Saturday, November 05, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Ben Witherington: "Reading and Writing in Jesus' World" (2)

BEN WITHERINGTON continues his series at The Bible and Culture blog: Reading and Writing in Jesus’ World— Was he an Illiterate Peasant? Part Two.

Channeling Metatron for 11-11-11

ARCHANGEL METATRON WATCH: Some New Age channeling of Metatron in honor of a special date this month: 11-11-11 Energy Wave by Archangel Metatron.

I wonder what he'll have to say for 12-21-12.

Teaching kids to hate Talmud?

MICHAEL FREUND: Is the religious education system in Israel Teaching kids to hate Talmud?

Simple changes, such as taking a topical approach rather than plowing straight through the text, could go far in making Talmud study more appealing to such youth.

For example, instead of opening up the seventh chapter of tractate Baba Kamma to teach students about various laws relating to theft, they could instead learn how the Talmud might view the purchase of pirated DVDs or the download of music from the internet.

By making the text more relevant to their everyday lives, teens are far less likely to be turned off to its study.

Instructing youths in some of the basics of Aramaic might also make the Talmud more accessible and less intimidating.

But it may just also be time to consider some more radical alternatives as well.

Two months ago, Rabbi Yosef Avraham Heller, a prominent Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi who is a member of the Crown Heights Rabbinical Court, did just that, causing a stir when he suggested that perhaps not everyone needs to study Talmud intensively.

“Before the War, it was unheard of that every child learned in yeshiva the entire day; it was only a selection of students,” Rabbi Heller said, adding that, “Today, however, there is a new ideal that has no source in Torah: everyone has to learn Gemara, and someone who learns Mishna is considered a ‘loser.’” “Never in history,” he noted, “was there such a phenomenon.

Throughout the generations, each person learned according to his level.”

Thursday, November 03, 2011

From the Biblioblogosphere


The Bible and Culture: Latinisms, Western Diction, and the Provenance of Mark’s Gospel. As regular readers know, I have some reservations about Casey's work on the Aramaic background of the Gospels, but I accept that there is some level of Semitic interference in the Greek of Mark.

The Bible and Culture: Reading and Writing in Herodian Israel– Was Jesus an Illiterate Peasant? Part One.

Exploring Our Matrix: It’s Finally Here: The AAR/SBL App for iPhone/iPad! I've downloaded it onto my iPod Touch. It looks very useful.

Exploring Our Matrix: Biblioblog Top 50 for October 2011.

Alin Suciu continues to uncover Coptic fragments of New Testament Apocrypha: Two Other Scraps from a Parchment Leaf Containing the Apocryphal Acts of John in Coptic; Lost and Found: Two Fragments of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles in Coptic.

UNESCO politics: the turf war begins


Background here and here.

N. T. Wright's Inagural Lecture at St. Andrews

PROFESSOR N. T. WRIGHT gave his Inaugural Lecture at the University of St. Andrews last week. (For those not familiar with the British system, after someone has been appointed as a full professor, he or she will at some point give a public lecture on some aspect of his or her research to mark the appointment.)

My doctoral student, David Larsen, has published his notes on Professor Wright's lecture at his blog, Heavenly Ascents: Insights from N.T. Wright’s Inaugural Lecture: Imagining the Kingdom of God.

Four new books from the SBL

FOUR NEW BOOKS from the Society of Biblical Literature:
The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change, Second Revised Edition
Bezalel Porten

This important volume contains 175 documents from the Egyptian border fortresses of Elephantine and Syene (Aswan), which yielded hundreds of papyri in hieratic, Demotic, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Coptic, spanning a period of 3000 years. The documents include letters and legal contracts from family and other archives, and are thus an invaluable source of knowledge for scholars of varied disciplines, such as epistolography, law, society, religion, language, and onomastics. The volume includes seven sections, each containing carefully translated and extensively annotated documents of one language group. Excellent cross-referencing allows the user to trace forerunners and successors. Each section is preceded by an introduction; the Aramaic, Demotic, and Greek sections are concluded with a prosopography. The book closes with a select topical index.

Paper $79.95 • 656 pages • ISBN 9781589836280 • Hardback edition

Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts
Brad E. Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, Jacob L. Wright, editors

Interpreting Exile considers forced displacement and deportation in ancient Israel and comparable modern contexts in order to offer insight into the realities of war and exile in ancient Israel and their representations in the Hebrew Bible. Introductory essays describe the interdisciplinary and comparative approach and explain how it overcomes methodological dead ends and advances the study of war in ancient and modern contexts. Following essays, written by scholars from various disciplines, explore specific cases drawn from a wide variety of ancient and modern settings and consider archaeological, anthropological, physical, and psychological realities, as well as biblical, literary, artistic, and iconographic representations of displacement and exile. The volume as a whole places Israel’s experiences and expressions of forced displacement into the broader context of similar war-related phenomena from multiple contexts.

Paper $57.95 • 480 pages • ISBN 9781589836044 • Ancient Israel and Its Literature 10

Pentateuch, Hexateuch, or Enneateuch? Identifying Literary Works in Genesis through Kings
Thomas B. Dozeman, Konrad Schmid, Thomas Römer, editors

The identification of literary works in the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets is a hallmark of the modern historical-critical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. The theories of a Tetrateuch, a Hexateuch, or a Deuteronomistic History have played a central role in recovering the literary history of the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets. The breakdown of these methodologies in recent research has forced scholars to reevaluate the criteria for identifying literary works in the formation of the Hebrew Bible. The present volume explores anew, without presupposition or exclusion, the criteria by which interpreters identify literary works in these books as a resource for recovering the composition history of the literature. It also brings North American and European approaches to the topic into a common discussion.

Paper $39.95 • 324 pages • ISBN 9781589835429 • Ancient Israel and Its Literature 8

Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult
Jeffrey Brodd and Jonathan L. Reed, editors

This book presents an up-to-date discussion of the Roman imperial cult (the divinization of the emperor) and its general importance in early Christianity and ancient Mediterranean religions. It features opening and closing essays by Karl Galinsky, a foremost authority on Roman history and culture. Thirteen other essays explore related aspects and draw on a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives, including theory, method, archaeology, epigraphy, and art. The authors are classicists, biblical and religious scholars, historians, and archaeologists, with expertise in various cultural milieus. Reflecting this spectrum of backgrounds and interests, the book addresses issues and phenomena covering a broad expanse of subjects, locations, and methodological concerns.

Paper $37.95 • 276 pages • ISBN 9781589836129 • Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplements 5

Obituary for Ben Zion Wacholder

AN OBITUARY FOR BEN ZION WACHOLDER, which I only came across recently on the Agade list:
Ben Zion Wacholder, 1924-2011 (AAJR)

A long-time Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Ben Zion Wacholder passed away in Roslyn Heights, New York, on March 29, 2011, at the age of 86. He had been the Solomon B. Freehof Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati and a major figure in the study of ancient Jewish history, especially of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

More here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

2012 Enoch Graduate Seminar

2012 ENOCH GRADUATE SEMINAR: This just in from Gabriele Boccaccini.
The fourth meeting of the Enoch Graduate Seminar will be held June 18-20, 2012 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, chaired by Prof. James C. VanderKam. The sessions will begin at noon on Monday, June 18 and will conclude at noon on Wednesday, June 20. Graduate or Post-Doc students working in the general area of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins who wish to present a paper at the seminar should submit an abstract (no more than one page) clearly stating the shape of the argument and the conclusion. The abstract should be sent to the secretary of the Conference, Isaac Oliver , no later than December 15, 2011.

Around 15 papers will be selected and presented at the Seminar. Papers in their final form must be completed by May 15, 2012. They will circulate in advance among the participants and will be only briefly introduced (5 minutes) by the author at the conference, where one hour will be devoted to the discussion of each paper, with all participants acting as respondents. The best papers will be selected for publication in the journal Henoch.

Previous meetings of the Enoch Graduate Seminar were held at the University of Michigan (2006), Princeton Theological Seminary / Princeton University (2008), and the Catholic University of Budapest (2010).
The Enoch Seminar website is here.

Iranian influence on Judaism

Iranian influence on Judaism

The question of Iranian influence is of some importance for understanding the development of the Hebrew Bible, the history of Second Temple Judaism, and the emergence of the genre known today as the apocalypse. Understanding the origins of ideas is of interest on its own; however, the ability to pinpoint influence more specifically offers evidence for dating changes in religious thought, as well as enabling a better understanding of the ways imported ideas were adapted by Judaism. Thus, understanding how ideas parallel other systems, were borrowed from them, and adapted for a new religion improves the contextual understanding of a religion and its texts, in our case Second Temple Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

See Also: Persepolis and Jerusalem (T&T Clark Int’l, 2012)

By Jason M Silverman
Trinity College Dublin
October 2011
This essay lays out a sophisticated and promising new approach to the problem.

(Via Robert Cargill at XKV8R.)

Canada 'reconsidering' UNESCO funding after Palestine's admission

UNESCO POLITICS: Canada 'reconsidering' UNESCO funding after Palestine's admission.

Egyptian blogger's plight taken up by LA Times

EGYPTIAN BLOGGER'S PLIGHT taken up by the Los Angeles Times:
Egyptians protest blogger's detention, call for end to military trials

November 1, 2011 | 12:08 pm

REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- Egyptian activists are demanding the release of Alaa Abdel Fattah, a popular blogger who criticized the army for the death of protesters during a recent demonstration.

Background here.

Knesset declines to declassify Temple-Mount Comptroller's report

Knesset Refuses to Declassify Temple Mount Report
The Knesset has refused to declassify a State Comptroller report slamming officials for pervasive failures at the Temple Mount

By Gavriel Queenann (Arutz Sheva)
First Publish: 11/1/2011, 4:58 PM

A joint session of Knesset sub-committees discussed on Tuesday a confidential report from the State Comptroller citing serious failures by authorities to safeguard and maintain the Temple Mount.

During the meeting MK Uri Ariel (National Union) again requested the report be released for public consumption on the grounds that the public had a right to appreciate the seriousness of authorities' failure to maintain law and order on the Temple Mount.


Ariel's request was rejected by the committee.

Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

Background here and links.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

From the Paleoblogosphere


Evangelical Textual Criticism: New Second Century Text of John? Not. See the comment by Wieland Willker.

Larry Hurtado's Blog: Another New Book on Jesus and the Early Church. Lots on ancient Judaism too.

NT Blog: The Matthew Effect. Sounds like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel.

Antiquitopia: Ancient Zombies. Seasonal.

The Talmud Blog: In a Name: Some Late Night Ruminations on T. Ilan’s Lexicon of Jewish Names 4. The Babylonian Aramaic incantation bowls figure prominently in the discussion.

Remnant of Giants: “Close Friend” of Kim Kardashian Reveals Reason for Divorce from Kris Humphries after only 72 days. “It was the Goliath thing.”

UPDATE: This just in from the Agade list.
Ancient Hebrew Grammar: Pedagogy and the Lesser-Taught (Ancient) Northwest Semitic Languages. The results of a survey, which unfortunately I seem to have missed.

The origins of Jewish creativity

THE ORIGINS OF JEWISH CREATIVITY is the subject of a collection of interviewlets in Moment Magazine. Among many thoughtful and varied ones, these two stood out to me:
Daniel Matt

The Zohar, the foundational text of kabbalah, is a celebration of creativity—it shows how the Torah endlessly unfolds in meaning. Jacob ben-Sheshet Gerondi, a 13th century kabbalist, said it’s a mitzvah for every wise person to innovate in Torah according to his capacity. That’s refreshing because you often hear the traditional notion, to accept what’s been handed down or to learn from the master because you’re not able to create on your own. But ben-Sheshet says (after conveying one of his innovations), “If I hadn’t invented it in my mind I would say that this was transmitted to Moses at Mt. Sinai.” He’s aware that his interpretation is new, but he thinks it harmonizes with the ultimate source of tradition—the creative work itself is somehow deeply connected to an ancient mainstream. An essential component of all creativity is tapping into something deeper than your normal state of mind.

The basic approach of the rabbis is to apply midrash to reading the Torah—the rabbis are willing to be very bold in their interpretation. It’s natural for a Jew to be bold and innovative—that’s the secret to keeping the tradition alive. The Zohar reads the very opening words of the Torah radically. Instead of “In the beginning God created,” it’s “In the beginning the Infinite created God.” It sounds bizarre to say that God is the object of creation, but I think the meaning is that what we think of as God doesn’t do justice to the true nature of God, which they call ein sof, “without end.” Going beyond traditional midrash, the Zohar employs radical creativity to make us question our current assumptions about life, about the nature of the human being, about God and spirituality. It moves through the Torah verse by verse asking probing, challenging questions. As the Zohar says, “God is known and grasped to the degree that one opens the gates of imagination,” so it’s up to our imaginative faculty to understand reality, or the reality of God.

Daniel Matt served for 20 years as a professor of Jewish spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He is currently composing a multi-volume annotated translation of the Zohar, entitled The Zohar: Pritzker Edition.

Daniel Boyarin

The Babylonian Talmud is the most extraordinary creation of the Jewish people—it speaks a kind of manic energy and records that extraordinary energy and vitality from the areas where it was produced in the Babylonian Diaspora. Jews were imbued with creative energy through the intense study of this one peculiar vibrant work through the centuries. Sholom Aleichem, for example, records how the world of talmudic learning was diffused from the yeshiva throughout Jewish communities across class and gender. While the making of the Talmud was a creative act, so was the Jewish openness to many cultures: The cross-fertilization between ancient Jewish tradition and the outside world led to the taking in of new ideas and energy. Since the 19th century, much of Jewish creativity has stemmed from being in two cultures at the same time. Being in a position to observe a culture that you are also a part of is very conducive to creativity.

Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture at the University of California Berkeley, has written extensively on the Talmud and gender studies.
Much more on the Zohar and the Pritzker edition here and links. A couple of fairly recent posts on the work of Daniel Boyarin are here and here. Professor Boyarin also has a new book soon to be released: The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ.

Palestine given UNESCO membership

Palestine given UNESCO membership

AM Middle East correspondent Anne Barker (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Updated November 01, 2011 11:06:22

The United Nations' top cultural body UNESCO has voted to grant full membership to the Palestinians.

The move could boost the chances of recognition for a Palestinian state at the wider UN and will give Palestinians the right to nominate ancient cultural sites for inclusion on the world heritage register.

But the vote in Paris has angered Israel and the United States and both countries consider the peace process is now more in danger than ever.

The motion, which specifically used the name 'Palestine', was passed by a substantial majority.


But the US has vowed to veto the bid for full UN membership and has announced it will stop financial contributions to UNESCO.

"We were to have made a $US60 million payment to UNESCO in November and we will not be making that payment," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The US funding makes up 22 per cent of UNESCO's budget.

Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, says the UNESCO vote will severely damage the prospects of Middle East peace negotiations resuming.

This decision will doubtless have an impact both on the archaeology of the region and on UNESCO itself, but exactly how remains to be seen.

Monday, October 31, 2011

More blogger arrests in Egypt

Egyptian activist bloggers Alaa and Bahaa face military prosecution
Two prominent activists and bloggers are questioned by the military prosecution over their alleged incitement of the Maspero clashes earlier this month

Hatem Maher, Sunday 30 Oct 2011 (Al-Ahram)

Activists Alaa Seif Abd El-Fattah and Bahaa Saber arrived at the offices of the military prosecution Sunday morning to face questioning over their alleged role in instigating the deadly Maspero clashes which left scores dead and injured earlier this month.

Both activists were due to be questioned last week but a hearing was delayed because Seif was in the US, where he spoke to American protesters taking part in the occupy wall street movement.

According to lawyer Nesma Zahran, a member in El Nadim Center for the Management and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, Seif and Saber are facing charges of inciting the downtown Cairo clashes between Coptic Christians protesting the torching of a church in upper Egypt and their Muslim supporters on one side, and the army and the police on the other.

At least 26 people were killed and dozens wounded in the army/police clampdown on the protesters on 9 October in front of the state TV headquarters (Maspero).

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) later expressed "regret" for the incident, but continued to try and put the blame for the violence on Coptic and secularist incitement.


Veteran political activists, both Seif and Saber were arrested in 2006 for criticising the former regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Abd El-Fattah, along with his wife Manal Hassan, runs the well-known political blog ‘Manalaa.’ Possibly Egypt's most famous blogger, his Twitter account has over 45,000 followers.

According to Egyptian human rights activist Mona Seif, military prosecutors claim to possess video footage proving that Seif and Saber had incited protesters to commit violent attacks against army personnel at the height of the Maspero clashes.

I have been following the career of Alaa and Manal since 2005 (see here, here, here, and here; also a couple of the links in this recent post). I have not heard of Bahaa before this.

The incitement accusations seem not to be directly related to blogging, but the two arrestees are known to a large degree because of their blogging. Much additional information about the case and the issues involved (such as video evidence of army atrocities at the protest, plus the problem of trying civilians in military tribunals) is covered in the Christian Science Monitor (Egypt's military rulers detain prominent activist. Is he a scapegoat?) and a NYT blog by Robert Mackey (Egyptian Activists Summoned by Military Prosecutor). And Al-Ahram has more on Alaa here.

I can find no public record of the supposed video showing the incitement (in contrast to the ample public video record of army atrocities during the Maspero protests). Alaa and Bahaa are (or at least should be) innocent until proven guilty and any case against them should be tried in a civilian court.

As someone who has criticised the new Egyptian Government, I should feel very unsafe traveling to Egypt right now, just as I did back in 2006 during the Mubarak regime.

I posted this in the morning and then withdrew the post a little later when I decided I needed to look at the details more closely. Having done so, I repost it here in revised form.

UPDATE (1 November):
Egypt's blogger/activist @Alaa’s detention triggers mass protest against military trials

Thousands take the streets to demand freedom for renowned Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, imprisoned for refusing - on principle - to answer questions by the military prosecution

Salma Shukrallah , Tuesday 1 Nov 2011 (ahramonline)

Thousands gathered on Monday in downtown Cairo's Talaat Harb Square demanding the release of Alaa Abd El-Fatah, one of Egypt's most well-known bloggers and political activists , and expressing support for his decision to refuse to be questioned by the military prosecution on the grounds that it had no business interrogating civilians. Abd El-Fattah, who was brought before the military prosecution on Monday, also argued that in this particular case - the 9 October violent clashes between the army and Coptic protesters - the army stands accused of the crime, and hence it would be absurd for a criminal suspect to be allowed to question another presumed suspect.

Activists have long been campaigning against the military trials of civilians, demanding that they are tried in civilian courts instead. They also believe that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was trying to lay blame for the Bloody Sunday massacre, in which 26 people were killed and hundreds injured, on the victims. They have bundles of evidence, in the form of eyewitness testimony, videos and photos to support their contention that on that night the army and the anti-riot police had, suddenly, erupted into a paroxysm of extreme violence against a fundamentally peaceful protest, leading to the large number of deaths and injuries.

The protest of mostly young activists, many of whom only knew Abd El-Fattah through his @Alaa Twitter account, chanted “Alaa’s detention is liberating a country”. Abd El-Fatah’s stand was considered by the demonstrating crowd as a courageous sacrifice, which should be built upon, so as to bring an end to the military trials of civilians.


IAA press release on ancient Christian prayer box

THE CHRISTIAN PRAYER BOX recently discovered in Jerusalem is the subject of an IAA press release: An Ancient Christian Prayer Box was Discovered in Excavations in Jerusalem (October 2011).

Via Joseph I. Lauer. Background here.

Mark Glickman interviewed about "Sacred Treasure"

RABBI MARK GLICKMAN, author of Sacred Treasure--The Cairo Genizah, is interviewed in a San Diego Union-Tribune blog about his upcoming presentation on the subject matter of his book:
Mark Glickman: The Cairo Genizah

Written by
Joe Nalven
10:06 a.m., Oct 30, 2011

Mark Glickman will be giving a presentation at the San Diego Jewish Book Fair about the Ben Ezra Cairo Synagogue's Genizah, based on his new book, *Sacred Treasure--The Cairo Genizah: The Amazing Discoveries of Forgotten Jewish History in an Egyptian Synagogue Attic.

How is it important to us?

MG: It may not be important at all, but it should be! My book explains why, but here are a few brief synopses:

• The Genizah provides a window to a vastly significant and otherwise mostly unknown Jewish world – Judeo-Arabic culture and society.

• The Genizah provides a powerful connection between modern Jews and Judaism and our ancient predecessors.

• The Genizah documents portray a time and place in which Jews and Arabs lived among one another and got along very well – a hopeful vision of the future as well as a fascinating portrayal of the past.

• The Genizah shows us that Jewish religion and tradition is far from the static, unmoving monolith we often think it to be, but that it’s dynamic, always adjusting and adapting to contemporary needs.

• The Genizah story is fascinating and exciting – why wouldn’t you want to know it?
Background here and links. The presentation is in San Diego on 8 November, neatly falling between my previous trip there and my upcoming post-SBL visit. I am sorry to miss it.

More on the Cairo Geniza here and here and links.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Forum: Israeli Academics at Sydney University

Israeli Academics at Sydney University

October 28, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
Read on for article

Academics from Israel will join Australian counterparts on Monday at an international forum at the University of Sydney to discuss key thematic areas including medicine, energy, IT, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the pedagogy of teaching second languages.

“Shared Challenges, Future Solutions” will highlight research developments and foster new collaborative partnerships.

Professors Ian Young and Emanuel Tov are slated for the session on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Media on NYC DSS exhibition

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS EXHIBITION IN NEW YORK, which opened Friday, has received a lot of media attention. Some of the major treatments:
Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times World Premiere Opening Today at Discovery Times Square
Exhibition to Feature Largest Collection of Holy Land Artifacts Ever Organized in North America including 20 Dead Sea Scrolls on Display, Over 500 Rare Biblical Era Artifacts and an Authentic Three-Ton Stone from Jerusalem's Western Wall

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times, a new exhibition featuring the most comprehensive collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever organized, including one of the largest collections of the priceless 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls displayed in North America along with an actual three-ton stone from Jerusalem's Western Wall, is making its world premiere at Discovery Times Square (226 West 44th Street) from October 28, 2011 through April 15, 2012.


The Scrolls as a Start, Not an End

Published: October 28, 2011

Don’t expect to see the glittering marvels of King Tut’s tomb. Few artifacts at the provocative new exhibition at Discovery Times Square —“The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times” — will inspire aesthetic wonder. Pottery, silver coins, iron arrowheads, limestone pitchers, scraps of parchment — such are the seemingly mundane yields of many archaeological excavations, and they are prevalent here as well.

The understated result is almost jarring. ...

The narrative treats the scrolls not as the beginning of a history, but as its culmination. This is almost the reverse of their usual treatment. Since the first scrolls were found by Bedouins in 1947 in caves near the Dead Sea, they have inspired extraordinary drama and debate.


Dead Sea Scrolls in Times Square: Slide Show (NYT)

Dead Sea Scrolls, 'Jesus Tomb Ossuaries' on Display in New York

By John R. Quain

Published October 28, 2011 |

NEW YORK – For the first time ever, some of the most priceless -- and delicate -- writings from biblical times went on public display Friday.

It's part of "Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times," an exhibition at the Discovery Times Square in New York City. Comprising roughly 500 artifacts, some dating back more than 3,000 years, it is one of the most comprehensive displays of artifacts from ancient Israel ever assembled.


Among the scrolls are remarkable, non-biblical documents, such as the Book of War, which details an apocalyptic battle between angels representing good and evil. Also on public display for the first time are pieces of Aramaic Levi, in which a father explains priestly duties to his son, and Apocryphal Lamentations, ancient poetry concerning the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC.