Thursday, October 22, 2020

Reading Ancient Greek Coins

NUMISMATICS: Reading Ancient Greek Coins (Mike Markowitz, CoinWeek). Another informative essay by Mr. Markowitz. In this one he take readers who do not know Greek through some of the basics of reading ancient Greek-inscribed coins. He looks at titles, names, and dating systems. He gives examples from Greece, Syracuse, Pontus, Parthia, Judea, and Axum (Aksum).

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Review of Dainese & Gheller (eds.), Beyond intolerance

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Beyond intolerance: the Milan meeting of AD 313 and the evolution of imperial religious policy from the age of the tetrarchs to Julian the Apostate.
Davide Dainese, Viola Gheller, Beyond intolerance: the Milan meeting of AD 313 and the evolution of imperial religious policy from the age of the tetrarchs to Julian the Apostate. Studi e testi tardoantichi 14. Turnhout: Brepols, 2018. Pp. 220. ISBN 9782503574493 €100,00.

Review by
Maijastina Kahlos, University of Helsinki. maijastina.kahlos@helsinki.fi

**********

... Francesca Zanetti’s article explores the relations between Jews and the Roman Empire from Diocletian to Constantine. ...

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Mummies galore at Saqqarah!

EGYPTIAN ARCHAEOLOGY: Archaeologists uncover huge new cache of unopened sarcophagi dating back 2,500 years at Saqqara - two weeks after they recovered 59 coffins from the ancient necropolis (Joe Pinkstone, Daily Mail).
  • Authorities announced the coffins were discovered at the famed necropolis near ancient capital of Memphis
  • The 80 sarcophagi are believed to be more than 2,500 years old, according to preliminary analysis
  • Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly toured the area and viewed the finds earlier this week
I have been following the story for weeks, watching the mummy coffins pile up. I finally decided to mention it just on general principles.

Previous commentators have exhausted the Mummy Movie theme, so I won't go there. But isn't it interesting that there are still substantial archaeological discoveries in the vicinity of the Egyptian Pyramids, one of the most explored antiquities sites in the world? I would have thought that the Saqqarah necropolis would have been utterly depleted by now. But no.

Who knows what important archaeological treasures remain to be found in Egypt and elsewhere?

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Saving the Ethiopic Bible

ETHIOPIC WATCH: Ethiopian Jewry's biblical texts are disappearing. TAU is saving them. The students who have just begun their studies in the 2020-2021 academic year are all Ethiopian Israelis with Bachelor's degrees, who are eager to preserve and study their heritage (Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post).
The program is attracting Israeli students of Ethiopian descent who are interested in studying the sacred texts of their families’ culture. These texts are written in Ge’ez (an ancient Ethiopian language) and called the Orit. The program is known as Orit Guardians. Administrators and professors hope to expand the program to include BA and PhD studies.
Congratulations to Tel Aviv University! This sounds like a fantastic program. But I hope they are give the Ethiopic Book of Enoch some attention as well. It is part of the Ethiopian biblical canon.

For another recent story about research on the Ethiopic Bible, see here. And for another on a Ge'ez language program, see here. For more on the Book of 1 Enoch (Ethiopic Enoch), see here, here, here, here, and here.

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Second Temple-era jars etc. found at Beit El

CERAMICS: Second Temple period jars and complete clay objects unearthed in Beit El. The ancient jars were discovered inside a water hole at the Khirbet Kafr Mer archaeological site at Beit El (Tobias Siegal, Jerusalem Post).
The water hole was apparently part of a residential neighborhood in a Jewish community that lived in the area roughly 2000 years ago. The jars and other artifacts were founds stored within large plastered niches carved to the sides of the water hole.
What are the other "complete clay objects?" I think I see one or more bowls. Anything else?

For more on that decorated stone table that was recently excavated at Beit El, see here and links.

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Prof. Joshua Blau, 1919-2020

SAD NEWS: Passing of Professor Joshua Blau (Shalom Berger, H-Judaic).
H-Judaic is greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. Joshua Blau (1919-2020), emeritus professor of Arabic language and literature at the Hebrew University, past President of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, winner of the Israel Prize, the Ben Zvi Prize and the Rothschild Prize, member of Israel's Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one of the world;s foremost scholars of Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and Semitic languages. Among many other things, Prof. Blau authored an essential collection of Maimonides responsa. [...]
I posted congratulations to Professor Blau on his 99th birthday a couple of years ago, with emphasis on his foundational work on Judeo-Arabic. May his memory be for a blessing.

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Lecture on Collection in the DSS (22 October)

ZOOM LECTURE TOMORROW: Interpreting Collection in the Dead Sea Scrolls (by Institute of Jewish Studies).
Lecture about how the Dead Sea Scrolls were produced, who wrote and copied them and how they did it - materially and intellectually

Date And Time

Thu, 22 October 2020
18:00 – 19:00 BST

About this Event

Lecture by Hindy Najman (University of Oxford) and Eibert Tigchelaar (KU Leuven), chaired by Mark Geller (UCL).

One striking feature is that many of the Dead Sea scrolls consist of collections: of psalms or hymns, prayers, rules, laws, or exegetical interpretations. And frequently texts of different character are connected, for example penal rules with hymns. Often these collections are attested in variant forms: they are similar, but different. By analysing such collections, we try to understand the material and literary production of scrolls. Did these Jewish scribes collect texts in one scroll for practical reasons? Does collection reflect a creative growth of traditions? Or were scribes driven by an anthological temper? Should unique combinations of collected texts be regarded as intentional literary productions? We want to give an overview, and discuss some of the rules of these scrolls, such as the limits or unlimitedness of collection. This is important for the names we give to such scrolls and how we interpret them, but also for our understanding of contemporary writings.

You can register at this eventbrite link. HT the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Online conference: "The Land that I Will Show You"

UPDATE: Free: NYU Online International Conference on Recent Studies of Ancient Israel (The Jewish Press). I noted the upcoming (25-28 October) "The Land that I Will Show You" online conference here. For the promised additional information, see this article and the link therein to the conference website.

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On ingesting otherworldly substances

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: SBL 2019 Review Panel | Food and Pharmaka (Barbette Stanley Spaeth).
As a classicist, I found most interesting her ideas about the myth of the Rape of Persephone, as told in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and Ovid’s poems the Fasti and Metamorphoses, as well as Apuleius’ Metamorphoses. In this paper, I will indicate some problems with how Warren’s concept of hierophagy plays out in these texts and offer my own ideas on how this concept can be expanded to fit them more accurately.
I noted the essay introducing this series on Dr. Meredith Warren's book, Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature here, the first essay here, the second here, and the third here.

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Hippos-Sussita

HERITAGE DAILY: The Greco-Roman City of Hippos. Hippos, meaning “horse” is an ancient Greco-Roman city in the foothills beneath the Sussita Mountain, located near the present-day Kibbutz Ein Gev in the Northern District of Israel. A brief history of the city with some good photos.

For past posts on Hippos-Sussita, see here and links.

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New online journal: Judaica

THE AWOL BLOG: New Open Access Journal: Judaica. Neue digitale Folge (JNDF). With articles and reviews in German and English.

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Why Did Cain Kill Abel?

DR. RABBI DAVID J. ZUCKER: Why Did Cain Kill Abel? (TheTorah.com).
God rejects Cain’s sacrifice while accepting Abel’s, then in the next scene, Cain kills his brother. Does this mean that Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, or could other factors have been present? Ancient interpreters explore many possible motivations, from the simple to the bizarre.

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Kalimi, Writing and Rewriting the Story of Solomon in Ancient Israel

RECENT BOOK FROM CUP:
Writing and Rewriting the Story of Solomon in Ancient Israel

AUTHOR: Isaac Kalimi, University of Mainz, Germany
DATE PUBLISHED: November 2018
AVAILABILITY: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
FORMAT: Adobe eBook Reader
ISBN: 9781108622813

$ 100.00 USD

Solomon's image as a wise king and the founder of Jerusalem Temple has become a fixture of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic literature. Yet, there are essential differences between the portraits of Solomon that are presented in the Hebrew Bible. In this volume, Isaac Kalimi explores these differences, which reflect divergent historical contexts, theological and didactic concepts, stylistic and literary techniques, and compositional methods among the biblical historians. He highlights the uniqueness of each portrayal of Solomon - his character, birth, early life, ascension, and temple-building - through a close comparison of the early and late biblical historiographies. Whereas the authors of Samuel-Kings stay closely to their sources and offer an apology for Solomon's kingship, including its more questionable aspects, the Chronicler freely rewrites his sources in order to present the life of Solomon as he wished it to be. The volume will serve scholars and students seeking to understand biblical texts within their ancient Near Eastern contexts.

  • Compares the ways that Solomon is portrayed in the Books of Samuel and Kings on the one hand, and in the Book of Chronicles on the other
  • Evaluates the significance and limitations of the textual and archaeological materials that are available for reconstructing the period of Solomon
  • Provides a sense of how each generation has its own historians and unique descriptions of a historical figure (in this case King Solomon)

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Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham (ed. Birnbaum & Dillon)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham

Introduction, Translation, and Commentary


Series: Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Volume: 6
Authors: Ellen Birnbaum and John M. Dillon

On the Life of Abraham displays Philo’s philosophical, exegetical, and literary genius at its best. Philo begins by introducing the biblical figures Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as unwritten laws. Then, interweaving literal, ethical, and allegorical interpretations, Philo presents the life and achievements of Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation, in the form of a Greco-Roman bios, or biography. Ellen Birnbaum and John Dillon explain why and how this work is important within the context of Philo’s own oeuvre, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, and ancient philosophy. They also offer a new English translation and detailed analyses, in which they elucidate the meaning of Philo’s thought, including his perplexing notion that Israel’s ancestors were laws in themselves.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €189.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-42364-0
Publication Date: 07 Sep 2020

Hardback
Availability: Not Yet Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-42363-3
Publication Date: 21 Oct 2020

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Coptic Dictionary Online updated

THE COPTIC MAGICAL PAPYRI BLOG: Update to the Coptic Dictionary Online. I noted this Coptic dictionary here back in 2016. Now there is a new and improved version. Cross-file under Coptic Watch.

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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Report on 2nd year of the Coptic Magical Papyri Project

THE COPTIC MAGICAL PAPYRI BLOG: 2020 Review: The Kyprianos Database Launch and the Second Year of the Coptic Magical Papyri Project. Cross-file (of course) under Coptic Watch.

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Gilhooley, The Edict of Cyrus and Notions of Restoration in Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: The Edict of Cyrus and Notions of Restoration in Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. Notice of a New Book: Gilhooley, Andrew M. 2020. The Edict of Cyrus and Notions of Restoration in Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.

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On the Nag Hammadi Codices

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Nag Hammadi Codices. Critical editions available from two collaborative projects (Marek Dospěl).

There are lots of PaleoJudaica posts on the Coptic Gnostic library in the Nag Hammadi Codices. You can find some that supplement the essay above here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

There are also many posts on the Gospel of Thomas. Some recent ones are here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Cross-file under Coptic Watch.

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JJS 71 (Autumn 2020)

H-JUDAIC: TOC: Journal of Jewish Studies | Autumn 2020. This issue of JJS has a number of articles and book reviews of interest for ancient Judaism. You can read the abstracts, but the site requires a personal or institutional subscription to access the full texts.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Greek genres in ancient Jewish literature?

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
Jewish-Greek Literature in the Hellenistic and Roman Eras: Some Findings from a Study of Genre

The most basic finding of studies into Hellenistic Judaism is the recognition that some Jewish authors adopted Greek genres and were widely influenced by Greek literary culture. Writing in Greek does not automatically imply the adoption of Greek genres or substantial influence of Greek writing practices (e.g., Jewish apocalyptic). Nevertheless, many texts display awareness of Greek compositional practices and participate, to varying degrees, in recognizable Greek genres. This engagement was not accidental, nor was it done subconsciously.

See Also: Greek Genres and Jewish Authors: Negotiating Literary Culture in the Greco-Roman Era (Baylor University Press, 2020).

By Sean A. Adams
University of Glasgow, UK
October 2020

Cross-file under New Book.

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A Temple music chamber on the Temple Mount?

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: New discovery on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: Gate in the eastern wall of the Dome of the Rock plaza. Could this be the remnant of the gate to the southern underground Music Room? (Leen Ritmeyer).

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Was Noah a demigod?

DR. RABBI SAMUEL Z. GLASER (Z'L'): Demigods and the Birth of Noah (TheTorah.com).
The Sons of Elohim sleeping with women and producing demigods (Gen 6:1-4) is sandwiched between the birth of Noah and the flood. This juxtaposition of passages prompted 1 Enoch and Genesis Apocryphon to question whether Lamech was Noah's father or whether Noah was a demigod.

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HB/OT job at Aarhus University

H-JUDAIC: FEATURED JOB: Assistant or Associate Professor in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, Aarhus University. Ability to teach in Danish is a requirement. I can't find a specified application deadline.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Poop analysis and community organization in the late-antique Negev

ARCHAEO-COPROLOGY: Byzantine—Early Islamic resource management detected through micro-geoarchaeological investigations of trash mounds (Negev, Israel) (Plos One).
Don H. Butler , Zachary C. Dunseth, Yotam Tepper, Tali Erickson-Gini, Guy Bar-Oz , Ruth Shahack-Gross Published: October 14, 2020https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239227

Abstract

Sustainable resource management is of central importance among agrarian societies in marginal drylands. In the Negev Desert, Israel, research on agropastoral resource management during Late Antiquity emphasizes intramural settlement contexts and landscape features. The importance of hinterland trash deposits as diachronic archives of resource use and disposal has been overlooked until recently. Without these data, assessments of community-scale responses to societal, economic, and environmental disruption and reconfiguration remain incomplete. In this study, micro-geoarchaeological investigations were conducted on trash mound features at the Byzantine—Early Islamic sites of Shivta, Elusa, and Nesanna to track spatiotemporal trends in the use and disposal of critical agropastoral resources. Refuse derived sediment deposits were characterized using stratigraphy, micro-remains (i.e., livestock dung spherulites, wood ash pseudomorphs, and plant phytoliths), and mineralogy by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Our investigations detected a turning point in the management of herbivore livestock dung, a vital resource in the Negev. We propose that the scarcity of raw dung proxies in the studied deposits relates to the use of this resource as fuel and agricultural fertilizer. Refuse deposits contained dung ash, indicating the widespread use of dung as a sustainable fuel. Sharply contrasting this, raw dung was dumped and incinerated outside the village of Nessana. We discuss how this local shift in dung management corresponds with a growing emphasis on sedentised herding spurred by newly pressed taxation and declining market-oriented agriculture. Our work is among the first to deal with the role of waste management and its significance to economic strategies and urban development during the late Roman Imperial Period and Late Antiquity. The findings contribute to highlighting top-down societal and economic pressures, rather than environmental degradation, as key factors involved in the ruralisation of the Negev agricultural heartland toward the close of Late Antiquity.

I know, the abstract is pretty impenetrable.

I think the point of the article is as follows.

The researchers analyzed organic remains from late antiquity in a number of sites in the Negev. They found that early on the residents of the sites burned a lot of animal dung for fuel. Later on the residents of at least one site just dumped and burned the dung without putting it to any practical use. The researchers infer that the change implies that agriculture because less centrally organized in the Negev over time. The result was that smaller agricultural units had less community organization and thus used their resources less sustainably.

HT UPI News.

The late-antique Negev has received a lot of archaeological attention recently. Another story on the archaeo-coprology of the region is here. And for more on the archaeology of the late-antique Negev, see here and links, plus here and here.

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Manuscript Man nominated for prize

RECOGNITION: Iraq: Rescuer of ancient books from ISIS/Daesh nominated for award (Independent Catholic News).
A bishop in Iraq has been nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for saving more than 800 historic manuscripts from destruction by the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS).

Archbishop Najeeb Michaeel of Mosul, who is one of three finalists on the shortlist for the award, oversaw the evacuation of Christians to Iraqi Kurdistan - and safeguarded manuscripts dating from the 13th to the 19th century - after Daesh took Mosul in June 2014.

[...]

This is a well-deserved honor for Archbishop Michaeel, one of the Manuscript Men who rescued precious Syriac, Arabic, and other manuscripts from Isis in 2014.

For the story of his and their work, see the links collected here. Cross-file under Syriac Watch.

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Stefan Reif honored

CAIRO GENIZA WATCH: Four Cambridge academics named in Queen’s Birthday Honours. Researchers have been recognised for work on Covid-19, genetics, and Jewish history (Alexander Shtyrov, Cambridge Varsity).
In the humanities, Professor Stefan Reif, Founder of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, was awarded an OBE. Professor Reif oversaw the significant expansion of the Cambridge Genizah Collection into a major scholarly resource.

The Collection is an archive of medieval manuscript fragments in Hebrew, Arabic, Judaeo-Arabic, and Aramaic. Professor Reif is himself an expert on the historical study of Jewish liturgy.

Congratulations to Professor Reif and to all the recipients of the Queen's 2020 Birthday Honours.

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Seeking the "original" Bible?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The “Original” Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Can the scrolls help expose the original Bible language within the Masoretic Text and Septuagint?. This BHD essay is a summary of an article by Emanuel Tov published in BAR in 2014, but it's worth reading on its own. Tov's article is behind the subscription wall. I didn't notice the BHD piece back then, so here it is now.

For my part, I am willing to talk about "original readings" or "more original readings." The idea of an "original Bible" has way too many assumptions that need unpacking.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

More on Cleopatra

CINEMA, HISTORY, AND GENEALOGY: Cleopatra and the Jews (Dr. Yvette Alt Miller, aish.com).
This is the legacy that’s come down to us: Cleopatra as an Eastern potentate, mysterious and sensual. Yet dismissing Cleopatra as some sort of cartoonish exotic Middle Eastern princess diminishes her real life historical role. Cleopatra VII was a remarkable woman living in a consequential, complicated era. She was the product of her times, and played a vital role in the ancient Middle East. She engaged with Jewish communities, and ensured that Egypt’s Jewish population became one of the ancient world’s most free and secure.

Instead of sparking arguments over who should depict her in a movie, it would be wonderful if the forthcoming blockbuster about Cleopatra’s life led us to learn more about this remarkable queen – and the complicated, real times in which she and her contemporaries lived.

Background here and links.

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Judaea Capta coins

NUMISMATICS: Judaea Capta: Subjugation and Defeat on Ancient Roman Coins (Tyler Rossi, CoinWeek). Some excellent photos with informative commentary.

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On transcendent taste

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: SBL 2019 Review Panel | Seeing or Tasting? Human’s Perception of the Heavenly World in Hellenistic Jewish Writings (Angela Standhartinger).
To me, the most important outcome of Warren’s survey of the hierophagic pattern of Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian narratives is exactly this – her observation that myths and narratives indeed remove taste from the margins of the philosophical hierarchy of sense perception. Instead, in the texts she has examined, eating and tasting have become a vital part of the fictive characters’ appreciation of their world.[30] Contrary to leading philosophical traditions and their reception by Philo and other Jewish and Christian writers, in these six texts and traditions the corporeal act of eating as well as the corporeal sense of tasting mediates and conveys contact with the transcendent realm. By tasting food or other heavenly items, a given character is indeed transformed and acts with heavenly knowledge.
I noted the essay introducing this series on Dr. Warren's book, Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature here, the first essay here and the second here.

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Hempel, The Qumran Rule Texts in Context

RECENT BOOK FROM SBL PRESS:
The Qumran Rule Texts in Context: Collected Studies
Charlotte Hempel

ISBN 9781628372625
Status Available
Price: $55.00
Binding Paperback
Publication Date November 2019
Pages 420

An essential collection for students of Qumran texts now available in an affordable paperback

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Rule Texts have been at the forefront of the scholarly imagination, often thought to offer direct insight into life at Qumran. While the literary, scribal, and textual aspects reflected in the Rule texts have become clearer, the social and community realities remain fuzzy. To bring greater clarity to this picture, the studies by Charlotte Hempel collected in this volume deal with several core Rule texts from Qumran, especially the Community Rule (S), the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa), the Damascus Document (D), and 4Q265 (Miscellaneous Rules), with the goal of uncovering a complex network of literary and more murkily preserved social relationships. Several studies position the Rule literature within a shared context of wisdom, law, and the scribal milieu of the emerging scriptures. A previously unpublished, substantial final chapter explores the distinctive character of Qumran Cave 4 as an eclectic collection of ancient Jewish higher learning.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Gal Gadot is playing Cleopatra

CINEMA, HISTORY, AND GENEALOGY: Woke warriors outraged over Gal Gadot being cast as Cleopatra because she is not black - are ridiculed for not knowing the Egyptian Queen was GREEK (Karen Ruiz, Daily Mail). Technically (as the article says later) she was substantially Macedonian (Greek), but the point pretty much stands.

I saw this story yesterday but didn't post on it because I was still trawling through Cleopatra's genealogy to try to sort out the claims. Meanwhile, the story has gotten a lot of press in the last day. Most of it seems to come down on Ms. Gadot's side. Most of the objections seem to come from a small number of tweets.

Be that as it may, I did learn something about the ancestry of Cleopatra. If anyone has corrections, please drop me a note.

Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII) was one of the later rulers in Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty, descended from Alexander the Great's Macedonian general Ptolemy I. She also had some Seleucid (i.e., likewise Macedonian) ancestry, and a little Persian.

There is some ambiguity about her ancestry in the generations immediately before her. Her grandfather, Ptolemy IX Soter, was married twice to one sister and once to another sister. (The Ptolemaic dynasty was known for incestuous marriages.) However some ancient writers say that his son, Ptolemy XII Auletes, Cleopatra's father, was illegitimate. This has led to speculation that he was born out of wedlock to another woman. If so, she may have been Greek or Egyptian or whatever. We don't know. And we don't know what illegitimate means in this context. Other interpretations are possible.

Her father, Ptolemy XII, was married to Cleopatra V Tryphaena. We don't know much about her, including her ancestry. Again, she may have been Greek or Egyptian or whatever. Moreover, although we assume she was the mother of Cleopatra VII (our Cleopatra), no ancient source actually says this. If she wasn't, we have no idea who her mother was or what her mother's ancestry was.

In any case our Cleopatra was firmly Macedonian Greek culturally and at least substantially Macedonian Greek genetically. She may or may not have had some Egyptian blood. It is within the realm of possibility that she was 50% or more Egyptian, but positive evidence for any Egyptian ancestry is scarce.

(As I was getting ready to publish this post, I noticed this Newsweek article, which covers much the same ground as above, with some additional details: Was Cleopatra White? After Controversial Gal Gadot Casting, Experts Weigh In (Jon Jackson). On the question of the supposed tomb of Cleopatra's half-sister Arsinoë IV, see more here.)

I have spent enough time on this post. I leave it to you, my readers, to decide what all this means in terms of Ms. Gadot's casting as Cleopatra. I blog, you decide. For my part, I congratulate her and I look forward to seeing the film.

By the way, it's interesting to remember that Cleopatra spoke Hebrew.

Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII) does not appear in the Bible, but some of the earlier Ptolemies do. For more on them see here and links.

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Two-shekel weight excavated in Jerusalem

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Ancient two-Shekel weight discovered near Jerusalem's Western Wall. First Temple-era artifact used to measure two-shekalim unearthed near the Western Wall of Jerusalem (Arutz Sheva).

Archaeologists also discovered a half-shekel (beka) weight in the same vicinity in 2018.

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Rhiannon and the Shekhinah?

POP ROCK MUSIC MEETS KABBALAH? In her greatest hit, Stevie Nicks spun a Kabbalistic tale (Seth Rogovoy, The Forward).
If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, that’s because it is. The story of Rhiannon, both the Welsh goddess and the woman in Nicks’s song, has numerous affinities with the Kabbalistic entity called the Shekhinah. Rhiannon means “Great Queen,” and the Shekhinah is the closest thing Judaism has to a queen: If G-d is the King, then the Shekhinah is Queen. Like Rhiannon, the Shekhinah is the vessel of divine love between G-d and humankind.
Interesting. What do you think?

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Berkowitz, Animals and Animality in the Babylonian Talmud

RECENT BOOK FROM CUP:
Animals and Animality in the Babylonian Talmud

AUTHOR: Beth A. Berkowitz, Barnard College, New York
DATE PUBLISHED: April 2018
AVAILABILITY: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
FORMAT: Adobe eBook Reader
ISBN: 9781108542739

$ 80.00 USD

Animals and Animality in the Babylonian Talmud selects key themes in animal studies - animal intelligence, morality, sexuality, suffering, danger, personhood - and explores their development in the Babylonian Talmud. Beth A. Berkowitz demonstrates that distinctive features of the Talmud - the new literary genre, the convergence of Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian cultures, the Talmud's remove from Temple-centered biblical Israel - led to unprecedented possibilities within Jewish culture for conceptualizing animals and animality. She explores their development in the Babylonian Talmud, showing how it is ripe for reading with a critical animal studies perspective. When we do, we find waiting for us a multi-layered, surprisingly self-aware discourse about animals as well as about the anthropocentrism that infuses human relationships with them. For readers of religion, Judaism, and animal studies, her book offers new perspectives on animals from the vantage point of the ancient rabbis.

  • Introduces animal studies to Jewish studies readers, showing them the important role played by animals within Judaism
  • Offers coverage of a number of key areas within animal studies, giving readers an overview of major areas of interest in animal studies
  • Highlights passages in the Babylonian Talmud that contribute surprising perspectives on animals, allowing readers of the Babylonian Talmud to see features in it that they never did before

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Lilith, the giants, and Narnia's witch-queen

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Lilith in the Bible and Mythology. Connections between Lilith, Adam’s first wife, and Jadis, the White Witch of Narnia (Megan Sauter).

For many PaleoJudaica posts on ancient and modern traditions about Lilith, start here and follow the links. And for another post on the mythology of Narnia, see here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

NEH grant for research on Ethiopic Bible

ETHIOPIC WATCH: Abilene Christian University project earns $300,000 to recreate Ethiopian Bible structure (Timothy Chipp, Abilene Reporter-News).
An Abilene Christian University research project got a little financial help recently from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Curt Niccum, associate director of the Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts, has spent several years reconstructing and studying early Christian writing in the ancient Ethiopian language known as Ge'ez.

The NEH granted his research, which he runs in collaboration with retired Portland Seminary professor Steve Delamarter and several others, $300,000 to "trace the broad history of the Old Testament, noting both its translation from the Greek and how it was modified over the years."

[...]

Congratulations to Professors Niccum and Delamarter and their team!

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

More on hierophagy

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: SBL 2019 Review Panel | Food for Thought: Eating and Drinking with Meredith J. C. Warren” (Angela Kim Harkins).

I noted the essay introducing this series on Dr. Warren's book, Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature here and the first essay here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Burke on "Lost Gospels"

THE APOCRYPHICITY BLOG: “Lost Gospels” and Other Christian Apocrypha: New Discoveries and New Perspectives (Tony Burke).
On Wednesday, October 7 I delivered a virtual lecture for BASONOVA (Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia). They have granted me permission to share the text of that lecture (with some minor changes) on Apocryphicity.
Background here. Cross-file under New Testament Apocrypha Watch.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Palmer et al. (eds.), Dead Sea Scrolls, Revise and Repeat

NEW BOOK FROM SBL PRESS:
Dead Sea Scrolls, Revise and Repeat: New Methods and Perspectives
Carmen Palmer (Editor), Andrew R. Krause (Editor), Eileen Schuller (Editor), John Screnock (Editor)

ISBN 9781628372731
Status Available
Price: $54.00
Binding Paperback
Publication Date October 2020
Pages 424

A reexamination of the people and movements associated with Qumran, their outlook on the world, and what bound them together

Dead Sea Scrolls, Revise and Repeat examines the identity of the Qumran movement by reassessing former conclusions and bringing new methodologies to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The collection as a whole addresses questions of identity as they relate to law, language, and literary formation; considerations of time and space; and demarcations of the body. The thirteen essays in this volume reassess the categorization of rule texts, the reuse of scripture, the significance of angelic fellowship, the varieties of calendrical use, and celibacy within the Qumran movement. Contributors consider identity in the Dead Sea Scrolls from new interdisciplinary perspectives, including spatial theory, legal theory, historical linguistics, ethnicity theory, cognitive literary theory, monster theory, and masculinity theory.

Features

  • Essays that draw on new theoretical frameworks and recent advances in Qumran studies
  • A tribute to the late Peter Flint, whose scholarship helped to shape Qumran studies

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Does the Mesha Stele mention Moses' tomb-shrine?

DR. ALEXANDER ROFÉ: YHWH Is Enthroned at Gad’s Temple: The Site of Moses’ Tomb (TheTorah.com).
YHWH comes from the south to be enthroned by the tribes of Israel in Ashdot-hapisgah (Deut 33:2), a later name for the city of Nebo. The Mesha Stele records the existence of YHWH worship site, whose hieros logos is tied to the tomb of Moses, the "plot of the lawgiver" (v. 21) located in the territory of Gad.
For past posts involving the Mesha Inscription (Mesha Stele, Moabite Stone), start here and follow the links. For a nice introduction to the Mesha Inscription, see here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

JNES 79.2

THE JOURNAL OF NEAR EASTERN STUDIES has a new issue out: 79.2 (2020). Of particular interest for PaleoJudaica is this article:
The Literary Dynamic of Loyalty and Betrayal in the Aramaic Ahiqar Narrative

Saul M. Olyan
Brown University

and this review:
Between Greece and Babylonia: Hellenistic Intellectual History in Cross-Cultural Perspective. By Kathryn Stevens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019. Pp. xx + 443. $135 (cloth).

John O. Hyland
Christopher Newport University

The JNES requires a personal or institutional subscription to access the full articles. Cross-file under Aramaic Watch.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Ehrensperger & Sheinfeld (eds.), Gender and Second-Temple Judaism

NEW BOOK FROM FORTRESS ACADEMIC PRESS:
Gender and Second-Temple Judaism Illustrated Edition

by Kathy Ehrensperger (Editor, Contributor), Shayna Sheinfeld (Editor, Contributor), Francis Borchardt (Contributor), Sarah E.G. Fein (Contributor), Gabriella Gelardini (Contributor), Tal Ilan (Contributor), & 7 more

Hardcover $105.00
Kindle $99.50

Ancient literature was generally written by and produced for elite men. That fact creates specific challenges to modern interpreters of gender roles in the ancient world, especially once contemporary understandings of gender as construction and performance are embraced. In Gender and Second-Temple Judaism, world-renowned scholars take on these challenges with regard to ancient Judaism (here including early Christianity and early rabbinic Judaism as well), at once examining the ancient evidence and quite consciously addressing difficult methodological questions regarding gender. Taken together, these chapters further complicate discussions of the construction of identity (e.g., “who is a Jew?”) by inflecting them with questions of gender construction as well. Scholars of ancient Judaism and of gender alike will find much to grapple with in these pages.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Shemeni Atzeret and Simchat Torah 2020

SHEMINI ATZERET begins tonight at sundown. In Israel, this is also the holiday of Simchat Torah (Simhat Torah). Outside of Israel, the latter holiday begins tomorrow at sundown. Best wishes to all those celebrating!

Last year's Shemini Atzeret post is here. The 2017 post has biblical etc. links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Biblical bookended blessings

DR. SHIRA GOLANI: The Two Blessings of the Twelve Tribes: Varying Perspectives, Similar Function (TheTorah.com).
The Torah frames two different poetic descriptions of the tribes as the deathbed blessings of Jacob and Moses, pivotal points in Israel's history. Nevertheless, these poems express varying perspectives on the relative importance of the tribes and were once likely independent collections

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Violence in the Hebrew Bible (ed. van Ruiten & van Bekkum)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Violence in the Hebrew Bible

Between Text and Reception

Series: Oudtestamentische Studiën, Old Testament Studies, Volume: 79
Editors: Jacques van Ruiten and Koert van Bekkum

In Violence in the Hebrew Bible scholars reflect on texts of violence in the Hebrew Bible, as well as their often problematic reception history. Authoritative texts and traditions can be rewritten and adapted to new circumstances and insights. Texts are subject to a process of change. The study of the ways in which these (authoritative) biblical texts are produced and/or received in various socio-historical circumstances discloses a range of theological and ideological perspectives. In reflecting on these issues, the central question is how to allow for a given text’s plurality of possible and realised meanings while also retaining the ability to form critical judgments regarding biblical exegesis. This volume highlight that violence in particular is a fruitful area to explore this tension.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €138.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published)
ISBN: 978-90-04-43468-4)
Publication Date: 27 Jul 2020)

Hardback)
Availability: Published)
ISBN: 978-90-04-43467-7)
Publication Date: 30 Jul 2020

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Kletter, Archaeology, Heritage and Ethics in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem

THE AWOL BLOG: Archaeology, Heritage and Ethics in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem: Darkness at the End of the Tunnel by Raz Kletter (Routledge, 2020). Cross-file under New Book. The full content is available online by open access.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Theology and Anthropology in the Book of Sirach (ed. Gesche et al.)

NEW BOOK FROM SBL PRESS:
Theology and Anthropology in the Book of Sirach
Bonifatia Gesche (Editor), Christian Lustig (Editor), Gabriel Rabo (Editor)

ISBN 9781628372670
Status Available
Price: $49.00
Binding Paperback
Publication Date October 2020

New research on Sirach for scholars and students

The present volume of English and German essays includes the proceedings of an international conference held in Eichstaett, Germany, in 2017. Themes of creation, emotions, life, death, wisdom, knowledge, the individual and society, family, gender, mercy, justice, and freedom are but a few of the topics that contributors explore in this new collection. Essays explore the rich intertextual connections between Sirach and other biblical texts.

Features:
  • Attention to theological distinctions presented in the Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions of the book of Sirach
  • Examination of the reception of Sirach in the New Testament and the early modern era
  • English abstracts for German-language essays and German abstracts for English-language essays

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Celestial cheese?

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: SBL 2019 Review Panel | Much Depends on Dinner (Elizabeth Castelli).
Meredith Warren’s new monograph invites us to revisit some well-read ancient texts with new questions about particular narrative details—specifically, to ask: what is happening when characters in these texts ingest food from another realm? What new affinities, ontologies, and knowledges are produced by the process of “eating divine food” (signified by a sort-of neologism: hierophagy)?
I noted the essay introducing this series on Dr. Warren's book, Food and Transformation in Ancient Mediterranean Literature here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Klawans & Wills (eds.), The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha

NEW BOOK FROM OUP:
The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha

Edited by Jonathan Klawans and Lawrence M. Wills

  • First edition of the Apocrypha addressed to a Jewish audience in the English language
  • The first edition of the Apocrypha to include the book of Jubilees
  • The first stand-alone Oxford Study Apocrypha to include an Introduction, essays, and sidebars
$45.00

Hardcover

Published: 01 October 2020

744 Pages

6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780190262488

Also Available As: Ebook

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Bekins, Inscriptions from the World of the Bible

NEW BOOK FROM HENDRICKSON:
Inscriptions from the World of the Bible

By: Peter Bekins
HENDRICKSON PUBLISHERS / 2020 / HARDCOVER

In Stock
Stock No: HN072096
$79.95

An indispensable resource highlighting significant Northwest Semitic inscriptions from the early first millennium B.C.E. Focusing on Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician, and Moabite texts, this informative volume offers insight into the monarchical period and provides valuable historical and literary context for the Hebrew Bible. Grouped by language, texts are accompanied by commentary on significant lexical, grammatical, and literary features. Approx. 300 pages, hardcover from Hendrickson.
Cross-file under Northwest Semitic Epigraphy Watch.

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Thursday, October 08, 2020

Brouwer & Vimercati (eds.), Fate, Providence and Free Will

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Fate, Providence and Free Will: Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age

Series: Ancient Philosophy & Religion, Volume: 4
Editors: René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati

This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €134.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43638-1
Publication Date: 31 Aug 2020

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43566-7
Publication Date: 03 Sep 2020

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Was the biblical city female?

THE BIBLE AND INTEPRETATION:
The City Concept in the Hebrew Bible

Some of the longstanding general assumptions about urban space in the Hebrew Bible should be reconsidered (Vermeulen 2020). The most important one is perhaps the idea that the biblical city is female.

See Also: Conceptualizing Biblical Cities: A Stylistic Study (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

By Karolien Vermeulen
FWO Postdoctoral Fellow
Institute of Jewish Studies
University of Antwerp
October 2020

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Kanavou Philostratus' Life of Apollonios of Tyana and Its Literary Context

OPEN ACCESS BOOK FROM C.H. BECK:
PHILOSTRATROS’ LIFE OF APOLLONIOS OF TYANA AND ITS LITERARY CONTEXT

Nikoletta Kanavou
Zetemata

Éditeur : C.H.Beck Collection : Zetemata | 153 Lieu d’édition : München Année d’édition : 2018 Publication sur OpenEdition Books : 02 octobre 2020 EAN (Édition imprimée) : 9783406715426 EAN électronique : 9791036555817 DOI : 10.4000/books.chbeck.1688 Nombre de pages : 296 p.

This book surveys a range of intersections between the fictitious biography of the sage Apollonios of Tyana by Philostratos and selected prose narratives of the imperial period. The survey considers both pagan and Christian literature and includes both parallels to the philosophical ideology of the Life of Apollonios and features that embellish and enhance the Life as a work of literature. The book’s various themes and topics are held together by a common thread: the hero’s virtue, in particular his sōphrosynē, which encapsulates not only his wise-man status but also his novelistic traits (sōphrosynē is of central importance in the Greek romance), and which contributes to the interpretation both of Apollonios as hero and of the work’s generic affinities. The characterisation of Apollonios and the contextualisation of his biography are equally served by the discussion of manifestations of erōs in the Life of Apollonios as echoes of a popular, indeed irresistible theme to the author; of travel as an intergeneric metaphor for spiritual progression; and, finally, of the sage’s relationship with the written word - a relationship that further reveals the narrative’s authenticatory interests and precarious realism.
HT The AWOL Blog.

For more on Apollonius of Tyana, especially in relation to Jesus, see here and links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

AJR: SBL panel on Food and Transformation

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: SBL 2019 Review Panel | Food and Transformation (Frederick S. Tappenden and Catherine Playoust). This opening essay is an introduction to the panel by the organizers. For more on the book by Meredith Warren under review, see here and here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Holy Land tourism crisis

HARD TIMES: For the First Time in 1,600 Years: No Pilgrims in the Holy Land. More grim COVID-19 news: After a record-breaking year in 2019, the torrent of Christian visitors has all but stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Can online souvenir sales and prayers fill the void? (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz premium).
The Christian pilgrim tourism market was always considered the most stable here. These tourists would arrive during even the most difficult and violent periods, when others wouldn’t dare visit Israel. They ignored wars and epidemics, government upheavals and economic crises. Nothing stopped the faithful from coming to pray in the land of Jesus.
Until now. A long, informative article.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Review of The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levi

BOOK REVIEW: The vivid legend of Rabbi Ben Levi (Neville Teller, Jerusalem Post).
A forward to the book connects the Ben Levi legend to the perception of miracles in Jewish folk lore, and invites readers to marvel at the gorgeous art his story has inspired.
Excerpt:
Now, in a truly spectacular artistic endeavor, Katz’s mosaics are married to Longfellow’s poem to create a ravishingly beautiful volume. At the heart of The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levi are 12 mosaics by Avi Katz, presented full page and in stunning color, illustrating Longfellow’s poetic narrative as it unfolds. Distinguished science fiction writer Lavie Tidhar provides a foreword in which he connects the Ben Levi legend to the perception of miracles in Jewish folk lore, and invites readers to marvel at the gorgeous art his story has inspired.

At the rear of the volume is a background article penned by Israeli writer Mitch Pilcer. ...

As regular readers will recall, the tomb and Aramaic epitaph of R. Joshua Ben Levi turned up in Mr. Pilcer's back yard.

The full reference for the book:

The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levi

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Avi Katz

Gefen Publishing House, 2020

$14.95; 32 pages (hardcover)

Background here and links. Cross-file under Epigraphy, Aramaic Watch, and Children's Book.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Blankovsky, Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments

A New Interpretive Approach


Series: The Brill Reference Library of Judaism, Volume: 60
Author: Yuval Blankovsky

Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments: A New Interpretive Approach elucidates the unique characteristics of Talmudic discourse culture. Approaching Talmudic literature from a linguistic perspective, the book shows the extensive and hidden ways in which later rabbis used early formulations. Applying Quentin Skinner's interpretive question “What was the author doing in composing the text in this particular way?" to Talmudic literature reveals that Talmudic debate is not only about ideas, concepts and laws but also about the latter's connection to pre-existing formulations. These early traditions, rather than only being accepted or not, are used by later generations to build their own arguments. The book articulates the function of tradition at the time that Rabbinic Judaism was forged.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €149.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43004-4
Publication Date: 07 Sep 2020

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43003-7
Publication Date: 10 Sep 2020
Cross-file under Talmud Watch.

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Budge, The History of Alexander the Great

CLASSIC REPRINT FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS:
The History of Alexander the Great
Being the Syriac Version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes


EDITOR AND TRANSLATOR: Ernest A. Wallis Budge
DATE PUBLISHED: July 2013
AVAILABILITY: Available
FORMAT: PaperbackISBN: 9781107631175

Originally published in 1889, this book by the highly esteemed Orientalist Ernest Wallis Budge is an edition of the Syriac version of the text by Pseudo-Callisthenes on the life of Alexander the Great, one of the earliest histories of the great Macedonian general. Also included are a brief biography of Alexander, an assessment of the varying versions of the Alexander story, and a copy of the Syriac source text with scholarly footnotes and comparisons among the various manuscripts. This book will be of value to Syriac students, Classicists and anyone with an interest in the confluence of East and West in the ancient world.
I guess this has been out for a while, but it's the first time it popped up in my morning searches.

This version is a translation of a version of the Alexander Romance, on which more here (especially) and here and links. And for many other posts on Alexander and on his connection with ancient Jewish traditions, start here (cf. here) and follow the links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Glass Lazarus? Brain cells from a Vesuvius victim

VESUVIUS WATCH: Brain Cells of Vesuvius Victim That Turned into Glass Found Intact 2,000 Years After Volcanic Eruption (News18/MSN).

Back in February I noted the story that archaeologists had recovered some vitrified brain material from one of the victions of the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompeii. At the time I commented:
Perhaps I watch too much SciFi (well, probably), but this story made me think of Dennis Potter's last series, Cold Lazarus. I realize that Daniel Feeld's brain was frozen, not vitrified. Vitrified brain is not going to have any structure left in it. But the article does say that the brain glass contains chemical traces. Who knows what information about first-century Roman brain composition the data-recovery technology of 2368 might recover from it?
It looks like I was too pessimistic. The current report is that actual brain cells are preserved in the brain glass of the unfortunate victim, as well as nerve cells from his spine. The report also holds out some hope that protein may be recovered from the glass.

We are still very far from Daniel Feeld's supercooled resurrection. But we are closer than I thought.

For past posts on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and related matters, start here and follow the many links.

Cross-file under Technology Watch and The Singularity is Near.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Eberhard Bons – HTLS interview

WILLIAM ROSS: HTLS VOLUME 1: AN INTERVIEW WITH EBERHARD BONS.

For more on the Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint see here and links. For notice of Dr. Ross's previous interviews with Septuagint scholars, see here and links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Burke lecture on "Lost Gospels"

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: BAF/BASONOVA Lecture: ”Lost Gospels” and Other Christian Apocrypha.
Please reserve your BAF / BASONOVA Zoom Lecture spot

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 7:30 pm EST via Zoom

”Lost Gospels” and Other Christian Apocrypha: New Discoveries and New Perspectives

Tony Burke, York University
Follow the link for details. Cross-file under New Testament Apocrypha Watch.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Isaiah and the Twelve (ed. Bautch et al.)

NEW BOOK FROM DE GRUYTER:
Isaiah and the Twelve / Jesaja und die Zwölf

Parallels, Similarities and Differences


Series: Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 527
Edited by: Richard J. Bautch, Joachim Eck, and Burkard M. Zapff
De Gruyter | 2020

From £79.00

DETAILS
Language: English, German
Format: 23.0 x 15.5 cm
Pages Roman: VI
Pages Arabic: 281
Tables BW: 12
Publisher: De Gruyter
Year: 2020
Keywords: History of redaction; Motives in the Old Testament; Isaiah; Book of Twelve
Audience: Alttestamentler/-innen, Theolog/-innen, Wissenschaflter/-innen, die zum Jesaja- und Zwölfprophetenbuch arbeiten

FORMATS
Hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-11-070573-7
Published: 21 Sep 2020

PDF
ISBN: 978-3-11-070579-9
Published: 21 Sep 2020

EPUB
ISBN: 978-3-11-070588-1
Published: 21 Sep 2020

OVERVIEW
Die Frage der Beziehung zwischen dem Jesajabuch und dem Buch der Zwölf Propheten ist angesichts vielfältiger Berührungen sprachlicher und motivischer Art zentral, jedoch hinsichtlich der damit verbundenen möglichen Implikationen bislang nur ungenügend bearbeitet.

Im Rahmen eines internationalen Kongresses, der vom 31.Mai bis 3.Juni 2018 an der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt stattfand, suchten Fachleute des Zwölfprophetenbuches bzw. des Jesajabuches mit unterschiedlichen methodischen Ansätzen ein umfassenderes Bild der verschiedenen Arten von Beziehungen oder thematischen Berührungen zu erarbeiten, die entweder für die beiden Corpora als ganze oder für spezifische Teile beider charakteristisch sind, um daraus entsprechende Schlussfolgerungen zu ziehen. Das Ergebnis ist ein Überblick zur Vielfalt der semantischen, intertextuellen, literarischen, redaktionellen, historischen und theologischen Aspekte der Beziehungen zwischen dem Jesajabuch und dem Zwölfprophetenbuch, die einlinigen Lösungsvorschlägen zur Erklärung des Zustandekommens dieser Bezüge widerstreiten.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Monday, October 05, 2020

James Sanders, 1927-2020

SAD NEWS: Word has come in via Facebook and the Agade list that James A. Sanders passed away on 1 October 2020. He published widely in biblical studies and was well known for his editio princeps of the Great Psalm Scroll (11Q5) from Qumran.

Requiescat in pace.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

The Gamla synagogue on video

THIS VISITING GAMLA YouTube video by John DeLancey has some excellent footage of the ruins of the first-century Gamla synagogue in the first six minutes or so. I don't endorse the commentary (see below), but the synagogue footage is good. HT the Bible Places Blog.



It is possible that Jesus preached at this synagogue, but we have no positive evidence that he did.

The site of Gamla is of interest for other reasons. Past posts on its synagogue are here, here, and here. Posts dealing with Josephus' account of the fall of Gamla during the Great Revolt are here and here. And other posts involving Gamla are here, here, here, here, and here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Scripta Classica Israelica

THE AWOL BLOG: Open Access Journal: Scripta Classica Israelica. I have mentioned this journal before, but this AWOL post will give you the link to the whole thing.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Miqṣat Ma῾aśe Ha-Torah, Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Interpreting and Living God's Law at Qumran.Miqṣat Ma῾aśe Ha-Torah, Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT). Introduction, Text, Translation and Interpretative Essays by Jonathan Ben-Dov, John J. Collins, Lutz Doering, Jörg Frey, Charlotte Hempel, Reinhard G. Kratz, Noam Mizrahi, Vered Noam, Eibert Tigchelaar. 2020. XI, 249 pages. Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia XXXVII. 79,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-155305-9.
Published in English.
The text Miqṣat Ma῾aśe Ha-Torah, Some of the Works of the Torah (4QMMT), is one of the most interesting texts among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls discovered near the settlement of Khirbet Qumran and its vicinity in the middle of the twentieth century and by now published in full. It is a writing in the form of a letter by an unknown author to an equally unknown addressee, written in second person singular and plural. This document is the earliest evidence of a proper interpretation of the Jewish Torah, the so-called Halakhah, from pre-Christian, Hellenistic times as it later became customary and widely attested in rabbinical Judaism. This volume – after a short introduction on the findings at the Dead Sea in general and the text Miqṣat Ma῾aśe Ha-Torah in particular – provides a new edition and translation as well as several contributions from renowned scholars on the manuscripts, the language and content plus literary and historical contexts of this writing.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Versnel, Coping With the Gods (pbk)

NOW IN PAPERBACK FROM BRILL:
Coping With the Gods

Wayward Readings in Greek Theology


Series: Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, Volume: 173
Author: Henk Versnel

Inspired by a critical reconsideration of current monolithic approaches to the study of Greek religion, this book argues that ancient Greeks displayed a disquieting capacity to validate two (or more) dissonant, if not contradictory, representations of the divine world in a complementary rather than mutually exclusive manner. From this perspective the six chapters explore problems inherent in: order vs. variety/chaos in polytheism, arbitrariness vs. justice in theodicy, the peaceful co-existence of mono- and polytheistic theologies, human traits in divine imagery, divine omnipotence vs. limitation of power, and ruler cult. Based on an intimate knowledge of ancient realia and literary testimonia the book stands out for its extensive application of relevant perceptions drawn from cultural anthropology, theology, cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €52.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-21090-5
Publication Date: 10 May 2011

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-20490-4
Publication Date: 10 May 2011

Paperback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43648-0
Publication Date: 27 Aug 2020
I didn't note this book when it was first published in 2011, so now is a good time.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Bibliography for Dreams of Antiquity (2.0)

THE AWOL BLOG: Dreams of Antiquity 2.0: Bibliographische Online-Datenbank zu Träumen und Visionen in der Antike. Among many other things, this database includes lots of bibliography on dreams and ancient Judaism.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Notes on a Silk Road SBL session

RELIGION PROF: Silk Road at #AARSBL19 (James McGrath).
I took notes in the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity session focused on the Silk Road. I apologize for not sharing them sooner, but once again hope they may come at a time when other academics are dismayed at so many conferences being cancelled or shifted to online, that you may take some small comfort from being afforded a glimpse of a session you perhaps missed in San Diego.
Cross-file under Manichean Watch (Manichaean Watch).

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Armstrong & Mcosker, Philodemus, On Anger

NEW BOOK FROM SBL PRESS:
Philodemus, On Anger
David Armstrong, Michael Mcosker

ISBN 9781628372694
Status Available
Price: $44.00
Binding Paperback
Publication Date September 2020
Pages 320

The first English translation of On Anger

This latest volume in the Writings from the Greco-Roman World series provides a translation of a newly edited Greek text of Philodemus’s On Anger, now supplemented with the help of multispectral imaging. As our sole evidence for the Epicurean view of what constitutes natural and praiseworthy anger as distinguished from unnatural pleasure in vengeance and cruelty for their own sake, this text is crucial to the study of ancient thought about the emotions. Its critique of contemporary Stoic and Peripatetic theories of anger offers crucial new information for the history of philosophy in the last two centuries BCE. The introduction and commentary also make use of newly revised texts and readings from several other ancient treatises on anger.

Features
  • An apparatus representing work on the text since the papyrus was opened in 1805
  • A full explication of the Epicurean theory of natural anger as an emotion without pleasure
  • One of the Herculaneum papyri that survived the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE
The work of Philodemus is not of direct interest to PaleoJudaica. But I note it because it was recovered from the carbonized Herculaneum library, which was incinerated during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. The text was recovered with the help of multispectral-imaging.

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Saturday, October 03, 2020

BMCR review of Fournet, The rise of Coptic

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The rise of Coptic: Egyptian versus Greek in late antiquity.
Jean-Luc Fournet, The rise of Coptic: Egyptian versus Greek in late antiquity. The Rostovtzeff lectures. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020. 224 p. ISBN9780691198347 $45.00.

Review by
Matthew Westermayer, Cornell University. mrw288@cornell.edu

... This study is sorely needed for Coptic studies, which many have bemoaned as lacking even the most rudimentary achievements of contemporary Greek, Latin, and Syriac papyrology and linguistics. ...
For another review, see here. Cross-file under Coptic Watch.

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Ehsani Chombeli, Moses and Garšāsp, Ardašīr and Herod

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Moses and Garšāsp. Notice of a New Book: Ehsani Chombeli, Azadeh. 2020. Moses and Garšāsp, Ardašīr and Herod: Narratives of the Babylonian Talmud in their Iranian context (Zoroastrian Studies Series 5). Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers. Follow the link for publisher's blurb and ordering information.

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Proceedings volume: The Ancient Throne

THE AWOL BLOG: The Ancient Throne. The Mediterranean, Near East, and Beyond, from the 3rd Millennium BCE to the 14th Century CE: Proceedings of the Workshop held at the 10th ICAANE in Vienna, April 2016. New Book edited by Liat NAEH - Dana BROSTOWSKY GILBOA.

A couple of the articles look to be of interest for biblical and West Semitic royal ideologies.

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Alouf-Aboody, Through the Prism of Wisdom

NEW BOOK FROM GORGIAS PRESS:
Hilla Alouf-Aboody

Through the Prism of Wisdom

Elijah the Prophet as a Bearer of Wisdom in Rabbinic Literature


Series: Judaism in Context, 23
Gorgias Press | 2020

£147.00 PDF

Language: English
Pages Arabic: 572
Publisher: Gorgias Press
Year: 2020
Audience: College/higher education;

FORMATS
PDF
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4131-5
Published: 07 Sep 2020

OVERVIEW
Elijah the prophet’s role in rabbinic literature is a variegated one that encompasses both his role in the messianic era as well as his non-messianic appearances in rabbinic legends. In this work these different roles are explored through the prism of the wisdom tradition. The three stands of wisdom—the Torah-Centered wisdom tradition, the Apocalyptic-Centered wisdom tradition, and the Spirit-Centered wisdom tradition, as enumerated by Cornelis Bennema—serve as a guide in understanding the complex nature of wisdom and its influence on the Elijah legends. The kaleidoscopic and often disparate Elijah traditions can be viewed as a result of complex developments in the study of wisdom and its evolution in Second Temple literature. The nexus of ideas which include the evolution of Torah as wisdom, the merging of wisdom and apocalyptic, and the role of ‘divine spirit’ in attaining wisdom, link Elijah’s messianic role with his depiction in different rabbinic legends. This study demonstrates that the role of Elijah in the messianic era as a teacher of wisdom is a direct result of the messianic expectations of the Second Temple era in which wisdom elements informed the eschatological expectations of a messianic teacher in the End of Days. Furthermore, Elijah’s messianic role as teacher impacted the development of Elijah in rabbinic legends as a bearer of wisdom, as well as a mediator of divine wisdom in an era grappling with the loss of Temple and prophecy. One of the mediums through which these ideas were carried into the rabbinic period was the pietists, ḥasidim, who resembled the holy men of Late Antiquity. These pietists were connected with the Spirit-Centered wisdom tradition in Second Temple texts as well as rabbinic literature. It will be demonstrated that their role was integral to the development of the Elijah traditions and the dissemination of wisdom and pietistic ideas in rabbinic literature. This work will illustrate that the Elijah traditions in rabbinic literature were an outgrowth of the numerous evolutions in wisdom and apocalyptic thought during the Second Temple era. These developments can explain the variegated nature of the Elijah traditions which reflect his role as a teacher of the Law, a mediator of divine secrets, and a conduit for divine inspiration.

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Friday, October 02, 2020

Sukkot 2020

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

Last year's Sukkot post was here (plus here). For the biblical background to Sukkot, see here and here.

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Estes on the Tree of Life

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: The Tree of Life (Douglas Estes).
Although the tree of life concept comfortably inhabits the world around us—from movies to coffee shops, scientific paradigms to tarot cards—the impact exceeds its scarce mention in the earliest ancient Near Eastern, Hebrew, and Christian texts.
I noted Professor Estes's new book with the same title here.

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Qoheleth as meditative chanting?

PROF. RABBI TZVEE ZAHAVY: Kohelet: An Israelite Form of Meditation (TheTorah.com).
Ecclesiastes is a cynical reflection on life’s futility. The constant sonorous repetition, visualizations, and references to breath serve as a sustained meditation to help free the reader’s soul from the agonizing struggle of life.

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Biblical Studies Carnival 175

BRENT NIEDERGALL: Biblical Studies Carnival 175 for September 2020. Written in Dr. Seuss poetry. That's a first.

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Thursday, October 01, 2020

The rabbi's tomb, the court case, and the children's book

ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE AND CHILDREN'S LITERATURE: A missing rabbi, an empty tomb and a caper with the Angel of Death, now for kids. The mysterious tale of 3rd century rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi is recounted in a new book from illustrator Avi Katz, with help from an American poet and a rogue dig in the Galilee (Jessica Steinberg, Times of Israel).

I followed the controvery and court case over R. Yehoshua Ben Levi's tomb at the time. See here, here, here, and here. I never heard the outcome of the case. I'm glad that it seems to have been resolved amicably.

For notice of a scholarly article on R. Yehoshua, see here. For commentary on some of the Talmudic stories about him, see here, here, and here. As noted in that last post, you can read a couple of versions of a story about him in Helen Spurling's excellent translation of "Hebrew Visions of Hell and Paradise" in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures volume 1 (MOTP1).

Cross-file under Epigraphy and Aramaic Watch.

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AI Nero Redivivus?

DIGITAL RECONSTRUCTION: AI 'resurrects' 54 Roman emperors, in stunningly lifelike images (Mindy Weisberger, Live Science/MSN).
Ancient Roman emperors' faces have been brought to life in digital reconstructions; the unnervingly realistic image project includes the Emperors Caligula, Nero and Hadrian, among others.
The only images I looked at closely on Mr. Voshart's website were those of the Principate Emperors. I have to say they each look uncannily like what I would have expected.

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Bond on Mark's Gospel as a biography of Jesus

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION:
Mark’s Gospel as the First Biography of Jesus – and 10 reasons why it matters

Although our author may have drawn on a variety of sources of varying historical accuracy, he would doubtless have been selective in what he included and would not have been slow to embellish an augment or an anecdote in the interests of his broader narrative and theological interests. The so-called “nature miracles” in particular – walking on water, stilling the storm, and feeding the multitudes – may well have been embellished and enhanced, not in the interests of historical reporting, but to say something profoundly “true” about Jesus’ identity as Son of God.

See Also: The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark's Gospel (Eerdmans, 2020).

By Helen K Bond
Professor of Christian Origins
Head of the School of Divinity
University of Edinburgh
September 2020
Cross-file under New Book.

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