Saturday, November 12, 2022

List of best sites for Jerusalem's ancient history

TOURISM: 10 best places to experience Jerusalem’s ancient history. Jerusalem is peppered with fabulous ancient archeological sites that reveal the story and secrets of this most unique city (Marion Fischel, Israel21c).

This is a good list. You will find PaleoJudaica posts on most of the sites (see the search engine).

I didn't know about the "Finger of Og" (the giant). Cool. For posts on Og, see here and links, plus here, here, and here.

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Article: "The Past Decade in Septuagint Research (2012–2021)"

WILLIAM A. ROSS: NEW ARTICLE SURVEYING SEPTUAGINT RESEARCH. I am glad we have this survey, even if less than ideal conditions inspired it (see the post).

It appears to be open access: The Past Decade in Septuagint Research (2012–2021) (William A. Ross, Currents in Biblical Research 21 [2022]).

This article overviews the very active past decade in the discipline of Septuagint scholarship, including publications dating from the beginning of 2012 through the end of 2021. It organizes and discusses this activity within numerous categories, beginning with a brief overview of previous disciplinary surveys before moving on to the many new publications that have appeared, including primary texts, commentaries, general introductions, handbooks and companions, and reference works. Further sections give attention to important trends and publications in the main disciplinary journal, as well as in the major conference volumes and series. The second half of the article gives attention to several important areas of development and debate in the discipline, with attention to how it has developed globally over the last ten years. In the course of this discussion, this article, while not exhaustive in scope or coverage, also contributes to the tradition within modern Septuagint scholarship of compiling a bibliography of scholarly publications in the discipline.

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Friday, November 11, 2022

Rollston on the so-called "Hezekiah" inscription

THE ROLLSTON EPIGRAPHY BLOG: Restorations are *not* a Good Foundation for Dramatic Proposals: Reflections on the New, So-called, “Hezekiah” Inscription. Christopher Rollston has a very sensible discussion of this fragment of a Hebrew lapidary (i.e. stone), and presumably monumental, inscription. Excerpt:
Of course, if the question is “could these restorations be correct?,” the answer is yes. But there is a vast difference between suggesting something is “possible” and suggesting it is “probable,” “compelling,” or “certain.” Someone might say, “well, is it plausible?” The answer to that may be yes as well. But there is also a lot of distance between something being “plausible” and something being probable, compelling, or certain.
Background here.

And while we're on the subject, Bible History Daily has republished a 2009 BAR article on the fragment by Hershel Shanks, originally published when it was first announced: Hezekiah’s Monumental Inscription? Revisiting an inscription from the pages of BAR.

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Review of Pioske, Memory in a Time of Prose

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Book Note | Memory in a Time of Prose (Jillian Stinchcomb).
Memory in a Time of Prose: Studies in Epistemology, Hebrew Scribalism, and the Biblical Past by Daniel D. Pioske. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

... In this tight, readable book, Pioske weaves together related but distinct studies of scribalism and memory with newly discovered material evidence to give a useful insight into the study of early biblical narratives. ...

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Thursday, November 10, 2022

On the Cave of Letters

SPELUNCIC ARCHAEOLOGY: Cave of Letters: Probably the Most Important Cave In Ancient Jewish History (Molly Dowdeswell, Ancient Heritage).
The Cave of Letters is quite literally a cave of secrets. Rediscovered by archaeologists in the 1960s, its contents told of uprisings as well as everyday life in ancient Israel.

What at first appeared to be an unassuming cave located in a cliff face in the Judean desert actually turned out to be a perfectly preserved time capsule, full of letters and documents from the 1st and 2nd centuries. Archaeologists have worked hard to pick apart these letters and the other items found in the cave in order to understand who used the cave and why.


This essay ably demonstrates the importance of the Cave of Letters for ancient Jewish history. But I am still going with Qumran Cave 4 as the most important.

For PaleoJudaica posts on Richard Freund's work on the Cave of Letters, see here, here, here, and here. For some posts on the Babatha archive, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And for more on the Cave of Letters, see here and links.

For additional posts on the Bar Kokhba Revolt and the texts and artifacts (mostly coins) associated with it, follow the links collected here, and see also here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and links.

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Now showing: documentary on the Samaritans

SAMARITAN WATCH: Film shines a spotlight on Israel’s tiny Samaritan community fighting for its future. Trifecta of published book, film that opened Nov. 8 and ongoing exhibit examines how unique people struggle to ensure survival without compromising their unique religious practices (Renee Ghert-Zand, Times of Israel).
A new multi-faceted project by the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies introduces the Samaritans to a wide and varied audience, and explores how they have managed to survive for millennia despite efforts by conquering powers to erase them. Crucially, the project asks how the Samaritans plan to continue to survive into the future when today they number a mere 862. ...

The Samaritans Project features a book of academic essays, a full-length documentary film, and an exhibition at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. All three share the same title: “The Samaritans: A Biblical People.” A Samaritan cookbook and artworks created through a collaboration with the Jewish Art Salon are also part of the project.

For more on the project and its various elements, see here and links.

Cross-file under Cinema.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2022

A Canaanite inscription on a lice comb from Lachish

NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY: Israeli Archaeologists Find First Whole Sentence Written in Canaanite. On a Lice Comb. The earliest sentence found in Israel petitions the gods, but not to rain down good fortune or extirpate the foe (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).
Found in 2017 in the biblical city of Lachish, the artifact joins the pantheon of ancient combs assumed to be for lice that have been found up and down the Holy Land. But this one is different.

This one bears the earliest sentence ever found in Israel, seven words in the world’s first alphabet, archaic proto-Canaanite: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”

The object was found in a scientific excavation. And epigrapher Christopher Rollston says the inscription is real. It looks like this is the real deal.

This is an important discovery. Also, Eww.

UPDATE: Amanda Borschel-Dan has a characteristically thorough article on the comb and inscription: Ivory lice comb – a dating head-scratcher – may hold earliest Canaanite sentence. With a paucity of contemporary Bronze Age examples for comparison, scholars believe relatable 7-word inscription is first recorded complete proto-Canaanite sentence in Holy Land (Times of Israel).

Among the extras in the article is the story of how "the world has a camera thief to thank for this discovery" (of the inscription).

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A tunnel to Cleopatra's tomb? Maybe.

EGYPTIAN ARCHAEOLGYArcheologists hope tunnel under Egyptian temple leads to long-lost tomb of Cleopatra. Uncovered tunnel, located more than 13 meters underground, has been described by Egyptian authorities as a ‘geometric miracle’ (Tobias Siegal, Times of Israel).
Archeologists in Egypt have uncovered a vast underground tunnel near the city of Alexandria, and hope it may lead them to the long-lost tomb of Egypt’s last pharaoh and possibly its most famous ruler, Queen Cleopatra VII.
This sounds like the logline for a new Mummy movie.

Be that as it may, I hope something interesting comes of the the discovery. Presumably the tunnel was built to lead to something.

For PaleoJudaica posts on Queen Cleopatra VII (the Cleopatra) and on the excavation at Taposiris Magna, start here and follow the links.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Review of Whitacre, A grammar of New Testament Greek

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: A grammar of New Testament Greek.
Rodney A. Whitacre, A grammar of New Testament Greek. Eerdmans language resources. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2021. Pp. 522. ISBN 9780802879271 $49.99.

Review by
Erich Merkel, University of Virginia.

It is worth emphasizing at the beginning what this book is not. It is not, on the one hand, an exhaustive reference grammar of Koine Greek. Nor, on the other, is it an introductory textbook. It rather occupies a somewhat ambiguous middle position, that of a “pedagogical grammar” aimed at beginning and intermediate students, and intended both for “occasional reference” as well as “reading through” from cover to cover (ix). Its stated purpose is to help beginner-intermediate students to read the Greek of the New Testament (ix-x). To a lesser degree it also covers Koine Greek generally; but its aim and its focus are narrowly tailored to reading and interpreting the NT. ...

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Monday, November 07, 2022

Perrin, Horizons of Ancestral Inheritance (T&T Clark)

Horizons of Ancestral Inheritance

Commentary on the Levi, Qahat, and Amram Qumran Aramaic Traditions

Andrew B. Perrin (Author)

$115.00 $103.50

Ebook (PDF)
$103.50 $82.80

Ebook (Epub & Mobi)
$103.50 $82.80

Product details

Published Jul 14 2022
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 272
ISBN 9780567705433
Imprint T&T Clark
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series The Library of Second Temple Studies
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing


In this study of the Aramaic materials at Qumran, Andrew B. Perrin examines the Aramaic Levi Document, Words of Qahat, and Visions of Amram, showing how they exhibit a concentration of priestly concerns/knowledge and exploring new models for evaluating their potential textual or traditional connections. The Aramaic texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls are among the most understudied items in the Qumran collection, and with open questions posed around their origins, transmission, and reception in and beyond the Second Temple period, these writings provide both new materials and fresh insight into the thought, identity, and practice of ancient Judaism.

Perrin's analysis includes a new transcription, critical notes, and translation of the Aramaic Levi, Qahat, and Amram fragments based upon the latest digital images. He pairs them with a comprehensive commentary on the conceptual elements, codicological features, and cultural contexts of the materials, and he concludes with a fresh synthesis regarding the textual formation of these Aramaic, priestly pseudepigrapha as a “constellation” of texts within a larger world or scribal-priestly activity and traditions.

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Sunday, November 06, 2022

Lehman on the Temple in b. Yoma

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Author’s Musings: Bringing Down the Temple House.
Author’s Musings
Bringing Down the Temple House: Engendering Tractate Yoma
(Brandeis University Press)
Marjorie Lehman
Professor and Chair of Rabbinic Literatures and Cultures
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Cross-file under Talmud Watch.

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