Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life of Jews at the Time of Jesus

ESSAYS by Cynthia Astle about Life of Jews at the Time of Jesus have been posted at Ancient / Classical History (noted by N. S. Gill). The essays are basic, but look accurate enough as far as they go.

Friday, November 26, 2010

PhDiva reviews Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People

SHLOMO SAND, THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE is reviewed by Dorothy Lobel King at her PhDiva blog.

For earlier reviews go here and follow the links back.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random SBL 2010 reflections and links


Bob Cargill has posted Introductory Remarks for the Inaugural Blogger and Online Publication Session at the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting and his paper for the same session, Instruction, Research, and the Future of Online Educational Technologies.

Chris Brady has posted his paper from this session on his Targuman blog and the paper has an important proposal: A Modest Proposal: Assessing Digital Biblical Studies. [UPDATE (26 Nov): Chris Heard responds to Chris's paper at Higgaion.]

Michael Barber also published his paper from this sesssion, Weblogs and the Academy, on The Sacred Page blog.

James McGrath collects these and other posts on the session at Exploring Our Matrix. [UPDATE: James has now posted the full text of his own paper at the same session, The Blogging Revolution: New Technologies and their Impact on How we do Scholarship. I like the Google cartoon.]

Someone – I won't say who – was in the back of the room at this session and later told me that people actually were getting out their iPads and following my paper online as I read it.

In the E-Publish or Perish section (S21-314) there were lots of very good panelist presentations. Particularly exciting to me was Ian Scott's announcement that the new Grammateus user interface (for user-friendly production of original-text critical editions) is now available in association the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha. It has my head whirring about other possible uses.

Some very good papers and discussion also at the Pseudepigrapha Group's session on "The Inspired Production of Texts and Traditions" (S22-331a, formerly S22-138). Unfortunately, I had to leave early in order to make it to the Epigraphy session honoring Bruce Zuckerman, but I will mull over the handouts I collected from the session. I have some related thoughts in my 2006 SBL paper Scripture as Prophetically Revealed Writings (PDF, 169 KB) toward the end.

Ed Cook reports Scenes and Observations from SBL Atlanta 2010.

Mark Goodacre has SBL posts here, here, here, and here (additional to those noted here) at his NT Blog. [UPDATE (26 Nov): One more post from Mark here.]

Rebecca Lesses, at her Mystical Politics blog, worries: SBL – an increasingly confessional Christian scholarly society? She has other SBL observations here. [UPDATE (26 Nov): John Hobbins responds at Ancient Hebrew Poetry.]

Loren Rosson has SBL observations here and here at his Busybody blog. [UPDATE: Loren has a third post here.]

Peter Head posts reflections at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog. I agree that the lack of wireless internet access in the hotel meeting rooms was a pity (and rather primitive). Moreover, the Hyatt Regency not only charges a daily fee for internet access, the fee is applied individually to each device used, which is a rip-off. [UPDATE: James McGrath posts on the wi-fi issue here and he is quite right.] Overall I was not impressed with the Atlanta facilities, although the staff were unfailingly polite and helpful.

Rumors of Atlanta being overrun by zombies turned out to be exaggerated.

I'm sure there are many other interesting SBL blog posts that I haven't seen. If I run across good ones later, I'll add them to this post.

UPDATE: Oh, yes, the only book I bought was Stephen R. Donaldson, Against All Things Ending, the third book in the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I'd held off buying it until now because my copies of the earlier volumes are all the American edition and I wanted a consistent set. I had to walk a mile to get to a bookstore that had it (as I said, Atlanta facilities are not impressive) but it was worth it.

UPDATE (27 November): It seems that the blogging session was being recorded. No one told me that. I wonder if my extemporaneous comments about alcohol and zombies will be preserved for posterity. (Via James McGrath.) [UPDATE (29 November): More podcasts here, here, here, and here. Bibliobloggers' lunch photos here.]

Also, David Larsen reports on mysticism sessions at his Heavenly Ascents blog.

Raphael Golb case chronicled in the Jewish Journal

THE RAPHAEL GOLB identity-theft and sock-puppetry case is chronicled in detail in the Jewish Journal:
Slander, Lies and the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Tom Tugend

The Dead Sea Scrolls, recorded by ancient Jewish scribes some 2,260 years ago, are at the center of a criminal case featuring such 21st century concepts as cyberbullying and Internet sleuthing.

Involved is a high-level cast of characters, including eminent Jewish and Christian scholars in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and a professor’s son sentenced to six months in prison for his part in the strange affair.

Bitter scholarly disputes are not uncommon, but they are usually kept within the confines of academia or the pages of professional journals. However, the scrolls confrontation, which involved identity theft and defamation of character, came close to ruining the career of a UCLA researcher and blackening the reputation of a prominent New York University (NYU) professor.

Background here and follow the many links back. Mr. Golb is now out on $25,000 bail and is evidently going to appeal the verdict.

Nephilim in NYT's 100 Notable Books, 2010

THE NEPHILIM make it into the New York Times's list of 100 Notable Books for 2010:
Fallen Angels

Published: March 3, 2010

There was a time in the 1990s when angels were impossible to escape. Guardians, muses, articles of trade, they covered T-shirts and bathroom accessories, bloomed on restaurant walls and peered from the edges of book jackets. Lately they may seem to have drifted away, but they’ve merely wandered into the literature of self-help and healing. It is now possible to buy “How to Hear Your Angels,” “Working With Angels,” “In the Arms of Angels” and “Angels 101,” as well as angel dictionaries, encyclopedias and art books.

Danielle Trussoni’s first novel, “Angelology,” should not be confused with any of these. Her rousing story turns on bad and fallen angels, particularly the offspring of matings between humans and heavenly beings. The hybrids known as Nephilim first appear in Genesis 6: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose,” and when “they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” This might not sound so bad, but in Trussoni’s handling, the Nephilim are “beautiful, iridescent monsters” who belong in cages. With shimmering golden skins and vast white wings sprouting from their backs, they frighten a 9-year-old girl named Evangeline. And how much more terrifying to hear one of the creatures declare, “Angel and devil. . . . One is but a shade of the other.”


Happy American Thanksgiving!

HAPPY AMERICAN THANKSGIVING! It seems to be my destiny to spend Thanksgivings at work in a jet-lagged stupor, but I hope the rest of you are having a good time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Roman bathhouse excavated in Jerusalem

A ROMAN BATHHOUSE has been excavated in Jerusalem. Here's the IAA press release at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:
Ancient Roman bathing pool uncovered in Jerusalem

22 Nov 2010
A 1,800 year old bathing pool, probably part of a bathhouse used by the Roman soldiers who destroyed the Temple, was exposed in excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting prior to the construction of a new miqve in Jerusalem.

A Roman bathing pool - part of a bathhouse from the second-third centuries CE - was uncovered in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting at the initiative of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Moriah Company for the Development of Jerusalem, prior to the construction of a men's ritual bath (miqve) in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.

According to Dr. Ofer Sion, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "We were surprised to discover an ancient bathhouse structure right below the spot where a miqve is to be built. During the excavation we uncovered a number of plastered bathtubs in the side of the pool. Incorporated in the side of the pool is a pipe used to fill it with water and on the floor of the pool is a white industrial mosaic pavement. The bathhouse tiles, which are stamped with the symbols of the Tenth Legion "Fretensis" - LEG X FR, were found in situ and it seems that they were used to cover a rock-hewn water channel located at the bottom of the pool.

"The hundreds of terra cotta roof tiles that were found on the floors of the pool indicate it was a covered structure. The mark of the soldiers of the Tenth Legion, in the form of the stamped impressions on the roof tiles and the in situ mud bricks, bears witness to the fact that they were the builders of the structure. It seems that the bathhouse was used by these soldiers who were garrisoned there after suppressing the Bar Kokhba uprising in 135 CE, when the pagan city Aelia Capitolina was established. We know that the Tenth Legion's camp was situated within the limits of what is today the Old City, probably in the region of the Armenian Quarter. This assumption is reinforced by the discovery of the bathhouse in the nearby Jewish Quarter which shows that the multitude of soldiers was spread out and that they were also active outside the camp, in other parts of the Old City."

Dog's paw print impressed on a roof tile (Photo: Shlomi Amami, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

Dr. Sion adds, "Another interesting discovery that caused excitement during the excavation is the paw print of a dog that probably belonged to one of the soldiers. The paw print was impressed on the symbol of the legion on one of the roof tiles and it could have happened accidentally or have been intended as a joke."

According to Dr. Yuval Baruch, the Jerusalem District archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "What we have here is a discovery that is important for the study of Jerusalem. Despite the very extensive archaeological excavations that were carried out in the Jewish Quarter, so far not even one building has been discovered there that belonged to the Roman legion. The absence of such a find led to the conclusion that Aelia Capitolina, the Roman city which was established after the destruction of Jerusalem, was small and limited in area.

The new find, together with other discoveries of recent years, shows that the city was considerably larger than what we previously estimated. Information about Aelia Capitolina is extremely valuable and can contribute greatly to research on Jerusalem because it was that city that determined the character and general appearance of ancient Jerusalem and as we know it today. The shape of the city has determined the outline of its walls and the location of the gates to this very day."

The Israel Antiquities Authority reports that the remains of the ancient Roman bathhouse which were uncovered will be integrated in the new miqve slated to be built in the Jewish Quarter.
Follow the link for a couple of photos, including one of the paw print.

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Jewish-temple denial from the PA

Jews have no right to Western Wall, PA 'study' says
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH (Jerusalem Post)
11/22/2010 18:07

‘Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep,’ says Information Ministry official.
Talkbacks (35)

The Western Wall belongs to Muslims and is an integral part of Al-Aksa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif (the Islamic term for the Temple Mount complex, meaning the Noble Sanctuary), according to an official paper published on Monday by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in Ramallah.

The paper, which has been presented as a “study,” was prepared by Al-Mutawakel Taha, a senior official with the ministry, to “refute” Jews’ claims to the Western Wall.

In the past, PA leaders and officials have also denied Jewish rights to the Wall, insisting that the Temple Mount never stood in the area.

The new document claims that the Western Wall, or Al- Buraq Wall, as it is known to Muslims, constitutes Waqf property owned by an Algerian- Moroccan Muslim family.

It claims there isn’t one stone in the wall that belongs to the era of King Solomon.

The document is correct that there are no Solomonic stones in the structure, which is Herodian. But a Herodian Jewish temple refutes the PA's other claims in itself, and there is ample indirect evidence for a Judean temple on the site in the Iron Age II. See here and here for the historical evidence for the Jewish/Judean temples on the Temple Mount. On the title "Al-Buraq Wall" see here and follow the links.

Via Joseph I. Lauer.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Messiah of Tel Aviv?

THE MESSIAH OF TEL AVIV? These things happen.

I can't decide which quote I like better:

"This is the kind of thing you have to be ready for if you are messiah."


"If this guy is the Messiah, we're screwed."

More on Jerusalem Syndrome here.