Monday, November 18, 2019

120 Oxyrhunchus papyri missing from the Egypt Exploration Society

VARIANT READINGS: News: Egypt Exploration Society Missing At Least 120 Papyri (Brent Nongbri). The police are now involved. The news regarding the EES papyri just gets stranger and stranger.

Background on the earlier story about papyri from the EES allegedly being stolen and sold is here, here, here, and links.

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Rhyder, Centralizing the Cult

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Julia Rhyder. Centralizing the Cult. The Holiness Legislation in Leviticus 17–26 [Die Zentralisation des Kults. Das Heiligkeitsgesetz in Levitikus 17–26.] 2019. XXI, 484 pages. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 134. 134,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-157685-0.
Published in English.
In this work, Julia Rhyder provides new insights into the relationship between the Holiness legislation in Leviticus 17–26 and processes of cultic centralization in the Persian period. The author departs from the classical theory that Leviticus 17–26 merely presume, with minor modifications, a concept of centralization articulated in Deuteronomy. She shows how Leviticus 17–26 use ritual legislation to make a new, and distinctive case as to why the Israelites must defer to a central sanctuary, standardized ritual processes, and a hegemonic priesthood. This discourse of centralization reflects the historical challenges that faced priests in Jerusalem during the Persian era: in particular, the need to compensate for the loss of a royal sponsor, to pool communal resources in order to meet socio-economic pressures, and to find new means of negotiating with the sanctuary at Mount Gerizim and with a growing diaspora.

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Silverman on local elites and the Persian empire

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
Judaean Elite Encounters with the Fledgling Persian Empire: The Evidence of Second Isaiah and First Zechariah

Local elites had the option to choose how to respond to changing social and political circumstances. Such choices can include resistance, but they are not limited to it. Various forms of cooperation and negotiation are also on the table. Moreover, I think that it is unhelpful to think of “resistance” as a heroic category unto itself; people resist something in particular. It is much more likely for ancient elites to resist a particular claimant for the throne than it is for them to resist kingship or empire per se—and I find it helpful to keep these types of constructs separate. Therefore, in an attempt to explore how some Judaeans reacted to the early Persian Empire, I wish to consider how the elite could have pursued cultural production in a way that was acceptable to both parties—the local traditions and the new imperial system.

See Also: Persian Royal—Judaean Elite Engagements in the Early Teispid and Achaemenid Empire: The King’s Acolytes (LHBOTS 690: London: T&T Clark, 2019).

By Jason M. Silverman
Docent in Old Testament Studies
University of Helsinki
October 2019
Cross-file under New Book.

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Shectman on Feminist Biblical Interpretation

DR. SARAH SHECTMAN: Feminist Biblical Interpretation: History and Goals (TheTorah.com).
Feminist biblical interpretation is more than simply paying attention to texts about women. It is also a means of achieving a more accurate understanding of life in ancient Israel and of the composition of the Bible.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Parry, Exploring the Isaiah Scrolls and Their Textual Variants

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Exploring the Isaiah Scrolls and Their Textual Variants

Series:
Supplements to the Textual History of the Bible, Volume: 3

Prices from (excl. VAT):

€160.00
$192.00

Author: Donald W. Parry
In Exploring the Isaiah Scrolls and Their Textual Variants, Donald W. Parry systematically presents, on a verse-by-verse basis, the variants of the Hebrew witnesses of Isaiah (the Masoretic Text and the twenty-one Isaiah Dead Sea Scrolls) and briefly discusses why each variant exists. The Isaiah scrolls have greatly impacted our understanding of the textual history of the Bible, and in recent decades, Bible translation committees have incorporated a number of the variants into their translations; as such, the Isaiah scrolls are important for both academic and popular audiences. Variant characterizations include four categories: (a) accidental errors, e.g., dittography, haplography, metathesis, graphic similarity; (b) intentional changes by scribes and copyists; (c) synonymous readings; (d) scribes’ stylistic approaches and conventions.

E-Book
Status: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-41203-3
Publication Date: 07 Oct 2019

Hardback
Status: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-41059-6
Publication Date: 10 Oct 2019

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Review of Smith, Jewish Glass and Christian Stone

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Eric C. Smith, Jewish Glass and Christian Stone: A Materialist Mapping of the “Parting of the Ways.” Routledge studies in the early Christian world. New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. 168. ISBN 9781138202122. $116.00. Reviewed by Michail Kitsos, University of Michigan (mkitsos@umich.edu).
By examining a diverse range of artifacts made of glass, stone, clay, papyrus, paint, ink, and vellum, Smith narrates the history of people who lived in the space between Judaism and Christianity to question the clear-cut boundaries between “religions” established by modern scholarly perceptions. Smith explains convincingly that texts written by elites constructed the binary between Judaism and Christianity but these boundaries in texts did not necessarily reflect reality. He shows that people who lived in the space between Judaism and Christianity either did not conform to boundaries or these boundaries were unimportant to them.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Review of Goodman, Josephus's The Jewish War: A Biography

THE NEW CRITERION: Written by the victors? On Josephus’s The Jewish War: A Biography by Martin Goodman. (David Polansky).
Josephus thus comes to us as both oath-breaker and turncoat, mistrusted by his erstwhile Jewish and his Roman compatriots (as well as subsequent readers). At the same time, he is himself the source of our knowledge of his perfidy, as well as a crucial source concerning both the events of the war and its backdrop. As with the man from Crete who claims that all Cretans are liars, trusting Josephus and his work is no simple matter.
Cross-file under New Book. The full reference is Martin Goodman, Josephus's The Jewish War: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books 45 Princeton University Press, 2019).

Some recent posts on the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus are here and links, here, and here. And there are many more in the archives.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

On Creation, primordial matter, and time

THETORAH.COM has two essays on the creation story in Genesis 1:1-2:4, with special attention to the question of primordial matter in the account.

Creation from Primordial Matter: Did Rashi Read Plato’s Timaeus? (Prof.Warren Zev Harvey)
Rashi interprets the opening verses of the creation story as describing God’s use of primordial substances to form the world. This idea appears in various forms in rabbinic literature but some of Rashi’s particular notions are only found in Plato’s Timaeus. Could this be one of Rashi’s sources?
The Genesis of Time (Professor Jack M. Sasson)
The simple meaning of Genesis 1–2:4 is that God created the world out of primordial elements. And yet, one important new initiative was the construction of time, embracing the day, the month, the year, and the week. The week, however, does not depend on a cosmic phenomenon but served to introduce the concept of a people holy to a creator God.
For some past PaleoJudaica posts on Genesis 1:1, see here and links.

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