Saturday, October 19, 2019

Katzoff, On Jews in the Roman World

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Ranon Katzoff. On Jews in the Roman World. Collected Studies. 2019. XVI, 396 pages. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 179. 149,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-157743-7.
Published in English.
The present volume presents a selection of studies by Ranon Katzoff on Jews in the ancient Roman world. Common to them is that they deal with Jews in liminal situations – confronted with non-Jewish, mainly Roman, laws, places, government, and modes of thought. In these studies – in which texts in Greek and Latin and rabbinic texts (all in translation) elucidate each other – Jews are shown to be rather loyal to their Jewish traditions, a controversial conclusion.
The first two sections concern law. Section one searches the remains of popular Jewish culture for evidence on the degree to which rabbinic law really prevailed, through the study of Judaean Desert documents, mainly those of Babatha. Section two sifts through rabbinic law for traces of Roman law. Section three comprises studies of Jews in, to, and from the city of Rome, and section four a miscellany of studies on Jews confronted with non-Jewish life.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Hurtado on Stuckenbruck on 1 Enoch again

LARRY HURTADO: 1 Enoch: An Update on Manuscripts and Cautionary Notes on Usage.
At the meeting of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, 5 August 2019 in Aberdeen, Loren Stuckenbruck gave one of the main/plenary papers (co-authored with Ted Erho) that draws upon his extensive efforts to locate and classify Ethiopic manuscripts of 1 Enoch. I’m grateful to him for letting me see his paper: “The Significance of Ethiopic Witnesses for the Text Tradition of 1 Enoch: Problems and Prospects,” and with permission of the authors I cite some of the observations arising from the work of Stuckenbruck and his associates.

Related post here. I have heard similar cautions from Professor Stuckenbruck.

It has been good to see Larry blogging again lately.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

CPF: Sensory And Emotional Approaches To Magic In The Roman World

There is a call for papers out for a one-day conference with the promising title Mind, Body, Magic: Sensory And Emotional Approaches To Magic In The Roman World, organised by the Open University, Milton Keynes, Friday 27th March 2020. Here is the information:
Follow the link for more.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Biblical Oxyrhynchus papyri stolen and sold?

WHAT A MESS: An Oxford professor allegedly stole ancient Bible fragments and sold them to Hobby Lobby (Katie Shepherd, Washington Post).
Since 2012, scholars and University of Oxford officials have been trying to trace a rumor that the oldest Bible fragment ever discovered not just existed but had been mysteriously stolen and sold to American arts-and-crafts giant Hobby Lobby.

Now, officials said they have finally cracked the case. The suspected thief at the center of the biblical controversy? Professor Dirk Obbink, one of the most celebrated classics professors in the world, a Nebraska native and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient who had long directed — and allegedly looted — Oxford’s Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project, a collection of centuries-old literature recovered from an ancient Egyptian garbage dump in 1896.

Read the whole article for details. These are serious accusations. So far, Professor Obbink has not responded to the most recent round of them. Some time ago he did deny that he sold a fragment of a manuscript of the Gospel of Mark.

We'll just have to see how this plays out.

Background here and links.

Also, here are some recent blog posts on the situation.

From Variant Readings (Brent Nongbri):

Breaking: EES Stolen Manuscripts Update

How Many Oxyrhynchus Papyri Have Been Sold?

From Evangelical Textual Criticism (posted by Tommy Wasserman):

NEWSFLASH: ‘Professor Obbink and Missing EES Papyri’ – MOTB returns 13 Papyri to EES!

News Statement: ‘Museum of the Bible Helps EES Recover Antiquities’

See also this Daily Beast essay by Professor Candida Moss:

INDIANA JONES BREAKS BAD. Hobby Lobby Scandal Widens as Museum of the Bible Admits Oxford Prof Sold Illicit Papyri to Green Family. The Museum of the Bible revealed today that at least 13 biblical fragments in its collection were illicitly sold by a Oxford professor to Hobby Lobby's Green family.

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Review of Lord (et al.), The Singer of Tales (3rd ed.)

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Albert Bates Lord, David F. Elmer, The Singer of Tales. 3rd Edition. Publications of the Milman Parry collection of oral literature, 4. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. Pp. xlv, 338. ISBN 9780674975736. $24.50. Reviewed by Minna Skafte Jensen, University of Southern Denmark and Copenhagen University (
This is the third edition of a monograph originally published 1960, an unusual fact in a time in which libraries are reduced in favour of digitized versions for online reading. What is so special about exactly this book?

The answer is, of course, that Lord’s Singer of Tales is a modern classic. Milman Parry’s sensational research which combined careful, even pedantic, studies of the Homeric poems with fieldwork investigation of oral epic in Yugoslavia was known to scholars working with archaic Greek poetry, but relatively unknown elsewhere. Had it not been for Lord’s book the situation might have remained like that. The Singer of Tales first describes the theory constructed from the fieldwork and next suggests how this theory changes our understanding of Homer. Lord was a charismatic author, and the enthusiasm emanating from every page makes his book a great read. It was received with admiration, and with it the ambitious project of defining the general characteristics of oral poetry became deeply influential not only in Homeric studies but in related fields as well, such as the philologies concerned with early poetry from other parts of the world, anthropology, folklore, and psychology, to mention only the most obvious. ...
Lord's book has also been influential on Hebrew Bible studies and Ugaritic studies.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Divine Warrior

God in Conflict: Images of the Divine Warrior in Ancient Jewish and Early Christian Texts

In the ancient world, writers routinely appealed to martial motifs to express their beliefs and hopes related to the divine. Texts from the ancient Near East depict deities in conflict with one another over the rightful rule of the cosmos. Documents among the Hebrew Bible, which arose out the ancient Near Eastern context, continued to adapt images of divine conflict when describing the God of Israel; Jewish authors, however, showed much creativity in bending and shaping the traditional motifs for their rhetorical and theological purposes. This adaptation of divine war images endured into the first century CE among New Testament authors, who incorporated the person and work of Jesus Christ into traditional conflict motifs. This essay offers a brief overview of some key images and texts from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament that framed God as a warrior; it also gestures toward the varieties of ways authors expressed the hope that God would fight for God’s people, defeat their adversaries, and restore the chosen people.

See Also: Scott C. Ryan, Divine Conflict and the Divine Warrior: Listening to Romans and Other Jewish Voices, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019).

By Scott C. Ryan
Assistant Professor of Religion and Biblical Studies
Department of Humanities
Claflin University, Orangeburg, South Carolina
October 2019
O worship the King all-glorious above is another well-know and frequently-sung hymn that draws deeply on the divine warrior tradition.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

The Manichaeans of Kellis

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: The Manichaeans of Kellis: Religion, Community, and Everyday Life (Mattias Brand).
Mattias Brand, The Manichaeans of Kellis: Religion, Community, and Everyday Life (Leiden University PhD Dissertation, 2019).
For more on Kellis, see here and the relevant link here. Cross-file under Manichean Watch (Manichaean Watch) and Coptic Watch.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sukkot 2019

THE FESTIVAL OF SUKKOT (BOOTHS, TABERNACLES) begins tonight at sundown. Best wishes to all those observing it.

Last year's Sukkot post was here with links. For the biblical background to Sukkot, see here and here.

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Nongbri on problems with paleographic dating

WELL THAT'S A BIT AWKWARD: Palaeographic Dating: Graphic Difference Does Not Always Mean Chronological Difference (Brent Nongbri,Variant Readings).

The promised subsequent post on Codex Sinaiticus is here. And the immediately preceding post is also of interest: A New Article on Palaeographic Dating of Codices.

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