Saturday, July 09, 2016

Review of O’Brien, The Demiurge in Ancient Thought

2016.06.09 | Carl Séan O’Brien, The Demiurge in Ancient Thought: Secondary Gods and Divine Mediators. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781107075368, £65.00.

Review by Paul Linjamaa, Lund University.

This book is a convenient and detailed compilation of ideas concerning the Demiurge and “demiurgry” in ancient thought—ideas on how the cosmos was generated and how matter was ordered and sustained. The work is the published version of a PhD-dissertation at Trinity College, Dublin.


‘Atiqot 85 (2016)

A NEW VOLUME OF ‘ATIQOT (85 [2016]) HAS BEEN PUBLISHED. A number of the articles have to do with ancient Judaism.

Milgram, From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah


From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah
Tannaitic Inheritance Law in its Legal and Social Contexts

[Von Mesopotamien zur Mischna. Tannaitisches Erbrecht in seinen rechtlichen und gesellschaftlichen Kontexten.]

2016. XXI, 201 pages.
Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 164
114,00 €
ISBN 978-3-16-154021-9

Published in English.
In this study, Jonathan S. Milgram demonstrates that the transformation of inheritance law from the biblical to the tannaitic period is best explained against the backdrop of the legal and social contexts in which the tannaitic laws were formulated. Employing text and source critical methods, he argues that, in the absence of the hermeneutic underpinnings for tannaitic innovations, the laws were not the result of the rabbinic imagination and its penchant for inventive interpretation of Scripture. Turning to the rich repositories in biblical, ancient near eastern, Second Temple, Greek, Elephantine, Judean desert, and Roman sources, the author searches for conceptual parallels and antecedents as well as formulae and terminology adopted and adapted by the tannaim. Since the tannaitic traditions reflect the social and economic contexts of the tannaitic period – the nuclear family on privatized landholdings in urban centers – the author also considers the degree to which tannaitic inheritance laws may have emerged out of these contexts.

Sixth International Conference on the Septuagint

UPCOMING: The Sixth International Conference on the Septuagint in Wuppertal (July 21-24, 2016). Follow the link to download a PDF file of the conference program. The theme this year is "Geschichte — Wirkung — Relevanz."

Via the IOSCS page on Facebook.

Change Workshop at Helsinki

The workshop on patterns of change in the development of biblical texts, a CSTT-organized event in Helsinki in the month of May, showcased important examples of textual differences that are attested by the different witnesses to the Hebrew Bible. The variety of texts on display was intentionally chosen in order to facilitate a comparison of how different types of texts developed over time. Each session introduced cases of textual variance that range from small differences to large scale differences that may be described as editorial changes. Here is a list of the presenters and the topics of their workshop sessions ...
There follows a brief report. Somehow I seem to have missed announcements of this workshop, but here are the basic details:
The workshop ”Patterns of Change in Literary Development” was a CSTT-organized event on the documented editing of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament that took place in Helsinki, May 23.-24. 2016.
HT Drew Longacre at the OTTC Blog.

UPDATE (10 July). Typo in header corrected. Apologies!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Bulletin for the Study of Religion 45.2

RELIGION BULLETIN BLOG: Now Published – Bulletin for the Study of Religion 45.2 (June 2016). Notable is the collection of essays for this panel:

“Telling Nag Hammadi’s Egyptian Stories” Dylan Michael Burns (Free University of Berlin) – (pp. 5-11)

“Finding Early Christian Books at Nag Hammadi and Beyond” Brent Nongbri (Macquarie University) – (pp. 11-19)

“True Stories and the Poetics of Textual Discovery” Eva Mroczek (University of California, Davis) – (pp. 21-31)

“What Do We Talk About When We Talk About the Nag Hammadi Library?” Tony Burke (York University) – (pp. 33-37)

“The 70th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Codices: A Few Remarks on Recent Publications” Paul-Hubert Poirier (Université Laval) – (pp. 37-39)

“Rethinking the Rethinking of the Nag Hammadi Codices” Nicola Denzey Lewis (Brown University) – (pp. 39-45)
Seen on Facebook.

Naiweld on the History of the Talmud and Christianity

ACADEMIA.EDU: Some Considerations on the History of the Talmud and Christianity and a Proposition of a New Method (Ron Naiweld). "Talk presented at the conference 'Talmud and Christianity: Rabbinic Judaism after Constantin', Cambridge, June 27-28 2016." HT Annette Yoshiko Reed. The conference was noted as upcoming here.

UPDATE (10 July): Bad link now fixed. Apologies!

Resources for 2 Enoch

READING ACTS: Resources for 2 Enoch (Slavonic). This post mostly passes on the background links from yesterday's PaleoJudaica post on the latest 2 Enoch post at Reading Acts. (Got that?) But Phillip Long adds some additional information and so I am linking to it here.

For past posts in his series on the ancient books of Enoch, plus on related matters, follow that last link.

Meals in ancient Israel

THE ASOR BLOG: The Daily Stew? Everyday Meals in Ancient Israel (Cynthia Shafer-Elliott).

A few related past posts are here, here, and here.

Schell, Die Areopagrede des Paulus und Reden bei Josephus


Die Areopagrede des Paulus und Reden bei Josephus
Eine vergleichende Studie zu Apg 17 und dem historiographischen Werk des Josephus

[Paul’s Areopagus Speech and Josephus’ Representations. A Comparative Study of the Acts of the Apostles 17. and Josephus’ Historiographical Work.]
2016. XII, 317 pages.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 419

89,00 €
sewn paper
ISBN 978-3-16-154226-8

Published in German.
According to Vítor Hugo Schell, the Book of Acts is a historical work of art. In this volume, his comparative analysis of Paul’s Areopagus sermon in Acts 17 and Hellenistic-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus’ written observations lead to the discovery of new facets of the Luke-Acts author’s literary strategies. The Areopagus speech is juxtaposed to the Bellum and Antiquities speeches, the two longest Josephus representations and the only surviving examples of a limited “subgenus” within early Jewish historiography. Fundamental questions posed by this study are how Josephus’ writings facilitate a better understanding of both Paul’s Areopagus speech and the Acts’ author, and how Josephus is perceived as an ancient historian. The comparison of formal and thematic characteristics makes a specific contribution to interpreting the apostle’s famous address to the Athenians and the entire Lucan work.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

On curating the past

THE ASOR BLOG: The Present and Future of Curating the Past (Andrew Creekmore).
Such are the problems of archaeology everywhere in the world. Modern archaeology is so fine-grained that the quantities of materials collected are seemingly endless. In addition to pottery, stone, and bone, we collect soil samples for chemical, micro and macro botanical analysis, soil blocks for microstratigraphic analysis, clay samples for sourcing studies, and micro-sieved debris from earthen floors. These materials pile up quickly and storage becomes a problem. In the US this “curation crisis” led many agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, to encourage or require that survey projects under their jurisdiction eschew collection or only collect diagnostic artifacts, like painted sherds. In addition, excavation permits in much of the US require projects, before fieldwork, to designate a permanent storage location and to budget for these costs up front.

Curation policies and our propensity to collect more and more data with new analytical techniques put a damper on excavation fever. I expect every archaeologist has some guilt over a project that is not fully published, or at least concern about not fully documented materials in substandard storage. And just what does it mean to be “fully published”? What is the minimum standard for analysis and publication? Do we publish artifacts and plans from the best contexts but put the ephemera of notes and records online?

The adage “you break it, you bought it” feels especially apropos when 100,000+ potsherds are on the line. Are there solutions to the curation crisis that allow us to keep moving forward with fieldwork to study new problems but also acknowledge the elephant-shaped pile of samples in our room? Here are some approaches that are gaining traction ...
The ASOR Blog requires free registration to access the full text of its posts.

Archaeologists are the victims of their own success: as technologies improve, it becomes possible — and therefore obligatory — to analyze excavated materials in greater and greater detail. The good news is that our knowledge of past material culture is becoming more detailed and fine grained. The bad news is that more and more excavated material needs to be kept and stored somewhere.

The solution is hinted at in the section the last approach covered in the essay. Briefly, it is technology. At a point in the not too distant future, probably in decades, it will be possible to scan a site to a very fine-grained standard using non-invasive technologies, then to "excavate" it on a molecular level using non-destructive nanotechnological tools. The amount of information to be harvested will dwarf anything that current excavation technologies can recover, and the only storage concerns will be the electronic data and the rare artifact that is important enough (or under environmental threat enough) to bring to the surface.

Some readers are thinking that this is just science fiction, and for now it is. But not so long ago desktop computers and the internet were just science fiction. The path leading to what I have just described is right there in classical physics, as Richard Feynman recognized already nearly half a century ago. Getting there is a matter of engineering. It's still quite a distance away, but we get a little closer every year. (Some relevant PaleoJudaica posts from the past year or so are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And, as usual, follow those links for more.)

And if we move to quantum physics, there are even weirder phenomena that may lead someday to scarcely imaginable technologies for exploring the past. So far these are entirely speculative, but who knows what the future could bring? In this old post I alluded to one such possibility. The link is dead, but it led to the science fiction story "Traces" by Stephen Baxter in his short story collection with the same title. And his novel The Light of Other Days, co-authored with the late Aurthur C. Clarke, explores another possibility. I commend both to you if you like such things.

Another review of Breed, Nomadic Text

REVIEWS OF BIBLICAL AND EARLY CHRISTIAN STUDIES: Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History.
2016.07.12 | Brennan W. Breed. Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History. Indiana Series in Biblical Literature. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2014. pp.xii + 299. ISBN: 978-0-253-01252-4.

Review article by Kengo Akiyama.

Many thanks to Indiana University Press for providing a review copy.
At any rate, while Breed is not the first to critique the concept of the original meaning, rare are the works that engage meaningfully with literary theory and relate the insights of ‘theory’ to biblical scholarship. The book is well written, and the thesis is clearly argued with ample supporting evidence and sustained engagement with a great mass of secondary literature. This book is highly recommended not only for reception historians but also for biblical scholars in general.
HT James McGrath on Facebook. An earlier review of the book was noted here.

Mulroney, The Translation Style of Old Greek Habakkuk


The Translation Style of Old Greek Habakkuk
Methodological Advancement in Interpretative Studies of the Septuagint

[Der Übersetzungsstil des altgriechischen Habakuk. Methodologischer Fortschritt bei Septuaginta-Interpretationen.]
2016. XVII, 264 pages.
Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. Reihe 86

Published in English.
In this volume, James A. E. Mulroney explains the Greek style of the Old Greek (Septuagint) book of Habakkuk. Where previous studies have focused on an interlinear model, aligning the Hebrew with the Greek text, this study looks at the Greek text in its own right. Of first importance is the notion of transformation in linguistic/translation studies: all translation involves interpretation. Therefore, the Old Greek is an interpretation of its Hebrew base text. The author offers an extended analysis of present methodological issues in the field of Septuagint studies. The study shows that the translator was not following literalism as commonly understood, but a reading tradition that is exemplified in subtle theological details of the book. The translator’s personal style is seen in his use of Greek rhetoric, with most textual features representing his habit of reading in both Hebrew and Greek.

A prehistoric female shaman in the Galilee?

HEBREW UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE: 12,000-Year-Old Funeral Feast Brings Ancient Burial Rituals to Life. Yes, this is well outside PaleoJudaica's normal period of interest, but this is a slow news week and the story raises many interesting questions about using material culture to reconstruct ancient religious rituals and roles of religious practitioners.
One of the earliest funeral banquets ever to be discovered reveals a preplanned, carefully constructed event that reflects social changes at the beginning of the transition to agriculture in the Natufian period

The woman was laid on a bed of specially selected materials, including gazelle horn cores, fragments of chalk, fresh clay, limestone blocks and sediment. Tortoise shells were placed under and around her body, 86 in total. Sea shells, an eagle's wing, a leopard's pelvis, a forearm of a wild boar and even a human foot were placed on the body of the mysterious 1.5 meter-tall woman. Atop her body, a large stone was laid to seal the burial space.

It was not an ordinary funeral, said the Hebrew University archaeologist who discovered the grave in a cave site on the bank of the Hilazon river in the western Galilee region of northern Israel back in 2008 (LINK). Three other grave pits have been found at the site of Hilazon Tachtit since 1995, and most contained bones of several humans. Nevertheless, the unusual objects found inside the grave, measuring approximately 0.70 m x 1.00 m x 0.45 m, point to the uniqueness of the event and the woman at its center.

Eight years after the discovery, Prof. Leore Grosman from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Prof. Natalie Munro from the University of Connecticut, have identified the sequence of events of the mysterious funeral ritual that took place 12,000 years ago.

"We've assigned the event to stages based on field notes, digitized maps, stones, architecture and artifact frequency distributions and concentrations," said Prof. Grosman, adding that, "The high quality of preservation and recovery of a well-preserved grave of an unusual woman, probably a shaman, enabled the identification of six stages of a funerary ritual."

The research, published in the journal Current Anthropology (LINK), details the order of the six-step sequence and its ritual and ideological importance for the people who enacted it.

My first reaction to the press release was that all this sounds wildly speculative. After reading the whole article in Current Anthropology, I am persuaded by their reconstruction of the sequence of events for this funeral. I still think it's a stretch to say that the woman was "probably a shaman." Our knowledge of Natufian society and social roles is very limited and I don't think there is enough evidence at the grave site to locate her role that precisely, although she was clearly an important person. I see that the first commenter shares my skepticism.

Nevertheless, this is an extraordinarily important discovery and the excavators are to be commended for their thorough work on it.

2 Enoch 1-22

READING ACTS: Enoch’s Journey through the Heavens – 2 Enoch 1-22. Past posts in the series on the ancient books of Enoch, plus on related matters, are noted here and links.

Also, yesterday I forgot to mention some past PaleoJudaica posts on 2 Enoch, especially here and here and links, but also here and links.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

More mosaics from the Huqoq Synagogue

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: Bible Scenes Uncovered in Ruins of Ancient Synagogue. On a hill above the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, archaeologists have discovered one amazing floor mosaic after another (A. R. Williams).
Archaeologists excavating a Roman-era synagogue at the site of Huqoq, Israel, have uncovered two new panels of a mosaic floor with instantly identifiable subjects—Noah's ark, and the parting of the Red Sea during the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

"You can see the pharaoh's soldiers with their chariots and horses drowning, and even being eaten by large fish," says excavation director Jodi Magness, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Such images are extremely rare in this period. "I know of only two other scenes of the parting of the Red Sea in ancient synagogues," Magness explains. "One is in the wall paintings at Dura Europos [in Syria], which is a complete scene but different from ours—no fish devouring the Egyptian soldiers. The other is at Wadi Hamam [in Israel], but that's very fragmentary and poorly preserved."

The ark scenes are equally uncommon. Again, Magness knows of just two: one at the site of Jerash (known as Gerasa in antiquity) in Jordan, and the other at the site of Misis (the ancient Mopsuestia) in Turkey.

Follow the link for an image of the Red Sea scene. The Huqoq synagogue is the art historian's gift that just keeps on giving. See also this Baylor University press release: Baylor Professor Helps Uncover Mosaics in Ancient Synagogue in Israel, which also has photos of the new mosaics. The Baylor professor is numismatist Nathan Elkins.

For past posts on the Huqoq excavation and the impressive mosaics that have previously been uncovered there, start here and follow the many links back. And for past posts on Dura Europos, its ancient iconographic treasures, and its recent tragic history, start here and, again, follow the many links.

More looting arrests in Israel

BUSTED: Authorities combine to catch antiquities thieves (Arutz Sheva).
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced, Monday, that it teamed up with inspectors from the Nature and Parks Authority and police to capture members of a family in the Negev town of Yeroham who stole ancient coins from an antiquities site near Kibbutz Sde Boker.

HT Joseph Lauer.

Angel tenured

CONGRATULATIONS TO PROFESSOR JOSEPH ANGEL: Faculty Across YU Awarded Tenure. Yeshiva University Grants Tenure to Nineteen Faculty Members (YU News).
Angel, who specializes in the Jewish literature and history of the Second Temple period, has published on ancient Jewish magic, the Second Temple of Jerusalem and the material reconstruction of damaged manuscripts. His first book, Otherworldly and Eschatological Priesthood in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Brill, 2010), explored how the Qumran community and broader segments of Second Temple society used angelic and messianic priestly figures in the Dead Sea Scrolls to reflect their worldview. Angel is working on a new edition as well as writing commentary on the ancient Jewish prayer text known as the Songs of the Sage.
And congratulations also to the other newly tenured faculty at YU.

2 Enoch

READING ACTS: What is 2 Enoch? Past posts in the series on the ancient books of Enoch, plus on related matters, are noted here and links.

UPDATE (7 July): I forgot to include links to some relevant past PaleoJudaica posts on 2 Enoch. You can find them now here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

It's Cyril and Methodius Day again!

OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC WATCH: 05 July, Czech Republic and Slovakia: Saints Cyril and Methodius Day. The day is celebrated in Bulgaria and Macedonia on 24 May.

Background here and here, with links explaining why PaleoJudaica is taking notice. (Hint: cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.)

Review of Houston, Inside Roman Libraries

A Book about Books and a Collection on Collections – By Drew Longacre.
Drew Longacre on George W. Houston’s Inside Roman Libraries
In his 2014 book Inside Roman Libraries: Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity, George W. Houston sets out to understand ancient Roman scholars in their own historical and material contexts. Like Cicero, Houston has put in a lot of effort, but he has accomplished something truly significant — a comprehensive survey of the evidence for ancient Roman book collections. With a broad three-pronged assault, he synthesizes documentary, literary, and archaeological evidence to pry open the secrets of Roman libraries from the first century BCE to the fourth century CE, and in so doing produces a handy reference work and provides a great service to contemporary readers. Houston’s aim throughout is to inform our imaginations not with an idealized or typical Roman library, but a range of possibilities indicated by the sources. Well-written in understandable prose, the book prepares readers to imagine themselves walking in the shoes of ancient scholars and using a wide variety of different types of Roman book collections. Houston is to be commended for bringing ancient Roman libraries alive in all their diversity to modern readers, and all those who study ancient literature will be much enriched with a greater appreciation of the realia of ancient book culture.
Earlier reviews of the book have been noted here and here.

Satlow on the Big Ancient Mediterranean

MICHAEL SATLOW has a four-part report on the "BAM: The Big Ancient Mediterranean" Conference, which he attended last month at the University of Iowa.

BAM: The Big Ancient Mediterranean
I’m delighted to be taking part in a conference on the “Big Ancient Mediterranean” at the University of Iowa next week. The goal of the conference is to help various digital projects dealing with the ancient Mediterranean – such as my own Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine – figure out how best to link the data in our projects and thus to leverage our individual contributions into something much more powerful and useful. The program looks fantastic and I’m looking forward to participating and learning.
The Big Ancient Mediterranean: A Preliminary Thought

The Big Ancient Mediterranean: Middle Thoughts

Create, Process, Link: Some Final Thoughts on The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference

A Judeo-Persian biblical epic

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: The Bible as a Judeo-Persian Epic. Notice of a new book: Moreen, Vera Basch. 2016. The Bible as a Judeo-Persian epic: An illustrated manuscript of ʿImrānī’s Fatḥ-Nāma. Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East.

For lots more on Judeo-Persian literature, see here and here and links.

Hurtado on (re)dating NT papyri

LARRY HURTADO has three posts on recent challenges to the early dating of a couple of ancient New Testament papyri and on the field of paleography in general.

A Challenge to the Dating of P75
Orsini’s Recent Dating of P66 & P75
Dating Ancient Papyri

Authoritative Texts and Their Reception (ATTR) at UiO

UNIVERSITY OF OSLO: Authoritative Texts and Their Reception (ATTR)
A national research school in textual interpretation, ATTR offers specialised interdisciplinary training for PhD students within the Humanities, Law, and Theology. Within and across these areas of study, ATTR focuses on the methods, processes, and history of the interpretation of texts that have been or are perceived of as authoritative in distinct social and institutional settings.
Follow the link for information on admission, membership, and unaffiliated participation.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Old editions of the Cave of Treasures

THE CAVE OF TREASURES is a late antique Old Testament pseudepigraphon (as well as a Christian apocryphon and perhaps arguably even a New Testament apocryphon). It survives mainly in its language of composition, Syriac, but also in Arabic, Ethiopic, Georgian translations and a fragmentary Coptic translation. The Syriac was published in a definitive edition and French translation by Su-Min Ri: La Caverne de Trésors: Les deux recensions syriaques (CSCO 486-487; Scriptores Syri 207-208; Louvain: Peeters, 1987). It was also recently translated into English by Alexander Toepel in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1 (ed. Richard Bauckham, James R. Davila, and Alexander Panayotov; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2013).

Early this year the text came up on the Hygoye discussion list in a thread initiated by Professor Naomi Kolton-Fromme, who asked if there was a digital version of the Syriac text available. You can find the full discussion in messages 7333, 7334, 7335, 7336, 7342, and 7343. In the discussion J.J. Van Ginkel and Steven Ring pointed to a German out-of-copyright edition and translation of the Syriac and Arabic texts online, and I have been meaning to mention it here. If you want to do serious work on The Cave of Treasures, use Ri's edition and French translation and Toepel's English translation, but the old edition could be useful for an initial orientation to the Syriac and Arabic texts. The links below are to two independent scans of the German edition.
Die Schatzhöhle : syrisch und deutsch / Ephraem Syrus. Hrsg. von Carl Bezold
Author Ephraem Syrus (actually not - the work is anonymous - JRD)
Editor Bezold
Leipzig : Hinrichs, 1883-
Electronic Edition Halle, Saale : Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt, 2010
Pseudepigraphische Schrift
Language German ; Syriac
URN urn:nbn:de:gbv:3:5-20534 info
Keyword Syrische Kirchen DNB Wikipedia / Heilsgeschichte

1. Übersetzung: Die Schatzhöhle aus dem syrischen Texte dreier unedirter Handschriften in's Deutsche übersetzt und mit Anmerkungen versehen. 1883
2. Texte: Die Schatzhöhle nach dem syrischen Texte der Handschriften zu Berlin, London und Rom nebst einer arabischen Version nach den Handschriften zu Rom, Paris und Oxford. 1888

Die Schatzhöhle; aus dem syrischen texte dreier unedirten Handschriften
by Bezold, Carl, 1859-1924

Published 1883

Vol. 1. - Übersetzung.- Vol. 2. - Texte


Publisher Leipzig, Hinrichs
Pages 400
Language German
Call number AEM-3167
Digitizing sponsor University of Toronto
Book contributor Robarts - University of Toronto
Collection robarts; toronto
Scanfactors 8

Full catalog record MARCXML
Not mentioned in the Hugoye discussion, but there is also an out-of-copyright English translation of The Cave of Treasures which you can also find online, for example, here:
The book of the Cave of treasures : a history of the patriarchs and the kings their successors from the Creation to the Crucifixion of Christ / translated from the Syriac text of the British Museum Ms. Add. 25875, by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge ; with 16 plates and 8 illustrations in the text.
London : The Religious Tract Society, 1927.
Again, this could be useful for initial orientation, or just for free, fun reading, but use the more recent publications for any serious work.

Past posts in which The Cave of Treasures is involved are here, here and here. Also, do not confuse the fictional literary work The Cave of Treasures with the Cave of the Treasure, which is an actual cave that contained an actual ancient treasure — the Nahal Mishmar hoard of metal objects from the Chalcolithic period. Past posts on it are here and here.

Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch, More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Christian Apocrypha Watch, New Testament Apocrypha Watch, Syriac Watch, News You Can Use, and For You, Special Deal.

JSJ 47.2 2016

A NEW ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF JUDAISM (Volume 47, Issue 2, 2016) has just come out. It has lots of articles and reviews pertaining to ancient Judaism. Follow the link for the TOC. Requires a paid personal or institutional subscription to access the complete files.

HB & ANE job at Austin

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a tenured position as an Associate Professor of Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible. The position will begin in Fall 2017.

The position will focus on studies of the Hebrew Bible in its Ancient Near Eastern context and the successful candidate will have additional expertise in one or more of the following fields: Archaeology, Assyriology, Mesopotamian literature, Northwest Semitic literature, or another closely related field.

Duties include teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses and serving in the doctoral programs in Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East (Department of Middle Eastern Studies) and Ancient Mediterranean Religions (Department of Religious Studies) directing graduate research. All faculty are also expected to maintain a strong record of research and publication and to engage in service to the Department, College, the University, and the profession. The Department places a high premium on collegiality and maintaining a diverse and hospitable working environment. Salary is dependent upon position and qualifications. Background and academic credential checks are conducted on selected applicant.

Follow the link for further particulars. Review of applications begins on 1 September 2016.

New technology locates Holocaust tunnel

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: New Device Allows Scientist to Uncover Holocaust Tunnel Without Disturbing Historical Sites (Jamie A., Nature World News).
A new device has helped archaeologists uncover a secret holocaust tunnel without digging on the site.

A team of archaeologists, geophysicists and historians from U.S., Canada, Lithuania and Israel discovered the tunnel using a scanning technology called electrical resistivity tomography, which is the same device used in mineral and oil exploration.

The device allowed the researchers to pinpoint the tunnel's location without digging.

The legendary tunnel, known as Paneriai, is located in the Ponar forest in Lithuania, outside the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Jewish prisoners secretly dug out the 112-feet long tunnel using spoons to escape the Nazis during World War II.

This story is about archaeological verification of a tiny victory in a modern period of horrors, but the technology has much potential for ancient archaeology as well. It is an example of the non-invasive and non-destructive technologies that I keep saying are the way of the future for the study of ancient material culture and architecture.

July 4th 2016

HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY to all those celebrating!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Free book on the DSS

READING ACTS: Book Giveaway – The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English. For you, special deal!

June 2016 Biblical Studies Carnival

OLD SCHOOL SCRIPT: June 2016 Biblical Studies Carnival: Tele-version (Kris Lyle). There's a Septuagint section and an "Extrabiblical" section, but the latter is kind of sparse. That's a pity; there was a lot in June on Second Temple Judaism which could have gone into it.

Aramaic Studies accepting online submissions

THE JOURNAL ARAMAIC STUDIES is now accepting online submission of articles for publication. HT the Agade List.

ISBL TC papers

ETC: International SBL Papers ( Peter Gurry).
A reader of the blog reminds me that the International SBL meeting starts next week in Seoul, South Korea. There are two text critical sections in the line up.
Details follow, with papers on the Greek texts of the New Testament and the Septuagint. I can't make it to this conference, but I look forward to the conference reports when the bloggers and tweeters come out with them.

Greatest discovery?

I DUNNO, BOTH ARE PRETTY IMPORTANT: Cairo Geniza more important than Dead Sea Scrolls (Joe Spier, San Diego Jewish World). I would be happier to support this more circumscribed claim about the Dead Sea Scrolls: The greatest discovery of the century (Selie Visa, Morung Express).