Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kiel, "Creation by Emission"

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Adam & Eve in Zoroastrian and Manichaean Literature. Notice of new article: Kiel, Yishai. 2015. "Creation by Emission. Recreating Adam and Eve in the Babylonian Talmud in Light of Zoroastrian and Manichaean Literature." Journal of Jewish Studies 66(2). 295–316.

Bond and Hurtado (eds.), Peter in Early Christianity

LARRY HURTADO: Peter in Early Christianity: New Book.
I’m pleased to announce the new multi-author volume: Peter in Early Christianity (Eerdmans, 2015), eds. Helen K. Bond & Larry W. Hurtado. The online catalogue entry is here. This volume arose from our conference on Peter held here in Edinburgh under the auspices of our Centre for the Study of Christian Origins in July 2013.

The book was noted as forthcoming here and the conference that produced the papers for it was noted here, here, and here.

Meir and Edith Lubetski, Recording New Epigraphic Evidence

Recording New Epigraphic Evidence; Essays in Honor of Robert Deutsch, ed. Meir and Edith Lubetski.

The books [sic] presented in honor of Dr. Robert Deutsch deals with ancient inscriptions from the first millennium BCE found on ostraca, seals, bullae and other artifacts.

Early marriage in Talmudic times?

Marrying off young girls occurred among Jewish families in the mishnaic and talmudic periods.

Tirzah Meacham, associate professor of near and Middle Eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto, made the point Nov. 10 at a conference titled “The Jewish Family,” sponsored by the Jewish Law Association, U of T’s Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and York University’s Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies. It was held at U of T and attended by several dozen people.

Meacham’s was among the handful of presentations by academics from around North America who gathered to discuss intersections between Jewish and civil law, including gender relations, marriage and divorce.

Meacham, whose research includes talmudic and rabbinic literature, and Judaism and feminism, discussed conflicts between Halachah and civil law on the age of marriage.

She countered an argument made by Bar-Ilan University professor Adiel Schremer, who claimed that in Jewish Palestine of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, girls married well into their teens, while in surrounding cultures, such as Babylonia, they married around age 13.

Meacham said Schremer’s study relied on tombstone inscriptions found in Rome, Hellenistic Egypt and Palestine, which noted a woman’s marital age. This evidence is problematic, Meacham argued, because graves of middle and lower class Jews were likely marked with less detail, limiting the “sample size” to wealthy families.


She said the typical age of betrothal, if not marriage, was probably before 12-1/2. After that age, a father lost the authority to annul his daughter’s vows and the legal right to her handiwork or profits she brought to the household, including the bride price.

More on Schremer's work is here.

Very early marriage (in the early teens) was not unusual in antiquity in general, in no small part because the average lifespan was considerably shorter than ours. As I have remarked repeatedly, the world of the ancients was a very different world from ours. That said, it should be clarified that betrothal was legally equivalent to marriage, but did not involve consummation, which was to occur only after the marriage.

NT papyrus on eBay

ATTIC ARCHAEOLOGY: Greek New Testament papyrus is discovered on eBay (JENNIFER SCHUESSLER, NYT).
Last January, Geoffrey Smith, a scholar of early Christianity at the University of Texas, noticed something startling: an eBay listing for an ancient Greek papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John — with an opening bid of only $99.

“I thought, This can’t be allowed to sell on eBay,” Dr. Smith said. “It will just disappear into a private collection.”

Dr. Smith contacted the seller and urged him to halt the online auction — apparently the first on eBay for a Greek New Testament papyrus, he and other scholars said — and let him study the fragment. The seller agreed, and now, on Saturday, Mr. Smith will present his research at the annual conference of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta.

The credit-card-size papyrus, which Dr. Smith dates from around A.D. 250 to A.D. 350, contains about six lines of the Gospel of John on one side and an unidentified Christian text on the other. If Dr. Smith’s analysis is correct, it is the only known Greek New Testament papyrus from an unused scroll rather than a codex, the emerging book technology that early Christians, in sharp contrast to their Jewish and pagan contemporaries, preferred for their texts.


Dr. Smith declined to identify the seller. But in the text of the listing copied on Dr. Jones’s blog, the seller said the papyrus had been in the private collection of Harold R. Willoughby, a professor of early Christianity at the University of Chicago who died in 1962.

The seller, who identified himself in the listing as a relative of Mr. Willoughby, told Mr. Smith that he had found the papyrus only recently, after opening a suitcase of Mr. Willoughby’s possessions that he had acquired in 1990 and stashed in his attic.

And if the story is true, and it does seem to be verified, then the selling of the papyrus would be legal.

Interesting article. I didn't see any obvious errors on scholarly matters, but I do note that Larry Hurtado is not a professor at the University of St. Andrews. He is a retired professor from the University of Edinburgh, as he says at his blog, to which the article links.

UPDATE (22 November): More here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Oh ... and I'm in Atlanta

GOT IN LAST NIGHT. I'm pretty jet-lagged and woke up very early, but that at least leaves plenty of time for blogging. I've seen a few SBL people already and am looking forward to seeing more soon. Now it's time to go investigate the gym.

Bautch and Knoppers (eds.), Covenant in the Persian Period

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Biblical Covenant in the Persian Period. Notice of new book: Bautch, Richard J. & Gary N. Knoppers (eds.). 2015. Covenant in the Persian Period: from Genesis to Chronicles. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns.

Geller (ed.), The Archaeology and Material Culture of the Babylonian Talmud

The Archaeology and Material Culture of the Babylonian Talmud

Edited by Markham J. Geller, University College London
The Babylonian Talmud remains the richest source of information regarding the material culture and lifestyle of the Babylonian Jewish community, with additional data now supplied by Babylonian incantation bowls. Although archaeology has yet to excavate any Jewish sites from Babylonia, information from Parthian and Sassanian Babylonia provides relevant background information, which differs substantially from archaeological finds from the Land of Israel. One of the key questions addresses the amount of traffic and general communications between Jewish Babylonia and Israel, considering the great distances and hardships of travel involved.

Levine on ancient synagogues

LECTURE IN PITTSBURGH: Israeli professor describes autonomy in antiquity, locally controlled synagogues (Adam Reinherz, Jewish Chronicle)
On a cool Sunday evening in November, nearly 75 people gathered at a historic synagogue in Shadyside to learn about ancient synagogues in Israel. The event, which was a collaboration among Classrooms Without Borders and five area synagogues, featured Lee Levine, an expert on ancient Judaism and professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Throughout Levine’s hourlong lecture in Freehof Hall at Rodef Shalom, he discussed how and why the synagogue became a central institution in late antiquity.

Early on in his remarks, Levine stated the historic uncertainty surrounding synagogues.

“We have no idea when, where or why it started,” he said. “It’s strange for an institution to percolate and know nothing about its origins.”

Follow the link for a detailed summary of the lecture and discussion.

Jesus and same-sex relations

THELOGY IN THE RAW: Jesus Was a Jew: Understanding Jesus and Same-Sex Marriages in His 1st Century Jewish (Not Our 21st Century Western) Context.

This is an ETS paper that was presented on Wednesday. It indicates that same-sex relations were condemned without exception in Second Temple Judaism whenever it was (rarely) mentioned, and as far as I can recall (never having thoroughly checked), this sounds right. (As often happens with these things, I am not certain that all the texts cited in this paper are actually Jewish.) There is nothing in the texts about Jesus to indicate he might have thought otherwise. Beyond this, I have very serious reservations about trying to figure out what Jesus might have thought about any modern hot-button issue. The texts give us very little information about the historical Jesus and there remains considerable debate even about what his major teachings and actions were, so we're not likely to get very far on what he thought about things that the texts don't even mention.

Final SBL Blogger session

JAMES MCGRATH: The Last Blogger Session #AARSBL15.
This year’s session of the SBL Blogger and Online Publication program unit will be the last ever, and we will be going out with a bang.
If you would like to go, here is the information on the date and location:
Blogger and Online Publication
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
A701 (Atrium Level) - Marriott
Theme: Blogging Comes of Age
This session will feature two papers, followed by a panel of blogging scholars who will share their thoughts about the benefits and challenges, rewards and hardships, of academic blogging. The panelists will then participate in a Q&A with the audience.

James McGrath, Butler University, Presiding
Rick Brannan, Faithlife
From Blog, to Book, to the Larger Scholarly Discussion (20 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Christian Brady, Pennsylvania State University
The Life of a Blog from Cradle to Maturity (?) (20 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Panel Discussion
Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Panelist (10 min)
Wil Gafney, Brite Divinity School (TCU), Panelist (10 min)
Lawrence Schiffman, New York University, Panelist (10 min)
Discussion (60 min)
Business Meeting (10 min)
I have meetings that morning and will probably not be able to get to this one, but I hope it goes well.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

SBL 2015

I'M OFF TO ATLANTA for the 2015 annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. This year I am presenting a paper that looks at the response to my 2001 book Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature.
Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity; Religious Experience in Antiquity
Joint Session With: Mysticism, Esotericism, and Gnosticism in Antiquity, Religious Experience in Antiquity
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
404 (Level 4) - Hilton
Theme: Revisiting Shamanism
This session is dedicated to Daniel Merkur, PhD whose scholarship on mysticism and friendship has inspired and continues to inspire us.

Celia Deutsch, Barnard College, Presiding
April D. DeConick, Rice University, Introduction (5 min)
April D. DeConick, Rice University
Shamanism and Gnostic Ritual (25 min)
James R. Davila, University of St. Andrews
Hekhalot Mysticism and Jewish Shamanism: Where Do We Stand Now? (25 min)
Jeffrey Pettis, Fordham University
Shamans in the Desert: Mark 1:12-13 Jesus and the Spirit World (25 min)
Pieter F. Craffert, University of South Africa
Shamanism as a Cross-Cultural Interpretive Tool: Jesus, Paul, and Early Christianity (25 min)
Michael Winkelman, Arizona State University, Respondent (20 min)
Discussion (25 min)
I have already posted the abstract for my paper here. I hope to see lots of PaleoJudaica readers there.

I have pre-posted lots of interesting items already and I shall post on current news etc. during the conference as time permits. There will continue to be something new on PaleoJudaica every day, so do keep coming back as usual.

Archaeological Excavations in Israel 2016

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Archaeological Excavations in Israel 2016 (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Cuneiform tweets

CAN'T MAKE IT UP: Dumb Cuneiform. They will take your tweet, transliterate it into Old Persian cuneiform, inscribe it on a clay tablet, and send it to you in the mail. All for 20 bucks. Or at least so they claim. I can't vouch for them, but if you give it try, let me know how it works out.

Coffee shop Latin

What I Learned While Translating Medieval Latin Commentaries in Coffee Shops

Now, instead of poring over an ancient tome or bringing the blurry image into focus on the microfilm reader screen, I can view Latin scripture commentary on my tiny laptop. I do not know what the medieval authors whom I have been translating would make of my experience. I expect that these scholarly biblical commentators would covet the enormous treasure trove of texts so readily accessible to me. After all, most of these authors were compilers, sorters, arrangers, and distributors of massive amounts of information. They wrote reference works, concordances, and study aids. I imagine they might be chagrined to learn that when they introduced a quotation with the words, “As blessed Augustine said,” I often Googled the Latin phrase they quoted. This sometimes yielded the footnote information I needed, though search engines are not yet a substitute for familiarity with the primary sources, especially when “blessed Augustine” wasn’t really the source of that quotation!

See Also: The Book of Genesis (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2015)

By Joy A. Schroeder
Bergener Professor of Theology and Religion
Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary
October 2015
Although Latin was the language of the Roman Empire and the Western Church, it is sometimes quite important for the study of ancient Judaism, such as when dealing with the book of 4 Ezra or with Pseudo-Hegesippus. And, of course, there's St. Jerome.

BAJS Conference, July 2016

CONFERENCE: British Association for Jewish Studies (BAJS) Conference 2016: The Texture of Jewish Tradition: Investigations in Textuality, 10-12 July 2016, The University of Birmingham.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pagels teaches Jesus

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Jesus, the revised edition: Freshman seminar explores 2,000 years of interpretations (Jamie Saxon).
"Who Was — Or Is — Jesus?," taught by Elaine Pagels, the Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion, uses a variety of sources to examine the life of Jesus from the earliest, ancient primary sources about Jesus — the "gospel" accounts, including the four accounts of Jesus' life that "made the cut" into the New Testament, to contemporary Christian and non-Christian interpretations such as Dennis Covington's "Salvation on Sand Mountain," Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" and E.P. Sanders' "The Historical Figure of Jesus."

This is the first time Pagels has taught this seminar. "I chose this topic because I would have loved to have this course when I was in college — but there was nothing like it! [It] starts by asking what we know about Jesus historically, and then goes into art, music, poems, film — an enormous range from which to choose," she said.

Readings draw from philosophy to poetry and literature — Friedrich Nietzsche, Langston Hughes, Leo Tolstoy, and more. Students also view works of art such as Chagall's crucifixion paintings and listen to recordings such as John Coltrane's studio album "A Love Supreme."

AJS Review 39.2

A NEW ISSUE OF AJS REVIEW (39.2: 2015) HAS BEEN PUBLISHED. Some of the articles are relevant to ancient Judaism:
The Rabbinic and Roman Laws of Personal Injury
Jonathan A. Pomeranz
AJS Review / Volume 39 / Issue 02 / November 2015, pp 303 - 331
Copyright © Association for Jewish Studies 2015
DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 13 November 2015

The Sin of Protesting God in Rabbinic and Patristic Literature
Dov Weiss
AJS Review / Volume 39 / Issue 02 / November 2015, pp 367 - 392
Copyright © Association for Jewish Studies 2015
DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 13 November 2015

Reimagining Enoch in Sasanian Babylonia in Light of Zoroastrian and Manichaean Traditions
Yishai Kiel
AJS Review / Volume 39 / Issue 02 / November 2015, pp 407 - 432
Copyright © Association for Jewish Studies 2015
DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 13 November 2015
And there are some book reviews of interest too.

SBL Nag Hammadi event

ALIN SUCIU: SBL Nag Hammadi Celebration (Sat 7pm).

Miller, "Sacred Slaughter"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight: Yonatan Miller.
Sacred Slaughter: The Discourse of Priestly Violence as Refracted through the Zeal of Phinehas in the Hebrew Bible and in Jewish Literature (Harvard University, 2015)

More on psychedelic Yavneh

ARCHAEOLOGY: Find of the century in Yavneh sheds light on ancient religious cult in Palestine. Small pit contained 7,000 cult artifacts from the pre-Christian era; ancient population used different substances to induce hallucinations (JOHANNES GUTENBERG UNIVERSITAET MAINZ press release).
After several years of work, the second and final volume on the excavations at Yavneh, located about 20 kilometers south of Tel Aviv in Israel, has just been released. This covers what was probably one of the smallest digs ever performed as it was restricted to a repository pit that was only roughly 2 meters across and 1.5 meters deep. "Nevertheless, what was found here can truly be described as one of the finds of the century," said Professor Wolfgang Zwickel of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). A total of 7,000 cult items dating back to the 8th to 9th centuries BC were discovered, some of which have already been restored and are now held by various museums. "Absolutely unique are the approximately 120 small cult stands that were intended to imitate temples," added Zwickel, who was involved in publishing on the finds. Another unusual aspect described in the second volume is the fact that scientific analysis has shown that the vast number of vessels that were deposited as cult objects in the pit once contained substances that the ancient population of Yavneh would have used to induce hallucinations.

Nice photo of a cult stand. The finds are published in the new volume:
R. Kletter, I. Ziffer, W. Zwickel, Yavneh II: The "Temple Hill" Repository Pit, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis. Series Archaeologica 36, Academic Press Fribourg/Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Göttingen, 2015
Background and some comments here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sanders on From Adapa to Enoch

SETH L. SANDERS: From Adapa to Enoch: an Overview. The TOC of this forthcoming book is posted here.

I am looking forward to the discussion at the SBL conference in Atlanta.

Greek Job and Ezekiel in a Year

When the IOSCS facebook page was launched earlier this year I posted a link to a facebook group dedicated to reading LXX Psalms. Over the course of 2015, this group has been very active in reading and interpreting the Greek text of the Psalter, going through a few verses each day. When they've finished reading the Psalter by the end of 2015, they will move on to reading the Greek texts of Job and Ezekiel. The reading will start on Jan 4, 2016! This is an open invite for anyone who'd be interested in following the reading and/or contributing to the discussion. (Marieke Dhont)
If you are on Facebook you can join the group at: Greek Job and Ezekiel in a Year.

No, not wailing at the wrong wall

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Wailing at the wrong wall? (Popular Archaeology).
For hundreds of years, the long-accepted traditional location of the temple of Solomon and the later Second Temple expanded upon by Herod the Great in Jerusalem has placed them within the precinct that now contains the famous Haram al-Sharif (Dome of the Rock), otherwise known as the “Noble Sanctuary”. It has been a sacred space for three major world religions for centuries.

In recent years, however, some scholars have challenged the traditional view. Not without controversy, they have revolved their arguments around what they consider to be a misreading or dismissal of the literature by Josephus and others regarding the size and location of Fortress Antonia, the Roman enclave in 1st century Roman-occupied central Jerusalem that represented the might of Rome in the otherwise troublesome (for the Romans) province of Judaea.

This opening makes it sound as though there is an interesting controversy over the locations of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. There isn't. The article refers to some notions by Dr. Ernest L. Martin and "researcher and author" Marilyn Sams, neither of whom is (was, in the case of the late Dr. Martin) a trained specialist in the archaeology of ancient Israel. Dr. Martin's PhD was in education from Ambassador College. Ms. Sams's degrees are in English. Their notions about the Temples are not presented at scholarly conferences or debated in peer-review journals. They are not on the radar for specialist discussion of the archaeology of ancient Jerusalem.

This, of course, does not necessarily prove they are wrong, but it does indicate that no specialist has found their ideas interesting enough to bring them into the discussion, which is not a good sign. And quite a few years ago Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, who is familiar to regular readers of PaleoJudaica (recently here and here) and who is a specialist in the archaeology of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, replied to Dr. Martin's ideas. See here, where his essay from 2001 is reproduced. And see also his blog post here.

If Ms. Sams or anyone else wants to argue that the Temples did not stand on the Temple Mount, she needs to produce arguments of a standard to be published in the peer-review scholarly literature. Scholars are always excited by new theories that are based in credible new understandings of the evidence. That is how any field advances. But the peer-review hurdle must be passed for new ideas to be taken seriously.

I am disappointed in Popular Archaeology. It has published some good popular articles and I have linked to it from time to time, but it needs to improve its filters for what counts as a scholarly theory. Caveat lector.

Related posts in which the location of the Temples also figures are here and links.

UPDATE (18 November): Leen Ritmeyer comments here.

Another Lod Mosaic

IAA PRESS RELEASE: Impressive new mosaic uncovered in Lod (posted at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website).
​While building the visitor center for the Lod Mosaic, which was discovered previously and is considered one of the most spectacular in the country, another impressive mosaic was discovered at the site.
It will be open for public view as of this week.

Background on the first Lod Mosaic and its international peregrinations is here and links

Aramaic incantation bowls at AAR/SBL

JAMES MCGRATH: Magic Bowls at #AARSBL15 in Atlanta. I probably can't make it to this, since I need to be at the setting up the Scottish Universities Reception at the same time at another hotel. But if you are going to AAR/SBL and you want to see some real-life Aramaic incantation bowls, this is your chance!

Monday, November 16, 2015

More on the possible Acra find

LEEN RITMEYER: The mysterious Akra in Jerusalem.
I have been asked by a few readers to clarify my position on the location of the Akra, that hated symbol of alien Hellenistic rule whose occupiers became in the words of the writer of the First Book of Maccabees: “a great trouble … an ambush for the sanctuary, an evil adversary for Israel at all times” (1. 35 – 38). This was because they attacked the Jewish worshippers that went up from the city to the Temple.

Let me say, first of all, that the finds in the Givati Parking Lot (announced on November 3rd) and identified as part of the Akra, are very significant. According to the excavators, a 4m wide and 20m long defensive wall dating to the Hellenistic period was found with a glacis, made up of soft layers of rubble, descending to the bottom of the Tyropoeon Valley. This therefore indicates that this wall was part of the western fortifications of Hellenistic Jerusalem. The difficulty is to establish what part of the Hellenistic city this wall belongs to. Now that the media pundits have regurgitated the news announcement, it is time to reflect on this latest identification of the Seleucid Akra.

Background here and links.

Brooks, The Secret Chord

A NEW NOVEL: 'The Secret Chord': Geraldine Brooks takes King David on a hero's journey (Susan Pearlstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
A pervasive cultural belief posits that in the good old days people were kind, peaceful, and in every way morally superior to their present-day descendants. This conceit is dashed to its death in Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author Geraldine Brook’s latest novel, “The Secret Chord,” in which she reimagines the life of David, slayer of Goliath and uniter of the tribes of Israel. Ms. Brooks convincingly establishes that in Biblical time warring factions, political maneuvering and personal jealousies spilled quickly into blood vendettas, and worse.

Geraldine Brooks is also the author of People of the Book, a fictional account of the history and modern rescue of the Sarajevo Haggadah. I note many reviews between 2007 and 2009, for example, here, here, and here.

Plus, related: ‘Sarajevo Haggadah’ brings Jewish manuscript to life (CARLO WOLFF, Cleveland Jewish News).
The accordionist Merima Kljuco, with pianist Seth Knopp her brother in musical arms, brought a storied Jewish manuscript to unusual life Oct. 28, filling nearly 700 seats in the Cleveland Museum of Arts’ Gartner Auditorium.

Introduced by the Australian journalist-novelist Geraldine Brooks, Kljuco delivered “The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book,” her multimedia meditation on a Spanish manuscript that has traveled far and survived even farther.


SBL Pseudepigrapha sessions

LIV INGEBORG LIED: Pseudepigrapha Sunday. Professor Lied collects the sessions on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha taking place at the upcoming Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Atlanta, which starts on Saturday.

An undiscovered tomb in the Great Pyramid?

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: Lost Pharaoh? Great Pyramid May Hide Undiscovered Tomb (Owen Jarus, LiveScience).
Speculation swirls anew that within Egypt's Great Pyramid of Khufu there lies a hidden tomb, possibly holding the pharaoh himself, sealed there for thousands of years.

The discovery of so-called thermal anomalies by a team scanning the pyramid suggests an as-yet-unidentified open space that could be evidence of a tomb.

As with the recent similar story about possible hidden chambers in the tomb of Tutankhamun, I am not qualified to evaluate the use of this technology in the Great Pyramid. Zahi Hawass seems to think there is something to the idea of it containing a hidden tomb. I pass the story on as an example of the use of early and primitive nonintrusive and nondestructive scanning technologies which, as they improve, are are going to become increasingly important to archaeology.

Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Bulletin

AWOL: New Open Access Journal: Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Bulletin.
It is dedicated to the vast variety of issues concerned with the research into the oriental manuscript traditions, from instrumental analysis, to codicology and palaeography, to critical text editing, to manuscript preservation, to the application of digital tools to manuscript research. The geographical focus is the Mediterranean Near East, with its wide array of language traditions including, though not limiting to, Arabic, Armenian, Avestan, Caucasian Albanian, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Slavonic, Syriac, and Turkish.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Hellenistic-era, duck-head incense shovel from the Galilee

ARCHAEOLOGY: If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, is it a clue to the rise of Jewish Galilee? An elegant 2,200-year-old Hellenistic bronze incense shovel found this summer could help determine how and when Judeans settled the hills near the Kinneret (Ilan Ben Zion, Times of Israel).
The tapered head, flattened bill and graceful curve of the neck are unquestionably that of a duck. The bird’s head decorates a small, 2,200-year-old bronze incense shovel found during this summer’s dig at a Hellenistic-era site near the Sea of Galilee, and its ancient owners may be the key to an investigation into how and when ancient Judeans populated the Galilee.

A Hebrew University team led by Dr. Uzi Leibner discovered the shovel amid the ruins of Khirbet el-Eika, a site just west of the Sea of Galilee near the Horns of Hattin, during August’s excavations. Leibner sought to elucidate who the inhabitants of the Galilee were in the early Second Temple period.


Bibliography of Mesopotamian Astral Science

AWOL: Bibliography of Mesopotamian Astral Science. Mesopotamian astronomy and astrology can be important for understanding aspects of ancient Judaism. See, for example, here and here.

Resources for the study of Gnostic scriptures

AWOL: Marcion - Revelator of True Gnosis: Software exploring original Gnostic scriptures. The title tries too hard, but this does look like a very useful collection of language resources.

Mazza on the Gospel of Mary

VIDEO: Faith after the Pharaohs: Christianity and the Rylands Gospel of Mary (Roberta Mazza, Faces and Voices Blog).

Past posts on the Egypt: Faith After the Pharaohs Exhibition at the British Museum are here, here, here, here, and here. More on The Gospel of Mary is here. Cross-file under New Testament Apocrypha Watch.

Jobes on the LXX

JIM WEST: An Interview With Karen Jobes on the Septuagint, and Two New Volumes.