Saturday, December 24, 2022

Paz, From Scribes to Scholars (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Yakir Paz. From Scribes to Scholars. Rabbinic Biblical Exegesis in Light of the Homeric Commentaries. 2022. XVI, 372 pages. Culture, Religion, and Politics in the Greco-Roman World 6. 149,00 € including VAT. cloth ISBN 978-3-16-161630-3.
Published in English.
Yakir Paz argues that ancient Homeric scholarship had a major impact on the formation of rabbinic biblical commentaries and their modes of exegesis. This impact is discernible not only in the terminology and hermeneutical techniques used by the rabbis, but also in their perception of the Bible as a literary product, their didactic methods, editorial principles and aesthetic sensitivities. In fact, it is the influence of Homeric scholarship which can best explain the drastic differences between earlier biblical commentaries from Palestine, such as those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the scholastic Halakhic Midrashim (second to third century CE). The results of the author's study call for a re-examination of many assumptions regarding the emergence of Midrash, as well as a broader appreciation of the impact of Homeric scholarship on biblical exegesis in Antiquity.

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

Friday, December 23, 2022

McClellan, YHWH's Divine Images (SBL)

YHWH's Divine Images: A Cognitive Approach
Daniel O. McClellan

ISBN 9781628374384
Volume ANEM 29
Status Available
Publication Date October 2022
Paperback $45.00
Hardback $65.00

A reevaluation of Yahwistic divine images in the Hebrew Bible

In YHWH’s Divine Images: A Cognitive Approach, Daniel O. McClellan addresses the longstanding question of how it is that divine images could be referred to as if they both were and were not the deities they represented. Drawing insights from the fields of cognitive linguistics and the cognitive science of religion and applying them to the remains from first-millennium BCE Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Israel, and Judah, McClellan develops a theoretical framework for divine agency and divine images in ancient Southwest Asia that explains this apparent paradox. He then applies that framework to the Hebrew Bible to show that the presence of the God of Israel was similarly manifested through material media devoted to communicating the divine.

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

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Lecture on the Newark Holy Stones

NEW WORLD HEBREW FORGERY (OR SOMETHING) WATCH: Newark Holy Stones remain significant despite hoax. Presentation at Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum details history and place of fake artifacts today (LEONARD L. HAYHURST, Coshocton Tribune).
Museum Director Jennifer Bush and archeologist Brad Lepper of the Ohio History Connection recently gave a presentation on the stones and what we can learn from their history at the museum. Bush and Lepper, along with Reba Kocher, had the article "The Newark Holy Stones: Touchstones for the Truth" published in the Public Historian earlier this year.
There's a video of part of the presentation and a summary of all of it

I have been following the story of the nineteenth-century Newark Stones hoax for a long time. For my brief summary of what we know and can reasonably infer about the stones, see here. And follow the links from there for more.

The links to past media seem to have rotted, but you can find good photos of the objects at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum website.

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

A high-priestly Hasmonean calendar?

FOR HANUKKAH: The Hasmonean Calendar Begins with the Rule of Simon the High Priest, 142 B.C.E. (Rotem Avneri Meir,
Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple by Judah Maccabee in 164 B.C.E. But the war continued for another 22 years until the Seleucid King Demetrius appointed Simon as High Priest of Judea. To mark their new autonomy, the Judeans use the high priest’s regnal years, like that of a biblical king, to date their documents.

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

Kids find a Roman-era oil lamp in the Galilee

FOR HANUKKAH: Children out for a stroll in north discover 2,000-year-old lamp in the ground. Clay item found at Kibbutz Parod; location provides new insights into size of ancient Jewish community that lived there (Times of Israel).
Israel Antiquities Authority director Eli Eskosido suggested seasonal rains helped uncover the lamp and noted the find came just days before the Hanukkah festival, which began on Sunday night.

“Every year, thanks to the timing of rains that hit us before and close to the Hanukkah holiday, we receive ‘Hanukkah miracles’ and amazing surprises, glimpses coming from the ground,” he said referring to the theme of Hanukkah which tells of a small amount of oil for lamps in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem that miraculously lasted for eight days instead of the expected single day.

Good for the kids and the parents for being responsible citizens and turning the lamp over to the IAA.

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Between 1 and 2 Maccabees

FOR HANUKKAH: The Maccabean Victory Explained: Between 1 and 2 Maccabees (Prof. Katell Berthelot).
1 and 2 Maccabees have different understandings of why the Maccabean revolt succeeded. 1 Maccabees emphasizes the zealous killing of sinners as the element that wins God's favor, while 2 Maccabees emphasizes the tragic death of righteous Jewish martyrs as bringing about God's mercy and compassion.
For some other treatments of 1-2 Maccabees together, see here, here, here, and here.

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

Jesus and Hanukkah

THE ANXIOUS BENCH: Jesus at Hanukkah: A Storm is Coming (Philip Jenkins).
That Jesus would celebrate all Jewish feasts, including Hanukkah or Sukkot, is no surprise whatever, and as Craig Keener points out, any suggestion to the contrary wrongly diminishes and distorts his Jewishness. But the question does arise of, why mention Hanukkah? Judaism has many high and holy days, and Hanukkah was not a particularly important one. Only in modern times has it achieved its great visibility in Western countries, as a kind of counterpart to Christmas.

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

Monday, December 19, 2022

Traditional site of Jesus' baptism - big bucks for "glamping" development

BIBLICAL TOURISM: Jordan unveils $100 million master plan for the second millennium of Jesus’ baptism. 'We decided on a biblical village theme that attempts to re-create a 2,000-year-old experience,’ said an official in charge of developing the site. (RNS).
AMMAN, Jordan (RNS) — Jordan has launched a $100 million master plan aimed at attracting 1 million Christian pilgrims to celebrations of the second millennium of the baptism of Jesus in 2030.

The ambitious plan was unveiled by a not-for-profit foundation created by the Jordanian government to develop the “Bethany beyond the Jordan” area, on the east bank of the Jordan River, long venerated as the place of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. Archaeological discoveries of an ancient monastery at Al-Maghtas, Jordan, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.


That's a lot of money!

This site, al-Mahgtas, is the traditional site of Jesus' baptism. It is on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River. Qasr al-Yehud, the other side, is the main competitor. For background on both and their competing claims, start here and follow the links.

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

Hasmonean-era arrowheads found in box in Tower of David

CARDBOARD BOX ARCHAEOLOGY: Surprise Maccabean-era arrowheads discovered while cleaning house at Tower of David. Some 60 bronze and iron arrowheads were forgotten in a box for decades, but will take center stage in newly renovated museum during Hannukah (MELANIE LIDMAN, Times of Israel).
The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem recently unearthed dozens of bronze and iron arrowheads dating from around the time of the Maccabees. But the stunningly preserved artifacts weren’t hidden under meters of dirt and carefully excavated by veteran archaeologists. Instead, they were sitting in a dusty cardboard box behind an old air conditioner in one of the guard towers at the Tower of David, which is undergoing a massive renovation.


Oops! How many boxes of important artifacts are lying around in this place? For another, found last year, see here. Keep looking!

The article also has some good coverage of the Tower of David Museum.

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

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Hanukkah 2022

HAPPY HANUKKAH (CHANUKKAH, CHANUKAH) to all those celebrating! The eight-day festival begins tonight at sundown.

Last year's Hanukkah post is here. It links to past Hanukkah and related posts. Some more recent posts on Hasmonean-era stories are here, here, and here.

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

Digitally reconstructing Dura-Europos

VIRTUAL DATA CLOUD AND 3-D MODELING: Digitally rebuilding a lost city. Yale computer scientists, archaeologists, and historians are teaming up to uncover long-lost clues from the ancient city of Dura-Europos (William Weir, Yale News).
... The city, founded in 300 BC and abandoned in the third century AD, wasn’t considered a major metropolis, but historians say its artifacts could tell volumes about the everyday lives of people from that time and region. But because these artifacts are located in numerous locations and are often unmarked or have multiple labels, it is extremely difficult for researchers to study them.

Holly Rushmeier, the John C. Malone Professor of Computer Science, and Anne Chen, a postdoctoral associate at ARCHAIA, an interdisciplinary program at Yale for the study of ancient and premodern cultures, are working to change that. They recently received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a digital archive of materials related to the archaeological site of Dura-Europos. They will create a virtual data cloud known as “linked open data” to bring together the disparate materials from this region. This will create a user-friendly interface that allows researchers to access the data, as well as add their own contributions.

I noted this project and its NEH funding here. This Yale press release has more information. Follow the links from there for a great many posts on Dura-Europos and its connection with ancient Judaism.

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