Saturday, July 19, 2003

I'M OFF TO CAMBRIDGE early tomorrow morning for the International Society of Biblical Literature conference. As promised, I have posted my paper "(How) Can We Tell if a Greek Apocryphon or Pseudepigraphon Has Been Translated from Hebrew or Aramaic?" online, along with the handout that goes with it. It replaces an earlier version that was an online lecture for my Old Testament Pseudepigrapha course in 2002 and is a short and preliminary version of a chapter in the book that I intend to finish next year while on research leave. Comments welcome, as always.

The conference starts tomorrow evening and goes until Friday morning. I will try to catch a few minutes here and there to let you know how things are going, but blogging is likely to be very light until Saturday the 26th.

Meanwhile, I encourage you to visit the sites I mentioned when I left for the Enoch Seminar. (And by the way, Avraham, if Naomi Chana was there, she didn't reveal herself to me and I can't think of any likely candidates unless she's fiddled her biographical details.) Readers should also keep an eye on Bible and Interpretation News, which invariably has interesting online stuff pertaining to the Bible.

Want more? Then have a look at The Sch�yen Collection:

This is a huge private collection of manuscripts (ancient to modern) including Qumran and later Hebrew Bible manuscripts, NT and LXX manuscripts, Latin Bible fragments, Coptic Bible fragments, biblical and Christian Ethiopic MSS, Bible fragments in other languages, other Qumran texts and materials, and much more, ranging from Sumerian tablets to Shakespeare fragments, with good photographs of most of it. The collection is located mostly in London and Oslo and most of the manuscripts are not yet published, although publication of much of it is underway.

I'm not sure our server problems are entirely over, so if you want to e-mail me about something it would be a good idea to wait until I'm back home. Have a good week, I'll blog if and when I can, and I expect to be back at my desk on Saturday, 26 July.
ANDREW SULLIVAN IS WONDERING ABOUT THE NAILS IN THE PALMS IN THE TRAILER FOR THE PASSION (scroll up for more). He cites two web pages, one of which is by a medical doctor and which includes some dodgy references (e.g., studies of the Shroud of Turin and stuff from Josh McDowell). The other is an article by Joseph Zias, who is perhaps the world's expert on the subject. In another article Zias said:

The upright remained stationary and the victim carried the crossbeam to his execution. Once the crossbeam was affixed to the upright, the victim would be nailed or tied to the cross. In the case of nailing, the nail would be driven through the wrist rather than the palm.

although he doesn't say why he concludes this. But elsewhere he is quoted as explaining:

``You cannot crucify a person through the hands because there is nothing there but skin and muscle. It will tear. It has to be through the wrist,''

So, sorry Mel Gibson, but physiology requires that crucifixion by nailing (as opposed to tying, which also happened � see both articles just quoted) was through the wrists, not the palms.

UPDATE: Sullivan cites an unnamed reader who says that a "newer theory holds that indeed the hands and feet were entry points, but that wooden washers made from the cut trunk of young trees were used for additional support." I've never heard of this and no reference is cited. Would this prevent the palms from ripping? Is there any evidence for it? In any case, no wooden washers are visible in the trailer. Sullivan also notes that Pilate speaks Latin with the ecclesiastical pronunciation.

UPDATE (21 July): Okay, the trailer does show ropes holding him to the cross. I doubt this would work (i.e., keep the hands from ripping through) but at least they're acknowledging the problem. And the Aramaic pronuciation sounds all right (Elohi rather than Matthews Eloi).
SOME PEOPLE COUNT THE REIGN OF CHARLEMAGNE AS THE END OF ANTIQUITY, so on that theory I'll link to the following story, which involves the king, a Jewish merchant, the Caliph Harun ar-Rashid, and a white elephant named Abu Abbas.

Baghdad, Jerusalem, Aachen � On the Trail of the White Elephant (Deutsche Well)

1,200 years ago three men set off on a journey from Europe to the Middle East and back. Today their trip across three cultures and religions is recreated in the Aachen exhibit "Ex oriente: Isaac and the white elephant."

Baghdad and Jerusalem. Today the cities conjure up images of armed conflict and religious strife. For many they are the epitome of the collision between the Orient and Occident, the battlefields of global interests, where the foreign other is so different and distant from Europe. But a thousand years ago the cities represented the pinnacle of cultural and religious symbiosis and were the choice destination for one of history�s lesser-known but certainly more interesting journeys.

The year was 797 in the Christian calendar (4557 in the Jewish and 175 in the Muslim dating system). Charlemagne, King of the Francs, had sent forth two of his envoys and the Jewish merchant Isaac to the court of Harun al Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad. Their mission: establish contact with the ruler of the Abbasids and observe the ways of the city on the Euphrates. Compared to the town of Aachen with its 400 some residents, Baghdad was a flourishing metropolis, a renowned place of learning and a melting point for various cultures and religions.

When the envoys departed from Charlemagne�s court in western Germany, the distant lands of the Orient were still largely unknown and exotic. The envoy�s route led them first to upper Italy, then by ship to the holy city of Jerusalem, and from there to Baghdad, the seat of the Abbasid Caliph. All in all, the men traversed a good portion of the known world at the time, passing through the territories of the three great monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

After several months in Baghdad, the men embarked on their return journey, laden with gifts, the most impressive of which was a white Indian elephant, Abu Abbas � a symbol of friendship from the Muslim caliph to the Christian king. But because the pachyderm was so much slower than a horse, the return voyage turned into an arduous four-year adventure along the southern Mediterranean from Jerusalem to Carthage, where Isaac � who was now traveling alone � and Abu Abbas set sail to Italy. In the spring of 802, Isaac crossed the Alps on elephant-back and rode on to Aachen in the Kingdom of the Francs.


(Via H-Judaic Digest)

We are saddened to learn of the passing, in Jerusalem, of Prof. Shmuel Safrai, Emeritus Professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University, and one of the world's greatest experts on the era of the Second Temple. His numerous publications on the Temple, the Mishnah, the liturgy, the early synagogue, and more stand as a monument to his many decades of productive scholarship. Prof. Safrai passed away in his sleep in Jerusalem at age 84.

Jonathan D. Sarna
Chair, H-Judaic

May his memory be for a blessing.
THIS IS OFF TOPIC, but it's good news for archaeologists and, I think, for the American public as well.

House Votes To Save Jobs Of Park Service Archaeologists

By Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 19, 2003; Page A04

The House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to block the Bush administration from privatizing two National Park Service archaeological centers and firing the archaeologists who work there.

The action late Thursday was a setback for the administration's "competitive sourcing" initiative, which seeks to submit 15 percent of all government jobs to private competition. The Interior Department has targeted the Midwest Archaeological Center, in Lincoln, Neb., and the Southeast Archaeological Center, in Tallahassee, as part of its quota under the plan.

Late Thursday, the House voted 362 to 57 to cut off funding of efforts to put the jobs of the 100 archaeologists at the centers up for bid. The measure was attached to the Interior Department spending bill, which passed late Thursday, 268 to 152.


Friday, July 18, 2003


Roger Atwood's account of the looting of the Baghdad Museum has been reprinted by the Wall Street Journal (via Jack Sasson on the IraqCrisis list). Walter Sommerfeld's version of the same events (noted in the 23 June update here) has been reprinted by Counterpunch and Countercurrents and some similar sites. Which is more likely to be reliable? I blog, you decide.

There's lot's more in the news about the looting of Iraqi antiquities but I don't have time to track it all. The current estimate is that about 10,500 artifacts were taken from the Baghdad Museum. And serious looting continues in many ruins. (I wish someone would take up my proposal to douse the looters with liquid putrescine from the air. Anyone know who I could suggest this to?). Anyhow, I encourage you either to subscribe to the IraqCrisis list and/or to watch its archive and Francis Deblauwe's site.
ACADEMIC TALMUD STUDY is listed as #4 in Jewsweek's list of not-quite-60 hottest people and things in the Jewish universe this year. Torah is #48, God is #52.5, and Alicia Silverstone is #1. But the list isn't ranked.
LOCAL NEWS: BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGICAL WEEKEND (via Archaeology Magazine News). The London Times reports:

NEARLY 200 museums and archaeological sites across Britain will be open this weekend to celebrate National Archaeology Days.

There's more information here. This ties in nicely with the Scotsman's report of two important Neolithic finds (via ditto) in the Kingdom of Fife, where St. Andrews is located.

Let's party!

Student of early Christianities:

Karen L. King doesn't want to rewrite the Bible. But she does want people to take another look at the parts that got left out.
By Ken Gewertz
Gazette staff

King, the Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Divinity School, is the author of a new book, "What Is Gnosticism?" (Harvard University Press, 2003), which offers a provocative look at Christianity during its formative centuries and the heterogeneous array of groups, doctrines, and beliefs that all claimed to be inspired in some way by Jesus.

At the beginning, each of these groups claimed to represent the true Christianity, although they disagreed over basic issues. It wasn't until later that one group succeeded in labeling the others as heretics and driving them out of the fold.

"I wanted to rewrite the history of early Christianity without writing backwards, without looking at it as a process that culminated inevitably in the Christianity we know today. How did things look to the people who were around at that time? How do you go about inventing a new religion?"

It is a book King has been thinking about and working on for at least 20 years, ever since she was a graduate student in Germany studying under Hans-Martin Schenke, one of the first editors of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts.


"Gnosticism is a blanket term that covers a lot of early Christian movements. There wasn't a distinct religion called Gnosticism. It only existed as a tool of orthodox identity formation."


"Now this one group defines itself as orthodox, and all the rest get lumped together as heretical. Modern scholars then divide them up into two groups, Jewish Christians if they stay too close to Judaism, and Gnostics if they seem to reject Judaism and move toward Greek philosophy and mysticism. It gives each an identity and a unity they never actually had."

While King questions the existence of an early Christian sect identifying itself as Gnostic, her research does show that a wide diversity of groups flourished in the early Christian era. The picture contradicts long-cherished assumptions that early or "primitive" Christianity possessed a salutary purity and simplicity.


If such doctrinal diversity existed among early Christians, how is it that the version of the religion we call orthodox eventually vanquished its rivals? While the answer is extraordinarily complex, King believes a crucial factor was the influence of one man - the emperor Constantine.


"Constantine picked the kind of Christianity that best suited his political needs," King said. "He had a huge influence on the subsequent development of the religion."


But now that 1,500 years have passed, King suggests it may be time to reconsider some of the writings that the early Fathers of the Church decided were noncanonical.

"Are those choices that were made in the fourth and fifth centuries the right ones for Christians living today? Maybe we should go back and look at those early choices. As a feminist theologian, I think there are some texts that it would be good to recover."

The texts King has her eye on include "The Gospel of Mary," in which Mary Magdalene plays a prominent role as an apostle in spreading the faith; "The Gospel of Thomas," which leaves out traditional features of the Jesus story like the virgin birth and the resurrection but portrays Jesus as a divine teacher of wisdom; and "The Secret Book of John," which criticizes the violence, deceit, and materialism of society.

King doesn't expect or want these texts to achieve biblical status, but she thinks they are worth studying for a sense of the alternative voices that are still part of the Christian heritage.

"All religions have within them plural possibilities, which means we are always selecting materials to apply to the situations in which we find ourselves, and so people are responsible for what they appropriate and how they interpret tradition."

Students who are committed to particular Christian traditions sometimes find King's probing, questioning attitude toward scripture disturbing. For them she has a message that is part reassurance, part challenge.

"I'm not trying to take the canon away from them, but to bring it to their attention. I believe that if these texts are important to you, then you need to know what theological controversies and political events shaped them, and who decided that they should be authoritative for you."

As an experiment, I'm blogging from our local Internet cafe this morning. My coffee is finished and I think I've had enough for now, so I'm headed back to my office.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

SPEAKING OF BOB KRAFT, "'Parabiblical Literature' in Early Judaism and Early Christianity" is a course taught by Professor Kraft at the University of Pennsylvania last (2002-03) academic year in tandem with the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins, which was devoted to the same topic. These course notes are just one of the pages on Bob's extraordinarily useful website.
THE JEWISH STUDIES QUARTERLY (Princeton University) is looking for a part-time managing editor (via Robert Kraft on the PSCO list).
BELIEFNET HAS AN INTERVIEW WITH ELAINE PAGELS about her new book Beyond Belief (via Bible and Interpretation News).

Dear Colleagues:

I have been asked by my university to post the following job opening in my unit. Please direct any enquiries about (not to me but) to the person named in the ad. Please feel free to circulate it further.



The Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, York University, invites applications for a tenure-stream appointment at the Assistant Professor level in the field of Christian Origins and New Testament Literature. The appointment, to commence July 1, 2004, is subject to budgetary approval.

We seek a candidate with a completed PhD at the time of appointment, evidence of a vigorous research agenda with scholarly interests in the Jewish, Greek, and Roman contexts of early Christianity, and promise of excellence in teaching. Other requirements include the ability to teach broad undergraduate courses in Christian studies from an interdisciplinary perspective in the first- and second-year Foundations programme, as well as ancient Greek language. The successful candidate must also have the potential to undertake graduate teaching and supervision. The successful candidate will join the Programmes in Religious Studies and in Classical Studies within the interdisciplinary Division of Humanities; membership in the Centre for Jewish Studies is also possible.

A letter of application, curriculum vitae, three confidential letters of recommendation and a sample of the applicant�s written work (no longer than 20 pages) should reach the Chair by 31 October 2003: Professor Doug Freake, Division of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3 Canada (email:; phone: 416-736-5158; fax: 416-736-5460).

York University is an Affirmative Action Employer. The Affirmative Action Program can be found on York�s website at or a copy can be obtained by calling the affirmative action office at 416 736-5713.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents will be given priority.
HERE'S AN ARTICLE ON THE INTERNET SACRED TEXTS ARCHIVE, which I've been blogging on during the last week.

Sacred Text Site Explains World Faiths (from Editor and Publisher)
A Wonderful Resource for Religion Journalists

Finding the actual texts that are sacred to specific religions around the world can be a daunting task, even when you have access to a world-class library. How many libraries can provide precious shelf space, for instance, for the Akaranga Sutra and Kalpa Sutra of Jainism or the Zend-Avesta of Zoroastrianism, the Kitab-i-Aqdas of Baha'i, or even the early books of Christianity?

Fortunately, because of an important Web site called Internet Sacred Text Archives, you no longer have to hunt those dusty shelves. Calling itself "a quiet place in cyberspace devoted to religious tolerance and scholarship," the Sacred Text Archives is the brainchild of J.B. Hare. Working with a number of colleagues and volunteers, Hare has compiled and preserved a vast reservoir of religious and philosophical texts from a number of public domain sources.


Read it all. The site has just added a section on Kwakiutl Tales. Cool.

Decalogue or Eleven-alogue? (from Forward Magazine)

The Decalogue, or Ten Commandments � so a federal court has decided, citing the Constitution's separation of church and state � must be removed from the rotunda of the Alabama State Judicial Building in Montgomery, together with the granite monument on which they were carved.

Or is it the Eleven Commandments? Anyone counting the number of commandments appearing in photographs of the monument's two tablets of the Law � something that, to the best of my knowledge, no one but the author of this column has bothered to do � can't help blinking. Nine....ten....eleven. You can count them from top to bottom or bottom to top, left to right or right to left; they still come out the same.

That's right, Eleven: Five on the left-hand tablet and six on the right-hand one. On the left we have, "I am the Lord thy God"; "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me"; "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"; "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," and "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." And on the right, "Honor thy father and thy mother"; "Thou shalt not kill"; "Thou shalt not commit adultery"; "Thou shalt not steal"; "Thou shalt not bear false witness," and "Thou shalt not covet."


What gives?

To find out, read the rest of it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

HERE IS A MIDRASH BIBLIOGRAPHY compiled by faculty at HUC-JIR. Searchable and annotated with useful comments but does not seem to have been updated since 1997.
I'VE UPDATED YESTERDAY'S POST ON THE ZECHARIAH INSCRIPTION with a note from Joe Zias on those "earlier writings."

A Quest for the Lost Hebrew Gospel
by David Bivin

I've recommended articles on this site in the past, so I should note that this is a very weak piece on the Semitic language background of the Gospels, which pretty much ignores the secondary literature (on the NT and on retroversion) over the last century. It also mixes up the question of reconstructing Q (composed in Greek) with the quite separate question of retroverting a Hebrew or Aramaic original from a Greek translation. Rather than trying to evaluate the piece at length (which I don't have time to do), I'll refer you to my paper on the latter problem for the Greek Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. I'm writing it now for presentation next week at the International Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Cambridge and, as usual, I'll post it before I go. Read it and you should be able to see why I'm so disappointed with this article, even as a popular presentation.

Watch this space.

The True Cross
Separating Myth from History

Jan Willem Drijvers

In the days of Constantine the Great, the cross on which Jesus died was �rediscovered� in Jerusalem. Tradition gives Constantine�s mother, Helena, full credit for the find. Today, visitors to Jerusalem are shown the very spot, in a cistern beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the empress is said to have unearthed not only the true cross, but the nails that punctured Jesus� hands and feet, the crosses of the two thieves who died beside Jesus, and the plaque, naming Jesus �King of the Jews,� that hung on his cross.

For her efforts, Helena was named a saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern churches; in art, the cross became her symbol. In more recent times, she has been hailed as the first biblical archaeologist. But did Helena actually find the true cross? And if not, how did this legend, kept alive in Renaissance paintings and today�s popular press, arise?


As you probably already guessed, she didn't find the true cross. Indeed, it appears she didn't even find a fake one. An interesting story.

The August issue also has an article by Bernhard Lang on the names of God, and some other goodies too.

Silberman, Neil Asher and Ernest S. Frerichs
Archaeology and Society in the 21st Century: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Case Studies

Talmon, Shemaryahu, Jonathan Ben-Dov and Uwe Glessmer
Qumran Cave 4 XVI: Calendrical Texts

Funk, Wolf-Peter, Paul-Hubert Poirier and John D. Turner
Marsanes (NH X)

Turner, John D.
Sethian Gnosticism and the Platonic Tradition

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Cross has thought for some time that the "James Ossuary" is a forgery. Shanks and Lemaire want to see the full IAA report before they are convinced.
JOE ZIAS E-MAILS regarding the Zechariah (Absalom's Tomb) Inscription:

One last item, vis a vis the inscriptions atop Absalom. While the inscriptions are 4th century they are based on earlier writings which suggest that Zach. James and Simon may be buried there in the valley. We have just finished some more casting and preliminary results show that there are more inscriptions there. We will present these at the SBL meetings in Atlanta. What is of interest is that no one has challenged the finding, prob. because no dealers nor is Shanks involved, also Puech is one of those rare scholars who seldom 'gets it wrong. Secondly, as the insc. is 1.5 meters long one has to ask about literacy among the 'people of the book' it was def. meant to be seen from a distance.

I'd like to hear more about these earlier writings.

UPDATE (16 July): Joe Zias e-mails in reply:

Basically I'm presently contemplating that that the (1st century AD?) "pillar" mentioned by Hegesippus in the 2nd (quoted by Eusebius)�may be identical to the "Absalom" monument.

"...and they buried him [in the valley?] on the spot [where he was killed] and the [nearby but not same spot?] pillar [="Absalom"?] erected to his memory still [according to Hegesippus and/or Eusebius?] remains..."

The quotation is from Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 2.23.

I'm writing to you about the following from your blog:
"two ancient temples once stood.
''And that, please God, is where the temple shall rise again,'' he said.

Although I strongly support the right of people of all religious faiths
(or none) to visit the Temple Mount, I don't find that last quotation
very encouraging."

Whenever I read anything like this it reminds me of my first visit to the western wall. There, as a religious Jew, I faced the extraordinary reality of the dome of the rock - one of the most beautiful and revered buildings in the world. One can't help noticing that it is, shall we say, in the way of rebuilding the Jewish Temple.

Traditionally religious Jews must believe that the third temple will be built in that location, unless we receive a clear divine command to build it elsewhere, but most of us believe the rebuilding will happen, at that very site, only when the Messiah comes. When the Messiah comes anything can happen, so - who knows - perhaps the dome of the rock and the Jewish temple will superimpose.

There are definitely Jews (not a large number) who want to rebuild that temple as soon as possible, and to them the Dome of the rock is an immediate annoyance. Please do not assume that the person you quoted belongs to that minority. He may just, like me, long for a time in the future when religious hatred will be completely resolved and there will be no impediment to rebuilding.

The reason why I found that comment "not very encouraging" is that it can hardly be taken by Muslims as anything but "fighting words." I don't know exactly what the speaker meant; maybe he was hoping that God would put a third temple on the Temple Mount in quantum superposition with the Dome of the Rock or put them both in parallel timelines linked to the temple platform or whatever, but what would naturally occur to most readers would be that he wanted the Dome of the Rock torn down and replaced with the third temple. Who knows how selectively he was quoted by the reporter who, being a reporter, would naturally display his words prominently and not necessarily in context. But saying anything like this to the media on a newly reopened tour of the Temple Mount was, to say the least, imprudent and unhelpful.

To underline my point I refer you to a recent article in Al Jazeerah (via Protocols), which quoted "The Islamic Action Front (IAF), Jordan�s largest political party" as follows:

�Bush spoke during the Aqaba meeting on June 4 about sharing the holy land between Israelis and the Palestinians. What Bush meant found expression in the Zionist decision allowing Jews to enter the Islamic shrine, because historians do not recognize the existence of any holy place for the Jews in Jerusalem,� the statement said.

My italics. The Islamic Action Front is promoting a fantasy that denies a basic historical fact - the ancient Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, a fact verified by a vast amount of historical evidence - to support their political agenda. The article continues:

The IAF cautioned that allowing Jews to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque had the aim of �demolishing the Islamic shrine and rebuilding the alleged biblical temple in its place�.

My italics. Unfortunately, statements like the one from that Jewish tourist give support to this accusation and indirectly give credibility to the people who deny that there was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount. When Jews and Christians call for a third temple on the Temple Mount, it can only be seen by Muslims as a provocation. It too is a fantasy, about the future rather than the past. Fantasizing about how we wish the past had been is futile: we can't change what really happened. Fantasizing about the future can be pretty futile too: what we imagine may not happen (and fantasies about what God is going to do have an especially poor track record). In the meantime there is the present to be lived in. I wish we could leave aside both fantasies and try to get along with each other right now.

AFTERTHOUGHT: No, I'm not saying that all eschatological scenarios are false. How the heck could I know that? I'm saying that such scenarios have had a lousy track record so far and if you hold to one you should hold it with humility and put some real thought into how your expression of it affects events and people in the here-and-now.

Monday, July 14, 2003

HERE'S A COLLECTION OF JEWISH SCRIPTURES AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS from the Internet Sacred Text Archive. It includes links to the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew and in English, translations of the Talmud, Pirke Avot, Sepher Yetzirah, Kabbalah extracts, Midrash, and Maimonides. It also has Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews (already noted here) and some modern Jewish texts. The translations are generally very old and should not be used for serious work, but they could be useful for initial soundings and, of course, the price is right.

If you are squeamish don't watch it. Also, note to Mel: the nails go in the wrists, not the palms. Even Stigmata got that right.

Sunday, July 13, 2003


Maybe time travel could be possible (USA Today)

Q: I believe Einstein's General Relativity Theory mathematically proved that time travel into the past is impossible. Do the recent experiments showing that light can be slowed, then returned to its normal speed, have any theoretical implications for time travel?

A: Yes, according to Ronald Mallett, theoretical physicist and professor at the University of Connecticut, recent experiments slowing light's speed may make time-travel feasible. Mallet thinks he can harness slow-light energy and turn the future into the past.


Mallett thinks time travel is not merely theoretically possible but doable , given the speed-of-light breakthrough. He and a group of scientists at University of Connecticut are designing the first experiment to test Mallett's ideas. They plan to build a time-travel device.


This is an old article (06/20/2001) but Professor Mallett was recently featured on the Discovery Channel and he also gave a public lecture on his work last week. Unfortunately, the device they're building only transfers atomic particles through time, but I suppose that's a start. A greater drawback is that travel to the past can't go any farther back than when the time machine itself was built, so we'd have to borrow a machine from a friendly ancient alien civilization if we wanted to go back to paleojudaic times. Other articles on Professor Mallett's work can be found in the Village Voice and Ananova.
THE EARLY JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM WEB PAGE of the Society of Biblical Literature lists the papers that have been presented in the group since its inception in 1996. The texts of many of the papers are included. I'm currently a member of its steering committee.
ARCHAEOLOGY IS RUBBISH. A new book by the people who make the television series "Time Team" in Britain.

Music taps roots of religion (Cincinnati Enquirer)

The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble are playing in the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati today. For a sample of their music go here.

Defender of 1st-century Jesus inscription fight back following Israeli fraud charge (Dodge City Daily Globe)

Nothing new, but it covers what's been said and done so far.