Saturday, January 23, 2016

Where are those Temple treasures?

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Where are the Temple treasures? (Is It the End of the World Blog: Jim Fletcher, Beliefnet). The short answer is that the Copper Scroll may have involved the treasures of Herod's Temple, but otherwise all we have are legends of dubious value about the subject. My publication of the first English translation of one of these, The Treatise of the Vessels (see that last link), seems to have made me something of a surprise authority on the matter. Or at least I still get letters and phone calls from people who are convinced that they know the answer to the question.

As far as I know, the most recent serious attempt to find that answer is Sean Kingsley's 2006 book God's Gold, on which more, here and links. I doubt that the Vatican has any of them. And the speculation that Alaric's tomb in Cosenza, Italy, holds a vast treasure that includes the Temple menorah remains speculation unless and until the tomb is actually found and excavated and it turns out to have a treasure and that treasure turns out to include the menorah. We'll see.

Postdoc on DSS scribes

UNIVERSITY OF GRONINGEN: ERC StG Postdoc Digital Palaeography and Scribal Culture of the Dead Sea Scrolls (216007).
Job description
This Postdoc subproject is embedded within a larger research programme titled The Hands that Wrote the Bible: Digital Palaeography and Scribal Culture of the Dead Sea Scrolls, funded by the European Research Council. The main objective of this interdisciplinary project is to shed new light on ancient Jewish scribal culture and the making of the Bible by investigating two aspects of the scrolls’ palaeography: the typological development of writing styles and writer identification. The combination of new C14 samples and the use of computational intelligence as quantitative methods in order to assess the development of handwriting styles and to identify individual scribes will be used to cluster manuscripts as products of scribal activity in order to profile scribal production and to determine a more precise location in time for their activity, focusing, from literary and cultural-historical perspectives, on the content and genres of the texts that scribes wrote and copied and on the scripts and languages that they used.

The goal of the Postdoc subproject is to describe the processes of and developments in three to four centuries of copying the biblical manuscripts found in the Judaean Desert in relation to palaeographic dating and writer identification. The major research question is how variant forms and editions of biblical manuscripts can be correlated to palaeographic dates, to identification of writers, as well as other variables such as scribal practices and different find-sites. Previous scholarship has explained textual variety in terms of chronological developments or sociological differences, or both, based on traditional palaeographical dates, or on models of a Qumran scribal practice, and generally on a smaller sample of manuscripts. On the basis of a database of all substantial biblical manuscripts from the Judaean Desert, the Postdoc researcher will select one more confined group of manuscripts (most probably either Deuteronomy or the Psalms), and qualitatively analyse the differences between the manuscripts as well as in relation to the authoritative text forms of the later traditions, in order to plot such variants against the developing time and the different find places and correlating these not only to traditional text-typologies of text, but also to occurrences of rewriting and so-called Fortschreibung, and to the various scribal practices.

The postdoc will work together with a PhD at the Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering Institute (ALICE), headed by Prof Lambert Schomaker, with experts from the Center for Isotope Research at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, headed by Prof Hans van der Plicht, and with a PhD and student assistants at the Qumran Institute of the faculty.
Follow the link for further particulars. This post is advertised alongside this.

UPDATE (21 March): Somehow the first link above got mixed up and led to the PhD position for this project, not the postdoc. I have corrected the link. Sorry for the mixup.

Kolton-Fromm seminar, Investing (in) Jerusalem

PSCO Presentation: 21 January, 2016: Investing (in) Jerusalem
Naomi Koltun-Fromm (Haverford)

Prof. Naomi Koltun-Fromm is Professor of Religion at Haverford College. She specializes in Late Ancient Jewish history, Jewish and Christian relations, religious polemics, comparative biblical exegesis, rabbinic culture and the Syriac speaking churches. She recently published a book, Hermeneutics of Holiness: Ancient Jewish and Christian Notions of Sexuality and Religious Community, which traces the nexus of sexuality and holiness from the biblical texts into the fourth-century rabbinic and patristic writings. Her present research focuses on the representation of Jerusalem in early Jewish, Christian and Muslim writings.

Wikipedia: ISAW

THE WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE ON The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World has been revised and updated.

Social memory and giant Jesus in the Gospel of Peter

REMNANT OF GIANTS: Pure Forms, the Giant Jesus, and Chris Keith on Social Memory. Evidently to be continued.

Friday, January 22, 2016

EABS Early Judaism CFP 2016

EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF BIBLICAL STUDIES: Early Judaism and Rabbinics Programme: Call for Papers – Lueven [Leuven] 2016 Content, Composition and Biblical Interpretation in Late Homiletic Midrash. Follow the link for details and contact information. And general information about the 2016 meeting of the EABS is here.

BNTC 2018

PLANNING WELL AHEAD: British New Testament Conference at St Mary’s in 2018 (Steve Walton). That is St Mary’s University, Twickenham. We at St Mary's College at the University of St Andrews did our bit back in 2013. The 2016 meeting will take place at the University of Chester.

I probably once knew where the 2017 BNTC is meeting, but I've forgotten and I can't find it online. If the organizers would like to drop me a note, I will update this post with the information.

I'm looking forward to the coming meetings. I never miss if I can help it.

Carobs, chocolate, and the Talmud

CONTINUING ON THIS WEEK'S THEME OF TREES: Carob or Chocolate: Tu B’shvat’s Trees? (Rabbi Debbie Prinz,Jewish Journal). Alas, chocolate is not found in the Talmud and cocoa trees did not and do not grow in ancient or modern Israel. But carobs are another matter:
The Talmud notes that carob pods alone nourished the poor Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa from Shabbat to Shabbat. (Ta’anit, 24b) The famous Honi Hamaagal story about planting for future generations centers on a carob plant. (Ta’anit, 23a). Carob’s appearance in other Middle Eastern based religions extends to Islam. During Ramadan carob juices are drunk. In addition, in Christian sources, the Book of Matthew (3:4) claims that John the Baptist ate carob in the desert, thus explaining its English denotation as St. John’s Bread. Perhaps this association puts carob on Easter and Lent menus.
As for Matthew 3:4, my understanding is that when it says John ate locusts, it means locusts. For my part I would be happier if it meant carobs. More on that here and here.

More on the holiday of Tu B'Shevat (coming this weekened) here.

The destruction of St. Elijah's Monastery and thoughts on ISIS

BUT ISIS DOESN'T CARE: World blasts ISIS for destroying oldest Christian monastery in Iraq (AP/Israel HaYom). And ISIS isn't going to care as long as "blast" continues to be used metaphorically.

This is a good time to remember that larger atrocities, such as ISIS's now codified practice of making captive Yazidi women into sex slaves, heavily outweigh the issue of antiquities. I focus on antiquities because that is what this blog is about.

This blog is not (generally) about advocating particular political or military solutions in world affairs, and I am not calling for more direct military intervention in the Middle East, although that is an option that those who make such decisions will need to consider. I don't envy them their job.

Meanwhile, I will continue to bear witness to and condemn what is happening in the Middle East.

Background here and links.

Research post with Lexicon of Greek Personal Names

Researcher (Lexicon of Greek Personal Names)

Faculty of Classics, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’, Oxford

Grade 7: £30,738 - £37,768 p.a.

The Faculty of Classics is seeking to appoint a full-time researcher for the AHRC funded Lexicon of Greek Personal Names project, directed by Professor Robert Parker. The appointment will be for a fixed period of 3 years. The appointee will be a member of a research group which will prepare volume VI of the Lexicon, that covering names from the Roman provinces of Syria, Palaestina, Arabia, and areas further East. The special responsibility of the appointee will be for names attested in non-Greek sources; s/he will have excellent knowledge of at least one relevant ancient Semitic language and willingness to acquire competence in others, and a good knowledge of Ancient Greek and Latin and relevant modern languages. S/he will have, or be near completion of, a relevant PhD.
The deadline for applications is 18 February 2016. Follow the link for further particulars.

HT Briquel Chatonnet at the Hugoye list.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tweeting Enochians


Paul's polite bribe?

The Collection for the Saints as a Polite Bribe: An Effort to Humanize Paul

Scholars have puzzled a great deal over this collection. One group understands it in analogy to the temple tax, which every Jew had to pay annually, while another group points out that with it the promise of the pilgrimage of the nations is fulfilled. Finally in 2002, inspired my pal Tom Hall, I have coined the phrase that the collection was “a polite bribe” on Paul’s part.

By Gerd Lüdemann
Emeritus Professor of the History and Literature of Early Christianity
Georg-August-University of Göttingen
Visiting Scholar at Vanderbilt University
January 2016

Some palimpsests

GENIZA FRAGMENTS 70: The October 2015 issue of the Newsletter of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library has a number of interesting articles, notably "Palimpsests? There’s more than meets the eye..." by Melonie Schmierer-Lee. A palimpsest is a manuscript whose original writing has been erased and over-written with a new text. Careful scrutiny, these days often with the help of technology, can allow scholars to recover the erased text.

On a related note, AWOL pointed to the following earlier this month: Galen Syriac Palimpsest Digital Release at OPENN. More on that manuscript is here.

Some other posts on various palimpsests are here, here, here, here, and here. And this post discusses a forged palimpsest manuscript from the nineteenth century.

Word clouds in religion courses

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Using Word Clouds as Informal Assessment in Religion Courses (Shayna Sheinfeld). She gives examples from the Judaism and Christianity units in her Western Religious Traditions course.

Tu B'Shevat: the date palm in Israel, plus the seven fruits

IN HONOR OF TU B'SHEVAT, COMING THIS WEEKEND: The Disappearance and Return of the Date Palm (Jo Ann Gardner, The Forward). An interesting historical review. But it is short of specific literary references. Naturally, Methuselah receives a mention.

And there's also this, from the same author in The Forward: Why We Eat the 7 Fruits on Tu B’Shvat. The short answer is Deuteronomy 8:7-8.

UPDATE: Missing title now included. Sorry about that!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Satlow course on rabbinics

MICHAEL SATLOW, THIS SEMESTER: And the Other…. Syllabus for course on the Mishnah and Tosefta.

Schneerson Library update

PROGRESS? Putin believes situation around Schneerson Library improved considerably (Interfax Religion).
Moscow, January 20, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced hope that the Schneerson Library problem has ceased to be acute now.

Putin said at a meeting with representatives of the European Jewish Congress that the Schneerson Library, which is currently exhibited at the Tolerance Center in Moscow, has been an apple of discord with representatives of the U.S. community for some time.

"I hope that now when these books will become a heritage of all those who want to familiarize themselves with them, work in the scientific field, I believe that there already should not be such acuteness. To my mind, the situation has cardinally changed," Putin said.

Background here and here and links. I have following this story since early 2010. In 2013 the Russian President proposed the solution of moving the library to the European Tolerance Center in Moscow. It isn't yet clear, at least to me, how this is now going to play out.

ISIS destroys another ancient monastery

ISIS AND ANTIQUITIES WATCH: Satellite proves ISIS destroyed 1,500-year-old monastery. AP confirms with satellite imagery that St. Elijah's Monastery, built 590 CE, was 'pulverized' by jihadists in Mosul (Arutz Sheva)
Satellite photos on Wednesday confirmed the reports of activists from last August, revealing that Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists have demolished the nearly 1,500-year-old St. Elijah's Monastery near Mosul to rubble.

Associated Press asked satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe this month to photograph St. Elijah's, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, and then compare the images with previous pictures from the same site.

The results, published by AP on Wednesday, reveal the monastery has indeed suffered the same fate as hundreds of ancient sites in Iraq and Syria, having been destroyed by ISIS jihadists.

Background on the assault of ISIS on the past and its caretakers is here with many links.

Inspired by Lilith

POETRY: Lilith Remains A Powerful Inspiration For Jewish Feminists (Julie R. Enszer, The Forward).
So I listened and listened. Lilith and the one hundred demons she births every night filled my mind and my notebook one summer with poems. I wrote the poems in the haze of early morning insomnia then revised them and shaped the book in conversation with other Jewish poets and scholars thinking about Lilith. Plaskow’s work was crucial in my thinking and reading. So was the work of Marge Piercy and her poetic midrash. The collection, “Which Lilith?: Feminist Writers Re-Create the World’s First Woman,” edited by Enid Dame, Lilly Rivlin, and Henny Wenkart, was an invaluable compendium for me of thinking about Lilith.
For the many past PaleoJudaica posts on Lilith, see here and links.

Talmudic dissertations and theses


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hjälm, Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel

Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel
A Comparative Study of Early MSS and Translation Techniques in MSS Sinai Ar. 1 and 2

Miriam L. Hjälm, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich
In Christian Arabic Versions of Daniel, Miriam L. Hjälm provides an insight into the Arabic transmission of the biblical Book of Daniel. This book offers an inventory and a classification of extant manuscripts as well as a detailed account of the translation techniques employed in the early manuscripts. The use of the texts is discussed and the various versions are compared with liturgical Bible material.

Miriam L. Hjälm shows the importance of Arabic as a tool for understanding the development of the religious heritage of Christian communities under Muslim rule. Arabic became an indispensable part of the everyday life of many Near Eastern Christians and was increasingly used next to the established liturgical languages, which remained the standard measure of the biblical text.
HT the Facebook Biblica Arabica page. Related post on the Arabic Bible here.

LXX & NT Greek course online

UMASS BOSTON: GREEK151 Biblical Greek I.
Course Description
This course offers an introduction to koine (Hellenistic) Greek, with particular emphasis on the great Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible and on the Christian New Testament. Grammar, vocabulary, and reading skills acquired in this course are readily transferable to the study of Greek literature of earlier periods as well.
Follow the link for further particulars.

Maimonides conference

NOW AN ANNUAL EVENT: Rambam Conference at the Kinneret. Hundreds learn new aspects of Maimonides' work at a three day conference in Tiberias (Rochel Sylvetsky, Arutz Sheva).
Maimonides lived over 800 years ago, but, whether or not we know how he looked, he is still being researched, quoted, studied and argued over constantly by Torah sages and scholars, historians, physicians and members of the legal profession. This past weekend, over 500 people from all over Israel attended the seventh annual 3-day Rambam Conference in Tiberias to hear lectures by rabbis, public figures and academics on various aspects of the life and works of Maimonides. Seven years during which none of the lectures have repeated themselves - and next year is already being planned.

Why Tiberias? After all, Rabbi Moshe (Moses) ben Maimon, known by his acronym, the Rambam, is claimed by the city of his birth, Cordoba, Spain. A world-famous statue of the Torah giant, astronomer, philosopher and physician, though actually a likeness of Muslem philosopher Avicennes according to Dr. Schwartz, stands in the Cordoba Hudariya (Jewish quarter), glossing over the insignificant fact that the Rambam was forced to flee the city in order to save his life at the age of 10.

The Rambam lived in Morocco for a time and then spent most of his life in Egypt at the court of the Sultan, but his burial place, although the subject of some debate, is believed to be in Tiberias, based on artifacts found at a now-reconstructed site at the edge of the ancient city's cemetery. A folk legend states that when he died, his body was put on the back of a camel to prevent controversy over where he should be buried, and that the camel made its way to Tiberias.
I hope the artifacts are more conclusive than the folk legend.

The eight-hundredth anniversary of the death of Maimonides was commemorated in 2004, as noted here and here.

Jones on NT texts in late antique Greek amulets

NOW A FORTHCOMING BOOK: Brice Jones’ Thesis on NT Texts on Greek Amulets (Tommy Wasserman, ETC). The book is coming out with Bloomsbury in March: New Testament Texts on Greek Amulets from Late Antiquity.
Brice C. Jones presents a comprehensive analysis of Greek amulets from late antique Egypt which contain New Testament citations. He evaluates the words they contain in terms of their text-critical value. The use of New Testament texts on amulets was common in late antiquity. These citations were extracted from their larger Biblical contexts and used for ritual purposes that have traditionally been understood in terms of the ambiguous category of 'magic'. Often, these citations were used to invoke the divine for some favour, healing or protection. For various reasons, however, these citations have not played a significant role in the study of the text of the Greek New Testament.

As such, this is the first systematic treatment of Greek New Testament citations on amulets from late antique Egypt. Jones' work has real implications for how amulets and other such witnesses from this era should be treated in the future of the discipline of New Testament textual criticism.
More from and about Dr Brice C. Jones is here and here and links

Nineteenth century archaeology and the PEF

CHARLES WARREN: Archaeologists reveal shocking stories of their past. According to the preliminary announcement, his team apparently tricked the Muslim authorities to conduct the courageous operation (DAVID GUREVICH, ANAT KIDRON, Jerusalem Post). One of the tricks involved the smell of grilled lizard meat.

The headline and opening of the article are a bit sensationalist, but it is actually about this:
Recently, to mark 150 years since the establishment of the PEF [Palestine Exploration Fund], scholars worldwide came together to the University of Haifa for a special conference to reassess the PEF’s achievements.


What qualities did archaeologists need to have two centuries ago? Nothing went smoothly then. The Ottoman authorities, obviously, were not eager to cooperate, and only the international influence from the highest ranks (often combined with some hefty baksheesh) made the explorations possible. Conditions were harsh. In addition to the lack of infrastructure and permits, the explorers had to deal with malaria and sometimes a hostile population. In some cases it was fatal. Corporal Duncan, a member of Warren’s team, passed away after desperately struggling with “fever.” However, even this event did not make Warren cease his digging.

Today, we read fictional accounts or watch Hollywood movies about “treasure seeking” archaeologists.

However, back in the 19th century the dangers were part of the reality for every archaeologist, whose true “treasure” was simply understanding the past. These remarkable old works are a heritage much of which still remains to be revealed. The new studies presented at the Haifa conference seem to be only a beginning.

The authors are chairs of the PEF and the Early Exploration of the Holy Land conference under the auspices of the Gottlieb Schumacher Institute and the Zinman Institute of Archaeology.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Temple tour DVD

(VIRTUAL) TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Virtual Tour of the Temple 2.0 (Leen Ritmeyer).

JHS 15.6-9

Nava Neriya-Cohen, “The Reflective Passages as the Core of Qoheleth: Content and Structure Analysis.”

Abstract: This article provides an in-depth analysis of the reflective passages of the book of Qoheleth and argues that they constitute an originally independent composition that exhibits a coherent train of thought. Via a close reading of the reflective passages that exposes their content as well as the manner of their distribution, the article demonstrates that through the twenty-two passages strewn throughout the book's core, the author has developed a systematic line of reasoning that examines the premise of world order and posits an alternative objective and way of life.

Jeremy M. HUTTON, “‘Optimality’ in the Grammars of Ancient Translations.”

Abstract: This paper proposes a new methodology for describing, explaining, and tracking the linguistic and non-linguistic shifts that occurred in the ancient biblical translations. It first surveys the approach to Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS) taken by Gideon Toury, outlining pertinent theoretical points. Second, it summarizes the principles and methods of Optimality Theory (OT), arguing that this linguistic model may be harnessed in order to benefit the study of ancient translations. Third, this article applies the theory and methods developed here to a single sample verse, 2 Sam 11:1. Through this study, I demonstrate that the combined theoretical and methodological model provided by DTS and OT allows us to identify, describe, evaluate, and organize the norms constraining the translator of Tg. Jon. to Samuel—and, by extension, to the other ancient Versions. Finally, I argue that we may use OT's notational system to capture regularities and anomalies in ancient translations, outlining their respective “grammars.”

Giovanni LENZI, “Sequences of Verbal Forms and Taxis in Biblical Hebrew.”

Abstract: This study presents an empirical collection of Biblical Hebrew verbal forms, arguing that at one stage of the Hebrew language syntax was based on a combination of sequences and taxis (the chronological relations between two “actions”). The suffix conjugation and the prefix conjugation had different functions in a past/anterior sequence and in a non-past/non-anterior sequence. In a past/anterior sequence, the suffix conjugation denoted a co-ordinate element, while the prefix conjugation denoted a sub-ordinate element. In a non-past/non-anterior sequence, on the other hand, the prefix conjugation denoted a co-ordinate element, whereas the suffix conjugation denoted a sub-ordinate element. This syntax was identical in direct speech, subordinate clauses, narration and poetry.

HEATHER MACUMBER, A Monster without a Name: Creating the Beast Known as Antiochus IV in Daniel 7

(No abstract circulated as of this posting.)

SBL Proceedings of the Midrash Section, vol. 6

It’s better to hear the rebuke of the wise than the song of the fool” (Qoh 7:5). Proceedings of the Midrash Section, Society of Biblical Literature, vol. 6, edited by W. David Nelson and Rivka Ulmer (Judaism in Context; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2015).

ISBN: 978-1-4632-0560-7

Alter on Berkeley

EAST MEETS WEST: How Berkeley Made the Old Testament New (Robert Alter, Boom). Excerpt:
In the mid-1970s, I became interested in biblical narrative, having had a good grounding in biblical Hebrew as well as in the modern language. Berkeley graduate seminars on the Bible in those years were exclusively devoted to the Book of Leviticus because the scholar who was then professor of the Hebrew Bible was engaged in what would prove to be a three-thousand-page commentary on Leviticus. He would allow nothing to deflect him from his sacerdotal subject.

My students of modern Hebrew literature complained, and so I devised for them a new course—conceivably, the first of its kind anywhere—on the poetics of biblical narrative. I had a relatively large group, about ten students, many of them quite gifted and with serious literary interests, and together we soon developed an excited sense that, even though this was the Bible, we were exploring new territory. My own work for the seminar and beyond it led me in the next few years to produce The Art of Biblical Narrative in 1981 and to launch a kind of second scholarly career that complemented the one I continued to pursue in writing about the European and American novel.

A dozen years later, again in a wholly unanticipated way, the study of biblical narrative and biblical poetry induced me to begin an experiment in translating the Bible. Since adolescence I had always read the Bible in Hebrew and had been deeply moved by the compact power of its poetry and by the subtlety, elegant precision, and evocative rhythms of its narrative prose. When an editor at W.W. Norton proposed that I might do a Norton Critical Edition of a book of the Bible, I responded, perhaps imprudently, that one could make a fine Norton Critical Edition of Genesis, but that because there was something wrong with all the existing English versions. I would have to do my own translation. After some discussion, we agreed that I would write a new English translation of Genesis instead of the critical edition. But, as I got into the project, I also found that I was producing a commentary.
Iconic photo. More on Robert Alter's now nearly complete translation of the Hebrew Bible is here with many links.

Funded German PhDs

ETC: Funded German PhDs in Bible and Digital Humanities (Christian Askeland). The projects could involve textual criticism of the New Testament or the Septuagint. The deadline for applications is 27 January, so don't dawdle!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gounelle and Mounier (eds.), La littérature apocryphe chrétienne et les Écritures juives

Publications de l’Institut romand des sciences bibliques
Collection dirigée par J.-D. Kaestli

R. Gounelle – B. Mounier, La littérature apocryphe chrétienne et les Écritures juives, 2015, 507 p., ISBN 978-2-940557-00-4, € 49.-
code commande : pir07

La littérature apocryphe chrétienne est très peu citée dans les recherches sur la formation et le développement du canon des Écritures chrétiennes. Le colloque de Strasbourg a fait dialoguer des savants qui ne collaborent pas habituellement : les spécialistes de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne et les spécialistes de l’histoire de la Bible juive. Il a tenté d’attirer l’attention des premiers sur les références que les apocryphes chrétiens font aux Écritures juives et de les inciter à mettre davantage à profit les outils et les méthodes développées par l’histoire de l’exégèse durant ces dernières décennies ; analyser les apocryphes à la lumière de l’histoire des Écritures juives et de leur interprétation peut en effet fournir des éléments non négligeables sur le contexte de production d’un écrit et ouvre, dans certains cas, de nouvelles perspectives sur son interprétation.

La littérature apocryphe chrétienne provoque un certain renouveau dans l’étude de la réception du Premier Testament dans le christianisme et apporte de nouveaux matériaux à l’étude des relations entre judaïsme et christianisme, dans l’Antiquité comme au Moyen Age. En mettant au jour de nouvelles formes, inconnues jusque-là, du texte biblique et en analysant la façon dont les Écritures juives ont été exploitées dans des contextes parfois peu documentés par ailleurs, ce colloque a également mis au jour de nouvelles données, que les spécialistes de l’histoire de la Bible juive devront prendre en compte.

Les contributions présentées au colloque de Strasbourg témoignent de la multitude des méthodes à déployer pour circonscrire le phénomène citationnel dans des textes qui ne proposent que rarement des citations explicites. L’étude du rapport des apocryphes chrétiens aux Écritures juives peut en effet aussi bien passer par la recherche de citations précises dans des textes spécifiques et l’identification de leurs sources que par l’analyse des jeux d’allusions et d’intertextualité ; s’interroger sur le choix des versets et sur leur combinaison, questionner les changements qui y ont été apportés ou encore les situer dans l’histoire de leur réception peuvent s’avérer tout aussi fructueux.

Le colloque de Strasbourg ne prétendait pas couvrir l’ensemble de la littérature apocryphe chrétienne. Les contributions ici réunies n’en étudient pas moins un large éventail de textes de provenances et de datations très diverses : des textes liés aux prophètes et à l’histoire d’Israël côtoient des récits consacrés à la vie et à l’enseignement de Jésus et aux apôtres.
Follow the link for the TOC etc.

PhD fellowship on DSS scribes

UNIVERSITY OF GRONINGEN: ERC PhD position Digital Palaeography and Dead Sea Scrolls Scribal Culture (216006).
Job description
This PhD subproject is embedded within a larger research programme titled The Hands that Wrote the Bible: Digital Palaeography and Scribal Culture of the Dead Sea Scrolls, funded by the European Research Council. The main objective of this interdisciplinary project is to shed new light on ancient Jewish scribal culture and the making of the Bible by investigating two aspects of the scrolls’ palaeography: the typological development of writing styles and writer identification. The combination of new C14 samples and the use of computational intelligence as quantitative methods in order to assess the development of handwriting styles and to identify individual scribes will be used to cluster manuscripts as products of scribal activity in order to profile scribal production and to determine a more precise location in time for their activity, focusing, from literary and cultural-historical perspectives, on the content and genres of the texts that scribes wrote and copied and on the scripts and languages that they used.
The goal of the PhD subproject is to identify one or more prolific scribes of the Qumran manuscripts, to date these scribes, and to analyse quantitatively and qualitatively the scribal activity of one or more specific Qumran scribes. This subproject will compare the traditional palaeographical identification of specific scribes with the digital palaeographic identification, and choose the most prolific scribe of manuscripts that are, on the basis of existing scholarship, classified as so-called ‘sectarian’. The PhD will correlate the manuscripts identified as copied by this scribe with two widely but not universally accepted hypotheses pertaining to sectarian manuscripts and literature.
The PhD will work together with a PhD at the Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering Institute (ALICE), and with a postdoc and student assistants at the Qumran Institute of the faculty.
Follow the link for further particulars.

Adams and Ehorn (eds.), Composite Citations in Antiquity, vol. 1

Composite Citations in Antiquity
Volume One: Jewish, Graeco-Roman, and Early Christian Uses

Editor(s): Sean A. Adams, Seth M. Ehorn

Published: 19-11-2015
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 256
ISBN: 9780567657978
Imprint: Bloomsbury T&T Clark
Series: The Library of New Testament Studies
Volume: 525

About Composite Citations in Antiquity

Sean A. Adams and Seth M. Ehorn have drawn together an exciting range of contributors to evaluate the use of composite citations in Early Jewish, Greco-Roman, and Early Christian authors (up through Justin Martyr). The goal is to identify and describe the existence of this phenomenon in both Greco-Roman and Jewish literature. The introductory essay will help to provide some definitional parameters, although the study as a whole will seek to weigh in on this question. The contributors seek to address specific issues, such as whether the quoting author created the composite text or found it already constructed as such. The essays also cover an exploration of the rhetorical and/or literary impact of the quotation in its present textual location, and the question of whether the intended audiences would have recognised and 'reverse engineered' the composite citation and as a result engage with the original context of each of the component parts.

In addition to the specific studies, Professor Christopher Stanley provides a summary reflection on all of the essays in the volume along with some implications for New Testament studies.
Follow the link for price, TOC, and ordering information.

Creation out of nothing?

THE THOUSAND YEAR VIEW: Creation But Not Ex Nihilo (N.S. PALMER, Jerusalem Post blogs). Relevant also are the surprising number of references in the Hebrew Bible to God's defeat of the sea dragon at the primordial battle (e.g., Psalm 74:12-17; 89:9-10 [English versification]).

Mysterious abandoned cities

ARCHAEOLOGY: The Mystery of Israel's Ancient Abandoned Cities. The ancient inhabitants of Negev cities abandoned their homes more than 1,000 years ago. Archaeologists are studying the refuse and food scraps they left behind to try to fathom why they left. (Ronit Vered, Haaretz).
In recent months, the team from Haifa University has been heading south every other week to examine the remnants of the refuse left behind by inhabitants of the ancient cities of Nitzana, Haluza and Shivta. The large-scale project, estimated to last for five years and funded by the European Union, aims to crack the mystery of why these once-thriving commercial and cultural hubs were ultimately abandoned. One day, or perhaps it occurred gradually over a longer period of time, the inhabitants packed their things, carefully sealed up their homes so they could come back to them in the future, and disappeared, never to return again.

“The people who lived here put tremendous energy into construction and infrastructure. They wanted to stay here forever, but something went wrong,” says Bar-Oz. “The next time you find settlement in the Negev is over a thousand years later, with the Zionist movement. In the scholarly literature, a number of possible theories for the abandonment have been proposed: climate change, a cultural change like the Muslim conquest, or an epidemic like the plague that struck the region in the sixth century. We’re trying to solve the mystery of why they left once and for all, and we’re looking at the collapse of Byzantine society in the Negev as a test case that also has importance for the modern world, from the point of view of sustainability and understanding the attempt to cope with changes.”

The three southern cities are generally thought to be associated with the start of permanent Nabatean (1st-3rd century C.E.) settlement, but no Nabatean artifacts have been found so far. “I don’t want to denigrate classic Israeli archaeology, and we’re far from finishing the excavations and analyzing all the findings in the lab, but so far we’ve been digging and digging, getting down to the foundations of the buildings, and we’re not finding Nabatean artifacts,” says Bar-Oz.
The article illustrates the point I made recently that garbage dumps are often treasure troves of archaeological information.