Saturday, December 17, 2022

Review of Arnold, Deuteronomy 1-11

READING ACTS: Bill T. Arnold, The Book of Deuteronomy, Chapters 1–11 (NICOT) (Philip Long).
Arnold, Bill T. The Book of Deuteronomy, Chapters 1–11. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2022. xxxix+660 pp. Hb; $60.00

... Conclusion. Many surveys of “top commentaries on Deuteronomy” consider Peter Craigie’s commentary one of the best available. Bill Arnold’s new volume is a worthy replacement in terms of additional depth and broad engagement with both the text of Deuteronomy and a vast secondary literature. As is usually the case, Arnold’s volume is far more detailed than the Craigie volume it replaces. Arnold devotes 660 pages to the introduction and first eleven chapters of Deuteronomy; Craigie’s commentary was 424 pages for the entire book of Deuteronomy. Will Peter Craigie’s popular commentary in the NICOT move to the Eerdmans Classic Commentary series? ...

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

What was the sin of Onan?

PROF. MICHAEL L. SATLOW: Does the Torah Prohibit Male Masturbation? (
Onan son of Judah “would let [his seed] go to waste on the ground, so as not to provide offspring for his brother. This was wicked in the eyes of YHWH, who killed him” (Genesis 38:9–10). What was Onan’s sin?

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

Friday, December 16, 2022

The Book of Enoch

OLD TESTAMENT PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: The Book of Enoch: What is the famous biblical Apocrypha? - explainer. The Book of Enoch is one of the most well-known examples of biblical Apocrypha, but it isn't accepted by almost any Jews or Christians. Here is what you should know (Aaron Reich, Jerusalem Post).

This is a well-researched article on the Second Temple-era collection of apocalyptic works generally known as the Book of 1 Enoch.

I would take with a grain of salt the sweeping claim that angels have no free will or autonomy in Judaism. Generally true, yes. The Watchers myth, found in 1 Enoch and elsewhere (e.g., the Book of Giants) is an important counter-example. I see nothing gained by claiming the story isn't meant "literally."

We might have a conversation too about Belial and his angels in the Qumran texts.

But that is a quibble. Overall the article is quite good and informative.

There are many, many PaleoJudaica posts on 1 Enoch. Too many to link to here. Some recent ones on a range of topics are here, here, here, here, here and here. And follow the links for still more.

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

Silver half-shekel coin from Great Revolt excavated at the Ophel

NUMISMATICS: Rare silver half-shekel, minted by rebels against Rome in 69 CE, found in Jerusalem. Coin found in remains of building from the Second Temple era, was likely used to pay annual tax for worship at the site; most coins of this type are bronze (Times of Israel).
A rare half-shekel silver coin, minted by Jewish rebels nearly 2,000 years ago during the Great Revolt against Roman rule, was recently found during excavations in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.

It was only the third such coin of its type found during excavations in the capital, and among only a handful found in other locations, the IAA said in a statement.

For the discovery of a silver half-shekel coin from the Great Revolt by the Temple Mount Sifting Project in 2008, see here. For diplomatic replica trinket half-shekel coins, see here. For the embarrassing incident of the "discovery" of the children's toy mistaken for an ancient half-shekel coin, see here, here, and here. For the ancient half-shekel Temple tax, see here and links.

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

Recent discoveries in the Western Wall tunnels

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH (SUBTERRANEAN EDITION): Recent archeological discoveries at the Western Wall – What lurks beneath the surface. A recent tour of the area with researcher and archeologist Dr. Avi Solomon, revealed some of the most fascinating finds in recent years (Alan Rosenbaum, Jerusalem Post).
What lies beneath the surface is a treasure trove of archeological finds that shed light on Jewish life in Jerusalem from as far back as the time of the First Temple (10th century BCE-586 BCE) that continues to the time of the Second Temple as well.
The Iron-Age four-room house and its epigraphic contents are new to me.

For more on the Western Wall tunnel complex, start here (cf. here) and follow the links.

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

Coin hoard from time of Maccabean Revolt found in Murabba‛at cave

NUMISMATICS: 2,200-year-old coin hoard gives hard proof of Book of Maccabees, say archaeologists. Trove of silver coins – two months’ average salary – documents bloody persecution preceding the famous Hanukkah revolt when Jews fled to the desert, as written in I Maccabees 2:29 (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).
Since 2017, the IAA has spearheaded an ambitious survey of some 500 caves in the Judean Desert — in part to look for more Dead Sea Scrolls, in part to beat antiquities looters to priceless archaeological artifacts. The pristine wooden box was discovered in one of the four Muraba’at Caves where, some 70 years after the first scientific excavations took place in the 100-meter cave near the Dead Sea, exciting new objects are still coming to light, including glimpses of scroll fragments and amazingly preserved textiles.


The newly discovered round wooden box looks almost fresh from the ancient lathe that would have made it. Inside were the 15 silver coins, as well as a piece of purple-dyed cloth and some wool stuffing. The dry desert climate, combined with the cave’s protected atmosphere, preserved these organic materials in excellent condition, the IAA’s Naama Sukenik, director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials, told The Times of Israel.

The inference that the box was left by someone fleeing home during the Maccabean Revolt is speculative, but plausible.

In any case, Operation Scroll has produced another discovery that is exciting in itself. The coins are great, but I am especially intrigued by the wooden box and the textiles inside. That box could just as well have held scrolls. Maybe next time.

For PaleoJudaica posts on tetradrachm (tetradrachma) coins, see here, here, and here.

Cross-file under Speluncic Archaeology.

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Hauptman, Halakhic Anecdotes in the Babylonian Talmud (Gorgias)

Halakhic Anecdotes in the Babylonian Talmud

By Judith Hauptman

In this engaging book of commentary on the Talmud, the author upends the long-held theory of the immutability of halakhah, Jewish law. In her detailed analysis of over 80 short halakhic anecdotes in the Babylonian Talmud, the author shows that the Talmud itself promotes halakhic change. She leads the reader through one sugya (discussion unit) after another, accumulating evidence for her rather radical thesis. Along the way, she teases out details of what life was like 1500 years ago for women in their relationships with men and for students in their relationships with mentors. An eye-opening read by one of today’s leading Talmud scholars.

Formats Harback

Publication Status: In Print
Series: Judaism in Context 32
Publication Date: Sep 7,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 326
Languages: English, Hebrew
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4456-9

The online price as of this posting is $44 USD.

Cross-file under Talmud Watch.

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Hartenstein & Schmid (eds.), Farewell to the Priestly Writing? (SBL)

Farewell to the Priestly Writing? The Current State of the Debate
Friedhelm Hartenstein, Konrad Schmid, editors

ISBN 9781628372656
Volume AIL 38
Status Available
Publication Date November 2022
Paperback $43.00
Hardback $63.00
eBook $43.00

Now available in English

In discussions of the origin of the Pentateuch, the Priestly source traditionally constitutes an undisputed reference point for different source-critical models, and it is the only literary layer with concise terminology and a theological conception that can be extracted from a non-Priestly context. This English translation of Abschied von der Priesterschrift? Zum Stand der Pentateuchdebatte revisits the scholarly debate surrounding the Documentary Hypothesis and the so-called Priestly material’s position either as an independent written source or as a redaction within the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy. Contributors include Christoph Berner, Erhard Blum, Jan Christian Gertz, Christoph Levin, Eckart Otto, Christophe Nihan, and Thomas Römer.

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

Monday, December 12, 2022

"Ancient Yemen" at the Smithsonian

EXHIBITION: In ancient Yemen, a booming economy sparked cultures rivaling the Greeks and Romans. A newly-opened Smithsonian exhibit holds 2,000-year-old artifacts revealing a civilization in its golden age, with an incense trade that spanned the known world from Rome to India (RICH TENORIO, Times of Israel).
Ancient Greece and Rome are well represented in museums across the world, but the contemporaneous civilizations of Yemen — including a mysterious Jewish community — have received far less recognition. A new exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, seeks to correct this historical prejudice.


For the late-antique Jewish kingdom of Himyar, see here and links.

For Matthew's Magi and their gifts, including frankincense, currently seasonally of interest, see here and links.

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

Fialová & Kitzler (eds.), Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity (De Gruyter)

Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity
Transmission and Transformation of Ideas

Edited by: Radka Fialová , Jiří Hoblík and Petr Kitzler
Volume 155 in the series Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte

PDF & EPUB £100.50
Hardcover £100.50

Published: November 7, 2022
ISBN: 9783110796285

Published: November 7, 2022
ISBN: 9783110795073

About this book

Papers collected in this volume try to illuminate various aspects of philosophical theology dealt with by different Jewish and early Christian authors and texts (e.g. the Acts of the Apostles, Philo, Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus), rooted in and influenced by the Hellenistic religious, cultural, and philosophical context, and they also focus on the literary and cultural traditions of Hellenized Judaism and its reception (e.g. Sibylline Oracles, Prayer of Manasseh), including material culture ("Elephant Mosaic Panel" from Huqoq synagogue). By studying the Hellenistic influences on early Christianity, both in response to and in reaction against early Hellenized Judaism, the volume intends not only to better understand Christianity, as a religious and historical phenomenon with a profound impact on the development of European civilization, but also to better comprehend Hellenism and its consequences which have often been relegated to the realm of political history.

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

Sunday, December 11, 2022

... Constantinople and Jerusalem in Late Antiquity (De Gruyter)

THE AWOL BLOG: City of Caesar, City of God: Constantinople and Jerusalem in Late Antiquity. Notice of a New Book from De Gruyter, edited by Konstantin M. Klein and Johannes Wienand.

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

Hasselman, Konstruktion sozialer Identität (Brill)

Konstruktion sozialer Identität: Studien zum Reinheitsverständnis im antiken Judentum und im Neuen Testament

Studien zum Reinheitsverständnis im antiken Judentum und im Neuen Testament

Series: Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, Volume: 115

Author: Milena Hasselman

Why do questions of purity play a minor role in the New Testament when the majority of the texts are of Jewish origin and character? To answer this question, the present study analyses the forming of identity as a central function to purity in ancient Jewish sources. Using the theory of social identity according to Henri Taijfel and John Turner, Milena Hasselmann examined the importance of purity texts in the New Testament and in other ancient Jewish sources for the construction of social identity. On a broad basis of sources and with the help of Hebrew-language literature, which is little received in the German and English-language scientific context, it becomes a meaningful picture that places the purity texts of the New Testament in its wider environment. In doing so, she shows that the New Testament's handling of questions of purity is to be seen in continuity rather than discontinuity with other ancient traditions.

Warum nehmen Reinheitsfragen einen verhältnismäßig geringen Stellenwert im Neuen Testament ein, wenn die Texte mehrheitlich jüdischen Ursprungs und jüdischer Prägung sind? Dieser Frage geht die vorliegende Studie nach und setzt zu ihrer Beantwortung bei einer zentralen Funktion, die Reinheit in anderen antiken jüdischen Quellen zukommt, ein: Reinheitsbestimmungen sind identitätsstiftend. Mit der Theorie der Sozialen Identität nach Henri Tajfel und John Turner untersucht Milena Hasselmann, welche Bedeutung Reinheitstexte im Neuen Testament und in anderen antikjüdischen Quellen für die Konstruktion sozialer Identität haben. Auf einer breiten Quellenbasis und unter Hinzuziehung hebräischsprachiger Literatur, die im deutsch- und englischsprachigem Wissenschaftskontext wenig rezipiert wird, entwirft sie ein aussagekräftiges Bild, das die Reinheitstexte des Neuen Testament in dessen weitere Umwelt einordnet. Sie zeigt damit, dass der neutestamentliche Umgang mit Reinheitsfragen in Kontinuität zu anderen antiken Traditionen zu sehen ist.

Copyright Year: 2023

Prices from (excl. shipping): €145.00

E-Book (PDF)
Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-52465-1
Publication date: 19 Sep 2022

Availability: Published
ISBN: 978-90-04-52464-4
Publication date: 15 Sep 2022

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