Friday, July 01, 2011

Aramaic cuneiforms?

ARAMAIC WATCH?
Important Archeological Discoveries in Hasaka for the Current Excavation Season

Jun 29, 2011

HASKA, (SANA) - The excavation works conducted by the national, foreign and joint expeditions in Hasaka Province have unearthed several important archeological monuments dating back to different ages.

In a statement to SANA, Director of Hasaka Antiquities Department, Abdul-Masih Baghdou said that the researches conducted by the national archeological expedition in Tal Mabtouh Sharqi indicated that Mabtouh City includes tracks for the streets and spillways which indicates the progress of the social life in it.

Baghdou indicated that during the current season, four archeological levels were unearthed at the site including the level of metal clay which dates back to the Akkadian era, inside the level walls and floors were found, in addition to a squeezer consisting of a basin.

[...]

He added that inside the level which dates back to the Ancient Babylonian Era, the expedition unearthed a number of the brick-made buildings and tombs including human skulls and funerary materials such as bronze-made tool and spear blades, in addition to Aramaic cuneiforms dating back to the Ancient Babylonian era.

[...]
Aramaic cuneiforms? Aramaic written in cuneiform script is not unknown (one example is the Uruk incantation), but it is extremely rare. If that is really what these tablets are, it is quite an exciting discovery. But given SANA's track record for garbling in these articles (see here, here, and here), I suspect the original announcement said something different, perhaps that Aramaic and cuneiform texts had been discovered. That's still good, though.

UPDATE: If "the Ancient Bablyonian Era" means the Old Babylonian period, there could be cuneiform tablets, but Aramaic did not yet exist. Then again, perhaps they mean the Neo-Babylonian era, in which case Aramaic inscriptions are possible. But the indications of periods are very unclear. The "Akkadian era" seems to be distinguished from the "Ancient Bablyonian Era" and the "Modern and Middle Assyrian Age." Perhaps this is a garbled way of referring to the Old Babylonian, Neo-Babylonian, Neo-Assyrian, and Middle Assyrian periods? As I said, it's very unclear.

UPDATE (2 July): Duane Smith comments at Abnormal Interests.

ILAB profiles the Cairo Geniza

THE CAIRO GENIZA is profiled briefly by Linda Hedrick at the International League of Antiquitarian Booksellers website: Buried Books - The Cairo Genizah.

More recently on the Cairo Geniza here.

Mughrabi Gate bridge controversy once again

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: The latest on the Mughrabi (Mugrabi) Gate bridge:
Israel furious with Jordan over condemnation of Jerusalem's Old City renovation

Ambassador Barkan says Israel is upset over the Jordanian about-face concerning the Mughrabi renovations near the Western Wall in Jerusalem.


By Danna Harman

ATHENS - Israel is furious with Jordan, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO said yesterday.

Nimrod Barkan said Israel is shocked that Amman had led a successful effort within the international body to condemn Israel over the renovations planned for the Mughrabi Gate Bridge - after signing an agreement with Israel to allow the work to go ahead.
kotel - Daniel Bar-On - June 28 2011

"The Jordanians lied in a way that cannot be believed, both to us and to the Americans," Barkan said in a phone call from Paris. "They lied all along the way. They wanted to get it both ways."

[...]
Background here.

Miriam Ossuary

THE OSSUARY OF A DAUGHTER OF THE CAIAPHAS FAMILY has been getting lots of attention while I was away. Here's the IAA press release:
Ossuary Belonging to a Daughter of the Caiaphas Family of High Priests was Discovered (JUNE 2011)

Three years ago the Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery acquired a decorated ossuary bearing an engraved inscription. The ossuary was discovered by antiquities robbers who plundered an ancient Jewish tomb of the Second Temple period. During the course of the investigation it was determined that the ossuary came from a burial cave in the area of the Valley of ’Elah, in the Judean Shephelah.

To check the authenticity of the artifact and the significance of the engraved inscription, the Israel Antiquities Authority turned to Dr. Boaz Zissu of the Department of the Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology of Bar Ilan University and Professor Yuval Goren of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations of the Tel Aviv University.

This week, the two scientists published the results of their research, which summarize the importance of the find and confirm its genuineness. The study appears in the Israel Exploration Journal (Volume 61) published this week by the Israel Exploration Society.

Ossuaries are small stone chests that Jews used for secondary burial of bones; they were quite common in tombs in Israel from the late first century BCE until the beginning of the second century CE. The front of the ossuary that was found is decorated with a stylized floral motif above which is a long Aramaic inscription engraved in Jewish script:

‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests [of] Ma'aziah from Beth ’Imri’
(or, an alternative reading:
‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priest of Ma'aziah from Beth ’Imri’)

In the conclusion of their study Dr. Boaz Zissu and Professor Yuval Goren write, “the prime importance of the inscription lies in the reference to the ancestry of the deceased – Miriam daughter of Yeshua – to the Caiaphas family, indicating the connection to the family of the Ma'aziahcourse of priests of Beth ’Imri”. Caiaphas is the name of Yeshua’s father, and Miriam‘s grandfather. From the wording of the inscription we learn that he belonged to a famous family of priests that was active in the first century CE. One family member, the high priest Yehosef Bar Caiaphas, is especially famous for his involvement in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.
Ma'aziah /Ma'aziahu is the last of the twenty four priestly courses that served in the Temple in Jerusalem. The list of courses, which was formulated during King David’s reign, appears in the Bible in I Chronicles (I Chronicles 24:18). The signatories to the pledge in the days of Nehemiah include among others, “Maʽaziah, Bilgai, Shem'aiah; these are the priests” (Nehemiah 10: 9). This is the first reference to the Maʽaziah course in an epigraphic find from the Second Temple period. For the first time we learn from an inscription that the Caiaphas family was related to the Ma'aziah course.
The names of other courses, such as Abijah, Eliashib, Bilgah, Delaiah, Hakkoz, Shecaniah, Hezir, Jehoiarib, Jakim (Jakin) and Jeshebeab, are known from historical and epigraphic texts from the Second Temple period, including inscriptions discovered in tombs.
The ending “from Beth ’Imri” can be interpreted two ways:
The first possibility is that Beth ’Imri is the name of a priestly family – the sons of ’Immer (Ezra 2: 36-37; Nehemiah 7:39-42) whose descendents include members of the Maʽaziah course.
The second possibility is the place of origin of the deceased or of her entire family.The name of the ancient settlement was probably preserved in the name Beit ’Ummar, a village in the northern Hebron Hills. In that village and in nearby Khirbet Kufin, remains of a Jewish settlement were identified from the Second Temple period and the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt.


In view of the inscription on the ossuary it is worth examining the linguistic relationship between the names Caiaphas – a prominent family that seems to have lived in Beth ’Imri/ Beit ’Ummar – and Khirbet Kufin, which perhaps preserves the name of the Caiaphas family.

Since the ossuary in question was not found in a controlled archaeological excavation and because of its special scientific importance, it was subjected to microscopic examinations using an environmental scanning electron microscope/energy dispersive spectrometer (ESEM/EDS), the purpose of which was to evaluate its authenticity.The patina covering the sides was checked, with emphasis on the patina covering the inscription. The examinations determined that the inscription is genuine and ancient.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is distressed by the fact that this important find, which was plundered from its original provenance, was removed from its archeological context, thus it will never be possible to know the full story of the burial cave. Sadly, the robbers’ desire of monetary gain has erased entire pages of the country’s cultural history
Todd Bolen has links to media articles and blog commentary at his Bible Places blog. Joseph Lauer has also been sending out good collections of links on his e-mail list.

UPDATE: Also, a good post from Robert Cargill.

Enoch Seminar: Response to Najman

MY RESPONSE TO HINDY NAJMAN'S PAPER at the Sixth Enoch Seminar generated enough discussion (and amusement) in the session and afterwards that it seems worth it to post it here. Professor Najman's paper is unpublished, but you can get the gist from my summary at the beginning. (Warning: my response contains a few spoilers for the series Lost.)
Response to Hindy Najman, "Con-figuring 4Ezra"
James R. Davila, University of St Andrews

I am very happy to have this opportunity to respond to Hindy's very rich paper in which she develops some of her earlier reflections on the implications of pseudepigraphy in the sorts of works to which this conference is devoted. John Collins has advanced the figure of Ezra in 4 Ezra as a counterexample to her paradigm of pseudepigraphy as the tying of a discourse to a great founding figure so as to emulate that figure in a way that authorizes the new discourse. Drawing on reflections on the Homeric problem by Nietzsche, Hindy highlights his proposed reconstruction of the development of the concept "Homer" as the retrospective reframing of the Iliad and the Odyssey as the genuine and only works by the author Homer as constructed by the Alexandrian grammarians. The importance for 4 Ezra is that in terms of the perception of time Nietzsche's approach exemplifies "the very fact that there are alternatives, that both the subject matter and the philological approach can instantiate a variety of complex temporal patterns." In the case of 4 Ezra, "it creates its own precursors." It retroactively intensifies the traumatic character of the destruction of the First Temple, especially by viewing it implicitly through the lens of the author's own experience of the destruction of the Second Temple. The Ezra figure of Ezra-Nehemiah is reimagined as a prophet and as an angelically glorified being who ascends to heaven. 4 Ezra also redirects other figures to become his precursors, notably Job, Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel, and in some ways Zion herself. The old figure of Ezra in the earliest texts is thus enveloped retroactively in a web of associations which gives the figure and his context an entirely new meaning.

In the few minutes I have here to respond, I want to develop Hindy's core insight that "philological work may exhibit varying patterns of temporality." In a sense this can be taken as one aspect of Kristeva's intertextuality: any text can be brought into conversation with any other text and in some cases unexpected conversation partners can produce philologically interesting results. Hindy challenges us to explore how employing variations in temporal perception can create useful textual conversations. The cases that occurred to me as I pondered Hindy's paper involved cinematic techniques of manipulating time for dramatic effect, and so I ask you indulgence when I use those techniques as framing categories here. Moreover, all three of these cinematic categories are well exemplified by their use in the six seasons of the television series Lost, so I will draw even further on your indulgence, hopefully not exhausting it entirely, by using this series alongside Hindy's paper to structure my discussion.

The first technique is the venerable one of the "flashback." The first three seasons of Lost include frequent flashbacks of the past history of the individual survivors of the Oceanic Flight 815 crash and these flashbacks place the characters into contexts that gives us insights into their current behavior on the Island, which insights would otherwise be unavailable to us. There is nothing particularly innovative about the use of flashbacks in the series.

Flashbacks correspond to the standard historical-critical method used by philologists. The center is typically a text, such as Ezra-Nehemiah (or perhaps a figure, such as Ezra, in the text), and the frame is the historical background in the form of archaeology and other texts of the same period or earlier which place the center text or figure in a historical context so that their meaning can be better understood. This is the most traditional temporal framework associated with philology, so much so that it tends to be taken for granted as the default framework.

In the fourth and fifth seasons of Lost, the series shifted its backgrounders from flashbacks to "flashforwards." The efforts of the survivors of Flight 815 to escape from the Island were periodically interrupted with scenes from three years in the future, which gradually reveal that a handful of them had escaped, that the consequences for those left behind on the Island had been catastrophic, and that those who had escaped were coming to terms with the fact that they had to go back to repair the damage. Now we learn more about the characters not by seeing their backgrounds, but rather by seeing the future consequences of what they are doing in the present. Lost is not the first film project to employ flashforwards, and they have been used as a literary technique for a long time, but Lost pioneered the use of the cinematic technique over an extended story-arc.

What Hindy is doing in this paper bears a striking resemblance to the flashforward. The center is again, the book of Ezra-Nehemiah or the figure of Ezra in that book, but the frame is now the much later book of 4 Ezra. Her prospective approach produces a retrogressive reading in which the future history of the figure of Ezra as presented in 4 Ezra gives a new, retrospective context and meaning to Ezra and the original Ezra texts, one quite different from its "original" meaning in the historical-critical sense.

These two temporal frameworks by no means exhaust the possible varying patterns of temporality. The final season of Lost uses another such pattern, which has come to be called the "flashsideways" by fans. The "Oceanic six" returned to the Island in season five, where they were caught up in waves of temporal shifts and they resorted to extreme measures to try to cancel out their own past history and replace it with a timeline in which Flight 815 never crashed and, indeed, in which the work of the Dharma Initiative was annihilated thirty years before the crash. Unbeknownst to them, they succeed—or initially appear to, in that the final season alternates between the plight of the crash victims still trapped on the Island and an alternate timeline in which none of the contributing factors to the crash—going back many years—happened, and so the crash itself did not happen. In this new timeline the characters live different lives in which they face challenges that force them to confront personal weaknesses already revealed in the crash timeline, sometimes successfully overcoming them and sometimes not.

Hindy hints at the possibility of the philological flashsideways when she calls on us to "use our historical ability to understand without anachronism, our ability to imagine pasts that differ radically from our present, in order to imagine alternative futures." Here we have yet another potential frame for the philological enterprise. Its most obvious application is in "counterfactual history," in which a historical event or a text is placed in an alternate historical context different from our timeline, which new context gives us insights, for example, into the nature and transmission of the text which we would not otherwise have. This method has not been applied often in our field, but, for example, in 1994 Abraham Terian published an article that reflected wistfully on how much more attention the works of Philo would receive today had they been discovered recently like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, and last year I published an article that explored what we could learn about the transmission of Jewish pseudepigrapha in Christian circles by following a counterfactual transmission of the Qumran Hodayot by the ancient Syriac-speaking church. In this article I also offered methodological reflections on how counterfactual history might profitably be more widely applied in the fields of ancient history and philology.

A less stark application of the flashsideways by literary critics is the widespread practice of bringing one or more ancient documents into dialogue with other documents from roughly the same time in order to enrich our understanding of these texts, even though we cannot establish that the authors ever met or knew each other's work. A good example involving one of the two documents we are here this week to study is the 1995 book by Edith Humphrey, The Ladies and the Cities: Transformation and Apocalyptic Identity in Joseph and Aseneth, 4 Ezra, The Apocalypse and the Shepherd of Hermas.

I am not aware of the flashsideways being used by any ancient documents in the Western tradition and it may be that the concept of parallel mutually counterfactual timelines was too alien to their worldview. But that said, ancient Hinduism and Buddhism has a much more supple conception of time, and it would surprise me if no texts in those traditions ever explored such notions.

As well as thanking Hindy for a very thought-provoking paper, I will conclude with two brief questions for her. First, are my reflections here anything like what you had in mind when you said that philological work may exhibit varying patterns of temporality and do you find my extended framework potentially useful? And second, do you have in mind other temporal patterns whose instantiation can enrich our philological approach?

Works Cited
James R. Davila, "Counterfactual History and the Dead Sea Scrolls," in Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods (ed. Maxine L. Grossman; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2010), 128-44.

Edith McEwan Humphrey, The Ladies and the Cities: Transformation and Apocalyptic Identity in Joseph and Aseneth, 4 Ezra, The Apocalypse and the Shepherd of Hermas (JSPSup 17; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995).

Abraham Terian, "Had the Works of Philo Been Newly Discovered," BA 57 (1994): 86-97.
You can read an early draft of my counterfactual history article here and a related piece here.

Also, at the Enoch Seminar a couple of people pointed out that the book of 4 Ezra arguably contains flashessideways when Ezra tells God how he ought to have done things differently, for example, in 7:46[116]:
I answered and said, "This is my first and last word, that it would have been better if the earth had not produced Adam, or else, when it had produced him, had restrained him from sinning. (RSV)
Another post on the Sixth Enoch Seminar, with photos, is here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back in St. Andrews

BACK IN ST. ANDREWS. More on the Enoch Seminar when I get a chance.

UPDATE: I have added a photo of 4 Ezra to the At the Biblioteca Ambrosiana post.

Index to Hugoye

NEW BOOK:
Walters, J., and Logan Wilmoth. Index to Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies

Title: Index to Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies
Subtitle: Volumes 1-10
Series: Gorgias Handbooks 22
Availability: In Print
Publisher: Gorgias Press
Edited by J. Walters
Edited by Logan Wilmoth
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0078-7
Availability: In Print
Publication Date: 6/2011
Language: English
Format: Paperback, Black, 6 x 9 in
Pages: 72

This index provides an index to the contents of Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, Volumes 1-10, organized into five parts. Part I provides the article titles, authors, abstracts, and page numbers organized by volume. Part II is an index of all articles organized alphabetically by article title. Part III is an index of all articles organized alphabetically by the last name of the author. Part IV is an index of all the books reviewed in Hugoye and presents this material in two sections: 1) alphabetically by author of the book reviewed, and 2) alphabetically by author of the review. Part V provides a subject index in five sections: manuscripts, ancient texts, people, places, and keywords.

Table of Contents

* Index to Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies Volumes 1-10 by J. Edward Walters and Logan Wilmoth (page 5)
* Introduction (page 5)
* I. Index of Volume Contents (page 7)
* II. Index by Article Titles (page 36)
* III. Index by Author (page 44)
* IV. Book Reviews (page 53)
* V. Subject Index (page 65)



Walters, J., and Logan Wilmoth. Index to Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0078-7
Weight: 1 LBS.
Price: $30.80

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BMCR: Ulrich et al, "Continuity and Discontinuity in Early Christian Apologetics"

BMCR REVIEW:
Jörg Ulrich, Anders-Christian Jacobsen, Maijastina Kahlos (ed.), Continuity and Discontinuity in Early Christian Apologetics. Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity 5. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2009. Pp. 130. ISBN 9783631579763. $33.95.

Reviewed by E. J. Hutchinson, Hillsdale College (ehutchinson@hillsdale.edu)


Table of Contents

Continuity and Discontinuity in Early Christian Apologetics is a collection of seven essays presented in a workshop organized by German, Finnish, and Danish scholars at the Fifteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies at Oxford in 2007. The goal of the editors in publishing the papers is "to reach a larger audience and…to further the discussion" (3) of early Christian apologetics. The papers cover the second to the fifth centuries and include analysis of both Latin and Greek apologists (a category which is defined—rightly, in my view—rather broadly).

[...]
These apologetics were aimed, of course, at both contemporary pagans and contemporary Jews.

At the Biblioteca Ambrosiana

AT THE BIBLIOTECA AMBROSIANA, MILAN

Click on the images to see a larger version.

Codex Ambrosianus B.21, the earliest complete Syriac Bible (background here, with images from a photolithographic facsimile), open to 2 Baruch. This is the actual manuscript, on display for the Enoch Seminar yesterday.


Liv Ingeborg Lied


L->R: Gianantonio Borgonovo (Ambrosian Library), Liv Ingeborg Lied, Ted Erho, Bob Kraft, Jim Davila


Codex Ambrosianus B. 21, open to the beginning of the biblical book of Ezra (red ink)


Codex Ambrosianus B. 21, colophons page (notes of its transmission history at the end of the codex)

UPDATE (30 June): One more:

The beginning of 4 Ezra (red ink, middle of page, below the blank spot)

UPDATE (1 July): More on the Sixth Enoch Seminar here.

UPDATE (2 July): Another photo:


2 Baruch 21:1, the prayer of Baruch (red ink)

Note (4 July): I have corrected two text attributions above after having a chance to look more closely at the texts.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BMCR: O'Loughlin, "The Didache"

BMCR REVIEW:
Thomas O'Loughlin, The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010. Pp. xvii, 185. ISBN 9780801045394. $24.99 (pb).

Reviewed by Vincent Hunink, Radboud University Nijmegen (v.hunink@let.ru.nl)


Ever since its discovery in 1873, the Early Christian Greek text known as the Didache has stirred controversy on numerous points. Is this an authentic document from the earliest times of Christianity or a later forger? Does it confirm modern theological views, whether Catholic or Protestant, or threaten to undermine them? Does the text represent early Christians at large or merely a minority limited in time and place?

Some of these issues seem to have been settled by now: scholars generally agree that the text is authentic and must be considered very early. Doctrinal debates, however, remain very much alive.

[...]

City events today and manuscript

WE'RE HEADING INTO MILAN today for city events and to see that manuscript at the Ambrosian Library.

Another fake metal codex photo?

FAKE METAL CODICES WATCH: Looks like another photo and some more plates gossip. (HT Thomas Verenna.)

Background here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Garber, "The Jewish Jesus" at Bible and Interpretation

ESSAY AT BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
The Jewish Jesus
Revelation, Reflection, Reclamation


(Purdue University Press: 2011)

Part I: Introduction
Part II: The Jewish Jesus: A Partisan’s
Imagination


My Jewish reading of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels puts him in history and not in divinity. The Jesus of different Christologies could never find support in Judaism, since the God-man of the “hypostatic union” is foreign to Judaism’s teaching on absolute monotheism. As the promised Messiah, he did not meet the conditions which the prophetic-rabbinic tradition associated with the coming of the Messiah. Indeed, there was no harmony, freedom, peace and unity in the land of Israel—signs of the messianic age—and enmity and strife abounded everywhere. Not a false but failed Redeemer of the Jews, as witnessed by the words of the “King of the Jews” at the cross: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani (“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me”)?


By Zev Garber
Professor Emeritus and Chair of Jewish Studies,
Los Angeles Valley College
June 2011
Follow the link to download the PDF file.

A review of the book is noted here.

More Hekhalot exegesis from Jared Calaway

MORE HEKHALOT EXEGESIS from Jared Calaway: Daily Hekhalot: Hekhalot Zutarti §420b (Burning the Hands).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In Milan

IN MILAN. More later.

Conference: Ancient Jewish Texts and the ‘Literary’

CONFERENCE:
From Karolien Vermeulen (Karolien.Vermeulen@ugent.be):
===========================================

Ancient Jewish Texts and the ‘Literary’
14,15 March 2012
Institute of Jewish Studies (University of Antwerp)

The Institute of Jewish Studies (University of Antwerp) in collaboration with Ghent University is happy to announce an international seminar on Ancient Jewish Texts and the ‘Literary.’ The aim is to bring together scholars working on various ancient Jewish
texts and their distinct textual – often called literary - features. The goal is to exchange ideas on the ‘literary’ in these works and stimulate future research and collaboration.

Invited keynote speakers:
Prof. Dr. Scott Noegel, University of Washington (United States of America) (confirmed)
Prof. Dr. Ellen Van Wolde, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Wilfred Watson, Newcastle University (United Kingdom)
Prof. Dr. Robert Gordon, Cambridge University (United Kingdom)


Since the 60s and 70s of the previous century the form and exact wording of ancient Jewish texts has been the focus of attention of a literary approach within biblical/Jewish studies. This subfield relies on the insights of narratology on the one hand and rhetoric on the other. Resulting from this approach any research involving the creative use of language, e.g. in the Hebrew Bible, is considered literary.

In recent years this term has increasingly been questioned as being a presupposition rather than the result of research. ‘Literary’ therefore should be understood as the common though not necessarily apt umbrella term for all studies focusing on the form of ancient texts. Contributors are encouraged to interpret the term either in defense of literariness or against it.

We invite participants from all related fields: Jewish studies, biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern studies, classical studies, literary studies, and stylistics. Possible approaches include among others analyses of the Hebrew Bible, its old translations, early commentaries and retellings, as long as they can be considered ancient (i.e., pre-medieval) and Jewish (i.e., written by Jews or in a Jewish setting).

Proposals up to 300 words can be submitted no later than July 31 2011, to Karolien Vermeulen (karolien.vermeulen@ua.ac.be or karolien.vermeulen@ugent.be).
(From the Agade list.)

Sixth Enoch Seminar

I'M OFF TO MILAN for the Sixth Enoch Seminar. I'm not giving a paper myself, but I am responding to one by Hindy Najman. But since her paper is not yet published, I'm not going to post my response here. I should note, though, for James McGrath's attention in particular, that my response makes considerable use of the series Lost.

I am looking forward very much not only to the many excellent papers, but also to the opportunity to get a direct look at manuscript Codex Ambrosianus B.21. And to the weather in Milan.

I will probably have some Internet access and will do some blogging if I can. I have also pre-posted some items. There will be something new each day, so do keep coming by this week. I expect to be back in St. Andrews on Thursday evening.