Saturday, January 22, 2022

Feder, Purity and Pollution in the Hebrew Bible (CUP)

Purity and Pollution in the Hebrew Bible
From Embodied Experience to Moral Metaphor

AUTHOR: Yitzhaq Feder, University of Haifa, Israel
DATE PUBLISHED: November 2021
FORMAT: Hardback
ISBN: 9781316517574


In this book, Yitzhaq Feder presents a novel and compelling account of pollution in ancient Israel, from its emergence as an embodied concept, rooted in physiological experience, to its expression as a pervasive metaphor in social-moral discourse. Feder aims to bring the biblical and ancient Near Eastern evidence into a sustained conversation with anthropological and psychological research through comparison with notions of contagion in other ancient and modern cultural contexts. Showing how numerous interpretive difficulties are the result of imposing modern concepts on the ancient texts, he guides readers through wide-ranging parallels to biblical attitudes in ancient Near Eastern, ethnographic, and modern cultures. Feder demonstrates how contemporary evolutionary and psychological research can be applied to ancient textual evidence. He also suggests a path of synthesis that can move beyond the polarized positions which currently characterize modern academic and popular debates bearing on the roles of biology and culture in shaping human behavior.

  • Offers a thoroughly interdisciplinary account of pollution, incorporating theoretical and empirical developments in psychology and anthropology
  • Demonstrates the role of pollution as an ancient concept of infectious disease
  • Contextualizes the attitudes regarding pollution in Israel through comparison with comparable phenomena cross-culturally
I have noted essays by Yitzhaq Feder on related matters here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Gawlikowski, Tadmor – Palmyra (Open Access)

THE AWOL BLOG: Tadmor – Palmyra. A Caravan City between East and West.
“Tadmor – Palmyra. A Caravan City between East and West” is a new book by Prof. MichaƂ Gawlikowski, the long-time director of PCMA UW expedition in this city. It has been published by IRSA Foundation for the Promotion of Culture and is available in Open Access.
For many posts on the ancient metropolis of Palmyra, its history and archaeology, the Aramaic dialect once spoken there (Palmyrene), and the city's tragic reversals of fortune, now trending for the better, start here and follow the links. Cross-file under Palmyra Watch.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Herms et al. (eds.), The Spirit Says (De Gruyter)

The Spirit Says
Inspiration and Interpretation in Israelite, Jewish, and Early Christian Texts

Edited by: Ronald Herms, John R. Levison and Archie T. Wright

Volume 8 in the series Ekstasis: Religious Experience from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

PDF & EPUB £100.00

Hardcover £100.00

Published: October 25, 2021
ISBN: 9783110689297

Published: October 25, 2021
ISBN: 9783110688214 About this book

The Spirit Says offers a stunning collection of articles by an influential assemblage of scholars, all of whom lend considerable insight to the relationship between inspiration and interpretation. They address this otherwise intractable question with deft and occasionally daring readings of a variety of texts from the ancient world, including—but not limited to—the scriptures of early Judaism and Christianity.

The thrust of this book can be summed up not so much in one question as in four:

  • What is the role of revelation in the interpretation of Scripture?
  • What might it look like for an author to be inspired?
  • What motivates a claim to the inspired interpretation of Scripture?
  • Who is inspired to interpret Scripture?
More often than not, these questions are submerged in this volume under the tame rubrics of exegesis and hermeneutics, but they rise in swells and surges too to the surface, not just occasionally but often. Combining an assortment of prominent voices, this book does not merely offer signposts along the way. It charts a pioneering path toward a model of interpretation that is at once intellectually robust and unmistakably inspired.

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Mendels, Hellenistic Inter-state Political Ethics and the Emergence of the Jewish State (T&T Clark)

Hellenistic Inter-state Political Ethics and the Emergence of the Jewish State

Doron Mendels (Author)

$115.00 $103.50

Ebook (PDF)
$103.50 $82.80

Ebook (Epub & Mobi)
$103.50 $82.80

Product details

Published Dec 16 2021
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 192
ISBN 9780567701398
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series Jewish and Christian Texts
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing


Against the background of a reconstructed inter-state ethical code, the rise of the Hasmoneans,Judea's ruling dynasty, is given a new perspective. Doron Mendels explores how concepts such as liberty, justice, fairness, loyalty, reciprocity, adherence to ancestral laws, compassion, accountability and love of fatherland became meaningful in the relations between nations in the Hellenistic Mediterranean sphere, as well as between ruling empires and their subject states. The emerging Jewish state echoed this ethical system.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Lod Mosaic website

THE AWOL BLOG: The Lod Mosaic: A Spectacular Late Third Century C.E. Mosaic Floor from Lod, Israel. It looks like this website went with the traveling Lod Mosaic exhibition, which started in 2010. It gives updated travel information through 2016. The website is devoted to the original Lod Mosaic. Two other ancient mosaics has also been found at Lod in Israel. PaleoJudaica followed the exhibition and also noted the discoveries of the other two mosaics in 2015 and 2018. For posts, start here and follow the many links.

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

Suzanne Singer z'l'

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Suzanne Singer. (1935–2022) (Susan Laden and Rob Sugar).
Even though it has been more than two decades since Suzanne Singer left her daily role as Managing Editor of BAR, her influence on the magazine still reverberates in every issue. Her death on January 2 at the age of 86 marked a significant loss for the magazine but also an opportunity to remember her critical role in its founding and success.


May her memory be for a blessing.

Ms. Singer wrote a memorial for Hershel Shanks last year, noted here.

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

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Review of Erickson, The early Seleukids, their gods and their coins

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The early Seleukids, their gods and their coins
Kyle Erickson, The early Seleukids, their gods and their coins. London; New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. 190. ISBN 9780415793766 $49.95.

Review by
Oliver Hoover, American Numismatic Society.

... Kyle Erickson’s The Early Seleukids, their Gods, and their Coins represents a recent addition to the rapidly expanding secondary literature on the iconography (by necessity heavily based on coins) and ideology of the dynasty. It is a revised version of the author’s 2010 University of Exeter PhD dissertation that, over the course of four chapters framed by an introduction and conclusion, aims to delineate the process by which a Seleukid dynastic identity—in contrast with a purely personal charismatic kingship—was created through multivalent religious images disseminated primarily by coins. ...

For many PaleoJudaica posts on the Seleucid era and its importance for biblical and ancient Jewish studies, start here and follow the links. For posts on Seleucid coinage, see here and links. Cross-file under Numismatics.

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

More on The Eternals and "chatty" Babylonian

CINEMATIC PHILOLOGY: The Eternals – Marvel consulted me to help superheroes chit chat in Babylonian (Martin Worthington, The Conversation).
The difficulty in translating colloquial speech is that Ancient Mesopotamia was a world in which writing was a specific tool, used for specific things. Though we are lucky to have a huge mass of (wonderfully informative) documentation, most things went unwritten, and the tone of what did get written was rarely colloquial. This comes across very clearly in Babylonian private letters: they have a business-like, “transactional” character, with little or no chatty or gossipy messages to family and friends, such as we enjoy reading and writing today. For Babylonians, informal and chatty conversation happened only in speech, not in writing.

So, to come up with “chatty” Babylonian, I had to reassemble what we find in written documents, and generate expressions for which I had no exact models or parallels.

See also here.

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Monday, January 17, 2022

Tu B'Shevat 2022

TU B'SHEVAT, the "New Year for Trees," began last night at sundown. Best wishes to all those celebrating.

Last year's Tu B'Shevat post is here, with links to earlier posts.

For biblical background, see here. The name "New Year for Trees" comes from Mishnah Rosh HaShanah 1.1. That passage gives two alternative dates for the celebration, one from Shammai and one from Hillel. Hillel's date (15 Shevat) is the one celebrated at present.

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Galoppin & Bonnet (eds.), Divine Names on the Spot (Peeters, open access)

Divine Names on the Spot
Towards a Dynamic Approach of Divine Denominations in Greek and Semitic Contexts

Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, 293

Galoppin T., Bonnet C.

YEAR: 2021
ISBN: 9789042947269
E-ISBN: 9789042947276
PAGES: VIII-256 p.
PRICE: 65 euro

Ancient Greek and Semitic languages resorted to a large range of words to name the divine. Gods and goddesses were called by a variety of names and combinations of onomastic attributes. This broad lexicon of names is characterised by plurality and a tendency to build on different sequences of names; therefore, the Mapping Ancient Polytheisms project focuses on the process of naming the divine in order to better understand the ancient divine in terms of a plurality in the making. A fundamental rule for reading ancient divine names is to grasp them in their context ? time and place, a ritual, the form of the discourse, a cultural milieu?: a deity is usually named according to a specific situation. From Artemis Eulochia to al-Lat, al-'Uzza and Manat, from Melqart to "my rock" in the biblical book of Psalms, this volume journeys between the sanctuary on Mount Gerizim and late antique magical practices, revisiting rituals, hymnic poetry, oaths of orators and philosophical prayers. While targeting different names in different contexts, the contributors draft theoretical propositions towards a dynamic approach of naming the divine in antiquity.

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

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Ghormley, Scribes Writing Scripture (Brill)

Scribes Writing Scripture

Doublets, Textual Divination, and the Formation of the Book of Jeremiah

Series: Vetus Testamentum, Supplements, Volume: 189

Author: Justus Theodore Ghormley

The biblical book of Jeremiah was frequently expanded and revised through duplication by anonymous scribes in ancient Judea. Who were these scribes? What gave them the authority to revise divinatory texts like Jeremiah? And when creating duplicates, what did they think they were doing? In Scribes Writing Scripture: Doublets, Textual Divination, and the Formation of Jeremiah, Justus Theodore Ghormley explores possible answers to these questions. The scribes who revised Jeremiah are textual diviners akin to divining scribal scholars of ancient Near Eastern royal courts; and their practice of expanding Jeremiah through duplication involves techniques of textual divination comparable the practice of textual divination utilized in the formation of ancient Near Eastern divinatory texts.

Copyright Year: 2022

Prices from (excl. VAT): €109.00 / $131.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-47256-3
Publication Date: 29 Nov 2021

Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-47247-1
Publication Date: 02 Dec 2021

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Flynn, Children in the Bible and the Ancient World (Routledge)

Children in the Bible and the Ancient World
Comparative and Historical Methods in Reading Ancient Children

Edited By Shawn W. Flynn
Copyright Year 2019
ISBN 9781032178301
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
240 Pages

Book Description

The topic of children in the Bible has long been under-represented, but this has recently changed with the development of childhood studies in broader fields, and the work of several dedicated scholars. While many reading methods are employed in this emerging field, comparative work with children in the ancient world has been an important tool to understand the function of children in biblical texts.

Children in the Bible and the Ancient World broadly introduces children in the ancient world, and specifically children in the Bible. It brings together an international group of experts who help readers understand how children are constructed in biblical literature across three broad areas: children in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, children in Christian writings and the Greco-Roman world, and children and materiality. The diverse essays cover topics such as: vows in Ugarit and the Hebrew Bible, obstetric knowledge, infant abandonment, the role of marriage, Greek abandonment texts, ritual entry for children into Christian communities, education, sexual abuse, and the role of archeological figurines in children’s lives. The volume also includes expertise in biological anthropology to study the skeletal remains of ancient children, as well as how ancient texts illuminate Mary’s female maturity. The volume is written in an accessible style suitable for non-specialists, and it is equipped with a helpful resource bibliography that organizes select secondary sources from these essays into meaningful categories for further study.

Children in the Bible and the Ancient World is a helpful introduction to any who study children and childhood in the ancient world. In addition, the volume will be of interest to experts who are engaged in historical approaches to biblical studies, while appreciating how the ancient world continues to illuminate select topics in biblical texts.

This book is a couple of years old and is just out in paperback. I have not noted it before.

For related work by Shawn W. Flynn, see here and here.

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