Sunday, September 27, 2020

Yom Kippur 2020

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. For background and previous posts, follow the links from there. More recent posts are here, here, here, and here. Biblical etc. background is here.

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

Review of Papantoniou et al. (eds.), Unlocking sacred landscapes

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Unlocking sacred landscapes: spatial analysis of ritual and cult in the Mediterranean.
Giorgos Papantoniou, Christine Morris, Athanasios Vionis, Unlocking sacred landscapes: spatial analysis of ritual and cult in the Mediterranean. Studies in Mediterranean archaeology, 151. Nicosia: Astrom Editions, 2019. xviii, 279 p.. ISBN9789925745548 €68,00.

Review by
Jeremy McInerney, University of Pennsylvania. jmcinern@sas.upenn.edu

The experience of reading the volume edited by Papantoniou, Morris and Vionis is a little like being a carnivore at a vegan smorgasbord: the offerings are often excellent yet still leave one feeling vaguely unsatisfied. ...
This is a thoughful review, but the extended culinary metaphor is overdone.

There is a chapter on Idumean terracotta figurines and another on Phoenician and Punic funerary practices. Both receive detailed attention in the review.

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

BRANE Collective PhD Showcase

THE AWOL BLOG: Bible and Religions of the Ancient Near East Collective: PhD Showcase.

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

Spielman, Jews and Entertainment in the Ancient World

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Loren R. Spielman. Jews and Entertainment in the Ancient World. 2020. IX, 311 pages. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 181. 134,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-155000-3.
Published in English.
Countering the traditional belief that Jews in antiquity were predominantly disinterested in the popular entertainments of the Greek and Roman world, Loren R. Spielman maps the varieties of Jewish engagement with theater, athletics, horse racing, gladiatorial, and beast shows in antiquity. The author argues that Jews from Hellenistic Alexandria to late antique Sepphoris enjoyed and exploited, or alternatively resisted and scorned, popular forms of public entertainment as they adapted to the political, social, and religious realities of imperial rule. Including references to ancient Jewish actors, athletes, promoters, and plays alongside analysis of rabbinic and other early Jewish critique of sport and spectacle, Loren R. Spielman describes the different ways that attitudes towards entertainment might have played a role in shaping ancient Jewish identity.

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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Review of Weksler-Bdolah, Aelia Capitolina

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Aelia Capitolina – Jerusalem in the Roman period: in light of archaeological research.
Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, Aelia Capitolina - Jerusalem in the Roman period: in light of archaeological research. Mnemosyne, supplements, 432. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019. xxv, 244 p.. ISBN9789004407336 €106,00.

Review by
Jan Willem Drijvers, University of Groningen. j.w.drijvers@rug.nl
Excerpt:
This volume offers a very useful overview of the development and transformation of the urban landscape of Roman Jerusalem between 70 CE and c. 400 CE based on its archaeological remains. Questions remain, such as the function of the Temple Mount in the cityscape, and the relative absence of archaeological data for urban dwellings and pagan sanctuaries. Nevertheless, the archaeological vestiges laid bare in the last decades have added significantly to our knowledge of Roman Jerusalem and it is to be expected that in the future that knowledge will increase with new finds.
I have collected past PaleoJudaica posts on or involving Aelia Capitolina here.

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

The New Testament Gospels in Manichaean Tradition (ed. Larsen & Leurini)

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: The New Testament Gospels in Manichaean Tradition. Notice of a New Book: Pedersen, N. A. R. Falkenberg, J. M. Larsen & C. Leurini (eds.). 2020. The New Testament Gospels in Manichaean Tradition: The Sources in Syriac, Greek, Coptic, Middle Persian, Parthian, Sogdian, Bactrian, New Persian, and Arabic (Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum: Series Biblia Manichaica, 2). Turnhout :Brepols.

Cross-file under Manichean Watch (Manichaean Watch).

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

The full Gospel of Thomas

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The Gospel of Thomas’s 114 Sayings of Jesus. If you don't have a full translation of the Gospel of Thomas in your personal library, be sure to bookmark this link.

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

Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World

NEW BOOK FROM DE GRUYTER:
Erich S. Gruen

Ethnicity in the Ancient World – Did it matter?


De Gruyter | 2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110685657

FROM £59.00

DETAILS
Language: English
Format: 23.0 x 15.5 cm
Pages Roman: XI
Pages Arabic: 265
Publisher: De Gruyter
Year: 2020
Keywords: Ancient Near East; Greeks; Romans; Jews

FORMATS
Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-11-068478-0
Published: 21 Sep 2020

PDF
ISBN: 978-3-11-068565-7
Published: 21 Sep 2020

EPUB
ISBN: 978-3-11-068580-0
Published: 21 Sep 2020

OVERVIEW
This study raises that difficult and complicated question on a broad front, taking into account the expressions and attitudes of a wide variety of Greek, Roman, Jewish, and early Christian sources, including Herodotus, Polybius, Cicero, Philo, and Paul. It approaches the topic of ethnicity through the lenses of the ancients themselves rather than through the imposition of modern categories, labels, and frameworks. A central issue guides the course of the work: did ancient writers reflect upon collective identity as determined by common origins and lineage or by shared traditions and culture?

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

Friday, September 25, 2020

Jews under Byzantine rule

HISTORY: How did Jews get by under Byzantine rule? A look at surprising Jewish pastimes in past times (Alex Winston, Jerusalem Post). An interview with "Professor Oded Irshai of the Hebrew University’s Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry." Excerpt:
In 553 CE the Emperor Justinian forbade the use and study of the Mishna, known as the Oral Torah, leading to Jewish scholars to compose piyutim, the liturgical poems used in religious services and a major part of the High Holy Days’ services. As the focus of Byzantine Palestine moved toward Christianity from Judaism, the center of world Jewry gradually switched from Judea to Babylon, which had the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora and it was there the Babylonian Talmud was composed. The land of Israel would not return as Judaism’s major religious center (although it would always remain a central tenant in prayer) until the 20th century.

Jerusalem and the Holy Land also fell to the Persian Sassanians and then to the Muslims in the early 7th century, marking the end of Byzantine Palestine, leaving only a diaspora of communities dotted throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.

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

The scapegoat and the crimson thread

YOM KIPPUR IS COMING: Scapegoat: The Origins of the Crimson Thread (Dr.Noga Ayali-Darshan, TheTorah.com).
During the Second Temple period, the scapegoat was tied with a crimson thread. While the Torah requires a crimson thread as part of the purification ritual for tzaraʿat (skin disease), it does not mention it by the scapegoat. Nevertheless, parallel practices found in 2nd millennium B.C.E. Hittite texts of Luwian origin imply that the use of a crimson thread is not a late innovation but an ancient part of the rite.

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

The masthead from a late-antique shipwreck

MARINE ARCHAEOLOGY: Rare masthead from ancient shipwreck found in northern Israel. Each artifact yielded information which can help unravel mysteries of this era (Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post).
A masthead found in a shipwreck off northern Israel sheds light on sailing and shipbuilding during the Late Antiquity period, according to a paper just published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

Maayan Cohen, a PhD candidate at the department of maritime civilizations at the University of Haifa, and Dr. Deborah Cvikel, a researcher at the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and a senior lecturer at the department of maritime civilizations – both at the University of Haifa – are the authors of the paper, titled, “Rigging of the Ma’agan Mikhael B shipwreck (7th–8th centuries AD): new finds.”

[...]
For more on the Ma’agan Mikhael B shipwreck see here. And follow the links from there for more posts on marine (maritime, underwater) archaeology and on the archaeology of ancient shipwrecks.

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

HB/JS job at UBC

ACADEMIC POST: Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies (Assistant Professor, tenure-track).
The Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver campus invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies to commence July 1, 2021. We seek a candidate who specializes in Hebrew Bible within its Iron Age or Persian Period contexts (i.e. pre-Hellenistic era), and demonstrates knowledge of the reception of the Hebrew Bible in later Jewish traditions. ...
Follow the link for further particulars and application information. "The deadline for the receipt of applications and reference letters is Oct 31st, 2020."

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

Thursday, September 24, 2020

More Syriac manuscripts recovered in Iraq

APPREHENDED: Iraq: dozens of Christian manuscripts stolen by ISIS recovered in Mosul. The historical artefacts were stolen from a church and hidden in the kitchen of a suspected ISIS member (Mina Aldroubi, The National).
Dozens of hidden Syriac manuscripts were recovered by Iraqi security forces late on Tuesday following the arrest of a suspected ISIS member in the northern Nineveh governorate.

The manuscripts were stolen from Assyrian churches in Mosul after the city became the extremist group's de facto capital in the country between 2014 and 2017.

[...]
No word on the contents of the manuscripts. The photo indicates that they are bound books and the bindings look recent. That doesn't necessarily tell us much about the manuscripts, though.

Cross-file under Syriac Watch. Some related stories are here and here and links.

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

Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity (ed. Novenson)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Series: Novum Testamentum, Supplements, Volume: 180
Editor: Matthew V. Novenson

In Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Matthew V. Novenson brings together thirteen state-of-the-art essays by leading scholars on the various ways ancient Jewish, Christian, and classical writers conceive of God, Christ, Wisdom, the demiurge, angels, foreign gods, and other divine beings. In particular, the book revisits the “early high Christology” debates of the 1990s, identifying the lasting contributions thereof as well as the lingering difficulties and new, emerging questions from the last thirty years of research. The essays in this book probe the much-touted but under-theorized distinctions between monotheism and polytheism, Judaism and Hellenism, Christianity and paganism. They show how what we call monotheism and Christology fit within the Greco-Roman world of which they are part.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €124.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43808-8
Publication Date: 25 Aug 2020
Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43797-5
Publication Date: 20 Aug 2020
Back in 1999 I co-edited a volume on much the same theme: The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (ed. Davila, Newman, Lewis. Brill). It was reprinted by Baylor University Press in 2017.

Many of the same contributors have essays in Professor Novenson's book. If you want to find out what's been happening in the subsequent couple of decades, it looks like the place to go.

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

Aelia Capitolina

HERITAGE DAILY: Aelia Capitolina – Roman Jerusalem. A historical survey, with archaeological etc. photos.

Aelia Capitolina was the Roman city founded on the ruins of the Second Temp-era city by the emperor Hadrian. Its founding was probably a precipitating factor for the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Some past PaleoJudaica posts on or involving Aelia Capitolina are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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

BAJS Annual Book Prize 2020 and 2021

THE BAJS Annual Book Prize has announced that it is opening soon.
BAJS is pleased to announce that the 2021 BAJS Book Prize competition will open shortly. The book prize initiative was launched by BAJS in 2018 to recognise and promote outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies. We will be inviting submissions focused on topics relating to the early modern or modern period. Volumes with a copyright date of 2019 or after will be eligible. Details of the competition will be announced later in 2020.
The current topic range is not of interest to PaleoJudaica, but I include it for information.

You have to read pretty far into the announcement to get to the 2020 winners:
  • Dr Lindsey Askin (University of Bristol), for Scribal Culture in Ben Sira published with Brill in 2018. Full details about the book are available here.
  • Professor Sacha Stern (University College London), for The Jewish Calendar Controversy of 921/2 CE published with Brill in 2019. Full details about the book are available here.
Congratulations to both winners!

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Late-antique Syriac mosaics excavated in Turkey church

EPIGRAPHY AND DECORATIVE ART: Mosaics in ancient church in southeastern Turkey unearthed (Daily Sabah). The church was reportedly built at the end of the fourth century.
The base of the church is inscribed with nine lines of Estrangelo, or Ancient Syriac, script, Tarkan said. "The mosaics also show depictions of animals, geometric shapes and human figures, as well as scenes depicting people hunting," he said. "The months of April and June are also inscribed on the human figures.”
There is a photo at the link.

Cross-file under Syriac Watch.

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

The Masorah of the (printed ed.) Cairo Codex of the Prophets

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Introduction to the Masorah | The Masorah of the Cairo Codex of the Prophets in Perez-Castro's Printed Edition (David DeLauro).

This is part four in the series. I noted part one here, part two here, and part three here.

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

Sogdian publications

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Publications on Sogdian. For the Sogdian language and why PaleoJudaica cares about it, see here. For past posts on Sogdian, see there and links and here and links.

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

Dahlén (ed.), Achaemenid Anatolia (open-access book)

THE AWOL BLOG: Achaemenid Anatolia: Persian Presence and Impact in the Western Satrapies 546–330 BC. Proceedings of an International Symposium at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 7–8 September 2017.

I recently noted a book on the Achaemenid Empire in Egypt here.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Boccaccini, Paul’s Three Paths to Salvation

NEW BOOK FROM EERDMANS:
Paul’s Three Paths to Salvation

Gabriele Boccaccini
Foreword by David Bentley Hart

HARDCOVER; Coming Soon: 9/29/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-3921-3
Price: $ 30.00
200 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

DESCRIPTION
“We no longer need to separate Paul from Judaism in order to claim his Christianness,” writes Gabriele Boccaccini, adding, “nor do we need to separate him from the early Jesus movement in order to state his Jewishness.” With this guiding principle Boccaccini unpacks the implications of Paul’s “belonging” simultaneously to Judaism and Christianity to arrive at the surprising and provocative conclusion that there are in fact three means of salvation:
  • For Jews, adherence to Torah.
  • For gentiles, good works according to conscience and natural law.
  • For all sinners, forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul’s Three Paths to Salvation is an attempt to reconcile the many facets of Paul’s complex identity while reclaiming him from accusations of intolerance, and Boccaccini’s work in reestablishing the figure of Paul as a messenger of God’s Mercy to the sinners is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about Paul’s place in the contemporary pluralistic world.

"I find much to admire in Gabriele Boccaccini's attempt to reconstruct Paul's own vision of salvation ... This is a splendid and necessary book." (David Bentley Hart, from the Foreword)

"Thanks in large part to the efforts of Gabriele Boccaccini, New Testament scholarship today is busy interpreting Paul within Second Temple Judaism. The interesting work is now in details: sorting out which features of traditional interpretations can stand and which need to be revised or jettisoned. In this fascinating book, Boccaccini threads this needle in his own inimitable way. Anyone interested in the Paul-within-Judaism debates really must read this book." (Matthew V. Novenson, University of Edinburgh)

"Gabriele Boccaccini's expertise in Second Temple Jewish apocalypticism, Enochic traditions in particular, combined with a commitment to read Paul within Judaism, warrants reconsideration of the potential relevance of 'salvation' in Paul's texts for both Christian and Jewish research." (Mark D. Nanos, University of Kansas)

"In this very accessible book, Boccaccini opens up a fresh angle for discussions on Paul. His wide knowledge of Second Temple Judaism and his focus on Enochic traditions helps to overcome the impasses of the current debate of 'Paul within Judaism.' He wisely avoids any ideological one-sidedness and helps to perceive the tensions in Paul's thought." (Jörg Frey, University of Zurich)

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

Wizard battles and demon circles in MNTA2

NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA WATCH: Wizard battles and demon circles revealed in newly translated Christian texts (Owen Jarus, Live Science). Mr. Jarus summarizes three of the texts newly translated in More New Testament Apocrypha volume 2, edited by Tony Burke.

Reviews and background are here and links.

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

"Passion" sequel is still on

CINEMA FRANCHISE RESURRECTION: 'Passion of the Christ' sequel still in development as Jim Caviezel teases 'the biggest film in world history' (Tom Butler, Yahoo News). Caviezel is still on to play Jesus. This sequel has been in the works since 2016, so no one seems to be in a hurry.

Background here and links.

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

Chicago Assyrian Dictionary online

THE AWOL BLOG: The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD).

The CAD was completed in 2011. For past posts on it, see here and links. Now the whole thing is available for free online. For you, special deal!

For other online Akkadian dictionaries, see here and here. And for why Akkadian still matters, see here and here.

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

Monday, September 21, 2020

Review of Thavapalan, The meaning of color in ancient Mesopotamia

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The meaning of color in ancient Mesopotamia.
Shiyanthi Thavapalan, The meaning of color in ancient Mesopotamia. Culture and history of the ancient Near East, 104. Leiden: Brill, 2019. 524 p.. ISBN9789004415379 €163,00.

Review by
Ulrike Steinert, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz. usteiner@uni-mainz.de

[...]

In conclusion, The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia is a ground-breaking, methodologically innovative, and insightful work. It makes an important contribution to the fields of color studies, historical semantics, and to the history of technologies, enriching our current understanding of Mesopotamian worldviews, languages and material culture. The book will be a valuable resource not only to Assyriologists, but, due to its comparative perspective, also to historians, linguists, and readers interested in the interrelations between language, thought, and culture.
For more on language and color perception in antiquity, see here and links. And for recovering the original color on an ancient monument, see here and links.

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

An old DSS documentary

VARIANT READINGS: Mr. Spock and Qumran. Brent Nongbri has come upon an old documentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls with you-know-who narrating.

Some sort of related posts are here and links.

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

The Masorah of MS BH MSS1

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Introduction to the Masorah | Editing the Masorah of the Manuscript BH MSS1 (Madrid, Complutensian Library) (Elvira Martín-Contreras).

This is part three in the series. I noted part one here and part two here.

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

Abraham in Jewish and Early Christian Literature (ed. Adams & Domoney-Lyttle)

THE AWOL BLOG: Abraham in Jewish and Early Christian Literature. An open-access book from Bloomsbury/T&T Clark:

Abraham in Jewish and Early Christian Literature
Sean A. Adams and Zanne Domoney-Lyttle (eds)
T&T Clark 2019

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