Saturday, December 03, 2022

Persian inscriptions at Persepolis

ANCIENT PERSIAN EPIGRAPHY: Magnificent ruins and clues about Persian script evolution (Tehran Times).
TEHRAN– Apart from matchless royal arts and architecture, the UNESCO-designated Persepolis, which was once the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550– 330 BC), holds treasured clues to the Persian writing and script as well.


This article has a good brief overview of the evidence, especially from Persepolis, for the Persian language, from Old Persian in cuneiform to the late-antique Middle Persian form called Pahlavi, written in a version of an Aramaic script.

For a recent post on a probably-Jewish graffiti inscription in the Aramaic language but written in the Pahlavi script, see here. I know; it gets complicated.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on Persepolis and its inscriptions, start here and follow the links.

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Bickart, The Scholastic Culture of the Babylonian Talmud (Gorgias)

By Professor Noah Benjamin Bickart

The Scholastic Culture of the Babylonian Talmud studies how and in what cultural context the Talmud began to take shape in the scholastic centers of rabbinic Babylonia. Bickart tracks the use of the term tistayem ("let it be promulgated") and its analogs, in contexts ranging from Amoraic disciple circles to Geonic texts, and in comparison with literatures of Syriac-speaking Christians. The study demonstrates increasing academization during the talmudic period, and supports a gradual model of the Talmud's redaction.

Formats Hardback

Publication Status: In Print
Series: Judaism in Context 31
Publication Date: Oct 4,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 263
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0657-4

The online price as of this posting is $69 USD.

Cross-file under Talmud Watch.

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Friday, December 02, 2022

Lecture on the Judean Babylonian cuneiform archive

THE AL-YAHUDU ARCHIVE: Babylonian Tablets Unearth Insights into Judean Life in Exile. We shouldn’t rush to conclusions on details they do not reveal, expert says (Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review).
Beyond what the Bible says, mentions of Judean life during the Babylonian exile have generally been scarce throughout history. All of that changed in 2014, when archaeologists discovered about two hundred tablets written in cuneiform script that reveal aspects of the life of Jews who lived in Babylon at the time of the exile.

On November 16, at the 2022 Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, United States, Assyriologist and expert in Mesopotamic archaeology George Heath-Whyte discussed what the ongoing translation of the tablets reveals, what it doesn’t say, and what conclusions we can and cannot derive from those findings.


The article gives a good summary of what the tablets do and do not tell us.

For many posts on the Babylonian-Jewish cuneiform archive of Al-Yahudu, start here and follow the links.

The tablets are unprovenanced. For most inscriptions, that should make us dubious whether they are genuine. I have taken cuneiform tablets to be an exception to this rule, since they seem prohibitively hard to forge. But that may no longer be true.

In any case, cuneiform specialists take this archive to be unambiguously genuine. The question is outside my expertise.

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Biblical Studies Carnival 201

READING ACTS: Biblical Studies Carnival 201 for November 2022 (Phil Long).

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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Review of Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean (Alexiana Fry).
Sara Parks, Shayna Sheinfeld, and Meredith J.C. Warren. Jewish and Christian Women in the Ancient Mediterranean. New York: Routledge, 2022.

... If it hasn’t already been said before, Parks, Sheinfeld, and Warren make it easy to use this book as a full-fledged textbook for courses. Not only is the information within the book well formed, so too, are the many activities and discussion questions that are found within it for both pedagogical and even devotional purposes. ...

I noted the publication of the book here.

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Rituale und Magie in Ugarit (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Rituale und Magie in Ugarit. Praxis, Kontexte und Bedeutung Herausgegeben von Reinhard Müller, Hans Neumann, Reettakaisa Sofia Salo unter Mitarbeit von Clemens Steinberger [Rituals and Magic in Ugarit. Practice, Contexts, and Meaning.] 2022. XV, 341 pages. Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 47. 139,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-156724-7.
Published in German.
Rituals and magical practices were a central aspect of the everyday life in the Ancient Near East and played a decisive role in all areas of life. They also influenced the history and culture of the Bronze-Age Ugarit, which can be seen through the textual and material evidence. The volume takes the diversity of these phenomena into account and surveys their social and cultural historical contexts.
The articles are in German and English.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Khirbet Midras pyramid etc.

ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE: Khirbet Midras pyramid and Archaeological Site in Israel (Leman Altuntaş, Arkeonews).
Khirbet Midras (Arabic) or Horvat Midras (Hebrew) is one of several antiquities sites located within the Adullam Grove National Park, an Israel Nature Reserve south of Beit Shemesh. Khirbet Midras dates from the 10th century BC to the 4th century AD.

Excavation at the site has uncovered a Byzantine-era church, burial caves and tunnels used by rebels during the Bar Kochba revolt, a columbarium cave, and a burial pyramid.


For more on the pyramid, caves, church, and mosaic at Khirbet Midras (Horvat Midras, Hirbet Madras), see here and follow the links

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A Pahlavi-Aramaic inscription from Beit She’arim

ARAMAIC WATCH: Researchers Crack Secret of 1,400-year-old Inscription From Catacomb in Israel. Exaltation my mouth? Graffito from Beit She’arim cemetery confounded scholars for decades – until they figured out it was written in Aramaic using a Persian alphabet. But its true meaning remains inscrutable (Ariel David, Haaretz).

The inscription is a grafitto. The article says it was probably left by a Jewish pilgrim. It is written mostly in the Middle Persian Pahlavi script, but its language is Aramaic.

There is lots of Judeo-Persian literature — written in the Hebrew alphabet but in the Persian language. This is the first Pahlavi-Aramaic text I recall encountering, where it goes the other way around. But I don't doubt that there are others. The Pahlavi script is itself based on the Aramaic (Hebrew) alphabet.

UPDATE: For more on Pahlavi, see here.

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Heinsch, The Figure of Hagar in Ancient Judaism and Galatians (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Ryan Heinsch. The Figure of Hagar in Ancient Judaism and Galatians. 2022. XIII, 262 pages. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 579. 89,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-161789-8.
Published in English.
To date, scholarly study of the allegory of Hagar and Sarah in Galatians 4:21–31 has not paid adequate attention to the way Paul's use of the story – chiefly in relation to the figure of Hagar – can be located within streams of ancient Jewish tradition. In this study, Ryan Heinsch fills this scholarly gap by considering Paul's allegorical portrayal of the figure of Hagar in Galatians 4:21–31 within the context of ancient Judaism. The author argues that Paul stands in continuity with – rather than against – ancient Judaism in that he, like other Jews in antiquity, portrays Hagar and her descendants as non-Jews. As a result, the author demonstrates further that Galatians 4:21–31 is not to be read as a polemic against Jews, Jewish Christ-followers, or the continuing validity of the Jewish law (as is common among interpreters), but rather, that Galatians 4:21–31 is an allegory Paul develops about the experience of gentiles in general and the once pagan Galatian gentiles in particular.

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Monday, November 28, 2022

New Phoenician ostraca from Kition

PHOENICIAN WATCH: Completion of excavations at Kition-Pampoula, 2022 (gavriella, in-cyprus).
The Department of Antiquities, of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, announces the completion of the 2022 archaeological excavations of the French Archaeological Mission at ancient Kition (Larnaka-Pampoula).

The French archaeological mission conducted a four-week campaign at Kition-Pamboula in October 2022. The objectives were two-fold: firstly, to complete the excavation of a possible pit, which had been identified in 2021 and which, although partially excavated, had yielded a series of Phoenician ostraca of the Classical period; secondly, to enlarge the excavation of the corresponding Classical floors, in order to better understand the context of the supposed pit.

... The supposed pit containing ostraca was a constitutive part of this layer, characterized by a more greyish and sandy soil matrix: additional pieces were found, the total amounting to 99 by the end of the campaign (fig. 3). The new ostraca are similar to the ostraca found during the 2021 campaign: short texts written in black ink on pottery sherds and, more rarely, on stone fragments; they present the same word sequence and contain many numerals that point to accounting operations. They all date to the Classical period, more precisely the 4th century BC.

For more on the excavation at Kition-Pampoula and the Phoenician ostraca recovered there, see here. It appears that the social context of the large collection of Phoenician administrative ostraca from the site remains to be clarified. Kition-Pamboula seems also to be known as Kition-Bamboula.

A cople of older posts also involving the Phoenicians of Kition are here and here.

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Allen & Doedens (eds.), Turmoil, Trauma and Tenacity in Early Jewish Literature (De Gruyter)

Turmoil, Trauma and Tenacity in Early Jewish Literature

Edited by: Nicholas P. L. Allen and Jacob J. T. Doedens

Volume 50 in the series Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies

PDF & EPUB £94.00

Hardcover £94.00

Published: August 1, 2022
ISBN: 9783110784978

Published: August 1, 2022
ISBN: 9783110784893

About this book

This volume is written in the context of trauma hermeneutics of ancient Jewish communities and their tenacity in the face of adversity (i.e. as recorded in the MT, LXX, Pseudepigrapha, the Deuterocanonical books and even Cognate literature. In this regard, its thirteen chapters, are concerned with the most recent outputs of trauma studies. They are written by a selection of leading scholars, associated to some degree with the Hungaro-South African Study Group. Here, trauma is employed as a useful hermeneutical lens, not only for interpreting biblical texts and the contexts in which they were originally produced and functioned but also for providing a useful frame of reference. As a consequence, these various research outputs, each in their own way, confirm that an historical and theological appreciation of these early accounts and interpretations of collective trauma and its implications, (perceived or otherwise), is critical for understanding the essential substance of Jewish cultural identity. As such, these essays are ideal for scholars in the fields of Biblical Studies—particularly those interested in the Pseudepigrapha, the Deuterocanonical books and Cognate literature.

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Agade List is archived.

THE AWOL BLOG: Agade List Archives.

Apparently Jack Sasson's e-mail Agade List has been archived for some years. This is first I recall hearing about it. I am glad that this invaluable resource is preserved in a somewhat more permanent format.

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Patmore & Lössl (eds.), Demons in Early Judaism and Christianity (Brill)

Demons in Early Judaism and Christianity

Characters and Characteristics

Series: Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, Volume: 113

Volume Editors: Hector M. Patmore and Josef Lössl

For Jews and Christians in Antiquity beliefs about demons were integral to their reflections on fundamental theological questions, but what kind of ‘being’ did they consider demons to be? To what extent were they thought to be embodied? Were demons thought of as physical entities or merely as metaphors for social and psychological realities? What is the relation between demons and the hypostatization of abstract concepts (fear, impurity, etc) and baleful phenomenon such as disease? These are some of the questions that this volume addresses by focussing on the nature and characteristics of demons — what one might call ‘demonic ontology’.

Prices from (excl. shipping): €138.00

Copyright Year: 2022

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-51814-8
Publication date: 19 Sep 2022

Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-51714-1
Publication date: 15 Sep 2022

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