Saturday, March 01, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Conference on New Philology and the DSS

LIV INGEBORG LIED: Material (New) Philology and the Dead Sea Scrolls: conference in Copenhagen. In early April. Follow the link for for program, abstracts, and registration information.

Street, The Vine and the Son of Man

The Vine and the Son of Man: Eschatological Interpretation of Psalm 80 in Early Judaism

by Andrew Streett

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars have traced out the rich and complex traditions of biblical interpretation in Second Temple Judaism. Little attention has been given to Psalm 80, however. Andrew Streett demonstrates that this psalm, which combines the story of Israel as a vine ravaged by others with hope for a “son” of God who will restore the people’s fortunes, became a rich trove for eschatological hope.

This study traces interpretations of Psalm 80 through many texts and argues that the psalm was an important biblical text through which early Christians understood the Christ event.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

McGrath on Secret Scriptures Revealed

JAMES MCGRATH: Secret Scriptures Revealed Reviewed.
I highly recommend this volume. It really should be read by, and available on the shelf as a reference volume for, anyone who works on or is interested in early Christianity and its literature.
UPDATE: Earlier review etc. here.

McCollum on language learning

HMMLORIENTALIA: The tipping point of textual expertise (Adam McCollum). "How much reading do you have to do in a language until you read smoothly, without having to stop often and ask yourself about morphology or syntax, or to consult the dictionary?"

My advice? I adapted this approach from accounts by Cyrus Gordon and C. S. Lewis of how they learned ancient languages and it worked for me. If you're at the intermediate stage of learning a biblical language, such that you know basic grammar and vocabulary, and you want to reach an advanced level, read a biblical chapter in that language every day without fail. When you come to the last chapter, do it again. Don't obsess over detail: have an English translation open at the same time so you can check vocabulary you don't know and get the sense of unfamiliar grammar. (There are also very useful word lists available of rare vocabulary in New Testament Greek and Biblical Hebrew.) Over time you will absorb the language as an actual language in which you can think, not just a puzzle to be solved with a lexicon and a grammar. How much time depends on how seriously you keep to the program, but you will see steady progress over a period months and will feel confident at a fairly advanced level within a year or two. Real mastery takes years.

You can do the same with Classical languages using Loeb editions with facing-page English translations. I find these useful rather than decadent. Read a page every day.

Note well that this approach is only for language learning. Serious exegesis of any ancient text should involve a critical text, lexicons, grammars, and (especially) a concordance.

Cross-file under "Asking the Important Questions."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Conspiracy theory

TIMOTHY MICHAEL LAW: A Conspiracy Against the Apocrypha?

Cross-file under "Old Testament Apocrypha Watch" and "Asking the Important Questions."

Luke, Philo, angels, and resurrection

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Are the Dead Raised as Angels? (Phun with Philo) (Daniel R. Street, καὶ τὰ λοιπά).

Anyone who has seen It's a Wonderful Life knows that the dead are raised as angels.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is the Apollo of Gaza a fake?

ROGUE CLASSICISM: The “Apollo” of Gaza ~ Part I: Fishy Tales and Timelines. The story gets fishier and fishier. Stay tuned ...

Background here.

UPDATE (26 February): At Rogue Classicism, David Meadows has an update: The “Apollo” of Gaza ~ Part Ia: Fishy Tales and Timelines.

UPDATE: Still more: The “Apollo” of Gaza ~ Part Ib: Implications of the Arabic Press Coverage.

UPDATE (11 March): Conclusion of the series noted here.

New Qumran fragments

ANTONIO LOMBATTI: Trovati nuovi manoscritti di Qumran. The gist of the Italian article he cites (Ritrovati nuovi manoscritti di Qumran) is that it has been announced in a Swiss research seminar on the Dead Sea Scrolls that some phylacteries (tefillin) from Qumran have been found among the materials excaved by De Vaux in the 1950s in Caves 4 and 5 and that these phylacteries, as normally, contain (nine total?) slips on which are inscribed biblical quotations. Good news.

UPDATE: Dr. Lombatti translates the excerpt from the Tio article into English here (via Joseph Lauer).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Wright on David

JACOB L. WRIGHT: Remembering King David (ASOR Blog). "Why didn’t the biblical authors present a more flattering image of King David, and why did they make his stories so complex?"

Kalimi (ed.), Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem

Sennacherib at the Gates of Jerusalem
Story, History and Historiography

Edited by Isaac Kalimi, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and Seth Richardson, University of Chicago

Sennacherib and his ill-fated siege of Jerusalem fascinated the ancient world. Twelve scholars—in Hebrew Bible, Assyriology, archaeology, Egyptology, Classics, Aramaic, Rabbinic and Christian literatures—examine how and why the Sennacherib story was told and re-told in more than a dozen cultures for over a thousand years. From Akkadian to Arabic, stories and legends about Sennacherib became the first vernacular tales of the imperial world. These essays address outstanding historical issues of the campaign and the sources, and press on to expose the stories’ theological and cultural roles in inner-cultural dialogues, ethnic origin stories, and morality tales. This book is the first of its kind for readers seeking out historical and historiographic bridges between the ancient and late antique worlds.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jude bibliography

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Bibliography for Epistle of Jude (Peter Head at ETC).

Jewish mosaics aren't just ancient

Solomon Schechter kids revive art of mosaics

David Lazarus, Staff Reporter [The Canadian Jewish News], Friday, February 7, 2014

MONTREAL — Solomon Schechter Academy students are reviving the ancient Jewish art of mosaics, head of school Shimshon Hamerman says.


At Solomon Schechter, Judaic studies director Chani Cohen’s Jewish art classes in the school’s “SMART floor” recently created their own mosaic with 250 kids from grades 2, 4 and 6 participating. The 4-by-10-foot work now hangs on the ground floor of the school’s main campus.

The students’ most recent collaborative mosaic shows the two tablets of the Ten Commandments embedded in the trunk of a Tree of Life, with a boy and a girl holding hands on either side of the tablets under the shade of the tree. The Hebrew quotation states: “It is a tree of life to all who hold on to it,” “Eitz Chayim hi lamachazikim bah,” words we recite about the Torah after the scroll has been read. The boy and girl holding hands symbolize that “the ways of the Torah are pleasantness.”

A photo of the latter with some of its creators is at the link. I think Solomon Schechter would be pleased.

For much more on ancient mosaics found in Israel and nearby, see here and follow the many links back.