Saturday, May 27, 2023

Sims-Williams et al., A Manichaean Prayer and Confession Book (Brepols)

NEW BOOK FROM BREPOLS PUBLISHER:
A Manichaean Prayer and Confession Book

Nicholas Sims-Williams, John S. Sheldon, Zsuzsanna Gulacsi

Pages: xxvi + 198 p.
Size: 210 x 297 mm
Illustrations: 128 col.
Language(s): English, Sogdian
Publication Year: 2023

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ISBN: 978-2-503-59790-4
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SUMMARY

The Manichaean Prayer and Confession Book is the best-preserved Manichaean book found in the Turfan area and the only one which survives in the form of a bound codex. It constitutes a precious treasure-trove of information on its three Iranian languages, on the Manichaean religion itself, and on Manichaean codicology and book-art. The surviving parts of this beautifully decorated miniature paper codex include Middle Persian and Parthian hymns and readings for the Bema festival, the high-point of the Manichaean liturgical calendar, followed by an elaborate confessional formula for the Elect in the Sogdian language. Until now this manuscript has been accessible for scholarship only from its 1937 edition in German by W. B. Henning, titled ‘Ein manich√§isches Bet- und Beichtbuch’ (BBB). This new edition provides the first English translation by Nicholas Sims-Williams, the first codicological study by Zsuzsanna Gulacsi and an introduction by John S. Sheldon. It also includes the supplementary Sogdian texts which Henning added to his ‘BBB’. It incorporates magnificent colour photos, codicological diagrams, and digital reconstructions never seen before. This beautifully-produced volume appropriately inaugurates the Series Iranica of the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum.

Cross-file under Manichean (Manichaean) Watch. For more on the discoveries at Turfan, see here (cf. here) and links. For more on the Sogdians and the Sogdian language, see here and here and links.

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Forgotten Shavuot History

FOR SHAVUOT: Forgotten Shavuot History: The 4 B.C.E Rebellion and the Therapeutae (Prof. Martin Goodman, TheTorah.com).
The Shavuot rebellion and consequent burning of the Temples’ porticoes during the time of Augustus Caesar made no impression on subsequent Jewish historiography, despite the later humiliating defeat of the rebellion’s suppressor, Varus, in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. Another lost memory of Shavuot is the all-night vegetarian feast, prayer, and Torah study of the Therapeutae, an egalitarian ascetic Jewish community in Egypt.

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

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Shavuot 2023

THE FESTIVAL OF SHAVUOT (Weeks, Pentecost) begins tonight at sundown. Best wishes to all those celebrating.

Last year's Shavuot post, with links, is here. For biblical references, see here.

UPDATE (30 May): More here and here.

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A second Baron Award for Emanuel Tov

RECOGNITION: Emanuel Tov wins second Baron Award. For Scholarly Excellence in Research of the Jewish Experience (University of Vienna).
Tov’s research focuses on the Hebrew Bible as the central text of Judaism, and its history. His book “Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible” is one of the standard works in Jewish Studies. Tov’s research has enhanced our knowledge on how Biblical text was shaped significantly. Tov is a leading figure of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project. Under his guidance, more than thirty volumes appeared between 1992 and 2010 in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series. Like Salo W. Baron, Emanuel Tov is one of the few scholars who contributed to a new field of research but also to the organisation of research and science.
Congratulations to Professor Tov on receiving yet another well-deserved award.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Roman-era burial cave destroyed by house-building

CUTTING CORNERS CAN BE COSTLY: Family building a house in northern Israel destroys 1,800-year-old burial cave. Inspectors raid construction site where bulldozers flattened cave, find ossuaries; owner to be indicted for failing to report antiquity discovery (MELANIE LIDMAN, Times of Israel).

The ToI article concentrates on the events around the raid. This JNS article by Pesah Benson gives some additional details about the ossuaries (glosskamas): Authorities probing theft find Roman-era burial cave. Coffins used by Jews during the period following the Bar Kochba revolt were found.

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Cyril and Methodius Day: the earliest known Cyrillic text?

OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC WATCH: 1,100-year-old breastplate to ward off evil may contain the oldest Cyrillic writing ever found. An inscription on an 1,100-year-old breastplate found in a ruined fortress in Bulgaria may contain one of the earliest known examples of Cyrillic text, researchers claim (Owen Jarus, Live Science).

As it happens, today (in some traditions) is the feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who invented the Cyrillic alphabet in the late ninth century. The owner of this apotropaic amulet was presumably an early adopter.

For more on Cyril and Methodius and the importance of Old Church Slavonic for the preservation of some Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, see here and here and links.

UPDATE: A reader informs me that "the Cyrillic alphabet owes its name to Constantine-Cyril and Methodius, but they are credited with the invention of the Glagolitic alphabet." Thanks for the correction.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A page number in a Psalms codex

VARIANT READINGS: A Book of Psalms and a Missing Page Number (Brent Nongbri). Not so missing after all? Cross-file under Codicology.

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In memory of Moshe Greenberg

DR. ALEX SINCLAIR: Moshe Greenberg: A Spiritual Critical Bible Scholar (TheTorah.com).
At the heart of the life and career of Moshe Greenberg, z”l, was a search for spiritual meaning through the scholarly study of the Bible.

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

Monday, May 22, 2023

Musical Proto-Semitic?

MUSIC MEETS PHILOLOGY: Israeli artist brings ancient language back to life in song. Dor Zlekha Levy's One Tongue audiovisual project revives Proto-Semitic, the ancestral language of Hebrew and Arabic, in song (DEBBIE MOHNBLATT, The Media Line via Jerusalem Post).
Thousands of years after it was last heard in the region, the ancient language of Proto-Semitic is ringing out once again, in a unique audiovisual project at the bell caves at the Beit Guvrin National Park in central Israel.

Israeli multimedia artist Dor Zlekha Levy created One Tongue, an audiovisual display that centers around a musical performance in Proto-Semitic, the ancestor of today’s Semitic languages: Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew.

Great, but I wish the video let us hear more of the song!

For a recent art installation in the Beit Guvrin caves, see here. For ancient art and Greek and Aramaic inscriptions found in the Beit Guvrin-Maresha caves, see here, here, here, here and follow the links.

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

Sunday, May 21, 2023

The not-so-secret Jewish treasures in the Vatican Library

PROFESSOR LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN: WHAT’S REALLY IN THE VATICAN LIBRARY? Disspelling some misconconceptions about the Vatican’s collections of Jewish manuscripts.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked whether the Vatican has the menorah from the Beis Hamikdash [the Temple]. (The answer is no.) But I am never asked about the more then 600 Hebrew manuscripts they do have, which have been available to the scholarly community for years.
Follow the link for a pdf reprint of the Ami Magazine article.

For more on the Jewish treasures that the Vatican has and doesn't have, see here and here and links.

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