Thursday, April 11, 2024

You're gonna need a bigger Bible?

THE ANXIOUS BENCH: And The Rest Of The Bible…. Philip Jenkins laments the loss to Protestants of the "apocryphal" and "noncanonical" books in the Bibles of other traditions.

The Protestant Old Testament is the same as the Hebrew Bible. These books are not in the Hebrew Bible. That's why Protestants don't have them. But all of the books he mentions are ancient Jewish works that are of considerable interest on their own terms. Wherever you put them, they should not be forgotten.

This doesn't even touch on the question of New Testament Apocrypha, some of which remained quite influential in Christianity into the Middle Ages. Professor Jenkins has dealt with that topic in detail too. See the links collected here. Also, related post here.

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Was leprosy yellow or shiny in the Bible?

PROF. RABBI PHIL LIEBERMAN: Is Yellow a Biblical Color? (
If a man or woman suffering from tzaraʿat, a skin disease, has hair that turns tzahov, they are impure. In modern Hebrew, tzahov means yellow, but what does it mean in the Bible?
For PaleoJudaica posts on language and ancient color perception, see here and links.

For the difference between modern "leprosy" (Hansen's syndrome) and biblical "leprosy" (tzaraʿat), see here.

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Review of Beitzel, Lexham Geographical Commentary on the Pentateuch

READING ACTS: Barry J. Beitzel, ed. Lexham Geographical Commentary on the Pentateuch (Phil Long).
Beitzel, Barry J., ed. Lexham Geographical Commentary on the Pentateuch. Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2022. xxvi+915 pp.; Hb. $49.99 Link to Lexham Press

Barry Beitzel has a well-deserved reputation in scholarship for his contributions to biblical geography. He edited The New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Moody, 2009; reviewed here). He edited the first volume of this projected six-volume series, Lexham Geographical Commentary on the Gospels (Lexham, 2017; reviewed here) and Acts and Revelation (2019; reviewed here). Like the two New Testament volumes, this new collection of essays on the geography of the Pentateuch is a joy to read and will be an excellent addition to the library of any Bible student.


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

On the new noncanonical gospel fragments from Oxyrhynchus

NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA WATCH: Early Christianity, fragment by fragment. A new published volume of ancient papyri contains sayings, attributed to Jesus, that were previously unknown—including a dialogue with a disciple named Mary ( Elizabeth Schrader Polczer, The Christian Century).
Last summer brought big news for scholars of early Christianity. Three previously unknown gospel fragments were published for the first time as part of an ongoing series, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. These three Greek manuscript fragments, which scholars date between the second to the fourth centuries CE, all purport to preserve otherwise unknown sayings of Jesus.


This article gives a good introduction to the Oxyrhynchus papyri and an excellent overview of these three noncanoncial gospel texts.

For PaleoJudaica posts on the new Jesus sayings fragment P.Oxy. 87.5575 (a.k.a. P.Oxy. 5575), see the links collected here.

Cross-file under Oxyrhynchus Watch.

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

Han on "Beyond the 'Cessation of Prophecy' in Late Antiquity"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Publication Preview | Beyond the "Cessation of Prophecy" in Late Antiquity (Jae H. Han).
Jae H. Han, Prophets and Prophecy in in the Late Antique Near East. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023.

... At the end of the day, the book is an experiment. I wanted to see how much I can get away with. If we believe that “context matters” as a or even the basis for contemporary knowledge of the past, then we should also ask up to what point does context matter? In practice, whether we like it or not, we answer this question every time we write since there is always something more that can be brought into the discussion. ...

Everything is connected to everything else. And I really do mean everything to everything. There is always more context to explore. That's a good thing.

Cross-file under Manichean (Manichaean) Watch.

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

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

A Database of Post-2002 Dead Sea Scroll-like Fragments

UNIVERSITY OF ADGER: A Database of Post-2002 Dead Sea Scroll-like Fragments Version 1.0. Produced by Ludvik A. Kjeldsberg; Årstein Justnes; and Hilda Deborah.
Since 2002, more than a hundred "new" Dead Sea Scroll fragments have appeared on the antiquities market. Most of these fragments are tiny and deteriorated and have later been revealed as modern forgeries. Nonetheless, they have been big business. In this database, we have catalogued all of them, providing information about their content, owners, alleged provenance, their place in the biblical corpus, size, and publication history. (2023-09-01)
HT Todd Bolen at the Bible Places Blog.

For PaleoJudaica posts on the post-2002 Dead Sea Scrolls-like fragments, see here and links, plus here and here.

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

How are babies made according to the Bible?

PROF. MARIANNE GROHMANN: Biblically, How Are Babies Conceived? (
Does a woman simply receive and nourish a man’s seed? Or does she also produce her own seed to conceive a child?
With reference to evidence from many other ancient sources.

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

What Is Aramaic?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: What Is Aramaic? Exploring the rich legacy of a biblical language (Clinton J. Moyer).

A nice, concise, historical survey.

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Monday, April 08, 2024

Two solar eclipses (yes, one today)

THE HOLY LAND PHOTOS' BLOG: A Solar Eclipse and Old Testament Chronology (Carl Rassmussen).
Here in the United States, there is much excitement about the total solar eclipse that will take place on April 8, 2024. But did you know that the solar eclipse of June 15, 763 B.C. holds the key to the chronology of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)?


This is a recycled post, but today is a good day to get it out again.

As always, if you are in a position to observe today's eclipse, please stay safe!

For PaleoJudaica posts dealing with (or debunking stories about) solar and lunar eclipses, start here and here and follow the links.

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

The Academic Work of Tal Ilan

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: In Order to Arrive at Historically Correct Conclusions, One Needs Complete Databases: The Academic Work of Tal Ilan (Tal Ilan).
My work on the name-database has alerted me to the importance of corpora. I realize that most academics believe that their major contribution to world knowledge is their brilliant theses, in which they demolish the work of their predecessors and suggest new understandings of history and the sources that tell it. And indeed, theses are important and new thinking makes us think hard and keep history alive (albeit in a more “modern” or updated version). However, most theses, as brilliant as they may appear at the time they were composed, tend to have a short shelf-life. Soon new scholars, proliferating new theses, sometimes even based on new sources, will demolish our brilliant ideas. This is different with databases. They too will, eventually be replaced, but first of all not so soon, and secondly, actually when they are replaced, they still serve as the basis for the new database. The work done in creating a database is not so soon lost.

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

Carvalho (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ezekiel

The Oxford Handbook of Ezekiel

Edited by Corrine Carvalho

Oxford Handbooks

Published: 05 March 2024
640 Pages | 4 b/w illustrations
ISBN: 9780190634513


The current state of scholarship on the book of Ezekiel, one of the three Major Prophets, is robust. Ezekiel, unlike most pre-exilic prophetic collections, contains overt clues that its primary circulation was as a literary text and not a collection of oral speeches. The author was highly educated, the theology of the book is "dim," and its view of humanity is overwhelmingly negative. In The Oxford Handbook of Ezekiel, editor Corrine Carvalho brings together scholars from a diverse range of interpretive perspectives to explore one of the Bible's most debated books.

Consisting of twenty-seven essays, the Handbook provides introductions to the major trends in the scholarship of Ezekiel, covering its history, current state, and emerging directions. After an introductory overview of these trends, each essay discusses an important element in the scholarly engagement with the book. Several essays discuss the history of the text (its historical context, redactional layers, text criticism, and use of other Israelite and near eastern traditions). Others focus on key themes in the book (such as temple, priesthood, law, and politics), while still others look at the book's reception history and contextual interpretations (including art, Christian use, gender approaches, postcolonial approaches, and trauma theory). Taken together, these essays demonstrate the vibrancy of Ezekiel research in the twenty-first century.

I am pleased to note that three of my University of St. Andrews colleagues are contributors.

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Sunday, April 07, 2024

Isaiah and Intertextuality (Mohr Siebeck)

NEW BOOK FROM MOHR SIEBECK: Isaiah and Intertextuality. Isaiah amid Israel's Scriptures. Edited by Wilson de Angelo Cunha and Andrew T. Abernethy. 2024. XIV, 284 pages.Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. Reihe 148. 109,00 € including VAT. sewn paper ISBN 978-3-16-163233-4.
Published in English.
Intertextuality is a valuable interpretive tool that provides a rich understanding of Isaiah in its complex relationship with the larger witness of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. With essays by leading and upcoming scholars, this volume moves sequentially through the tri-partite Hebrew canon to showcase the interconnections between Isaiah and books within the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. It becomes evident that Isaiah is like a »prism« that refracts strands of tradition in ways that neither supersede nor exhaust the riches of the prior tradition and that are neither superseded by nor exhausted by the subsequent uses of Isaiah. The Book of Isaiah employs these traditions for its own rhetorical purposes, offering a message that is both unique in comparison with and interrelated to the wider web of biblical, textual traditions. Isaiah is to be read as a book amid Israel's Scriptures.

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