Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Contributing to AJR

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Traveling for the Summer? Contribute to AJR!

Cueva and Martínez (eds.), Splendide Mendax

NEW BOOK: NASSCAL Member Publication: Scott Brown, “Mar Saba 65: Twelve Enduring Misconceptions.” This post flags one article in the book. The full bibliographical information for the volume is also given:
Edmund P. Cueva and Javier Martínez, eds. Splendide Mendax: Rethinking Fakes and Forgeries in Classical, Late Antique, and Early Christian Literature. Groningen: Barkhuis, 2016.
Follow the link for description and TOC. Both Second Temple Judaism and New Testament Apocrypha have some representation.

The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, IX

NEW BOOK FROM SHEFFIELD PHOENIX PRESS:
The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, IX
English–Hebrew Index; Word Frequency Table

Edited by David J.A. Clines

Volume IX offers a valuable enhancement of the 8-volume Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (1993–2011).

In DCH I–VIII, each volume had its own English–Hebrew Index, but this volume presents a much improved gathering together of all those indexes. The Index here contains every word used as a translation (gloss) in the Dictionary, that is, all the words printed in bold. In addition—a feature not seen before in Hebrew dictionaries—beneath each listed word are noted all the Hebrew words it translates, together with the volume and page reference of the relevant article.

[...]

The second element in this volume is the Word Frequency Table. This is a combination of the Word Frequency Tables in the various volumes of DCH. There, the lists of word frequencies were arranged under each letter of the alphabet. In the present publication, all the words in the Dictionary are combined in a single list arranged in order of frequency of occurrence.

[...]

William Foxwell Albright

"THE DEAN OF BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGISTS": Digging with the Bible: William F. Albright proved the Bible was a book of factual, historical, real, places and people (BENJAMIN GLATT, Jerusalem Post).
He worked at the site of Gibeah or Tel el-Ful, possibly the location of the Book of Judges’ Battle of Gibeah and the first site of the capital of the Holy City, which is located in what is now the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

The archeologist also discovered Tell Beit Mirsim, which Albright identified as Dvir (Debir), or Kiryat Sefer, on the border of the Shfela and the Hebron Hills.

The scholar played a role in authenticating the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948, calling it “the greatest manuscript find of modern times.” Out of all his articles, archeological excavations and research, his authentication of the Dead Sea Scrolls made him well known outside of the scholarly field.
The headline rather overstates the actual quotation(from the 1975 issue of “Ministry – the International Journal for Pastors”) cited in the article: "The Bible became real to him, a book of factual, historical, real, places and people." This is true, although the view of scholars and archaeologists today is that he somewhat overstated the conclusion. For example, he thought there was at least some historical basis for the patriarchal narratives in Genesis, whereas I don't think any specialist would argue that today. Albright's most enduring contributions were not really in biblical studies, but rather archaeology and epigraphy. He contributed a great deal to the consolidation of Palestinian ceramic typology and he also laid the fundamental groundwork for the paleographical typology of Northwest Semitic inscriptions (Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician, etc.) And, of course, much of his fame today comes from his early recognition of the genuineness and importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. A biography of Albright was published by Leona Glidden Running in 1975. And, as the article notes, Thomas Levy and David Noel Freedman published a brief biographical memoir of Albright in 2008, which you can read at the link or in a longer 2009 version here.

Cyril and Methodius Day 2016

SLAVONIC PHILOLOGY: Bulgaria marks Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature Day (FOCUS News Agency).
Sofia. On May 24 Bulgaria celebrates Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature Day.

The holiday, which commemorates the deed of Saints Cyril and Methodius, was first marked in the southern city of Plovdiv in 1851 at the initiative of the Bulgarian linguist, folklorist and writer Nayden Gerov. The capital Sofia celebrated the holiday in 1859 for the first time. After Bulgaria’s Liberation the first commemoration was held on May 11, 1880.

[...]
Background on Saints Cyril and Methodius, their foundational work on making Old Church Slavonic a literary language, why their day is celebrated multiple times in the year, and why PaleoJudaica cares about any of this, is here and here with many links.

Monday, May 23, 2016

New monograph series on Christian Apocrypha

NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA WATCH: NASSCAL Monograph Series: Studies in Christian Apocrypha. The founding of the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL) last year was noted here.

Corpus Inscriptionum Phoenicarum

AWOL: Corpus Inscriptionum Phoenicarum. Cross-file under Phoenician Watch and Punic Watch.

Anabasis 6 (2016)

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: New issue of Anabasis.
The sixth issue of ANABASIS: Studia Classica et Orientalia is published by department of Ancient History and Oriental Studies, Institute of History at Rzeszów University.
Follow the link for the TOC. The topics are wide ranging, but ancient Judaism is well represented.

Fellowship on Jews and the Material in Antiquity

H-JUDAIC: Fellowship Opportunity: 2017-18 Frankel Institute Theme "Jews and the Material in Antiquity."
The Frankel Institute’s 2017–2018 theme year will ask how Jews in the ancient world related both to matter itself and to issues of materiality. How did ancient Jews sense, understand, and even construct material entities such as artifacts, bodies, environments, and so on? How did those who were not Jewish perceive or represent the relationships between Jews and matter? Finally, how has the history of Jews and matter been reconstructed in modern scholarship and how might scholars approach the nexus of Jews and the material more productively?

[...]
Follow the link for further particulars. The application deadline is 7 October 2016.

Anton on Fifty Shades of Talmud

AUDIO INTERVIEW: Rejuvenation: “Fifty Shades of Talmud: What the First Rabbis Had to Say about You-Know-What” (Jewish Press).
In her first nonfiction book, award winning historical novelist Maggie Anton combines her Talmudic scholarship with curiosity about the Sages ideas on Sex and Intimacy. Listen in as the popular author of the ‘Rashi’s Daughters’ series discusses with Eve Harow everything from exactly how we are supposed to be “fruitful and multiply’ to why the modern world needs Judaism’s refreshing honesty on physical relationships in all their forms. Pithy and pious, hilarious and serious, ’50 Shades of Talmud’ gives surprising perspective on a much discussed old/new topic. (Note: If you’re a prude, give this interview a miss…..)
Background on Ms. Anton and her latest book is here and links.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

OI Open Access Publications on Persepolis

AWOL: Open Access Publications on Persepolis from the Oriental Institute. Persepolis has been mentioned from time to time by PaleoJudaica, mostly in connection with the Persepolis Fortification Archive, which has preserved, among other things, many texts in Persian-era Aramaic. For past posts on the Archive and its complex and contentious political history (an ongoing court case on whether it can be sold to compensate terrorism victims), start here and follow the links back.

Origin of the Samaritan Pentateuch

BIBLE ODYSSEY: Origin of the Samaritan Pentateuch (Terry Giles). HT AJR. Past posts on the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Samaritans are here and here and links.

Ceriani’s facsimile of Codex Ambrosianus B.21

LIV INGEBORG LIED: What facsimiles may do for you: the Syriac Codex Ambrosianus (7a1) reimagined.
However, what I want to run with you in the current blog post is the ways in which facsimile editions may also shape our imagination, both of a manuscript and its texts, using Ceriani’s facsimile edition as a test case. The effects of a facsimile may be more subtle and therefore sometimes harder to pin down, since a facsimile edition is supposed to be a reproduction of the manuscript page and because it is sometimes used by scholars as a manuscript replacement. “Facsimile” – the very word promises an exact copy, right?
More on Codex Ambrosianus B.21 is here and links. Cross-file under Syriac Watch.

Villeneuve, Nuptial Symbolism

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Nuptial Symbolism in Second Temple Writings, the New Testament and Rabbinic Literature
Divine Marriage at Key Moments of Salvation History


André Villeneuve, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
In Nuptial Symbolism in Second Temple Writings, the New Testament and Rabbinic Literature, André Villeneuve examines the ancient Jewish concept of the covenant between God and Israel, portrayed as a marriage dynamically moving through salvation history. This nuptial covenant was established in Eden but damaged by sin; it was restored at the Sinai theophany, perpetuated in the Temple liturgy, and expected to reach its final consummation at the end of days.

The authors of the New Testament adopted the same key moments of salvation history to describe the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church. In their typological treatment of these motifs, they established an exegetical framework that would anticipate the four senses of Scripture later adopted by patristic and medieval commentators.

Judeo-Persian Literature

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Judeo-Persian Literature.
Iran Nameh, New Series, Volume 1, Number 2 (Summer 2016)

The second issue of Iran Nameh, New Series, Volume 1, Number 2 (Summer 2016), a memorial volume in honour of Professor Amnon Netzer (1934-2008), the Iranian-Jewish historian and researcher of Iranian Jewry and Judeo-Persian Literature is published. The volume comprises bilingual Persian and English contributions on different aspects of Judeo-Persian Literature and Iranian Jewry.
Follow the link for the TOC. Past posts involving Judeo-Persian are here, here, here, here, and many links.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

"On the enduring legacy of the Loeb Library"

PHILOLOGY: The bright ghosts of antiquity (John Talbot, The New Criterion). A long essay on the Loeb Classical Library, its evolution, and its influence. You should read it all, but I like the way it closes:
I have a little apocalyptic fantasy that involves the collection of Loebs in my local library. It’s a complete set, from Homer’s rosy-fingered dawn to the twilight of Ammianus Marcellinus. The very sight of it is reassuringly tidy: all the sprawling energies of a thousand years of Greek and Roman thought and song, distilled and compacted into these snug matching volumes, the Greek bound in olive drab, the Latin in scarlet. Run your fingers over the spines. Here are The Classics.

Then comes a nuclear holocaust. My local library, like others around the world, is mostly pulverized, but an accident involving molten rubber preserves the case of Loebs intact within a sealed airtight cavity beneath the rubble. Centuries elapse and deposit their layers of sediment. Above ground, the descendants of the survivors plod on, speaking a crude version of English, and when their vestigial civilization is at last stable enough to permit cultivation of the liberal arts, their curiosity turns to the prior civilization, ours, whose evident sophistication is attested only in the occasionally exposed ruin, or in fragments of excavated texts. Of this second category, a half-page of Danielle Steele, the corner of a Dunkin’ Donuts advert, and the odd shred of Paradise Regained are all scrutinized, edited, and interpreted with equal zeal. The fragments are exasperating: they imply a vast literature, and behind it a teeming culture, all tantalizingly out of reach.

Until one day when excavation unseals that underground cavity, and for the first time in so many centuries, sunlight falls on those green and red spines. The whole Loeb Classical Library, dedicated to preserving whatever could be salvaged from an even earlier lost civilization, has itself survived intact. The excavators fall upon the cache and discover not only the English (which they can mostly make out, though it appears to them as remote as Chaucer to us) but also, to their astonishment, on the facing pages, two strange, even more ancient languages, one with an unfamiliar alphabet. Amid a storm of speculations it is posited that the English is the key to the other two tongues, and in time a latter-day Champollion steps forward and reconstructs the grammar of Latin and Greek. His successors, pioneer scholars of the recovered ancient languages, are at first awestruck—what are these voices speaking out of the dust?—and then electrified, as they begin to read and assimilate Homer and Sophocles and Lucretius and Augustine. These voices must be emulated; the standards are daunting but stimulating; though ancient, they point the way to something new. Academies are organized for teaching the new languages; young souls (they will become poets and historians and scientists) are once again smitten by the songs of Sappho and Catullus, the grave brilliance of Thucydides and Tacitus, the searching effervescence of Plato’s Socrates and Aristotle’s dogged earthbound inquisitiveness. The post-apocalyptic world shrugs off its torpor, hums with ideas and energy and hope.

I suppose what I mean by all this is that it is good to know that the Loeb Classical Library is there, patiently waiting, in case any civilization (not least our own present one) should require a renaissance.
This little apocalyptic fantasy is really not too far from what actually happened in the nineteenth century. We carried on the tradition through the twentieth century and, falteringly, into the twenty-first. It remains to be seen whether the rising nihilism and barbarism of modern society (including academia) can be resisted enough to pass this legacy on to future generations.

Past posts on the Loeb Classical Library are here and here and links.

'Arel

YONA SABAR: Hebrew word of the week: ’arel “uncircumcised; Philistine (Bible); Christian.”

Hallam, Basics of Classical Syriac

FORTHCOMING BOOK FROM ZONDERVAN:
Basics of Classical Syriac: Complete Grammar, Workbook, and Lexicon Paperback – June 21, 2016
by Steven C. Hallam (Author)

Basics of Classical Syriac by Steven C. Hallam is a beginning Syriac grammar, workbook, and lexicon all in one and can be used by independent learners or a classroom setting.

Of the early translational languages of the New Testament, none is more important than Syriac. A working knowledge of Syriac provides a lens from which to study the early texts of the Greek New Testament, the Peshitta (the Syriac translation of the Bible), and various early church history texts and commentary, thus Basics of Classical Syriac is useful for students across a range of disciplines. Workbook exercises for each chapter enable students to know whether they are grasping the fundamentals of the language.

Basics of Classical Syriac provides an ideal first step into this ancient language and focuses on getting the student into text translation as quickly as possible.
Cross-file under Syriac Watch.

BAJS 2016 reminder

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: BAJS Conference 2016: The Texture of Jewish Tradition: Investigations in Textuality. The British Association for Jewish Studies Conference meets this year at the University of Birmingham on 10-12 July. The deadline for registrations is 12 June.
This conference will explore textuality from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the material aspects of texts, including the growing role of digital humanities in the field, to scribal culture and consciousness. The event will also involve discussions around textual plurality, composition, reworking, form, genre, reception, classification, and inter-relationships between textual worlds and corpora. Speakers will also investigate the oral and social aspects of texts and textuality, such as performance, memory and power.

The keynote talk, titled 'Scribal Bodies and the Growth of Scriptures in Early Judaism' will be given by Professor Judith Newman (University of Toronto).
The conference covers the full range of Jewish history and literature, but Judaism from the Second Temple period through the Rabbinic period is well represented.

Clivaz et al. (eds.), Ancient Worlds in Digital Culture

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Ancient Worlds in Digital Culture

Edited by Claire Clivaz, Paul Dilley, David Hamidović
The volume presents a selection of research projects in Digital Humanities applied to the “Biblical Studies” in the widest sense and context, including Early Jewish and Christian studies, hence the title “Ancient Worlds”. Taken as a whole, the volume restitutes the merging Digital Culture at the beginning of the 21st century. It also promotes many examples which attest to a change of paradigm in the textual scholarship of “Ancient Worlds”: categories are reshaped; textuality is (re-)investigated according to its relationships with oral and visualization; methods, approaches and practices are no more a fixed conglomeration but they are mobilized according to their contexts and the new available digital tools.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Howe and Müller (eds.), Folly and Violence in the Court of Alexander ...

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Folly and Violence in the Court of Alexander the Great and his Successors? Notice of a new book: Howe, Time & Sabine Müller (eds.). 2016. Folly and Violence in the Court of Alexander the Great and his Successors?. Bochum & Freiburg: Projekt verlag.

Alexander and his successors (the Diadochoi) figure prominently in the apocalyptic oracles in the second half of the Book of Daniel. Any background on the Greco-Roman reception of traditions about them is always of interest.

Geniza Fragments 71

GENIZA FRAGMENTS 71. The April 2016 issue of the Newsletter of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library has an article on the Faith After the Pharaohs exhibition at the British Museum and another on the symposium honoring the life and legacy of Solomon Schechter, plus articles on some Geniza fragments and more.

The last issue of the newsletter was noted here.

Porter and Yoon (eds.), Paul and Gnosis

NEW BOOK FROM BRILL:
Paul and Gnosis

Edited by Stanley E. Porter, McMaster Divinity College and David I. Yoon, McMaster Divinity College.
This collection of essays—the ninth volume in Brill’s Pauline Studies series—features Paul and his relationship to knowledge. Gnosis, the Greek word generally translated as "knowledge," is broadly interpreted, and the essays contained in this volume revolve around both a more general notion of knowledge in relation to Paul and more specific references to Gnosticism. Several of these essays discuss Paul’s use of "knowledge" words, Paul’s knowledge and understanding of key themes and ideas in his writings, Paul’s interpreters in light of gnostics like Valentinus and Marcion, and Gnosticism in light of Paul’s letters. This collection of essays exposes the reader to crucial topics regarding Paul and Gnosis that are not readily addressed elsewhere.

The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha

OLD TESTAMENT PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: Jewish or Christian Pseudepigrapha? (Phillip J. Long, Reading Acts Blog). HT James McGrath on Facebook. Professor Long may also want to have a look at my book, The Provenance of the Pseudepigrapha: Jewish, Christian, or Other? (Brill, 2005).

Hurtado on messiahship and divine sonship

LARRY HURTADO: Messiah and Divine Son.
Among interesting points raised in the discussion at the Salamanca symposium last week was the observation by Prof. Guijarro that ascriptions of divine sonship to Jewish messianic figures of the second-temple period aren’t common, whereas in earliest Christian discourse Jesus’ filial status with God is more frequent and prominent.

[...]

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tanach online

AWOL: Tanach - תנ״ך. An online edition of the Hebrew Bible. Looks useful.

Mroczek on the canon etc.

FRANKLY JUDAIC PODCAST: Eva Mroczek, "The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity." Dr. Mroczek's book The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (OUP), was noted as forthcoming here. It has now been published.

Review of Kalleres, City of Demons

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Kalleres, City of Demons (Rex Barnes). Review of City of Demons: Violence, Ritual, and Christian Power in Late Antiquity. By Dayna S. Kalleres. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2015. Pp. ix-374.

Grant for the Museum of the Jewish People

IN TEL AVIV: The Museum of the Jewish People receives a major renewal campaign gift from the David Berg Foundation. "The gift will support the creation of a gallery in the new core exhibition at The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot entitled “Jewish Centers of Antiquity: Babylonia and the Land of Israel” (Shula Bahat, RNS).
The exhibition will tell the parallel stories of Jewish life in the Land of Israel and Babylonia in the centuries following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. It will look at how the Jews in both centers, living in the heart of the Greek and Persian empires, respectively, created cultural and intellectual traditions that changed the face of Judaism.

Safaee, Darius III: The Last Great King

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Darius III: The Last Great King. New book: Safaee, Yazdan. 2016. Darius III: The Last Great King. Tehran: Hamisheh, Pishinpažouh.

Darius III was the last king of the Persian empire, defeated by Alexander the Great. He appears in the Book of Daniel implicitly in 8:7, when the he-goat from the west (Alexander the Great) strikes down the ram with two horns (the Medo-Persian empire). Darius III may also be the unnamed fourth king of Persia in 11:2. Darius was not actually the fourth king in the series of Persian rulers; he was more like the eleventh (depending on whom you count), but the writer of Daniel seems to have been less than fully informed about such matters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Furstenberg, Purity and Community in Antiquity

NEW BOOK FROM MAGNES PRESS:
Purity and Community in Antiquity
Traditions of the Law from Second Temple Judaism to the Mishnah


By Yair Furstenberg

Publisher: The Hebrew University Magnes Press
Categories:
History, Talmud, Jewish Studies
Publish date: May 2016
Language: Hebrew (N.B.)
Danacode: 45-131138
ISBN: 978-965-493-874-7
Cover: Hardcover
Pages: 479
Weight: 1000 gr.

How did purity evolve into the one most significant religious category during the Second Temple period? What was the role of purity discourse in the reformation of Jewish society and religion in Late Antiquity?

The concern for purity shaped Second Temple Judaism, and its significance expanded far beyond the limited realm of the Temple. The fear of impurity shaped daily conduct, stood at the heart of ideological discourse and set the contours of Jewish society. The question how to ensure ritual and moral purity was of cosmic dimensions, and therefore determined the dividing lines between the main parties of Jewish society in Palestine. The Qumran sect developed the notion of the defiling sin, and Jesus was viewed by his followers as the ultimate purifier. Against these alternatives, this book offers a comprehensive analysis of the purity policy in the teachings of the dominant Pharisees. Early rabbinic traditions alongside anti-pharisaic sources uncover a controversial policy focused on the body and not on the purity of the Temple. They provided purification to wider social circles, while preserving its role in maintaining their own status. The book further demonstrates the fundamental change of religious life and social practices from the Second Temple period through the rise of the rabbinic movement, which offered a new version of ritual purity and community. A close analysis of the halakhic traditions in rabbinic literature reveals the gradual disintegration of the ancient religious culture and the emergence of the rabbinic culture within new social contexts.

JSJ 47.1 (2016)

THE JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF JUDAISM has a new issue out (47.1 [2016]). TOC:
Research Article
The Language of Stones: Roman Milestones on Rabbinic Roads
Author: Joshua Levinson
Source: Page Count 20

Research Article
Ein Text aus Palästina? Gedanken zur einleitungswissenschaftlichen Verortung der Apokalypse des Abraham
Author: Michael Sommer
Source: Page Count 21

Research Article
Cult Statuary in the Judean Temple at Yeb
Author: Collin Cornell
Source: Page Count 19

Research Article
Listening with the Body, Seeing through the Ears: Contextualizing Philo’s Lecture Event in On the Contemplative Life
Author: Matthew David Larsen
Source: Page Count 28

Research Article
Was There an Altar or a Temple in the Sacred Precinct on Mt. Gerizim?
Author: Reinhard Pummer
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 1 –21

Research Article
How the “Torah of Moses” Became Revelation
Author: David Lambert
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 22 –54

Research Article
The Hasmoneans and their Rivals in Seleucid and Post-Seleucid Judea
Author: Benedikt Eckhardt
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 55 –70

Research Article
Reading Aid: 2 Maccabees and the History of Jason of Cyrene Reconsidered
Author: Francis Borchardt
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 71 –87

Research Article
Lost and Stolen Property at Qumran: The “Oath of Adjuration”
Author: Kimberley Czajkowski
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 88 –103

Research Article
The Euphrates as Temporal Marker in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch
Author: Shayna Sheinfeld
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 104 –118

Research Article
On Transcription and Oral Transmission in Aseneth: A Study of the Narrative’s Conception
Author: Nicholas A. Elder
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 119 –142

Book Review
Ancient Jewish Letters and the Beginnings of Christian Epistolography , written by Lutz Doering
Author: Pieter W. van der Horst
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 143 –145

Book Review
Erste Reihe: Die Tosefta. Seder III: Naschim. Band III,2: Nedarim—Nezirut , written by Rabbinische Texte
Author: Günter Stemberger
Source: Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 146 –147
The abstracts can be accessed for free, but access to the articles requires a paid personal or institutional subscription.

Israel to clear mines from (traditional) site of Jesus' baptism

POLITICAL AND OTHER MINEFIELDS: Israel to Clear Landmines From Christian Holy Site Near Jericho.
JNS.org – Qasr al-Yahud, a site just north of the Dead Sea near Jericho where many Christians believe Jesus was baptized, will be cleared of landmines a half-century after Israel took control of the area during the 1967 Six-Day War.

[...]
The site and its unfortunate location between minefields, along with other more political complications, have been noted and discussed here and here. It is a pilgrimage site, so I'm glad this dangerous situation is being corrected.

Russian army barracks at Palmyra?

PALMYRA WATCH: Russians building army base at Syria’s Palmyra site: archaeologist (AP). Apparently the base is located just inside the protected no-build archaeological zone and the construction is proceeding without permission. At the same time, Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Antiquities and Museums Department in Damascus, emphasized that fighting with ISIS is still going on nearby and the presence of the Russian and Syrian troops in Palmyra is needed. Maybe if they ask the Russians very nicely to relocate a little?

Background on Palmyra is here with many links.

Betrothal in the Talmud

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, Go Together Like a— In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reading, Talmudic debates over marriage contracts are often predicated on linguistic precision, not human needs.
Between the laws of levirate marriage, marriage contracts, divorce, and betrothal, the Talmud has more to say about the subject of marriage than virtually any other topic. Even Shabbat, the subject of two lengthy tractates in Seder Moed, is not so productive of laws and legal debates as marriage. This makes sense, because while Shabbat is the holiest day in Jewish life, its laws are commandments, not subjects for negotiation. When the rabbis say that Jews are not allowed to perform 39 categories of labor on Shabbat, there is no way for Jews to bring God to court and argue with Him about exactly what He intended. Marriage, on the other hand, is understood in Jewish law as a contract between two parties, the bride and the groom, which means that it is capable of endless refinements and disagreements. Indeed, when talking about marriage law, the rabbis laid down many rules that can apply to any kind of contractual agreement—rules having to do with intention, agency, conditionality, and other complex matters.

[...]
As I've said before about various Talmudic matters, it's complicated.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

Postdoc at HMML

EXPLORING OUR MATRIX: Post-doctoral Cataloging Fellowship at HMML. James McGrath posts the full advert for this two-year fellowship at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. It involves cataloging of Arabic (including Garshuni), Syriac, and possibly Coptic manuscripts. This looks like a position that will take up some of the work of Adam McCollum. Adam was Lead Cataloger, Eastern Christian Manuscripts, at HMML, but last autumn he moved to another project at the University of Vienna. When he was at HMML he ran a blog called hmmlorientalia. I wonder if the new appointee will take it up again.