Saturday, November 26, 2005

ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE, David Meadows, coiner of the term "bibliobloggers," has a few things to say about it. I'm pretty busy right now, but I may get around to posting more on the subject.

UPDATE: A summary of the discussion and some very sane thoughts by Mark Goodacre.

UPDATE: I don't read Dutch, but this post seems to indicate that there is a substantial Dutch Biblioblogosphere about which I know next to nothing. And there's also Anders Aschim's Norwegian Blix Blog. If you have a biblioblog in a language other than English, drop me a note so I can make a list. Remember, I use "bibliobloggers" to mean "bloggers who have a primary or at least a significant focus on academic Biblical Studies."

Also, I have been updating my SBL CARG-Biblioblogging-Session Roundup post.

UPDATE (27 November): Ed Cook e-mails:
My Dutch isn't so hot, but "het informatielandschap van bibliotheek en
mediatheek" seems to refer to library and information science. My
guess is that the biblioblog you refer to is more about books than
bibles. (But I'm not sure.)

Thanks for the correction. This other use of "biblioblog" and potential confusion arising from it were also mentioned in the CARG session. Aschim's blog, however, does deal with biblical matters.

Also, Mark Goodacre responds to Paul Nikkel here.
PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: The Old Testament pseudepigrapha and the book of 1 Enoch made it into the news earlier this month in the North Adams Transcript in "Looking at the Bible as a great work of literature." The article interviews Edem Dekel, professor of classics and Jewish studies at Williams College. I suspect that some of the quotations are inaccurate.
The function of the Bible as literature is found not only in its own pages, but in the form of off-shoot texts that were crafted as a compliment to the official sacred ones. A second set of Hebrew books called the Pseudepigrapha — which is Greek for "written under a false names" — contains such things as "The Testament of Adam" and "The Testament of Isaac," which claim either to be written by the Biblical characters they are named after, or sometimes, just be concerned with the story behind the story of these same characters. It's a bit like Biblical fan fiction.

The pseudepigrapha survive almost entirely in languages other than Hebrew. Neither of the two works mentioned is in Hebrew.
One of the most interesting tales to pop up in the Pseudoepigrapha is the Book of Enoch, one of the so-called "begats" between Adam and Noah in the Book of Genesis. The rabbis took an interest because of the wording used to describe Enoch's life — whereas everyone else was listed as dying, Enoch's fate is described as "then he was no more."

"This was always seen as a kind of weird problem," said Dekel. "The Book of Enoch explains to us that Enoch didn't die, he was taken up while he was still alive, taken up to heaven and given a kind of world tour of heaven, of the future of the world, and he was sent to write a vision of everything that he saw that was then transmitted back to earth."

In this way, The Book of Enoch is an early form of the apocalyptic traditions that lead to later works like Revelations. In true literary form, later sections of the Bible often borrow from earlier sections in their stories as a method of not only solidifying the validity of the newer stories, but as an early form of a time-honored storytelling technique. One of the more noticeable places that this happens is in the resemblance between the births of Moses and Jesus.

"Pseudepigrapha" and "Revelation" please. Sigh.
MAIMONIDES IS STILL "IN" according to the Washington Post:
The Doctor Is Still In
Medieval Rabbi-Healer Maimonides Linked Body, Soul

By Philip Kennicott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 26, 2005; Page C01

No one in his right mind today would willingly submit to the medical ministrations of Moses Maimonides, the great 12th-century Jewish doctor and philosopher. Maimonides, very much a man of the medieval world, possessed a medical wisdom that was little more than a mix of herbs and hokum, borrowed from the ancient Greeks. At best, it might meet the basic ethical dictum to do no harm.

Yet Maimonides remains almost a saint among doctors, a medieval Albert Schweitzer, a Jewish Hippocrates. Hospitals around the world bear his name and Jewish doctors still gather together in Maimonides Societies in almost every American city. And as Yale surgeon and best-selling author Sherwin Nuland points out in a new book, many Jews still feel a deep affinity for the man they know by an acronym of his Hebrew name, "the Rambam."


A long, interesting article. The 800th anniversary of Maimonides's death was in 2004.

Friday, November 25, 2005

'Temple' to be built in the north (YNet News)

A 25-meter-tall (82 feet) replica of Solomon's temple in ancient Jerusalem to be built in northern city of Kiryat Shemoneh. Project will cost 8 million dollars to build, become main feature of city's Bible World amusement park


(Via Bible and Intepretation News.)
BETTER PHOTOS: A couple of the images I posted yesterday were too dark, so I've replaced them with enhanced versions that are clearer (here and here).
THE UPCOMING EXHIBITION called "Cradle of Christianity," to be held in the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage near Cleveland, is covered briefly in Cleveland Jewish News. The Temple Scroll is the most famous artifact to be displayed, but there's more:
It features treasures from the Israel Museum, dating from the time of Jesus through the concurrent development of Judaism and Christianity in the 4th-7th centuries.

Many of these items will be on view for the first time in the U.S., and the Cleveland exhibition includes the first and only presentation outside of Israel of one of the most important Dead Sea Scrolls, the Temple Scroll. Other highlights will include the burial ossuary of High Priest Caiaphas, a graffito of the Menorah that stood in the Second Temple, and a stone inscription from the Temple Mount.

The exhibition starts at the end of March.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

ORIGEN ON SHEVA: obdurate philologists will want to read Shai's post on "The short vowels in the Hexapla" over at the Hebrew and Aramaic Philology blog.
APRIL DECONICK, a member of the SBL Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Section's steering committee, has a new book out which was reviewed in an SBL session. You can read a notice of the book in this article in the Illinois Wesleyan Today. April's marketing was impressive: as we left the session, the publisher had someone waiting outside the door to hand us fliers for the book. I must keep that in mind.
SBL UPDATES: Today I have updated SBL postings with photos and additional comments here, here, here, and here. Have a look.
POPULAR CULTURE WATCH: This The Three Wise Men animated DVD sounds pretty lame, but it's interesting that one of the human bad guys is named "Belial." This is the name for the Devil in the Dead Sea Scrolls, so it seems that the name and something of its connotations has penetrated the popular consciousness.
Jimmy is a troubled little boy who doesn't believe in Christmas anymore after not receiving a gift. But even though Christmas Day is drawing to a close, his friend Alfredo the shopkeeper knows a way to teach the boy about the spirit of the holiday. He tells him a story about three wise men - Melchor, Baltasar, and Gaspar – who have gone out in search of a treasure. They are helped by Sarah, a rebel warrior. But Herod, the wicked King of Judea, and his second-in-command Belial want the treasure to prove that Herod is the true king.
THE MASADA DATE SPROUT is alive, well, and growing:
2,000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving
John Roach
for National Geographic News
November 22, 2005

A sapling germinated earlier this year from a 2,000-year-old date palm seed is thriving, according to Israeli researchers who are cultivating the historic plant.

"It's 80 centimeters [3 feet] high with nine leaves, and it looks great," said Sarah Sallon, director of the Hadassah Medical Organization's Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center (NMRC) in Jerusalem.


This article is the most detailed I have seen. Read it all.

(Heads-up, reader Andrew Blumberg.)
YESHIVA UNIVERSITY is hosting a lecture series in recognition of Louis Feldman:
Lecture Series Honors Celebrated Professor

By Eitan Kastner (The Commentator)
Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A series of interdisciplinary humanities lectures have been planned in honor of Yeshiva's classics professor, Dr. Louis Feldman.

Feldman received a PhD. in the classics from Harvard University in the early 1950's and has been teaching at Yeshiva for the past fifty-one years. He has written, co-written, and edited sixteen books and has written over 170 articles.


The first lecture of the series was given on November 17 by a classics professor from Tel Aviv University, Dr. Jonathan Price. The lecture, which was given during club hour, was entitled "Voices in Stone: What Inscriptions Tell us about Ancient Jewish History."


A well-deserved honor.
Renovated Jewish Museum opens in Rome

By Daniel Mosseri in Rome Updated: 23/Nov/2005 18:24
(European Jewish Press)

The Jewish Community of Rome inaugurated its new Jewish Museum on Tuesday starting with a very well-attended ceremony in Rome's main synagogue.

While the public crowded onto both floors of the building, a number of Italian personalities, from the Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni to the Italian Minister for cultural heritage Rocco Buttiglione, took part in the event.

Leone Paserman, chairman of the Jewish Community, opened the ceremony by thanking Mayor Veltroni for the "important contribution" that has enabled the renovation of the old museum.

The new 600 square metre premises host a large Gallery of Antique Marbles.


I don't know how much in the museum is ancient by PaleoJudaica's standards, but it sounds like an interesting collection

UPDATE: This article has more:
New museum spotlights Jewish Rome

(ANSA) - Rome, November 22 - Rome's Jewish community, the oldest in Europe, on Tuesday opened a museum to document its long and eventful history .

The 600-square-metre exhibition space is under the city's synagogue, near the river Tiber and close to the heart of the area which was once the capital's Jewish ghetto .

It contains a collection of rare manuscripts, gold and silverware, old robes and fabrics, which illustrate in various ways the stages of the community's 2,200-year life. "If you really want to know Rome you have to have visited the Jewish Museum," said director Daniela Di Castro, adding that its contents touched on history, archaeology, art history, religion and folklore .


Among its oldest exhibits are its mediaeval manuscripts. Other prized items include silverware from the early 17th century, 15th-century velvet cloths and 17th century cloaks given by the Queen of Sweden .


They're also asking people to help recover Jewish books etc. pillaged by the Nazis.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my American readers! I hope all SBL attenders are now safely home or wherever they meant to settle down for Thanksgiving. Me, I have to teach today, but we'll be celebrating in the evening.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

FINAL SBL THOUGHTS: Here are some random thoughts about the conference that I've been meaning to post.

One paper I should note is Ken Penner and Ian Scott, "Publishing Critical Texts on the Web: Issues in Mounting the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha," in the CARG session on Monday morning. This told a little about the history, organization, and objectives of the project and also discussed technical issues. [UPDATE on 24 Nov: Here's a photo of Ken Penner giving his part of the presentation.]

I also attended the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Section session on Monday evening and I especially enjoyed the papers by Kelley Coblentz Bautch on "To Rest in the West, to Feast in the East? How Geography and Traditions Relating to Afterlife Interrelate in Early Jewish Mystical Literature" (afterwards she and I discussed whether the realms Enoch visits in the second half of the Book of the Watchers were earthly or otherworldly) and by Andrea Lieber on "'How Great is His Measure': Mapping the Divine (Male) Body upon the Cosmos" (which applied "cognitive mapping theory" to the Shiur Qomah mystical texts that describe God's enormous body). After the session the steering group met for dinner and we have hot topics lined up for 2006, including a session to celebrate the EJCM group's tenth year.

On Tuesday morning I attended the Pseudepigrapha Section session. Tuesday morning sessions are frequently poorly attended, because people are leaving throughout the morning, and the very big and not very full room was freezing cold. But the low attendance was not indicative of low quality in the papers. They were excellent. My favorites were Daniel Machiela's "Divinely Revealed History and Geography in Noah's Vision: Genesis Apocryphon cols. 13-17" and Kelley Coblentz Bautch's "All about Eve: How the First Woman Fares in Enochic Literature." Daniel had an excellent handout (which is surprisingly hard to produce): it translated the main text, had relevent excerpts of parallel texts in the margin, and included an outline of the paper. Kelley's was the last paper of the last session, which must have been frustrating, but the problem of the origin and development of Eve traditions in Genesis and the Enochic literature is fascinating and I stayed for the whole thing -- after which I ran to my room to get my suitcases and managed to meet the 12:00 noon airport shuttle.

One session I really wanted to go to was the Pseudepigrapha session on "Jewish Pseudepigrapha in the Slavonic Tradition." Alas, it was on Sunday morning and this conflicted with the biblioblogging session. I hear it was excellent. It was too bad also that the Pseudepigrapha session on Aramaic Levi was canceled.

I heard many other good papers during the conference, but I don't have time and energy to comment on all of them. Apologies if I've left yours out.

One last thing: this year was the most confusing I've seen in terms of publicizing where sessions take place. I am not sure it was a good decision to remove room listings from the main program book. I appreciate that this made it easier to update the room bookings online to note late changes, but even the downloadable PDF files (which I printed out) had a lot of errors. Next time I will know to ignore them and just go with the Annual Meetings At-A-Glance booklet distributed at the meeting, which did have accurate information.

I have a few pictures to add to the conference posts, but I think that will have to wait until tomorrow.

UPDATE (24 November): Several photos now added to conference posts. I had also meant to mention another paper in that Tuesday Pseudepigrapha session: Don Polaski, "1 Enoch: Writing the Sectarian Subject," which looked at 1 Enoch from the perspective of post-colonial theory. Incidentally, you can find abstracts for all these papers archived here.

And finally, let me second Mark Goodacre's comment:
The SBL is an enormous meeting, and perhaps because of that fact one can take the organisation for granted. In spite of the odd problem here and there, in my experience there are only ever minor glitches. The meeting is superbly organized, and it struck me this year that we really ought to say thank you a bit more often. I suppose that because we can't put a face on the organizers, we often don't take the opportunity to praise them.

In particular, Matthew Collins gets lots of flack (not least from me) when things go wrong, but he deserves great praise for all his work on making them run very smoothly most of the time. Thanks Matthew.
SBL CARG-BLOGGING-SESSION ROUNDUP: Here's a list of all the blog posts I could find in which people who attended the session commented on it.

In addition, some bloggers who weren't able to be present added their comments:

If I've missed some, please e-mail me so I can add them.

My own thoughts? I don't know why there are so few female bibliobloggers, and I hope this changes whatever the reasons, but I did find opaque Paul Nikkel's theory, raised in the discussion and supported by Yasmin Finch, that it had to do with our naming ourselves and some of us suggesting things bibliobloggers should and shouldn't do. Perhaps I am misunderstanding their point and they will comment on their blogs. For the record (and I really don't think this should need to be said), first, I -- and I'm sure all other "bibliobloggers" -- would welcome more females on the biblioblog-roll and I hope any considering opening a blog will take the plunge. Second, if you (whatever your gender) do start a blog having to do with academic biblical studies, I encourage you to write whatever the heck you want to on it and to make up and follow your own rules, and if one of us tells you to do or not do one thing or another, just take this as well-intended advice that you can follow, modify, or ignore, entirely as it pleases you. That's what I do.

Torrey wishes that we had talked more about the future of blogging and I agree that it would have been nice if we had. Frankly, I just forgot about the issue at the time. I predict that over the next couple of years the exponential increase in the number of biblioblogs will continue. Aside from that, Torrey's idea of organizing blogs on specific topics in biblical studies sounds interesting, but it also sounds like work, so I'll leave others to do this if they want to. I'm a great fan of emergent order, so I suspect that something like this will happen over time of its own accord, and that may be the best way to bring it about. (I see now that I have already expressed similar thoughts here.) Long-term, as I've said before, I predict that blogging and other forms of online publishing will grow more and more user friendly and more and more people will develop a personal media voice.

Aside from that, I am very glad that code warriors like Rick Brannan are continuing to refine blogging software and I look forward to benefitting from their work as it becomes code-wimp friendly.

Finally, in response to Danny, I chose most of the examples in my paper from the blogs run by the bloggers on the panel. That was mainly because I only had time to do a thorough review of a limited number of blogs and those seemed the obvious ones to concentrate on for the session. But you all should certainly look at the other blogs Danny mentions and many others besides. By the way, Danny, when you recommend a site, why not link to it in your post?

UPDATE: Cynthia Edenburg e-mails:
I commented once to Joe Cathey that the answer is simple. When I'm at work, I should be working, and at OpenU that involves a lot of papers to read (each student completes 3-5 written assignments per semester, and this semester I have 40 students). When at home, I'm still reading papers, doing virtually all the housework and shopping, providing emotional support for husband and three children, two of whom are old enough to move out, taking my mother to health providers, and when I have some spare time, I try to devote them to completing the translation of my dissertation into English for publication. Oh, did I forget to mention trying to make time for managing a social life and hosting dinners, which is important to my husband?

Y'know, I really wouldn't want to be married to a biblioblogger myself!

UPDATE: Maria Doerfler, who was at the blogging session and who in an e-mail identifies herself as being "in the fringes of the biblio-blogging sphere" comments on the session here. Perhaps I should note that there was at least one other female blogger (although not a biblioblogger) in the audience: Yasmin Finch. (UPDATE [24 Nov]: I had recalled Yasmin saying she wasn't a biblioblogger, but perhaps I misheard or misremembered. She doesn't seem to take a position one way or the other in the bullet-pointed post in the list above.)

UPDATE (24 November): I've added Maria's post and several others to the list above.

UPDATE (26 November): Still more added. Note especially the second post (or go here) by Mark Goodacre ([27 Nov] the third one too). And I have more here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

TUESDAY MORNING: I'm checking out the book display one last time, then heading from there to the Pseudepigrapha session. From there I have to run to my room, grab my suitcases, and catch the 12:00 noon airport shuttle. It's been a very good conference. I note that the usual suspects are blogging the CARG blogging session at length. My thoughts are too scattered at the moment to say anything and I'm also still operating under that 15-minute limit. But I'll aim to link to the discussion in a later post and add some comments then. Look for me again sometime on Wednesday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

TEL ZAYIT (ZEITAH) INSCRIPTION SESSION REPORT (part four): Some other details came out in the Q&A session:

Ron Tappy confirmed that the stone must have been inscribed before it was put in the wall, because he checked with his own hands and there was not enough room to incise the letters because the other stones were in the way. He also commented that this inscription at least shows that the inhabitants had the means (i.e., the alphabet) to create a monumental inscription, even if one hasn't been found yet.

Kyle McCarter pointed to an X mark near the lamed - kaph reversal, which he suggested might have been put there by the angry scribe when he realized the mistake.

McCarter wondered why a flawed scribal exercise would be displayed on a wall. But if that isn't what is going on, there are odd coincidences: the inscription was visible on the wall and oriented properly for reading; none of it was covered by other stones; and that unusual onyx stone was right above it. But if it was put there intentionally, why? If it was intended as an exemplar, it is very hard to see without proper lighting. McCarter and Tappy noted the possibility that some sort of magical use was intended, in which case the inscription might not need to be displayed. Tappy also noted ruefully that if it was intended for magical apotropaic (i.e., protective) use, it didn't work: the building was destroyed in a fire.

So what does it all mean? I'm tempted to picture the final exam for scribes: the candidates walk in and sit down. At each desk there is a forty pound stone. The instructor says, "Now incise the alphabet on this stone with your metal tool. You have 50 minutes." Unfortunately, our scribe made several mistakes and flunked out. His final exam was posted on the wall as a warning to other students. Don't let this happen to you.

But I guess that isn't very likely.
TEL ZAYIT (ZEITAH) INSCRIPTION SESSION REPORT (part three): BRUCE ZUCKERMAN. (Bruce and Marilyn, the Thunderbirds of Northwest Semitic epigraphy, flew to Jerusalem on very short notice for four days to photograph this inscription.)

Zuckerman noted that each shot has to be taken from two to five different angles in order to catch the light just right so as to make the scratches stand out. They take (larger) "reference shots" and also many shots of details. The photos are taken both in color and in black and white, since different things stand out with each. They are still working on the production of the images, so the current understanding of the inscription remains tentative.

Part one is here and part two here. To be continued, although this is my third trip through the cyber center today and the staffers are starting to ask me what chapter I'm on.
TEL ZAYIT (ZEITAH) INSCRIPTION SESSION REPORT (part two): KYLE MCCARTER reported that the two-line inscription is of hard limestone and is very hard to see and read. Because it is an abecedary, it is difficult to interpret the text or even to decide which language it is in. It is written by a good, talented scribe on what seems to have been a prepared surface. Later scratches and accretions give it a misleading impression of crude execution. It invites comparison to the Gezer Calendar inscription and also the tenth-century Phoenician inscriptions from Byblos. I won't go into his detailed comments on the individual letters, but the general picture is that almost all the features of the text are more archaic than or as archaic as the Gezer Calendar, which confirms a tenth-century BCE date. There are three or four variants in order compared to the traditional Hebrew alphabet: vav - he, het - zayin, lamed - kaph, and (possibly -- the readings are uncertain) pe - ayin. Only the last, if it is real, is paralleled elsewhere.

Part one is here. To be continued ...
TEL ZAYIT (ZEITAH) INSCRIPTION SESSION REPORT (part one): The session was on Sunday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 in a stifling, standing-only crowded room with several hundred attending. Ron Tappy and I, incidentally, were postgraduates together in the Harvard Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations program and a great many of our contemporaries showed up, many with their spouses, which made part of the crowd an impromptu 1980s Harvard NELC reunion. The panel consisted of Harvard archaeologist Larry Stager, who did the introductions; Ron, the chief excavator of the site; epigrapher Kyle McCarter of Johns Hopkins; and epigraphers Bruce Zuckerman (USC) and Marilyn Lundberg. Ron, Kyle, and Bruce gave presentations. I'll cover Ron's contribution in this post.

RON TAPPY first emphasized that everything he was presenting was still undergoing analysis and was preliminary. Then he gave a detailed account (which I won't try to reproduce) of the stratigraphy of the relevant square and the area around it. The inscription layer was sealed under ninth-century BCE layers and was over a Late Bronze Age stratum. The inscription layer is dated on ceramic grounds to the mid- to late tenth century BCE, so the area seems to have been unoccupied during the Iron Age I period. The inscription layer consisted of two rooms with a door between them, with flagstones on the floor of the room of interest. Much more excavation needs to be done to put it in context, but at present it corresponds to the features of "pillared houses" at other sites.

Tappy's original assumption was that he was excavating a small village, but he is reassessing that idea and now thinks the site may have been much larger, with much of it having been removed a couple of centuries ago through agricultural activitiy. There is a stone sticking up from the wall of the room, which Ron called a "monolith." This room is part of a curved line of as yet unexcavated monoliths. Evidently it was part of a much larger complex of rooms which may have ringed the shoulder of the site, perhaps forr defensive purposes.

The inscription room was destroyed in a conflagration of uncertain origin, but since sling stones were found in the burnt layer, it may have involved an attack on the city.

The inscription is built into a stone wall. It was spotted by a volunteer, who showed it to biblioblogger Michael Homan. Michael called Ron over to see "something important." Indeed.

The stone weighs about 40 pounds and has a sort of bowl carved on the other side; the bowl was facing down in the wall. The stone above it was, unusually, made of (imported) onyx. The inscription would be visible on the wall. The letters are very thinly incised, perhaps by a metal tool. Such tools have been excavated elsewhere on the site.

That's the Tappy presentation. I'm out of time and don't have time to proofread. Apologies for typos. To be continued ...

LATER: Links added and (I hope) typos now corrected.

UPDATE (22 November): Michael Homan posts his own account of the discovery here.

UPDATE (24 November): The room was too dark for good photography during the session, and I don't want to post any unpublished images of the inscription, but here's a photo I took just before the session started. Michael Homan is in the center facing forward. To his left you can see Ron Tappy in profile, facing toward Michael. In the background to the right is a screen with the opening slide of the presentation.
Turning to Bibles for Divine Returns

The Associated Press

More people are turning to the Bible as a safe refuge from a struggling stock market and rising inflation, pouring large sums of cash into rare 1611 King James Bibles, centuries-old Matthew-Tyndale Bible leaves, Hebrew scrolls, prayer books and other ancient liturgical texts.


On another note, I attended the session on the Tel Zayit inscription last night and took lots of notes, but I don't have time to post them now. Watch this space.
WHERE IS MISS MABROUK OF EGYPT? She is one of the Egyptian bloggers who defended Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman when he was detained by the police. A reader who is here at the conference pointed out to me yesterday that she hasn't posted since before his release. I'm probably just being paranoid, but it's hard not to be in situations like this. Does anyone out there keep in touch with her? Is she okay? Miss Mabrouk, please post something to reassure us!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

CONFERENCE UPDATE: Okay, I only have 15 minutes on this book-display computer, so let's see how far I can get.

The Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism Group had our annual dinner yesterday evening. Excuse a restaurant gripe, but our table arrived at the Ly Michael's at 6:45 when the place was nearly empty. Our starters didn't arrive until 8:15 and the main course perhaps 20 minutes after that, which made us late to our 9:00 pm events. The other tables around us also had slow service, although ours was the slowest. One of us left without eating and I was actually putting on my coat to go when my main course finally arrived. The food was quite good, but it wasn't worth the wait. If you're planning on having dinner there, don't plan on much else that evening.

Now that's off my chest. After that I went to the Harvard and John's Hopkins receptions, which were just around the corner from each other. This was well planned, because lots of us like to go to both. This put me in the vicinity of a remarkably high density of specialists in Phoenician, so I had the opportunity to ask them all a Phoenician related question that has been bothering me and one of them knew the answer. I'll probably blog on this once I get home and can look the relevant inscription up.

This morning I went to the Biblioblogging session. No time to summarize now. I'll try to collect my thoughts and say something later. I thought the discussion went very well.

After this I had lunch with Joe Cathey.

Then in the early afternoon session I went to the Early Jewish and Christian Mysticism session, which reviewed five books:
Jonathan Draper, University of Natal, Presiding
Review of Andrei Orlov, The Enoch-Metatron Tradition (Mohr-Siebeck, 2005)
Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca College, Panelist (15 min)
Andrei Orlov, Marquette University, Respondent (10 min)
Review of Kevin Sullivan, “Wrestling with Angels": A Study of the Relationship between Angels and Humans in Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament (Brill, 2004)
Charles Gieschen, Concordia Theological Seminary, Panelist (15 min)
Kevin Sullivan, Marquette University, Respondent (10 min)
Review of April DeConick, Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas (Continuum, 2005)
Birger Pearson, University of California-Santa Barbara, Panelist (15 min)
April Deconick, Illinois Wesleyan University, Respondent (10 min)
Break (10 min)
Review of Daphna Arbel, Beholders of Divine Secrets - Myth and Mysticism in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature (SUNY, 2003)
Alan Segal, Barnard College, Columbia University, Panelist (15 min)
Daphna Arbel, University of British Columbia, Respondent (10 min)
Review of Ra’anan (Abusch) Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic: the Story of the Ten Martyrs, Hekhalot Rabbati, and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism (Möhr-Siebeck, 2005)
Michael Swartz, Ohio State University Main Campus, The, Panelist (15 min

I really must read a number of these.

My time's up.

UPDATE: Just realized that that restaurant did take 30% off our bills because of the lateness, so they do deserve credit for that.