Monday, July 22, 2019

A church dedicated to the Apostle Peter at Bethsaida?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Shrine to Apostle Peter unearthed: Israeli archaeologist (Stephen Weizman, AFP). Two elements of this story are inferential and open to debate.

First, the site, El-Araj, is only one contender to be the ancient city of Bethsaida. The other is et-Tell. Second, there is no direct indication — such as an inscription — in the ruins of the church that it was dedicated to Peter. The inference is based on an account by an eighth-century visitor.

Read the whole article for details.

Past posts on the two contending sites for Bethsaida are here (cf. here) and links.

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Reviews of Barton, A History of the Bible

THE ETC BLOG: Barton on the Bible. Peter Gurry notes a couple of reviews of John Barton's new book, A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book (Viking).

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lataster, Questioning the Historicity of Jesus

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Questioning the Historicity of Jesus

Why a Philosophical Analysis Elucidates the Historical Discourse


Series:
Value Inquiry Book Series Online, Volume: 336
Value Inquiry Book Series
Philosophy and Religion

Author: Raphael Lataster

This volume moves beyond the mainstream scholarly scepticism over the Christ of Faith and considers if there is sufficient evidence to establish the existence of the more mundane Historical Jesus. Using the logical tools of the analytic philosopher, Lataster finds that the relevant sources are unreliable as historical documents, and that the key method of those purporting that the Historical Jesus existed is to appeal to sources that do not exist. Considering an ancient hypothesis suggesting that Jesus began as a celestial messiah that certain Second Temple Jews already believed in, and was later allegorised in the Gospels, Lataster discovers that it is more reasonable to at least be agnostic over Jesus’ historicity.

Publication Date: 1 July 2019
ISBN: 978-90-04-40878-4
Brill has published a Mythicist book on Jesus. It will be interesting to see how it is received.

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

More from the AJR series on Jensen, "The Cross" and Fine, "The Menorah"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW has concluded the series with two more essays:

SBL 2018 Book Review Panel | Menorah and Cross, Signs and Things (Pamela Eisenbaum).

SBL 2018 Book Review Panel | Response from Robin Jensen (Robin Jensen).

I noted the earlier essays in the series here.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Barlaam and Josaphat

THE BRITISH LIBRARY: The Buddha’s long ‘journey’ to Europe and Africa. Yes, I know the Buddha is not usually a subject for PaleoJudaica. But the Legend of Barlaam and Josaphat is of some interest because of its wide transmission in relevant languages, including Hebrew, Greek, Ge’ez, Armenian, Georgian Arabic, Uigur, Syriac, and Judeo-Persian. There is a connection with Turfan (cf. here) as well. It went on to be transmitted in many European languages.

I have never posted on this remarkable text before, so have a look at this post at the British Library's Asian and African studies blog, with reference to their upcoming exhibition, Buddhism.

HT Steve Dodson at the Language Hat Blog.

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Eating fish in ancient Jerusalem

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What Kinds of Fish Were Eaten in Ancient Jerusalem? (Prof. Omri Lernau, M.D., TheTorah.com).
Fishbone remains discovered in eight different excavations in Jerusalem, from the Iron age to the early Islamic period, give us a sense of what fish the locals ate, and from where they were imported.
With implications for biblical studies and the history of food purity rules.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Newsom, Rhetoric and Hermeneutics

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Carol A. Newsom. Rhetoric and Hermeneutics. Approaches to Text, Tradition and Social Construction in Biblical and Second Temple Literature. 2019. XX, 382 pages. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 130. 149,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-157723-9.
Published in English.
This collection of essays by Carol A. Newsom explores the indispensable role that rhetoric and hermeneutics play in the production and reception of biblical and Second Temple literature. Some of the essays are methodological and programmatic, while others provide extended case studies. Because rhetoric is, as Kenneth Burke put it, »a strategy for encompassing a situation,« the analysis of rhetoric illumines the ways in which texts engage particular historical moments, shape and reshape communities, and even construct new models of self and agency. The essays in this book not only explore how ancient texts hermeneutically engage existing traditions but also how they themselves have become the objects of hermeneutical transformation in contexts ranging from ancient sectarian Judaism to the politics of post-World War I and II Germany and America to modern film criticism and feminist re-reading.

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Review of Andrade, Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra

BYRN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Nathanael J. Andrade, Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra. Women in Antiquity. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xvii, 284. ISBN 9780190638818. $35.00. Reviewed by Gustavo A. Vivas García​, Universidad de La Laguna (gusgarvi@gmail.com).
Neither Odainath, nor of course Zenobia or her son, intended to separate from the Empire nor to break with Rome or usurp the Imperial throne. Nathanael Andrade’s book is clear in this respect. Zenobia behaved like a Hellenistic queen who surrounded herself with men of letters like Callinicos, and who had Cassius Longinus as her chief philosopher, who was rapidly eliminated by Aurelian after the Queen’s defeat. An Empress who conquered Egypt and in passing subdued Arabia, inserting her name onto all the milestones along the kingdom’s roads. A woman who was interested in religious questions and who built a contact with the Christian bishop, Paul of Samosata. A monarch whose objective was to try to obtain a place in the Empire, even on equal terms with Aurelian in the West. In 272, however, Zenobia’s Imperial and dynastic dream met an abrupt end. Aurelian proved himself to be her match and made-to-measure rival.
Past PaleoJudaica post on the Empress Zenobia are here and links.

Cross-file under Palmyra Watch. Many other past posts on Palmyra, its history, the ancient Aramaic dialect spoken there (Palmyrene), and the city's tragic reversals of fortune, now trending for the better, are here and links.

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

AJR series on Jensen, "The Cross" and Fine, "The Menorah"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: SBL 2018 Book Review Panel | Art and Religion in Antiquity. Felicity Harley-McGowan introduces the series at the link.
At the 2018 meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Denver, two program units collaborated in reviewing two books published by Harvard University Press: Robin Jensen’s The Cross: History, Art and Controversy (2018) and Steven Fine’s The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel (2016).
The first essay is by David Frankfurter:
JEWISH (AND CHRISTIAN) SYMBOLS IN THE LATE MODERN PERIOD: JENSEN’S CROSS AND FINE’S MENORAH
There are two themes that I do think could bring these symbols together, and in their material rather than abstract manifestations. First, both authors alert us in various ways to the vitality and importance of the symbol in motion – in procession – rather than emblazoned on a coin or a door lintel. And from this processional vitality comes the second theme that struck me as key in the discussion of these symbols: their intrinsic agency as material things – that is, not just what they convey in terms of “memory” or “tradition” but their capacity to work in the world.

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