Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Festive revision in Deuteronomy?

PROF. REINHARD G. KRATZ: Deuteronomy’s Festival Calendar (TheTorah.com).
The festival calendar in Deuteronomy 16 began as a short revision of the calendar in Exodus 23. As it was expanded to clarify and adjust its details, it merged its springtime Matzot festival with the Pesach offering, which was originally connected to the consecration of firstborn animals.

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The Cyril and Methodius pilgrimage route

OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC WATCH: Follow Cyril and Methodius on Europe’s new cultural route. The route was certified by the Council of Europe before the summer (The Slovak Spectator).

Cyril and Methodius invented the Slavonic alphabet in the ninth century, thus not only converting the Slavs, but also translating much ancient literature, some of which otherwise would have been lost. That literature includes some intriguing Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

In various countries and churches their saint's day is celebrated annually on three different dates. For more on them, their day, and Old Church Slavonic literature, start here and follow the many links.

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Which is the real Bethsaida?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Has the ‘Lost City’ of the Gospels Finally Been Found? Two sites are competing for the title of the real Bethsaida. Only one can be right, one would think, and el-Araj does have a layer from the time of Jesus and the apostles – but there’s a twist to this Galilean tale (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).

THe two contenders for the first-century site of Bethsaida are el-Araj and e-Tell. This article doesn't resolve the debate, but it does give you an idea of what has been going on at both sites. Background here and links.

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Biblical Studies Carnival 185

VIVIENDO PARA SU GLORIA: Biblical Carnival 185 (July 2021).

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Monday, August 02, 2021

New book on the Herods

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
Herod, His Progeny, and the Cutting Edge of Power

Typically, these Herodian rulers have been treated as part of the “background” of the New Testament. From the point of view of power, however, they were in the foreground. Unless their policies are taken into account, many aspects of Judaism and Christianity will not be appreciated.

See Also: The Herods. Murder, Politics, and the Art of Succession (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2021).

By Bruce Chilton
Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Philosophy and Religion
Bard College
Annandale, New York
August 2021

This essay gives a nice capsule history of the Herodian rulers.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on Herod the Great, see here and links, here, and here. For a coin of Herod Archelaus reused in a creative context, see here. For Herod Antipas, see here and links. For Herod Agrippa I, see here and links. For Agrippa II, see see here and links. For the latter's influential sister, Julia Berenice (Berenike), see here and links. For another overview of the Herods, see here.

Cross-file under New Book.

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Postdoc on early Jewish and Christian Magic at University of Venice

SEEN ON FACEBOOK: Job Announcement: Junior Researcher on the ERC Project, Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions in Comparison and Contact
A 1-to-3-year position at Ca' Foscari University of Venice on the ERC funded project, Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions in Comparison and Contact (EJCM - 851466 [project duration: 2020–2015]). Upon approval, the fellowship can be renewed for a total of 36 months. The research fellow will focus on notions of licit and illicit ritual in late antique Jewish and Christian magical traditions. ...
The application deadline is noon on 3 September 2021.

The Early Jewish and Christian Magical Traditions (EJCM) website is at the link.

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Addey, Divination and Knowledge in Greco-Roman Antiquity (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Divination and Knowledge in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Edited By Crystal Addey
Copyright Year 2021

Hardback
£96.00

eBook
£29.59

ISBN 9781138212992
Published July 16, 2021 by Routledge
320 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

Book Description

Addressing the close connections between ancient divination and knowledge, this volume offers an interlinked and detailed set of case studies which examine the epistemic value and significance of divination in ancient Greek and Roman cultures.

Focusing on diverse types of divination, including oracles, astrology, and the reading of omens and signs in the entrails of sacrificial animals, chance utterances and other earthly and celestial phenomena, this volume reveals that divination was conceived of as a significant path to the attainment of insight and understanding by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It also explores the connections between divination and other branches of knowledge in Greco-Roman antiquity, such as medicine and ethnographic discourse. Drawing on anthropological studies of contemporary divination and exploring a wide range of ancient philosophical, historical, technical and literary evidence, chapters focus on the interconnections and close relationship between divine and human modes of knowledge, in relation to nuanced and subtle formulations of the blending of divine, cosmic and human agency; philosophical approaches towards and uses of divination (particularly within Platonism), including links between divination and time, ethics, and cosmology; and the relationship between divination and cultural discourses focusing on gender. The volume aims to catalyse new questions and approaches relating to these under-investigated areas of ancient Greek and Roman life. which have significant implications for the ways in which we understand and assess ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of epistemic value and variant ways of knowing, ancient philosophy and intellectual culture, lived, daily experience in the ancient world, and religious and ritual traditions.

Divination and Knowledge in Greco-Roman Antiquity will be of particular relevance to researchers and students in classics, ancient history, ancient philosophy, religious studies and anthropology who are working on divination, lived religion and intellectual culture, but will also appeal to general readers who are interested in the widespread practice and significance of divination in the ancient world.

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Battle of Cannae anniversary

PUNIC WATCH: On 2 August 216 BCE, Hannibal Barca led the Carthaginian army to a major victory over the Romans at the Battle of Cannae in southeast Italy. PaleoJudaica posts on the battle are collected here.

Here is something I have been saving up for today: The Death Of Lucius Aemilius Paullus At The Battle Of Cannae, Painted By John Trumbull (c. 1756–1843) (thehistorianshut). (HT Rogue Classicism).

Hannibal's victory, however, was not decisive. Around 19 October 202 BCE the young Roman general Scipio Africanus took the war to Carthage and defeated Hannibal and his Carthaginian forces in the Battle of Zama. Some of the soliders in Scripio's army were among the disgraced survivors of Cannae. They had something to prove. Carthage surrendered. The Second Punic War was over.

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Sunday, August 01, 2021

Munnich & Morlet (eds.), Les études philoniennes (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Les études philoniennes

Regards sur cinquante ans de recherche (1967-2017)

Series: Studies in Philo of Alexandria, Volume: 13

Volume Editors: Olivier Munnich and Sébastien Morlet

This volume gathers the proceedings of the Paris conference in Philonic studies (2017), consisting of 23 papers by contributors from 8 countries. Fifty years after the Lyon conference, it aimed at taking a retrospective look at the intellectual contexts and the academic fields in which Philonic studies have penetrated, as well as the ways in which they evolved.
The work of the Alexandrian became of major importance in the history of philosophy. It has been studied as a source of cultured Christianity, in connection with Second Temple Judaism and the Alexandrian Jewish community, but also in the context of research on rabbinic Judaism, New Testament and philosophy of the imperial era.

Ce volume rassemble les actes du colloque de Paris (2017), qui réunit 23 intervenants de 8 nationalités. Cinquante ans après le colloque de Lyon, il s’agissait de réfléchir aux milieux intellectuels et aux disciplines universitaires dans lesquels les études philoniennes avaient pénétré le monde de la recherche, les bases sur lesquelles elles avaient évolué.
L’œuvre de l’Alexandrin a pris une importance majeure dans l’histoire de la philosophie ; elle a été explorée comme source du christianisme lettré, en lien avec le judaïsme de l’Époque du Second Temple et la communauté juive d’Alexandrie, mais aussi dans le cadre des études sur le judaïsme rabbinique, dans le développement des études sur le Nouveau Testament et sur la philosophie de l’époque impériale. See Less

Copyright Year: 2021

Prices from (excl. VAT): €154.00 / $185.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46272-4
Publication Date: 19 Jul 2021

Hardback
Availability: Not Yet Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46273-1
Publication Date: 22 Jul 2021

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Kim, The Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
The Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas
The Genesis of a Wisdom Tradition

By David W. Kim
Copyright Year 2021

Hardback
£96.00

eBook
£29.59

ISBN 9780367629229
Published July 2, 2021 by Routledge
312 Pages

Book Description

This book offers a detailed analysis of the Gospel of Thomas in its historic and literary context, providing a new understanding of the genesis of the Jesus tradition. Discovered in the twentieth century, the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas is an important early text whose origins and place in the history of Christianity continue to be subjects of debate. Aiming to relocate the Thomasine community in the wider context of early Christianity, this study considers the Gospel of Thomas as a bridge between the oral and literary phases of the Christian movement. It will therefore, be useful for Religion scholars working on Biblical studies, Coptic codices, gnosticism and early Christianity.

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Open-access volume on late-antique Ostia

THE AWOL BLOG: LIFE AND DEATH IN A MULTICULTURAL HARBOUR CITY: OSTIA ANTICA FROM THE REPUBLIC THROUGH LATE ANTIQUITY (Chuck Jones). An open-access volume published by Institutum Romanum Finlandiae (Rome 2020) and edited by Arja Karivieri.

The volume gives some attention to the Jewish population in this late antique Italian port city.

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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Bezzel & Pfeiffer (eds.), Prophecy and Hellenism (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Prophecy and Hellenism. Edited by Hannes Bezzel and Stefan Pfeiffer. 2021. VIII, 201 pages. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. Reihe 129. 74,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-156532-8.
Published in English.
This volume contains papers read at the seventh meeting of the Aberdeen Prophecy Network, an interdisciplinary symposium held in June 2018 in Jena. From the points of view of Classical and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies, the contributions ask how phenomena of divination and concepts of prophecy were understood in the Mediterranean oecumene after the conquests of Alexander the Great.

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Noah coins in pre-Christian Phrygia?

TWITTER-THREAD NUMISMATICS: What is the story of Noah doing on pre-Christian Phrygian coins? (Simcha Gross). HT AJR.

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Literal enuchs in the Bible?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Eunuchs in the Bible. What is a eunuch in the Bible? (Megan Sauter). I'm going with the "hyperbole" interpretation in this case.

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Friday, July 30, 2021

Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (2nd.ed.) (Eerdmans)

NEW BOOK (2ND EDITION) FROM EERDMANS:
The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Second Edition

Jodi Magness

PAPERBACK; Published: 7/22/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7908-0
Price: $ 29.99
340 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.125 x 9.25v

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title and winner of the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Publication Award for Best Popular Book on Archaeology

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been described as the most important archaeological discovery of the twentieth century. Deposited in caves surrounding Qumran by members of a Jewish sect who lived at the site in the first century BCE and first century CE, they provide invaluable information about Judaism in the last centuries BCE.

Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Qumran site continues to be the object of intense scholarly debate. In a book meant to introduce general readers to this fascinating area of study, veteran archaeologist Jodi Magness provides an overview of the archaeology of Qumran that incorporates information from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other contemporary sources. Magness identifies Qumran as a sectarian settlement, rejecting other interpretations including claims that Qumran was a villa rustica or manor house. By carefully analyzing the published information on Qumran, she refines the site’s chronology, reinterprets the purpose of some of its rooms, and reexamines archaeological evidence for the presence of women and children in the settlement. Numerous photos and diagrams give readers a firsthand look at the site.

Considered a standard text in the field for nearly two decades, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls is revised and updated throughout in its second edition in light of the publication of all the Dead Sea Scrolls and additional data from Roland de Vaux’s excavations, as well as Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg’s more recent excavations. Specialists and nonspecialists alike will find here an overview of the Qumran site and the Dead Sea Scrolls that is both authoritative and accessible.

I had a couple posts on the first edition (here and here) shortly after it came out. A lot has happened since then. It is good to have the second edition now.

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There were Phoenician Roman emperors?

PUNIC WATCH: The 5 Roman Emperors You Didn’t Know Were Phoenicians (Hussein Yassine, The 961). Now you know.

Technically the Severan dynasty was of Punic descent (i.e. of colonial Phoenician descent from North Africa) rather than Phoenician. The article says that Severus's wife "Julia Dominia" (Julia Domna) was also Phoenician, but she was born in Emesa, Syria, to a local royal and priestly family.

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"The Iron Age I—Mostly Bronze"?

DR. NAAMA YAHALOM-MACK: The History of Iron in Ancient Israel (TheTorah.com).
In the Bible, Tubal-cain is the inventor metallurgy, the Canaanites fight with iron chariots, and the Philistines control iron usage. What does archaeology tell us about when and how iron was introduced into the Levant?

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Mot is Death. Long live Mot!

MYTHOLOGY: Mot – The Canaanite God of Death (Dean Traylor, Owlcation). As with most popular articles, I could quibble about this or that detail in this one. But overall it is a very good introduction to the Ugaritic god Mot. It also provides a lot of background information on the god Baal and the possible influence of both on the Hebrew Bible.

For more on the neopagan revival of Canaanite religion, see here.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Review of Patrich, A Walk to Caesarea

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Review: A Walk to Caesarea: A Historical-Archaeological Perspective.
A Walk to Caesarea: A Historical-Archaeological Perspective By Joseph Patrich
(Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 2018), xii + 174 pp., 193 ill. (maps, plans, reconstructions, photos), $34 (hardcover)
Reviewed by Joseph L. Rife

... It is a marvelous accomplishment that Patrich has captured the complexity of Caesarea’s history and archaeology in such a lucid, authoritative, and compact book. A day of focused reading will suffice to finish it, and the traveler can easily pack it for the road. ...

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Farming in the Shema Prayer

PROF. GARY RENDSBURG: God’s Promise: Rain, Grain, and Grass (TheTorah.com).
The agrarian import of Deuteronomy 11:14‒15, found in what Jewish readers know as the second paragraph of the Shema prayer, may not be self-evident to modern readers, the majority of whom live in urban and suburban settings. The text speaks directly to both those who grew crops and those who engaged in animal husbandry.

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The Ashkelon dogs who didn't bark

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MYSTERY: The curious incident of 1,400 dogs buried in ancient graves. Mysterious graves of some 1,400 dogs buried in the times of the Persian Empire leave archeologists in Israel puzzled (Naama Barak, Israel21c).

Yes, yes, they didn't bark because they were dead and buried. You have to know your Sherlock Holmes to get the titles.

The mystery is - why did people at Ashkelon bury 1,400 street dogs who were not pets?

I have collected some other posts on dogs in antiquity here.

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Dr Crom on Vespasian's Jewish Revolt coins

TWITTER-THREAD NUMISMATICS: @DocCrom’s Ancient Coin of the Day thread looks at some of Vespasian’s ‘Jewish Revolt’ coinage. HT Rogue Classicism.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

How many roads to Edom?

HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY: Where did the biblical road from Judea to Edom pass? Experts find answers. Research led by Ben Gurion University archaeologist Dr. Eli Cohen-Sasson offers new insights on the ancient route through the Judean desert (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).

Spoiler: the current archaeological research indicates there were two routes between Judea and Edom in the Iron Age. This would make better sense of the route reconstructed by earlier research.

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Court decision on Gilgamesh Dream Tablet

COURT RULING: US Obtains 'Gilgamesh Dream Tablet' After Court Orders Forfeiture From Hobby Lobby. (Cammy Pedroja, Newsweek).
Federal authorities had already seized the tablet back in 2019, so apparently the court's ruling is to ratify that seizure. Or something like that. I am not a lawyer and you should not trust my efforts to describe legal issues.

As usual, the article garbles the question of the language of the fragment. The sentence about it mentions both Sumerian and Akkadian in a way that makes no sense and isn't even grammatical. The tablet fragment is part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is written in Akkadian. There were also stories about Gilgamesh written in the very different Sumerian language, but this is not one of them.

Background here, here (underlying article no longer available), here and links.

For more on Gilgamesh and on his importance for ancient Judaism, see here and links and here.

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Elyonim veTachtonim expanded

DATABASE: The inventory of the supernatural entities in the Hebrew Bible, version 001.

Several years ago I noted the project by Wojciech Kosior at Jagiellonian University in Poland to catalogue the supernatural entities mentioned in the early rabbinic literature. The project is now expanded to include the Hebrew Bible.

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SOTS Booklist 2021

IN THE MAIL:
John Jarick (ed.), Society for Old Testament Study Book List 2021 (= JSOT 45.5) (London: Sage, 2021).
In all the havoc of the last couple of years, I missed noting the 2019 and 2020 issues. I'm pretty sure they did arrive. In any case, this is the current one.

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