Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review of Fishbane, The Art of Mystical Narrative

THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION, BOOK REVIEW: Fishbane, Eitan P. The Art of Mystical Narrative: A Poetics of the Zohar. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. xiii+519 pp. $125.00 (cloth). (Ellen Haskell). The full text is behind the subscription wall. But the first page of the review says a good bit, and that is available for free.

Cross-file under Zohar Watch.

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

Palmyra in pictures

PALMYRA WATCH: Take a virtual tour of the Roman ruins of Palmyra in Syria - in pictures. Syria has six sites listed on the Unesco elite list of world heritage and all of them sustained some level of damage in the 10-year war (AFP/The National). HT Rogue Classicism.

For many posts on Palmyra, its history, the ancient Aramaic dialect spoken there (Palmyrene), and the city's tragic reversals of fortune, now trending for the better, start here and follow the links.

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

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Project on the Papyrus Magical Handbooks

THE AWOL BLOG: Transmission of Magical Knowledge in Antiquity: The Papyrus Magical Handbooks in Context.
More than forty such handbooks survive, some of them in a fragmentary state. We propose to re-edit and re-translate these handbooks, as well as to carry out their first large-scale study as material objects and media of cultural transmission.
The Greek Magical Papyri, as well as Egyptian-language works.

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

Olbrycht, Early Arsakid Parthia (ca. 250-165 B.C.) (Brill)

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Early Arsakid Parthia (ca. 250-165 B.C.). Notice of a New Book: Olbrycht, Marek Jan. 2021. Early Arsakid Parthia (ca. 250-165 B.C.): At the crossroads of Iranian, Hellenistic, and Central Asian history (Mnemosyne, Supplements 4040). Leiden: Brill.

For PaleoJudaica posts on Parthia and the ancient Parthians and Arcasids (Arkasids), see here and links.

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

Avalos on who that "neighbor" is in Leviticus

THE BIBLE AND INTEPRETATION:
Leviticus 19:18 Does Not Mean “Love Everyone”: Why I Disagree with Richard E. Friedman

The conflicts over immigration and social inequality mean that Leviticus 19:18 (“you shall love your neighbor as yourself [ואהבת לרעך כמוך]) is being revived once again as a biblical prooftext. One of the main defenders for the universalist interpretation of Leviticus 19:18 is Richard E. Friedman. In so doing, Friedman was attemping to refute the nationalist view of Harry M. Orlinsky (1908-1992), My article here will argue that, despite a pro-immigrant and welcoming appearance, Lev 19:18 actually is part of a colonialist and patriarchal attitude toward foreigners found in Leviticus and in other biblical traditions. Friedman overlooks the exegetical and ethical problems he creates and/or propagates in explaining his disagreement with Orlinsky.

By Hector Avalos
Professor of Religious Studies
Iowa State University
April 2021

I have linked to the article by Richard E. Friedman here.

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

Archaeology in 2020 and 2021

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Digs 2021: Digging During a Pandemic. Dig Directors Dealing with the Uncertainty Caused by Covid (Megan Sauter). Despite the title, this essay is mostly about how the pandemic affected 2020 archaeological excavations in Israel. There is some attention to prospects for the 2021 season.
Several excavation teams are optimistically making plans for a dig season in 2021—with the understanding that these also might have to be canceled. Others, however, have already decided to suspend their field activities for this year.

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

Friday, April 09, 2021

The search for new DSS

OVERVIEW: Historic Judean archeological discoveries a 'wake-up call.' Judean treasure: IAA director calls historic finds ‘a wake-up call’ (JUDITH SUDILOVSKY, Jerusalem Post). A thorough review of the recent scroll discovery in the Cave of Horror and the search for new Dead Sea Scrolls (Judean Desert scrolls) in recent years. Written around a long interview with Eitan Klein, deputy director of the Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Theft, who co-directs Operation Scroll.
The cave-by-cave scanning, which was not possible before, has helped archaeologists identify previously unknown cave openings, he said.

“There is no 100 percent but we think our scanning is about 90 percent of the caves. I expect us to get to 95 percent of the caves, though there will be some we will miss,” he said. “Thefts still occur but our control of the area is much stronger now. We will have a catalogue of all the caves in the Judean Desert and today I can look at a cave and know if there are antiquities there or not, which I couldn’t know before. Before I would look at a cliff and see a black hole.”

Background here and many links.

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Schiffman on the new DSS

PROFESSOR LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN: NEW DEAD SEA SCROLLS? UNDERSTANDING AN EXCITING NEW FIND OF ANCIENT BOOKS OF TANACH IN A CAVE IN THE JUDEAN DESERT. With a link to a PDF offprint of his new article with this title in Ami Magazine. For those not familiar with the term, Trei Asar means the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Bible.

Background here and many links.

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

Virtual conference: Opening the Ancient World

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: Opening the Ancient World. Religion, History, & Culture. August 15 & 16, 2021. A FREE Virtual Conference presented by Digital Hammurabi & SASA.
We aim to bring together scholars who do not normally have the opportunity to present and engage with scholarship, including:
  • Completed a PhD and are now professionals in other fields
  • Left PhD programs
  • Contingent faculty
  • Academics from marginalized groups
  • Teachers, professors, and staff from all educational institutions
  • Cultural resource management professionals
  • Independent scholars
HT Michael Helfield. Follow the link for instructions on submitting a paper or panel proposal etc. This conference speaks to some of the points recently raised here.

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

Call for Nominations: BAS Publication Awards

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: BAS Publication Awards – Call for Entries.
Nominations are invited for the 2021 Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Awards, for books published in 2019 and 2020.

The biennial BAS Publication Awards for books about archaeology and the Bible have been presented since 1985. These prestigious awards have been made possible by grants from Samuel D. Turner and Elizabeth Goss.

Follow the link for the award categories and instructions for nominating a book.

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Thursday, April 08, 2021

Tiemeyer (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Isaiah

NEW BOOK FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS:
The Oxford Handbook of Isaiah

Edited by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Oxford Handbooks

  • Offers insight from a religiously and geographically diverse roster of scholars into the broad spectrum of global engagement with Isaiah
  • Provides easily accessible and high quality scholarship to academics and laypeople alike
  • Offers up-to-date scholarship from recognized experts on the book of Isaiah
Description

The book of Isaiah is without doubt one of the most important books in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, as evidenced by its pride of place in both Jewish and Christian traditions as well as in art and music. Most people, scholars and laity alike, are familiar with the words of Isaiah accompanied by the magnificent tones of Handel's 'Messiah'.

Isaiah is also one of the most complex books due to its variety and plurality, and it has accordingly been the focus of scholarly debate for the last 2000 years. Divided into eight sections, The Oxford Handbook of Isaiah constitutes a collection of essays on one of the longest books in the Bible. They cover different aspects regarding the formation, interpretations, and reception of the book of Isaiah, and also offer up-to-date information in an attractive and easily accessible format. The result does not represent a unified standpoint; rather the individual contributions mirror the wide and varied spectrum of scholarly engagement with the book. The authors of the essays likewise represent a broad range of scholarly traditions from diverse continents and religious affiliations, accompanied by comprehensive recommendations for further reading.

£97.00

Hardback
Published: 13 November 2020
712 Pages
248x171mm
ISBN: 9780190669249

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

Bar & Zertal, The Manasseh Hill Country Survey Volume 6 (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
The Manasseh Hill Country Survey Volume 6

The Eastern Samaria Shoulder, from Nahal Tirzah (Wadi Far'ah) to Ma’ale Ephraim Junction

Series: Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, Volume: 21/6

Authors: Shay Bar and Adam Zertal

The book presents the results of a complete detailed survey of the eastern region of Samaria, mainly the Eastern Samaria Shoulder, from Nahal Tirzah (Wadi Far'ah) to Ma’ale Ephraim Junction within the territory of Israel/Palestine. It is Volume 6 of the Manasseh Hill Country Survey publications. This project, in progress since 1978, and covering 2500 sq. km, is a thorough, metre-by-metre mapping of the archaeological-historical area between the River Jordan and the Sharon Plain, and between Nahal 'Iron and the north-eastern point of the Dead Sea. This territory is one of the most important in the country from the Biblical and archaeological view; and the survey is a valuable tool for scholars of the Bible, archaeology, Near Eastern history and other aspects of the Holy Land.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €105.00 / $126.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Not Yet Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46323-3
Publication Date: 25 Mar 2021

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46322-6
Publication Date: 25 Mar 2021

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

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Free online lecture on DSS by Lawrence Schiffman

PROFESSOR LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN: BRINGING THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS TO LIFE. Commemorating Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha’Atzmaut. An online lecture by Professor Schiffman on 14 April, 8:00 pm EDT. The event is free, but you need to get a ticket from Classi Lectures. Follow the link for details.

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

The benefits of online conferences

RELIGION PROF: Why I’m Not Looking Forward to Resuming In-Person Conferences. James McGrath raises some important points.

Online conferences and lectures offer greater accessibility to the disabled, to those who can't afford the travel, and to those who live far from the venue. They allow interested people to attend public lectures from all over the world. They save everyone a lot of money, which could be important in the coming years of post-pandemic recovery and, likely, austerity. True, we lose out on receptions, and to some degree on networking, but there are substantial gains in the new model.

The pandemic has forced many changes upon us, including fully online conferences and lectures. However we proceed in the future, we should retain the gains of the new model.

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

Royal Inscriptions of Babylonia online (RIBo)

THE AWOL BLOG: The Royal Inscriptions of Babylonia online (RIBo) Project. "The aim of RIBo, a sub-project of the Official Inscriptions of the Middle East in Antiquity (OIMEA) Project, is to publish in a single place easily accessible and annotated (lemmatized) editions of all of the known Akkadian and Sumerian royal inscriptions from Babylonia that were composed between 1157 BC and 64 BC."

Some PaleoJudaica posts on the history, archaeology, and epigraphy of ancient Babylon and Babylonia are here, here, here, and links.

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

Review of Horky, Cosmos in the Ancient World

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Book Note | Cosmos in the Ancient World (Del A. Maticic).
Philip S. Horky (Ed.). Cosmos in the Ancient World. Cambridge University Press, 2019.
The whole book sounds good, but the final chapter is of particular interest.

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

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The New Testament and inscriptions

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: Reading Inscriptions Alongside the New Testament. (D. Clint Burnett). The essay opens with a survey of inscriptions mentioned in the New Testament. I didn't realize there were so many. Then it discusses how surviving inscriptions improve our understanding of the New Testament.

For more on Clint Burnett and his recent book on the New Testament and inscriptions, see here. For more on the topic, see here. For the Greek Temple Warning Inscription, see the links collected here. For more on the Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation, with additional epigraphic evidence, see here and links. For more on the Theodotus inscription, see here. And for more on the Gallio inscription, see here.

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

Conserving the (coin) Hoard of Jazira

NUMISMATICS: Restoring Islamic Coins to Reveal the Past. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is working on what it has named the Hoard of Jazira, more than 2,800 pieces of the region’s history (David Belcher, NYT). The headline and first paragraph of this article are a little misleading. Hundreds of these are Sasanian coins from late antiquity:
The Hoard of Jazira, as the museum has named the cache, was obtained in 2019 from a private collector in Europe (the museum declined to identify the person). It consists of 2,861 coins dating from the reign of King Shapur II (A.D. 309-379) to the Caliph Al Ma’mun (A.D. 813-833). There are 434 Sasanian drachmas, 156 dirhams and Arab half-dirhams, 323 Umayyad dirhams and 1,948 silver coins of the Abbasid dynasty.
The article includes lots of information about coin conservation. For more on the Sasanian (Sassanian) Empire and why it is of interest to PaleoJudaica, start here and follow the links.

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

Review of Dever, My Nine Lives

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Review: My Nine Lives. Sixty Years in Israeli and Biblical Archaeology (Thomas E. Levy).
Review: My Nine Lives—Sixty Years in Israeli and Biblical Archaeology
By William G. Dever
(Atlanta: SBL Press, 2020), pp. 233, 57 figures
Reviewed by Thomas E. Levy
I noted the publication of the book here.

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

Achaemenid foes

THE CONVERSATION: 9 Greatest Foes Of The Achaemenid Empire (Edd Hodsdon). You probably knew about the Greeks at Marathon and Thermopylae and about Alexander the Great. But there were more!

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

Monday, April 05, 2021

Dal Bo, Deconstructing the Talmud (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Deconstructing the Talmud
The Absolute Book

By Federico Dal Bo

Copyright Year 2020
Paperbackv £29.59

Hardback
£96.00

eBook
£29.59

ISBN 9780367785444
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
254 Pages

Book Description

This monograph uses deconstruction—a philosophical movement originated by Jacques Derrida—to read the most authoritative book in Judaism: the Talmud. Examining deconstruction in comparison with Kant’s and Hegel’s philosophies, the volume argues that the movement opens an innovative debate on Jewish Law.  

First, the monograph interprets deconstruction within the major streams of continental philosophy; then, it criticizes many aspects of Foucault’s and Agamben’s philosophy, rejecting their notion of law. On these premises, the research delivers a close examination of many fundamental aspects of the Talmud. Consequently, it provides a short history of Rabbinic literature, a history of the dissemination of the Talmud from Babylon to Northern France, and an analysis of Talmudic vocabulary from a deconstructive perspective. Each key concept of the Talmud is analysed according to the deconstructive dialectics between orality and writing. Closing with a comparison between the Talmud and Derrida’s most enigmatic text, Glas, the study argues that deconstruction dismantles the traditional notion of the Talmud to outline a new approach to Jewish Law.

Reading the Talmud through deconstruction, this new angle makes the volume an essential resource for students and scholars interested in Jewish studies, continental philosophy, and the Middle East.

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

2021 Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: 15th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics. Takes place online on 12-23 July 2021. The program includes lots of Indo-European lingistics, but also some Northwest Semitic etc.

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

BHD Easter Posts

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY has posted several Easter-season posts over the weekend. Not surprisingly, they also deal a lot with first-century Judaism.

Did Jesus’ Last Supper Take Place Above the Tomb of David? Understanding the Cenacle on Mount Zion (Marek Dospěl)

How Was Jesus’ Tomb Sealed? Examining the tomb of Jesus in light of Second Temple-period Jerusalem tombs (Megan Sauter). For more on the Cenacle, see here.

On What Day Did Jesus Rise? The May/June 2016 Biblical Archaeology Review Biblical Views column (Ben Witherington III)

Where Is Golgotha, Where Jesus Was Crucified? Does the Church of the Redeemer hold the answer?

I have noted some related BHD essays here.

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

Mummy parade in Cairo

EGYPTOLOGY: Egyptian mummies paraded through Cairo on way to new museum (Nadeen Ebrahim, Reuters).
CAIRO (Reuters) -A grand parade conveyed 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies in special capsules across the capital Cairo on Saturday to a new museum home where they can be displayed in greater splendour.

[...]

Rameses II (Ramesses II), a cinema favorite for Pharaoh of the Exodus, was among them.

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Sunday, April 04, 2021

Easter 2021

HAPPY EASTER to all those celebrating. My 2016 Easter post contains links leading to biblical and related passages concerning Easter and to correct information on the origin of the word. And this post gives biblical references for the Passion narrative.

Some other recent relevant posts are here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE (5 April): More here.

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

Charlesworth & Pruszinski (eds), Cyprus Within the Biblical World (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Cyprus Within the Biblical World
Are Borders Barriers?

Editor(s): James H. Charlesworth, Jolyon G. R. Pruszinski

Published: 03-25-2021
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 256
ISBN: 9780567694904
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: Jewish and Christian Textsv Volume: 32
Illustrations: 51 bw illus
Dimensions: 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
List price: $115.00
Online price: $103.50

About Cyprus Within the Biblical World

This volume moves discussion of ancient Israelite culture beyond concepts of isolation and borders, factoring in already well-known insights from classical studies and ancient history that take greater account of the impressive connections between all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Specifically, the contributors focus on Cyprus and the Bible and offer archaeological and biblical insights to consider how and in what ways, Cyprus and Cypriot culture was related to biblical life and perceptions.

Though the Mediterranean separated Palestine from Cyprus, it also joined them; archaeological finds expose significant trade relations and cultural commonalities, not only in the Hellenistic and late-Roman eras, but for many centuries prior. These relations developed and became even more intimate in the later biblical period, as evidenced by early Jewish and Christian writings. By exploring various methods of cultural contact, the contributors suggest that further examination of cultural links between Cyprus and Palestine in the biblical period can repay dividends in understanding the development of ancient Israelite religion, early Judaism, and early Christianity.

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

Grainger, Syrian Influences in the Roman Empire to AD 300 (Routledge)

NEW IN PAPERBACK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Syrian Influences in the Roman Empire to AD 300

By John D. Grainger

Copyright Year 2018
Paperback
£29.59

Hardback
£96.00

eBook
£29.59

ISBN 9780367594497
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
284 Pages

Book Description

The study of Syria as a Roman province has been neglected by comparison with equivalent geographical regions such as Italy, Egypt, Greece and even Gaul. It was, however, one of the economic powerhouses of the empire from its annexation until after the empire’s dissolution. As such it clearly deserves some particular consideration, but at the same time it was a major contributor to the military strength of the empire, notably in the form of the recruitment of auxiliary regiments, several dozens of which were formed from Syrians. Many pagan gods, such as Jupiter Dolichenus and Jupiter Heliopolitanus Dea Syra, and also Judaism, originated in Syria and reached the far bounds of the empire. This book is a consideration, based on original sources, of the means by which Syrians, whose country was only annexed to the empire in 64 BC, saw their influence penetrate into all levels of society from private soldiers and ordinary citizens to priests and to imperial families.

The book was published in 2018, but I missed it then. The recent paperback release provides a good excuse to note it.

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

Saturday, April 03, 2021

The Harrowing of Hell

THE ANXIOUS BENCH: Holy Saturday and the Harrowing of Hell (Philip Jenkins). Cross-file under New Testament Apocrypha Watch.
To see just how mainstream these alternative texts were in the medieval churches, consider one image that pervades the religious art of the era, namely the Harrowing of Hell. Drawn from the popular Gospel of Nicodemus, the Harrowing was not far behind the Crucifixion as a theme in medieval Christian imagery, and its impact extended to art, drama and literature. An image fundamental to mainstream Christian belief for over a thousand years derived entirely from an ancient alternative gospel.
The passages in 1 Peter 3:18-21, 4:6 (cf. 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6) partly inspire the Harrowing of Hell myth (a.k.a. the Descensus ad Infernos). They in turn arguably have connections with the myth of the fall and infernal banishment of the Watchers in 1 Enoch

We see from Jude 14-16 that first-century Jesus followers were reading 1 Enoch. Some even considered it prophecy. For more on that, see here and here.

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

God's kisses

PUCKER UP: The Kiss - From Metaphor to Mysticism (Prof.Joel Hecker, TheTorah.com).
"Oh, let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth…" Song of Songs 1:2. Allegorical interpretation in midrash and the Zohar understand the male lover being beckoned as God, but whom is God kissing and why? And does kabbalistic interpretation leave any room for human love?

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

Gordon et al., Beyond Priesthood (De Gruyter, Open Access)

OPEN-ACCESS BOOK FROM DE GRUYTER:
Beyond Priesthood
Religious Entrepreneurs and Innovators in the Roman Empire

Contributor(s)
Gordon, Richard L. (editor)
Petridou, Georgia (editor)
Rüpke, Jörg (editor)

(History of Religion: Essays and Preliminary Studies) brings together the mutually constitutive aspects of the study of religion(s)—contextualized data, theory, and disciplinary positioning—and engages them from a critical historical perspective. The series publishes monographs and thematically focused edited volumes on specific topics and cases as well as comparative work across historical periods from the ancient world to the modern era.

Publisher
De Gruyter
Publisher website
https://www.degruyter.com/
Publication date and place
2017

Follow the link for licensing info and access.

HT the AWOL Blog. (This is a good list.)

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Review of Ward, The rise of the early Christian intellectual

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The rise of the early Christian intellectual.
Lewis Ayres, H. Clifton Ward, The rise of the early Christian intellectual. Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte, 139. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2020. Pp. xii, 272. ISBN 9783110607550 $99.99.

Review by
Andrew Pottenger. ajpott@hotmail.com

... The value of the present volume in light of these other studies is that each chapter offers a concentrated analysis of early Christian intellectual activity in the ‘long second century’, showing how the ancient authors explored here engaged pagan and Jewish paradigms from the perspective of sharing in these traditions to some extent. ...

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

Friday, April 02, 2021

Gorgias Series: Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages

THE HUGOYE LIST:
Invitation for submission to Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages

Dear all,

It is my pleasure to announce you that the Gorgias Series Perspectives on Linguistics and Ancient Languages is ready to accept new submission. This series once started as the POSL series (Perspectives on Syriac Lexicograpy), but because of its interdisciplinary focus and the efforts to bring Syriac lexicography and linguistics into dialogue with other scholarly traditions focusing on Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek linguistics, the title of the series was changed to do justice to this broader field of interst. Currently it includes monographs about Neologisms in Modern Literary Syriac, handwritten documents with multilingual and multigraphic structures in Arabic, Hebrew, Latin and Greek, Classical Syriac phonology, Christian Palestinian Aramaic and genitive structures in Aramaic, just to mention a few topics, in addition to highly interesting colloquia volumes including papers presented at the International Syriac Language Project (ISLP), a research group that convenes at international conferences such as SBL and IOSOT. For a full list of the volumes see https://www.gorgiaspress.com/perspectives-on-linguistics-and-ancient-languages

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to this series, please contact me, the series editor.

The other members of the editorial board are: Terry Falla, Margherita Farina, Daniel King, Godwin Mushayabasa and Richard Taylor.

Kind regards,

Wido van Peursen

Prof. dr. W.T. (Wido) van Peursen
Faculty of Theology, VU University Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam
Tel. +31 (0)20 59 83427; email: w.t.van.peursen@vu.nl
Twitter: @PeursenWTvan; Skype: peursenwtvan

Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer
https://www.facebook.com/etcbc
https://twitter.com/shebanq_
https://www.linkedin.com/company/etcbc

Re-posted with the permission of the author. Cross-file under Syriac Watch, Aramaic Watch, and Philology

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Kelly, Prophets, Prophecy, and Oracles in the Roman Empire (Routledge)

NEW IN PAPERBACK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Prophets, Prophecy, and Oracles in the Roman Empire
Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman Cultures

By Leslie Kelly

Copyright Year 2018
Paperback
£13.59

Hardback
£35.99

eBook
£13.59

ISBN 9780367607289
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
100 Pages

Book Description

This book surveys the uses and function of prophecy, prophets, and oracles among Jews, Christians, and pagans in the first three centuries of the Roman Empire and explores how prophecy and prophetic texts functioned as a common language that enabled religious discourse to develop between these groups. It shows that each of these cultures believed that it was in prophetic texts and prophetic utterances that they could find the surest proof of their religious beliefs and a strong confirmation of their group identity.

The book was published in 2018, but I missed it then. The paperback release is a good excuse to note it now.

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

Movie Moses

CINEMA: For Passover: Fourteen Video Clips Of Moses From Different Movies (Jeff Dunetz, The Lid, reprinted at the Jewish Press).

I have collected some related PaleoJudaica posts here (cf. here).

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

Biblical Studies Carnival #181

THE AMATEUR EXEGETE: Biblical Studies Carnival #181 (March 2021).

Surprisingly, this post has no reference to the two new books arguing for the authenticity of the Shapira Scroll and the attendant media and blog coverage (see here and here and links). This was one of the two biggiest biblical studies stories in March.

Ben, perhaps an addendum is in order?

The other biggest story in March, the discovery of new Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Cave of Horror, is mentioned briefly in one link.

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

Thursday, April 01, 2021

8 facts about the Flavian dynasty

THE COLLECTOR: Who Were the Flavian Emperors? (8 Facts). The Flavian Emperors ruled Rome for only 27 years, but the impact of their brief dynasty stretched far beyond their reign (Susan Masten). HT Rogue Classicism.

During the First Jewish Revolt (Great Revolt), Vespasian and Titus conquered and destroyed Jerusalem. Vesuvius erupted in the reign of Titus. Also, not mentioned in the article, The Flavians were patrons of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. If not for their patronage, we probably wouldn't have his works. Our knowledge of first-century Judaism would be much poorer.

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

JQR Winter 2021

H-JUDAIC: ToC: Jewish Quarterly Review Winter 2021. Most of the articles deal with relatively modern matters. But there is an article by Reuven Kiperwasser on Solomon and Ashmedai in the Babylonian Talmud and an article by Miriam Goldstein on the Toledot Yeshu in Judeo-Arabic.

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

Professional pilgrim graffiti in Church of the Holy Sepulcher?

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: 3D imaging sheds light on Holy Sepulchre 'graffiti' (Reuters). Video essay with transcription.

Imaging technology indicates that the "graffiti" (inscribed crosses) was executed by professional masons, presumably hired by medieval pilgrims.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Holy Sepulcher), start here and just follow those links.

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

The Holy Sepulcher: quarry, temple, churches

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Investigating the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 5 transformations of the site of the Holy Sepulchre (Megan Souter).
In his article “The Holy Sepulchre in History, Archaeology, and Tradition,” published in the Spring 2021 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Justin L. Kelley examines recent archaeological investigations at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He also walks readers through the relevant texts to reconstruct the site’s rich history. From execution spot to magnificent church, it has gone through quite the transformation! For Bible History Daily readers, we have highlighted five major phases of its history.
For many PaleoJudaica posts on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Holy Sepulcher), see here and links.

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Stahl, The “God of Israel” in History and Tradition (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
The “God of Israel” in History and Tradition

Series: Vetus Testamentum, Supplements, Volume: 187

Author: Michael J. Stahl

In The “God of Israel” in History and Tradition, Michael Stahl provides a foundational study of the formulaic title “god of Israel” ( ’elohe yisra’el) in the Hebrew Bible. Employing critical theory on social power and identity, and through close literary and historical analysis, Dr. Stahl shows how the epithet “god of Israel” evolved to serve different social and political agendas throughout the course of ancient Israel and Judah’s histories. Reaching beyond the field of Biblical Studies, Dr. Stahl’s treatment of the historical and ideological significances of the title “god of Israel” in the Hebrew Bible offers a fruitful case study into the larger issue of the ways in which religion may shape—and be shaped by—social and political structures.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €121.00 / $146.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-44772-1
Publication Date: 22 Mar 2021

Hardback
Availability: Not Yet Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-44771-4
Publication Date: 19 May 2021

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

Chauchot, John the Baptist as a Rewritten Figure in Luke-Acts (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
John the Baptist as a Rewritten Figure in Luke-Acts

By Christina Michelsen Chauchot

Copyright Year 2021

Hardback
£120.00

eBook
£33.29

ISBN 9780367481438
Published March 15, 2021 by Routledge
196 Pages

Book Description

John the Baptist as a Rewritten Figure in Luke-Acts compares the Gospel of Luke’s account of John’s ministry with those of Matthew, Mark, and John to make the case for the hypertextual relationship between the synoptic gospels.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I situates the Gospel of Luke within the broader context of biblical rewritings and makes the general case that a rewriting strategy can be detected in Luke, while Parts II and III combined offer a more detailed and specific argument for Luke’s refiguring of the public ministry of John the Baptist through the use of omitted, new, adapted, and reserved material. While the "two source hypothesis" typically presupposes the independence of Luke and Matthew in their rewritings of Mark and Q, Chauchot argues that Luke was heavily reliant on Matthew as suggested by the "L/M hypothesis". Approaching the Baptist figure in the synoptic gospels from a literary-critical perspective, Chauchot examines "test cases" of detailed comparative analysis between them to argue that the Gospel of Luke makes thematic changes upon John the Baptist and is best characterized as a highly creative reshaping of Matthew and Mark.

Making a contribution to current research in the field of New Testament exegesis, the book is key reading for students, scholars, and clergy interested in New Testament hermeneutics and Gospel writing.

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

BHD Passover and Last Supper essays

FOR PASSOVER, Bible History Daily is re-publishing some related essays. I have already noted most of them a couple of years ago in this post. They have also re-posted an essay by Jonathan Klawans on the Last Supper and Passover, which I have already noted here. All the links in the above are stil good.

They have also re-posted another essay by Professor Klawans which I somehow missed: Jesus’ Last Supper Still Wasn’t a Passover Seder Meal. An update to Jonathan Klawans’s Bible Review article “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?”

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

On the provenance and authenticity of the Sappho papyri

VARIANT READINGS: The Retraction of Dirk Obbink’s Sappho Chapter and the Question of Authenticity. Brent Nongbri brings us up to date on the retraction by Brill. He also raises some questions about the authenticity of the papyri.
To summarize, then, we have:
  • Papyrus fragments with sensational and much-desired content
  • Faked provenance stories for these fragments
  • Seemingly false claims about scientific testing of these fragments
  • No access to the main fragment for examination
  • Early doubts about the quality of the poetry copied on these fragments
  • Surprisingly cavalier treatment of supposedly highly valuable unique ancient papyri
Given all this, is it really accurate to say that there is no “evidence to suggest that either P.GC inv. 105 or P.Sapph.Obbink is not authentic”? It might be better to say that most (perhaps all?) competent scholars regard these fragments as authentic even in the face of many suspicious circumstances surrounding these papyri.

Let me reiterate. I can’t pass judgement on the authenticity of these papyri. If these fragments are fakes, they are some of the best I’ve ever seen. But then again, I haven’t actually seen them. And other than Prof. Obbink, who has?

I have no view on this matter myself. I do agree that scholars need to have access to the papyri.

Background on the Sappho papyri and on the complicated Oxford missing-papyri scandal is here and links. Ariel Sabar published the definitive account of the scandal in May of 2020. Brent Nongbri has contined to follow developments.

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Perspectives on Preexistence in Early Judaism and Early Christianity (German, Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Perspektiven zur Präexistenz im Frühjudentum und frühen Christentum. Herausgegeben von Jörg Frey, Friederike Kunath und Jens Schröter unter Mitwirkung von Ruben A. Bühner. [Perspectives on Preexistence in Early Judaism and Early Christianity.] 2021. X, 421 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 457. 154,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-159976-7.
Published in German.
The notion of the preexistence of Christ has often been considered as a problematic mythological idea and marginalized in Biblical scholarship. The contributions of the present volume aim at a new perception of the variety of linguistic forms, semantic horizons, and textual intentions of the relevant texts. The phenomenon is deliberately considered in a wide horizon beyond the New Testament canon. The range of texts includes early Jewish texts on Wisdom and the Messiah; Paul, Hebrews, and Jude, the Gospel of John and Revelation; but also Greek mythological texts, Christian Gnostic traditions, and the Logos theology of the early church. Systematic-theological considerations on temporality and cosmology conclude the volume.
The articles are in German and English.

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Berenike meets the Mail

EXCAVATION ILLUSTRATED: Volcanic eruption sparked a severe drought in an ancient Egyptian port city some 2,100 years ago that forced residents to abandon their homes in search of water, study finds (Dan Avery, Daily Mail).

I have posted on the excavation of the Ptolemaic-era Egyptian fortress-port Berenike (Berenike Trogodytika) here and here. See those posts for background and some points of interest.

Now the Mail has noticed the story and produced a thorough and characteristically well-illustrated article on the site.

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

Why did Joshua have to circumcise the Israelites?

DR. RABBI DAVID FRANKEL: Why Didn’t the Israelites Circumcise in the Wilderness? (TheTorah.com).
Joshua circumcises the Israelites only upon their entry to the land.
Interesting redaction-critical argument.

Regarding the final point in the essay, I think that Deuteronomy's concern with circumcision of the heart only make sense if the author assumes that male Israelites were circumcised in the body. The metaphor also appears in P (Lev 26:41) but it is rare in both D and P.

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

Rasmussen's Easter photo-posts

AT THE HOLY LAND PHOTOS' BLOG, Carl Rasmussen has been re-posting some Easter-related posts which are also of interest for first-century Judaism. I have linked to them all in past years, but here they are again with his new URLs. If I have commented substantively in a PaleoJudaica post, I link to that as well.

If Carl re-posts any more of these this week, I will add the links below in this post.

The Tomb of the High Priest Annas? Part 1 of 2 — The Exterior
Related PaleoJudaica post here.

The Tomb of the High Priest Annas? Part 2 of 2 — The Interior

Bone Box of Caiaphas the High Priest
Related PaleoJudaica post here.

Crucified Man from Jerusalem
Related PaleoJudaica post here.

A Monumental Herodian (Hasmonean?) Hall in Jerusalem — Behind the Scenes of the Western Wall.

The Best Rolling Stone Tomb in Israel — Khirbet Midras

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

Monday, March 29, 2021

Big crack and boxed coin

NUMISMATICS: Coin from 2nd Temple Mount era found during Tower of David conservation. Tyrian shekels are often mentioned in historical accounts from the Second Temple Period, but a very few have actually been found (Tobias Siegal, Jerusalem Post).

The ancient Phasael Tower in the Tower of David complex in Jerusalem has a big crack in it, which poses a danger to the whole tower. It is under repair. The coin was found there in a misplace box of artifacts excavated during the last conservation in the 1980s. Oops.

Some PaleoJudaica posts on the Tyrian shekel are here, here, and here. It was especially associated (in its full and half value denominations) with payments to the Temple, including the Temple tax.

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

Shapira in the NYT archive

DIGGING UP DETAILS: A Biblical Mystery and a Reporting Odyssey. A question about pieces of a manuscript found in 1883 that may or may not be authentic led me into The Times’s archive (Jennifer Schuessler, NYT).
But I also became intrigued by another layer of the tale. As it turned out, the mysterious Shapira had made a number of fleeting appearances in The Times over the years, starting even before the Deuteronomy affair.
For PaleoJudaica posts on the Shapira Scroll and the recent revival of interest in the scroll and the whole Shapira affair, start here and follow the links.

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

Representations of Angelic Beings in Early Jewish and in Christian Traditions (ed. Tefera & Stuckenbruck) (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Representations of Angelic Beings in Early Jewish and in Christian Traditions. Edited by Amsalu Tefera and Loren T. Stuckenbruck. 2021. XII, 246 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 544. 79,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-159760-2.
Published in English.
Angelic beings have occupied an important place in many traditions within Judaism and Christianity from Second Temple times up until the present. In this volume, essays by scholars from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America draw attention to a wide variety of ways in which traditions about angels were addressed and developed over time, including examples from the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls and related literature, early Christian writings, »magical« texts, and the rich heritage of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. The contributions as a whole demonstrate the interwovenness of Jewish and Christian tradition and, in turn, reveal how much the consideration of angelology reflects broader hermeneutical, textual, and tradition-historical approaches to the study of religion.

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

Crawford & Zola (eds.), The Gospel of Tatian (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
The Gospel of Tatian
Exploring the Nature and Text of the Diatessaron

Editor(s): Matthew R. Crawford, Nicholas J. Zola
Published: 03-25-2021
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 300
ISBN: 9780567700346
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries
Illustrations: 2 plates
Dimensions: 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
List price: $39.95
Online price: $35.96

About The Gospel of Tatian

This volume combines some of the leading voices on the composition and collection of early Christian gospels in order to analyze Tatian's Diatessaron. The rapid rise and sudden suppression of the Diatessaron has raised numerous questions about the nature and intent of this second-century composition. It has been claimed as both a vindication of the fourfold gospel's early canonical status and as an argument for the canon's on-going fluidity; it has been touted as both a premiere witness to the earliest recoverable gospel text and as an early corrupting influence on that text. Collectively, these essays provide the greatest advance in Diatessaronic scholarship in a quarter of a century.

The contributors explore numerous questions: did Tatian intend to supplement or supplant the fourfold gospel? How many were his sources and how free was he with their text? How do we identify a Diatessaronic witness? Is it legitimate to use Tatian's Diatessaron as a source in New Testament textual criticism? Is a reconstruction of the Diatessaron still possible? These queries in turn contribute to the question of what the Diatessaron signifies with respect to the broader context of gospel writing, and what this can tell us about how the writing, rewriting and reception of gospel material functioned in the first and second centuries and beyond.

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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Zervos, The Protevangelium of James (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
The Protevangelium of James
Greek Text, English Translation, Critical Introduction: Volume 1

By: George T. Zervos
Published: 04-22-2021
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 240
ISBN: 9780567700384
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: Jewish and Christian Texts
Illustrations: 4 bw Illus
Dimensions: 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
List price: $39.95
Online price: $35.96

About The Protevangelium of James

George T. Zervos presents the first in a two-volume critical investigation of one of the earliest and most important of the New Testament Apocrypha, the Protevangelium of James, also known as the Infancy Gospel of James. Zervos challenges the prevailing view that the ProtJas is a 2nd century unitary document; finding it instead to be the product of an ongoing redactional process in which a 1st century CE “heretical” text was progressively conformed to the “orthodox” Christian doctrine of the time.

Zervos tells the story of how an early apocryphal gospel provided the developing church with doctrinal material, which was incorporated into both the theology and the ecclesiastical liturgical cycle of the medieval Church, thus becoming a significant part of the standard catechism for generations of Christians. In this first volume Zervos provides a critical introduction to the text and discusses ProtJas' publication history, scholarly investigation, compositional problems and evidence of redaction, as well as a in-depth analysis of the narrative. For the first time the readings of the vast majority of the known Greek manuscripts appear together, with a transcription of the original text of the complete copy of the ProtJas found in Papyrus Bodmer V.

The Protevangelium of James has been getting some attention in recent years. See here, here, here, here, and here. Cross-file under New Testament Apocrypha Watch.

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

Heath, The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths (Routledge)

RECENT BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths Why We Would Be Better Off With Homer’s Gods

By John Heath

Copyright Year 2019
Paperback
£36.99

ISBN 9780367729929
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
430 Pages

Book Description

The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths explores and compares the most influential sets of divine myths in Western culture: the Homeric pantheon and Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Heath argues that not only does the God of the Old Testament bear a striking resemblance to the Olympians, but also that the Homeric system rejected by the Judeo-Christian tradition offers a better model for the human condition. The universe depicted by Homer and populated by his gods is one that creates a unique and powerful responsibility – almost directly counter to that evoked by the Bible—for humans to discover ethical norms, accept death as a necessary human limit, develop compassion to mitigate a tragic existence, appreciate frankly both the glory and dangers of sex, and embrace and respond courageously to an indifferent universe that was clearly not designed for human dominion.

Heath builds on recent work in biblical and classical studies to examine the contemporary value of mythical deities. Judeo-Christian theologians over the millennia have tried to explain away Yahweh’s Olympian nature while dismissing the Homeric deities for the same reason Greek philosophers abandoned them: they don’t live up to preconceptions of what a deity should be. In particular, the Homeric gods are disappointingly plural, anthropomorphic, and amoral (at best). But Heath argues that Homer’s polytheistic apparatus challenges us to live meaningfully without any help from the divine. In other words, to live well in Homer’s tragic world – an insight gleaned by Achilles, the hero of the Iliad – one must live as if there were no gods at all.

The Bible, Homer, and the Search for Meaning in Ancient Myths should change the conversation academics in classics, biblical studies, theology and philosophy have – especially between disciplines – about the gods of early Greek epic, while reframing on a more popular level the discussion of the role of ancient myth in shaping a thoughtful life.

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Mihálykó, The Christian Liturgical Papyri: An Introduction (Mohr Siebeck)

RECENT BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Ágnes T. Mihálykó. The Christian Liturgical Papyri: An Introduction. 2019. XV, 451 pages. Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum / Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity 114. 89,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-155786-6.
Published in English.
Liturgical papyri are prime witnesses to the history of liturgy and the religious and theological currents in late antique Egypt. These items from the third to ninth century preserve hundreds of Greek and Coptic hymns, prayers, and acclamations, most otherwise unknown but some still recited by the Coptic Church. Ágnes T. Mihálykó offers the first extensive introduction to the liturgical papyri, facilitating the reader's access to them with a detailed inventory of edited manuscripts and an extensive discussion of their date and provenance. She also examines liturgical papyri as the first preserved liturgical manuscripts, describing their material features, the ways they were used, the early history of the liturgical books, and their languages. She reveals how liturgical texts were written down and transmitted and locates these important manuscripts in the book culture of late antique Egypt.
Cross-file under Coptic Watch.

You can learn more about Dr. Mihálykó's work in a podcast interview with the Coptic Magical Papyri Project.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Passover 2021

HAPPY PASSOVER (PESACH) TO ALL THOSE CELEBRATING! The festival begins this evening at sundown.

Once again, stay safe and be well! There is still danger and there are still setbacks, but there is progress too. Be encouraged.

Last year's pandemic Passover post is here. It has many Passover links. Subsequent Passover-related posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Relevant biblical texts are collected here.

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

Was Emmaus Bethel?

LEEN RITMEYER: The Road to Emmaus. A new Emmaus trail in Israel is ready for pilgrims, but is it on the right track?

I do not have a view on whether Emmaus and Bethel were (more or less) the same place. Place names are malleable. The proposed transformation of Oulammaous to Emmaus does require a good bit of kneading.

I do not find the proposed parallels between Jesus and Jacob convincing. A couple of them have to introduce outside passages that Luke would not have seen. The connections in some others are too imprecise. Being asleep is not the same has having one's eyesight overridden. Waking up is not the same as listening to someone expounding scripture.

But have a look at Leen's post and see what you think.

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The Ancient Iran Day website

THE AWOL BLOG: Ancient Iran: A Digital Platform.
Ancient Iran had a pivotal role in world history, spanning parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa at its height and contributing to global literature, technology, and religion. Unfortunately, Ancient Iran receives only a fraction of the time and resources devoted to the study of Greece and Rome. In the spring of 2018, a group of faculty, students, and community members convened at the University of Washington to address this problem by designing a major public event to explore Ancient Iran's place in global history.

[...]

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Ellerbrock, The Parthians

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: The Parthians: The Forgotten Empire. Notice of a New Book: Ellerbrock, Uwe. 2021. The Parthians: The forgotten empire. London & New York: Routledge. Note chapter XI.5, "Judaism in Parthia." There are also sections on Manichaeism (Manicheism), Mithraism, and Christianity.

Other PaleoJudaica posts on Parthia and the ancient Parthians are collected here, plus see here.

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

Friday, March 26, 2021

Vayntrub, Beyond Orality (Routledge)

RECENT BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Beyond Orality
Biblical Poetry on its Own Terms

By Jacqueline Vayntrub

Copyright Year 2019

Paperback
£36.99

ISBN 9780367731571
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
260 Pages

Book Description

Central to understanding the prophecy and prayer of the Hebrew Bible are the unspoken assumptions that shaped them—their genres. Modern scholars describe these works as “poetry,” but there was no corresponding ancient Hebrew term or concept. Scholars also typically assume it began as “oral literature,” a concept based more in evolutionist assumptions than evidence. Is biblical poetry a purely modern fiction, or is there a more fundamental reason why its definition escapes us?

Beyond Orality: Biblical Poetry on its Own Terms changes the debate by showing how biblical poetry has worked as a mirror, reflecting each era’s own self-image of verbal art. Yet Vayntrub also shows that this problem is rooted in a crucial pattern within the Bible itself: the texts we recognize as “poetry” are framed as powerful and ancient verbal performances, dramatic speeches from the past. The Bible’s creators presented what we call poetry in terms of their own image of the ancient and the oral, and understanding their native theories of Hebrew verbal art gives us a new basis to rethink our own.

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9 facts about the Seleucid Empire

THE COLLECTOR: The Rise And Fall Of The Seleucid Empire In 9 Facts. The history of the Seleucid Empire is a tale of glorious expansion and slow decay (Antonis Chaliakopoulos). HT Rogue Classicism.

The Seleucid empire is important for biblical studies (notably in the Book of Daniel) and the study of Second Temple Judaism. For some of the Seleucid kings mentioned in this article and (always with secret code names) in the Book of Daniel, see here and here. For a bit more on Antiochus XIII, see the article linked to here. For many other PaleoJudaica posts on the Seleucid Empire, start here and follow the links, with subsequent posts here, here, and here.

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The basement "Upper Room" and the Dead Sea Scrolls

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The Other Upper Room. Site-Seeing (Jonathan Klawans).
The Cenacle stands tall indeed, nesting above David’s tomb on the heights of Mount Zion. But who knew that Mount Zion’s Christian claim to fame has a competitor—in a basement?

The Monastery of St. Mark is the central church for the Syrian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. ...

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Architectural ideology in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: Commemorating Jesus: Constantine’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jordan J. Ryan).

For many PaleoJudaica posts on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Holy Sepulcher), see here and links and here.

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

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Ezekiel's monstrous Pharaoh

PROF. SAFWAT MARZOUK: Pharaoh Is a Monster: Ezekiel Decries Judah’s Ties with Egypt (TheTorah.com).
Before the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, Ezekiel condemns Judah's alliance with Egypt, depicting Egypt and its pharaoh as a monster that YHWH will destroy. The prophet accuses Judah of harlotry with Egypt and blames their foolish alliance on their resurgent worship of the Egyptian gods they adopted during their sojourn there.

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

Solomon, Jesus, Abgar, and Mary in the Coptic magical papyri

THE COPTIC MAGICAL PAPYRI BLOG: Kyprianos Update (24 March 2021). This project and its database are doing some great work.

Its overlap with PaleoJudaica's interests is tangential, so I don't link to their posts often. But it is worth noting that one of the new texts is based on material in the Testament of Solomon and another is a Coptic fragment of the apocryphal Letter of Jesus to King Abgar. I didn't know that the latter existed in Coptic. There is also a prayer attributed to the Virgin Mary.

For more on the Testament of Solomon see here and here and links. For more on the real King Abgar V and his fake correspondence with Jesus, see here and links.

Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch, New Testament Apocrypha Watch, and Christian Apocrypha Watch.

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

How did Jezebel feel?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: How Bad Was Jezebel? Read Janet Howe Gaines’s full article about Jezebel in the Bible and later depictions as it appeared in Bible Review. This is the full text of the article published in 2010.
Every Biblical word condemns her: Jezebel is an outspoken woman in a time when females have little status and few rights; a foreigner in a xenophobic land; an idol worshiper in a place with a Yahweh-based, state-sponsored religion; a murderer and meddler in political affairs in a nation of strong patriarchs; a traitor in a country where no ruler is above the law; and a whore in the territory where the Ten Commandments originate.

Yet there is much to admire in this ancient queen. In a kinder analysis, Jezebel emerges as a fiery and determined person, with an intensity matched only by Elijah’s. She is true to her native religion and customs. She is even more loyal to her husband. Throughout her reign, she boldly exercises what power she has. And in the end, having lived her life on her own terms, Jezebel faces certain death with dignity.

The reframing of Jezebel in this article raises many valid points. Elijah and Jehu certainly do not come out looking better than she.

Many of the commenters to the article disagree with me. Cross-file under Cognitive Dissonance. (Mine and theirs.)

Other PaleoJudaica posts on Jezebel are here and links and here.

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

Timing the carnage at Pompeii?

JUST?! Vesuvius Killed The People Of Pompeii In Just 17 Minutes, New Study Suggests (Katy Evans, IFLScience). I take the point, but to the people involved that seventeen minutes would have lasted a long time.

For PaleoJudaica posts on the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE and its destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii, start here and here and follow the many links. For more on the pyroclastic surge that killed the people of Pompeii, start at the latter post and follow the links.

The emergency resue operation lead by Pliny the Elder, in which he himself perished, may have saved a couple of thousand people from the eruption. See the links above.

For the carbonized library at Herculaneum and the ongoing efforts to recover it, see here and links. For some possible connections between the eruption, Pompeii, and ancient Judaism, see the links collected here plus this post.

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Groningen symposium on Hebrew/Aramaic paleography

THE OTTC BLOG: Digital Palaeography and Hebrew/Aramaic Scribal Culture Conference Program and Registration (Drew Longacre). HT the ETC Blog. It takes place on 6–8 April 2021 13:00–20:00 Central European Summer Time (UTC+2), online via Zoom. Follow the link for the full program.

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Smith, Music in Religious Cults of the Ancient Near East (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Music in Religious Cults of the Ancient Near East

By John Arthur Smith

Copyright Year 2021
Hardback
£120.00

eBook
£33.29

ISBN 9780367486334
Published November 10, 2020 by Routledge
220 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

Book Description

Music in Religious Cults of the Ancient Near East presents the first extended discussion of the relationship between music and cultic worship in ancient western Asia. The book covers ancient Israel and Judah, the Levant, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Elam, and ancient Egypt, focusing on the period from approximately 3000 BCE to around 586 BCE. This wide-ranging book brings together insights from ancient archaeological, iconographic, written, and musical sources, as well as from modern scholarship. Through careful analysis, comparison, and evaluation of those sources, the author builds a picture of a world where religious culture was predominant and where music was intrinsic to common cultic activity.

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Review of Doak, Heroic Bodies in Ancient Israel

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Book Note | Heroic Bodies in Ancient Israel (Rosanne Liebermann).
Brian R. Doak. Heroic Bodies in Ancient Israel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Over the past three decades, the body has come increasingly into focus in biblical studies, providing a material dimension to interpretations of biblical texts. Brian Doak’s Heroic Bodies in Ancient Israel contributes a new angle to this illuminating trend. ...

For more on this book, see here.

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How to find public domain museum images

THE AWOL BLOG: How to find public domain museum images.

Some related posts are here, here, here, here, and links. Cross-file under News You Can Use.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Salvaging the Shapira Scroll script? A proposal (updated and corrected).

THE SHAPIRA SCROLL FRAGMENTS may be lost forever. If we're lucky, some may turn up some day. But meanwhile, photo images of at least a couple of the strips do survive. Here is one photo from Wikimedia Commons. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

By Christian David Ginsburg - The British Library; Additional manuscripts 41294 “Papers Relative to M.W. Shapira’s Forged MS. of Deuteronomy (A.D. 1883–1884).”, folio 33, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67064589

This one has a lot of glare and poor resolution. It may be clipped from a larger photo that includes both sides and part of another strip. You can see it here on Wikimedia Commons. I don't know whether there are others.

The problem with these images, of course, is that the leather is blackened and the writing is invisible. In the nineteenth century people could see the writing on close inspection of the originals. That's how we got the drawings of the inscriptions.

The poor quality of the photos means our access to the Hebrew writing is only through bad hand drawings of it by people who were not twenty-first century paleographers. They did not know what to look for. Efforts to authenticate the texts though paleography founder, because we don't know how close the drawings are to the actual Hebrew script. Likely, not close.

But a thought occurs to me. I may as well share it here.

Those nineteenth-century photographs surely contain a lot more information than is obvious to the naked eye. Has anyone ever tried applying computer enhancement to them? Could someone, say the West Semitic Research Project, get in touch with JPL and see what they can do with the photo(s)? If we could get clear images of some words or partial lines of the text, paleographers could decide pretty rapidly whether the script was ancient or fake.

As far as I know, no one has suggested this before. Perhaps it's worth a try.

For background on the Shapira affair and the two recent books arguing for the authenticity of the Shapira Scroll fragments, start here and follow the links.

UPDATE: Thanks to James Tabor, I have seen some of the other images in British Library; Additional manuscripts 41294. They were taken with different exposures. At least one (page 83) shows considerable readable Hebrew text as is. I'm sure it could be enhanced to bring out more.

CORRECTION (26 March): It develops that the image on page 83 with readable Hebrew text is of a drawing by Christian Ginsburg. It is not a readable photograph. Please excuse the mixup.

My original point stands: it may be worth applying computer enhancement to the photographs of the Shapira Scroll in the archives of the British Library. They look completely illegible, but there may still be important information in them.

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Should scholars publish on teaching?

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Making it “Count”: Translating your Teaching Innovations into Research Output (Helen Dixon).
Many academics only write about their teaching at three key moments: composing application dossiers, writing course syllabi, and perhaps when reflecting for annual reviews or tenure submissions. But there are many venues that, with the right framing, could showcase how you translate your expertise for students and what you have learned from the trial-and-error repetition of activities, paper prompts, and entire courses.
This is a thoughtful essay full of good advice.

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The Bible With and Without Jesus

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The Bible With and Without Jesus. Do Jews and Christians share the same Bible? (Marc Zvi Brettler and Amy-Jill Levine).

It is liberating to realize that other people live in a very different reality from one's own. For more on that, see here and (especially) here. Cross-file under Cognitive Dissonance.

For more on the book behind this BHD post, see here.

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Festschrift on Achaemenid Iran for Pierre Briant

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Études offertes à Pierre Briant. Notice of a New Book: Agut-Labordère, Damien, Rémi Boucharlat, Francis Joannès, Amélie Kuhrt & Matthew W. Stolper (éds). 2021. Achemenet. Vingt ans après: Etudes offertes a Pierre Briant a l’occasion des vingt ans du Programme Achemenet (Persika 21). Leuven: Peeters.

With articles involving involving many subjects of interest to PaleoJudaica, including Persepolis, Cambyses in Egypt, Arameans in the Achaemenid Empire, Ashoka, Alexander the Great, and the Nabonidus Chronicle.

Follow this link for more on the Achemenet Program.

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Monday, March 22, 2021

A Coptic tombstone inscription

COPTIC WATCH: Newly discovered Coptic tombstone in Luxor belonged to a child: Study (Nevine El-Aref, Ahram Online).
A preliminary study carried out on the Coptic tombstone recently discovered in Luxor reveals that it belonged to a little girl named "Takla," who died at the age of ten sometime between the 7th and 10th centuries AD.

[...]

The inscription contains five additional damaged lines of Coptic text. Researchers are still deciphering them.

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Bronze bull excavated in Greece

BOVINE ICONOGRAPHY: Greek bull figurine unearthed after heavy downpour (BBC News).
A bronze figurine of a bull believed to be at least 2,500 years old has been unearthed in Greece following heavy rain near the ancient site of Olympia. HT Archaeologica News.

Burn marks on the statuette suggest it may have been one of thousands of offerings to the Greek god Zeus.

[...]

There are photos at the link. The statuette is a fine specimen.

I post this because when I saw the article I thought, "Hmmm ... bronze bull ... golden calf." It seems there was an iconographic tradition involving little (or even big) metal statues of bulls across the Mediterranean.

Remember the story of Gozo's golden calf in eighteenth-century Malta? The one in which the the supposed discovey of a statuette of a golden calf led to betrayal and butchery? Malta is not very far from Greece. Could a discovery like the recent one at Olympia be behind the story?

I don't recall that a gold or gold-plated bull figurine has ever been found, apart from the one associated with the gold and lead codices seized in Turkey. That one seems fairly modern and to be based on the biblical golden calf story. But we do have a silver-plated one from Ashkelon and now this bronze one.

Could that Gozian farmer have dug up a gold-filigreed one? Or perhaps a bronze or silver one whose value grew in the telling and led to the unfortunate misunderstanding with the Grand Master of Gozo?

Maybe. Who knows? It's fun to speculate. But like its predecessor, this post is for entertainment only.

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Berenike deserted due to drought devastation?

EXCAVATION UPDATE: Volcanic eruption may have forced ancient Egyptians to abandon a city (Michael Marshall, New Scientist).

I posted about the Egyptian fortress-city of Berenike (Berenike Trogodytika) here. It was a port on the coast of the Red Sea in Ptolemaic times. It is named after Queen Berenike I, the wife of Ptolemy I. The latter appears under the code name "king of the south" in Daniel 11:5.

This article gives some new information about possible reasons for the temporary abandonment of the city toward the end of the third century BCE.

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Two Latin inscriptions

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE: A Woman’s Party Invitation and a Girl’s Epitaph: Some Documentary Latin. HT Rogue Classicism.

I have mentioned Lepidina's birthday party invitation here. It was excavated at the Roman fort at Vindonlanda, near Hadrian's Wall. I have visited Vindolanda twice and blogged on it repeatedly. It has no direct connection with ancient Judaism, but there many indirect connections, especially with the vast archive of documentary texts found there. For PaleoJudaica posts and many photos, start here and follow the links.

The other inscription is a late-antique epitaph for a Jewish child in Rome. It is written in Latin and Hebrew. The photo in the Senteniae Antiquae post seems to be glitched.

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Greek Exodus manuscript dismembered in space and time

VARIANT READINGS: Further Thoughts on the Tchacos-Ferrini Exodus. Brent Nongbri finds a problem in the acquisition timeline of the manuscript.

Background here. And this seems relevant too.

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Pennsylvania-themed Shanks memorial

OBITUARY: Shanks leaves behind scholarly legacy. (David L. Dye, The Herald, Sharon, Pa., rpt. Yahoo News).
Mar. 20—Hershel Shanks began his career in the law, but found worldwide renown as a pioneer in the field of biblical archeology, a passion that traced its roots to his childhood in Sharon.

[...]

Background here and links.

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Scholz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible

NEW BOOK FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS:
The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible

Edited by Susanne Scholz

Oxford Handbooks

  • Outlines new directions for the field, simultaneously remaining connected to biblical texts and to broader discussions on culture, politics, and religion
  • Conceptualizes feminist biblical studies beyond essentializing notions about “woman” by including essays on gender, queer, and trans studies in biblical interpretation
  • Advances feminist, womanist, queer, and gendered interpretations with critical analyses into racism, ethnocentrism, colonialism, and other forms of “othering”
Description

The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible brings together 37 essential essays written by leading international scholars, examining crucial points of analysis within the field of feminist Hebrew Bible studies. Organized into four major areas - globalization, neoliberalism, media, and intersectionality - the essays collectively provide vibrant, relevant, and innovative contributions to the field. The topics of analysis focus heavily on gender and queer identity, with essays touching on African, Korean, and European feminist hermeneutics, womanist and interreligious readings, ecofeminist and animal biblical studies, migration biblical studies, the role of gender binary voices in evangelical-egalitarian approaches, and the examination of scripture in light of trans women's voices. The volume also includes essays examining the Old Testament as recited in music, literature, film, and video games. The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Approaches to the Hebrew Bible charts a culturally, hermeneutically, and exegetically cutting-edge path for the ongoing development of biblical studies grounded in feminist, womanist, gender, and queer perspectives.

£97.00

Hardback
Published: 01 March 2021
696 Pages
248x171mm
ISBN: 9780190462673

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