep blogging as usual, time and internet connection permitting, but I have also pre-posted a few things, so there will be something new here each day in any case.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

New World Hebrew forgeries in the news

NEW WORLD HEBREW FORGERIES have been getting some unfortunate media attention lately. For some reason the Los Lunas "Mystery Stone" forgery in New Mexico is given gullible positive coverage by Digital Journal. Also, a visit to the stone is chronicled much more sensibly in Mama Dragon, in which post the burning bush is repeatedly addressed as "dude."*

Note also Glenn Beck's recent foray back into Hebrew studies with a segment on the Bat Creek Stone. The Bat Creek stone inscription was also debunked back in 1993 in the July/August issue of Biblical Archaeology Review by P. Kyle McCarter, supporting earlier conclusions by Frank Moore Cross. (Not online. Sorry.) Cross and McCarter are two of the most distinguished living Northwest Semitic epigraphers. (Full disclosure: Cross supervised my doctoral dissertation.) Both the paleography (letter shapes) of the letters that look like Hebrew and the content (the apparent geographical name Yehud) do not work for Second Temple Hebrew (or, in combination, any other kind).

Beck also mentioned the Newark Stones, which are clearly not actually Second Temple Hebrew inscriptions, although it has been argued that they are medieval Jewish relics that were salted into the digs where they were discovered. At least the residents of Newark were pleased with Beck's mention of the stones:
NEWARK -- The day after the Newark Earthworks were mentioned by television and radio host Glenn Beck on FOX News, there was an increase in visitors at the Great Circle.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook," said Susan Fryer, executive director of the Greater Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is housed at the Great Circle in Newark.

"So far we've had about 34 visitors today, and about one-third of those are here because they saw it on Glenn Beck," Fryer said mid-afternoon Thursday.

Many of the visitors, Fryer said, were from Ohio and had thought about visiting but never did until they saw the program.

*Via James McGrath on FB.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Antiquities restoration at the IAA

ANTIQUITIES RESTORATION at the IAA gets a brief look by Haaretz. Excerpt:
[Elisheva] Kamaisky is one of the Antiquities Authority's six-member restoration team who reconstruct objects and implements of the material culture in the country since human habitation began. They receive potsherds, threadbare cloths, metallic weapons, golden coins, delicate glassware and more. Unlike their colleagues in the rest of the world, Israeli law bars them from working with human remains.


In a nearby room that resembles a chemistry lab, Lena Kuperschmidt, a metallurgy expert, is hard at work. Her current project is opening rolled up lead talismans found in Caesarea. Each talisman is a flat rectangle of lead, engraved in Greek and rolled into a tight scroll. The talismans contain mostly curses against horses, and were meant to help whoever wrote or ordered them disable rival's horses in the races staged at the local hippodrome. Every talisman holds uncharitable wishes, like "may the horse go blind," "may it break its legs," "may it fail to run" and so on.

Ancient Cupid cameo from Jerusalem

AN ANCIENT CUPID CAMEO has been excavated in Jerusalem:
Israel archeologists uncover 2,000-year-old cupid in City of David dig

Israel Antiquities Authority says added inlaid semi-precious stone is of the 'Eros in mourning,' one of a group of visual motifs linked with mourning practices.

By Haaretz Service Tags: Israel news archeology Jerusalem

Israeli archeologists unveiled a 2,000 year old semi-precious cameo bearing the image of Cupid on Monday, which the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) said was among several items located in the City of David archeological area in Jerusalem's Old City in the last 12 months.

The cameo, which will be displayed at the 11th Annual City of David Archaeology Conference scheduled to take place later this week, is 1 cm in length and 0.7 cm in width, and was discovered in the Givati Parking Lot Excavation, a part of the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

Click on the link for a photo and detailed description.

On the origins of the alphabet

ON THE ORIGINS OF THE ALPHABET: An interesting debate was started up in the March/April issue of BAR by Orly Goldwasser on whether the alphabet was invented in elite scribal circles or (her position) in a working-class environment. Anson Rainey and now Christopher Rollston have replied, taking the contrary view. Much of the discussion is online:

Orly Goldwasser, How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs (mostly behind a subscription wall).

Anson Rainey, with Goldwasser's rebuttal, Who Really Invented the Alphabet—Illiterate Miners or Educated Sophisticates? (BAR website).

Christopher Rollston, FEATURED POST by Christopher Rollston: The Probable Inventors of the First Alphabet (ASOR blog).

Note also the recent discussion of The Origins of ABC in a post at John Boardley's I Love Typography blog.

Monday, August 30, 2010

More on Arsinoë II

MORE ON ARSINOË II from Judith Weingarten at the Zenobia: Empress of the East blog: The Uppity Queen Arsinoë II (Part II).

Background here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Phoenicia closing on on Gibraltar

THE GOOD SHIP PHOENICIA is closing in on Gibraltar:

Over a thousand years ago they arrived, looked at the Rock and called it Calpe. Now they’re back - at Ocean Village.

After 27 consecutive days at sea, Phoenicia is expected to arrive on Sunday 29 August in the safe waters of Ocean Village marina for some well-earned R n R. The 21 metre vessel, a traditionally built replica of a 600BC Phoenician cargo ship, is currently recreating the epic first circumnavigation of Africa achieved some 2,600 years ago.

The latest entry in the Ship's Blog (Position Report 241) reports favorable weather. Background here and follow the links.

UPDATE (30 August): They arrived safely on Sunday (Position Report 243):
We successfully made landfall earlier this morning after a challenging passage along the final Straits of Gibraltar where strong headwinds and sea mist nearly prevented us from going any further. However the strong current enabled us to beat off the head winds and although this meant positioning ourselves near the centre of the Strait and facing on coming ships in the adjacent traffic lane, this strategy eventually paid dividends. Even so it was a tense night and fortunately our luck held.

In Gibraltar we are guests of the Ocean Village Marina where we plan to stay until the end of the week when we will start another leg of the expedition towards Carthage in Tunisia.