Saturday, July 08, 2006

AN OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD for Qumran scholars? This article on Grover Krantz, an anthropologist who donated his and his dogs' skeletons to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, has this intriguing aside:
Working at the Berkeley museum, Krantz broke his big toe in a particularly memorable manner: He dropped the Dead Sea Scrolls on it.
The Dead Sea Scrolls aren't heavy enough to cause damage if dropped on something. Presumably they were in a heavy box or cabinet? This was in the early 1960s. What were Dead Sea Scrolls doing in Berkeley then? A museum exhibition? Doesn't seem likely. I wonder if there isn't some garbling in this story.
THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT responds to the U.S. court's attempt to confiscate and sell off antiquities held by the University of Chicago in order to compensate terrorism victims:
Committee established to pursue return of ancient Persian artifacts: official
TEHRAN, July 7 (MNA) -- A special committee has been established to pursue the return of the ancient Persian artifacts that a U.S. court has ruled can be sold off, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Research Center Director Taha Hashemi said here on Friday.

And this is interesting:
Both Iran and the United States are signatories to the UNESCO Convention of 1970, which prohibits illicit trade in cultural property.
I would think this would make the Federal Court ruling a non-starter, but I am not a lawyer.
JORDAN'S ANTIQUITIES TOURISM is in some danger of becoming a victim of its own success:
Jordan seeks to preserve ancient sites
By Cecile S. Holmes
Religion News Service

Biblical history flows through the nation of Jordan, from the cave where Lot is said to have lived after his wife turned into a pillar of salt to the archaeological park where many believe John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

Abraham passed this way as he traveled from Mesopotamia to Canaan, and Moses climbed Mount Nebo to look out upon the Promised Land. In Jordan's northwest corner at Umm Qais, called Gadara in the New Testament, Jesus performed the miracle of the Gadarene swine. Near Amman is the legendary Cave of the Seven Sleepers, where legend holds that several persecuted Christian boys found shelter and slept there for 309 years.

"Jordan is the best kept secret in the world as a travel destination, especially for people of faith," said Graham F. Bardsley, a Presbyterian pastor and adjunct faculty member of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.

But as more and more travelers uncover that secret, the country is trying to strike a fragile balance between attracting essential tourist dollars and preserving ancient sites from damage by visitors.


Friday, July 07, 2006

A SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD MIQVEH has been discovered near the Western Wall according to Arutz Sheva. I don't know if it is the same as this find (scroll down also to the immediately preceding post) or another one. They sound as though they're probably the same.
REMEMBERING 7/7. And let us see that we don't forget.
THIS would make a catchy book title. I suspect the answer to the question is yes.

The word "Merkavah" ("Chariot") does not appear in the vision in Ezekiel chapter 1, but it was applied to it very early on (Ben Sira, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, etc.). Interestingly, another feature of the heavenly realm in that chapter, the "Hashmal" (translated in the RSV as "gleaming bronze" in Ezek 1:27), also becomes important in the Merkavah/Hekhalot traditions as a dangerous element faced by the Merkavah mystics in their adventures. There is, for example, this anecdote from the Babylonian Talmud, Hagigah 13a:
The rabbis taught: It happened once that a certain child, who was reading in his teacher's house in the Book of Ezekiel, was pondering over 'Hashmal, and there came out fire from 'Hashmal and burnt him, and they sought in consequence to conceal the Book of Ezekiel.
In modern Israeli Hebrew "hashmal" has become the word for "electricity."
THERE'S NOW A JAMES THE JUST BLOG, run by James Darlack, "Student (MANT), graduate (MAOT) and Reference Librarian at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary." The masthead reads:
Resources and research on the historical "James the Just," the Epistle of James, and other related topics.
PALEOJUDAICA SLOWDOWN? The good news is that I've been promoted to Reader. (The terminology doesn't map readily onto non-British systems, but for those unfamiliar with it, "Reader" is an academic rank that is something more than associate professor but less than full professor and recognizes that you're a researcher of international standing.)

The, um, other news is I have been appointed Acting Head of the School of Divinity for the next six months. Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, this came with almost no advance notice. This is sort of like being made department chair, only much more so. It also involves being Acting Principal of St. Mary's College and Acting Dean of Divinity. I don't feel like explaining in detail what all that means, and you probably don't want to know, but the main point is it is going to take up almost all my time for the rest of 2006. What little time it doesn't take up will go to teaching (luckily I have a light load this coming semester), and such time, if any, left over after that will go to research. I'm sorry to have to say that PaleoJudaica will come after that, with maybe even a little time sandwiched in for family.

The bottom line is that I shall be very, very busy. I will try to keep up regular postings on PaleoJudaica, but these may well come less often than usual and with less commentary. I hope you will continue to stop by frequently, even if for the next six months the blog isn't as quite as active as it has been.

If in recent weeks you have e-mailed me and I haven't replied, apologies. I've been preoccupied. I'm likely to be even worse at replying to correspondence in the coming months, so apologies in advance for that too.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A GOOD CONFERENCE: As usual, much of the benefit came from networking and gossip, but I attended some good papers too. The two that I enjoyed the most, in no small part because they feed into my current research, were Pierluigi Piovanelli's "Christian Apocryphal Texts for the New Millennium: Achievements, Prospects, and Challenges" and Jonathan Campbell's "The New Judaic Scriptures from Qumran." I only tried to attend one paper this morning, but that was a no-show -- the third I encountered at this conference. [Correction: it was the second; other papers were canceled, but with advance notice.]

Special thanks to the following people:
  • Matthew Collins and his staff, for their usual efficient and doubtless enormous work behind the scenes which made the whole conference run smoothly.
  • Pierluigi Piovanelli, for organizing a huge, varied, and highly interesting program on Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
  • Helen Bond, for advice that led me to the right people to to help me set up my wireless connection.
TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: An interesting article in Haaretz reviews a book by Shmuel Berkovits. Some excerpts:
Temple Mount - not listed in the Land Registry
By Nadav Shragai

Tel Aviv architect Tuvia Sagiv, an amateur but well-known researcher of the history of the Temple Mount, no doubt did not imagine that his influence would go as far as the Oval Office of the president of the United States. However, according to Dr. Shmuel Berkovits, an attorney who has written a new book about the holy places, Sagiv is the source for former president Bill Clinton?s proposal to divide sovereignty over the Temple Mount vertically, from top to bottom. At the end of December 2000, Clinton proposed that the Palestinians get the sovereignty over the level of the mosques while the Jews make do with sovereignty over the depths of the mount, the Western Wall and the Holy of Holies.

Sagiv combed the Temple Mount with radar equipment and infra-red cameras that were operated from helicopters flying above and alongside the site. Relying on these tests, he claimed that the Temple had lain at a depth of 16 meters below the water fountain between Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and that what is known as the Western Wall is not the western wall of the temple but rather part of the wall that was built by the Emperor Adrianus around the Roman shrine that he built on the Temple Mount after the conquest of Jerusalem and its destruction in the second century. Sagiv proposed breaking open a giant gate in the Western Wall through which Jews could go to reach the level of the Temple, under the level of mosques.

Sagiv's revolutionary approach is not in keeping with accepted scholarly opinions. Most of the important archaeologists and rabbis to this day believe that the Holy of Holies is not situated deep under the ground but rather at ground level as we know it at present, exactly at the spot where the rock is located in the Dome of the Rock.

Berkovits, in his new book, "How Dreadful is This Place," recounts the history of Sagiv's theory, which was submitted more than 10 years ago to Ariel Sharon when he was still an opposition member of the Knesset.
I don't think I've heard of Sagiv before. His theory sounds very problematical to me, although I'm not an expert on the archaeology of the Temple Mount. Any archaeologists want to comment?
The book devotes space to the great show of denial the Muslims have initiated in the past few years about everything to do with the existence in the past of the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, and it brings examples to illustrate that this is not how things were in the past. A guide to the Temple Mount, put out by the Supreme Muslim Council in 1924, states explicitly that "the identity of the Temple Mount as the site of the holy shrine of Solomon is beyond any kind of doubt." Berkovits' book also quotes texts from the Palestinian historian Aref al-Aref (1892-1973). Al-Aref was the partner of the Grand Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini in the leadership of the Palestinian National Movement at the beginning of the Mandatory period, and in his book, "A Detailed History of Jerusalem," he writes: "The Wailing Wall is the exterior wall of the temple that was reconstructed by Herod ... and the Jews visit there frequently and, on particular, on Tisha B'Av [the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple]. And when they visit the wall, they remember the glorious and unforgettable history and they begin to weep."
My own research on this has led me to the same conclusion. There is a 1930 edition of this pamphlet by the Supreme Muslim Council in the Main Library of the University of St. Andrews. Jewish-Temple denial by Palestinians (and widely also in the Muslim Arab world) seems really to have gotten going after July of 2000 at the Camp David summits, when Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, as reported by a number of eyewitnesses, told negotiators that no Jewish Temple ever existed on the Temple Mount, only an obelisk, and the actual Jewish Temple was in the West Bank city of Nablus. But it was around somewhat before that, going back at least into the early 1990s.

Finally, the final paragraph, which finally ties into the headline
In the last chapter, a fascinating issue is examined. It transpires that the Temple Mount and most of the Western Wall are not registered in any way in the Israel Land Registry ("Tabu") and the issue of who their earthly owners are, has not yet been decided. At the same time, and contrary to what is generally thought to be true, Israel has constantly refrained from expropriating the Western Wall so that this will not be interpreted as a relinquishment of the other walls of the Temple. One part of the Western Wall was expropriated and registered in the Land Registry as property owned by the State of Israel. The area in question is between the southwestern corner of the Western Wall and as far as the "Makhama" building [deep beneath which lie the tunnels from the Second Temple period], along the entire height of the wall.
THE MODEL OF SECOND TEMPLE JERUSALEM that was recently relocated to the Israel Museum gets a positive review from the Jerusalem Post:
Improved Second Temple model a natural fit for Israel Museum

It was as if a giant hand had picked up the breathtaking model of the Second Temple from Jerusalem's Holyland Hotel and plunked it a few kilometers north on the Hill of Tranquility of the Israel Museum's campus. But the 1/50 scale model, created by Hebrew University Prof. Michael Avi-Yonah more than 40 years ago, looks better than ever and perfectly suited to the site, which will undoubtedly be a drawing card for the museum.

The translocated 3-D model - commissioned by hotel owner Hans Kroch in memory of his son Jacob, who fell in the 1948 War of Independence - was dedicated and opened Wednesday night at an event hosted by museum director James Snyder.

The review in Haaretz was much more critical.

UPDATE: Ynet News also covers the story in a noncommital way.
IN THE MAIL -- my review copy of:
C. D. Elledge, The Bible And the Dead Sea Scrolls
Actually, it arrived a couple of weeks ago, but what with the upcoming conference, catching a cold, etc., I've only gotten around to mentioning it now. There's been a lot of "etc." too, which you'll be hearing about soon.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

BOOK ON EARLY JUDAISM (from the Agade list):
>From "Cohen, Mark" (

CDL Press and the University Press of Maryland are pleased to
announce the publication of:

Early Judaism: Religious Worlds of the First Judaic Millennium
revised 2nd edition
by Martin S. Jaffee

Volume XIII in the series: Studies in Texts in Jewish History and
Culture, The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies,
University of Maryland.

ISBN: 1883053935; pp. 287.
Price: $29
Includes several color photographs.

Prof. Jaffee discusses the development of religious perspectives of
the various Jewish sects, including earliest Christianity, from
approx. 400 B.C.E. to 600 C.E. In this second edition, parts have
been extensively revised, others have been dropped, and new
material has been added. Also, this edition integrates the
perspectives of gender studies into the interpretive discourse of
the study of Judaism.

To order write to:

CDL Press
PO Box 34454
Bethesda, MD 20827

or fax (253-484-5542) or call (301-762-2066).
CONTROVERSY over a park planned in Tiberias:
Tiberias municipality to build park on site of Roman antiquity
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent

The Tiberias municipality is planning to build a public park on grounds containing the remnants of the Roman city center. The park project has the financial backing of Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson. The park is to be named for Tiberias-born Ozer Berkovitz, the Finance Ministry's wage division official who died of cardiac arrest a month ago.

Several prominent archaeologists oppose the plan because, as one put it, "it will be forever rued if Tiberias loses such an important cultural asset, that any other city would be proud of." However, the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is expected to have a major role in the park's construction, does not object to the plan. ...

... Tiberias Development CEO Alvit Freund came up with the idea a year ago. Her plan met with objection from Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld, an archaeologist who has been conducting excavations in the area for close to a decade, with municipal help. ...
IRAN wants those cuneiform tablets back:
Iran demands return of artifacts from US
Jul 4, 2006 (Persian Journal)

Iran National Museum has called on officials of Chicago University to observe the principles of safekeeping and defend Iranian ownership to artifacts which are being maintained at the university's Oriental Studies Institute as a trust.

Curator of Iran National Museum Mohammad Reza Karegar forwarded a letter to Chicago University to take necessary action with US Justice Department to ensure the custody of rare Iranian artifacts and clay works which were deposited with the Institute of Oriental Studies as a trust so that the verdict of the US federal judge will not be applicable.

Karegar pointed out that Iran Nation Museum has been in correspondence with Chicago University's Oriental Studies Department for the return of the artifacts. He noted that there was an agreement between Iran National Museum and Chicago University based on which 300 artifacts and clay fragments with cuneiform scripts are being kept at the Oriental Studies Institute as a trust.

A US Federal judge issued a politicized verdict against University of Chicago ordering the auction of the artifacts to pay the claims to Israel.

I'm afraid I'm on Iran's side on this one, although not necessarily for their reasons. Whatever the legal niceties, it would be morally repugnant and grossly irresponsible to break up that collection and sell it of piecemeal. More here.
A STONE supposedly brought back from Solomon's quarry is the center of a Mason-related dispute in Missippi:
Various groups debate sacred stone's future
By Rachel Leifer

If King Solomon were here, he might suggest they split it in half.

But in the absence of that wise Hebrew king of Old Testament lore, the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and a group of Masons from Lumberton will have to decide among themselves what to do with an ancient stone. The stone is said to originate from the quarry used to harvest materials for Solomon's temple in Jerusalem.

"We're stuck between a rock and a hard place," Board of Supervisors President Billy Hudson joked.

Indeed, the relic's future is not set in stone. Embedded in a wall of the first-floor stairwell in Hattiesburg's Masonic Lodge since former Hattiesburg Mayor W.S.F. "Pa" Tatum brought it back from Israel in 1904, the rock came under Forrest County's stewardship when the Board of Supervisors in 2003 bought the building to use as a courthouse.

Masonic Lodge No. 397 was given a finite period during which to remove all items from the building it wished to keep. But due to poor communication and several key members deployed to Iraq, Masonic Lodge No. 417 of Lumberton Worshipful Master Christopher Holzinger said the invaluable stone was overlooked.

I doubt very much that we have any idea where Solomon may have quarried stone for his building projects. But I have a feeling that won't solve this dispute.
Race on to save Egypt's ancient treasures

Swiss archaeologists are joining the scramble to recover invaluable ancient remains in Egypt before they are lost forever beneath modern developments.

Cornelius von Pilgrim is leading efforts to unearth evidence of how people lived thousands of years ago near the southern city of Aswan.

"Many ancient towns are being covered by modern towns with deep foundations that destroy the ancient remains," von Pilgrim told swissinfo.

The archaeologist from the Swiss Institute for Egyptian Architectural and Archaeological Research in Cairo has been working alongside Egyptian experts for the past six years in Aswan.


Since 1969 the institute has been working alongside German colleagues on the Nile island of Elephantine. A garrison of foreign mercenaries had occupied the island, stationed there from around the seventh to the fourth centuries BC to protect Egypt's southern border.

The digs uncovered remains of a Jewish temple and many other antiquities that greatly enhanced understanding about life in the garrison.

"I am convinced that we don't know more than a fraction about the history of Egyptian society. The time is over when we wanted to discover new things all the time. We now need to fill in the gaps in our knowledge about normal life in ancient Egypt," he said.

swissinfo, Matthew Allen
This is the first I've heard about current excavations at Elephantine and this is good news.

Looting is reported to be a serious problem at Aswan, although nothing is said about Elephantine. The latter is an island and so presumably (I hope) is hard for looters to get at conveniently.

UPDATE: Finally got the Edinburgh wireless access working. Excellent Judaica session, although unfortunately Edwin Broadhead's paper was canceled. Also, I am very sorry to report that although Susan Haber had been scheduled to present a paper on "Jesus, the Law, and Purity Practices: First Day Ablutions in the Temple?" we've gotten word (also noted on the Agade list) that she died a short time ago. The online program book had already been updated accordingly before I pasted in the schedule here.


8:45 AM to 12:00 PM
: G.10 - Adam Ferguson

Theme: Non-Rabbinic Judaisms

Esther Chazon, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Presiding (5 min)

Edwin K. Broadhead, Berea College
Was there a Jewish Christianity? (25 min)
WAS THERE A JEWISH CHRISTIANITY? This presentation is based on my current sabbatical project at Oxford on the reconstruction of Jewish Christianity in the first four centuries of the common era. Attention is given not only to the historical evidence for Jewish ways of following Jesus, but also to the hermeneutical impact of this phenomenon. The search for historical traces of Jewish Christianity must be multi-disciplinary, and it must be built upon a series of critical inquiries and reconstructions. First among these is the attempt to articulate a meaningful definition. Secondly, points of origin must be defined: among these are the Jewishness of Jesus, the composition of the earliest communities, and the form of some of the earliest Christian writings. Thirdly, the patristic representation of Jewish Christianity must be critically evaluated in search of plausible historical evidence. Fourthly, other areas must be analyzed: Jewish Christian texts, rabbinical texts, archeological evidence, sociological factors. Taken together, these lines of evidence make plausible the argument that Jewish Christianity existed as a vital, enduring movement which presented a variety of forms, locations, and connections. Finally, the hermeneutical impact of such evidence must be considered. Demonstration of vital, enduring forms of Jewish Christrianity would require dramatic changes in current perceptions of primitive Christianity, but also in recent descriptions of Judaism between the Temple and the Mishnah.
Jonathan G Campbell, University of Bristol
The New Judaic Scriptures from Qumran (25 min)
This paper considers the nature of various new Judaic writings from Qumran that have been officially published recently in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series in volumes XIII, XIX, XXII, XXX, XXXVI, and XXXVIII (1994-2000). Normally categorized as ‘parabiblical texts’, the relevant materials include inter alia 4QVisions of Amram (4Q543-547); 4QApocryphon of Moses (4Q375-376); 4QApocryphon of Joshua (4Q178-179); 4QApocryphon of Jeremiah (4Q383, 384, 385a, 387, 387a, 388a, 389-390); 4QPseudo-Ezekiel (4Q385, 385b, 386, 388, 391); and 4QPseudo-Daniel (4Q243-5). Closer analysis, however, raises the important issue of the precise status of these new Judaic compositions at Qumran and elsewhere. In particular, despite their often fragmentary state, they seem largely indistinguishable in terms of content and genre from other long-known Second Temple scriptures. Their possible scriptural status for some Jews and Christians before 70 CE is a question that must, therefore, be taken seriously by scholars. Indeed, 4QApocryphon of Joshua appears to be cited in the sectarian scriptural anthology known as 4QTestimonia. Hence, this paper tries to answer the above question on the initial assumption that there was no universally agreed ‘canon’ of scripture in Judaism before 70 CE. So not only does the analysis aim to shed light on these new Judaic texts from Qumran but, in so doing, it also hopes to comment on the nature of late Second Temple scripture in the process.
Yaakov Teppler, Beit Berl College
"Sifre Minim": The Books of the Heretics (25 min)
Sifre Minim – The Books of the Heretics" The most discussed and thoroughly investigated are the Talmudic warnings about "Books of the Heretics, Sifre Minim. Although these warnings were seen in post-Mishnaic literature, the sages who discuss this issue are primarily from second century Palestine, and one may confidently suppose that they reflect an actual conflict from earlier Tanaitic time. Understanding their essence of these "books" might help to shed more light on the identity of the minim. Our sources claim these books placed enmity, jealousy, and strife between Israel and their Father who was in heaven. It is certain that basically the "Books of the Heretics" refers to the Christian Gospels. They do look sacred and contain “memorials” as well as biblical verses. That was the result of attaching and attributing the Jesus narrative to the Bible (Old Testament) in order to make these scriptures authoritative. Later, it was developed as a result of the need to create and define the “Canon”, perhaps as a response to Gnostic acts of selecting scriptures. This Canon consisted of the structure of the New Testament and the Old Testament as one complete book, and served also as a statement of the role of the New compared to and as a continuity with the Old. The late reference of the sages to the "Books of the Heretics" refers to the completed version of the Christian Bible. Ultimately, that was the reason for the Talmudic prohibition that a Torah Book that was written by min must be burnt. Christian copies of the Torah scroll were obviously written not for Jews to use in synagogues, but as an integral part of the Christian scriptures, containing different versions of the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures and apocrypha.
Break (45 min)

Discussion (45 min)

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

2:00 PM to 5:45 PM
Lecture Theatre - William Robertson

Pierluigi Piovanelli, University of Ottawa, Presiding

Petri Luomanen, University of Helsinki
Jewish-Christian Gospels: A New Reconstruction (30 min)
Several Church fathers refer to Jewish-Christian gospels in their writings. Since no manuscripts of these gospels have survived, scholars have been compelled to reconstruct the number, contents and character of these gospels on the basis of fragments preserved by the Church fathers. According to a widely accepted theory there were three Jewish-Christian gospels: the Gospel of the Ebionites, the Gospel of the Nazarenes and the Gospel of the Hebrews. Although some scholars (including the presenter) have pointed out problems with criteria that have been used in the reconstruction of these gospels and the distinction between the Gospel of the Nazarenes and the Gospel of the Hebrews has occasionally been questioned, no detailed alternative reconstructions have been presented recently. The present paper first summarizes what problems there are in the present standard reconstruction of the three different gospels and then moves on to argue for an alternative reconstruction. The new reconstruction presumes only two Gospels: the Gospel of the Ebionites and the Gospel of the Hebrews and suggests that in practice Jerome's "Gospel of the Nazarenes" was a limited collection of anti-Rabbinic passages from the canonical Matthew.
Bas van Os, University of Groningen
The Date and Provenance of the Gospel of Philip (30 min)
Many scholars accepted the Gospel of Philip (Nag Hammadi Codex II,2) as a work from Syria, written between 150-300 CE. A clearly Syrian influence can be found in the Syrian etymologies and the metaphoric language. But there are also links with Egyptian Hellenism, Italian Valentinian thinking and so-called 'western' baptism rites. In this paper, I will give an overview of the various indicators, sketching a multi-facetted picture of the environment in which this work originated. By assigning a date and provenance to the Gospel of Philip, we -- by implication -- also say something about for example the dissemination of post-baptismal chrismation to that place and time. I will review several candidates in place and time, to see where and when the Gospel of Philip could have been written, demonstrating that Edessa and Antioch belong to the least likely candidates.
Johanna Brankaer, Université Catholique de Louvain
Myth as Demonstration: The Program of On the Origin of the World (NHC II, 5; XIII, 2) (30 min)
The narrator of the Treatise on the Origin of the World presents himself as engaging in a debate about the origin of the world. He takes position by criticizing his opponents who claim that nothing existed prior to chaos, and he pretends to demonstrate the truth of his own opinion. He presents his discourse as a convincing form of argumentation: this argumentation is not the product of revelation, but it is constructed by the narrator himself (in interpreting several sources he mentions without granting them any special authority). The narrator somehow proclaims his own omniscience. In the introduction (II, 97, 24-98, 10), he thus transmits a program that defines the rhetorical and scientific value of the mythical narrative that follows. The myth is somehow detached from divine revelation and becomes an argumentative means of human reason. We can therefore situate On the Origin of the World typologically after 1) other Gnostic texts it is related to (HypArch, ApocJn, ParShem...) who still present the myth as received by revelation and 2) after Gnostic texts that don't present the myth as revelation, but do not attribute to it any rhetorical of philosophical qualities.

Break (45 min)

Vahan Hovhanessian, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary
The Apocryphal Acts of Thomas: A Glance at a Lost Original or an Orthodox Revision? (30 min)
The Greek and Syriac versions of the apocryphal Acts of Thomas have been extensively studied by scholars, although still arguable as to which version preserves the original text. Meanwhile, very little has been published about the existing Armenian version of the Acts of Thomas with its variations. An examination of the Armenian text will highlight passages, textual variations and contextual facts that can arguably place the Armenian text in the temporal forefront. A comparison with the better-known versions may reveal that the Armenian text is actually the original witness, or support the current scholarly consensus that it is a later orthodox revision of the original.
Jon Ma Asgeirsson, University of Iceland
Between the God of the Hebrews and the God of the Sun: Building the Kingdom of Heaven in the Latin Passio-Version of the Acts of Thomas (30 min)
While generally considered a rendition rather than a faithful translation from a Greek text of the Acts of Thomas, the Latin Passio-Version retains the basic structure of the story intact. To this integrity of the basic outline, the Latin reveals a complex texture of intertextual composition and omissions from the more original Greek prototype. Structured around three encounters of the apostle Thomas with equally many foreign (Indian?) royal courts, the Acts of Thomas personifies the seeds of salvation in diverse roles of characters. In the Latin Passio-Version of the Acts of Thomas these roles are partially accented by adding characters to the story as well as by geographical locations such as the city of Helipolis and by confronting opponents such as the deity of the Sun, Helios, in comparison to the Greek text in its background. The present paper traces the personae, loci, and adversarii (such as represented as idols) in the Passio Sancti Thomae apostoli as topics of intertextual elaboration over against the original Acts of Thomas for the purpose of demonstrating the manipulation of the original text to meet different social and ideological circumstances. Between the hearalding of a flute and the demolishing of an idol, the walking dead reveals a stratified kingdom.
Paul G. Schneider, University of South Florida
The Johannine Origins and Purpose of the Lord's Secret Sacrament in the Acts of John (30 min)
According to the Gospels of Mark (14:26) and Matthew (26:30), Jesus and his twelve disciples sang a hymn after the Last Supper. According to the Acts of John what was performed in the upper room was a Gnostic mystery rite, comprising three hymns, a liturgical dance and final instructions for the initiates. But what is the purpose of this rite? Despite its ‘synoptic setting,’ this paper proposes that the purpose and origins of the Lord’s secret sacrament can be found in Johannine Christianity and with the Johannine secessionists of 1 John.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

FROM THE BOOK EXHIBITION HALLS: Mostly I've been collecting publishers' catalogues for library orders, but I did break down and buy the following:
George W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between The Bible And The Mishnah, with CD-ROM, Second Edition

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

2:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Lecture Theatre - William Robertson

Petri Luomanen, University of Helsinki, Presiding

Bradley J. Embry, International College and Graduate School
A Story of Love? Use of Song of Songs in the Odes of Solomon (30 min)
This paper intends to examine the use of Song of Songs terminology in the formation of the Odes of Solomon. Most commentaries make no mention of Song of Songs as an Old Testament source text for Odes of Solomon. In this paper, I argue that Song of Songs was a primary source text for the Odes, functioning in many respects according to the analogical interpretation often given it by the rabbis and Church Fathers.
Rivka Nir, Open University of Israel
The Conversion of Aseneth in a Christian Context (30 min)
Asenth’s conversion is still the most enigmatic episode in "Joseph and Aseneth". In contrast to the commonly-held opinion, I will argue that this scene should be understood in a Christian context. At its center stands the Eucharist, expressed by the “bread of life” and the “cup of immortality” and illustrated by the honeycomb. All the stages through which Aseneth went before partaking of the Eucharist (fasting, praying on her knees, turning to the east, spreading her hands towards heaven, looking upwards) and the acts which described the communion itself (Aseneth 'set a table', the angel stretched out his right hand, broke a small portion off the comb, he himself ate, what was left he put into Aseneth’s mouth, he told her to eat, and she ate), are compatible with the Eucharist liturgy and Christian initiation rites in the first centuries. In performing these rites, Aseneth becomes a model for gentiles who were called on not only to join the Church but also to lead a virginal way of life. The Eucharistic character is equally manifested in its description as a mysterion, its eschatological prospect and its celebration on Sunday. Two main arguments were raised in denying the Christian identity of this episode: the lack of baptism and the apparent disconnection of the ointment to the meal formula. I will prove that Aseneth’s baptism is clearly hinted at in the angel’s command to wash her hands and face with living water (14:12-15) and that the ointment (myron) prayer was an integral part of the Eucharist liturgy. In her transformation to the "city of refuge", in the sign of the Cross and the bees and the honeycomb scene, Aseneth symbolizes the Church of the Gentiles united with Christ and capable of granting salvation and resurrection to its believers.
Edna Isreali, Tel Aviv University
Who Is "Taxo"? Re-thinking the Origins of the Assumption of Moses (30 min)
The identity of the enigmatic figure of "TAXO" has fascinated scholars since publication of the Latin translation from a Greek text of the Assumption of Moses (1861). Scholars offered many imaginative solutions based on numerology or substitutive method of at-bash or ab-bag. Some ascribed the name to a suffering Messiah, some to Shiloh, who is numerically equal to Moses, and over the period from the Hasmonean Revolt until the Bar-Kokhva Revolt to different historical figures; many others supposed Taxo is the Latin form for the Greek taxon, the "Orderer". Such calculations or assumptions are speculative and unconvincing, not only because they lean on many kinds of distortions of the name in the Latin text, and of the supposed equivalents in Greek or in Hebrew, but also because they fail to explain how this figure integrates with the book’s time, content and purpose. I believe their failure derives from their preconception that the book is of Jewish origin. In 1868 Philippi claimed the author could not be Jewish, assuming the name points to the Christian Messiah, yet his attempt to deduce it from Taxo was unsatisfactory. Following Philippi’s conclusion about Christian origin, I suggest that the Latin TAXO is (like a number of other Greek words in this book) a transliteration of the Greek original, and should be read not as taxo but as TACHO (X=CH). This letter combination symbolizes Jesus Christ: T (Tau) and X (CHi) symbolize the cross and Christ (Xristos) while the two vowels A (Alpha) and O (Omega) are also early Christian symbols of Jesus who, like the biblical God, is defined as the first and the last, and at the same time as the Second Moses -- in whose name the writer delivers his eschatological message and who is clearly presented as a suffering righteous one.
Break (45 min)

Pierluigi Piovanelli, University of Ottawa
Christian Apocryphal Texts for the New Millennium: Achievements, Prospects, and Challenges (30 min)
The long awaited volume 2 of the Écrits apocryphes chrétiens, the anthology of texts in translation published by the late Pierre Geoltrain and Jean-Daniel Kaestli in the prestigious Pléiade series, was released on September 22, 2005. The two Pléiade volumes -- the first one was edited by François Bovon (and Pierre Geoltrain, in 1997 -- contain no lesser than 82 apocryphal writings, including some new texts translated for the first time into a modern language. This prestigious and groundbreaking publication provides the most up-to-date collection of Christian apocryphal texts available at the moment. Because of the extremely large selection of early Christian and late-antique texts offered to the readers, it also represents a major paradigmatic shift in comparison to what was found in, e.g., the various editions of the German anthology published by Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher. In the light of the Pléiade achievements, I will explore the impact of newly published texts, the reappraisal of late-antique texts, and the apocryphal creativity in the long-term history of Christianity. I will briefly address the issues of the Christian identity of some well known Jewish Pseudepigrapha (as, e.g., the Ascension of Isaiah or the Lives of the Prophets, included as Christian texts in the Pléiade volumes); the value of “proto-orthodox,” “Gnostic,” and “Jewish Christian” labels for the reconstruction of early Christian history and theologies; the flourishing of late-antique apocryphal texts (i.e., after the end of the 3rd century CE), and the process of creating new apocryphal texts in Christian and non-Christian cultures.
Istvan Czachesz, University of Groningen
Cognitive Constructs of the Divine in Apocryphal Literature (30 min)
In apocryphal literature the conceptualization of the divine shows many unexpected forms. I have earlier analyzed various theoriomorphic representations and the widespread use of metamorphosis from the point of view of cognitive science. In this paper I will ask whether different cognitive constructs of the divine could lead to the formation of the canon and the marginalization or extra-canonical classification of some pieces of early Christian literature. According to the cognitive science of religion, religious concepts violate shared ontological expectations. Those violations, however, are not haphazard, but help the divine agents acquire socially strategic information and use such information to intervene in everyday life. The most widespread god concepts seem to have evolved a special economy whereby minimally counterintuitive traits are coupled with a maximal functionality in performing such functions. My starting hypothesis is that apocryphal literature presents less optimal and economic conceptualizations of the divine. The hypothesis will be tested through an analysis of a sample of apocryphal literature, including gospels, apocalypses, apocryphal acts, and writings form the Nag Hammadi Library.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Edna Israeli's paper was canceled. The Dead Sea Scrolls session was moved from the morning to the afternoon, so I had to split my time between the it and the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha session.

Dead Sea Scrolls and Hebrew Bible

2:00 PM to 5:45 PM
G.04 - William Robertson

Theme: Prophecy and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Kristin De Troyer, Claremont School of Theology, Presiding

George J. Brooke, University of Manchester
Was the Teacher a Prophet? (30 min)
The sectarian compositions from the Qumran caves seem to be very reluctant to use the word nby' of any member of the community; it is never used even of the Righteous Teacher. The purpose of this paper will be to reconsider the possible prophetic status of the Teacher by setting the image of him within the context of the breadth of scriptural interpretation in the Qumran corpus much of which implies that prophecy was still ongoing particularly in a range of parabiblical compositions. This recondiseration of the character of Second Temple prophecy will strongly suggest that the Teacher was a prophet in all but name.
Timothy H. Lim, University of Edinburgh
‘All these he composed through prophecy’ (30 min)
The first part of this paper will survey the evidence of how the biblical psalms were read as prophecy in the Qumran community. Topics discussed will include inter alia the number of copies of the Psalms, the prophetic role of the Teacher of Righteousness, the three continuous Pesharim to Psalms, the ‘midrash’ on the last days, the messianic anthology, 11QMelchizedek, 4QMMT, the Damascus Document and the Psalms Scroll. This review of the evidence will be followed by the suggestion that one of the main reasons why the Psalms were read as prophecy is that they were believed to have been written by David through prophetic inspiration: ‘all these he (ie David) composed through prophecy which was given him from before the Most High’. Thus, the relationship between prophecy and psalms, already evident in the biblical texts, takes on an ever more prominent place in the post-exilic period.
Discussion (30 min)

Break (45 min)

Martti Nissinen, University of Helsinki
Pesharim as Divination (30 min)
As has been noticed long ago, the interpretatvie method of the Pesharim of Qumran bears resemblance, not only to the interpretation of dreams and visions in the Book of Daniel, but also to Mesopotamian dream interpretation, where the verb pasharu is used as a technical term for communicating an ominous dream to another person. This paper will place the Pesharim against a wider background of divination, laying special emphasis on the scribal interpretation of prophecy. It will argue that the Pesharim (especially the so-called continuous Pesharim) can be taken as one characteristic specimen of ancient Near Eastern scribal divination.
Katell Berthelot, National Center for Scientific Research
4QTestimonia as a Polemic against the Prophetic Claims of John Hyrkanus (30 min)
According to Josephus, John Hyrcanus was gifted with the gift of prophecy, and he was the only Hasmonean ruler to be characterized as a prophet. 4QTestimonia (4Q175) deals with biblical prophecies and prophets, and ends with a passage that elaborates on Joshua's curse against the person who will rebuild Jericho (in Jos 6:26) and implies that his prophecy has been fulfilled. This passage can also be found in 4QApocryphon of Joshua (4Q379 22). It is generally agreed that the author of 4Q175 quotes the Apocryphon of Joshua, but Hanan Eshel has proposed to consider 4Q175 the original composition, arguing that the passage better fits the context of 4Q175. According to Eshel, this particular passage alludes to John Hyrcanus and two of his sons. Moreover, he suggests that it may refer polemically to Hyrcanus' gift of prophecy. In this lecture, I will examine Eshel's interpretation of 4Q175 and tackle the issue of prophecy and false prophecy in this text, in order to answer the question: Is 4QTestimonia a polemic against the prophetic claims of John Hyrcanus?
Discussion (30 min)

Aside from networking and drinking coffee, I also stopped in at the Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism) session in the morning. I don't have the patience to fill in the abstracts this time, but here's the program. You can find details on the Online Program Book page, if you're interested.

Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)

8:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Lecture Theatre - William Robertson

David Trobisch, Bangor Theological Seminary, Presiding

Tommy Wasserman, Lund University
P78 – the Epistle of Jude on an amulet? (30 min)

Pablo Torijano Morales, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Andrés Piquer-Otero, University of California-Berkeley and Juan-José Alarcón
Text-critical Value of Secondary Versions in the Study of The Septuagint 3-4 Kingdoms (30 min)

John P. Flanagan, Leiden University
Isaiah 6:13: A New Look at an Old Textual Problem (30 min)

Break (45 min)

Ekkehard Henschke, Oxford
Tischendorf's Codex Sinaiticus and its Modern Presentation (30 min)

Elvira Martin Contreras, Oriente Antiguo Instituto Filologia
M1’s Massoretic Appendices: A New Description (30 min)
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to American readers.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Today I attended two sessions of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha Section, chairing the first and presenting a paper (More Jewish Pseudepigrapha) in the second. To read the full oral version of my paper, follow the link on the title either above or in the session listing below.

I meant to post this early this morning before I left for Edinburgh, but for the first time ever my home Internet connection went dead (perfect timing), so I couldn't do it. Sorry for the delay.

I was finally able to set up an Internet account with the University of Edinburgh this evening, but it takes 24 hours to come online, so effectively I won't have it until Wednesday morning.

Here are the details of the Monday sessions:

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

8:45 AM to 12:30 PM
Seminar 10 - William Robertson

Theme: Second Temple Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

James Davila, University of St. Andrews-Scotland, Presiding

Michael Tait, Pontificio Istituto Biblico
Glorious and Resplendent? The Resurrection and the Resurrection Body in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (30 min)
This paper starts from a consideration of the apparent contradictions in Christian eschatology, particularly the tension between belief in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, and between eternal punishment and annihilation. It suggests that the “problem” is partly the result of literary factors such as differences in genre between the relevant texts, imprecision of language, and confusion of metaphor and “reality”. However, a significant part of the “problem” lies in the largely Jewish inheritance, for the notions of the after-life in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha display similar “inconsistencies”. The range of beliefs contained in the literature is reviewed in a synchronic and thematic manner, and not by each author as in other recent surveys of the material. At the same time, attention is given to attempts to reconcile perceived conflicts. It is conceded that, in view of the uncertainties of dating and provenance surrounding most of our texts, we cannot propose a typology of beliefs, chronological or geographical. We can, however, see what beliefs were dominant, and examine the likely reasons for this in the contemporary context. If foreign influence, Persian and/or Greek is to be excluded, we ought, perhaps, to examine more native sources for interest in the after-life. Two such are suggested: the development of angelology and the popularity of the story of Noah, both key areas of interest in our texts. Where, relevant, implications for the development of these ideas in the New Testament are acknowledged.
David A. Fiensy, Kentucky Christian University
Sacred Space in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (30 min)
I propose to examine what the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha say about the temple in Jerusalem in comparison with what the social sciences, especially the works of Mircea Eliade, can teach us about the concept of sacred space in traditional cultures. I will examine the concept of the celestial temple, the idealized temple, the eschatological temple, and the temple as profaned. Finally, I will say a word about the improbability that Jesus of Nazareth considered the temple unnecessary or redundant.
Ida Frohlich, Pázmány Péter Catholic University
The Temple as a Theme in the Book of Tobit (30 min)
The Book of Tobit may have been a popular work in the Qumran community, read and copied in both Hebrew and Aramaic. Copies are from Cave 4, the so-called ‘sectarian library’ where copies of works belonging to the proper spiritual tradition of the community were found. The Aramaic text contains no or only few radically new or divergent elements from the story we know in the longer Greek recension (GII) taken in scholarly consensus as the ‘original’ form of the book in which it was composed. Chapters 13 and 14 known only from the longer recension were also preserved in Qumran Aramaic Tobit. These chapters contain a hymn over the heavenly Jerusalem and a Temple built for the 12 tribes for everlasting times. Isaianic themes as the glory of the righteous and disappearance of the wicked at the time of an eschatological judgment are also present in the hymn. Tobit’s idea of an ideal temple to be built in the future is common with the basic idea of Qumran Temple Scroll (11QTS). The so-called Heavenly Jerusalem-texts from Qumran (1Q32, 2Q24, 4Q554-555, 11Q18) deal with an analogous theme. The paper aims to investigate the reason and to outline the background of the presence of Qumran themes in the Book of Tobit.
Break (45 min)

Pierre Johan Jordaan, North-West University
Text, Ideology and Body in the Additions to Esther (30 min)
In certain protestant circles the apocrypha like the Additions to Esther have traditionally been studied in terms of a master and comparative text. This master text was the canonical text, in this case the Book Esther. The study of the apocryphal (comparative) book usually consisted of stating where the apocryphal text deviated and where it supported master or canonical text. Commentaries would then predictably go further in naming the different text variants and attempt to give the possible author, date and “theology” of the specific apocryphal book. Apocryphal texts were generally viewed with suspicion and according to the Belgic confession might not be used for preaching. However, in the last few decades things have changed radically. Firstly, with the emergence of the study of the Second Temple period, emphasis was placed on the Persian and Hellenistic periods. The OT apocrypha became recognized as inadmissible witnesses to the study of these times. Secondly, exegetic approaches towards texts changed fundamentally, accentuating previously discarded aspects in texts. Texts were now read not just in terms of grammar and semantics, different varian etc but also in terms of gender, power struggles and challenging narratives. It is argued that the Additions to Esther provide a par excellence witness to see how certain leitmotivs from the Deuteronomistic history were carried into the Hellenistic phase of the second temple. Further connecting with the second point (changing exegetic approaches), how the bodies of males and females were used. It shows a power struggle and the lengths people would go to in destroying the enemy. In line with this is the so called “reversed martyrdom” of the female body in certain OT apocrypha. It is not necessarily dying for the sake of the cause like males did, but opportunistically using the body for the benefit of the nation.
Jacques van Ruiten, University of Groningen
Chronological and Spatial Symmetry in the Book of Jubilees (30 min)
In his book On Earth as in Heaven (JSJSS, 91, Leiden, 2005) James Scott deals with the chronological and spatial conceptions underlying the Book of Jubilees, and tries to show how in these respects Jubilees forms a bridge between the earlier Enochic tradition and the later Qumran writings. This paper discusses the rigorous temporal and spatial symmetry, which is, according to Scott, characteristic for the Book of Jubilees.
Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, Azusa Pacific University
The Description of Sacrificial Worship in the Book of Jubilees: Its Interpretation by and Authoritative Status for the Dead Sea Scrolls Movement (30 min)
Throughout its development, the DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls) movement held some definitive views with regard to sacrificial worship. These views were held due to certain factors involving Jerusalem’s temple authority and cult. But from where did these views emerge? What was their origin? One probable source was the book of Jubilees. The number of extant manuscript copies preserved suggests that this pre and non-sectarian Pseudepigraphal work and its content (which harmonizes with the ideology in the non-biblical sectarian texts) held some significance for the DSS movement, influencing and later enforcing its ideology. On the basis of this, this paper will investigate the status of Jubilees for the entire movement (which includes the Qumran-related community) through examining the movement’s views of sacrifice using this work as its authoritative source. Examined in particular is Jubilees’ description of sacrifice, the temple, and priestly and purity related matters. These matters will be examined with the intent of probing how they were re-interpreted, adapted and used by the movement and later Qumran-related community throughout their development. On the basis of this examination, and the fact that there was no fixed Hebrew Bible during the Second Temple period, as Jonathan Campbell suggests, Jubilees can be seen as authoritative Pseudepigraphy, viewed as scripture. As will be discussed, the entire movement probably viewed the majority of this work as expressing a similar polemic concerning its opponent. Jubilees may have been viewed in a three-fold polemicized way. First, in light of Jubilees’ sacrificial descriptions, the entire movement likely offered non-calendar binding sacrifices. Second, at the same time, the movement read the majority of sacrificial regulations as polemic in an idealised and eschatological way. Lastly, only during the latter stages of the Qumran-related community were these same regulations read in a more predominantly spiritualized way.

Afternoon Session
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

2:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Seminar 10 - William Robertson

Theme: More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

Pierluigi Piovanelli, University of Ottawa, Presiding

Archie T. Wright, Regent University
Philo and the Book of Watchers (30 min)
This paper will discuss Philo's interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 in relation to the interpretation found in the Book of Watchers. It appears Philo may have been very aware of the Book of Watchers understanding that Genesis 6:1-4 told of the origin of evil spirits and he appears to have attempting to refute that understanding in his work De Gigantibus.
Markus H. McDowell, Westmont College
Jael in Pseudo-Philo’s Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum: A Comparative and Intertextual Approach (30 min)
The story of Jael in Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum 31.3-9 is one of the many retellings of biblical stories about women in Pseudo-Philo’s work. While a number of scholars have noted the similarities and differences in the story of Jael in LAB and the story of Judith in the book of Judith, there appears to be much more to Pseudo-Philo’s editing and redaction of this story than is commonly noted. Most assume that Pseudo-Philo borrowed from the book of Judith in his depiction of Jael. Does a careful analysis of these two texts support this view? Did the author have access to other traditions about Jael? What do other texts in LAB demonstrate about how Pseudo-Philo viewed female characters such as Jael in terms of roles, narrative function, and prayers? How do other texts about the story of Jael compare to Pseudo-Philo's telling? The first approach to answering these questions involves comparing the narratives of Jael and Judith in terms of language (e.g., “hand of a woman,” “strength/strong hand”), plot and characterization (e.g., beauty, seduction, violence, reliance on God), and especially the prayers of these characters (LAB 31.5, 7; Jdt 13.3, 4-5. 7) as they dispose of their respective enemies. The second approach employed in the study of the Jael narrative is an intertextual analysis of biblical and post-biblical references and materials relating to the Jael and Judith narratives (e.g., MT Jdg 4.17-24; 5.24; LXX Jdg 4.17-24; 5.24; LAB 32.12; Josephus, J.A. 5.5.4; Midrash ha-Gadol 1, 336; b. Meg. 15a; Yeb. 103a; Naz. 23b; Nid. 55b). The aim of this paper is to shed light on these questions and to further our understanding of female characters in the Pseudepigrapha literature and in LAB in particular.
J.R.C. Cousland, University of British Columbia
When, Where, and Why: Space and Time in the “Books of Adam and Eve” (30 min)
One of the perplexing features of the “Books of Adam and Eve” is their provision of detailed spatial and temporal indicators. In these otherwise rudimentary narratives, why are these details furnished with such frequency, and how are they utilized to illumine the world(s) of the protoplasts? This paper will argue that the provision of spatial and temporal details is, in part, calculated to emphasize the defining place of sin within human experience. In the “Books,” spatial and temporal determinants mark a falling away from the timeless divine centre, as epitomized by the protoplasts' former life in Eden, and quantify the extent to which humans have lapsed.
Break (45 min)

James R. Davila, University of St. Andrews-Scotland
More Jewish Pseudepigrapha (30 min)
The More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha project at the University of St. Andrews ( has assembled an international team of scholars to translate a new collection of Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. The corpus of texts, which generally can be dated to c. 600 C.E. or earlier, includes more than sixty complete or nearly complete works and numerous fragments. These documents are not covered in the Charlesworth volumes, apart from a few for which we have important new manuscript evidence. The corpus includes pagan works, Jewish pseudepigrapha transmitted by Jews, Jewish pseudepigrapha transmitted by Christians, and pseudepigrapha composed by Christians. This paper surveys and comments on the twenty or so texts that can be assigned to Jewish authorship with virtual certainty. Most of them survive in Hebrew or Aramaic and were transmitted in Jewish circles, but a collection of sermons is preserved only in Armenian. They include apocalypses of Elijah and Zerubbabel; a visionary text ascribed to Ezekiel; a prophecy attributed to Gad the Seer; magical treatises; a sapiential work; ancient Jewish sermons on biblical figures; a Hebrew prayer paralleled in the Slavonic Ladder of Jacob; a poetic text about David and Goliath; narratives about the giants, Noah, the patriarchs, the Maccabean revolt, and related midrashic material; and a text that claims to tell how and where the treasures of Solomon's Temple were hidden at the time of its destruction. Specialists will be familiar with some of these texts, but few will have studied all of them. By collecting translations of these documents with introductions, we aim to raise their profile among both scholars and nonspecialists.
Kristian Heal, Brigham Young University
Ps. Basil's History of Joseph: A Key to the Early Syriac Tradition (30 min)
At least from the Hellenistic period on, the Joseph narrative (Gen 37, 39-50) captured the imagination of its readers and was retold and expanded upon extensively in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions. Though the Greek and Latin fathers devoted a number of homilies and poems to the theme, it was the authors from the early Syriac tradition who explored the figure of Joseph most extensively. Joseph appears prominently among biblical characters used in Aphrahat’s Demonstrations, and of course Ephrem retells the narrative, with expansions, in his Genesis commentary. The story is further developed in a series of dramatic dialogue poem, all apparently from the 5th century or earlier. This body of Syriac Joseph material is interesting inasmuch as it indicates no influence from the Joseph and Asenath traditions, which only enter Syriac in the late 6th century (H 109). Instead, the formative text, as I will argue, is Ps. Basil’s History of Joseph (CPG II. No. 2987). This paper will demonstrate the influence of this early text in the Syriac tradition and discuss its possible provenance. In the course of the paper, I will also show that the Ps. Basil History of Joseph is the Vorlage of the Ethiopic History of Joseph (H 113).
Regrettably, Kristian Heal was unable to attend.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'M HEADING TO EDINBURGH this afternoon for the International Society of Biblical Literature Conference, which runs from this evening through Thursday morning. Tonight the events are at New College, thereafter they are at George Square. The latter is fully networked with wireless hotspots, but so far I haven't been able to find anyone at the University of Edinburgh who can get me signed up to use them. Perhaps I'll be able to arrange something on site. If not, blogging is likely to be light for the next few days, since I'll be commuting with a complex mixture of train, bus, and taxi rides and expect to have little free time. Not much sleep either.
IN PALMYRA a monument with a Greek inscription from the first century B.C.E. has been discovered, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency:
[The Director of Palmyra National Museum Khalil al-Hariri] added the monument belonged to a military leader from the Shamieh Legion which was deployed in Palmyra. The statue was built by the soldiers of this regiment to commemorate his sublime deeds as understood from the Greek inscription found on the statue and translated by the head of the Polish archeological expedition in the area.

(Via Archaeologica News.)
JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS is also treated briefly in the Toronto Star.
THE FORGERY TRIAL IN ISRAEL is covered in the Toronto Star:
Bone box on trial
James ossuary is at the centre of a Jerusalem court battle where the seamy side of the trade in ancient
artifacts is exposed

Jul. 1, 2006. 01:00 AM

In the city where Jesus preached and was killed 2,000 years ago, a controversy is building that could shake the foundations of the religion founded in his name.

The James ossuary, the purported burial box of Jesus' brother declared a fake by Israeli authorities three years ago, is at the centre of a Jerusalem court battle over alleged forging of antiquities.

The ossuary, with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," made a big splash when it was unveiled to the world nearly four years ago at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum.

The trial, on hold for more than a month due to scheduling delays that plague the Israeli court system, resumes Tuesday with the testimony of Avner Ayalon of the Geological Survey of Israel whose examinations of the ossuary helped lead to charges be laid.

I don't see anything new in the article, but it looks like a good summary of the current state of play.
Suit over terrorism may cost Chicago museum its Persian collection

By Ron Grossman

Chicago Tribune


CHICAGO - A federal judge has rejected a key defense by the University of Chicago in a lawsuit over rights to ancient Persian artifacts, a decision bound to ripple through the American museum community.

The next step, according to the Rhode Island lawyer who sued the university and several renowned museums: Seize an invaluable collection at the university's Oriental Institute - thousands of clay fragments with cuneiform writing that came from Iran. Then auction off the pieces to compensate victims of Middle Eastern violence on the grounds that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism.

I have the fullest sympathy for victims of terrorism, but this is not the way to proceed. To break up a museum collection of ancient inscriptions and scatter them to the wind in private collections would be to do great harm to the past heritage of all humanity. Whatever damage it does to the Iranian regime (over which I'll shed no tears), this is not worth it. The plaintiffs should reign their lawyer in; he's running amok.
BIBLICAL STUDIES CARNIVAL VII has been posted by Chip Hardy at the Daily Hebrew blog.
A NEW DEAD SEA SCROLLS FRAGMENT is being rotated into the Cradle of Christianity exhibition at the Maltz Museum in the Cleveland area. No word on which fragment, although the article says it's "one of the better preserved" ones.