Thursday, April 02, 2020

Biblical Studies Carnival 169 (or thereabouts)

BRENT NIEDERGALL: Biblical Studies Carnival 169 for March 2020.

Observant readers may wonder if "169" is a typo. It is not. Phil Long explains. And Phil is still looking for a carnival host for next month. If you have extra time on your hands, think about volunteering.

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

Easter in Jerusalem in the pandemic

NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE: Holy Land custodian urges Israel to let clerics celebrate Easter in Holy Sepulchre (Stephen Farrell, Reuters).

Who knows what the situation will be in ten days' time?

Background here. Cross file under the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

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

More Waqf excavations on the Temple Mount?

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Islamic Waqf Takes Advantage of Temple Mount Closure to Conduct Illegal Digs (David Israel, JNS).

In the past the Waqf has undertaken substantial illicit excavations on the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount Sifting Project (also here and many links) is devoted to undoing what damage can be done.

Still, I am not inclined to make a lot out of this current report.

The two photos look like the could involve just replacing a pipe, which could be necessary maintenance. In the absence of more evidence, I am not drawing any conclusions from them.

I note the story for information. I blog, you decide.

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

They were still excavating Oxyrhynchus in 2020.

OXYRHYNCHUS WATCH: New findings in Oxyrhynchus archaeological site (University of Barcelona press release).
The archaeological mission returned this March to the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. The work had to finish early due to the COVID-19 epidemics, although the campaign could focus on the study of architectonic structures and funerary rituals from the Saite Period (corresponding to the Late Period of Egypt, which started in the 7th century BC) until the Christian-Byzantine period.

[...]
And they are still finding inscribed materials:
They highlighted the remains of a papyrus with a Greek carved text, which is under study, and a gravestone with an engraved text in Coptic.
The phrase "Greek carved text" is "una inscripciĆ³ en grec" in the Catalan release: "a Greek inscription."

For earlier substantive PaleoJudaica posts on the Oxyrhynchus papyri, see here links, and also the blog archive. For the recent scandal of the missing Oxyrhynchus papyri, see here and links.

UPDATE: I have adjusted my title to make clear that the excavation has been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

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

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Series on the Seven Seals

AT READING ACTS, Phil Long is posting an ongoing series on the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation:

A Rider on a White Horse – Revelation 6:1*

A Rider on a Red Horse – Revelation 6:3-4

A Rider on a Black Horse – Revelation 6:5-6

A Rider on a Pale Horse – Revelation 6:7-8

The Fifth Seal: Martyrs in Heaven – Revelation 6:9-11

The Sixth Seal – Revelation 6:12-17

Who Are The 144,000 in Revelation 7?

Pardon me - I missed the link to this post from two years ago, which was in the post on Rev 6:3-4 linked to above. Thanks to reader Robert Schwartz for pointing it out.

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

Holy Fire ceremony in Jerusalem is still on

IN THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER (HOLY SEPULCHRE): Holy Week ceremonies in Jerusalem to proceed in limited format. Eastern Orthodox churches will still receive Holy Fire from Jerusalem (Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post).
One of the most complex ceremonies in Holy Week is the Holy Fire, to take place on the night of April 18 this year.

Orthodox Christians describe Holy Fire as a miracle, which happens the day before Easter each year. Before heading into Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Greet Orthodox Patriarch is checked that he does not have any way to produce fire. Then, he goes into the tomb by himself and comes out with fire. Normally, the fire is distributed among the thousands of people people gathered at the church.

This ceremony has taken place since the year 867, with evidence that it has happened annually, uninterrupted for six to seven centuries.

Then, some of the fire is put into special containers and brought to Ben-Gurion Airport to planes waiting to distributed it to Eastern Christendom via churches in Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and other countries.
The flights are arranged, although the other details are not yet set. We'll see what happens.

The article is not clear whether the Palm Sunday parade in Jerusalem will happen this year, but it won't include the normal large crowd of people.

Ramadan begins this year on 23 April. Whether the Temple Mount will be open that soon remains to be seen.

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

Passover in a pandemic: the latest

PASSOVER IS COMING, a week from tomorrow evening. Here are a couple more updates on how world Jewry is making adjustments.

Israel’s chief rabbis say Passover Seder can’t be held via videoconference. David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef dismiss previous ruling that green-lighted tech option, while two rabbis behind it stick to their guns (MICHAEL BACHNER, Times of Israel). To be quite clear, no one involved in this halakhic dispute advocates any relaxation of the rules for quarantine or social distancing.

Jews allowed relax Passover rules in unprecedented intervention by Chief Rabbi. The Chief Rabbi has issued new guidance for Jewish families to celebrate Passover by gathering virtually on social media (Gabriella Swerling, The Telegraph). This refers to Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, " the Chief Rabbi of Moscow and President of the Conference of European Rabbis." The article also mentions the guidance from the British Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

The Telegraphic article requires either free registration or a paid subscription for full access. But the visible excerpt gives you the key information.

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

de Ward on Jeremiah 52

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
Jeremiah 52 in the Context of the Book of Jeremiah

Jeremiah 52, the final chapter of the Book of Jeremiah, is very similar to the end of the Book of Kings. The first part of the chapter gives an extensive account of the 587 BC fall of Jerusalem (52:1–30; cf. 2 Kgs 24:18–25:21), while the second part briefly narrates the release of King Jehoiachin from a prison in Babylon some decades later (52:31–34; cf. 2 Kgs 25:27–30). The style and contents of the text indicate that, in the first instance, it was written as the conclusion of Kings. At a later moment, an editor of the Book of Jeremiah considered it appropriate to reuse the material at the end of his own work. Why would he have done so? What could have been his purpose with this final chapter in which the prophet Jeremiah and his words are left unmentioned?

See Also: Jeremiah 52 in the Context of the Book of Jeremiah (VTSup 183. Leiden: Brill, 2020)

By Henk de Waard
Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn
The Netherlands
April 2020
I noted the publication of the book here.

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

JNES 79.1 (2020)

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Journal of Near Eastern Studies. There is an article in the current issue on Daniel chapter 5. There are also book reviews dealing with Aramaic studies and with the Seleucid empire.

Requires a personal or institutional subscription for full access.

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

Passover during a pandemic

PASSOVER IS COMING in just over a week. Special preparations are underway across the world. Here are some of the many articles.

Western Wall stones disinfected, prayer notes removed in advance of Passover holiday. Operation carried out by workers in protective gloves and using disposable implements (Arutz Sheva; cross-file under Temple Mount Watch.)

The Power of Passover During a Plague. Most Jews in history have not been free, whether from murderous regimes, famines or pandemics like this one. What we have been is devoted to the idea that we deserve to be. (Alana Newhouse, New York Times)

‘Everyone’s talking about the plagues:’ Making haggadahs for a Passover unlike any before (Irene Connelly, The Forward)

Passover in a Pandemic (Ben Sales, JTA).

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

Current BAR issue now available online for free

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: We Have Opened the Current Issue to Read Online. Explore Biblical Archaeology Review's content while you are practicing social distancing. For you, special deal!

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

Steve Green is returning 11,500 artifacts

UNPROVENANCED ARTIFACTS: Amid Scrutiny, the Museum of the Bible’s Founder Will Return a Staggering 11,500 Artifacts of Dubious Origin to the Middle East. Hobby Lobby tycoon Steve Green founded the museum (Sarah Cascone, artnet news).
Green is now returning an additional 5,000 ancient papyrus scraps and 6,500 ancient clay pieces because their provenance cannot be verified, prompting concerns that they could be looted or stolen.

The museum is hoping that its curators will continue to have scholarly access to the works—only one of which, a clay tablet imprinted with the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, was ever displayed at the institution—upon their return.
For more on the fake Dead Sea Scroll-like fragments owned by the Museum of the Bible, see here and links. I see that I mentioned the Gilgamesh fragment here, but I don't know anything more about it. For more on the scandal of the missing Oxyrhynchus papyri, see here and links. Many other PaleoJudaica posts on the Museum of the Bible and the Green Collection are here and here and links.

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

Monday, March 30, 2020

Upcoming online lecture by Lawrence Schiffman

PROFESSOR LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN: OLD LEATHER, NEW INK: FORGERY AND THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS.
Online lecture, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 9:00 PM EDT
Old Leather, New Ink: Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls
with Professor Lawrence Schiffman
The lecture will be on Zoom. Follow the link for the access link. (HT Joseph Lauer.)

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

Timely Talmudic reflections

TALMUD WATCH: In quarantine, daily Talmud study is keeping me afloat (Ilana Kurshan, The Forward).

Cross-file under Daf Yomi. For more on Ilana Kurshan and her book, If All the Seas Were Ink, start here and follow the links.

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

Review of Alstola, Judeans in Babylonia

THE CSST BLOG: DID THEY WEEP? A NEW BOOK ON JUDEANS IN BABYLONIA (Rick Bonnie).

This is a review of the open-access book: Alstola, Tero. 2020. Judeans in Babylonia: A Study of Deportees in the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BCE. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 109. Leiden: Brill.

Cross-file under New Book.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on the (unprovenanced) Babylonian-Jewish cuneiform archive of Al-Yahudu, see here and links.

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

On the true cost of museum fakes

HYPERALLERGIC: The True Cost of Museum Fakes. The Museum of the Bible recently admitted all of its Dead Sea Scroll fragments are forgeries. But when fake antiquities are donated to museums, taxpayers lose (Erin L. Thompson).

Background here and links.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Coptic dialects

THE COPTIC MAGICAL PAPYRI BLOG: Looking at the Coptic Magical Papyri XII: Coptic Dialects. Because you should know these things.

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

Estes, The Tree of Life

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
The Tree of Life

Series: Themes in Biblical Narrative, Volume: 27

Editor: Douglas Estes

The tree of life is an iconic visual symbol at the edge of religious thought over the last several millennia. As a show of its significance, the tree bookends the Christian canon; yet scholarship has paid it minimal attention in the modern era. In The Tree of Life a team of scholars explore the origin, development, meaning, reception, and theology of this consequential yet obscure symbol. The fourteen essays trek from the origins of the tree in the texts and material culture of the ancient Near East, to its notable roles in biblical literature, to its expansion by early church fathers and Gnostics, to its rebirth in medieval art and culture, and to its place in modern theological thought.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €248.00 / $298.00

E-Book
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-42375-6
Publication Date: 17 Mar 2020

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-42373-2
Publication Date: 19 Mar 2020

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

Friday, March 27, 2020

Interview with John Meade on Hexaplaric Job

WILLIAM ROSS: JOHN MEADE’S NEW EDITION OF THE HEXAPLARIC EVIDENCE FOR JOB.

I noted a publication announcement for the book here and two related ETC blog posts by Dr. Meade on the subject here and here.

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

Botched bookroll bureaucracy

PAPYRUS STORIES: Law and the Art of Bookroll Maintenance (guest post by Mark De Kreij).

What a mess! More than a half century of rotting scrolls and bureaucratic incompetence. HT Roger Pearse, who offers a summary: How papyrus rolls lost their tops and bottoms – from Oxyrhynchus.

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

The Temple Mount Sifting Project and the Coronavirus

THE TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT: SPECIAL UPDATE FOLLOWING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC CRISIS.

UPDATE: For many, many past posts on the project, start here and follow those links.

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

The Coronavirus, the Bible, and the ANE

DR. YITZHAQ FEDER: Coronavirus: What We Can Learn from the Bible and the ANE. An expert in ancient Near Eastern contagious diseases reflects on living through a modern one (TheTorah.com).

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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Spring Jewish New Year!

THAT'S TONIGHT AT SUNDOWN: “May this coming year come upon us in peace”; The Ancient 1st of Nisan Celebration (Joel Davidi Weisberger, Times of Israel Blog).
The celebration of the first of Nisan as the beginning of the new year is rooted both in Biblical, extra-Biblical and Talmudic sources. Exodus 12:1-2 states that Nisan is the first month in the setting of the new year. The book of Ezekiel (45:18-19) says: “Thus saith the Lord God: In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish; and thou shalt purify the sanctuary.”

Ezekiel contains many laws and festivals that are not found in the Pentateuch. Many interpret these as being meant for a future (third) Temple. Ezekiel does not explicitly describe the first of Nissan as a celebration of the new year per se but this description is nonetheless the earliest evidence of the day having special significance.

We find a similar reference in the Temple Scroll (11Q19) of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Temple Scroll describes the ideal Temple of the Qumran sectarians. The Festival of the first day of the first month (Nissan) is one of three additional extra-biblical festivals that are mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls: ...

If the first of Nisan is such an important date to both the Bible and Talmud then, why is the day celebrated today only by this small Jewish community? To answer this question we must look to the Geonic period of Jewish history, corresponding roughly to the second half of the first millennium. ...
The celebration began on the Sabbath last week in that Egyptian-Jewish rite.

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

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is closed.

ANOTHER CLOSURE: Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre closes amid coronavirus fears (Reuters/Yahoo). Initially for a week, starting yesterday.

For many past PaleoJudaica posts on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Holy Sepulchre), see here, here, and here, and follow the links.

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

Another fake Torah in Turkey

APPREHENDED: Turkish police nab 3 suspects trying to sell ancient Torah for $1.25M (Daily Sabah). These forgers don't give up, even during a pandemic.

If they were really trying to sell this thing for $1.25 million, they are epic optimists. It isn't a Torah scroll. The writing isn't Hebrew. It might be bad Syriac, or Syriac-inspired squiggles.

For many past reports of apprehensions of manuscripts etc. in Turkey, start here and follow the links. I was getting bored with these stories and was going to stop noting them. But the news is pretty quiet right now for some reason, so here you are.

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

A digitized national emergency library

THE AWOL BLOG: Announcing a National Emergency Library to Provide Digitized Books to Students and the Public.
[Though not specifically antiquity facing, I include this new tool from the Internet Archive because it will be useful to the many teachers and students who use AWOL]
Thanks Chuck.

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