About PaleoJudaica

Welcome to PaleoJudaica.com!

I founded this blog back in March of 2003 and still am pretty good about posting to it nearly every day. This is a blog about ancient Judaism and its historical and literary context from roughly the beginning of the Second Temple period (late 500s B.C.E.) to the rise of Islam (early 600s C.E.). I have intentionally phrased this fairly broadly: I am interested not just in ancient Jewish history in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora through late antiquity, and in ancient Jewish literature (late biblical texts, Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmuds, Midrash, Targumin, Piyyutim, inscriptions, etc.), but also in ancient sources, ancient history, and methodological developments which increase or show promise of increasing our understanding of ancient Judaism. So items pertaining to, say, early Christianity, Christian Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Roman history, archaeological techniques, anthropological and phenomenological studies, etc. may be relevant as long as they have (either explicitly or implicitly) some connection with ancient Judaism. If an item involving First Temple Israel or medieval Judaism or anything else happens to strike me as especially interesting (or amusing), I may throw that in as well. Hey, it’s my blog.

Which brings up me. My name is Professor James R. Davila (please call me Jim) and I am Professor of Early Jewish Studies at the Divinity School of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.* Ancient Judaism and related matters are my area of expertise and this blog is my excuse to gather interesting things from the Internet on the subject and to talk about whatever paleoJudaic matters are on my mind. Please note: this is my own blog which I am maintaining as a private individual and no one else, including my employer, has anything to do with it or bears any responsibility for it. My linking to a website or quoting something someone else has written do not necessarily mean I agree with what is said therein. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, and sometimes I do not have a strong opinion either way If I want to tell you what I think about something, I will make it clear that I am expressing my own opinion. You are welcome to agree or disagree with anything I link to or with anything I say. I blog. You decide.

I would be very grateful if readers would send me notices of recent developments online regarding ancient Judaism as so understood, along with your own comments if you have any. Please send all PaleoJudaica-related correspondence to paleojudaica@talktalk.net (and be forewarned that I feel free to post anything sent to this address to the PaleoJudaica blog with the writer's name on it unless the writer explicitly tells me not to). If I like the item and have the time and energy, I’ll post it. The following are some specific areas of interest.

  • Newspaper articles published online on anything to do with ancient Judaism.
  • Reviews of books relating to ancient Judaism published online. If I post a link to a review and you are the author of the book and want to reply to the review, I may be willing to post your comments.
  • Notices of new or imminently forthcoming scholarly books relating to ancient Judaism. Please include a link to an online notice for the book if at all possible. I sometimes also post notices about works of fiction that involve ancient Judaism, so feel free to draw these to my attention as well.
  • Notices of conferences, symposia, or other special events that pertain in some way to ancient Judaism. Please include a short description with contact details and, if possible, a link to a web page
  • Job advertisements for academic or research positions in an area of ancient Judaism or at least involving ancient Judaism as a component. I generally do not, for example, post notices of jobs generically on the Hebrew Bible or New Testament, but I may post them if they refer to knowledge of Second Temple or Rabbinic Judaism etc. as subspecialty. Send me the description and, if possible, a link to a web page.
  • Interesting blog posts at other blogs which relate to ancient Judaism. Please include a link.
  • Threads on e-mail discussion lists which happen to be saying interesting things about ancient Judaism. I will only note these for discussion lists that maintain an archive that allows me to link to the post or thread.
  • Really cool websites (yours or someone else’s), especially new ones, which have something to do with ancient Judaism. If I think they’re cool too, I may link to them and profile them briefly.
  • Journal articles published online which relate to ancient Judaism.
  • Abstracts of recently completed (fully completed, accepted, and passed, not just submitted) doctoral or master’s-level dissertations. If you’ve just finished one, please send me an abstract and, if you have it, a link to any addition information online.
  • Outrageous or (intentionally or unintentionally) humorous online articles, websites, blog discussions, et cetera pertaining in some way to ancient Judaism.
  • Factual corrections to anything I’ve already posted. If you convince me that I’ve made a mistake, I will post a correction.
  • Anything else that I haven’t thought to put in this list but which seems to fit the general parameters I’ve laid out above.
Finally, let me emphasize that all postings to this site go up entirely according to my whim. If you send me something, I will try to read it and seriously consider it for the site. If I don’t post it, it means that either I decided it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, or I didn’t have time, or I didn’t do it for some other reason of my own (which I may or may not share with you). It probably doesn’t mean I don’t like you, so don’t take it personally. If you disagree with something I’ve said, you’re welcome to tell me about it, and if I think it has some substance I may post your disagreement, but if you are rude to me or persist in pestering me about issues you care about but I don’t, I may stop reading your messages. I’m a pretty nice guy and I generally don’t set out to offend people, but if something I say does offend you and you complain to me, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I will care. If you don’t like something I post, feel free to set up your own blog and have your say.

Thanks for visiting this site and for sending me items of potential interest. Please visit PaleoJudaica often and bring your friends.

*I welcome inquiries for supervision of PhD research involving ancient Judaism, especially in the following areas: Second Temple Jewish literature, particularly the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha; Second Temple Jewish literature in dialogue with and as background to the New Testament; Jewish Merkavah Mysticism (Hekhalot literature); anthropological approaches (especially involving the shamanic complex or ritual studies) to all of the above texts; and the interpretation of scripture in all of the above.