Friday, January 22, 2021

Arshama and his Aramaic archive

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Aršāma and his World. Notice of a new multivolume publication: Tuplin, Christopher J. &John Ma (eds.). 2020. Aršāma and his world: The Bodleian letters in context: Volume I: The Bodleian letters. -Volume II: Bullae and seals. -Volume III: Aršāma’s world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Looks like this is the fruit of the Arshama Project. Cross file unde Aramaic Watch. There are many PaleoJudaica posts on Elephantine Island in Egypt and on the Elephantine Aramaic papyri. Start here and follow the links.

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

On Ahiqar

READING ACTS: Who was Ahikar? (Phil Long). Not mentioned in the post, but (we infer from his name that) Ahiqar was an Aramean (i.e., an Aramaic-speaking Syrian) in the original story. So the Ahiqar story is still in the genre of the sage in the court of a foreign (Assyrian) king.

I linked to an earlier version of Phil's essay here. A couple of other PaleoJudaica posts on Ahiqar are here and here.

Ahiqar outwits the King of Egypt
By Henry Justice Ford - http://www.darklanecreative.com/blog/artists-for-an-antiquary-mr-james-and-his-illustrators, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47525642

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

The Book of the Dead and the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

RABBI DANIEL M. ZUCKER: Weighing Pharaoh’s Heavy Heart (TheTorah.com).
According to ancient Egyptian belief, a person’s heart was weighed after death to determine whether they are righteous or wicked. By referring to Pharaoh’s heart as heavy, the exodus story originally expressed the extent of his guilt.
While we're on the topic of the Book of the Dead, a new manuscript of one of its chapters has recently been recovered at Saqqara.

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Kulik et al. (eds.), A Guide to Early Jewish Texts and Traditions in Christian Transmission (OUP)

RECENT BOOK FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS:
A Guide to Early Jewish Texts and Traditions in Christian Transmission

Editor-in-chief Alexander Kulik, Edited by Gabriele Boccaccini, Lorenzo DiTommaso, David Hamidovic, and Michael E. Stone

  • Offers a systematic exploration of Jewish literature of the Hellenistic and Roman periods
  • Essays provide overviews, historical locations, methodological issues, and innovations in the study of the texts
  • A thorough survey of a wildly diverse set of Jewish documents that are rarely treated together
Description

The Jewish culture of the Hellenistic and early Roman periods established a basis for all monotheistic religions, but its main sources have been preserved to a great degree through Christian transmission. This Guide is devoted to problems of preservation, reception, and transformation of Jewish texts and traditions of the Second Temple period in the many Christian milieus from the ancient world to the late medieval era. It approaches this corpus not as an artificial collection of reconstructed texts—a body of hypothetical originals—but rather from the perspective of the preserved materials, examined in their religious, social, and political contexts. It also considers the other, non-Christian, channels of the survival of early Jewish materials, including Rabbinic, Gnostic, Manichaean, and Islamic. This unique project brings together scholars from many different fields in order to map the trajectories of early Jewish texts and traditions among diverse later cultures. It also provides a comprehensive and comparative introduction to this new field of study while bridging the gap between scholars of early Judaism and of medieval Christianity.

£97.00

Hardback
This item has an extended shipping time. The typical delivery time is 2 weeks.
Published: 06 December 2019
560 Pages | 2
254x178mm
ISBN: 9780190863074

There is also an e-book version, if you can track it down.

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Late-antique "Christ, born of Mary" inscription excavated in Jezreel Valley

SALVAGE ARCHAEOLOGY: Ancient ‘Christ, born of Mary’ inscription unearthed in northern Israel. The region of the Jezreel Valley bears many testimonies of ancient Christian life (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post). Cross-file under Greek Epigraphy.

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Cornell, Divine Aggression in Psalms and Inscriptions (CUP)

NEW BOOK FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS:
Divine Aggression in Psalms and Inscriptions
Vengeful Gods and Loyal Kings

Part of Society for Old Testament Study Monographs

AUTHOR: Collin Cornell, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee
DATE PUBLISHED: October 2020
AVAILABILITY: Available
FORMAT: Hardback
ISBN: 9781108842679

Description

The aggression of the biblical God named Yhwh is notorious. Students of theology, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East know that the Hebrew Bible describes Yhwh acting destructively against his client country, Israel, and against its kings. But is Yhwh uniquely vengeful, or was he just one among other, similarly ferocious patron gods? To answer this question, Collin Cornell compares royal biblical psalms with memorial inscriptions. He finds that the Bible shares deep theological and literary commonalities with comparable texts from Israel's ancient neighbours. The centrepiece of both traditions is the intense mutual loyalty of gods and kings. In the event that the king's monument and legacy comes to harm, gods avenge their individual royal protégé. In the face of political inexpedience, kings honour their individual divine benefactor.

  • Provides a sustained comparison between royal biblical psalms and ancient inscriptions
  • Demonstrates the distinctive features of the biblical god, especially in terms of his aggression against his own client king and country
  • Argues for the loyalty of kings to their specific patron god

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Water from the Jesus Rock?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Water from a Walking Rock. What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 10:4? (Megan Sauter). This essay introduces a 2015 column in BAR by John Byron: “Paul, Jesus and the Rolling Stone.” The column itself is behind the subscription wall, but the essay seems to give the gist of the argument. Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities is involved.

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On the Letter of Aristeas

READING ACTS: What is the Letter of Aristeas? (Phil Long).

Some PaleoJudiaca post on the Letter of Aristeas are here and links. There is more on Ptolemy II Philadelphus: here and here. Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Kepnes (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Theology (CUP)

NEW BOOK FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS:
The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Theology

Part of Cambridge Companions to Religion

EDITOR: Steven Kepnes, Colgate University, New York
DATE PUBLISHED: December 2020
AVAILABILITY: Available
FORMAT: Paperback
ISBN: 9781108401432

Description

The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Theology offers an overview of Jewish theology, an aspect of Judaism that is equal in importance to law and ethics. Covering the period from antiquity to the present, the volume focuses on what Jews believe about God and also about the relation of God to humans and the world. Parts I and II cover exciting new research in Jewish biblical and rabbinic theology, medieval philosophy, Kabbalah (mysticism), and liturgy. Parts III and IV turn to modern theology with an exploration of works by leading figures, such as Rabbi Abraham I. Kook, Franz Rosenzweig, and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as the relation of theology to issues such as feminism and the Holocaust, and the relation of Judaism to other world religions. In Part V, the book explores how the insights of analytic philosophy have been integrated with Jewish theology.

  • Provides an accessible overview of the history of Jewish Theology, from antiquity to the present
  • Uncovers exciting new research in Jewish biblical and rabbinic theology, medieval philosophy, Kabbalah (Mysticism), and Liturgy
  • Explores modern Jewish theology and contemporary issues including the Holocaust, Feminism and the relation of Judaism to other world religions

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Review of Morales, Chariton of Aphrodisias' 'Callirhoe'

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Chariton of Aphrodisias’ ‘Callirhoe.’
Manuel Sanz Morales, Chariton of Aphrodisias' 'Callirhoe': a critical edition. Antike Texte, Band 2. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2020. Pp. xxx, 185. ISBN 9783825366155 €32,00.

Review by William M. Owens, Ohio University. owensb@ohio.edu

For more on ancient Greek novels and their possible interest for the study of ancient Judaism, see here, here and here.

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LXX Summer Course

WILLIAM ROSS: 2021 TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY SEPTUAGINT SUMMER COURSE. This year taking place on Zoom only, as you might guess.

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Pregill, The Golden Calf between Bible and Qur'an (OUP)

NEW BOOK FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS:
The Golden Calf between Bible and Qur'an

Scripture, Polemic, and Exegesis from Late Antiquity to Islam

Michael Pregill

Oxford Studies in the Abrahamic Religions

  • A compelling exploration of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic understandings of the account of the Golden Calf
  • Contributes to the ongoing reevaluation of the relationship between Bible and Qur'an
  • The first major monograph on the story of the Golden Calf
  • The book also addresses the issue of Western approaches to the Qur'an, arguing that the historical reliance of scholars and translators on classical Muslim exegesis of scripture has led to misleading conclusions
Description

This book explores the story of the Israelites' worship of the Golden Calf in its Jewish, Christian, and Muslim contexts, from ancient Israel to the emergence of Islam. It focuses in particular on the Qur'an's presentation of the narrative and its background in Jewish and Christian retellings of the episode from Late Antiquity. Across the centuries, the interpretation of the Calf episode underwent major changes reflecting the varying cultural, religious, and ideological contexts in which various communities used the story to legitimate their own tradition, challenge the claims of others, and delineate the boundaries between self and other. The book contributes to the ongoing reevaluation of the relationship between Bible and Qur'an, arguing for the necessity of understanding the Qur'an and Islamic interpretations of the history and narratives of ancient Israel as part of the broader biblical tradition. The Calf narrative in the Qur'an, central to the qur'anic conception of the legacy of Israel and the status of the Jews of its own time, reflects a profound engagement with the biblical account in Exodus, as well as being informed by exegetical and parascriptural traditions in circulation in the Qur'an's milieu in Late Antiquity. The book also addresses the issue of Western approaches to the Qur'an, arguing that the historical reliance of scholars and translators on classical Muslim exegesis of scripture has led to misleading conclusions about the meaning of qur'anic episodes.

£95.00

Hardback
Published: 30 July 2020
528 Pages
234x156mm
ISBN: 9780198852421

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Faust (ed.), Archaeology and Ancient Israelite Religion

THE AWOL BLOG: Archaeology and Ancient Israelite Religion. Notice of a New Open-Access Book edited by Avraham Faust.

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Blood from a stone and frogs in the oven

PROF CHRISTOPH BERNER: Blood, Frogs, and Impurity (TheTorah.com).
Three curious details in the plagues of blood and frogs show the hand of a post-priestly editor and his concern about purity laws.

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Lim on the Essenes

THE OUP BLOG: Essenes in Judaean Society: the sectarians of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Timothy H. Lim).

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

"Widow's mite" coins

NUMISMATICS: What Are Widow’s Mite Coins? ("Bullion Shark," CoinWeek).

For more on the decision to redefine the "widow's mite," see here. For yet more on the "widow's mite" (lepton, half-prutah), see here and here.

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Foster, The Theology of the Books of Haggai and Zechariah (CUP)

NEW BOOK FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS:
The Theology of the Books of Haggai and Zechariah

Part of Old Testament Theology

AUTHOR: Robert Foster, University of Georgia
DATE PUBLISHED: October 2020
AVAILABILITY: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
FORMAT: Adobe eBook Reader
ISBN: 9781108690539

Description

Tucked away at the end of the Minor Prophets, the Books of Haggai and Zechariah offer messages of challenge and hope to residents of the small district of Yehud in the Persian Empire in the generations after the return from Babylonian exile. In this volume, Robert Foster focuses on the distinct theological message of each book. The Book of Haggai uses Israel's foundational event - God's salvation of Israel from Egypt - to exhort the people to finish building the Second Temple. The Book of Zechariah argues that the hopes the people had in the prophet Zechariah's days did not come true because the people failed to keep God's long-standing demand for justice, though hope still lies in the future because of God's character. Each chapter in this book closes with a substantive reflection of the ethics of the major sections of the Books of Haggai and Zechariah and their implications for contemporary readers.

Provides a focused and thorough discussion of the key theological teachings of the books of Haggai and Zechariah Offers a summary of theological ethics of each major section of the books of Haggai and Zechariah, as well as how these interact with the theological ethics of the books of the Old Testament Discusses the theology of the Book of Zechariah in terms of its final form, to help the reader see its unified message while acknowledging its development across time

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Days 3-4 of the John the Baptist Enoch Seminar

RELIGION PROF (James McGrath) has posted summaries of the remaining two days of the Nangeroni Enoch Seminar on John the Baptist.

#JohnTheBaptist Enoch Seminar Nangeroni Meeting Day 3

#JohnTheBaptist Enoch Seminar Nangeroni Meeting Day 4

I noted his post on day 1 here and on day 2 here.

By the way, please excuse my unusual silence in the last couple of days. I'm fine, but extremely busy.

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A student remembers Normal Golb

IN MEMORY: Eulogy: Norman Golb, controversial giant of Jewish scholarship (Joshua Holo, The Forward). Background here and links.

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Review of Smith, The fourth Gospel and the manufacture of minds ...

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The fourth Gospel and the manufacture of minds in ancient historiography, biography, romance, and drama.
Tyler Smith, The fourth Gospel and the manufacture of minds in ancient historiography, biography, romance, and drama. Biblical interpretation series. volume 173. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2019. Pp. xiv, 303. ISBN 9789004396036 €116,00.

Review by Douglas Estes, South University. douglasestes@gmail.com

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

Two origin stories for Israel in the Pentateuch?

PENTATEUCHAL SOURCE CRITICISM: Genesis, Exodus, and the Composition of the Torah (Prof. Konrad Schmid, TheTorah.com).
The story of the ancestors in Genesis serves as a prequel to that of Moses in Exodus. Originally, however, each were self-standing accounts of Israel’s origin. They were combined for the first time by the Priestly author in the post-exilic period.
This makes some sense to me, mainly because I can see a case for distinguishing J and E in Genesis, but after that the distinction seems to evaporate. I have commented briefly on that here.

Although I think elements of traditional source criticism remain sound, I am skeptical that we are able to make real progress on the question with the information currently available. As it stands now, there are many attempts to refine the state of the question, but none command anything like a consensus.

I have posted more thoughts on Pentateuchal source criticism here and links.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Day 2 of the John the Baptist Enoch Seminar

RELIGION PROF: #JohnTheBaptist Enoch Seminar Nangeroni Meeting Day 2. James McGrath continues to keep us informed about the events at this conference. He also provides a link to the text of his own paper, on John the Baptist in Mandean (Mandaean) tradition.

I have linked to Professor McGrath's notes on day one here.

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

Golb obituary

UCHICAGO NEWS: Norman Golb, renowned scholar of medieval Jewish history, 1928‒2020. Pioneer in study of Dead Sea Scrolls remembered for intellectual generosity (Sara Patterson).

Background here and here.

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

Top-ten 2020 Bible discoveries

ANOTHER LIST: The top 10 Bible discoveries of 2020 (Roger D. Isaacs, Times of Israel Blogs).

For other top-whatever lists of 2020 discoveries, see here and links.

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

Online Workshop on Hebrew Bible and Jewish Antiquity

ONLINE EVENT: Groningen-Leuven-Oxford Network Workshop on Hebrew Bible and Jewish Antiquity (Eventbrite).
About this Event

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduates will be presenting work from the three institutions of the network.

The workshop takes place on 8-9 March 2021. It is free, but you need to book tickets in advance.

HT the Bible Places Blog.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Nine ancient mosaics of Israel

PHOTO ESSAY: 9 magnificent ancient mosaics of Israel. In Roman times, a mosaic team manager earned 150 dinars a day, while a ship’s carpenter earned only 60. But the work was backbreaking (Naama Barak, Israel21c). The article includes a long interview with "Jacques Neguer, the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s art conservation department."

Cross-file under Decorative Art. PaleoJudaica has posted on many, many ancient mosaics found in Israel. I can't hope to note all of the links, but some key ones, each with more links, are here, here, here (cf. here), here, and here (cf. here).

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

Enoch Seminar: John the Baptist, Day 1

RELIGION PROF: John the Baptist Enoch Seminar Nangeroni Meeting Day 1. I am not able to attend this important online conference, because I am inundated with the processing of PhD applications this time of year. But if you, like me, cannot attend, James McGrath is keeping us updated.

UPDATE: Recently I collected some PaleoJudaica posts on John the Baptist here.

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

Review of Waters, Ctesias' Persica and its Near Eastern context

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Ctesias’ Persica and its Near Eastern context..
Matt Waters, Ctesias' Persica and its Near Eastern context. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2020. Pp. 184. ISBN 9780299310943 $21.95 (pb).

Review by Reinhold Bichler, University of Innsbrück. Reinhold.Bichler@uibk.ac.at

There has by no means been a lack of studies on Ctesias’ work published over the past few decades, but Matt Waters’s book is of special interest. The author, an expert on Achaemenid Persia and its historical and cultural background, here presents “a series of case studies that illustrate prominent Near Eastern traditions and motifs in the Persica” (p. 16), guided by a close reading “through a Near-Eastern lens”. However, which text is the basis for such scrutiny?

[...]

Ctesias was a physician who served (conscripted as a prisoner of war) with the Persian army in the fifth century BCE. He work, the Persica, is lost, but a good bit of it survives in quotations by later writers. The Persica is an important source for traditions of what I like to call Greek Fantasy Babylon.

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Exum, Art as Biblical Commentary (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Art as Biblical Commentary
Visual Criticism from Hagar the Wife of Abraham to Mary the Mother of Jesus

By: J. Cheryl Exum
Published: 01-28-2021
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 288
ISBN: 9780567700308
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
Illustrations: 91 colour illus
Dimensions: 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
List price: $44.95
Online price: $40.46

About Art as Biblical Commentary

Art as Biblical Commentary is not just about biblical art but, more importantly, about biblical exegesis and the contributions visual criticism as an exegetical tool can make to biblical exegesis and commentary. Using a range of texts and numerous images, J. Cheryl Exum asks what works of art can teach us about the biblical text. 'Visual criticism' is her term for an approach that addresses this question by focusing on the narrativity of images-reading them as if, like texts, they have a story to tell-and asking what light an image's 'story' can shed on the biblical narrator's story.

In Part I, Exum elaborates on her approach and offers a personal testimony to the value of visual criticism. Part 2 examines in detail the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 and 21. Part 3 contains chapters on erotic looking and voyeuristic gazing in the stories of Bathsheba, Susanna, Joseph and Potiphar's wife and the Song of Songs; on the distribution of renown among Jael, Deborah and Barak; on the Bible's notorious women, Eve and Delilah; and on the sacrificed female body in the stories of the Levite's wife (Judges 19) and Mary the mother of Jesus.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Feder & Henze, Textual History of the Bible Vol. 2A (deuterocanonical books) (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Textual History of the Bible Vol. 2A

Series: Textual History of the Bible, Volume: 2A

Volume Editors: Frank Feder and Matthias Henze

Volume 2 of the Textual History of the Bible is devoted to the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, that is, to all books outside the Hebrew Bible that were considered canonical or 'useful for reading' by a church at some point. Earlier studies of the textual histories of these books focused largely on what were considered the most important textual witnesses, mostly in Greek, Latin and possibly in Armenian and Syriac, with the goal of recovering the 'original' text of the book in question. THB 2 breaks significant new ground in this regard. Rather than focusing on a small group of languages only, the goal has been to be exhaustive and to survey all known textual witnesses of all deuterocanonical books, paying particular attention to the manuscript traditions. Rather than viewing these language traditions merely as a way of reaching back to the alleged 'original' text, THB 2 takes language traditions seriously in its own right.

This new approach to the old texts requires the detailed knowledge of many experts, scholars with intimate knowledge of the language traditions and the manuscripts.

2A covers the canonical histories and the textual histories of the deuterocanonical texts in the diverse language traditions. 2B and 2C are devoted to the deuterocanonical books themselves. The chapters on each book begin with an overview article, titled 'Textual History of ...'. This introductory overview is followed by individual entries on each of the known language traditions in which the book is attested, roughly up to the tenth centry C.E.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €175.00 / $227.00

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-35559-0
Publication Date: 21 Oct 2020

For more on the Textual History of the Bible Series, see here.

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If an Aramaic incantation bowl could speak ...

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: “Mirror, Mirror!” Speaking Objects and Speaking to Objects in the Classroom (Reyhan Durmaz). Cross-file unde Pedagogy.

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What did Cleopatra look like?

ARTISTIC REPRESENTATION: What Did Cleopatra Really Look Like? She likely wasn’t the ravishing seductress depicted by Hollywood — but that’s what Roman propagandists want you to think (Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine). Coins, Egyptian reliefs, and perhaps some unidentified marble busts, may give us some idea of what she looked like.

Cleopatra VII has been receiving much media attention since the casting of Israeli actress Gal Gadot to play her in an upcoming movie. Background here and here.

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Stavrakopoulou (ed.), Life and Death (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Life and Death

Social Perspectives on Biblical Bodies

Editor(s): Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Published: 01-28-2021
Format: EPUB/MOBI eBook (Watermarked)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 224
ISBN: 9780567699312
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Hebrew Bible in Social Perspective
Illustrations: 11 bw illustrations
List price: $103.50
Online price: $82.80
Save $20.70 (20%)

About Life and Death

Life and Death: Social Perspectives on Biblical Bodies explores some of the social, material, and ideological dynamics shaping life and death in both the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel and Judah. Analysing topics ranging from the bodily realities of gestation, subsistence, and death, and embodied performances of gender, power, and status, to the imagined realities of post-mortem and divine existence, the essays in this volume offer exciting new trajectories in our understanding of the ways in which embodiment played out in the societies in which the texts of the Hebrew Bible emerged.

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

Monday, January 11, 2021

Claus-Hunno Hunzinger (1929-2021)

SAD NEWS: Last member of original Dead Sea Scrolls research team dies from COVID-19. The Qumran explorer was 91 years old (Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post).
The last living member of the Dead Sea Scrolls research team, Prof. Dr. Claus-Hunno Hunzinger, died on January 6 in Hamburg.

[...]

His German Wikipedia page is here. As of this writing, it has not been updated to indicate his passing.

Requiescat in pace.

I noted the deaths of John Strugnell in 2007 and Frank Moore Cross in 2012 (additional memories here). Cross was my doctoral supervisor at Harvard University and I also worked closely with Strugnell.

I also noted the death of J. T. Milik in 2006. I never met Milik or Hunzinger.

The original International Team are all gone now. The end of an era.

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

Epiphany at mine-free Qasr al-Yahud

DE-MINED: Mine-free River Jordan shrine ends 50 year wait for Epiphany. Israeli de-mining efforts began in 2018 and included support from the Halo Trust, a Scottish-based mine clearance group (Reuters via Jerusalem Post). Qasr al-Yahud is a possible site for the baptism of Jesus.

I have been following the efforts to de-mine the area for some years. Last year those efforts were accelerated. See here (cf. here) and links.

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Reviews of Roberts, First Isaiah (Hermeneia)

THE BIBLICAL REVIEW BLOG: Review: “First Isaiah” by J. J. M. Roberts (William Brown).
J. J. M. Roberts. First Isaiah. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 2015.
William also links to another review of the book by Matthew Neujaur.

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

Johnson, Sovereign Authority and the Elaboration of Law in the Bible and the Ancient Near East (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Dylan R. Johnson. Sovereign Authority and the Elaboration of Law in the Bible and the Ancient Near East. 2020. XVI, 367 pages. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. Reihe 122. 89,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-159509-7.
Published in English.
Five Pentateuchal texts (Lev 24:10–23; Num 9:6–14; Num 15:32–36; Num 27:1–11; Num 36:1–12) offer unique visions of the elaboration of law in Israel's formative past. In response to individual legal cases, Yahweh enacts impersonal and general statutes reminiscent of biblical and ancient Near Eastern law collections. From the perspective of comparative law, Dylan R. Johnson proposes a new understanding of these texts as biblical rescripts: a legislative technique that enabled sovereigns to enact general laws on the basis of particular legal cases. Typological parallels drawn from cuneiform and Roman law illustrate the complex ideology informing the content and the form of these five cases. The author explores how latent conceptions of law, justice, and legislative sovereignty shaped these texts, and how the Priestly vision of law interacted with and transformed earlier legal traditions.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Zoom event: The Bible With and Without Jesus

CENTER FOR JEWISH STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: The Bible With and Without Jesus. A conversation with Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler. A Public Webinar Discussion, Wednesday, January 27, 2021 2:00 pm EDT.
Join us for a conversation with Professors Amy-Jill Levine (Vanderbilt University) and Marc Zvi Brettler (Duke University) about their new book, The Bible With and Without Jesus. On Wed, January 27th at 2:00 pm. We will be taking audience questions.
Follow the link for more details and for registration information. Cross file under New Book

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

Poirier, The Invention of the Inspired Text (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
The Invention of the Inspired Text
Philological Windows on the Theopneustia of Scripture

By: John C. Poirier

Published: 01-28-2021
Format: EPUB/MOBI eBook (Watermarked)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 272
ISBN: 9780567696762
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Library of New Testament Studies
List price: $103.50
Online price: $82.80
Save $20.70 (20%)

About The Invention of the Inspired Text

John C. Poirier examines the “theopneustic” nature of the Scripture, as a response to the view that “inspiration” lies at the heart of most contemporary Christian theology. In contrast to the traditional rendering of the Greek word theopneustos as “God-inspired” in 2 Tim 3:16, Poirier argues that a close look at first- and second-century uses of theopneustos reveals that the traditional inspirationist understanding of the term did not arise until the time of Origen in the early third century CE, and that in every pre-Origen use of theopneustos the word instead means “life-giving.”

Poirier thus conducts a detailed investigation of theopneustos as it appears in the fifth Sibylline Oracle, the Testament of Abraham, Vettius Valens, Pseudo-Plutarch (Placita Philosophorum), and Pseudo-Phocylides, all of whom understand the word to mean “life-giving.” He also studies the use of the cognate term theopnous in Numenius, the Corpus Hermeticum, on an inscription at the Great Sphinx of Giza, and on an inscription at a nymphaeum at Laodicea on the Lycus. Poirier argues that a rendering of “life-giving” also fits better within the context of 2 Tim 3:16, and that this meaning survived late enough to figure in a fifth-century work by Nonnus of Panopolis. He further traces the pre-Origen use of theopneustos among the Church Fathers. Poirier concludes by addressing the implication of rethinking the traditional understanding of Scripture, stressing that the lack of “God-inspired” scripture ultimately does not affect the truth status of the gospel as preached by the apostles.

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HIPHIL Novum

THE AWOL BLOG: Open Access Journal: HIPHIL Novum.
HIPHIL Novum is a peer-reviewed academic e-journal. It continues HIPHIL which was published in 2003-2010.

The journal publishes issues that promote resources for open education for all continents, races, genders, and communities, serving the next generation of biblical research and sustainable technology.

Follow the link for further details and access links.

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Saturday, January 09, 2021

Mairs, The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek world

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek World. Notice of a New Book: Mairs, Rachel (ed.). 2021. The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek world. London & New York: Routledge.. It has chapters on the Seleucid Empire, Parthia, Alexander the Great, and other areas of interest.

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Plato’s Timaeus (symposium proceedings)

THE AWOL BLOG: Plato’s Timaeus: Proceedings of the Tenth Symposium Platonicum Pragense. An open-access book with free downloadable PDF.

Plato's Timaeus, the early chapters of Genesis, and one or two other biblical passages, were the foundational components of the creation myth for ancient Demiurgic Gnosticism.

A couple of PaleoJudaica posts involving the Timaeus are here and here.

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Eberhart et al. (eds.), Tempel, Lehrhaus, Synagoge (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Tempel, Lehrhaus, Synagoge

Orte jüdischen Gottesdienstes, Lernens und Lebens. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kraus

Editors: Christian A. Eberhart, Martin Karrer, Siegfried Kreuzer, and Martin Meiser
Contributors: Hans Ausloos, Eberhard Bons, Kristin De Troyer, Christian Eberhart, Heinz-Josef Fabry, Bonifatia Gesche OSB, Anna Grill, Robert J. V. Hiebert, Jan Joosten, Martin Karrer, Siegfried Kreuzer, William Loader, Roland Marti, Martin Meiser, Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr, Manfred Oeming, Adrian Schenker, Gert J. Steyn, Emanuel Tov, Axel Töllner, Frank Ueberschaer, Martin Vahrenhorst, Jan Willem van Henten, and Burkard M. Zapff

Durch die weite Ausbreitung und Zerstreuung des Judentums entstanden früh Orte des Lehrens und religiösen Lebens neben dem Tempel. Der Band reflektiert die Entstehung der Synagoge, die Gelehrsamkeit und jüdische Versammlung in der Diaspora von Babylonien über Alexandria bis Rom, das Lehrhaus der Weisheit am Beispiel Ben Siras und die Ausbreitung der Lehrhauskultur nach der Zerstörung des Tempels. Er geht der Bedeutung der Schrift in ihrer griechischen Übersetzung (Septuaginta) für das Nachdenken in der Diaspora nach, prüft exemplarisch Impulse und Abgrenzungen, die bei der Entstehung des Christentums durch jüdische Lehre und Schriftworte entstanden, und greift Spuren des christlich-jüdischen Miteinanders bis in jüngste Zeit auf.

[No price specified.]

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-3-657-70349-4
Publication Date: 02 Jun 2020

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-3-506-70349-1
Publication Date: 27 Mar 2020

The essays are in German and English. Follow the link for the TOC.

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Tyre's archaeology restored

PHOENICIAN WATCH: Archaeology: recovery complete at ancient city of Tyre. In Lebanon. Italian blue helmets of UNIFIL mission at work (ANSAmed).

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Friday, January 08, 2021

A brief history of the Messiah

HISTORY OF IDEAS: How Did Jews Come to Believe in a Messiah? A Brief History. Nowhere does the Torah mention a redeemer known as the Messiah who will appear at the end of history. The origin of this belief stems from somewhere else entirely (Elon Gilad, Haaretz). This is a good overview of the development of the idea of the Messiah from its origins to the present.

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The ghost archive of Maresha

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Lasting Impressions from Ancient Maresha. The Discovery of an Archive Underneath the Hellenistic City (Marek Dospěl). The papyrus or parchment documents have long since decayed away, but the clay seals (bullae) attached to them survive. A few of bullae reportedly have Greek letters and numbers on them, but otherwise the archive is lost. Too bad for us epigraphers. They do preserve lots of artistic impressions for the iconographers.

As usual, this BHD essay summarizes a BAR article (authored by Donald T. Ariel and Ian Stern) which is behind the subscription wall. PaleoJudaica posts on the Maresha bullae are here, here, and here.

The Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park has produced a number of Aramaic and Greek inscriptions, especially in the caves. See here (cf. here) and keep following the links.

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Mount Sinai, the bush, and the sandals

PROF. RACHEL ADELMAN: The Burning Bush: Why Must Moses Remove His Shoes? (TheTorah.com).
YHWH’s first revelation to Moses at a sneh סְּנֶה, “bush,” signifies that it is not a future site of worship and foreshadows the revelation at Sinai.

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Lipka & Wells (eds.), Sexuality and Law in the Torah (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
Sexuality and Law in the Torah

Editor(s): Hilary Lipka, Bruce Wells

Published: 03-19-2020
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 344
ISBN: 9780567681591
Imprint: T&T Clark
Series: The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies
Volume: 675
Illustrations: 8 bw illustrations
Dimensions: 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
List price: $115.00
Online price: $103.50
Save $11.50 (10%)

About Sexuality and Law in the Torah

This book examines many of the laws in the Torah governing sexual relations and the often implicit motivations underlying them. It also considers texts beyond the laws in which legal traditions and ideas concerning sexual behavior intersect and provide insight into ancient Israel's social norms. The book includes extended treatments on the nature and function of marriage and divorce in ancient Israel, the variation in sexual rules due to status and gender, the prohibition on male-with-male sex, and the different types of sexualities that may have existed in ancient Israel.

The essays draw on a variety of methodologies and approaches, including narrative criticism, philological analysis, literary theory, feminist and gender theory, anthropological models, and comparative analysis. They cover content ranging from the narratives in Genesis, to the laws of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, to later re-interpretations of pentateuchal laws in Jeremiah and texts from the Second Temple period. Overall, the book presents a combination of theoretical discussion and close textual analysis to shed new light on the connections between law and sexuality within the Torah and beyond.

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Thursday, January 07, 2021

Greek tombstone found in the Negev

GREEK EPIGRAPHY: Ancient Greek inscription found by chance in the Negev. The stone was found by a "Project 500" worker from the Parks and Nature Authority while cleaning and preparing nature paths in the Nitzana National Park (Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post).
The inscription was deciphered by Dr. Leah Di Segni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and it refers to “Blessed Maria, who lived an immaculate life” and died on February 9. The stone dates from the late sixth-early seventh centuries CE.
I saw the text of the inscription before I read any of the articles. I assumed the object was a talisman honoring the Virgin Mary. But it turns out to be an epitaph on a tombstone in a cemetery. Nonetheless, it sounds as though Maria's epitaph is meant to evoke her namesake.

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Nero's coins

NUMISMATICS: Ancient Roman Coins: The Many Faces of Nero (Tyler Rossi, CoinWeek).

Many of the coins have the phrase "Nero Caesar" in the inscription. For the importance of this phrase and the parallel "Neron Caesar" for the Nero Rediturus myth and the Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation, see here and links.

For an attempt to reconstruct the appearance of Nero and other Roman emperors, see here. I think that reconstruction of Nero looks most like his Type II coins.

I also noted a recent book on Nero here.

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CFP: workshop on late-antique miracles & paradoxography and biblical reception

H-JUDAIC: Call for Papers (EABS Wuppertal, August 3-5, 2021): Miracles and Paradoxography in Late-Antique Literature of Biblical Reception. The workshop is interested in both Christian and Jewish literature.

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Moazami, [Zoroastrian] Laws of Ritual Purity (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Laws of Ritual Purity

Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād (A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād)

Series: Iran Studies, Volume: 19

Author: Mahnaz Moazami

Laws of Ritual Purity: Zand ī Fragard ī Jud-Dēw-Dād (A Commentary on the Chapters of the Widēwdād) describes the various ways in which Zoroastrian authorities in the fifth-sixth centuries CE reinterpreted the purity laws of their community. Its redactor(s), conversant with the notions and practices of purity and impurity as developed by their predecessors, attempt(s) to determine the parameters of the various categories of pollution, the minimum measures of polluted substances, and the effect of the interaction of pollution with other substances that are important to humans. It is therefore in essence a technical legal corpus designed to provide a comprehensive picture of a central aspect of Zoroastrian ritual life: the extent of one’s liability contracting pollution and how atonement/purification can be achieved.

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

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43395-3
Publication Date: 16 Nov 2020

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-43394-6
Publication Date: 19 Nov 2020

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Wednesday, January 06, 2021

CRINT Essay Prize 2021

H-JUDAIC: CRINT Essay Prize in Early Jewish and Christian Studies.
The Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum (CRINT) Foundation invites submissions for its bi-annual Essay Prize, to be awarded to the best paper on a topic related to the early history of Jews and Christians. Any essay illuminating how Jews and Christians shared and/or developed their own traditions and identities during the first six centuries CE is eligible. Rabbinic literature and culture have long been areas of special focus of CRINT and submissions that in some way engage or draw on these fields of study are therefore especially welcomed.

The amount of the prize is €1.000. (Post-)graduate students and scholars who received their PhD no earlier than 2016 are eligible to submit a paper.

Follow the link for full details. The submission deadline is 1 July 2021.

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Antiquities smuggling arrests in Israel

APPREHENDED: Israeli Authorities Take Down Gang Engaged in the Illegal Antiquities Trade (Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency/Jewish Press). Allegedly this was an ambitious gang:
Thousands of ancient, spectacular and rare items, hundreds and thousands of years old, from both Israel and around the world, were seized on Monday in a major operation; items that were allegedly robbed from cemeteries throughout the Mediterranean basin, as well as from Africa and South America.

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David's disturbing deathbed directions

DR. DAVID GLATT-GILAD: King David’s Troubling Deathbed Instructions. (TheTorah.com).
Before his death, David commands Solomon to kill two men: Joab, his loyal general, and Shimei, his enemy, whom he had sworn not to kill.
The Deuteronomist didn't seem to mind this disturbing story. But it bothered later interpreters. Even the Chronicler leaves it out and gives David a far more pious ending (1 Chronicles 28-29). It seems the disquiet goes back to our earliest intepreter.

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Corrections to Charlesworth's OTP

BIBLICALIA: Charlesworth Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Corrigenda (Kevin P. Edgecomb). Along with a missing page from volume 2 (in all but the first edition).

HT The AWOL Blog.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Salome's dance floor excavated?

ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE: Dance floor where John the Baptist was condemned to death discovered, archaeologist says (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
A courtyard uncovered at Machaerus is likely the place where Salome's dance was performed and where Herod Antipas decided to have John the Baptist beheaded, wrote Győző Vörös, director of a project called Machaerus Excavations and Surveys at the Dead Sea, in the book "Holy Land Archaeology on Either Side: Archaeological Essays in Honour of Eugenio Alliata" (Fondazione Terra Santa, 2020). The courtyard, Vörös said, has an apsidal-shaped niche that is probably the remains of the throne where Herod Antipas sat.
Could be. But not all archaeologists are convinced.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on Machaerus, its excavation, and its relation to John the Baptist, see here and links. For posts on Salome, daughter of Herodias, see here and links. Josephus gives her name, but the she is unnamed in the Gospel stories about her dance for Herod.

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AJR's 2020 top 10

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Year in Review: Top Ten Articles of 2020.

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

William Ross has been reading and reading.

WILLIAM ROSS: MY 2020 READING.

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Talmud-translator Isidore Epstein (1894-1962)

TALMUD WATCH: Remembering Rabbi Dr. Isidore Epstein, Jewish philosopher and thinker. He wrote voluminously. When he retired and we wanted to honor him by means of a bibliography of his writings, he couldn’t remember all that he had written (Raymond Apple, Jerusalem Post).
Sixty years ago last week, on December 27, 1960, Marian and I stood under the huppah (wedding canopy) at the Bayswater Synagogue, London, to be married by her father, Rabbi Joseph Unterman. Her unterfirers (escorts to the huppah) were her parents; mine were Rabbi Dr. Isidore Epstein, principal of Jews’ College, and his wife.

[...]

Dr. Epstein was a diminutive man with a giant mind. Born in Hungary, he had come to England in his youth, and the rabbinic ordinations he earned included one from Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, who had been stranded in London because of World War I. Epstein (the students sometimes called him Eppie) was said to know the whole Talmud by heart. Only a man like that could have edited the 36-volume Soncino Talmud, the first full translation of the Babylonian Talmud into English.

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Monday, January 04, 2021

Biblical Studies Carnival 178

PETERGOEMAN.COM: Biblical Studies Carnival 178 (December 2020).

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

Did Esau sell his burial plot too?

DR.MALKA Z. SIMKOVICH: Jacob’s Funeral and Esau’s Last Stand. (TheTorah.com).
Esau’s attempt to block Jacob’s burial at the Cave of Machpelah ends in his gruesome death

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More on the passing of Norman Golb

H-JUDAIC: Passing of Prof. Norman Nahum Golb. The post includes a list of some of his main publications.

Background here.

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Sir Charles Warren

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Archaeology news: The 'real-life Indiana Jones' who uncovered an ancient Biblical artefact. (Sebastian Kettley, The Express).
ARCHAEOLOGISTS come in all shapes and sizes but Sir Charles Warren, the 19th-century British explorer, is one of a few lucky archaeologists to have been branded a "real-life Indiana Jones." A scripture expert has explained how Sir Charles came to uncover an incredible treasure of Biblical significance.
The Express has been publishing a lot of articles lately on the Bible and archaeology. This one is a pretty good account of some of Sir Charles Warren's accomplishments. For more on him, see here.

For more on the "To the place of trumpeting..." inscription see here and links.

I'm happy to share the title "real-life Indiana Jones" with Sir Charles.

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Sunday, January 03, 2021

Blackwell et al. (eds.) Reading Revelation in Context (Zondervan)

RECENT BOOK FROM ZONDERVAN:
READING REVELATION IN CONTEXT

by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, Jason Maston, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, Zondervan,

On Sale: 2019-09-10

Price: $21.99

Book Summary

Reading Revelation in Context brings together short, accessible essays by a team of over 20 top scholars that compare and contrast the visions and apocalyptic imagery of the book of Revelation with various texts from Second Temple Jewish literature.

About the Book

Reading Revelation in Context brings together short, accessible essays that compare and contrast the visions and apocalyptic imagery of the book of Revelation with various texts from Second Temple Jewish literature.

Going beyond an introduction that merely surveys historical events and theological themes, Reading Revelation in Context examines individual passages in Second Temple Jewish literature in order to illuminate the context of Revelation's theology and the meaning and potency of John's visions. Following the narrative progression of Revelation, each chapter (1) pairs a major unit of the Apocalypse with one or more sections of a thematically related Jewish text, (2) introduces and explores the historical and theological nuances of the comparator text, and (3) shows how the ideas in the comparator text illuminate those expressed in Revelation.

In addition to the focused comparison provided in the essays, the book contains other student-friendly features that will help them engage broader discussions, including an introductory chapter that familiarizes students with the world and texts of Second Temple Judaism, a glossary of important terms, and a brief appendix suggesting what tools students might use to undertake their own comparative studies. At the end of each chapter there a list of other thematically relevant Second Temple Jewish texts recommended for additional study and a focused bibliography pointing students to critical editions and higher-level discussions in scholarly literature.

Reading Revelation in Context brings together an international team of over 20 New Testament experts including Jamie Davies, David A. deSilva, Michael J. Gorman, Dana M. Harris, Ronald Herms, Edith M. Humphrey, Jonathan A. Moo, Elizabeth E. Shively, Cynthia Long Westfall, Archie T. Wright, and more.

Product Details

ISBN: 9780310566236
ISBN 10: 0310566231
Imprint: Zondervan Academic
On Sale: 2019-09-10
Pages: 208
List Price: $21.99
Publisher: Zondervan Academic
Publication Date: 2019-09-10
Trim Size: 152.000mm x 229.000mm x 14.000mm
Weight: 290.000gr
Category 1 : RELIGION / Biblical Studies / New Testament
Category 2 : RELIGION / Biblical Commentary / New Testament
Category 3 : RELIGION / Biblical Criticism & Interpretation / New Testament
Category 4 : RELIGION / Biblical Studies / Prophecy

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Friday, January 01, 2021

Buck, The Amorite Dynasty of Ugarit (Brill)

RECENT BOOK FROM BRILL:
The Amorite Dynasty of Ugarit

Historical Implications of Linguistic and Archaeological Parallels

Series: Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant, Volume: 8

Author: Mary E. Buck

In The Amorite Dynasty of Ugarit Mary Buck takes a new approach to the field of Amorite studies by considering whether the site of Ugarit shares close parallels with other sites and cultures known from the Bronze Age Levant. When viewed in conjunction, the archaeological and linguistic material uncovered in this study serves to enhance our understanding of the historical complexity and diversity of the Middle Bronze Age period of international relations at the site of Ugarit. With a deft hand, Dr. Buck pursues a nuanced view of populations in the Bronze Age Levant, with the objective of understanding the ancient polity of Ugarit as a kin-based culture that shares close ties with the Amorite populations of the Levant.

"The author covers a contentious area of scholarship with confidence and competence, and has produced a convincing case for the Amorite origins of Bronze Age Ugarit."
-Nick Wyatt, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 44.5 (2020)

The Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant series publishes volumes from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Harvard Semitic Studies and Harvard Semitic Monographs, https://hmane.harvard.edu/publications.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €225.00 / $270.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-41511-9
Publication Date: 16 Sep 2019

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-41510-2
Publication Date: 26 Sep 2019

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2021!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Let us keep our eyes on a better 2021.

All best wishes for a safe, healthy, and much improved new year. And do continue to make PaleoJudaica a regular part of it.

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