Friday, December 03, 2021

Review of Feldman, The Story of Sacrifice

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Book Note | The Story of Sacrifice (Ethan Schwartz).
Liane M. Feldman. The Story of Sacrifice: Ritual and Narrative in the Priestly Source. FAT 141. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020.

... Feldman’s new reading of P boldly takes on two of the most entrenched dichotomies in biblical studies: (1) ritual vs. narrative, and (2) literature vs. history. While I do not think that she has fully overcome these dichotomies, she has raised crucial questions about them. ...

The author of the book has published her own summary of the PhD thesis version at AJR, which I noted here. And AJR also published a series of essays on the published book. See here and links.

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

Zoom event: Hempel on the DSS and Palestinian Judaism

H-JUDAIC: EVENT: Lecture "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Contours and Texture of Palestinian Judaism" by Professor Charlotte Hempel (December 14, 2021).

Sponsored by the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations (University of Southampton), this event is free but requires pre-registration. Details are at the link.

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

News on Hobby Lobby and Obbink

VARIANT READINGS: Update on Hobby Lobby vs. Obbink Case (Brent Nongbri).

I am surprised by this outcome. It sounds as though we won't be learning more from the court case after all. We'll see.

For more on Hobby Lobby's lawsuit against Dirk Obbink, accusing him of selling them stolen artifacts, see here and here. Follow the links in the first of those posts for more on the Oxford missing-papyri scandal and its alleged connections with Obbink and Hobby Lobby.

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

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Hanukkah and Daniel 11

FOR HANUKKAH: The Lead up to Chanukah in the Book of Daniel (Prof. Lawrence M. Wills, TheTorah.com).
An ancient pious scribe describes in apocalyptic visions, the history of the conflict between Judea and Antiochus Epiphanes, but fails to dream that the Maccabees, a political group of guerrilla fighters, will win.
This doesn't seem to be a new essay, but I haven't linked to it before.

For more on Daniel chapter 11, see the posts here and here, which link to Phil Longs posts at Reading Acts, along with my commentary and links.

For more on the Seleucid dynasty, with special attention to their coins and with many cross-references to Daniel 11, see here and here and links. For the Ptolemaic dynasty likewise, see here and links.

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

Fake "Archaic Mark"

THE ETC BLOG: SBL Presentation on "Archaic Mark" (GA 2427) (Tommy Wasserman).

For more on the fake Archaic Mark manuscript, see Stephen Carlson's important 2006 essay, which I noted here.

Although there were doubts early on, it took almost 70 years to establish decisively that the manuscript was a forgery. Forgers have continued to improve their products. Who knows how many forgeries are being treated as geniune ancient manuscripts and inscriptions today? I suspect there are some.

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

Ahiqar in Syriac and Arabic

THE AWOL BLOG: Ahiqar - The Story of Ahiqar in its Syriac and Arabic Tradition. Looks like a useful online edition.

For more on the story of Ahiqar (Ahikar), see here, here, and here and links.

Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch,

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

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Biblical Studies Carnival 189

THE DUST BLOG: Biblical Studies Carnival number 189 (Bob MacDonald). A thorough carnival. And I don't just say that because it links to PaleoJudaica so many times. Although that doesn't hurt!

UPDATE (2 December): Bad link now fixed.

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

Zoom event: Dr. Sarah Sallon on reviving ancient date palms

H-JUDAIC: EVENT: "Reviving The Ancient Judean Date Palm" with Dr. Sarah Sallon (December 7, 2021) (Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies). Follow the link for details. The event is free but requires preregistration.

For PaleoJudaica posts on the work of Dr. Sallon and her colleagues on resurrecting the ancient Judean date palm, start here and follow the links.

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

Zillionth Hellenistic-era oil lamp excavated in Israel!

HANUKKAH ARCHAEOLOGY: 2,000-year-old oil lamp comes to light in City of David. While such lamps are common finds in excavations, it is "truly exciting" to dig up a Hasmonean-era artifact just before Hanukkah, archaeologists say (Yori Yalon, Israel HaYom). HT Rogue Classicism.

Nice lamp.

If this is now the Hanukkah archaeology news, I suspect that we have seen all the big announcements for this season.

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Zoom event on Fraade's new Oxford Commentary on the Damascus Document

THE CSCO BLOG: Book Launch Event: The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Damascus Document by Steven Fraade.

The event takes place on 16 December. It is free, but requires preregistration.

The commentary came out earlier this month. Cross-file under New Book.

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

The rediscovery of lost works of Philo and Eusebius in Armenian

ROGER PEARSE: The rediscovery of Philo, Eusebius’ Chronicon in Armenian.

The initial publication of the texts in the early nineteenth century involved some retrospectively entertaining scholarly rivalry.

For more on Armenian Philo, see here, here, and here. The last link collects earlier post on the ancient Armenian literary tradition more generally. Cross-file under Armenian Watch.

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

Oesterreich, Kognitionswissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf biblische Visionserzählungen (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Kognitionswissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf biblische Visionserzählungen

Kognitionswissenschaftliche Perspektiven auf biblische Visionserzählungen

Am Beispiel der Verklärung (Mk 9,2–9)

Series: Biblical Interpretation Series, Volume: 196

Author: Nicole Oesterreich

Das vorliegende Buch bietet einen umfassenden Beitrag zum Bestreben neuro- und kognitionswissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse in die neutestamentliche Exegese zu integrieren. Für dieses Vorhaben eignen sich veränderte Bewusstseinszustände insbesondere, da sie auf allgemein menschlichen Strukturen des Gehirns beruhen und in sehr vielen Kulturen Teil der religiösen Praxis waren und sind. Anklänge daran finden sich auch in biblischen Visionserzählungen. Die Untersuchung bietet neben einer Einführung in die Philosophie des Geistes und notwendigen naturwissenschaftlichen Grundlagen sowie einer hermeneutischen Reflexion eine breit angelegte Darstellung der antiken Erfahrungen mit veränderten Bewusstseinszuständen anhand ihrer Induktionsrituale. Die gewonnenen Erkenntnisse werden dann auf die Verklärungserzählung angewendet.

____________________________________

This book is a comprehensive contribution to the ongoing effort to integrate findings in cognitive science into New Testament studies. Altered states of consciousness are particularly suitable for this attempt as they are a common human property and a widespread religious practice. This study contains an introduction to the basics of philosophy of mind and cognitive studies as well as a hermeneutical reflection. The wide portrayal of ASCs in ancient religious contexts according to the type of induction rituals provides the historic context for the cognitive analysis of the Transfiguration narrative.

Copyright Year: 2022

Prices from (excl. VAT): €139.00 / $167.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-49981-2
Publication Date: 25 Oct 2021

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-49975-1
Publication Date: 21 Oct 2021

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

Monday, November 29, 2021

Slingstone bearing name of Hasmonean-era baddie

HANUKKAH ARCHAEOLOGY: Sling stone from Hasmonean period found in southern Hebron Hills. The carved piece of ammunition bears the name of Seleucid leader Diodotus Tryphon and an emblem of the Greek god Zeus; find announced on 1st night of Hannukah (Times of Israel).
A lead sling stone bearing the name of a Seleucid leader who fought against the Hasmoneans was recently found in the southern Hebron Hills in the West Bank by the military’s Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit.

While it was unclear when the item was found, the Civil Administration released it to the media on Sunday, the first day of the Hanukkah festival, which celebrates the Jewish victory over the Seleucid Empire during the Hasmonean period.

The ammunition had the name of Diodotus Tryphon — who reigned over the Seleucid Empire between 142 and 138 BC — inscribed on it in Greek.

[...]

The IAA seems to have been saving up Hasmonean-era discoveries to announce during Hanukkah. It will be interesting to see what else comes out this week.

For the rise and fall of Diodotus Tryphon ("Trypho"), see 1 Maccabees 11-15. Josephus also tell his story interspersed through Antiquities 13.131-224. Once again, it is left to a blogger to find some of the primary-source references for you. For a brief timeline of Tryphon's life, see here.

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

Hasmonean-era farm excavated in Tel Aviv

HANUKKAH ARCHAEOLOGY: Israel discovers 2,150-year-old Hellenistic farm in central Tel Aviv (Global Times).
Israeli archaeologists have unearthed the relics of a Hellenistic farm in the heart of the coastal city of Tel Aviv, dated to about 2,150 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Sunday.

[...]

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

Sanhedrin-era discoveries at Yavneh

STARTED AS SALVAGE ARCHAEOLOGY: First-Ever Remains of Sanhedrin Era Building Uncovered in Coastal City of Yavneh (TPS / Tazpit News Agency via the Jewish Press).
Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavations being carried out on a massive scale in the city of Yavne have uncovered the first evidence there of a building from the time of the Sanhedrin – the supreme legislative Jewish assembly that went into exile to Yavne after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, some 2,000 years ago.

The building contained fragments of chalkstone vessels, clear evidence that its occupants were observing Jewish laws of ritual purity. The excavation also discovered an impressive cemetery dating from the time of the Sanhedrin.

[...]

Note also the YouTube video to which the article links.

This excavation also found more than 150 glass vials in the cemetery, placed above some of the tombs. The excavation area is near the site of the Byzantine-era wine press excavated at Yavneh (Yavne), on which more here and here.

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

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Hanukkah 2021

HAPPY HANUKKAH (CHANUKKAH, CHANUKAH) to all those celebrating! The eight-day festival begins tonight at sundown.

Last year's Hanukkah post is here. It links to past Hanukkah posts with additional historical background. For PaleoJudaica posts in the last year that relate to Hanukkah, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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

How was Herod's Temple built?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The Stones of Herod’s Temple Reveal Temple Mount History Ancient construction techniques evident in the Herodian Temple. Includes the full text of an old, but still informative, BAR article on the construction of Herod's Temple by Leen Ritmeyer.

Cross-file under Temple Mount Watch.

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

Review of Honigman et al. (eds.), Times of transition: Judea in the early Hellenistic period

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Times of transition: Judea in the early Hellenistic period.
Sylvie Honigman, Christophe Nihan, Oded Lipschitz, Times of transition: Judea in the early Hellenistic period. Mosaics: studies on ancient Israel, 1. University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns, 2021. Pp. 416. ISBN 9781646021147 $129.95.

Review by
Francesca Calabi, University of Pavia. calabi@unipv.it

Conclusion:
The book is very rich and complex. The breadth of its perspectives allows readers to have a look at many aspects of the topic. This is helpful, but at the same time the breadth of perspective and vastness of topics mean that the various articles are not always in dialogue with each other and a certain vagueness results. I found particularly interesting the theses on the functions and aims of the Greek Pentateuch by Martin Rösel, the chapter on retelling stories about Alexander by Konrad Schmid and Sylvie Honigman’s presentation of the emergence of apocalypses as a hermeneutical schift. But I believe all are useful for anyone who wishes to study these topics.

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

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Susa, the winter royal residence of the Persian Empire

TRAVEL: Susa: a gateway to must-see destinations (Tehran Times).
TEHRAN – In southwest Iran is situated Susa, a captivating UNESCO-listed archaeological site occupying the whole southern flank of modern Shush. Originally similar in scale to the UNESCO-designated Persepolis, the city saw countless invasions and sackings during its history which spans almost 6000 years.

Furthermore, Susa was once the winter residence of Persian kings after having been captured by Cyrus the Great. Susa became part of the Persian Empire under Cyrus II, the Great in 538 or 539 BC.

Various archaeological seasons in Susa have yielded ample relics including pottery, arms, ornamental objects, metalwork, bronze articles, as well as clay tablets. ...

HT Todd Bolen at the Bible Places Blog.

This article has good coverage of the history, biblical connections, and archaeology of Susa.

I was surprised to see how many PaleoJudaica posts there are on Susa. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

While we are on Iranian archaeology, for more on the Persian ceremonial capital Persepolis, see here and many links. For more on the Median capital Ecbatana, which also served as the Persian summer royal residence and archive, see here.

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

The archive of Zenon

MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS BLOG: The archive of Zenon. HT the AWOL Blog.

This post seems out of place in a blog on medieval manuscripts, but it's good to have it anyway. Zenon lived in Egypt and Palestine in the the third century BCE. For more on his vast archive, see here (but the links have rotted) and here.

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

Buntu, ... Divinity and Deification in Early Judaism (Gorgias)

NEW BOOK FROM GORGIAS PRESS:
THE LORD GOD OF GODS
Divinity and Deification in Early Judaism

By Silviu Nicolae Bunta

The investigation of this book into early Jewish experiences of God begins with calls to discard any categorical and definitional approaches to the literature of early Judaism, and several enduring preconceptions about its mysticism and theology (particularly the relegation of its mysticism to particular texts and themes, and the molding of its theology in the image of medieval and post-medieval Jewish and Christian monotheisms). With this abandonment, the symbolic language of early Jewish texts gives sharper contours to a pre-formal theology, a theology in which God and divinity are more subjects of experience and recognition than of propositions. This clarity leads the investigation to the conclusion that early Judaism is thoroughly mystical and experiences a theology which is neither polytheistic, nor monotheistic, but deificational: there is only one divine selfhood, the divinity of “God,” but he shares his selfhood with “gods,” to varying degrees and always at his discretion. With some important differentiations which are also introduced here, this theology undergirds almost the entirety of early Judaism—the Bible, post-biblical texts, and even classical rabbinic literature. The greatest development over time is only that the boundaries between God and gods become at once clearer and less rigid.

Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4333-3

Formats Hardback

Publication Status: In Print
Series: Perspectives on Hebrew Scriptures and its Contexts 35
Publication Date: Aug 24,2021
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 357
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4333-3

Price: $114.95
Your price: $68.97

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

Friday, November 26, 2021

The ideologies of 1 and 2 Maccabees?

HANUKKAH IS COMING: Judea versus Judaism: Between 1 and 2 Maccabees (Prof. Daniel R. Schwartz, TheTorah.com).
Ancient tensions between Judaism and the Jewish state can be seen by comparing 1 Maccabees, a book that serves the interest of the Hasmonean dynasty, and 2 Maccabees, a work of the diaspora whose focus is on Judaism.

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

Hanukkah archaeology

HANUKKAH IS COMING SOON. Here are a couple of articles on recent and less recent archaeological discoveries pertaining to it (at least in a general way).

What does archaeology in Israel tell us about Hanukkah? JPost One-on-One Zoomcast , Episode 43 - Rossella Tercatin and Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon: Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist explains what archaeology can teach us about Hanukkah (Rossella Tercatin)

6 ancient findings in the footsteps of the Maccabees. Look what Israeli archeologists have dug up from the Hasmonean dynasty that ruled the land following the Maccabees’ Hanukkah triumph (Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c).

For more on that Hellenistic fortress in Lachish Forest, which archaeologists infer was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, see here.

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

Online lectures on Agrippa II and on the Ark of the Covenant

H-JUDAIC announces two upcoming online lectures. They are free, but require advance registration. See the links for details.

EVENT: The Mysteries of the Ark of the Covenant (Institute of Jewish Studies UCL)

Type: Lecture
Date: November 30, 2021
Subject Fields: Jewish History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

The lecture will focus on the importance of the Ark (of God, of Yhwh, of the Covenant) in the Hebrew Bible and more specifically on the so-called Ark narrative in the books of Samuel. What was the purpose of the Ark, what did it originally contain? If the original Ark narrative ended with the transfer of the Ark to Kiriath Jearim in 1 Sam 7:1 as will be argued, what is the importance of this site? The lecture will then bring into conversation exegetical observations and the results of the excavations at Kiriath Jearim from 2017 and 2019, organized by the University of Tel Aviv and the Collège de France. The lecture will conclude with the question of the fate of the Ark after the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 587 BCE.

Professor Thomas Christian Römer is professor and chair of the Collège de France and currently its President ...

EVENT: Agrippa II, the Last of the Herods (American Israel Numismatic Association and Institute of Jewish Studies UCL)
Type: Lecture
Date: December 16, 2021
Subject Fields: Archaeology, Ancient History, European History / Studies, Humanities, Jewish History / Studies

Agrippa II, the last king of the Herodian dynasty, was prolific in minting coins, particularly after the Judaean-Roman War. In this online lecture, David Jacobson will discuss Agrippa’s coinage as well as the writings of Josephus and epigraphic evidence for his reign. Topics considered will include the chronology of his reign, the role of his sister, Berenice, as his de-facto consort, his attitude towards the Jews and Judaism, particularly after the quelling of the First Jewish Revolt, and determining the date of his death.

Professor David Jacobson has pursued careers in both materials science and classical archaeology. ...

For a great many PaleoJudaica posts on the Ark of the Covenant, start here and just keep following those links. For posts on Herod Agrippa II, see here and links.

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

Thursday, November 25, 2021

An ancient Roman gaming board in Jerusalem

LUDIC ARCHAEOLOGY: Ancestor of Checkers Found in Old City of Jerusalem. Carved into the city square by bored Roman soldiers, the identity of the strange game had been a mystery until an expert got involved (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).

Actually all we have is the gaming board scratched into stone, presumably by idle Roman soldiers. But there has been lots of fun from efforts to identify the game.

UPDATE: Also, happy Thanksgiving to my American readers and those celebrating with them!

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

A shamanic life-setting for the Ascension of Isaiah?

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: The Ascension of Isaiah: Some Thoughts ( David Frankfurter). Two excerpts:
Leaving behind the old redactional-stages approach (that has tempted many scholars through today), we are really forced to think about what “Jewish” and “Christian” should mean as identity or boundary-categories in the world of this text.
And:
So to me, the really valuable features of this text are its docetic christology and its Jewish apocalyptic form and details; also, its evidence of a prophetic—or, better, shamanic—milieu; and in all these features its religious sympathies with the Book of Revelation.
This is fifth essay in a BRANE Forum series on the Ascension of Isaiah. For notice of the first three, see here and links.

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

BAS 2021 Publication Awards

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Biblical Archaeology Society 2021 Publication Awards Winners. These prestigious awards have been made possible by grants from: Samuel D. Turner and Elizabeth Goss. These look like great books. Congratulations to all the winners!

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Prof. Mika Ahuvia on angels in ancient Judaism

INTERVIEW: Angels in antiquity: Judaism’s long relationship with heaven’s haloed helpers. While many Jews relegate the supernatural beings to the Christian realm, Prof. Mika Ahuvia reveals a deep cultural and religious connection in a new book (Rich Tenorio, Times of Israel).
When then-Princeton graduate student Mika Ahuvia was taking a class in Roman religion, she became intrigued by ancient religious stories from the Middle East.

“I learned about stories of ancient Romans stumbling into gods and goddesses in sacred groves and stories of Christian stylite saints speaking with angels from the top of columns,” Ahuvia said. “That made me wonder how and where exactly Jews interacted with angels.”

As it turns out, angels played a significant, underappreciated role in the lives of Jews in late antiquity — which Ahuvia, now a professor of classical Judaism at the University of Washington, reveals in a new book, “On My Right Michael, On My Left Gabriel: Angels in Ancient Jewish Culture.”

[...]

I linked to an AJR preview of the book by the author here.

One correction to the TOI article above. A couple of times it mentions the Nephilim and refers to them as "fallen angels." No. They are (according to the Enochic Book of the Watchers 7:2; cf Jubilees 7:22) the offspring of giants who in turn were the offspring of the fallen angels (the "Watchers") and mortal women. They also appear in the Aramaic Book of Giants from Qumran alongside the giants.

The Nephilim are also in the Bible. Genesis 6:4 calls them warriors (גבורים) and "men of name," i.e., famous. It says they lived at the same time as the offspring of the sons of God (the angels) and the daughters of men. It does not specify that they were those offspring, although that inference may have been intended. Numbers 13:32-33 says that the men spying out the Promised Land encountered Nephilim there and describes them as giants.

For PaleoJudaica posts on the Nephilim, see here and links. There are many, many posts on angels. Just run the term through the blog search engine.

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

Priestly coin from the Great Revolt

NUMISMATICS: Rare silver ‘rebel coin,’ maybe minted at Temple 2,000 years ago, found in Jerusalem. Experts suggest shekel coin may have been made by priests assisting Great Revolt against Romans, using precious metal from holy site’s plentiful reserves (Times of Israel).
A rare 2,000-year-old silver shekel coin, thought to have been minted on the Temple Mount plaza from the plentiful silver reserves held there at the time, has been uncovered in Jerusalem.

If it were indeed minted there, it would make the coin one of the very few items uncovered that were manufactured at the holy site.

The coin, found by an 11-year-old girl, Liel Krutokop, during a sifting project for dirt removed from an archaeological dig at the City of David National Park, was engraved with “second year,” i.e., the second year of the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans (67-68 CE).

[...]

On his e-mail list, Joseph Lauer has corrected an error that has crept into the English version of the press release and from there into some English articles, including the one above:
Beware, though, of item 5, described in the English release as “The silver coin with the headquarters of the High Priest and the inscription ‘Holy Jerusalem.’” In this case it is a mistranslation of “מטה” (here meaning “staff” or “rod” not “headquarters”) in the Hebrew release’s “מטבע הכסף ועליו מטה הכהן הגדול והכיתוב ירושלים הקדושה.” Thus, the description should read “The silver coin with the staff of the High Priest and the inscription ‘Holy Jerusalem.” Some (but not all) of the media articles have the same error, following the language of the English release, “On the other side of the coin is an inscription identified by scholars as the headquarters of the High Priest, and next to it appears in ancient Hebrew script the words: ‘Holy Jerusalem.’”

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Keiter, ... The Scriptural Solomon in Jewish Tradition (Gorgias)

NEW BOOK FROM GORGIAS PRESS:
PERILS OF WISDOM
The Scriptural Solomon in Jewish Tradition

By Sheila Tuller Keiter

Perils of Wisdom engages the biblical Solomon narrative that appears in the Book of Kings and its reception by Jewish texts from scriptural sources through the traditional commentaries of the Middle Ages. By systematically following the thread of exegesis through biblical, rabbinic, targumic, and medieval Jewish texts, and by examining their interplay with other ancient, Christian, and Islamic treatments of Solomon, Keiter traces the emergence and ascendance of an apologetic image of Solomon that has colored Jewish perceptions of the biblical king ever since.

Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4378-4

Formats: Hardback

Publication Status: In Print
Series: Judaism in Context 28
Publication Date: Sep 24,2021
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 404
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4378-4

Price: $140.00
Your price: $84.00

Some PaleoJudaica posts on the Solomonic tradition are here and here and links.

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

Interview with co-director of Megiddo excavation

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Twenty Years at Megiddo. Archaeologist Matthew Adams discusses his journey from volunteer to project co-director (Nathan Steinmeyer).
Matthew Adams, who heads the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, began digging at the famous archaeological site of Megiddo in 1998 while he was a sophomore at the University of Southern California (USC). Although he began his career as a volunteer, today Adams is co-director of the Tel Aviv University Megiddo Expedition with Israel Finkelstein and Mario Martin. He also co-directs the Jezreel Valley Regional Project excavations at the nearby Roman military base of Legio with Yotam Tepper and Susan Cohen.

In September 2021, Biblical Archaeology Review contributing editor Nathan Steinmeyer met with Adams to discuss his journey from volunteer to dig director. In their conversation, they discussed Adams’s early start at Megiddo, how he rose through the ranks, and the ways that archaeology has changed over the past 20 years. The conversation has been edited and modified for clarity and readability. All images are courtesy of Matthew Adams unless otherwise noted.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on the Megiddo excavation and related matters, see here, here, here, here and links (cf. here and links). As at Timna, impressive and suggestive early organic remains have been recovered at Megiddo.

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

Monday, November 22, 2021

On the Timna Valley excavation

ORGANIC ARCHAEOLOGY: An Archaeological Dig Reignites the Debate Over the Old Testament’s Historical Accuracy. Beneath a desert in Israel, a scholar and his team are unearthing astonishing new evidence of an advanced society in the time of the biblical Solomon (Matti Friedman, Smithsonian Magazine).
What [excavation director Erez] Ben-Yosef has produced isn’t an argument for or against the historical accuracy of the Bible but a critique of his own profession. Archaeology, he argues, has overstated its authority. Entire kingdoms could exist under our noses, and archaeologists would never find a trace. Timna is an anomaly that throws into relief the limits of what we can know. The treasure of the ancient mines, it turns out, is humility.
I have been following reports on the Timna Valley excavation for some time, with particular interest in the remarkable organic remains recovered there. For past posts, see here, where I note the recent article Professor by Ben-Yosef on David's and Solomon's supposed empire and the archaeology of the tenth century BCE. It is also mentioned in the Smithsonian article. Follow the links from there for much more on Timna.

For more on the tenth-century BCE, see here and links.

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

Khirbet Qeiyafa and the 10th century BCE

HIERARCHICAL ARCHITECTURE: Can royal architecture prove biblical Judah was a kingdom? Features such as recessed doors, rectangular roof beams and volute capitals were common in palaces around the region, supporting the notion that Judah was a kingdom since the 10th century BCE. Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).
“A kingdom is not something abstract; a kingdom is based on elements like borders, a center and a periphery, roads, a network for tax collection and so on,” [excavator Yosef] Garfinkel said. “However, another characteristic of a kingdom is its social hierarchy as demonstrated by the presence of palaces and temples.

“Throughout history and to this day, people have used architecture to emphasize power,” he further remarked. “Based on the findings in Khirbet Qeiyafa, we can see urbanism and the construction of fortified cities in Judah already in the 10th century BC.”

This century has been receiving a good deal of attention recently. See here and links.

For many posts on the archaeology of Khirbet Qeiyafa, with lots also on the tenth century BCE, see here and links, here, here, and here.

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

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Review of Powell, Bar Kokhba

THE FOLLOWING HADRIAN BLOG: “Bar Kokhba: The Jew Who Defied Hadrian and Challenged the Might of Rome” by Lindsay Powell.

Carole Raddato reviews this New Book published by Pen & Sword Press. The publisher's page on the book is here.

HT Rogue Classicism.

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

Gallagher, Translation of the Seventy (Abilene Christian University Press)

THE ETC BLOG: New Book by Ed Gallagher on the Septuagint’s Place in History and Theology (Peter Gurry).

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

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Ecbatana excavation

ARCHAEOLOGY: Another archaeological season begins at Hegmataneh (Tehran Times).
The Hegmataneh Hill, also called Tepe Hegmataneh (thought to correspond to the ancient citadel of Ecbatana), has a circumference of 1.4 kilometers with an area of about 40 hectares.

The ruined Hegmataneh (Ecbatana) which is partly beneath the modern city of Hamedan (the capital city), is widely believed to be once a mysterious capital of Medes. According to ancient Greek writers, the city was founded in about 678 BC by Deioces, who was the first king of the Medes.

The Persian Empire continued to use Ecbatana as a summer residence after the conquest of the Medes. It is mentioned in Ezra 6:2 as having a royal archive.

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

Review of Eisenberg & Khamisy (eds.), The art of siege warfare ...

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The art of siege warfare and military architecture from the classical world to the middle ages.
Michael Eisenberg, Rabei Khamisy, The art of siege warfare and military architecture from the classical world to the middle ages. Oxford; Havertown: Oxbow, 2021. Pp. 288. ISBN 9781789254068 $70.00.

Review by
Thierry Lucas, École française d’Athènes. thierry.lucas@efa.gr

The following essays in the volume look to be of interest:
12. The Starting Point of the Imperial Roads in Aelia Capitolina (Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah and Danit Levi)
13. Regional Fortifications in the Chora of Hippos (Sussita) (Adam Pažout)
14. The Extraordinary Roman Military Presence in Judaea from AD 70 until the 3rd Century (Werner Eck)
17. Caesarea Maritima: Fortifications and City Expansion from the Time of Herod the Great to Late Antiquity (Peter Gendelman)

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

Friday, November 19, 2021

Review of new English translation of Strack-Billerbeck

THE READING ACTS BLOG: A New English Translation of Strack and Billerbeck, Commentary on the Talmud, ed. Jacob N. Cerone, trans. Joseph Longarino. Cross-file under New Book.

Phil Long gives a balanced review of this new English translation of Strack-Billerbeck.

Conclusion: Is this new English translation of Strack and Billerbeck worth the investment? This is not a reference work for the casual reader, it is a major tool intended for the serious Bible student and scholar. For many, an English translation of Strack and Billerbeck opens up a new world of Rabbinic literature for the first time. But with great power comes great responsibility. Using Strack and Billerbeck can enhance one’s understanding of the Jewish background to Jesus, Paul, and the rest of the New Testament. But it is a tool which may lead to unintentional consequences and misreading the Rabbinic literature.
Indeed. My own view is that people who are not specialists in rabbinic literature (including nearly all New Testament scholars and also me) should stay away from Strack-Billerbeck. It collects a great deal of potentially useful information, but to use it responsibly you have to be able to filter that information to decide credibly what is an early tradition and what isn't.

Crucially, the attribution of a saying to a named rabbi doesn't date the saying. Late traditions were sometimes, perhaps often, attributed to earlier tradents. The saying has to be dated on other grounds, if that is possible at all.

I try not to use rabbinic material in my work on Second Temple Judaism. If I have to, I try to limit my use to material isolated as first-century in Neusner's stratigraphic analysis.

Sometimes a late or undateable rabbinic text has interesting parallels with an earlier text. Such cases are worth noting and discussing, but only when making clear that the rabbinic text has not in itself been demonstrated to be early.

A related post from many years ago is here. I haven't published those notes, but I have continued to refine them and use them in my classes.

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

Hendin, Guide to Biblical Coins (6th ed)

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: A Half a Century of Studying Biblical Coins (David Hendin).
Many people are interested in ancient coins, but not too many stay with it for over half a century! After nearly 50 years of writing and revising, and on the eve of publication of my book Guide to Biblical Coins 6th Edition, I can assure readers that the process of creation and revision of a book like this is not a straightforward process. This is true even though texts on the topic have existed for nearly 200 years.

[...]

This essay summarizes the latest on ancient Jewish coins. I have noted essays on ancient numismatics and related matters by David Hendin here, here, here, and here. I mention only those whose links are still good.

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

Thursday, November 18, 2021

More on the "Magic of the Shema" at the Israel Museum

EXHIBITION: Hear, O Israel: There are magic powers in the Shema. Hear, O Israel: There are magic powers in the Shema (Jessica Steinberg, Times of Israel).

A word of caution about the following:

But the arrival of a 1,500-year-old silver armband inscribed with some of the words of the Jewish text led an Israel Museum archaeology staffer to some surprising discoveries about the Shema and its protective qualities.

The discoveries and artifacts are on display in “Hear, O Israel: The Magic of the Shema,” on display in the archaeology wing of the museum until April 2022.

The silver cuff, wide, durable and covered with Greek script, was part of a bequest of artifacts that arrived at the Israel Museum several years ago.

The silver cuff is a lovely object, but it raises a couple of red flags. First, it was included in "a bequest of artifacts." I can only read that as saying it is unprovenanced. Second, the article says that the object is more typical of Christian amulets and that the presence of the Shema on it is unique. The more unusual the object, the more closely we should attend to its authenticity. Objects like this one are relatively easy to forge and the forgery can be hard to detect.

My default assumption is that an unprovenanced inscribed artifact is a forgery unless someone makes a credible positive case that it is genuine. In such cases, a close look at the material composition and construction of the object is a desideratum.

I am not asserting that this object is a forgery. But I don't see the case for its authenticity being made yet.The article makes no reference to its authentication. I have also looked at the published edition of the text by the decipherer, which you can read here at Academia.edu. It presents a critical edition and commentary on the text, but does not address authentication per se.

The object from an individual's bequest. I'm sure the individual thought he had a genuine artifact, but collectors can sometimes be fooled about such things. If it is a forgery, it's a good one. But epigraphic forgers are getting better and better.

Perhaps there is a positive case for the object's authenticity. If so, I would be pleased if someone would send it to me so I can note it and, hopefully, link to it. As it is, we don't even know the circumstances the owner reported about its acquisition.

For now, I register my skepticism that it is a genuine ancient artifact. I am happy to be corrected if there is additional information. Indeed, I would be delighted to be wrong on this.

Oddly the decipherer is reported to say the following:

There’s no magic per se in Judaism, said [Israel Museum staffer Nancy] Benovitz, but there are elements that show up in these bowls, books, and scrolls, in which verses are alternated and repeated, or in which words are manipulated or written backwards.
The statement is not in quotation marks, which makes me wonder if the reporter is mistakenly paraphrasing something Ms. Benovitz said. You can only say that there is no magic per se in Judaism if you move the goalposts a good distance on what constitutes magic. All religious traditions, Judaism included, inevitably include an unofficial stream of magic.

I have already noted this exhibition here, with links to posts on other, related exhibitions.

In just the last several years I have noted some books and articles on (mostly ancient) Jewish magic here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And I posted the full text of my own 2020 conference paper (now in press as an article) on the late-antique Jewish magical handbook Sefer HaRazim here.

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

The Hidden Birth of Jesus in the Ascension of Isaiah

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Special Delivery: The Hidden Birth of Jesus in the Ascension of Isaiah 11 (Emily Gathergood).
I’d like to offer here a brief introduction to the prophet Isaiah’s mystical vision of the incarnation of the divine Son in chapter 11, which is attentive to this cosmological framing. I want to highlight that the narrative of Jesus’ birth is deeply embedded within, and profoundly shaped by, the book’s over-arching motif of hiddenness. Just as the Beloved One’s descent through the heavens is a hidden descent, in order to hide his true identity from his opponents, so also the Beloved One’s birth is a hidden birth.
This is the fourth in a BRANE Forum series on the Ascension of Isaiah. For the earlier essays see here and links.

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

Conference on the Temple Mount

THE TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT BLOG: – Call for Papers – The First International Academic Conference on New Studies in Temple Mount Research. The conference takes place in Jerusalem on 18 May 2022. The deadline for paper proposals is 15 January 2022. Full details and instructions are at the link.

Cross-file under Temple Mount Watch.

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Justinian's plague at Ashdod's basilica of the deaconesses?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Byzantine Basilica With Graves of Female Ministers and Baffling Mass Burials Found in Israel. The 1,600-year-old church gave rare prominence to clergywomen — and the later mass graves at the site may be evidence of a pandemic that crippled the Byzantine Empire, archaeologists say (Ariel David, Haaretz).

This is a long article about a fascinating excavation. The site also has impressive mosaics that did not make it into the headline. I noted an article about an earlier stage of the same excavation in 2017.

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

A Hellenistic fort and a Hasmonean victory?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Hellenistic Fort Destroyed by the Hasmoneans Uncovered in Lachish Forest (David Israel, The Jewish Press). Cross-file under Hanukkah is Coming.
According to Saar Ganor, Vladik Lifshits, and Ahinoam Montagu, excavation directors on behalf of the IAA, “the excavation site provides tangible evidence of the Chanukah stories. It appears that we have discovered a building that was part of a fortified line erected by the Hellenistic army commanders to protect the large Hellenistic city of Maresha from a Hasmonean offensive. However, the finds from the site show that the Seleucid defenses failed and the building was devastated by the Hasmonean attack.”

[...]

“Based on the finds, the building’s destruction can be attributed to the Hasmonean leader Yochanan Horkenus’s conquest of Edom around 112 BCE,” say the archaeologists.

The Hasmoneans, whose rebellion against the Hellenistic rule of the Seleucid dynasty followed the anti-Jewish decrees of King Antiochus IV. Yochanan Horkenus’s conquests, described in the Books of the Maccabees and the accounts of historian Josephus Flavius, led to the Hasmonean state’s expansion to the south.

Pro tip to writers of historical archaeology press releases and media articles: If you find a connection between an archaeological excavation and an ancient text, don't just mention the text in passing. Give the full reference. And, journalists, if the archaeologists don't give the primary text reference in the press release, you take the time to look it up yourself. Don't leave it to bloggers like me to have to do it.

Josephus' reference to the conquest of Maresha in Idumea by John Hyrcanus is in Antiquities XIII.257. 1 Maccabees refers to the early career of John in 13:53 and in chapter 16, but neither 1 Maccabees nor 2 Maccabees extend to the time of his conquest of Idumea.

For more on the archaeology and epigraphy of Maresha, see here and links.

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Orlov, Embodiment of Divine Knowledge in Early Judaism (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Embodiment of Divine Knowledge in Early Judaism

By Andrei A. Orlov

Copyright Year 2022

Hardback
£96.00

eBook
£29.59 v ISBN 9781032105895
Published November 12, 2021 by Routledge
224 Pages

Book Description

This book explores the early Jewish understanding of divine knowledge as divine presence, which is embodied in major biblical exemplars, such as Adam, Enoch, Jacob, and Moses.

The study treats the concept of divine knowledge as the embodied divine presence in its full historical and interpretive complexity by tracing the theme through a broad variety of ancient Near Eastern and Jewish sources, including Mesopotamian traditions of cultic statues, creational narratives of the Hebrew Bible, and later Jewish mystical testimonies. Orlov demonstrates that some biblical and pseudepigraphical accounts postulate that the theophany expresses the unique, corporeal nature of the deity that cannot be fully grasped or conveyed in some other non-corporeal symbolism, medium, or language. The divine presence requires another presence in order to be transmitted. To be communicated properly and in its full measure, the divine iconic knowledge must be "written" on a new living "body" which can hold the ineffable presence of God through a newly acquired ontology.

Embodiment of Divine Knowledge in Early Judaism will provide an invaluable research to students and scholars in a wide range of areas within Jewish, Near Eastern, and Biblical Studies, as well as those studying religious elements of anthropology, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and gender studies. Through the study of Jewish mediatorial figures, this book also elucidates the roots of early Christological developments, making it attractive to Christian audiences.

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

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Ascension of Isaiah in Greek

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: The Ascension of Isaiah Through the Prism of Papyrus Amherst 1 (Warren Campbell).

This is the third in a BRANE Forum series on the Ascension of Isaiah. I have linked to the earlier essays here and here.

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

SBL 2021: Christian Apocrypha

THE APOCRYPHICITY BLOG: Christian Apocrypha at SBL 2021 (Tony Burke). Including both in-person and remote sessions. There is a fair bit of ancient Judism mixed in with the Christian Apocrypha.

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

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Marlow et al. (eds.), Eschatology in Antiquity (Routledge)

NEW BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE:
Eschatology in Antiquity
Forms and Functions

Edited By Hilary Marlow, Karla Pollmann, Helen Van Noorden

Copyright Year 2021

Hardback
£190.00

eBook
£35.99

ISBN 9781138208315
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
654 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

Book Description

This collection of essays explores the rhetoric and practices surrounding views on life after death and the end of the world, including the fate of the individual, apocalyptic speculation and hope for cosmological renewal, in a wide range of societies from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Byzantine era.

The 42 essays by leading scholars in each field explore the rich spectrum of ways in which eschatological understanding can be expressed, and for which purposes it can be used. Readers will gain new insight into the historical contexts, details, functions and impact of eschatological ideas and imagery in ancient texts and material culture from the twenty-fifth century BCE to the ninth century CE. Traditionally, the study of “eschatology” (and related concepts) has been pursued mainly by scholars of Jewish and Christian scripture. By broadening the disciplinary scope but remaining within the clearly defined geographical milieu of the Mediterranean, this volume enables its readers to note comparisons and contrasts, as well as exchanges of thought and transmission of eschatological ideas across Antiquity. Cross-referencing, high quality illustrations and extensive indexing contribute to a rich resource on a topic of contemporary interest and relevance.

Eschatology in Antiquity is aimed at readers from a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as non-specialists including seminary students and religious leaders. The primary audience will comprise researchers in relevant fields including Biblical Studies, Classics and Ancient History, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Art History, Late Antiquity, Byzantine Studies and Cultural Studies. Care has been taken to ensure that the essays are accessible to undergraduates and those without specialist knowledge of particular subject areas.

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

Mathias, Paternity, Progeny, and Perpetuation (T&T CLark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T Clark:
Paternity, Progeny, and Perpetuation

Creating Lives after Death in the Hebrew Bible

Steffan Mathias (Author)
Paperback $39.95 $35.95

Hardback $115.00 $103.50

Ebook (PDF) $35.95 $28.76

Product Details

Published Nov 18 2021
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 288
ISBN 9780567703323
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

Description

This book offers a fresh perspective on the importance of progeny and perpetuation of the family line in the Hebrew tradition. Steffan Matthias argues that the Hebrew bible depicts failing to protect the transmission of the family line as both a failure in the social order, a threat to the afterlife, and a failure in masculinity, leading to the eradication of the name and memory of the man and the destruction of the household. Using the work of Pierre Bourdieu, as well as anthropological and gender-critical insights, Matthias reassess pertinent texts which respond to the threat of men dying without children, such as levirate marriage (Deut 22:5-10) or the erection of monuments (Isa 56:5-8).

Themes such as death, burial and memorial, identity, covenant, name, genealogy, property, seed and sexuality, rather than being treated as separate parts of social or family life, are critically assessed in light of each other. Matthias instead illustrates how they form part of the same discourse of social reproduction, in which the integrity of the family is protected and passed down from father to son in generations of descendants. Paternity, Progeny, and Perpetuation raises profound questions regarding the subtle ways texts that respond to this threat of social annihilation – the destruction of the father and his line - reinforce social boundaries and construct men as transmitters of identity and women as submissive counterparts.

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

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The 3rd Year of the Coptic Magical Papyri Project

THE COPTIC MAGICAL PAPYRI BLOG: 2021 Review: The Third Year of the Coptic Magical Papyri Project.
It’s hard to believe that three years of the project have already passed! As it has been for many others all across the world, 2021 has been a year in which the COVID-19 Pandemic has still had a major effect on our work, but we’re lucky that – while we weren’t able to attend many in-person conferences or visit many papyrus collections – we still managed to have a year of very productive teamwork.

[...]

Cross-file under Coptic Watch.

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

Nisula et al. (eds.), Religious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Religious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity

Boundaries, Conversions, and Persuasion

Series: Studies on the Children of Abraham, Volume: 8

Volume Editors: Timo Nisula, Anni Maria Laato, and Pablo Irizar

Religious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity: Boundaries, Conversions, and Persuasion explores the intricate identity formation and negotiations of early encounters of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). It explores the ever-pressing challenges arising from polemical inter-religious encounters by analyzing the dynamics of apologetic debate, the negotiation and formation of boundaries of belonging, and the argumentative thrust for persuasion and conversion, as well as the outcomes of these various encounters, including the articulation of novel ideas. The Late Antique authors studied in the present volume represent a variety of voices from North Africa, passing through Rome, to Palestine. Together, these voices of the past offer invaluable insight to shape the present times, in hope for a better future.

Copyright Year: 2021

Prices from (excl. VAT): €149.00 / $179.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46684-5
Publication Date: 18 Oct 2021

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46683-8
Publication Date: 21 Oct 2021

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

Friday, November 12, 2021

On the fall of Lachish to Sennacherib

ARCHAEOLOGY: Biblical warfare: How did the Assyrians conquer Judean Lachish? Archaeologists uncovered how King Sennacherib’s army built the massive siege ramp that allowed them to defeat the city some 2,700 years ago (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).

The conquest Lachish seems to have been Sennacherib's larger strategic objective. That may explain at least in part why he didn't get around to conquering Jerusalem. For more on Sennacherib's campaign and the siege of Jerusalem, see here and links (cf. here).

For more on the archaeology of Lachish, see here and here and links.

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

Antiquities arrest in Ashkelon

APPREHENDED: Thousands of ancient coins recovered in raid on Ashkelon jewelry store Inspectors from Antiquities Authority's Robbery Prevention Unit used digital media to track down the man, whom they also suspect was carrying out illicit digs at archaeological sites (Israel HaYom). Cross-file under Numismatics.

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

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Grabbe, A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, Volume 4 (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, Volume 4

The Jews under the Roman Shadow (4 BCE–150 CE)

Lester L. Grabbe (Author)

Hardback
$200.00 $180.00

Ebook (PDF)
$180.00 $144.00

Product details

Published Aug 26 2021
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 664v ISBN 9780567700704
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series The Library of Second Temple Studies
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

Description

This is the fourth and final volume of Lester L. Grabbe's four-volume history of the Second Temple period, collecting all that is known about the Jews during the period in which they were ruled by the Roman Empire. Based directly on primary sources such as archaeology, inscriptions, Jewish literary sources and Greek, Roman and Christian sources, this study includes analysis of the Jewish diaspora, mystical and Gnosticism trends, and the developments in the Temple, the law, and contemporary attitudes towards Judaism. Spanning from the reign of Herod Archelaus to the war with Rome and Roman control up to 150 CE, this volume concludes with Grabbe's holistic perspective on the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period.

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

Dochhorn, Der Adammythos bei Paulus und im hellenistischen Judentum Jerusalems (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Jan Dochhorn. Der Adammythos bei Paulus und im hellenistischen Judentum Jerusalems. Eine theologische und religionsgeschichtliche Studie zu Römer 7,7–25. [The Myth of Adam in Paul and in the Hellenistic Judaism of Jerusalem. A Theological and Religious-Historical Study of Rom 7:7–25.] 2021. XVI, 722 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 469. 184,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-160096-8.
Published in German.
Adam, sin, death and the law are the core elements of Paul's view of the pre-Christian history of humankind. Paul developed this view using the Apocalypse of Moses, with which he had become familiar in Jerusalem before he became a Christian, as his background. In this study, Jan Dochhorn reveals how the myth of Adam emerged among the Greek-speaking Jews in Jerusalem and identifies several parabiblical texts as products of this milieu, which probably had a greater impact on Pauline theology and early Christianity than other strands of ancient Judaism.

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Isaiah's super-power sighting of incognito, shape-shifting Jesus

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: What Does the Ascension of Isaiah Do? (Meghan Henning).
The audience then is not meant to identify with the angelic beings, or the righteous saints, but with Isaiah who while on earth received a special vision that enabled him to ascend.
This is the second essay in the BRANE forum on the Ascension of Isaiah.

I noted the introductory essay, with links, here.

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

More gold-print, "1,000-year-old" Hebrew books from Turkey

HERE WE GO AGAIN: 1,000-year-old gold-embossed Jewish books seized in Turkey. Four books and a scroll written in Hebrew and embossed with gold leaf were seized by Turkish authorities from a smuggler (Tzvi Joffre, Jerusalem Post).

On the basis of the video these do not look like thousand-year-old Hebrew books. They give every appearance of being crude, modern, boiler-plate forgeries or tourist trinkets. Many such have turned up in Turkey in recent years.

The story links to a Reuters/Jerusalem Post article from March of this year which reports on a manifestly bogus "2,500-year-old golden Torah" siezed from someone's car. The object is a codex (i.e., a book with pages and a cover, a format that didn't exist 2,500 years ago) and the Hebrew has Masoretic vowel points (which were invented in the early Middle Ages). What I can make out of the Hebrew is gibberish.

The actual discovery of a complete 2,500-year-old Torah would be a massive international story, bigger than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I have said I was going to ignore the continued slew of Turkish fake Hebrew and Syriac manuscripts unless there was a good reason to mention them. But since the Jerusalem Post has fallen for these, I decided to comment on them.

The Jerusalem Post keeps embarrassing itself with these stories. They really should hand them over to someone like Rossella Tercatin, who knows what she is doing.

If there are reports of ancient Hebrew or Syriac books with gold fonts discovered in Turkey, they are probably modern fakes. You can safely bet they are not a thousand or thousands of years old and they are not worth millions. If (highly unlikely) there is an exception, you can be sure it will rapidly become an international story involving credible experts. If that were to happen, no one would be happier than I.

I have been collecting reports of such manuscripts for many years. The follow-ups I've seen generally conclude they are fakes. I have not seen a single case where one was verified to be a genuine ancient, or even 1,000-year-old, manuscript. See here, here, here, here and links, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And this post is also relevant to the topic of modern fake "historical" manuscripts.

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

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Review of Hay & Taylor, Philo of Alexandria “On the contemplative life”

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Philo of Alexandria “On the contemplative life”: introduction, translation, and commentary.
Joan Taylor, David M. Hay, Philo of Alexandria "On the contemplative life": introduction, translation, and commentary. Philo of Alexandria commentary series, volume 7. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2020. Pp. xxviii, 427. ISBN 9789004438149 €155,00.

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

How do you say "thank you" in ancient Babylonian?

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN: Trinity academic provides Babylonian translations for Marvel Studios’ ‘Eternals’.
Marvel Studios’ Eternals, released last Friday, is the first major film to feature some characters speaking in Babylonian, a language of ancient Iraq that died out over two thousand years ago. Translations into the long-dead language were provided by Assyriologist Dr Martin Worthington, from Trinity College Dublin, and author of the book ‘Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian’.

[...]

One of the most challenging aspects of Dr Worthington’s work on the film was coming up with translations for everyday phrases such as ‘let me help you’ or ‘wait a moment’. Because our understanding of Babylonian comes from written, and often quite formal, documents, mostly clay tablets, much is still unknown about ‘chatty’ uses of the language, he explains.

Generally, the more colloquial the English phrase, the harder it was to translate, according to Dr Worthington. A really tough nut was the expression ‘thank you’. “It is ubiquitous today, but as far as we know it was not used in Ancient Mesopotamia, so I had to find workarounds – expressions such as ‘May the gods bless you’ (il? likrub?ki to a woman, il? likrub?ka to a man).”

Cross-file under Cinema and Philology.

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

Monday, November 08, 2021

Forum on the Ascension of Isaiah

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: An Introduction to the Ascension of Isaiah (Jeremiah Coogan).This essay appears to be the introduction to a forum on the Ascension of Isaiah, with four more essays to come.

PaleoJudaic posts on the Ascension of Isaiah are here and here.

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

Barbiero et al. (eds.), The Formation of the Hebrew Psalter (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: The Formation of the Hebrew Psalter. The Book of Psalms Between Ancient Versions, Material Transmission and Canonical Exegesis. Edited by Gianni Barbiero, Marco Pavan, and Johannes Schnocks. 2021. IX, 454 pages. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 151.154,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-160847-6.
Published in English.
This volume, which is based on the papers given at a panel at the 2019 SBL International Meeting in Rome, represents current discourses in Psalms research. The past decades have been marked by the paradigm shift from form criticism to different exegetical approaches which consider the Book of Psalms as the literary context of the individual Psalms. More recently, it has been pointed out that the complex evidence given by the manuscripts from antiquity to the Middle Ages does not support the notion of a fixed canonical text as presupposed by some approaches. The present volume combines contributions about such basic considerations with studies of individual groups of Psalms. With different methodological and hermeneutical approaches, they open up perspectives on the interrelation between the origin, composition and reception of the Psalms.

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

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Review of Estes, The Tree of Life

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Review: The Tree of Life: A Powerful Symbol (Ralph K. Hawkins).
The Tree of Life
Edited by Douglas Estes
(Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2020), xxii + 469 pp., 44 illustrations, $298 (hardcover and eBook)
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins
For more on the book, see here and here.

UPDATE (8 November): For reasons unknown to me, the BHD essay is no longer posted.

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

Pilgrim's Road reopened in Jerusalem

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Now Open: Ancient Road up to the Temple Mount (Todd Bolen, Bible Places Blog).
One of our teammates who lives in Jerusalem, Christian Locatell, went for a walk with his kids through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and on the way back he discovered that much of the “Pilgrim’s Road” between the Pool of Siloam and the Temple Mount is now open to the public. He sent a few photos. This walk on this 1st-century street is worth adding to your next itinerary.
For more on the Pligrim's Road to the Temple Mount, see here, here, here, and links.

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

Saturday, November 06, 2021

Review of Wasserman, Apocalypse as Holy War

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Review | Apocalypse as Holy War: Divine Politics and Polemics in the Letters of Paul (D. Clint Burnett).
Emma Wasserman. Apocalypse as Holy War: Divine Politics and Polemics in the Letters of Paul. Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

In Apocalypse as Holy War, Wasserman argues that the dominant scholarly approach to Jewish apocalypticism is uncritical and unsupported by our ancient Jewish sources, including Paul’s (undisputed) letters. ...

Related essay by the author of the book noted here.

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

More on the Shavei Zion Phoenician figurines

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: The Shavei Zion Figurine Assemblage. A Cultic Site at Sea (Meir Edrey, Adi Erlich, and Assaf Yasur-Landau). Cross-file under Phoenician Watch. This essay is by the team who are currently working on the figurines.
The dispersal of the finds, the heterogenous nature of the associated amphoras, the figurines’ reproduction from preexisting terracottas over and over again, the varied origins of the clay, and their manufacturing techniques all suggest the Shavei Zion assemblage was accumulated over a long period of human maritime activities, indicating they were most likely not part of the cargo of a single 5th century BCE ship. So how did they get to the bottom of the sea?
Three takeaways from this essay.

1. The implication (I don't think this is said directly) is that this spot off of Shavei Zion was a Phoenician cultic site where people dropped the figurines over a period of centuries.

2. The ritual may have involved offering the figurines in place of a child. This would represent a watering down, so to speak, of the child sacrifice rites that continued to be rife at Carthage.

3. The figurines may have represented the Tanit (Tannit)/Baal Hamon Phoenician Tophet cult rather than Tanit herself. Does that confirm or weaken the case that Tanit was worshipped in Phoenicia as well as Carthage? I'm not sure. More on Tanit here and links. That post also links to previous posts on the Shavei Zion figurines.

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

Friday, November 05, 2021

Interview with Annette Yoshiko Reed

HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL: The Art of the Forgotten (Amie Montemurro).
Annette Reed, MTS ’99, is currently a Professor in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Department of Religious Studies at New York University, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2017. Her research spans Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, and Jewish-Christian relations in late antiquity, with a focus on retheorizing religion, identity, and difference. She will join the HDS faculty as Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity when her appointment begins on July 1, 2022.
For more on Professor Reed's work, see here here, here, here, and links.

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

Was David a nomad king?

ARCHAEOLOGY: What did King David’s Israel look like? The answer is not set in stone. Archeological investigation of King David's kingdom has been suffering from an inherent bias of the western world (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).
As [Tel Aviv University archaeologist Prof. Erez] Ben-Yosef noted in a paper recently published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, up until now, the consensus among scholars has been that before a society became sedentary, it could not be considered complex or evolved. For this reason, many have dismissed the notion that ancient Israel could be as powerful as described in the Bible.

However, in order to understand the Israel of King David and King Solomon, a new approach is required, one that leaves behind the need for remains of magnificent buildings but is able to ask the right questions and put archaeological and historical records in the right perspective.

As the Post article notes, you can read the underlying article by Professor Ben-Yosef and related work at his Academia.edu page here.

For more on the Timna Valley excavation, on which I have been keeping a close eye for my own reasons, see here and links.

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

Gold coins of Carthage

NUMISMATICS: The Gold Coins of Ancient Carthage (Tyler Rossi). Cross-file under Punic Watch.

Other PaleoJudaica posts on Carthaginian coins are here, here, and here.

For the Punic goddess Tanit/Tannit (the "Snake Lady"), see here, here, and here. The last two links raise the question of whether she was also worshipped in Phoenicia proper. Current evidence is unclear. More on that soon.

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

Thursday, November 04, 2021

New PhD thesis on the Cave of the Patriarchs

A COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT: Secrets of the Cave of the Patriarchs exposed. Noam Arnon's comprehensive doctoral dissertation on the Cave of the Patriarchs proves there is much more to the ancient site than meets the eye (Nadav Shragai, Israel HaYom).
A 600-page doctoral thesis composed over the past eight years by Dr. Noam Arnon, reveals and explores the details of these visits, and much more. Arnon's research covers a period of 2,500 years in the history of the site, and, like his previous works on the Cave of the Patriarchs, deals with a broad complex of geographical, geological, archaeological, and Jewish and historical sources, that were not all available to those researching the cave in the past.
This sounds a bit dry and academic, but some of the "visits" involved clandestine operations more in the line of Indiana Jones.

For more on the archaeology of Hebron, mixed with some politics, see here, here, here, and links.

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

Forthcoming: Minets, The Slow Fall of Babel (CUP via AJR)

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Publication | The Slow Fall of Babel: Languages and Identities in Late Antique Christianity (Yuliya Minets).
My book, The Slow Fall of Babel: Languages and Identities in Late Antique Christianity, forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, explores early Christian ideas about foreign languages, linguistic history, and linguistic diversity. Over the course of six chapters, I investigate how language differences and language-related socio-cultural stereotypes were drawn into the process of constructing and negotiating distinctly Christian and specific confessional identities in the late antique Mediterranean.
The essay indicates that the book also gives attention to Jewish ideas about the same matters.

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

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Amethyst ring excavated at Yavneh

ANCIENT BLING WATCH: Ancient ‘hangover cure’ gold ring found at Yavne winery excavation. Band is adorned with semiprecious amethyst stone, which was believed to have power in dispelling the aftereffects of alcohol (Stuart Winer, Times of Israel).

For more on the Byzantine-era winery at Yavneh (Yavne), see here. The ring is from a seventh-century stratum, but it may be several centuries older than that.

Rossella Tercatin is the only one I have found who has noticed that this is the second ancient amethyst gemstone, possibly also from a ring, to be discovered recently. More on that here.

For more posts on ancient bling, follow the links at the last link above.

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

Shaul Shaked (1933-2021)

SAD NEWS FROM H-JUDAIC: Passing of Professor Shaul Shaked.
H-Judaic is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Shaul Shaked (1933-2021), Emeritus Professor of Iranian Studies, Religious Studies, Aramaic and Magic in Late Antiquity at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; winner of the Israel Prize; a member of the Israel Academy of Arts and Sciences; and one of Israel's most esteemed scholars. ...
Professor Shaked appeared from time to time in PaleoJudaica posts, mostly to do with the Aramaic incantation bowls and the Afgan geniza. A Festschrift for him was published in 2019. H-Judaic has another memorial note on him here.

I thanked him for his help with the Aramaic incantation bowls in the preface to my 2001 book Descenders to the Chariot. That was all by e-mail correspondence. But I finally did meet him in person in 2014 at the Iranian Kingship Workshop. There are photos of him at that post. He was a very gracious gentleman.

May his memory be for a blessing.

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