Thursday, November 21, 2019

Allison, 4 Baruch

Allison, Jr., Dale C.

4 Baruch
Paraleipomena Jeremiou

Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature

89,95 € / $103.99 / £82.00*

Publication Date:
October 2019
ISBN 978-3-11-026973-4

Aims and Scope
This is the first full-scale, verse-by-verse commentary on 4 Baruch. The pseudepigraphon, written in the second century, is in large measure an attempt to address the situation following the destruction of the temple in 70 CE by recounting legends about the first destruction of the temple, the Babylonian captivity, and the return from exile. 4 Bruch is notable for its tale about Jeremiah's companion, Abimelech, who sleeps through the entire exilic period. This tale lies behind the famous Christian legend of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus and is part of the genealogy of Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle." Allison's commentary draws upon an exceptionally broad range of ancient sources in an attempt to clarify 4 Baruch's original setting, compositional history, and meaning.
Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Orlov, The Glory of the Invisible God

The Glory of the Invisible God
Two Powers in Heaven Traditions and Early Christology

By: Andrei Orlov

Published: 12-26-2019
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 240
ISBN: 9780567692238
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: Jewish and Christian Texts
Volume: 31
Dimensions: 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
List price: $120.00
Online price: $108.00

About The Glory of the Invisible God
Andrei Orlov examines early Christological developments in the light of rabbinic references to the “two powers” in heaven, tracing the impact of this concept through both canonical and non-canonical material.

Orlov begins by looking at imagery of the “two powers” in early Jewish literature, in particular the book of Daniel, and in pseudepigraphical writings. He then traces the concept through rabbinic literature and applies this directly to understanding of Christological debates. Orlov finally carries out a close examination of the “two powers” traditions in Christian literature, in particular accounts of the Transfiguration and the Baptism of Jesus. Including a comprehensive bibliography listing texts and translations, and secondary literature, this volume is a key resource in researching the development of Christology.
The advert lists it as forthcoming in December. But the author tells me that it will be on sale at the Bloomsbury booth at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, which begins this weekend. Go and check it out for yourselves.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A statue of Moloch at the Colosseum?

PUNIC WATCH? Statue of ancient god of child sacrifice put on display in Rome (LifeSiteNews).
The presence of the idol raised particular concern among Catholics, as it was erected nine days before the Amazon Synod and the subsequent scandal over the veneration of the Pachamama idol at the Vatican.

The statue of Moloch, worshipped by both the Canaanites and the Phoenicians, is part of an exhibit dedicated to Ancient Rome’s once-great rival, the city of Carthage. The large-scale exhibition, titled Carthago: The immortal myth, runs until March 29, 2020.
I noted the exhibition here. I leave the debate about the statue to others. But I'll mention a few points of historical interest.

First, it is not clear that there was a Canaanite deity named "Moloch" ("Molech") to whom children were sacrificed. A contrary interpretation of the biblical references and the cognate Punic epigraphic evidence takes the word to be the name of a kind of sacrifice. The Canaanite root MLK has to do with royalty, so perhaps a "royal" sacrifice? But some scholars think there was such a god. John Day argued that case in a book, reviewed here.

Second, unfortunately, even if there wasn't a god named Molech, it sure looks as though the ancient Carthaginians sacrificed children. And the Bible says pretty clearly that some Israelites did too. But there is some debate about the Carthaginian evidence. For past posts on the subject of ancient child sacrifice, see here and here and links.

Third, remember, we don't even know if there really was a god named Molech. So it's not surprising that the controversial statue isn't even a real ancient idol. It's a reconstruction of a prop from a 1914 movie.
"A reconstruction of the terrible deity Moloch, linked to Phoenician and Carthaginian religions and featured in the 1914 film Cabiria (directed by Giovanni Pastore and written by Gabriele D’Annunzio) will be stationed at the entrance to the Colosseum to welcome visitors to the exhibition," stated a press release about the exhibit.
It doesn't look ancient to me. It looks like something from a Lovecraft story.

The article includes a clip from the movie which depicts child sacrifices. The setting isn't very authentic, but it certainly captures the horror of the rite.

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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

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 (
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

Exploring the Isaiah Scrolls and Their Textual Variants

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

Prices from (excl. VAT):


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.

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

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

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