Saturday, July 13, 2024

Collins & Nati, The Rule of the Association and Related Texts (OUP)

The Rule of the Association and Related Texts

John J. Collins and James Nati

Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls


Published: 09 July 2024
320 Pages
ISBN: 9780198845744
Also Available As:


The Rule of the Association (1QS; Serek ha-Yahad) is the primary description of the sectarian community described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was one of the first Scrolls published, in 1951. Several related fragmentary scrolls subsequently came to light. This book provides text, translation, and commentary on all these manuscripts, with a substantial introduction that locates the Rule in the context of the sectarian movement.

Distinctive features of this commentary include: presentation of the Hebrew text; treatment of the related manuscripts as texts in their own right, not just as stages in the development of 1QS; recognition that this was a rule for a movement with many settlements and not just for the community that lived at Qumran; recognition of graded levels of holiness within 1QS; recognition of conceptual differences between 1QS and some of the related fragments with regard to the nature and goals of the association; discussion of the broader cultural context of voluntary associations in the Hellenistic world, and the influence of Persian dualism on the Instruction on the Two Spirits in 1QS 3-4.

The commentary also engages the full range of scholarship on the texts known as 1QSa (The Rule of the Community) and 1QSb (The Scroll of Blessings) which were copied on the same scroll as 1QS but appear to have originated separately.

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

Friday, July 12, 2024

Magness, Jerusalem through the Ages (OUP)

Jerusalem through the Ages

From Its Beginnings to the Crusades

Jodi Magness



Published: 26 June 2024

624 Pages | 160 b/w images, 16 color images


ISBN: 9780190937805


A major new history of one of the world's holiest of cities, based on the most recent archaeological discoveries

First settled five thousand years ago by a mountain spring between the Mediterranean and Dead Sea, Jerusalem was named for the god (Shalem) that was worshipped there. When David reportedly conquered the city, ca. 1000 BCE, he transferred the Ark of the Covenant—and with it, the presence of the God of Israel—to this rocky outcrop. Here, David's son Solomon built a permanent house for the God of Israel called the first temple, and since then this spot has been known as the Temple Mount. After Babylonians destroyed Solomon's temple in 586 BCE, it was replaced by the second temple, which is the setting for many of the events described in the Gospel accounts. In 70 CE, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, leaving the Temple Mount in ruins. Two hundred and fifty years later, the emperor Constantine constructed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher around the spots where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried, and the church is now considered Jerusalem's holiest site by many Christians worldwide. In the late seventh century CE the focus shifted back to the Temple Mount, when an early Islamic ruler named `Abd al-Malek enshrined the rocky outcrop in a monument that is still iconic of the city today: the Dome of the Rock. In 1099 Crusaders conquered Jerusalem, and although their rule was brief rule they left a deep impact on the city. Today, much of the old city retains its medieval appearance.

For followers of the three Abrahamic faiths, Jerusalem is the place where the presence of the God of Israel dwells—the meeting point of heaven and earth and the locus of divine and human interaction. Jerusalem through the Ages by Jodi Magness explores how these beliefs came to be associated with the city by introducing readers to its complex and layered history, providing a broad yet detailed account, including the most recent archaeological discoveries. Each chapter focuses on a key moment of transition from Jerusalem's beginnings to the Crusades of the medieval period, enabling readers to experience the city's many transformations as it changed hands and populations-Jebusites, Israelites, Judahites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The book also includes a walking guide for visitors who wish to experience the city's many archaeological sites firsthand..

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

Palamidis & Bonnet (eds.), What’s in a Divine Name? (De Gruyter, open access)

What’s in a Divine Name?
Religious Systems and Human Agency in the Ancient Mediterranean

Edited by: Alaya Palamidis and Corinne Bonnet
In collaboration with: Julie Bernini , Enrique Nieto Izquierdo and Lorena PĂ©rez Yarza

About this book

Open Access

Divine Names are a key component in the communication between humans and gods in Antiquity. Their complexity derives not only from the impressive number of onomastic elements available to describe and target specific divine powers, but also from their capacity to be combined within distinctive configurations of gods.

The volume collects 36 essays pertaining to many different contexts – Egypt, Anatolia, Levant, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome – which address the multiple functions and wide scope of divine onomastics. Scrutinized in a diachronic and comparative perspective, divine names shed light on how polytheisms and monotheisms work as complex systems of divine and human agents embedded in an historical framework. Names imply knowledge and play a decisive role in rituals; they move between cities and regions, and can be translated; they interact with images and reflect the intrinsic plurality of divine beings.

This vivid exploration of divine names pays attention to the balance between tradition and innovation, flexibility and constraints, to the material and conceptual parameters of onomastic practices, to cross-cultural contexts and local idiosyncrasies, in a word to human strategies for shaping the gods through their names.

Also available in hardcover for £136.50.

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

SOTS Booklist 2024

Samuel Hildebrandt (ed.) with Kengoro Goto, Society for Old Testament Study Book List 2024 (= JSOT 48.5) (London: Sage, 2024).
I have missed noting the last couple of these, but here's the latest.

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

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Jassen & Schiffman (eds.), The Dead Sea Scrolls (Palgrave Macmillan)

The Dead Sea Scrolls

New Insights on Ancient Texts

Book © 2024


Editors: Alex P. Jassen, Lawrence H. Schiffman

  • Engages with the latest trends in intersecting fields of Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship
  • Brings together articles from internationally recognized scholars in Dead Sea Scrolls studies
  • Accessible to scholars outside the field and to the general public
Part of the book series: The New Antiquity (NANT)

About this book

This volume draws readers into the exciting world of the Dead Sea Scrolls – around 930 manuscripts which were discovered in caves near the ancient settlement of Qumran between 1947 and 1956, and which transformed scholarship of the Bible, Judaism and Christianity. Ten scholars working at the forefront of their field address big-picture issues in relation to the scroll fragments, including their preservation and conservation; their availability electronically; and their relation to Rabbinic literature. The book also looks at the archaeology of Qumran, and the history and identity of the community; ancient writing systems; the scrolls in relation to the wider world of the time – the practice of magic and demonology, prayer, and colonial violence and power – as well as representations of them in popular media. The volume situates Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship within broader conversations in the study of the ancient world: Biblical Studies, Religious Studies, Classics, Archaeology, Jewish Studies, and Ancient History.

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

Raja (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Palmyra

The Oxford Handbook of Palmyra

Edited by Rubina Raja

Oxford Handbooks

Published: 22 March 2024
632 Pages | 96 images and 7 maps
ISBN: 9780190858117

Also Available As:


The monumental remains of Palmyra (also known as Tadmor) have fascinated travelers and scholars for centuries. The Oxford Handbook of Palmyra gives a detailed analysis of the archaeology and history of this ancient oasis city in the Syrian Desert, spanning evidence from several millennia. With contributions from thirty archaeologists, epigraphists, historians, and philologists, this book covers the city's archaeological findings and history from its earliest mentions in the pre-Roman era to the destruction of many of its monuments during the Syrian Civil War and the subsequent looting. The authors recap evidence and present significant new findings and analyses from fieldwork they or others undertook in Palmyra prior to the 2011 conflict and discuss the recent occupation by ISIS and calls to defend the site's remains from current and future threats.

A broad range of themes are covered, which not only relate to the archaeology and history of the site, but also to its standing and relationship with the rest of the ancient world as a major trade hub connecting routes from East to West during the Roman period. Thirty-seven chapters relay firsthand expert knowledge in an accessible style and include up-to-date bibliographies, making this handbook an ideal and comprehensive resource for professional researchers, students, and anyone interested in this major UNESCO World Heritage Site.

HT Bibliographia Iranica.

Cross-file under Palmyra Watch. For many PaleoJudaica posts on the ancient metropolis of Palmyra, its history and archaeology, the Aramaic dialect once spoken there (Palmyrene), and the city's tragic reversals of fortune, now trending for the better, See here and links, plus here and here. Also note here and here.

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

On Seila, Jephthah’s Daughter

DR. SHAYNA SHEINFELD: Seila, Jephthah’s Daughter: A Sacrifice Like Isaac (
Jephthah is compelled by a vow to sacrifice his daughter. Why is YHWH silent? Biblical Antiquities, ca. 1st century C.E., expands the story, giving Jephthah’s daughter a name and agency, and presenting her sacrifice as God’s punishment of Jephthah.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Caligula was here and so was Philo

ANCIENT HORTICULTURAL ARCHITECTURE: Archaeologists in Rome Find Spot Where Caligula Met Ill-fated Jewish Embassy. Construction works by the Tiber unearth portico where the emperor first met delegates from Alexandria, come to plead on behalf of the victims of history's first pogrom (Ariel David, Haaretz).

Philo of Alexandria led this embassy. He left his account of it in On the Embassy to Gaius. His brief narration of the first meeting with the Emperor Gaius Caligula in this garden is at §181.

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

More on a rediscovered treatise of Porphyry

ROGER PEARSE: A lost Greek philosophical text rediscovered in Syriac: Porphyry’s “On Principles and Matter.”
The discovery of a lost text from ancient times is not something that happens every day. Obviously it’s exciting when it does! Strangely a recent discovery seems to have passed mostly unnoticed.

The text in question is On Principles and Matter, a text written by none other than the famous Porphyry, the late 3rd century neoplatonist philosopher. He was a disciple of Plotinus, whose Isagoge (Introduction to Logic) was translated into every ancient language. He is also known as the author of a lost text against the Christians.


I noted the publication of this previously lost treatise a few years ago. But in this post Roger Pearse fills out the background and details of this discovery. He also finds another fairly early reference (by the Nestorian patriarch Timothy I) to the Syriac translation of the treatise here.

Porphyry comes up now and then at PaleoJudaica, notably regarding his mention of once lost Old Testamement pseudepigrapha (sort of) that were rediscovered in Coptic versions in the Nag Hammadi Library. He also was the first to advance arguments for the Book of Daniel being composed during the Maccabean revolt.

The patriarch Timothy I is also known to PaleoJudaica from his letter that appears to recount the discovery of some Dead Sea Scrolls in his time. See here and here. Again, regrettably, key links have rotted. Not my doing. But Roger Pearse quotes a translation of the letter here.

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

Crate Expectations?

THE GENIZA FRAGMENTS BLOG: Crate Expectations (Melonie Schmierer-Lee).

It's nice that even this crate of tiny Geniza scraps has produced a minor discovery. But the part to keep in mind is the question in the final line of the post: "And what else can we expect to find among the Genizah scraps?"

What else indeed?

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

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Arnold Band (1929-2024)

SAD NEWS: Remembering Arnold Band, a towering figure in Jewish studies. Band, who has died at 94, brought a classicist touch to his studies of Agnon, Kafka, Yehoshua and countless others (David N. Myers, The Forward).
Arnold J. Band, one of the great Hebrew literary scholars of the past 50 years and a towering figure in the global community of Jewish studies researchers, passed away Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Silver Spring, MD, at the age of 94. Arnie Band was a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at UCLA for more than 50 years ...
Arnold Band was one of my teachers when I was an undergraduate at UCLA, more than forty years ago. I still have two papers I wrote for his classes. Some of the material from one of them went into one of my contributions to MOTP1.

In my senior year, when I took my first class with him, Professor Band saw some promise in me and invited me to his office to discuss my future career. He gave me much useful advice and drew my attention to important local contacts in my field who later became teachers, collaborators, and friends. He also wrote PhD references for me to a number of institutions, including the Harvard NELC program where I ended up pursuing my doctorate.

When I left UCLA, I thanked him for all his help. The last thing he said to me was, "Do the same for your students." I hope I have.

Studying with him was a decisive point in my life. If I hadn't met him, my career might have been very different. I am saddened indeed to hear that he is gone.

May his memory be for a blessing.

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

Rollston on the Megiddo Mosaic inscriptions

ROLLSTON EPIGRAPHY: A Stunning Trio of Early Christian (3rd century) Inscriptions from Biblical Armageddon: ‘God Jesus Christ,’ Five Prominent Named Women, a Named Centurion, a Eucharist Table, and Two Fish.

Epigrapher Christopher Rollston presents a comprehensive analysis of the inscriptions. He argues for their third century dating.

For PaleoJudica posts on the Megiddo prison excavation and the church/prayer/worship building containing the mosaic inscriptions, including the "God Jesus Christ" inscription, see here and links.

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

Bill advanced to expand IAA authority into West Bank


Ministers move to expand Antiquities Authority jurisdiction into West Bank. Bill would transfer auspices over archaeological sites in the territory from a military unit to a civilian government body, strengthening claims of de facto annexation (CHARLIE SUMMERS, Times of Israel)

Netanyahu Coalition Advances Bill Allowing Israel's Antiquities Authority to Operate in West Bank. 'It is indisputable that these areas are steeped in Jewish history, and in any case these findings have no historical or other connection to the PA,' says the bill's explanatory note. The Antiquities Authority director general opposed the move and said it was infeasible (Noa Shpigel & Nir Hasson, Haaretz)

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

Monday, July 08, 2024

13th-century (CE) Hebrew tombstone found in India

HEBREW EPIGRAPHY: Hebrew inscriptions found on 13th-century headstone in India. Ramanathapuram tombstone dates to 1224 or 1225; due to extensive damage, exact name of deceased remains unclear, but the name Nehemiah appears on the tombstone (Itamar Eichner, Ynet News).

This story is a bit late for PaleoJudaica, but it's getting a lot of attention and is worth noting. The Ramanathapuram tombstone is dated according to the Seleucid era, which is kind of cool.

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

Is biblical pseudepigraphy a lie or a fib?

PROF. JONATHAN KLAWANS: Biblical Pseudepigraphy: Are Falsely Attributed Biblical Texts Deceptive? (
Is editing and writing in the guise of Moses, Solomon, or Daniel a legitimate literary convention, justified because of the author’s inspired state? Or is this practice a form of deceit, even forgery?
A thougtful and quite comprehensive discussion of the issues, except that note 1 could have included a reference to MOTP.

For more on the possibility of pseudepigrapha as channeling, see here. Unfortunately, the link to my SBL paper has rotted again.

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

ANE/AWOL anniversary

HAPPY THIRTY-FIRST ANNIVERSARY (yesterday) to the ANE discussion list, which eventually evolved into the AWOL Blog. I was a charter member of the former.

For more on that time and its context, see my 2010 SBL paper What Just Happened. Sadly, almost all the links are gone. The ephemerality of the online world is something we shall come to regret.

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

Sunday, July 07, 2024

Rovner, ... Studies in the Evolution and Formation of the Passover Haggadah (Gorgias)

Studies in the Evolution and Formation of the Passover Haggadah

By Jay Rovner

The Passover Haggadah, the quintessential Jewish book, began taking shape in the period of the Mishnah and the Talmud (ca. 100-600 CE). Even by 600, it did not look like it does today. Major portions were wanting, e.g., the story of eminent sages at a seder in Bene Beraq; the typology of the four sons; the midrashic expansion of the story of the exodus; the song Dayyenu. Those compositions (mostly) or borrowings were incorporated into the Haggadah between ca. 600-900 (the Geonic period). Such selections completed the Haggadah, producing the book used at Passover Seders to the present day. This study shows how the section of the Passover Haggdah known as maggid (“recounting”) achieved its comprehensive structure and contents between ca. 600 and 900 CE (the geonic period).

Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4376-0
Formats Hardback

Publication Status: In Print
Series: Judaism in Context27
Publication Date: May 29,2024
Interior Color: Black with Color Inserts
Trim Size: 7 x 10
Page Count: 354
Languages: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4376-0

See the link for price.

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