Saturday, October 30, 2021

Review of Batten & Olsen, Dress in Mediterranean antiquity

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Dress in Mediterranean antiquity: Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians.
Alicia J. Batten, Kelly Olson, Dress in Mediterranean antiquity: Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians. London; New York: T&T Clark, 2021. Pp. 424. ISBN 9780567684653 $175.00.

Review by
Grace Stafford, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. gracestafford15@gmail.com

A long review of what sounds like a quite comprehensive book. It appears that I have not noted it before. You can find the publisher's notice here.

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Dieleman, Priests, Tongues, and Rites (Brill paperback)

NEW IN PAPERBACK FROM BRILL:
Priests, Tongues, and Rites

The London-Leiden Magical Manuscripts and Translation in Egyptian Ritual (100-300 CE)

Series: Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, Volume: 153

Author: Jacco Dieleman

This book is an investigation into the sphere of production and use of two related bilingual magical handbooks found as part of a larger collection of magical and alchemical manuscripts around 1828 in the hills surrounding Luxor, Egypt. Both handbooks, dating to the Roman period, contain an assortment of recipes for magical rites in the Demotic and Greek language. The library which comprises these two handbooks is nowadays better known as the Theban Magical Library. The book traces the social and cultural milieu of the composers, compilers and users of the extant spells through a combination of philology, sociolinguistics and cultural analysis. To anybody working on Greco-Roman Egypt, ancient magic, and bilingualism this study is of significant importance.

Prices from (excl. VAT): €58.00 / $70.00

Copyright Year: 2005
E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-47-40674-7
Publication Date: 01 May 2005

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-14185-8
Publication Date: 01 May 2005

Paperback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46417-9
Publication Date: 02 Sep 2021

This an old book, but it is only recently out in paperback. The Greek Magical Papyri are Greco-Egyptian, but they show a good deal of interest in ancient Jewish traditions.

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Friday, October 29, 2021

On the Judeo-Arabic Toledot Yeshu

THE GENIZA FRAGMENTS BLOG: Q&A Wednesday: Toledot Yeshu – insult or entertainment? With Miriam Goldstein (Melonie Schmierer-Lee).
For those who aren’t familiar with the Toledot Yeshu narrative, can you tell us a bit about it and its different versions?

It’s a parody on the life of Jesus, composed by Jews at some point in Late Antiquity, originally composed in Aramaic and dealing only with the very last part of Jesus’ life (known as the Pilate version). It was subsequently translated into Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic, and the narrative was expanded to include an account of Jesus’ birth and childhood, as well as parodies on later events in the spread of Christianity. ...

I noted an article on this subject by Dr. Goldstein here. Follow the links from there for more PaleoJudaica posts on the Toldot Yeshu.

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Online conference on Ancient and Medieval Religious Homelands

H-JUDAIC: EVENT: Ancient and Medieval Religious Homelands: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Space, Place, and Religion (8-10 November 2021). The conference takes place online. It appears to be free, but you need to register in advance.

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

Thursday, October 28, 2021

A temple of Herod at Khirbet Omrit?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Strange Ruin in Northern Israel Could Be a Lost Roman Temple. On a hill in the Galilee stands Khirbet Omrit: A temple that may have been built to curry favor with an emperor, and may have become a shrine to a weeping nymph. And why a huge column from the temple was moved to a college sitting on a giant fault line (Moshe Gilad, Haaretz).
Archaeologists agree that the temple was built during the time of King Herod, over 2,000 years ago. The big question is whether it was one of the four temples the king built during his lifetime, as described by the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus Flavius.

One was the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The other three were reportedly built to honor the Roman emperor Augustus: one is in Caesarea and another in Samaria, as has long been known. Is the temple at Omrit, near the Banias (the biggest city in the region during the Second Temple period, and named for the god Pan) the “lost” one? This is a matter of some argument.

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Nimrod as a city founder

IS THAT IN THE BIBLE? Nimrod and Other Legendary City Founders (Paul Davidson).
According to Old Testament scholar Yigal Levin, Nimrod is best understood as a composite character that reflects the glory of the ancient Sargonid kings, the title of Kish as a name that represented divine authority, and the Neo-Assyrian motif of the king as a great hunter who protects his people from harm (Levin, pp. 364–366). He was originally seen as a positive character who probably received his kingship from Yahweh, and not as the villain of the Tower of Babel story that biblical interpreters turned him into.
For an essay by Dr Levin on this subject, see here. PaleoJudaica posts on Nimrod are collected here.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The bizzarre Ark hunters of 1909

IRRESPONSIBLE ARK ARCHAEOLOGY: The Secret Excavation of Jerusalem. A British aristocrat looking for the Ark of the Covenant launched history’s most peculiar archaeological dig—and set off a crisis in the Middle East (Andrew Lawler, Smithsonian Magazine).
In the annals of archaeology, it ranks as the most bizarre excavation team. Led by a handsome British aristocrat, its members included a Swiss psychic, a Finnish poet, an English cricket champion and a mustachioed Swede who once piloted a steamboat on the Congo River. None had any training in the field.

Nor was the object of their search ordinary. This motley assemblage arrived in Jerusalem in 1909, when the Holy City was still under the authority of the Ottoman Empire, ruled from Istanbul. They sought nothing less than the famed Ark of the Covenant, along with treasures gathered by King Solomon 3,000 years ago that, according to legend, were later hidden.

[...]

And it all went downhill from there.

For countless PaleoJudaica posts on the Ark of the Covenant, the legends surrounding it, and the numerous fruitless (at least so far) attempts to find it, start here (cf. here) and follow the links.

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

IAA catches gold hunters in a pit

APPREHENDED: Eight antiquity robbers in Israel search for gold, get caught in pit. According to a legend, some Ottoman treasures were buried in some sites in Southern Israel (Rossella Tercatin, Jerusalem Post).

The search for treasures in the Holy Land has wreaked a remarkable amount of archaeological ruin. For an example that outdoes this one by miles, see the next post.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Barclay & Crabbe (eds.), The Reception of Jewish Tradition in the Social Imagination of the Early Christians (T&T Clark)

NEW BOOK FROM BLOOMSBURY/T&T CLARK:
The Reception of Jewish Tradition in the Social Imagination of the Early Christians

John M.G. Barclay (Anthology Editor), Kylie Crabbe (Anthology Editor)

Hardback
$115.00 $103.50

Ebook (PDF)
$103.50 $82.80

Ebook (Epub & Mobi)
$103.50 $82.80

Product details

Published Sep 23 2021
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 272
ISBN 9780567695994
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

Description

The contributors to this volume take as their theme the reception of Jewish traditions in early Christianity, and the ways in which the meaning of these traditions changed as they were put to work in new contexts and for new social ends. Special emphasis is placed on the internal variety and malleability of these traditions, which underwent continual processes of change within Judaism, and on reception as an active, strategic, and interested process.

All the essays in this volume seek to bring out how acts of reception contribute to the social formation of early Christianity, in its social imagination (its speech and thought about itself) or in its social practices, or both. This volume challenges static notions of tradition and passive ideas of 'reception', stressing creativity and the significance of 'strong' readings of tradition. It thus complicates standard narratives of 'the parting of the ways' between 'Christianity' and 'Judaism', showing how even claims to continuity were bound to make the same different.

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

Monday, October 25, 2021

Kaniel, The Feminine Messiah (Brill)

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
The Feminine Messiah

King David in the Image of the Shekhinah in Kabbalistic Literature

Series: The Brill Reference Library of Judaism, Volume: 68

Author: Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel

In The Feminine Messiah: King David in the Image of the Shekhina in Kabbalistic Literature, Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel presents an in-depth study focusing on the centrality of the figure of King David in Jewish culture and mystical literature. King David is one of the most colorful, complex, and controversial personalities in Jewish lore. While numerous studies have focused on David's centrality to biblical literature and late antiquity, to date no comprehensive scholarly attempt has been made to investigate his image in Jewish kabbalistic literature. This innovative study also contributes to the understanding of the connection between the mystical and psychoanalytic perception of the self, as well as illuminating issues of gender fluidity, identity, and sexuality in medieval kabbalistic literature.

Copyright Year: 2021

Prices from (excl. VAT): €107.00 / $129.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46219-9
Publication Date: 30 Aug 2021

Hardback
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-46218-2
Publication Date: 02 Sep 2021

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

Jewish magic exhibition at the Israel Museum

ON DISPLAY: Abracadabra: Israel Museum Exhibit Explores Jewish Magic. Exhibition features rare artifacts, including earliest known instance of Shema prayer used in a Jewish amulet MAYA MARGIT, (The Media Line). With lots of cool artifacts from late antiquity.

There was an exhibition on Jewish Magic at the Bible Lands Museum in 2010 and one on ancient Jewish amulets at Moriah Galleries in Manhattan in 2013.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Monnickendam, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity (CUP)

RECENT BOOK FROM CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS:
Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity
Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian

AUTHOR: Yifat Monnickendam, Tel-Aviv University
DATE PUBLISHED: January 2020
AVAILABILITY: In stock
FORMAT: Hardback
ISBN: 9781108480321

Description

Ephrem, one of the earliest Syriac Christian writers, lived on the eastern outskirts of the Roman Empire during the fourth century. Although he wrote polemical works against Jews and pagans, and identified with post-Nicene Christianity, his writings are also replete with parallels with Jewish traditions and he is the leading figure in an ongoing debate about the Jewish character of Syriac Christianity. This book focuses on early ideas about betrothal, marriage, and sexual relations, including their theological and legal implications, and positions Ephrem at a precise intersection between his Semitic origin and his Christian commitment. Alongside his adoption of customs and legal stances drawn from his Greco-Roman and Christian surroundings, Ephrem sometimes reveals unique legal concepts which are closer to early Palestinian, sectarian positions than to the Roman or Jewish worlds. The book therefore explains naturalistic legal thought in Christian literature and sheds light on the rise of Syriac Christianity.

  • Explores the rise of Syriac Christianity through a focus on marriage, sexual relations and family law
  • Uses sources from three different fields: Roman law, early Christianity and Talmudic literature
  • Translates all primary sources and assumes no specialized knowledge of late antique Syriac Christianity

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Six objects in the Israel Museum

EXHIBITIONS: My 6 Favorite Israel Museum Pieces (Hicham Aboutaam, Times of Israel Blogs). I find the late-antique glass menorah especially noteworthy.

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On Lot and his daughters

PROF. REV. WIL GAFNEY: Lot Sexually Manipulates His Two Daughters (TheTorah.com).
After escaping Sodom, Lot and his daughters hide out in a cave. Believing they were the last humans on earth, the daughters get their father drunk, and conceive children with him while he is asleep. But since when do daughters rape their fathers? A womanist midrashic reading retells the story from their perspective.

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