Saturday, June 15, 2013

Psalms of Solomon Conference

OLD TESTAMENT PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: The First International Meeting on the Psalms of Solomon (University of Strasbourg, 17-18 June 2013). Follow the link for the program.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Alter's Dtr

ROBERT ALTER has published the latest installment of his translation of the Bible: the Deuteronomistic History. Adam Kirsh has a review in Tablet: Robert Alter Wants Us To Think More Seriously About the Bible as Literature: The scholar, critic, and masterful translator remains dedicated to uncovering the full subtlety and intelligence of the stories in sacred texts. Excerpt:
Reading the Bible in Robert Alter’s translation helps to bring such moments of literary and human power into focus—thanks not just to his clear and elegant translation, but to the comprehensive notes that pinpoint exactly what is happening at crucial moments in the text. Ancient Israel is a perfect opportunity to return to these foundational Jewish stories and see them with fresh eyes—and what you find there may surprise you.
Posts on earlier sections of Alter's Bible translation are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here and follow the links back.

Job in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism

Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Indiana University

June 10, 2013


Employment Level:
Tenured, tenure track


Employment Status:

Religious Studies: Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies- Bloomington, IN. Teach, research, and serve in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism for the Department of Religious Studies. Req. PhD in Hebrew Bible/ Ancient Judaism. Applicants should email a letter of application and current resume to the Department Chair, Religious Studies, Indiana University, Prof. Winnifred Sullivan, . Indiana University is an equal employment opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services.
Follow the link to apply. HT James McGrath.

Wait, I thought they didn't know Aramaic!

ARAMAIC WATCH: An angel sings in Arabic … and Aramaic.
The young and beautiful Lebanese diva, Abeer Nehme, is blessed with the voice of an angel and a natural charm that occasionally borders on shyness. Abeer is totally endearing and she had the audience spellbound from the moment she stepped on stage. Her programme was rooted in the religious traditions of the Middle East. She sang in Arabic, Syriac and Aramaic and she explained in French how each language has its own musical notation. At times the musical tone was set by the Middle eastern kanoun – a type of zither – and at times by an electric organ that gave me a strangely displaced sensation – it sounded more like being in church than being in Fes.
She does have a lovely voice.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More on that pulled BBC documentary

POLITICS: BBC Director General faces claims that political pressure led BBC to drop film on 'Jewish exile' (Middle East Monitor).
Six leading pro-Palestinian organisations have written to the BBC's Director General asking for answers over the pulling of a documentary which claims that the mass Jewish exodus from Jerusalem in 70 AD may never have happened.

The documentary, Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story, was due to be shown on BBC Four, but disappeared from the schedule at the last minute, leaving viewers confused.

Its director, Ilan Ziv, has accused the BBC of bowing to political pressure in its decision to suddenly remove a film which it had been promoting widely.

As near as I can figure out, the issue here is that the documentary "theorizes that many Jews did not leave Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple, and that many modern-day Palestinians may be in part descended from those Jews." (From a JTA article noted here). Presumably this notion (I am not ready to call it a "theory") coheres with the Palestinian narrative and thus the protests from Palestinian groups over the documentary not being aired. But it is still not clear to me exactly why the BBC pulled the show in the first place. Follow the last link for earlier coverage of the story and more comments from me.

Merkabah Rider

A WESTERN-HORROR NOVEL ABOUT A BADASS JEWISH MYSTIC: Merkabah Rider: Tales of a High Planes Drifter.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Apocryphal posts

APOCRYPHA WATCH: You’re reading the wrong Book of Esther (Joel J. Miller).

And, related, Philip Jenkins has a blog post up on how Protestants came to lose the Apocrypha.

Imagining an Aramaic "voice"

ARAMAIC WATCH: Novelist Janice Weizman is Thinking in Aramaic, Writing in English. And it isn't easy.

St. Ephrem

SYRIAC WATCH: Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Ephrem the Syrian.

ABC Radio on Vermes

AN AUSTRALIAN RADIO PROGRAM ON THE LATE GEZA VERMES: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Jesus: the life work of Geza Vermes.

Background here and links.

Berko Park

TRAVEL PIECE: Berko Park, aka ancient Tiberias: King Herod Antipas unwittingly built Tiberias directly over a Jewish cemetery. Luckily, some 130 years later, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai decided to purify the place (Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am, Times of Israel).

Here's an old post on the Tiberias excavation and here's another that involves that cemetery in Tiberias (see the update). And, of course, there is much more on Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and other legends about him here and links.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Where to find ancient manuscripts? (Peter Head, ETC).

The answer seems obvious, but we keep managing to be surprised by it.