Thursday, October 06, 2022

Exhibition coming on the Sardis Synagogue

ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE: Monumental synagogue emerges from ancient ruins in Turkey. Relics from the largest known synagogue of antiquity will go on display next year in a museum in western Turkey (Murat Erdin, Al-Monitor).
MANISA, Turkey — A museum in western Turkey will soon exhibit artifacts from the largest known synagogue of the ancient world, uncovered fully after six decades of American-led excavations at what was once the seat of power of the fabulously rich King Croesus. ...

The synagogue, 120 meters long and 18 meters wide, was the center of Jewish religious life at Sardis during the late Roman period. Nearby Jewish cemeteries of more recent ages are the testament of a long Jewish presence in the region. About 50,000 Jews lived in Ottoman western Anatolia in the mid-19th century, including 2,000 in and around Manisa. No Jewish population remains today after migration during the First and Second World Wars and after the creation of Israel.


For more on the Sardis synagogue, its current restoration, and the ancient Jewish community in Sardis, start here and follow the links

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Ben Ezra Synagogue is 95% restored

CAIRO GENIZA WATCH: Egypt set to open Ben Ezra Synagogue. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced its intention to open the ancient Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo soon, after completing about 95% of restoration works, in a move aimed at revitalizing religious tourism (Ahmed Gomaa, Al-Monitor).

As regular readers are aware, the Ben Ezra Synagogue contains the Cairo Geniza, a major source of medieval Middle Eastern Jewish manuscripts.

To be clear — and the article isn't — the Geniza no longer contains those manuscripts. It was emptied in the late nineteenth century and the manuscripts were moved elsewhere, especially, but not exclusively, to Cambridge and New York.

For background on the Ben Ezra Synagogue and its restoration, see here and links.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Does Yom Kippur atone for intentional sins according to the Bible?

FOR YOM KIPPUR: Does an Intentional Sinner Attain Atonement? (Prof. Rabbi David Frankel,
Leviticus 16 describes how the scapegoat ritual on Yom Kippur attains atonement for all of Israel’s sins, even acts of rebellion. Numbers 15, however, states that a person who sins unintentionally can bring an offering and be forgiven, but the person who sins intentionally is cut off from the people.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Yom Kippur 2022

YOM KIPPUR, the Day of Atonement, begins this evening at sundown. An easy and healthy fast to all those observing it.

Last year's post on Yom Kippur is here, with links to previous posts and one subsequent one. Biblical etc. background is here and links. For a recent post on the Akitu Festival, to which some have drawn parallels with Yom Kippur, see here.

UPDATE (5 October): More here.

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Encyclopedia of Material Culture in the Biblical World (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Encyclopedia of Material Culture in the Biblical World. A New Biblisches Reallexikon. Edited by Angelika Berlejung with P.M. Michèle Daviau, Jens Kamlah, and Gunnar Lehmann. 2022. LXVIII, 617 pages. 169,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-148966-2.
Published in English.
The Encyclopedia of Material Culture in the Biblical World (EBW) builds on the German »Standardwerk« Biblisches Reallexikon (BRL), edited by Kurt Galling 1937, second edition 1977 (2BRL). It is a reference book for biblical scholars, historians, and archaeologists. The EBW focusses on the material culture from the Neolithic Age to the Hellenistic period, giving attention to the material from the Bronze and Iron Ages, including the Persian period. The geographic regions covered by the entries include primarily the records of Palestine (= the Southern Levant) limited by (excl.) the southern fringe of Lebanon and Hermon (North), the Wadi al-Ariš, the Sinai peninsula and North-Arabia (South), the Mediterranean Sea (West) and the Transjordanian desert (East). If appropriate to the entry, the neighboring evidence from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Mesopotamia is included. The Encyclopedia presents and documents the material culture based on the archaeological, epigraphical, and iconographical data in historical order and documents the state of current research. The entries do not only list or mention the most important material data, but try to synthesize and interpret it within the horizon of a history of Southern Levantine culture, economy, technical development, art, and religion.
The EBW consists of around 120 articles and an introductory part pertaining to the chronology of the EBW, archaeology and cultural History, epigraphy, and iconography, written by specialists from 15 different countries.

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Monday, October 03, 2022

Leaman (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Jewish Ritual and Practice

Routledge Handbook of Jewish Ritual and Practice

Edited By Oliver Leaman

Copyright Year 2022



ISBN 9780367470128
Published July 8, 2022 by Routledge
618 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations

Book Description

Ritual and practice are some of the most defining features of religion, linked with its central beliefs. Discussing the wide range of Jewish ritual and practice, this volume provides a contemporary guide to this significant aspect of religious life and experience.

Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, this volume describes not only what takes place, but the reasons behind this and the implications both the theory and practice have for our understanding of Judaism. Organized in terms of texts, periods, practices, languages and relationships with the other, the book includes accounts of prayer, food, history, synagogues and the various legal and ideological debates that exist within Judaism with the focus on how they influence practice. Coming at a time of renewed interest in the role of the body in religion, this book aims to bring the theoretical and scriptural issues which arise in this area of Jewish life and culture up to date.

This volume is aimed at students and researchers working in Jewish studies specifically, and religious studies in general. Designed to be helpful to those on courses in relevant areas, especially in the United States, this book includes substantial bibliographical material.

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Sunday, October 02, 2022

Review of Paget & Gathercole (eds.), Celsus in his world

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Celsus in his world: philosophy, polemic, and religion in the second century.
James Carleton Paget, Simon Gathercole, Celsus in his world: philosophy, polemic, and religion in the second century. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021. Pp. 350. ISBN 9781108832441 $99.00.

Review by
Juraj Franek, Masaryk University.

On the face of it, the reviewed work is yet another collection of essays (and responses) derived from the papers presented by their respective authors at the 2018 conference Celsus in his World, organized by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge. Upon closer inspection, however, the volume successfully avoids the usual pitfalls of such undertakings and its individual contributors together with the editors, James Carleton Paget and Simon Gathercole, are to be congratulated for producing one of the best comprehensive volumes on Celsus in recent memory. ...

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9 questions on the Dead Sea Scrolls answered

BECAUSE YOU SHOULD KNOW THESE THINGS: The Dead Sea Scrolls: 9 Common Questions, Answered (Drew Longacre, Logos Word by Word).

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Saturday, October 01, 2022

Cook, Biblical Aramaic and Related Dialects (CUP)

Biblical Aramaic and Related Dialects
An Introduction


AUTHOR: Edward Cook, Catholic University of America, Washington DC
FORMAT: Paperback
ISBN: 9781108714488

[Currently Available on the Cambridge Higher Education website.]


Biblical Aramaic and Related Dialects is a comprehensive, introductory-level textbook for the acquisition of the language of the Old Testament and related dialects that were in use from the last few centuries BCE. Based on the latest research, it uses a method that guides students into knowledge of the language inductively, with selections taken from the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and papyrus discoveries from ancient Egypt. The volume offers a comprehensive view of ancient Aramaic that enables students to progress to advanced levels with a solid grounding in historical grammar. Most up-to-date description of Aramaic in light of modern discoveries and methods. Provides more detail than previous textbooks. Includes comprehensive description of Biblical dialect, along with Aramaic of the Persian period and of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Guided readings begin with primary sources, enabling students learn the language by reading historical texts.

  • Only introduction to Biblical Aramaic within the context of contemporary dialects
  • Uses inductive method to learn language by reading primary texts from the beginning
  • Provides a comprehensive view of ancient Aramaic grammar

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Suchard, Aramaic Daniel (Brill)

Aramaic Daniel

A Textual Reconstruction of Chapters 1–7

Series: Studia Semitica Neerlandica, Volume: 73

Author: Benjamin D. Suchard

The first half of the book of Daniel contains world-famous stories like the Writing on the Wall. These stories have mostly been transmitted in Aramaic, not Hebrew, as has the influential apocalypse of Daniel 7. This Aramaic corpus shows clear signs of multiple authorship. Which different textual layers can we tease apart, and what do they tell us about the changing function of the Danielic material during the Second Temple Period? This monograph compares the Masoretic Text of Daniel to ancient manuscripts and translations preserving textual variants. By highlighting tensions in the reconstructed archetype underlying all these texts, it then probes the tales’ prehistory even further, showing how Daniel underwent many transformations to yield the book we know today.

€119.00 Hardback

Copyright Year: 2022
E-Book (PDF) [Open Access!]
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-52130-8
Publication date: 19 Sep 2022

Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-52129-2
Publication date: 22 Sep 2022

I repeat: the E-Book is Open Access.

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Friday, September 30, 2022

More on "Careers in Jewish-Christian Relations"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW has published the two remaining essays in a series on Careers in Jewish-Christian Relations. For the earlier essays, see here and here.

The Eye, the Sense of Sight, and Seeing God? Reflections on God’s (In)visibility Considering Early Jewish Christian Relations (Deborah Forger)

What might the eye, the sense of sight, and the desire of many in the ancient world to see God tell us about points of continuity and discontinuity between Jews and Christians in antiquity? Moreover, how might this specific question about humanity’s ability to see God offer us fresh perspectives on our primary task for this morning? Namely, to think about and discuss what it means to invest in a career in early Jewish Christian relations—the opportunities, pitfalls, joys, and challenges of centering one’s work on questions related to the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
Do Rabbis Belong in Early Jewish Christian Relations? (Krista Dalton)
While I’ve raised concerns related to the framing of early Judaism and Christianity as a singular category of knowledge, I want to end by making the case for why the rabbis matter to this category. The rabbis did not arise in a vacuum. Judaism may have “shattered” following the Great Revolt (66-74 CE), as Seth Schwartz famously argued, and the rabbis may have initiated a new kind of grammarian piety using their ancestral texts, but they did so with the tools that they already possessed.

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The Akitu festival

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: The Babylonian Akītu Festival and the Ritual Humiliation of the King (Sam Mirelman).
The Babylonian akītu festivals reflect a common ritual structure of status reversal, for which there are many examples from other cultures around the world. On the other hand such festivals may be considered as a reflection of the political context in which they were written and/or performed. ...
This is a good summary of what we know about the Akitu Festival. It includes some new (at least to me) information.

For PaleoJudaica posts involving the ancient Mesopotamian Akitu Festival, see here and links. And see here and links for the modern Akitu Festival.

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IAA raid seizes Medusa figurines & other artifacts

APPREHENDED: Hundreds of ancient artifacts seized from home in northern Israel. About 270 ancient artifacts were found in the search, including coins from different periods and figurines of Medusa (Jerusalem Post).

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