Saturday, October 16, 2010

Phoenicia reaches Lebanon

THE GOOD SHIP PHOENICIA has reached Lebanon:

(Gibraltar Chronicle)

After 20,000 miles and two years at sea, Phoenicia has arrived at the ancient Phoenician port of Sidon in Lebanon

Nearing completion of a voyage to circumnavigate Africa the replica 600 BC ship has been warmly received in Lebanon by the coordinators of - a website dedicated to furthering knowledge about Phoenician history and culture. In Lebanon the ship will stay for a few days in port Sidon before sailing north to the capital, Beirut, where a ceremony is planned to mark the 2,600 year anniversary of the Phoenicians original circumnavigation. Mr George Faddoul from is coordinating the ship’s visit to Lebanon and the events in Beirut taking place between 15th-20th October.

Background here. After the ceremony the ship sails to Syria.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Mesha Stele and President Ahmadinejad

THE MESHA STELE is invoked by Arutz Sheva in response to President Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon:
Ahmadinejad spoke before thousands of supporters in the afternoon at Bint Jbeil, the scene of a battle between the IDF and Iranian puppet militia Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War. As predicted by expert Mordechai Kedar on Arutz Sheva, Ahmadinejad told the audience: “You fought at the front line against the aggressors and Zionist occupiers,” adding: “You proved that no country will succeed in breaking the Lebanese resistance.”

He predicted that “the Zionists will go back to the place they came from.”

Bint Jbeil, he said, “is “the capital of freedom, the capital of resistance.” The town, he said, “holds its head high and will hold out until the last moment” whereas “the Zionists will not last long.”


The nation of Israel has a long history of facing enemies who swear to annihilate it, as Ahmadinejad does. The Passover Hagaddah recounts that “in every generation, they arise to destroy us, and the Holy One, Blessed Be He saves us from them.”

In the Mesha stele, a tablet discovered in what is now Jordan, the king of ancient Moab declares that he fought against a Jewish king, but was victorious, adding: “And Israel suffered everlasting destruction.” The tablet dates from the 9th century BCE. There are no traceable Moabites in the world today..
The article might also have noted a similar premature claim in the thirteenth-century BCE Merneptah Stele, which says, "Israel is laid waste, its seed is not."

New Book: Kabbalistic Manuscripts and Textual Theory

Cherub Press is proud to announce the publication of
the 26th volume in the book series, “Sources and Studies in the Literature of Jewish Mysticism”

Kabbalistic Manuscripts and Textual Theory
Methodologies of Textual Scholarship and Editorial Practice in the Study of Jewish Mysticism

by Daniel Abrams
foreword by David Greetham

* * *

Kabbalistic Manuscripts and Textual Theory: Methodologies of Textual Scholarship and Editorial Practice in the Study of Jewish Mysticism, by Daniel Abrams, foreword by David Greetham, SSLJM 26; 2010, 761 pp., hardcover, ISBN 1-933379-18-9, in English, $49. Kabbalistic Manuscripts and Textual Theory uncovers the unstated assumptions and expectations of scribes and scholars who fashioned editions from manuscripts of Jewish mystical literature. This study offers a theory of kabbalistic textuality in which the material book – the printed page no less than handwritten manuscripts – serves as the site for textual dialogue between Jewish mystics of different periods and locations. The refashioning of the text through the process of reading and commenting that takes place on the page – in the margins and between the lines – blurs the boundaries between the traditionally defined roles of author, reader, commentator and editor. This study shows that kabbalists and academic editors reinvented the text in their own image, as part of a fluid textual process that was nothing short of transformative.
Via the Agade list.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roitman lecturing tonight on DSS

ADOLFO ROITMAN is lecturing tonight on the Dead Sea Scrolls in Springfield, Missouri:
Adolfo Roitman, curator of the Shrine of the Book and guardian of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel, will present a public lecture, "The Dead Sea Scrolls -- Myth and Reality," this evening.

A video produced by the Israel Museum that portrays life among the Essenes, often called the Dead Sea Scrolls community, will introduce the presentation, which will be followed by a question-and-answer period.
Dr. Roitman is on a North American tour.

Pictures: King Herod's VIP Box Excavated

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: Pictures: King Herod's VIP Box Excavated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Off to San Diego

I'M OFF TO SAN DIEGO to visit family. I'll be busy, but I'll try to keep up some blogging. Look for me late this evening San Diego time or, more likely, on Wednesday.

UPDATE: Unplanned overnight stay in Amsterdam due to a technical glitch in Edinburgh which made us miss our connection. Could be late Wednesday evening or Thursday before I can get back to blogging.

Things look pretty quiet right now, but here's something via the Agade list.
From Cook, Edward M. (

The Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, announces a public recital, "An Evening of Neo-Aramaic Literature: Readings in Neo-Aramaic Poetry and Proverbs," with department member Dr. Shawqi Talia, Reader in Arabic and Neo-Aramaic. The event is open to the public.

The recital will be held Thursday, Oct. 28th beginning at 4:30 pm in the May Gallery of the Mullen Library on campus. Please direct enquiries to for more details.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Exciting New Books

EXCITING NEW BOOKS are noted at the Talmud Blog. And notice also this post at Hagahot on a new book on Automatic Writing in the Zoharic literature. The latter makes me think of Ezra's reception of the 94 lost scriptures in 4 Ezra 14:37-48.

UPDATE: More new books from the SBL:

The Bible in Theory: Critical and Postcritical Essays
Stephen D. Moore

The sixteen essays assembled in this volume, four of them co-authored, chart the successive phases of a professional life lived in the interstices of Bible and “theory.” Engaging such texts as the Song of Songs, 4 Maccabees, Mark, Luke-Acts, John, and Romans, and such themes as the quest for the historical Jesus, the essays simultaneously traverse postmodernism, deconstruction, New Historicism, autobiographical criticism, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, masculinity studies, queer theory, and “posttheory.” Individual essay introductions and periodic annotated bibliographies make the volume an advanced introduction to biblical literary criticism.

Paper $51.95 • 480 pages • ISBN 9781589835061• Resources for Biblical Study • Hardback edition

Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from Iron Age
Christopher A. Rollston

Ancient Northwest Semitic inscriptions from Israel, Phoenicia, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Philistia enlighten and sharpen our vision of the Old Testament world in various ways. Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel focuses on this epigraphic evidence in order to broaden our understanding of the techniques and roles of writing, education, and literacy during this biblical period. To that end, the volume systematically covers scribal education; scribal implements; writing media such as stones, potsherds, and plaster; and the religious, administrative, and personal uses of writing. Its “handbook” format makes it easily accessible, including for use as a textbook in courses addressing the cultural context of ancient Israel.

Paper $21.95 • 192 pages • ISBN 9781589831070 • Archaeology and Biblical Studies • Hardback edition

Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri
James R. Royse

In textual criticism, the “scribal habits” in a manuscript (tendencies to make various sorts of changes) must be known in order to evaluate its testimony. Colwell analyzed the scribal habits in P45, P66, and P75, by examining their singular readings. This book expands on Colwell’s work by studying P45, P46, P47, P66, P72, and P75, the six most extensive early New Testament manuscripts. All the singular readings in these papyri are studied along with all the corrections. The results, which incorporate many revised readings of these papyri, make possible the more precise use of these papyri in textual criticism. Among the important discoveries is that the general tendency of these early scribes was to omit rather than to add.

Paper $89.95 • 1088 pages • ISBN 9781589835221 • Brill Reprints • Hardback edition

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review of Alter, The Wisdom Books

ROBERT ALTER'S THE WISDOM BOOKS is reviewed in Jewish Ideas Daily:
Englishing the Hebrew Bible

By David Curzon

All translators of the Hebrew Bible into English work in the shadow of the genius of the King James Version (KJV), done in the 17th century and still in wide use today despite its thee's and thou's. The diction of the KJV has been modernized in the Revised Standard Version (1962) and the New Revised Standard Version (1989). Jewish translations, following the sequence and other features of the Hebrew Bible, and guided by rabbinic understandings, have been brought out by the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) and others.

In the 1980s, the American literary critic and scholar Robert Alter began publishing original studies of the Hebrew Bible that yielded, among other books, The Art of Biblical Narrative and The Art of Biblical Poetry. In 1987 he co-edited, with the late Frank Kermode, The Literary Guide to the Bible, a volume of essays by diverse authors on the books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Since then he has been publishing his own translations into contemporary English of, to borrow his titles, The Five Books of Moses, The David Story, and The Book of Psalms. The newest addition to this ongoing project, just published, is The Wisdom Books, consisting of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. All of these translations, informed by both scholarly understanding and literary sensitivity, are accompanied by detailed commentaries free of jargon. Anyone interested in the Hebrew Bible should become familiar with Alter's undertaking.

Earlier review noted here.