Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A 10th-century-BCE electrum pendant from Jerusalem

PHOENICIAN WATCH (?): Tiny First Temple-era Phoenician pendant is ‘earliest gold artifact’ found in Jerusalem. Just 4 millimeters on a side, the item could provide evidence that Phoenicians were in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago, archaeologist says (Gavriel Fiske, Times of Israel).
The tiny pendant or earring was found a decade ago during excavations in the Ophel, a raised area south of Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But until last year, the item had been largely overlooked, according to archaeologist Brent Nagtegaal of the Armstrong Institute of Biblical Archaeology.

The finely crafted artifact is shaped like a basket with a solid base measuring just 4x4x2 millimeters. Two semicircular “handles” extend 6 millimeters above the base, overlapping each other to form a point where the pendant could be suspended, and narrow gold wire is wrapped around the top of the item.


The artifact is "'securely dated by archaeological context' to the 10th century BCE." If it is of Phoenician origin, it could be taken as indirect evidence for the claim of the Deuteronomistic History that Phoenicians were active in Jerusalem at that time building Solomon's Temple.

However, it seems that the case for its Phoenician origin has not yet been published. I would withhold judgment until we see how secure that case is.

Anyway, nice pendant. Someone was very upset when it was lost. Cross-file under Ancient Bling and Exhibition.

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Ancient multi-compartment stone box discovered in Jerusalem

ANICENT ARTIFACT: Rare Second Temple-era merchants box displayed at Israel Museum. 2,000-year old artifact likely used to display wares in ancient Jerusalem’s pilgrims’ market; burned sides might be from Jewish Revolt fires (xGavriel Fiske, Times of Israel).
An unusual, multi-chambered limestone box from the Second Temple period, now on display in the Israel Museum, was likely used to present small items for sale in the pilgrims’ market alongside the main road in ancient Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.


The object was found (excavated, apparently) a couple of years ago. It is on display in the Israel Museum.

For more on ancient Jewish stone vessels and their purity implications, see here and links.

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Evacuated boy finds Alexander Janneus coin near Dead Sea

NUMISMATICS: 2,000-year-old Hasmonean coin discovered by child evacuated on Oct.7. While exploring the area around the hotel that he had been evacuated to along the Dead Sea, Nati Toyikar came across an ancient coin dating back to the Hasmonean period (Jerusalem Post).
According to Dr. Robert Cole, Head of the Coins Branch at the Antiquities Authority, "the coin that Nati found is a well-known coin of the Hasmonean king and high priest Alexander Janai (104-76 BCE). On the face of the coin appears an anchor, and around it appears an inscription in Greek - "Alexander Basileus," which translates to "(of) Alexander the King." On the back of the coin appears a star with eight rays, surrounded by a crown of kings. Between the rays, you can see an inscription, which appears in small letters. Only a part of it can be deciphered here. It recalls the name and title of the king in ancient Hebrew: [Yohan]n/he/mel/[cha]/."
All Israel News also reports the story and says that this coin is a "widow's mite," on which more here and links.

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Monday, February 26, 2024

Otto, Die Mose-Exodus-Tradition in den Korintherbriefen (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Konrad Otto. Die Mose-Exodus-Tradition in den Korintherbriefen. Schriftrezeption und -verarbeitung 'zwischen den Welten'. [The Moses-Exodus Tradition in the Corinthian Correspondence. Scriptural Reception and Processing 'Between the Worlds'.] 2024. XV, 593 pages. Studies in Education and Religion in Ancient and Pre-Modern History in the Mediterranean and Its Environs 20. 94,00 € including VAT. hardcover ISBN 978-3-16-160065-4.
Published in German.
References to biblical traditions are an essential part of the Corinthian correspondence. By taking two extensive references to the Exodus tradition of Moses, Konrad Otto examines the extent to which scriptural references serve to mediate between Paul's intellectual world and that of his addressees.

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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hagler, Owning Disaster (Routledge)

Owning Disaster
Coping with Catastrophe in Abrahamic Narrative Traditions

By Aaron M. Hagler
Copyright 2024

Hardback £104.00
eBook £31.19

ISBN 9781032454740
242 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
Published December 18, 2023 by Routledge


Delving into the intertwined tapestry of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sacred texts, exegesis, philosophy, theology, and historiography, this book explores the similar coping mechanisms across Abrahamic communities in reconciling the implications of disasters without abandoning their faith.

Belief in a single, omnipotent God carries with it the challenge of explaining and contextualizing disasters that seem to contravene God’s supposed will. Through explorations of Jewish responses to the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, Christian responses to the Arab Muslim conquests, Muslim responses to the Crusades, and a variety of responses to the Mongol conquests, Aaron M. Hagler unveils the shared patterns and responses that emerge within these communities when confronted by calamity. Initial responses come in the forms of horrified lamentations, but as the initial shock dissipates, a complex dance of self-blame and collective introspection unfolds, as writers and theologians seek to contextualize the tragedy and guide their communities toward hope, resilience, and renewal.

Of interest to scholars, theologians, and individuals seeking to explore interconnected notions of resilience within Abrahamic communities, Owning Disaster will resonate with readers eager to contemplate the intricate relationship between religious dogma, human resilience, and the profound questions that emerge when confronted with calamity.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Minets & Nowakowski (eds.), Shaping Letters, Shaping Communities (Brill)

Shaping Letters, Shaping Communities: Multilingualism and Linguistic Practice in the Late Antique Near East and Egypt

Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity, Volume: 33

Volume Editors: Yuliya Minets and Paweł Nowakowski

The volume explores linguistic practices and choices in the late antique Eastern Mediterranean. It investigates how linguistic diversity and change influenced the social dimension of human interaction, affected group dynamics, the expression and negotiation of various communal identities, such as professional groups of mosaic-makers, stonecutters, or their supervisors in North Syria, bilingual monastic communities in Palestine, elusive producers of Coptic ritual texts in Egypt, or Jewish communities in Dura Europos and Palmyra. The key question is: what do we learn about social groups and human individuals by studying their multilingualism and language practices reflected in epigraphic and other written sources?

Copyright Year: 2024

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-68233-7
Publication: 11 Dec 2023
EUR €149.00

Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-68230-6
Publication: 20 Dec 2023
EUR €149.00

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Monday, February 19, 2024


YES, I know I haven't been posting much. Bear with me. I will get back to regular posting as soon as I can. Soon, I hope.

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Popa, The Making of Syriac Jerusalem (Routledge)

The Making of Syriac Jerusalem
Representations of the Holy City in Syriac Literature of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

By Catalin-Stefan Popa
Copyright 2023

Hardback £96.00
eBook £31.19

ISBN 9781032470993
324 Pages
Published May 31, 2023 by Routledge


This book discusses hagiographic, historiographical, hymnological, and theological sources that contributed to the formation of the sacred picture of the physical as well as metaphysical Jerusalem in the literature of two Eastern Christian denominations, East and West Syrians.

Popa analyses the question of Syrian beliefs about the Holy City, their interaction with holy places, and how they travelled in the Holy Land. He also explores how they imagined and reflected the theology of this itinerary through literature in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, set alongside a well-defined local tradition that was at times at odds with Jerusalem. Even though the image of Jerusalem as a land of sacred spaces is unanimously accepted in the history of Christianity, there were also various competing positions and attitudes. This often promoted the attempt at mitigating and replacing Jerusalem’s sacred centrality to the Christian experience with local sacred heritage, which is also explored in this study. Popa argues that despite this rhetoric of artificial boundaries, the general picture epitomises a fluid and animated intersection of Syriac Christians with the Holy City especially in the medieval era and the subsequent period, through a standardised process of pilgrimage, well-integrated in the custom of advanced Christian life and monastic canon.

The Making of Syriac Jerusalem is suitable for students and scholars working on the history, literature, and theology of Syriac Christianity in the late antique and medieval periods.

HT Bibliographia Iranica. Cross-file under Syriac Watch.

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Friday, February 16, 2024

Bühner, Paulus im Kontext des Diasporajudentums (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Ruben A. Bühner. Paulus im Kontext des Diasporajudentums. Judenchristliche Lebensweise nach den paulinischen Briefen und die Debatten um »Paul within Judaism.« [Paul in the Context of Diaspora Judaism. Jewish-Christian Life after the Pauline Epistles and the Debates about »Paul within Judaism.«] 2023. XIV, 435 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 511. 159,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-162749-1.
Published in German.
Under the umbrella term »Paul within Judaism,« new interpretations of Paul's letters have recently emerged. In this context, Ruben A. Bühner examines the continuity of a Jewish way of life before and after Jews turned to Christ. By interpreting Paul in the context of a diverse Diaspora Judaism, he argues for a mediating position in an increasingly ideological debate. Thus Paul understands himself both as a Jew and as committed to a Jewish way of life, while at the same time seeing himself as »in Christ« also committed to community with non-Jews.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Long, Dynamics of Charity and Reciprocity in the Book of Sirach (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Stephen Arden Long. Dynamics of Charity and Reciprocity in the Book of Sirach. 2024. XV, 339 pages. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. Reihe 147. 99,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-162384-4 available.
Published in English.
In this study, Stephen Long explores the role of reciprocity and gift exchange in the wisdom-instruction of Ben Sira, contextualizing the sage's prescriptions in relation to comparative data from Greco-Roman antiquity and his own teaching on »charity«. While tangible human returns are the normal expectation in response to acts of generosity, Ben Sira is seen to have inflected this cultural expectation in a uniquely Jewish and theological manner. First, sacrifice is understood as a »gift« for the deity, a gift which the God of Israel will »repay«; second, acts of both ordinary, »self-interested« generosity as well as more »altruistic« acts are brought within the ambit of »sacrifice«. Ben Sira appears to think that he thereby followed the lead of prior, pentateuchal tradition, and drew out implications of a theology of creation whereby the cosmos is so ordered that every »need« is – or should be – met »at the right time«. Thus, Long elucidates a second century BCE sage's theological construal of the relation between charity and reciprocity.

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