Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Jordan Lead Codices Information Page

FAKE METAL CODICES WATCH: Steve Caruso has put up a page on the Jordan codices at his Biblioblog Reference Library. It is full of information on the state of play and the history of the discussion since March. It lists the bibliobloggers who have informally been sharing information with one another on the codices for some months and links to the relevant blog posts by the individual bloggers. Steve and some of the others have also put up pages with analysis of specific problems and issues. Do go and have a look: The Jordan Lead Codices Information Page.

One Thousand Open Access Journals

ISAW/AWOL: One Thousand Open Access Journals.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Roger Pearse: Is ambiguity in ancient texts a problem for the translator?

ROGER PEARSE: Is ambiguity in ancient texts a problem for the translator? Roger has some good observations in response to this question, of which I would highlight the point that a good understanding of the genre and literary context of a text is often very important for eliminating ambiguity in a translation. When I first started working on the Hekhalot literature (the Hebrew and Aramaic texts behind Jewish "Merkavah mysticism") some twenty years ago, I was often entirely perplexed about the meaning of a given sentence. But now after working through the entire corpus, reconstructing a critical text of most of it, and producing draft translations of nearly all of it, I usually (not always) have a good idea what such sentences mean. I have become accustomed to the technical terminology and the thought world of the texts, and that makes a great deal of difference.

That said, there are types of ancient texts which are ambiguous (to us) by their very nature. In particular I think of personal letters (of which we have many from antiquity esepcially from cuneiform sources). Because the personal context between the correspondents is lost, it is often very difficult for us to make sense of what is being said. The problem is multiplied if we only have one or a few letters in a longer correspondence. Lapidary inscriptions are also often maddeningly ambiguous, perhaps because the texts tend to be terse and the spatial and social contexts in which an inscription was embedded are now lost.

Also, damaged texts by nature have a higher degree of ambiguity to them. I think of the Dead Sea Scrolls in particular. If a text is fragmentary and we lack crucial hints from the grammar of the sentences and the immediate literary context of the text itself, it becomes correspondingly difficult to decipher the text.

Normally, none of these texts was ambiguous by nature to its original audience. It is only our distance from their original context and, in the case of fragments, the imperfect preservation of the texts themselves, which makes them ambiguous to us.

Eerdmans catalogue on archaeology and the DSS

EERDMANS has a new online catalogue of their books on archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls. My commentary on the Qumran liturgical works is on the list.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fake metal codices tidbits

FAKE METAL CODICES WATCH: A few small tidbits for a slow day. First, a brief reference to the codices in an article attributed to Deutsche Press-Angentur entitled "Jordan recovers 620 artifacts from Israel, says official." The artifacts mentioned in the title are from the Early Bronze Age and thus outside the interest range of PaleoJudaica. But this paragraph is included:
In March this year, the Jordanian government said that it was seeking the recovery from Israel of about 70 ancient Christian codices which were discovered by a Jordanian Beduin in a cave in northern Jordan between 2005 and 2007 and were later smuggled to Israel.
I take it from this that there is no more progress to report on the extradition of the codices.

Also, a blogger for the Jewish Chronicle notes the debunking of by Peter Thonemann and also cites Tom Verenna's essays in Bible and Interpretation: Metal gurus. That's at least a little progress.

On the off chance that you missed my radio interview on Sunday, I also discuss the fake metal codices briefly in it. If you couldn't get the podcast to work, there are new links in the updates which should be good.

Background to the codices is here with endless links.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More on the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Project

Google helps put Dead Sea Scrolls online


Ultra-high resolution images of several Dead Sea Scrolls are now available on the web, after Google helped digitise the ancient texts.

There are many other articles that give substantially the same information. Background here.

Also, related: Unraveling the Dead Sea Scrolls: Six Fascinating Facts.

Happy New Year!

ROSH HASHANAH begins this evening at sundown. Happy New Year to all those celebrating.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

THE DIGITAL DEAD SEA SCROLLS PROJECT, a collaboration between the Israel Museum and Google, has put some scrolls images online.

Background here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Witherington reviews Flusser on Jesus

DAVID FLUSSER'S BOOK ON THE HISTORICAL JESUS, originally published in German in 1968 but republished posthumously in an English revised edition in 2007, is reviewed by Ben Witherington. The review article was published in JAOS and is reprinted at Ben's blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Radio interview on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

TODAY I AM BEING INTERVIEWED by Brent Walters on his "God Talk" program on KGO, a Californian talk radio station. The theme of the show, which runs from 5:00 am to 8:00 am California time, is "Anonymous Legends and Literature." The first hour is on the Epistle to Diognetus; the second hour is an introduction to the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, and the third hour (7:00-8:00 am pst, 3:00-4:00 pm British time) is the interview with me. Mostly we will be discussing The More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project, the first volume of which is now in press. But we will also spend a little time talking about those fake metal codices. You should be able to listen to the program live online here. If you have missed it, don't panic. It will be posted as a podcast in due course and I will put up the link here.

UPDATE (26 September): The podcasts are now available. Hour one (which I have not listened to, but you may wish to) is here. Hour two (mostly on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha) is here. And hour three (my interview) is here.

UPDATE (27 September): Those podcast links do not seem to be working. For now, go here, Sunday, 7:00-8:00 am for my interview. It's after seven or eight minutes of news. I'll try to find out what's going on with the permanent links.

UPDATE (29 September): Here's an alternate link to the podcast of my interview.