Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jewish Studies postdoc at Toronto

H-JUDAIC: Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto.
The Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto is pleased to offer the Ray D. Wolfe Postdoctoral Fellowship to support advanced research in Jewish Studies. Applicants must have completed their doctoral dissertations by July 1, 2013 on a topic related to the history, culture, literature or thought of the Jewish people. The successful candidate will receive a scholarship of $45,000 (CAD) as well as up to an additional $1500 to support participation in academic conferences. The Fellow will spend the 2013-14 academic year at the University of Toronto, during which time he or she is expected to continue his or her research; deliver a public lecture; teach one course in each of the two terms; and contribute to the intellectual life of the Centre for Jewish Studies. Applicants from foreign as well as Canadian universities are welcome. Applications must include: (1) a letter of interest that describes the candidate’s research project; (2) a curriculum vitae; (3) a brief statement of teaching interests, including proposals for two undergraduate courses; (4) a writing sample, not to exceed 8,000 words. These materials should be emailed to the Centre’s Assistant, Ms. Emily Springgay, at by December 4, 2012. By this date, applicants must also arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent in sealed envelopes to:
Centre for Jewish Studies
University of Toronto
170 St. George Street, Room 218
Toronto, ON M5R 2M8

Friday, November 16, 2012


I'M IN CHICAGO after a long but uneventful trip. If I last until then, I'm planning to go to the 50th-anniversary Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins session this evening:
Location now confirmed for PSCO@SBL meeting on 16 November at 7:30pm = Boulevard Room A at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, Chicago. Speakers include Ross Kraemer, Raanan Boustan, Todd Krulak, Megan Williams, Michael Pregill, and Phil Webster.
(From Annette Yoshiko Reed on Facebook.)

UPDATE: More details on the PSCO session here. I've been out shopping and getting a second supper. Almost 7:00 now and I'm still awake.

SBL 2012

I'M OFF TO CHICAGO for the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. On Saturday I am scheduled to present a paper in the Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity Section:
Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
W181c - McCormick Place

Theme: Demonology and Angelology

Paul Pasquesi, Presiding
Book Review Panel: Andrei Orlov, Dark Mirrors
Andrei Orlov, Marquette University, Panelist (10 min)
Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca College, Panelist (15 min)
Discussion (15 min)
Break (5 min)
Jonathan Knight, York Saint John University
The political demonology of The Ascension of Isaiah: A reply to Enrico Norelli (20 min)
Kevin Sullivan, Illinois Wesleyan University
"What’s in a Name?" Demons, Exorcisms and Esoteric Knowledge of Names (20 min)
Jeff Pettis, New Brunswick Seminary
Drug of the Widow: Isis and the angels at Hermopolis (20 min)
Jim Davila, University of St. Andrews
The Ninety-four Books of Ezra and the Angelic Revelations of John Dee (20 min)
Discussion (25 min)
Follow the link on my paper title to download a pdf file of the whole paper (due to time constraints, this is a somewhat longer version than the one I will present at the session). You can also read the abstract here (the one at the SBL site has one or two uncorrected errors that are corrected at the link).

One article cited in the paper is available online (but behind a subscription wall):

James Justin Sledge, Between Loagaeth and Cosening: Towards an Etiology of John Dee's Spirit Diaries," (Aries 10 (2010): 1-35.

Also of interest:

Egil Asprem, "'Enochian' language: A proof of the existence of angels?" Skepsis (13.12.2006)

I will let you know when I am in Chicago and networked again. I have pre-posted something for each day that I will be away, so please do keep coming back as usual. Beyond that, I will blog as often as time permits, but that may not be much.

UPDATE: Date in header now corrected to 2012. I do know what year it is. Really, I do. I was working on the 2013 British New Testament Conference preparations as I was writing this post and conference and 2013 just seemed to go together.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

RRJ 15.2

THE REVIEW OF RABBINIC JUDAISM has a new(ish) issue published: 15.2 (2012). TOC:
Full Access The Talmud’s Pharmacy: The Metaphors of “Taanit”

Authors: Arkady Kovelman; Uri Gershowitz
pp. 139–164 (26)

Full Access Rabbinic Theology: A System 1

Author: Jacob Neusner
pp. 165–175 (11)

Full Access Land Surveying Tube in Early Judaism

Authors: Uri Zur; Yehuda Ashkenazi
pp. 176–189 (14)

Full Access Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch as a Peshat Commentator: Literary Aspects of His Commentary on the Pentateuch 1

Author: Jonathan Jacobs
pp. 190–200 (11)

Full Access Recovering the Straight and the Good: Jose Faur, The Horizontal Society: Understanding the Covenant and Alphabetic Judaism 1

Author: Alan J. Yuter
pp. 203–241 (39)

Full Access Tzvee Zahavy, God’s Favorite Prayers (Talmudic Books, Teaneck, New Jersey, 2011), 157 pp.

Author: Aaron I. Reichel
pp. 242–246 (5)
Requires a paid personal or institutional subscription to access the articles.

Biblical Studies Carnival

THE OCTOBER BIBLICAL STUDIES CARNIVAL, slightly belated, has now been posted by J. K. Gayle: a blt Biblical Studies Carnival.

HT James McGrath.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

McCarter on Rollston

ROLLSTON UPDATE: Further to this post, Robert Cargill has been collecting and publishing letters in support of Christopher Rollston. One has now come in from Professor P. Kyle McCarter, which you can read here. It is a very significant statement from a senior scholar in the field.

"What have the Romans ever done for us?"

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN by Adam Kirsh at Tablet:
First-Century Technology

When new inventions made widespread sinning the norm, ancient rabbis adapted. The Talmud’s God approved.

American Judaism has been profoundly shaped by the challenges that arise when technology and Jewish law intersect. Take, for instance, the rise of the suburbs in the postwar period. All at once, a new legal question became urgent: Was it permissible for a Jew to drive to synagogue on Shabbat? For the Orthodox, the answer was no, for the traditional reasons I have been exploring in Tractate Shabbat: Operating a car involved one (or several) of the 39 categories of prohibited work. For many Conservative synagogues, on the other hand, the answer was yes, less by deduction than by default. Their rabbis knew that to prohibit driving would be to cut off attendance.

As for this:
Several times in my reading, I’ve had occasion to wonder about this kind of tension between the common people and the rabbinic elite—as when the Talmud discussed the am haaretz, the unlearned and unobservant common man. That conflict came into sharp focus in this week’s reading, in Shabbat 33b, where the Talmud tells the legend of Rabbi Shimon. The story goes that once, while talking with Shimon, Rabbi Yehudah made an admiring comment about Roman civilization: “How admirable are the deeds of this nation! They have established marketplaces, they have established bridges, and they have established bathhouses!” This tribute to Roman achievements was perhaps justified—we still marvel at the ruins of those bridges and baths—but it came oddly from a rabbi living in the aftermath of the Roman devastation of Judea.

Shimon responded, piously and patriotically, that Roman achievements were actually disgraceful: “Everything they established, they established only to serve their own needs. They established marketplaces to quarter harlots therein; bathhouses in order to beautify their own bodies; and bridges in order to collect tolls.” These critical words were reported to the authorities, and Shimon was sentenced to death, whereupon he fled into the wilderness and hid in a cave. ...
Am I the only one who is reminded of this?

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and here and links.

Bitenosh's orgasm

TMI? Gushing Female Orgasm shows Noah’s Mother did not Have Sex with Fallen Angels (Remnant of Giants).

I know Dean credits me with this story, but all I did was note Pieter van der Horst's recent article.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Job at Brooklyn College

JOB: Assistant Professor, Judaism in Late Antiquity and Rabbinics, Brooklyn College

The Department of Judaic Studies invites applications for an Assistant Professor/Judaism in Late Antiquity and Rabbinics with Subspecialty in post-biblical Jewish literature to teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Collaborative teaching efforts with other academic departments and programs is expected, as is willingness to participate in departmental administration. This is a tenure track position with a start date of Fall 2013. All appointments are subject to financial availability.

Active research and continuing publications are preconditions for appointment. Ph.D. required. Preference will be given to a specialist in Judaism in Late Antiquity who is fluent in post-biblical Jewish literature, Jewish Hellenistic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and can teach courses in Talmud, Rabbinics, Jewish law, and related materials covering Jewish intellectual history from the Second Temple period through the early Medieval period. Ability to teach Hebrew language and literature would be valued. Strong background in Judaic studies is essential. Candidates with publications are preferred. Evidence of teaching excellence is required. Writing samples will only be required of finalists.

Open until filled with the review of applications to being on December 13, 2012.
For detailed application instruction please see
No email or hard copy applications will be accepted.
Brooklyn College is an AA/IRCA/ADA/EOE

Monday, November 12, 2012

King interview

PROFESSOR KAREN KING is profiled in the Boston Globe: Harvard divinity professor relishes adventure, research: Jesus finding put scholar in spotlight. She has long been well known to specialists as one of the premier experts on ancient Gnosticism, but she has recently been in the media limelight with her preliminary publication of the still much-debated Gospel of Jesus' Wife. The end of the article notes that those ink tests are still in progress. Background on the GJW is here and links.

Azeka excavation

ARCHAEOLOGY MEETS EPIGRAPHY and the Bible and other interesting things:
Macquarie University excavates in Israel

November 12, 2012 (J-Wire)

Macquarie University has joined Tel Aviv University, Heidelberg University and a consortium of other institutions in the joint scientific inquiry of Tel Azekah – one of the great archaeological sites of ancient Israel.

Andrew Pleffer – PhD candidate and Area Assistant Supervisor and Dr Gil Davis – Program Director have filed this report:

The project is designed to integrate archaeological fieldwork and historical knowledge derived from the Bible and inscriptions. It will shed light on this important fortress city in the Judahite Lowland Region (Shephelah) in the second and first millennia BCE.


Azekah features in many ancient literary sources, providing us with interesting historical data and cross references from different cultures. In the Bible, it is mentioned as: the fabled site of the battle between David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17); a fortified city in the city list of King Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11); the inheritance of Judah (Joshua 15); and as the last remaining fortified city of Judah as the King of Babylon assaulted Jerusalem (Jeremiah 34). In the ‘Azekah inscription’, it is mentioned as a politically and strategically important site for the Assyrian King Sennacherib in his control of the region. A collection of letters found at the nearby site of Lachish contains an anguished Judean report that the signal-fires of Azekah can no longer be seen, implying that the city has fallen (most likely to Sennacherib during his invasion of Judah in 701 BCE).

The Azekah excavations will contribute to our understanding of the region, its border zones and periphery settlements, trade and economy, strategic development, history and politics, as well as informing current debates about detecting ethnicity in material culture.

Obviously, one has to be cautious when making these sorts of correlations, but at the same time the questions need to be asked and Azeka is an interesting site that has the potential to provide some answers.

This article amounts to a brief excavation report for the 2012 season.

That State Comptroller's report again

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Temple Mount Faithful Wants to See State Comptroller Report (Yeshiva World News). It just won't go away.

Background here and links.

Metatron moves into New Age book market

ARCHANGEL METATRON WATCH: Metatron/i-Mobilize Secures Mobile Application Distribution Agreement With New York Times Best Seller Gary Zukav.

Europa on the Euro

PHOENICIAN WATCH (sort of): Greek mythology about Phoenicia meets the Euro: Greek mythology character to adorn new euro notes: New ‘Europa’ series of bank notes unveiled by ECB with five-euro note bearing the image of a Greek mythological princess first to be introduced in May 2013.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cincinnati DSS exhibit

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS are coming to Cincinnati, Ohio:
Dead Sea Scrolls will be here Friday
Fragile documents widely among the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century

4:43 AM, Nov 11, 2012 |

If you go to a show called Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times, you might expect to see, well, scrolls.

But instead, when this traveling exhibit opens Friday at Cincinnati Museum Center, you will witness relatively small parchment (in a rare case, papyrus) pieces that have been torn, frayed, smudged and otherwise affected in surviving the past 2,000+ years of history.

But don’t be dismissive. They are more precious than diamonds. They constitute the oldest writings known of the Hebrew Bible, and provide insight into the development of Judaism, Christianity and Western Civilization.

So fragile and valuable are they that there will just be two rotations of 10 each on display during the course of the exhibit, which lasts until at least April 14. (There are some 900 scrolls in existence.) These will be protected inside the drawer-like chambers of a circular, light- and climate-controlled Communal Scroll Table along with an English translation of the mostly Hebrew text.

The exhibition includes many interesting fragments; there's a list at the end of the article. It is an incarnation of the exhibition that ran previously at Discovery Times Square and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphi.

Kamlah et al., Temple Building and Temple Cult

NEW BOOK from Harrassowizt:
Temple Building and Temple Cult: Architecture and Cultic Paraphernalia of Temples in the Levant (2.-1. Mill. B.C.E.)
Proceedings of a Conference on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Biblical Archaeology at the University of Tübingen (28th - 30th of May 2010) with the assistance of Henrike Michelau
Herausgegeben von Kamlah, Jens / Mitherausgeber: Michelau, Henrike

pages/dimensions : ca. 688 Seiten
binding: Gebunden
weight: 2300
publishing date: 1. Auflage 10.2012
price info: 68,00 Eur[D] / 70,00 Eur[A]
ISBN: 978-3-447-06784-3

68,00 Eur

The volume is based on an international and interdisciplinary conference which took place at Tübingen, Germany in May 2010 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Biblical Archaeology at the University of Tübingen. Jens Kamlah (ed.) brings these conference lectures along with four additional articles on recent archaeological finds related to temple building and temple cult together in one volume. From Aleppo to Ataroth - the volume is dedicated to city temples in the Levant, from the North to the South, from the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age to the end of the Iron Age. The storm god of Aleppo on one side and the bull of Ataroth on the other side symbolize its comprehensive approach and its wide geographical and chronological spectrum. From altars to votive vessels - within the various sub-regions of the Levant, several temple complexes and associated cultic paraphernalia have been recently excavated or re-evaluated. The results of these investigations significantly expand and modify our knowledge of temple building and temple cult in the Levant. From Jerusalem to Mount Gerizim - these new insights are of great importance for the research on the temple in Jerusalem and Old Testament research. Together, the articles lead to a better understanding of the complex religious history of the Levant in general and of the Levantine city temples in particular.