Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Jewish gladiator's helmet in Pompeii?

MARTIAL MATERIAL CULTURE: A JEWISH GLADIATOR IN POMPEII. Gladiatorial games were not uncommon to the Jews before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, says a noted historian in Jews and Judaism Professor Samuele Rocca. (Brenda Lee Bohen, Toronto Tribune).
In his essay “A Jewish Gladiator in Pompeii,” Rocca focuses on a bronze gladiatorial helmet that depicts a seven-branched palm tree.
For many PaleoJudaica posts on the eruption of Vesuvius and its destruction of Pompeii and Heculaneum, see here and here and follow the links. For additional evidence for a Jewish presence in Pompeii, see here and links.

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Dobroruka, Persian Influence on Daniel and Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Persian Influence on Daniel and Jewish Apocalyptic Literature

Vicente Dobroruka (Author)

Hardback $115.00 $103.50
Ebook (PDF) $103.50 $82.80

Product details

Published Apr 21 2022
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 264
ISBN 9780567205056
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series Jewish and Christian Texts
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

Description

Vicente Dobroruka explores Iranian influence on Second Temple Judaism, providing a new explanation of Persian culture and history in the context of biblical accounts by focusing on the spread of Zoroastrian ideas in the period c.300 BCE–200 CE.

Dobroruka begins his investigation with an overview of the problems posed by a dualistic worldview-he examines the Indo-European origins of Zarathushtra and his ideas, explores the long-term implications for the notion of free-will, and clarifies the lightness/darkness paradigm that originated in Persia. Following this, Dobroruka discusses a variety of concepts that illustrate this influence, such as the role of matter and the material world, aspects of dualism and the cosmic struggle, the perspectives on the rewards for the just and the opposing punishments for the wicked, the idea of an 'Anointed One', shamanistic visionary experience, the resurrection, and the concepts of Sheol and Paradise.

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Review of Koskenniemi, Greek writers and philosophers in Philo and Josephus

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Greek writers and philosophers in Philo and Josephus: a study of their secular education and educational ideals.
Erkki Koskenniemi, Greek writers and philosophers in Philo and Josephus: a study of their secular education and educational ideals. Studies in Philo of Alexandria, volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 2019. Pp. x, 352. ISBN 9789004391932 €138,00.

Review by
Maren Niehoff, Hebrew University in Jerusalem. maren.niehoff@mail.huji.ac.il

This monograph aims at identifying the explicit references to Greek writers and philosophers in the vast corpora of two Greek-speaking, Jewish authors, namely Philo of Alexandria and Josephus Flavius. ...

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Monday, May 23, 2022

Steven Fine on the Arch of Titus

INTERVIEW: THE ARCH OF TITUS WITH PROFESSOR STEVEN FINE. (Brenda Lee Bohen, Toronto Tribune).

For more on Professor Fine's recent book and on the YU exhibition, see here and links. Follow the links from there for many other posts on the Arch of Titus. For more on the "second" Arch of Titus, see here. And for many other posts on ancient menorahs and representations of menorahs, see here and links.

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"A 'material historical, scroll approach' to the Bible"

PROF. DAVID M. CARR: What Ancient Scrolls Teach Us about the Torah’s Formation (TheTorah.com).
Examining ancient Egyptian papyri, as well as scrolls from animal skins in Levantine sites such as Deir Alla and Qumran, highlights how scribes would add text to preexisting scrolls and showcases the limited size of scrolls intended for regular use.
Cross-file under Material Culture.

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Press Conference After Daniel Didn't Get Eaten By Lions

THE TEN MINUTE BIBLE HOUR: Press Conference After Daniel Didn't Get Eaten By Lions. HT Bible Places Blog

Somewhat related PaleoJudaica posts are here, here, and here.

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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Restoration of Palmyra's Arch of Triumph begins

PALMYRA WATCH: Restoration work for ancient Arch de Triumph in Palmyra begins (SANA).
Palmyra, SANA- In the archaeological city of Palmyra located about 250 kilometers northeast of Damascus, the first phase of the project to restore the ancient Arch de Triumph, which was destroyed by Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization in 2015, has started on Friday

[...]

[Deputy Director of Antiquities and Museums Hammam] Saad revealed other archaeological restoration projects in Palmyra will be started after completing the Arch restoration project, including the restoration of the Temple of Baal Shamin, the Tetrapylon, the fa├žade of Palmyra amphitheater and the famous Temple of Bel, all of which were attacked by terrorists.

This is very good news.

Six years ago I noted some hope of restoring Palmyra's monuments. Meanwhile, reconstructions of the Arch of Triumph have been created in London, New York, and Florence.

For many posts on the ancient metropolis of Palmyra, its history and archaeology, the Aramaic dialect once spoken there (Palmyrene), and the city's tragic reversals of fortune, now trending for the better, start here and follow the links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Nelson & Ulmer (eds.), ... 21st Century Approaches to the Study of Midrash (Gorgias)

NEW BOOK FROM GORGIAS PRESS (VIA DE GRUYTER):
Emerging Horizons. 21st Century Approaches to the Study of Midrash
Proceedings of the Midrash Section, Society of Biblical Literature, volume 9

Edited by: W. Nelson and Rivka Ulmer

Volume 26 in the series Judaism in Context
https://doi.org/10.31826/9781463243661

eBook £85.00
Published: March 21, 2022
ISBN: 9781463243661

About this book

The chapters in Emerging Horizons: 21st Century Approaches to the Study of Midrash pertain to an intriguing midrash that appears in a Masoretic context, the Qur’anic narrative of the red cow, midrashic narratives that rabbinize enemies of Israel, the death of Moses, emotions in rabbinic literature, and yelammedenu units in midrashic works.

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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review of Jewish Inscriptions in Greece exhibition

REVIEW: 'Integral': New show reveals ancient Jewish roots in Greece (AFP). The review highlights some details of the exhibition, including an inscription from the third century BCE which refers to a freed Judean slave.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Bockmuehl, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Jewish Law in Gentile Churches
Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics

Markus Bockmuehl (Author)

Paperback $39.95 $35.95

Hardback $200.00 $180.00

Product details

Published Jan 27 2022
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 336
ISBN 9780567706799
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

Description

Why did the Gentile church keep Old Testament commandments about sex and idolatry, but disregard many others, like those about food or ritual purity? If there were any binding norms, what made them so, and on what basis were they articulated?In this important study, Markus Bockmuehl approaches such questions by examining the halakhic (Jewish legal) rationale behind the ethics of Jesus, Paul and the early Christians. He offers fresh and often unexpected answers based on careful biblical and historical study. His arguments have far-reaching implications not only for the study of the New Testament, but more broadly for the relationship between Christianity and Judaism.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Friday, May 20, 2022

What is a "liturgy?"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: What is an Ancient Jewish Liturgy? (Jeremy Penner).
With these issues in mind, I would suggest that a liturgy can be defined as a publicly accepted ordering of rituals, which are, in turn, “the performance of more or less invariant sequences of formal acts and utterances”[8] for the public good, that may or may not include communication with the divine. I have not yet had the opportunity to fully explore the potential payoff of this definition, but I suspect it may shift the focus to thinking about ancient Jewish liturgy more as a way of life rather than prayerful acts. ...
Could be.

I am wary of efforts to define an etic term based on ancient usage of cognates, especially when we're dealing with terms in multiple languages. For etic usage, it is more important to define your terms clearly than to debate the meaning of the terms.

I encourage the author to explore the implications of this definition of liturgy. Others may define the term differently, with different implications.

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Archaeology tools

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Archaeology Tools from Trowels to Tech. Biblical Archaeology 101: Exploring the Archaeologist’s Toolkit (Nathan Steinmeyer).
With advances in technology, there are more archaeology tools than ever to help excavators dig into the past. Yet sometimes there is no substitute for a trusty trowel and bucket. Archaeology tools vary greatly by location, budget, and even research question. But, from surveying to recording, what are some of the most common tools used in biblical archaeology today?

[...]

For some thoughts (some mine, some from others) on the technological future of archaeology in coming decades, see here and here. Cross-file under Technology Watch.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Greek inscriptions exhibition at Jewish Museum of Greece

GREEK EPIGRAPHY: Jewish Museum of Greece: “Stone Paths – Stories Set in Stone: Jewish Inscriptions in Greece” exhibition opens (Greek City Times).
The Jewish Museum of Greece (JMG) inaugurated the “Stone Routes – Stories from Stone: Jewish Inscriptions in Greece” exhibition on Tuesday.

The exhibition presents, for the first time, archaeological findings that document the presence of Jews in Greece since the end of the 4th century [BCE].

[...]

The exhibition, supported by the culture ministry, the foreign ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Hellenic-German Fund for the Future, is characterised by an innovative dual structure and originality.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Herod's alabaster bathtubs were locally made

MATERIAL CULTURE: King Herod the Great bathed in locally made calcite-alabaster bathtubs. Though most high-quality calcite-alabaster items here were thought to be made in Egypt, a new multidisciplinary Israeli study shows otherwise (Judith Sudilovsky, Jerusalem Post).
“These results attest to the fact that the calcite-alabaster industry in Judea in the second half of the first century BC was sufficiently developed and of high enough quality to serve the luxurious standards of Herod, one of the finest builders among the kings of that period,” the researchers concluded in their report.
The story is also covered by Amanda Borschel-Dan in the Times of Israel, with an interview with Ayala Amir: Alabaster for Herod the Great’s lavish bathtubs traced to quarry in Israel. Daughter-father scientific study rules out Egyptian quarries and shows ancient Holy Land industry was potentially much more developed than previously thought.

The latter also links to the open-access underlying article in Nature, which is here.

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Ancient underground Turkish city hid Christians and Jews?

SUBTERRANEAN ARCHAEOLOGY: Underground city unearthed in Turkey may have been refuge for early Christians. Archaeologists in southeastern Turkey have unearthed a vast underground city that was built almost 2,000 years ago (Tom Metcalfe, Live Science).
Now, 49 chambers have been unearthed in the colossal complex, as well as connecting passages, water wells, grain storage silos, the rooms of homes, and places of worship, including a Christian church and a large hall with a Star of David symbol on the wall, which appears to be a Jewish synagogue.

Artifacts found in the caverns — including Roman-era coins and oil lamps — indicate that the subterranean complex was built sometime in the second or third centuries A.D, Tarkan told Live Science.

For another underground complex in Turkey, this one in Kars Province and used by late-antique Armenian monks, see here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Vast haul of antiquities recovered in Israel

APPREHENDED: Huge Cache of Stolen Antiquities Found in Central Israel. Cuneiform tablets, jewels, and 1,800 coins, including one bearing the name of Shimon Bar Kochba, found in antiquities trader's house in Modiin (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).
Ancient cuneiform tablets, a bronze figurine, jewelry, seals, and no less than 1,800 coins were seized from the home of an antiquities trader in Modi'in on Sunday by police working with the Israel Antiquities Authority theft prevention team.
Among the coins:
One rare item was a silver "shekel" coin from the time of the First Jewish-Roman War in 67 C.E., the IAA stated. It bears the legend "Holy Jerusalem" in Hebrew on one side with the image of a bunch of three pomegranates. The other side says "Shekel Israel Year 2" (the letter bet) and the image of a goblet.
Another Year 2 silver shekel was excavated in Jerusalem last year. I'm not a numismatist, but it looks to me to be of the same design as the newly recovered one.

In 2016 a Year 2 silver shekel sold for $5,280, while ten years ago a Year 1 silver shekel sold for $1.1 million. I don't know how much the newly recovered coin is worth. Much depends on its condition and how rare its features are.

Cross-file under Numismatics.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Lag B'Omer 2022

LAG B'OMER, the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, begins tonight at sundown. Best wishes to all observing it.

My 2021 Lag B'Omer post is here with links. Subsequent posts are here, (sadly) here, and here. Please stay safe this year!

For the biblical and rabbinic background of the holiday, see here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

What was the Bread of the Presence?

PROF. JENNIE EBELING: Lechem Hapanim: Bread in the Presence of YHWH (TheTorah.com).
Each week, twelve fresh loaves of bread were placed before YHWH in the Tabernacle and Temple. What do we know about the practice and its significance?
For more on the Phoenician Ahiram sarcophagus inscription, see here (with photo).

For more on the Aramaic Kuttamuwu (Kuttamuwa) inscription, see my notices on its discovery in 2008 here and here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.