Saturday, January 18, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

Colloquium on Origen as Philologist.

THE ETC BLOG: Origen as Philologist: Inaugural Text & Canon Institute Colloquium (John Meade).
We have assembled a stellar group of scholars for this colloquium to describe classical philology in the Alexandrian tradition and its reception and use by Origen and others of the Caesarean Library. As you make plans to attend conferences in 2020, please consider attending this one in Phoenix. The weather promises to be wonderful and the conversation over Origen to be even better!
The colloquium takes place on 18-10 November 2020. For details, follow the link.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Sigvartsen on Second Temple afterlife and resurrection beliefs

Afterlife and Resurrection Beliefs in the Second Temple Period

A comprehensive list and description of every resurrection and afterlife belief in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha has been a much-lamented gap in contemporary scholarship. While death and the afterlife are popular topics among biblical scholars and students, given the enormous undertaking such a landmark study would be, it becomes understandable why it has not been done - until now.

See also Afterlife and Resurrection Beliefs in the Apocrypha and Apocalyptic Literature, Jewish and Christian Texts (29) (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019)

Afterlife and Resurrection Beliefs in the Pseudepigrapha, Jewish and Christian Texts (30) (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019).

By Jan A. Sigvartsen
Dozent of Old Testament
Theologische Hochschule Friedensau, Germany
January 2020
Cross-file under New Books, Old Testament Apocrypha Watch, and Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

First-century stone table and weights excavated in Jerusalem

ARCHAEOLOGICAL ARTIFACTS: City of David archaeologists say 2,000-year-old central Jerusalem market found. Stone table top used to measure liquid volumes located in large courtyard in City of David’s Stepped Street, which archaeologists believe was the central market (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).
The measuring table was found in a broad paved central square still undergoing excavation, alongside dozens of stone measurement weights. The sum of the parts has led the IAA archaeologists to conclude that this area of the Stepped Street, a paved 2,000-year-old pilgrims’ path that connects the Siloam Pool with the Temple Mount, would have served as ancient Jerusalem’s main market.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

900-BCE Israelite inscription found at Abel Beth Maacah

NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY: Hebrew Inscription on a 3,000-year-old Jar Could Redraw Borders of Ancient Israel. Archaeologists were surprised to find Hebrew writing in Abel Beth Maacah, which some don’t think was part of the ancient kingdom (Ariel David).

The basic story is that the Abel Beth Maacah excavation has turned up a jar fragment with an inscription on it that reads לבניו (belonging to Benayau). It is written in Hebrew letters and the readings are clear. Epigraphers date it to 900 BCE, give or take. I am not sure whether the script itself identifies the word as "Hebrew" rather than more broadly "Canaanite," but the name is certainly Israelite. It includes a form of the divine name YHWH. It means "YHWH has built." The spelling of the name is specifically Northern Israelite.

As usual with these things, the article tries to draw maximal historical inferences from this discovery. Not a criticism of the author of the article, who seems to be reporting faithfully the views of the archaeologists, with lots of useful background information.

The basic story is quite exciting. Israelite inscriptions, even with just once word, are exceedingly rare in this period. But inferences beyond that basic story are speculative, at least for now.

For some posts on another recent discovery at Abel Beth Maacah, see here and links.

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

AJR on Fragments

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW has a new series on Fragments.
Panelists from the 2018 Religious World of Late Antiquity SBL section panel on “Fragments” offer close readings of a range of secondary or technical sources outside the field in order to investigate provocative problems, ideas, and disciplinary techniques for scholars who study the late ancient world. (Todd Berzon)
Two of the essays have been posted so far. They are ... something different.

Four Notes on Memory Theatre (Catherine Michael Chin)

A Garland of Fragments (Moulie Vidas).

UPDATE (21 January): The last two essays are:

Fragments and Absence (Elizabeth Castelli)

Fragment: Toward a Critical Trans History of Byzantium (Roland Betancourt)

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

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Oxyrhynchus papyri scandal in the news

THE GUARDIAN: A scandal in Oxford: the curious case of the stolen gospel. What links an eccentric Oxford classics don, billionaire US evangelicals, and a tiny, missing fragment of an ancient manuscript? Charlotte Higgins unravels a multimillion-dollar riddle.

Regular readers are familiar with this ongoing story. I collected some relevant links (especially a post from Brent Nongbri) in my late November post from last year: 120 Oxyrhynchus papyri missing from the Egypt Exploration Society. Follow the links back from there for details. And subsequent relevant posts are here and here. And this post links to potentially relevant posts by Dr Nongbri at his Variant Readings Blog.

Brent also comments on highlights of the Guardian article, as does Peter Gurry at the ETC Blog. The article has some surprising revelations.

As I have said before, I am not going to offer an opinion on what happened. Nor do I endorse or reject anyone else's analysis. I blog and link and you decide. It sounds as though this situation is likely to end up in court. We will just have to see how it plays out.

Meanwhile, Michael Press uses the story as a launching point to discuss the problem of the overabundance of already excavated ancient texts and artifacts that remain neglected by scholars: The Perennial Problem With the Excavation of Ancient Sites. Why chase after unprovenanced — and likely looted or forged — material when so much excavated material lies waiting for study? Excerpt:
Admirable individual efforts to publish are nothing against the mountain of unprocessed material. We’ve known this for some time, and yet we have still failed to change course. More drastic measures are needed. Fields like Near Eastern studies, classics, and more should reevaluate what kind of scholarship they value. Universities and their hiring committees should reevaluate why and how they hire and promote scholars. National antiquities departments should consider tighter restrictions or even a moratorium on new excavations until more old excavations are published.

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Adam Kirsch's Daf Yomi column concludes.


The last Daf Yomi cycle began on 1 August of 2012. I noted it here with various links. On 9 August I noted the inception of Mr. Kirsch's column here. As far as I can recall, I linked to each of them through the whole cycle. The most recent one is here. Follow the links back for the rest, often with some comments by me.

Meanwhile, for the current cycle, which began on 4 January of this year, Tablet has a new Daf Yomi project. It is a daily podcast called Take One. It aims to comment on each page of the Talmud throughout the cycle. I don't have time to follow it, although I may dip into it now and again. I have linked to the first episode. You can find all the episodes listed, along with Adam Kirsch's columns, on Tablet's Daf Yomi page.

I am very grateful to Adam for all his hard labor over the last seven-and-a-half years in working through the entire Talmud in English and summarizing so many of the interesting parts for his readers. I am not a Talmudist and never will be, but I feel much better informed about the Talmud after following his column. I wish him the best for his future projects.