Saturday, December 08, 2012

Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

TODAY IS PRETEND TO BE A TIME TRAVELER DAY, providing us this year with a cosmic synchronicity with Hanukkah, which may provide inspiration to some. Earlier inspirations are noted here and here.

Whether and how I observe the event this year will, as usual, remain shrouded in mystery.

Happy Hanukkah!

HAPPY HANUKKAH to all those celebrating!

Some background on the festival of Hanukkah is here and links.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Review of Stahl (ed.), Jesus among the Jews

Neta Stahl, ed. Jesus among the Jews: Representation and Thought. Routledge Jewish Studies Series. New York: Routledge, 2012. 248 pp. $135.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-415-78258-6.

Reviewed by Michael Cook (Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati)
Published on H-Judaic (December, 2012)
Commissioned by Jason Kalman

Interdisciplinary Jewish Treatments of Jesus

This anthology of intriguing essays aims to chart how different disciplinary perspectives (e.g., rabbinics, philosophy, theology, poetry, and art) have represented Jesus in Jewish culture from antiquity to the present, even influencing Jewish self-understanding and expression.


Bowdlerizing bibical sins

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN by Adam Kirsch in Tablet: The Badness of Good Stories: This week, Talmudic rabbis seek righteousness in the Bible’s tales of vice, weakness, and human frailty. Excerpt:
The Bible displays extraordinarily little anxiety about portraying its heroes in an unflattering light. Jacob can be both a liar and thief, and the man who wrestles with an angel and wins the name of Israel; David can be both the anointed of God and an adulterer. But as this week’s Daf Yomi reading showed, the rabbis of the Talmud were by no means at ease with this kind of ambiguity. In a long discussion that begins in Shabbat 55b, they consider some of the most famous sinners in the Bible and argue passionately that in fact none of them did what the Bible expressly says they did.
Earlier columns are noted here and here and links.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Review of Orlov, Dark Mirrors

ANDREI ORLOV'S RECENT BOOK, Dark Mirrors: Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology, was reviewed by Rebecca Lesses in the recent SBL session where I also presented a paper. Now Rebecca has posted her review here.

Earlier posts on the book are here, here, and here.

Verheyden (ed.), The Figure of Solomon

The Figure of Solomon in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Tradition
King, Sage and Architect

Edited by Joseph Verheyden, Catholic University of Leuven

Solomon is one of the more complex and fascinating characters in the history of Israel. As a king he is second only to David. As the king who gave Israel its temple he is unsurpassed. As the prototype of the sage his name lives on in numerous biblical and non-biblical writings. As the magician of later tradition he has established himself as a model for many other aspirants in this field.

This volume contains the proceedings of an international conference on Solomon that was held at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Leuven, September 30 – October 2, 2009 and discussed various aspects of this multifaced character as he appears in Jewish, early Christian, and Islamic tradition.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The early text of the NT

LARRY HURTADO: The Early Text of the New Testament: The Latest Scholarship.

Fake metal codices program now on YouTube

SPEAKING OF THE FAKE METAL CODICES, that BBC program on them is now available on YouTube for all to see. (Via James McGrath.)

Background here with endless links.

GJW: tests still pending

THE TESTS ON THE GOSPEL OF JESUS' WIFE are not yet completed, so it looks as though Harvard Theological Review will not be publishing Karen King's article on it in January: Publication of Jesus’ wife research unlikey next month (AP).

Materials science isn't my thing, so I don't know how long such tests should take. A LiveScience piece from 19 October said the following:
"The owner of the papyrus fragment has been making arrangements for the next round of analysis of the fragment, including testing by independent laboratories with the resources and the specific expertise necessary to produce and interpret reliable results," [Kit] Dodgson [director of communications at Harvard Divinity School] wrote. "This next phase is likely to take several weeks, if not months."
(Noted recently on Facebook by Andrew Bernhard.) I suppose we are still within that time frame, so it's not fair to be too impatient yet. I hope this does not deteriorate into an endless round of delays, as with the fake metal codices.

Background on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is here and follow the links.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Cyrus Cylinder on the go again

The Cyrus Cylinder travels to five major museum venues in the United States in 2013

LONDON.- The British Museum today announces that one of its most iconic objects, the Cyrus Cylinder, will tour to five major museum venues in the United States in 2013. This will be the first time this object has been seen in the US and the tour is supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation.

The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the most famous objects to have survived from the ancient world. The Cylinder was inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform (cuneiform is the earliest form of writing) on the orders of the Persian King Cyrus the Great (559-530BC) after he captured Babylon in 539BC. It is often referred to as the first bill of human rights as it appears to encourage freedom of worship throughout the Persian Empire and to allow deported people to return to their homelands. It was found in Babylon in modern Iraq in 1879 during a British Museum excavation and has been on display ever since.

The Cyrus Cylinder is truly an object of world heritage, produced for a Persian king in Iraq and seen and studied for over 130 years in the British Museum. It is valued by people all around the world as a symbol of tolerance and respect for different peoples and different faiths, so much so that a copy of the cylinder is on display in the United Nations building in New York. The Museum has previously lent the Cylinder to the National Museum of Iran in 2010 - 2011 where it was seen by over one million people. This tour will provide the first opportunity for a wide US audience to engage with this unique object of world importance.

Via the Bible Places Blog.

Background on the Cyrus Cylinder, its recent visit to Iran, and the sometimes overenthusiastic evaluations of its contribution to human rights is here and here (second link from bottom of post) and many links.

Porter & Pitts (eds.), Christian Origins and Hellenistic Judaism

Christian Origins and Hellenistic Judaism
Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament

Edited by Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts

In Christian Origins and Hellenistic Judaism, Stanley E. Porter and Andrew W. Pitts assemble an international team of scholars whose work has focused on reconstructing the social matrix for earliest Christianity through reference to Hellenistic Judaism and its literary forms. Each essay moves forward the current understanding of how primitive Christianity situated itself in relation to evolving Greco-Roman Jewish culture. Some essays focus on configuring the social context for the origins of the Jesus movement and beyond, while others assess the literary relation between early Christian and Hellenistic Jewish texts.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Jerome and Hebrew

NEW ARTICLE in Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 64.3 (2012): Görge K. Hasselhoff, Revising the Vulgate: Jerome and his Jewish Interlocutors. Abstract:
The Church Father Jerome is well-known for his translation (or revision) of the Latin Bible which later was named Vulgate. He did not translate from the Greek as was the case with the so-called Vetus Latina but he sought the Hebrew truth (hebraica veritas). However, this raises the question as to how good his understanding of the Hebrew language actually was. Therefore it is asked where Jerome might have learned Hebrew and who his Jewish interlocutors might have been.
(Requires a paid personal or institutional subscription to access.)

More on St. Jerome here and here and links.

Qumran latrines

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What Is The Difference Between Urinating And Defecating?

Actually Duane Smith is linking to James Tabor's very interesting essay at the ASOR Blog: Texts without Qumran and Qumran without Texts: Searching for the Latrines. But Duane's title is more entertaining. The essay is wider ranging than either title might lead you to expect.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Biblical Studies Carnival November 2012

BIBLICAL STUDIES CARNIVAL NOVEMBER 2012 has been posted by Bob MacDonald at his Dust Blog. Very comprehensive. He also gives an insider perspective on composing the carnival here.