Saturday, March 23, 2013

Edmonds, Rastafari

IN THE MAIL: A complimentary copy from OUP:
Ennis B. Edmonds, Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2012)
Not sure how I ended up on the list to get this book, but it looks interesting. Past posts on the subject are here, here, and here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shape-shifting Jesus again

MICHAEL HEISER weighs in at PaleoBabble on the shape-shifting Jesus apocryphon:

Shape-Shifting Jesus: On the Sins of Marketers and Media.

I think Michael is a little too hard on this article. Notably, he asserts incorrectly that in the apocryphal text Jesus is not a shape shifter, but he cites an irrelevant passage in the section on Jesus' dinner with Pilate, while ignoring the quoted passage about shape-shifting Jesus:
"Then the Jews said to Judas: How shall we arrest him (Jesus), for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man ..."
Background here.

Moss, The Myth of Persecution

JAMES MCGRATH reviews Candida Moss's new book (which I have not yet seen), The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Obama in Israel

SOME HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR of President Obama's visit to Israel:

Obama visits Israel Museum, Dead Sea Scrolls (Jerusalem Post)

Obama Tells Inspiring Talmudic Carob Tree Story (Arutz Sheva)

Obama affirms Israel's ancient biblical roots (AP)

And perhaps not unconnected with the above:

Obama faces Palestinian anger (iolnews)

Worthless Mysteries

ASSIMILATED TO THE BLOGOSPHERE (haven't had one of these for a while): Worthless Mysteries (Jack Collins).
Exploring the Bible and other ancient literature from a secular—not to mention irreverent—point of view, with an emphasis on Enochic and apocalyptic traditions.

Also, rants about the academic job market.

The title of the blog, taken from the First Book of Enoch, refers to the teachings given to humanity by fallen angels, and reflects the joy I take in studying things that are utterly irrelevant.
(Via Deane Galbraith at Remants of Giants.

Herod exhibition again

POLITICS: King Herod, Long Reviled, Finds New Love Among Jewish Settlers:
Interest in Historical Villian Boosts Claim to West Bank
(The Forward). Regarding the proposed alternative handling of the exhibition at the end of the essay, I will start thinking about trusting the Palestinian Authority with artifacts important for Jewish history when they start acknowledging that there was a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in antiquity.

I have a post that deals with Herod's ethnic background here.

Background on the Herod the Great exhibition is here and links.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On to Eruvin

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET MAGAZINE: Navigating the Talmud’s Alleys: The range of problems and the variety of answers in the study of Oral Law lead to new pathways of reasoning.
When I first heard about eruvs as a teenager, I regarded them a little indignantly. If the point of Shabbat is to rest from labor, to rejoice in prohibitions, why invent legal fictions to allow you to get around those prohibitions? Isn’t the eruv contrary to the very spirit of Shabbat? Now, after being immersed in the Talmud for half a year, I’ve begun to understand the more flexible imagination that the rabbis brought to these problems. For them, it was not a question of enjoying a holiday from reality, but of finding a way to obey very specific divine laws while still carrying out the necessary business of life. Precisely because they take the letter of the law seriously, they want to know the exact boundaries of that law—what it allows and disallows, and how to tell the difference.
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links, as well as here and here.

Geniza songs of David

The Genizah Psalms

A Study of MS 798 of the Antonin Collection. Cambridge Genizah Studies Series
David Stec

The Genizah Psalms (MS 798 of the Antonin Collection) is a Hebrew document of messianic character, apparently presenting itself as the work of David. It is taken by some to date to the time of the second temple, and to be approximately contemporary with some of the literature of Qumran, while others regard it as a medieval composition. From the point of view of a classical hebraist, David M. Stec explores how this text relates to classical Hebrew literature as a whole and considers how viable it is to regard it as a genuine constituent of that body of literature. He presents an edition of the Hebrew text and English translation, together with an introduction, commentary and analysis of language.
These apocryphal songs of David are also translated (by G. W. Lorein and E. van Staalduine-Sulman) in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Canonical Scriptures volume one (the first volume of texts produced by the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project). Did I mention you can pre-order the latter volume at Amazon at a discount? For you, special deal!

As for the Geniza songs of David, I am inclined to see them as works of late antiquity, around the time of the early piyyutim, but I'm not dogmatic about it.

Cross-file under "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch."

ASOR fundraiser update

FOR YOU, SPECIAL DEAL: Support Archaeology Students.
Haven’t given to ASOR’s March Fellowship Madness yet? We are giving away a copy of The Photographs of the American Palestine Exploration Society (AASOR v. 66) by Rachel Hallote, Felicity Cobbing, and Jeffrey Spurr to one of the donors to our fellowship fundraising drive!

Details at the link. Background here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Aramaic Facebook

ARAMAIC WATCH: Update Your Facebook Status — In Ancient Aramaic! (Haaretz via The Forward).

Hello, Forward editors, Aramaic is not a Canaanite Tongue (let alone a "Canaanite Toungue"). It is a Northwest Semitic language, but it lacks the "Canaanite shift," the systematic change of original long a to long o. You should know these things.

Obama and the Dead Sea Scrolls

A visit to view the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum is being interpreted as a presidential acknowledgement of the ancient Jewish connection to the land, and the laying of a wreath at the grave of Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, is also considered symbolically significant. (The Guardian)
UPDATE: From Eugene Kontorovich at the Volokh Conspiracy: More on the Politics of the Scrolls.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Golb case—it's not over

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE IDENTITY-THEFT CASE involving Raphael Golb and the Dead Sea Scrolls:

First, last week New York's highest court agreed to hear Golb's appeal. Second, also last week, two bloggers received e-mails from Lawrence Schiffman's lawyer demanding that they remove blog posts that have dealt with the case. The relevant discussion is in the following posts.

By prominent legal blogger Eugene Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy:
Prof. Lawrence Schiffman’s Lawyer Demands Removal of Post Containing the Text of a Court Opinion
New York’s Highest Court Agrees to Hear the Golb (Dead Sea Scrolls) E-Mail Impersonation Case

By another legal blogger, Scott H. Greenfield, at the Simple Justice blog:
Schiffman, Meet Streisand (Update!!! x4)

Blogger Ken White at Popehat has also involved himself and added some commentary and information:
Barbra? Barbra Streisand? Never Heard of Her. Now, Back To My Threat.

I have blogged extensively on the case (start here and just keep following the links back) but I have not been involved in this particular blog-related situation, except to e-mail Professor Schiffman to ask if he wanted to comment on it for PaleoJudaica. In view of the current status of the case, he was advised not to do so.

UPDATE (19 March): Dead link now fixed. Sorry about that. Also, related, another Blogospheric reaction, this one from techdirt: The Internet Is For Baseless Legal Threats: Popehat, Greenfield And Volokh Triple-Streisand Edition!