Friday, September 20, 2019

Rabbinics job(s) at University of Chicago Divinity School

H-JUDAIC: Job: Rabbinic Judaism (open rank), University of Chicago, Divinity School. Review of applications began on 15 September, so if you want to apply, don't dawdle.

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Happy centennial to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago!

A CENTURY OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST: U. of C.’s Oriental Institute celebrates centennial (AARON GETTINGER, Hyde Park Herald).
The Oriental Institute celebrated its centennial with a black-tie anniversary gala on Saturday, giving guests a chance to view galleries renovated with a greater emphasis on accessibility.

It has been an eventful 100 years. In 1919, archaeology was overwhelmingly focused on ancient Greece and Rome. Professor James Henry Breasted founded the OI with a then-groundbreaking emphasis on the Near East, or Orient.

[...]
Read on for a brief history of the OI. There will be a public celebration on Saturday, 28 September.

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A royal steward's seal from ancient Jerusalem

NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY: Tiny First Temple seal impression found with name of Bible-era royal steward. Inscribed with ‘Belonging to Adoniyahu, Royal Steward,’ a clay sealing from the 7th century BCE uncovered from earth excavated at the foundations of the Western Wall (Amanda Borcschel-Dan, Times of Israel).

The article mentions the royal steward's tomb at Silwan. The name there is damaged, but could be restored as Adoniyahu. In other words, it could be the tomb of the owner of this seal. At least that is chronologically possible. A past post on the royal steward's tomb is here.

And for many, many past posts on the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which discovered this seal, start here and follow the links.

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Review of Frankfurter (ed.), Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic

THE BIBLICAL REVIEW BLOG: Review: “Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic” edited by David Frankfurter (William Brown).
Overall, the volume is an excellent introduction to the theory of magic and ways that magic is practiced through time and space. Notable contributions include each introduction to regional forms of magic (illegitimate ritual) in chapters 4-11, David Frankfurter’s discussion of “magic” as a form of local ritual drawing from an authoritative tradition, and Sarah Iles Johnston’s discussion of the relationship between theurgy and magic. Though readers may have minor quibbles concerning points by authors, by and large Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic is an excellent volume for a detailed overview of studies of magic in the ancient world. Therefore, I will focus my criticisms on points of possible improvement evident throughout the entire volume. Additionally, below the body of this review is a summary of each chapter and occasional comment about contributions.
I noted the publication of the book here.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

On Taylor on the Copper Scroll

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Dating the Copper Scroll. Ancient Jewish scroll -- and treasure map (Megan Sauter). As usual, this is a summary of an article in Biblical Archaeology Review. It is in the current issue and is by Professor Joan E. Taylor: "Secrets of the Copper Scroll." The article itself is behind the subscription wall, but the summary is worth reading.

For a great many PaleoJudaica posts on the Copper Scroll, start here and just follow those links.

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Surprising salts on the Temple Scroll

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: Unique Salt Coating Helped Preserve 25-Foot-Long Dead Sea Scroll. Analysis shows that the unique processing of the Temple Scroll’s parchment kept it intact (Jason Daley, The Smithsonian).
To understand how the Temple Scroll survived all those years, a research team was given access to a 1-inch fragment of the parchment—itself just 1/250th of an inch thick—from The Shrine of the Book, a museum in Jerusalem that holds the scroll. Besides being super long, the scroll is unusual in several ways, Nicola Davis at The Guardian reports: The text is written on the flesh side of the skin, which is uncommon. The thin parchment may be an animal skin that has been split in two. And the text is written on a thick layer containing lots of inorganic minerals pressed into the collagen.
It seems that the results were unexpected. But the implications are unclear. Does this mean that the Temple Scroll was produced somewhere at a distance from the Dead Sea area? Maybe. The article at The Guardian collects a range of views from scholars.

The Smithsonian article covers the somewhat technical story in detail and it also links to the MIT press release and to the specialist article in Science Advances.

One point to underline is that this analysis used non-invasive and non-destructive technologies. As I have said many times, this is the way of the future.

Cross-file under Material Culture.

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CFP: World in Crisis: Reflections and Responses from Antiquity to the Present (BAJS)

H-JUDAIC: CFP: World in Crisis: Reflections and Responses from Antiquity to the Present - British Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference. Follow the link for further particulars. The conferences takes place at the University of Southampton and the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations on 13-15 July 2020. The deadline for paper proposals is Wednesday 15th January 2020.

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

David Stacey (1943-2019)

SAD NEWS: The Agade list has shared the sad news that archaeologist David Stacey has passed away. I quote from Jack Sasson's e-mail:
Dr David Stacey passed away on 20 July 2019 in Cambridge, UK. David worked in Israel for many years, having first arrived for the Masada excavations as a volunteer. He worked under Ehud Netzer in Jericho, Herodium, and Masada, and also excavated in Tiberias, Ashkelon, and many other sites. Recently, he wrote extensively about Qumran.
David and I were both staff (he senior and I very junior) at the Asheklon excavation in the late 1980s. We roomed together with another archaeology student for one season during that time. David had endless entertaining stories about the inside world of archaeology and his own adventures in that world over many years.

He and I got back in touch in the early 2000s and we continued to correspond, mostly about the archaeology of Qumran. You can find some relevant posts in the PaleoJudaica archives.

May his memory be for a blessing.

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

On ancient cosmology and theology

IS THAT IN THE BIBLE? The Structure of Heaven and Earth: How Ancient Cosmology Shaped Everyone’s Theology (Paul Davidson).
The Bible is often difficult to make sense of without the proper conceptual framework. Why is Paul concerned about mysterious angels, principles, powers, forces, and archons in his epistles? Why are interactions with demons at the forefront of Jesus’ ministry in Mark? Why is heaven sometimes described as having different levels? Why does Paul describe people under the law as being enslaved to the elements? What motivated early Christians to worship a heavenly saviour? It’s hard to answer these questions without a detailed understanding of ancient Jewish and Greek cosmology, so I’ve spent a great deal of time reading the best books I can find on the subject. Much of what I learned surprised me; perhaps it will surprise you too.

[...]

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Talmud on being "cut off"

LAST WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Captive Among the Gentiles. This week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ Talmud study suggests contemporary secular Jews have a lot to atone for.
... Last week, Daf Yomi readers began Tractate Karetot, the section of the Talmud dealing with the laws of karet, and it opens with a catalogue of 36 sins that are punished by karet, including Shabbat violation, various types of incest, breaking the Yom Kippur fast, eating bread on Passover, and profanation of the Temple sacrifices.

In characteristic fashion, however, the rabbis don’t begin at what might seem like the logical beginning, by defining exactly what karet consists of. ...
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Tamber-Rosenau on Women-Turned-Warriors and Queer Theory

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: How to Get a Head in Ancient Israel: Women-Turned-Warriors and Queer Theory (Caryn Tamber-Rosenau).
Caryn Tamber-Rosenau provides an overview of her recent publication, Women in Drag: Gender and Performance in the Hebrew Bible and Early Jewish Literature (Gorgias, 2018).
Excerpt:
I argue that the women in these tales perform femininity—seductiveness, motherliness, or a mixture of the two, depending on what the circumstances called for—as a deliberate battle strategy. Their chief weapons are not tent pegs and swords but feminine performance, and their ability to engage in this performance is intimately tied to their childlessness.

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