Saturday, February 10, 2018

More for International LXX Day

THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL SEPTUAGINT DAY (8 FEB) CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE with some more blog posts:

Interview with Dr James K. Aitken (Srecko Koralija, Interaction of Traditions Blog)

The Origin of the LXX (Tavis Bohlinger, The Logos Academic Blog)

The Influence of the LXX (Tavis Bohlinger, The Logos Academic Blog)

LXX Day Treat (Peter M. Head, ETC Blog)

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Tanit on a Carthaginian electrum coin

NUMISMATICS: Ancient Coin Profiles – Goddess Tanit on Carthaginian Gold & Silver 1 1/2 Shekel (Coin World). The name of this Punic goddess can also be spelled Tannit. Her name seems to be the feminine form of the word tannin, found in the Hebrew Bible with the meaning "sea monster."

I noted mention of the same coin type here, but without a photo. A cache of Tanit coins was noted here (link now rotted). And there's still more on the goddess Tanit here. Cross-file under Punic Watch.

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More on that coded Qumran calendar

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Newly Deciphered Dead Sea Scroll Reveals 364-Day Calendar. Qumran calendar written in code (Robin Ngo).
Of the estimated 900 documents that comprise the Dead Sea Scrolls, two remain unpublished—until now. ...
Background here.

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VR at the Jewish Museum of Australia

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: Ancient history with new virtual reality. Lithodomos VR allows visitors to the Jewish Museum of Australia to place themselves in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, says curator Eleni Papavasileiou (Neos Kosmos).
Thanks to Lithodomos VR, who have generously provided the museum with a perpetual licence, the Jewish Museum of Australia is the first to display this fascinating content, transporting visitors back through an ancient and holy landscape.
Background on the Lithodomos VR app for ancient Jerusalem is here and links.

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Friday, February 09, 2018

More on the new Caesarea inscription

EPIGRAPHY: Rare Greek inscription and colorful 1,800-year-old mosaic uncovered at Caesarea. Discovered during excavations under a commercial structure from the Byzantine period, the finding is hailed for its exceptionally high quality (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel). I noted the announcement of the discovery of the mosaic and inscription yesterday, also noting that it gave almost no information about the inscription. This article today tells us some more, although nothing is yet available about what the inscription says.
Of potentially even more interest than the beautifully formed images is a long inscription in ancient Greek. It was unfortunately damaged by the Byzantine building constructed on top of it, but is being studied now by epigrapher Dr. Leah Di Segni from the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.

[...]

“Sadly, the inscription is very harmed [by the construction],” said Gendelman. While the team is still awaiting Di Segni’s expertise to decipher the ancient Greek text, he said that there are several visible letters of what appears to be a very long, multiword inscription.

Di Segni told The Times of Israel that she has sent a tentative reading to the excavators, but needs more information before making public any hypothetical reading.

“It is very hard to read the inscription, for lots of letters are missing and many of those that are not, are unclear,” said Di Segni.
Many years ago Carol Newsom suggested (humorously) in an article that there was an angel whose job it was to damage the really interesting readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls. She named the angel Lacunael. It looks like Lacunael has been at work here.

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Review of McKenzie and Watson, The Garima Gospels

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: Discoveries in the Ethiopian Desert: Exploring the Ancient Gospels of Ethiopia
It’s not every day that scholars discover new Bible manuscripts from the ancient world. It’s even rarer to discover ones endowed with luxurious painted images. Yet this is precisely what has happened over the past decade thanks to groundbreaking research into three ancient codices from Ethiopia, the earliest surviving copies of the Gospels in Ethiopic.

The manuscripts, which were produced and are still housed at the Monastery of Abba Garima in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, were not completely unknown to experts before, having been published for the first time in the 1960s. But recent work by Judith McKenzie and Francis Watson—published in a spectacular new book—has led to a radical reassessment of their dates and significance. Through radio-carbon testing and fresh analysis of their iconography and texts, we now know that the three Abba Garima Gospels were copied not in the tenth or eleventh centuries, as once thought, but between the fifth and seventh centuries at the zenith of Ethiopia’s ancient Christian civilization. For anyone interested in the history of the Bible, late antiquity, or Ethiopia itself, this is very big news.

[...]
The book under review is:
Judith S. McKenzie and Francis Watson. The Garima Gospels: Early Illuminated Gospel Books from Ethiopia. Oxford: Manar al-Athar, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-9954946-0-2. £49.95
For past PaleoJudaica on the Garima Gospels, see here, here, and here. For some past posts on ancient Ethiopic (Ge'ez), see here and links. And for past posts on the ancient Ethiopian Kingdom of Axum (Aksum) see the posts collected here.

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Haaretz reviews the Museum of the Bible

MUSEUM REVIEW: Bible Museum in D.C.: Less Science, More Indiana Jones. A tour of the Museum of the Bible, which experts say is turning theology into history (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz). Some of the usual suspects appear and present views already well known to PaleoJudaica readers. But I thought the most interesting part was the interview with Dr. Miki Saban, who worked on the exhibition by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Museum.

And finally, there's this:
In the museum store, on the way to the exit, a boy about 6 years old sat on the floor and screamed: “I want a Bible! I want a Bible!” His mother mumbled something in an attempt to calm him down but he continued shouting, “I want a Bible! Nowwww!”
For other past PaleoJudaica posts on the Museum of the Bible and related matters, including many reviews of the Museum, start here and follow the many links

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Yemenite temple endangered

THIS IS WAR: Ancient temple left neglected as Yemen war threatens history. Amid bloody battles in war-torn country, experts say heritage sites at risk include Awwam Temple, linked to pre-Islamic past and to Queen of Sheba (JON GAMBRELL, AP). I would take (and the article does take) any connection with the Queen of Sheba with a grain of salt. But the temple has inscriptions in ancient South Arabian and is of considerable interest for background on pre-Islamic Arabian religion.

For many past posts on the Queen of Sheba, the legends about her, and proposed connections between her and Yemen or Ethiopia, see here (cf. here and here) and follow the links.

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Thursday, February 08, 2018

International Septuagint Day 2018

THE ETC BLOG: Happy International Septuagint Day! (John Meade). The post at the link also flags an important 50th anniversary. Congratulations to the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies!

Past posts on International Septuagint Day are collected here (cf. here).

UPDATE: William Ross: INTERNATIONAL LXX DAY: AN INTERVIEW WITH T. MURAOKA.

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Roman-era mosaic and inscription uncovered at Caesarea

ARCHAEOLOGY: WATCH: RARE ROMAN MOSAIC FROM 2ND - 3RD CENTURIES CE UNCOVERED IN CAESAREA. Discovery of 1,800-year-old antiquity part of largest conservation and reconstruction project ever undertaken in Israel (Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post).
A rare 1,800-year-old Byzantine-era Roman mosaic from the 2nd-3rd centuries CE bearing an inscription in ancient Greek was recently discovered at Caesarea National Park, on the coast of Central Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Thursday.

[...]
There's a description of the mosaic, which was under a Byzantine-era building. The article gives no further details about the inscription. The video gives a drone's-eye-view of the excavation.

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Jewish Studies chair at College of Idaho

H-JUDAIC: College of Idaho, History: Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies.
Research specialization for this position is open, but candidates should be able to teach at least one course on modern Israel broadly defined. Preference will be given to candidates who can offer engaging undergraduate courses on various topics of Jewish history, religion, and/or foundational texts (Tanakh, Mishnah, and Talmud). The ideal candidate would also be able to teach courses that would be accessible to a broad range of undergraduate students (e.g., courses on modern Middle East, north Africa, greater Mediterranean, and so forth). Candidates must have PhD in hand at the time of appointment in August 2018.
This is an open-rank, tenure-track position. The closing date for applications is 1 May 2018. Follow the link for further particulars.

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Interview with Joan Taylor

THE TIMES HIGHER: Books interview: Joan Taylor .
The professor of Christian origins and Second Temple Judaism and author of ‘What Did Jesus Look Like?’ on puzzles, a chance encounter with ‘Jesus the Jew’ and 1st-century fashion
More on Professor Taylor's new (publication date — today!) book, What Did Jesus Look Like?," is here/

I don't think I knew that she is also a fiction writer. More on the ghost stories of M. R. James is here and links

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Fredriksen on Augustine and pro- and anti-Jewish rhetoric

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Augustine and “Thinking with” Jews: Rhetoric Pro- and Contra Iudaeos (Paula Fredriksen).
Christianity emerges in the second century as a family of warring sects comprised almost exclusively of ex-pagan gentiles. As they faced off against each other, each claiming to be the true community of revelation, these gentile sects derided their Christian rivals by accusing them of being “Jews,” of being “like the Jews,” or of being “worse than the Jews.”[i] It was in this period that “thinking with Jews” became hard-wired into Christian theology, thus Christian identity. The intra-Christian exchange of anti-Jewish insults became one of the drive wheels of patristic theology.

[...]

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Boyarin, The Talmud – A Personal Take

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK:
DANIEL BOYARIN
The Talmud – A Personal Take
Selected Essays


Ed. by Tal Hever-Chybowski
[Der Talmud – eine persönliche Interpretation. Ausgewählte Aufsätze.]
2017. X, 499 pages.
Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 170
169,00 €
cloth
ISBN 978-3-16-152819-4

Published in English.
This collection of Daniel Boyarin's previously uncollected essays on the Talmud represents the different methods and lines of inquiry that have animated his work on that text over the last four decades. Ranging and changing from linguistic work to work on sex and gender to the relations between formative Judaism and Christianity to the literary genres of the Talmud in the Hellenistic context, he gives an account of multiple questions and provocations to which that prodigious book gives stimulation, showing how the Talmud can contribute to all of these fields. The book opens up possibilities for study of the Talmud using historical, classical, philological, anthropological, cultural studies, gender, and literary theory and criticism. As a kind of intellectual autobiography, it is a record of the alarums and excursions of a life in the Talmud.

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Ariel Sabar lecturing in Boulder, CO

ARAMAIC WATCH: (CU Boulder Today).
The Program in Jewish Studies and co-sponsors at CU Boulder welcome award-winning author and journalist Ariel Sabar, who will host a public lecture titled “Paradise Lost and Found,” focusing on his best-selling book My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq.

[...]
The lecture is tomorrow, 8 February.

More on Mr Sabar's book is here and many links. Ariel Sabar also broke the story that proved the final undoing of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife forgery.

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More on palaeographic methodology and conclusions

THE ETC BLOG: Palaeographic Method, Comparison and Dating: Considerations for an Updated Discussion (Guest post by Pasquale Orsini) (Peter Malik). This discussion is fairly technical, but readers who have been following it will not want to miss this instalment. Background here and links.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

The Talmud on Jews and Gentiles

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: How Jews Should Deal With Gentiles. According to this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study, as little as possible.
Things were very different in the Talmudic period, in the first centuries CE, when Jews were subject to terrible persecution by the Roman authorities. As Rabbi Chanina ben Teradyon is quoted as saying in Avoda Zara 18a, it was Rome that “destroyed God’s Temple, and burned His sanctuary, and killed His pious ones, and destroyed His best ones.” Yet somehow, “it still exists,” which suggested to Chanina that God must have “given reign” to Rome for inscrutable reasons of his own. This combination of resignation and resistance was dramatized this week in several stories about confrontations between Jewish sages and Roman power.
Also, there is a rare reference to Jesus of Nazareth in this week's Talmudic reading.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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Lehmhaus on Talmudic medicine

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: PSCO 2017-18: Nurses, Midwives, Healers, and Talmudic Medical Encyclopaedism (Jillian Stinchcomb).
What did ancient Jews know? Well, they knew that according to Mishnah Avodah Zarah 2:2 “one may accept their [non-Jewish] healing related to one’s property/money, but not healing related to life/ soul.” In the third installment for PSCO 2017-8, Lennart Lehmhaus (Freie Universität Berlin) explored the category of Talmudic medicine through this passage and through rabbinic commentary on it. In the process, he invited us to take seriously the epistemological implications of discrete bits of data, especially on medicine, midwives, and healing experts, for our understanding of the context of Talmudic discourse.
A summary of the lecture follows.

Past AJR posts on the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins 2017-18 are noted here and here.

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Leaked EU report objects to "touristic settlements" in East Jerusalem

POLITICS AND ARCHAEOLOGY: Israel using tourism to legitimise settlements, says EU report. Exclusive: European Union Heads of Mission warn ‘touristic settlements’ are being used as a political tool (The Guardian).
Israel is developing archaeological and tourism sites to legitimise illegal settlements in Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, European Union diplomats in the city have warned.

A leaked report acquired by the Guardian cited projects in parts of East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since 1967 – that are being used “as a political tool to modify the historical narrative and to support, legitimise and expand settlements”.

[...]
The full text of the report has not bee released.

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CFP: Religions and Medicine Conference in Rome

CONFERENCE:
Museo delle Religioni “Raffaele Pettazzoni”

Religions and Medicine

From Antiquity to Contemporary Age


June 5-6-7-8-9, 2018
Velletri (Rome)

Call for Papers

In the contemporary Western world, medicine constitutes a specific branch of
knowledge, with its own characteristics and methods of cure and research, and it’s
tendentially autonomous, not linked with religious or folklore beliefs, even though
there are still some contacts, reciprocal influences and conflicts. In the past, however,
these spheres were more reciprocally interconnected than it appears to us nowadays.
The conference aims to investigate this interconnection in a multi-disciplinary
perspective, as regards both medical procedures and the definition of human body. ...
Follow the link for further particulars. The deadline for paper proposals is 1 April 2018.

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Monday, February 05, 2018

On language and color perception

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: The Missing Shade of Blue (Shiyanthi Thavaplan).
Why did many languages only have a single word to designate both ‘green’ and ‘blue’? What does it mean when a language like Akkadian does not have an abstract word for the color ‘blue’? Could Akkadian-speakers nonetheless see and conceptualize ‘blueness’? Equally puzzling was the contrast between the ubiquitous use of colorful substances and objects and the relative dearth of terms or expressions for color. Ethnological data combined with research in cognitive sciences eventually demonstrated that color was a culturally determined and culturally constructed phenomenon. In many societies, words for things like luminosity, transparency, the contrast between wetness/desiccation, patterns and even psycho-emotional values are considered color terms. Different cultures make sense of color differently.
PaleoJudaica has noted past articles on this subject here and here. This one gives lots of illustrated examples from the ancient Akkadian language.

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Research on the Hexapla

ETC BLOG: Modern Editions of the Hexaplaric Fragments (John Meade).
Last week, I posted on a small part of Origen's Hexapla in Job 24:25, and before writing further posts on the matter, readers should be aware of the modern editions of the Hexapla. There is a lot to say about the history of the Hexapla and research into its primary sources, but the greatest benefit to the student of the Bible is access to the modern editions and collections of its fragmentary remains.

[...]
Immediate background here. Other past PaleoJudaica posts on Origen's Hexapla are here, here, here, and here.

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Would King Manasseh have liked source criticism?

Dr. HACHAM ISAAC SASSOON: Source Criticism Enhances Our Acceptance of the Torah (TheTorah.com).
Traditional commentators endued certain Torah references with midrashic or esoteric purport in an effort to counteract those who mocked them. But in so doing, they were conceding the mockers’ evaluation of these texts as being, prima facie, inconsequential. Fortunately, source criticism helps us accept these texts without discomfort, obviating the compulsion to interpret them away.
There is a fascinating history of midrashic discussion of the quotidian details in the Pentateuch.

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CFP (ISBL/EABS, Helsinki): The Biblical World and Cultural Evolution

H-JUDAIC: The Biblical World and Cultural Evolution.
Type: Call for Papers
Date: July 30, 2018 to August 3, 2018
Location: Finland
Subject Fields: Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Jewish History / Studies

Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to present to you a new unit: The Biblical World and Cultural Evolution which is part of the joint conference of the Internations SBL and EABS taking place in Helsinki, Finland from July 30th until August 3rd this year

The definite deadline is Feb. 14th, so don’t hesitate...

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Sunday, February 04, 2018

Who was Cain's wife?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Who Was the Wife of Cain? A closer look at one of the most enigmatic women in Genesis. This essay summarizes a BAR article by Mary Joan Winn Leith on this question that has vexed scriptural exegetes for two millennia and more. The full article ("Who Did Cain Marry?").is behind the subscription wall.

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What does "covet" mean in the Bible?

PROF. LEONARD GREENSPOON: Do Not Covet: Is It a Feelingor an Action? (TheTorah.com).
In English, to covet means to desire (someone or something) obsessively, wrongfully, and/or without due regard for the rights/feelings of others. It is a strong emotion, to be avoided. But does “covet” capture the meaning of the Hebrew verb חמד?

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Festschift for Choon Leong Seow

NEW BOOK FROM DE GRYUTER:
"When the Morning Stars Sang"
Essays in Honor of Choon Leong Seow on the Occasion of his Sixty-Fifth Birthday


Ed. by Jones, Scott C. / Yoder, Christine Roy

Series:Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 500

Aims and Scope
During a moment of exponential growth and change in the fields of biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies, it is an opportune time to take stock of the state wisdom and wisdom literature with twenty-three essays honoring the consummate Weisheitslehrer, Professor Choon Leong Seow, Vanderbilt, Buffington, Cupples Chair in Divinity and Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University.

This Festschrift is tightly focused around wisdom themes, and all of the essays are written by senior scholars in the field. They represent not only the great diversity of approaches in the field of wisdom and wisdom literature, but also the remarkable range of interests and methods that have characterized Professor Seow's own work throughout the decades, including the theology of the wisdom literature, the social world of Ecclesiastes, the history of consequences of the book of Job, the poetry of the Psalms, and Northwest Semitic Inscriptions, just to name a few.

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Biblical Studies Carnival 143

DUST BLOG: The January 2018 Biblical Studies Carnival 143 (Bob MacDonald). PaleoJudaica is well represented.

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More on citrus in the the ancient Mediterranean

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: When Life Gives You Lemons: Tracking the Earliest Citrus in the Mediterranean (Dafna Langgut).
Citrus was first cultivated by humans at least four thousand years ago in Southeast Asia, and all cultivated species derive from a handful of wild ancestors. Several years ago I found the earliest archaeobotanical evidence of citrus within the Mediterranean in a royal Persian garden near Jerusalem dating to the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. In the course of research I traced the spread and diversification of citrus through a variety of historical information, including ancient texts, art, and artifacts such as wall paintings and coins, and by gathering all the available archaeobotanical remains: fossil pollen grains, charcoal, seeds, and other fruit remains.
Background here and links.

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