Thursday, October 23, 2003


Aramaic in Post-Biblical Judaism and Early Christianity

NEH Summer Seminar
June 14-July 23, 2004
Duke University

In this six-week seminar, participants will study the Aramaic language and literature of post-biblical Judaism and early Christianity. In the mornings, participants will receive intensive instruction in three dialects of Aramaic: Jewish Literary Aramaic of first-century Judea and Qumran, Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of Galilee in the third century and later, and Syriac, used extensively in Eastern Christianity. The Seminar is structured so that participants, upon successful completion, will have mastered at least one dialect for use in their personal research.

In the evenings, there will be seminars discussing the literature written in these dialects and analyzing how that literature can be used in historical and religious studies of ancient Judaism and Christianity. Topics will include: Dead Sea Scrolls, Bar Kokhba, synagogue and ossuary inscriptions, the language of Jesus, Targums and Peshitta, rabbinic literature, and Dura Europos, as well as Ephrem and Aphrahat. One week will be devoted to seminars on the history and development of the Aramaic language.

The six-week program will be organized to give participants support to do original research in Aramaic on a topic of their choice and to compose a publishable paper on it.

The organizers and principal teachers are: Eric M. Meyers, Paul V.M. Flesher, and Lucas Van Rompay.

Guest teachers and seminar leaders: Michael Sokoloff, Bar Ilan University (Israel); Douglas Gropp, Catholic University of America; Hayim Lapin, University of Maryland; Tina Shepardson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Participants will be selected from applicants who have completed their doctoral dissertation. Knowledge of Hebrew as well as elementary knowledge of (any type of) Aramaic are a prerequisite. Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3700.

For application information, please contact:

Nancy Hurtgen
Department of Religion
NEH Seminar
Box 90964
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708-0964
SORRY FOR THE LIGHT BLOGGING. I spent more than nine hours at the UCSD Library yesterday and lugged home about nine hundred photocopied pages (to go with the 175 from San Diego State from last week). I have no idea how I'm going to fit it all in our luggage. The last two weeks have been very busy and the last several days especially stressful. I have lots of things lined up to post but very little time for posting. Bear with me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

THE ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTRY has been accused by the Antiquties Authority of damaging a Christian archaeological site - a 1500-year-old Byzantine monastery - during the contruction of the controversial security barrier. It denies the charge.
FURTHER TO MY POST BELOW on favorite Jesus movies, Mark Goodacre likes Jesus Christ Superstar the best - unless we allow The Life of Brian, which is really a satire of first-century Jewish messianism rather than a Jesus movie per se. If we're including The Life of Brian, I would put it second. Very funny and very quotable: "That halibut was fit for Jehovah!" "Romans go home!" "Crucifixion? Yes. Good!" "Bloody favoritism!" And so on.

Monday, October 20, 2003

HERE'S NEWS ON SOME SYRIAC INCANTATIONS from Kurdistan, located at Harvard University and being edited by John Brolley, a scholar at the University of Cincinnati.

Sunday, October 19, 2003