Friday, May 11, 2007

HEROD'S TOMB: By now, everyone must have heard of the reported discovery of Herod's tomb at Herodium, confirming what Josephus said. But how could PaleoJudaica not cover it too? Here is the Hebrew University press release:
Tomb of King Herod discovered at Herodium by Hebrew University archaeologist

The long search for Herod the Great’s tomb has ended with the exposure of the remains of his grave, sarcophagus and mausoleum on Mount Herodium’s northeastern slope, Prof. Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology announced today.

Herod was the Roman-appointed king of Judea from 37 to 4 BCE, who was renowned for his many monumental building projects, including the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the palace at Masada, as well as the complex at Herodium, 15 kilometers south of Jerusalem. .

Herodium is the most outstanding among King Herod’s building projects. This is the only site that carries his name and the site where he chose to be buried and to memorialize himself -- all of this with the integration of a huge, unique palace at the fringe of the desert, said Prof. Netzer. Therefore, he said, the exposure of his tomb becomes the climax of this site’s research.

The approach to the burial site - which has been described by the archaeologists involved as one of the most striking finds in Israel in recent years - was via a monumental flight of stairs (6.5 meters wide) leading to the hillside that were especially constructed for the funeral procession.

The excavations on the slope of the mountain, at whose top is the famed structure comprised of a palace, a fortress and a monument, commenced in August 2006. The expedition, on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was conducted by Prof. Netzer, together with Yaakov Kalman and Roi Porath and with the participation of local Bedouins.

The location and unique nature of the findings, as well as the historical record, leave no doubt that this was Herod’s burial site, said Prof. Netzer.

The sarcophagus was smashed to bits, apparently by Jewish rebels during the Great Revolt of 66-72 C.E., which I guess shows that Herod wasn't any more popular in the first century than he is today.

This SBL Forum article ("Herod's Tomb Discovered at Herodium") doesn't have any new information, but it does have some good photographs of the site. And here's a slide show of the site from Der Spiegel. There has also been lots of discussion on the Ioudaios-L list. The recent archive of this thread is here.
SAMARITAN NEWS: Reader Sharon Dufour Sullivan e-mails the following:
I am writing to you because I have noticed through the years of following your blog that you have on occasion posted information about the Israelite Samaritans. I wanted to let you know about some exciting news. For the past five years I have been working with Israelite Samaritan Elder, Benyamim Tsedaka in the first English translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch. The project was completed one month ago, gracefully accepted by Logos to soon be published electronically. (I would be happy to send you a sample, if you are interested.) Along with the English translation of the Torah, Logos will be recording the oral chanting done by one of the leading Israelite Samaritan vocalists and choir member, Yefet Tsedaka (hopefully ready in one year from now). Mark Shoulson will also play a part in the Logos package, with the Hebrew parallel of the SP and the MT.

Benny and the choir are traveling to London, arriving Sunday, May 13. Benny will be staying an additional week after the choir performance.

I thought you might find both items of interest: The first ever English translation of the complete Samaritan Torah, and the soon arrival of the Samaritan Choir to perform in London.

Also, Benny Tsedaka e-mails with more information:
Following Sharon letter, yes, we are coming to perform
first time in the British Isle, four times in London.

I will bring with me the last draft of the Israelite
Samaritan Torah Translation, first time in English,
looking for high reputation publisher, as it ought to
be as an explosion in the field of Biblical research
to be in any place where it is studied, all over the


... The Israelite
Samaritan Choir will perform next week as follows:

May 13, at 7:30 p.m in North Western Reform Synagogue,
Golders Green.

May 15, at 6:00pm in St. Ethelburga's Center for Peace
and Conciliation, Near Liverpool Tube station.

May 16. at 7:00PM at Spiro Ark Center for Jewish

May 17, at 7:00pm at Spitz, London
Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to London next week. But if you will be there, you may want to attend one of the performances. I wish I could.
I'M BACK, at least for the present. Sorry for the long hiatus, but I did need the break to take care of other things. I hope to continue blogging regularly now, but there may be other unscheduled breaks.

Sorry also about the missing archive. It's still in the system, but for some reason the new Blogger system doesn't show it on the blog page. I'll try to figure out how to get it back, time permitting.

Finally, let me just mention that St. Andrews did not fill the two positions for New Testament and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible chairs (i.e., full professorships). So we are about to relaunch the search for both at a more junior level, with a range from Lectureship to Senior Lectureship to Reader. British readers will understand these titles. North Americans and some others may not, but they should think of this as in the range of assistant professor to associate professor. The adverts are cycling through our system, but I will post them as soon as I can.

It's good to be back.