Saturday, July 09, 2022

Deborah & Jael on a new Huqoq synagogue mosaic

DECORATIVE ART: Excavations by Carolina archaeologist reveal first known depictions of two biblical heroines, episode in ancient Jewish art. This 10th season of excavations in the ancient Galilean synagogue at Huqoq uncovers intricate mosaic floor panels dating back nearly 1,600 years (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).
A team of specialists and students led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Jodi Magness recently returned to Israel’s Lower Galilee to continue unearthing nearly 1,600-year-old mosaics in an ancient Jewish synagogue at Huqoq. Discoveries made this year include the first known depiction of the biblical heroines Deborah and Jael as described in the book of Judges.


For PaleoJudaica posts on the other mosaics recovered at the late-antique Huqoq synagogue excavation, start here and follow the many links.

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Another LBA Canaanite curse inscription?

NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY? 3,500-year-old stone is inscribed with curse on Jerusalem governor, claims professor. Expert claims to decipher ancient script on tablet he believes was used in voodoo ceremony; Antiquities Authority awaits further ‘scientific research and publication’ (MICHAEL HOROVITZ, Times of Israel).
A professor at the University of Haifa claimed on Wednesday that he had deciphered a 3,500-year-old stone tablet discovered in Jerusalem more than a decade ago, contending that the artifact’s inscription was a curse against the city’s governor at the time.

If the finding is confirmed, it is among the earliest inscriptions discovered to date in Jerusalem.

The stone was used in a voodoo ceremony, according to Prof. Gershon Galil, head of the Institute for Biblical Studies and Ancient History at the university, that was likely carried out by priests or other important figures in the city who were feuding with the city’s highest-level official, a statement released by the institute stated.


I have been busy in the last week and have mostly been blogging from my reserves. But I see the news has been busy too.

There has been much attention to this story. I link to the ToI article because it includes both a good photo and a drawing of the artifact. The claims reported are extravagant. I am skeptical.

Christopher Rollston has published a response on Jim West's blog: Chris Rollston Responds to Gershon Galil: A Guest Post. Déjà Vu…Gershon Galil’s Sensational New Claims: A Response from Chris Rollston.

Professor Rollston not only questions the claims about the content and significance of the "inscription," he doubts that it is an inscription at all. Some of his concerns also occurred to me as I read the reports. But he covers the issues more thoroughly and more authoritatively than I could.

We are still waiting for the peer-reviewed publication on the supposed Mount Ebal curse tablet. We can add the supposed Jerusalem curse inscription to our waiting list.

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Friday, July 08, 2022

Dal Bo, The Lexical Field of the Substantives of “Word” in Ancient Hebrew (Harrassowitz)

Dal Bo, Federico
The Lexical Field of the Substantives of “Word” in Ancient Hebrew
From the Bible to the Mishnah

series: Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes
volume: 124
pages/dimensions: XVIII, 278 pages, 271 tables
language: English
binding: Book (Paperback)
dimensions: 14.50 × 22.00 cm
weight: 446g
publishing date: 25.08.2021
prices: 58,00 Eur[D] / 59,70 Eur[A]
ISBN: 978-3-447-11652-7

978-3-447-11652-7 Printed Version 58,00 Eur

978-3-447-39182-5 E-Book (pdf) 58,00 Eur

Jewish Monotheism is built on a fundamental assumption: God has spoken to the Jews and commanded them to follow His law. But what exactly are – “God’s words”?
This monograph examines the notion of “word” in Ancient Judaism from the Bible to the Mishnah – from Scripture to this prominent Hebrew law handbook redacted at the beginning of 3rd century c.e. It explores the notion of human and divine “word” and its transformation in the narrative, legal, poetical, and theological pieces of Jewish literature. It pays particular attention to the semantic evolutions of all those substantives that designate a “word” or any other relevant element of speech that both humans and God use to communicate with each other.
The monograph offers an analysis of the word field of the substantives of “word” from a double perspective – a linguistic and a cultural one. On the one hand it relies on Eugenio Coseriu’s semantics and on the disseminated notion of “Hebrew functional languages.” It starts from the presupposition that every term has its own meaning only due to its connection with other terms – called “lexical field.” It also argues that Hebrew can be divided into several “functional languages” that have different social and communicative functions: a narrative, legal, poetical, and performative one.
On the other hand, the monograph also takes into account the reception history of Scripture through its main ancient translations into Greek, Aramaic, and Syriac. In doing so, the monograph examines the word field of the substantives of “word” also from a cultural perspective and shows the evolution of this fundamental portion of Jewish literature.

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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Red heifer detergent?

DR. JOSEPH WEINSTEIN: Red Heifer: A Soap Ritual (
After contact with a corpse, a person must be sprinkled with a liquid mixture containing the ashes of a red heifer, together with cedar and ezov, alkaline plants that, when burnt, function as the key ingredients in a detergent.
For more on the red heifer rite, include a modern effort to revive it, see here and links and here.

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Rothschild, The Muratorian Fragment (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Clare K. Rothschild. The Muratorian Fragment. Text, Translation, Commentary. 2022. XX, 462 pages. Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum / Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity 132. 114,00 € including VAT, sewn paper, ISBN 978-3-16-161174-2.
Published in English.
This volume offers an introduction, critical edition, and fresh English translation of the Muratorian Fragment. In addition to addressing questions of authorship, date, provenance, and sources, Clare K. Rothschild carefully analyzes the text's language, composition, genre, and possible functions with reference to a breathtaking range of scholarly positions and findings from the eighteenth century to the present. She also investigates its position within the eclectic eighth-century Muratorian Codex (Ambr. I 101 sup.). A line-by-line philological commentary draws attention to literary, philosophical, and religious aspects of the individual traditions represented. This study should be of interest to scholars of the New Testament and early Christian literature, as well as experts on the emergence of the canon and historians of the Latin Medieval West.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Concerning the Goddess of Ancient Israel

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: Who’s Afraid of the Goddess of Ancient Israel? (Dvora Lederman Daniely).
The realization that the metaphorical relationship described in the Bible between Yahweh and his spouse may have originally constituted an actual mythological relationship between God and a Goddess, requires a rethinking of the theological implications that arise.
I noted the publication of the author's book, Sarai: Is she the Goddess of ancient Israel?, here.

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Fleming Festschrift (Brill)

“A Community of Peoples”

Studies on Society and Politics in the Bible and Ancient Near East in Honor of Daniel E. Fleming

Series: Harvard Semitic Studies

Editors: Mahri Leonard-Fleckman, Lauren A.S. Monroe, Michael J. Stahl, and Dylan R. Johnson

A “Community of Peoples”: Studies on Society and Politics in the Bible and Ancient Near East in Honor of Daniel E. Fleming draws together a diverse community of scholars to honor the career of Daniel E. Fleming as a historian of the Bible and ancient Near East.

Together, these scholars participate in a dynamic historical enterprise, each one positioning themself along a Middle Eastern spatial-temporal continuum stretching from the Old Babylonian to the Persian periods. Each contributor attempts to touch a sliver of ancient history, whether a particular person or community, a text or visual image or scribal process. They do so through a diversity of methods and disciplines, which together reflect the possibilities and promises for history writing.

The Harvard Semitic Studies series publishes volumes from the Harvard Semitic Museum. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant and Harvard Semitic Monographs,

Copyright Year: 2022

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-51153-8
Publication date: 09 May 2022

Prices from (excl. VAT): €250.00 / $300.00
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-51152-1
Publication date: 05 May 2022

Congratulations to Daniel Fleming!

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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Hopkins, ... Religious Sacrifice in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Gorgias)

Religious Sacrifice in the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Jamal-Dominique Hopkins

Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4241-1
Formats Hardback (also ebook)

Publication Status: In Print
Series: Perspectives on Hebrew Scriptures and its Contexts 33
Publication Date: Apr 26,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 393
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4241-1

Price: $110.95
Your price: $88.76

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls beginning in 1947, its material witness and evocative content have captured the religious imagination of scholars and the general public alike. Hailed as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the excavated material content has illuminated and revitalized the vast fields of biblical-related scholarship. To date, investigation of the material discoveries related to religious sacrifice has received limited attention. In this study, Jamal-Dominique Hopkins examines the traces of the life and archaeology of Qumran, and the cherished views of sacrifice in the non-biblical sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls. Hopkins explores the historical and ideological development of the Jewish priestly movement related to the scrolls, focusing predominantly on the vantage point of the movement’s later offshoot group known as the Qumran community. This panoramic examination of sacrifice in the Dead Sea Scrolls offers a historical reconstruction of this principal community and its gripping story. Hopkins reveals the development of a community, from its pre-Qumranic to Qumranic settlement stages, which chose to spiritualize the Jerusalem temple and sacrificial practices. As a consequence of being driven into the Qumran desert, in the absence of the physical temple in Jerusalem, this nomadic priestly community viewed itself as “temple.” In exchange for actual animal sacrifice, through the acts of prayer and praise, the community offered the fruit of their lips as an alternative modality of sacrifice. In leaving the larger community, this Qumran community thus became an eschatological community engaging in the practice of cultic spiritualization.

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Monday, July 04, 2022

July 4th

HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY to all those celebrating!

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Archaeology in the Gaza Strip

ARCHAEOLOGY UNDER PRESSURE: Buried under the impoverished Gaza Strip, a rich archaeological heritage. But would-be excavators are facing a constant battle against construction to meet urgent housing needs for the rapidly expanding population, and the devastation wrought by war (AP and Times of Israel).

For the discovery of that Roman-era necropolis in Gaza, see here and here. And for more on the reopening of the late-antique Saint Hilarion Monastery, follow the relevant link.

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$1M to UCSD for techno-archaeology

TECHNOLOGY WATCH: UCSD gets $1M gift to expand archaeological studies of Israel, eastern Mediterranean. The ‘cyber-archaeology’ will involve flying drones and underwater cameras (Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune). HT Rogue Classicism.
UC San Diego has received a $1 million bequest from the late Orange County philanthropist Norma Kershaw to expand its wide-ranging archaeological studies in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly Israel.


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

Ackerman, Women and the Religion of Ancient Israel (Yale)

Women and the Religion of Ancient Israel

by Susan Ackerman
Imprint: Yale University Press

Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library

576 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in, 39 b-w illus.

Published: Tuesday, 19 Apr 2022


A synthetic reconstruction of women's religious engagement and experiences in preexilic Israel

“This monumental book examines a wealth of data from the Bible, archaeology, and ancient Near Eastern texts and iconography to provide a clear, comprehensive, and compelling analysis of women's religious lives in preexilic times."—Carol Meyers, Duke University

Throughout the biblical narrative, ancient Israelite religious life is dominated by male actors. When women appear, they are often seen only on the periphery: as tangential, accidental, or passive participants. However, despite their absence from the written record, they were often deeply involved in religious practice and ritual observance.

In this new volume, Susan Ackerman presents a comprehensive account of ancient Israelite women's religious lives and experiences. She examines the various sites of their practice, including household shrines, regional sanctuaries, and national temples; the calendar of religious rituals that women observed on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis; and their special roles in religious settings. Drawing on texts, archaeology, and material culture, and documenting the distinctions between Israelite women's experiences and those of their male counterparts, Ackerman reconstructs an essential picture of women's lived religion in ancient Israelite culture.

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Sunday, July 03, 2022

More on Ross, Postclassical Greek and Septuagint Lexicography


I already noted the recent publication of this book. But Dr. Ross gives us some personal background about it in this post.

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Hardy, The Development of Biblical Hebrew Prepositions (SBL)

The Development of Biblical Hebrew Prepositions

H. H. Hardy

ISBN 9781628374230
Volume ANEM 28
Status Available
Publication Date April 2022
Paperback $49.00
Hardback $69.00

A robust theoretical and empirical study using a linguistically grounded and data-driven approach

The Development of Biblical Hebrew Prepositions presents an analysis of the sources and diachronic developments of forty-one simple and multiword prepositions in the Hebrew Bible from the viewpoint of grammaticalization within a historical-linguistics framework. The study contributes a detailed corpus-based accounting of the variation evidenced by the usages of Biblical Hebrew prepositions and provides a descriptive model of the emergence of this linguistic subsystem. Furthermore, it demonstrates the value of integrating diachronic linguistics and philological approaches in the investigation of grammar, providing for an exhaustive language-internal description.

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