Thursday, December 12, 2013

Remembering Alan Segal

JARED CALAWAY: Reminiscing on Alan Segal.

Some past posts on Alan Segal are here, here, and links.

The Talmud on counting Jews

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: What the Talmud Would Say About the Pew Survey of American Jews: Stop Counting. An ancient principle of Judaism, debated at length in the Oral Law, is that it is a sin to count Jews—or is it?.
It doesn’t take any particular news event to make Jews start worrying about the future of Judaism. But this fall, the release of the Pew survey “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” with its findings about high rates of assimilation and intermarriage, added some fuel to the fire. As community leaders debated what to do about the problem—if it is, in fact, a problem—one suggestion was conspicuous by its absence: No one proposed that we simply stop doing censuses of Jews.

Yet this would be the most Jewish solution of all, since an ancient principle of Judaism is that it is a sin to count Jews. God says as much in Exodus 30, when he instructs Moses that if he counts the Israelites directly, a plague will fall on them. Instead, the census is to be taken indirectly: Each adult over the age of 20 is to contribute a half-shekel coin, and then the coins are to be counted. This precaution is ignored by King David, in II Samuel 24, when he impetuously conducts a census of his kingdom; and as promised, he is punished by God with three days of pestilence.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wevers's LXX-notes volumes - free!

WORDS ON THE WORD: John William Wevers LXX Text Histories… free .pdf downloads. For you, special deal!

These five volumes are invaluable resources for working with the Greek text of the Pentateuch.

(HT James McGrath and Daniel O. McClellan on Facebook.)

Fixed-term post in Rabbinic/Medieval Jewish Studies

Via Vadim Putzu

Rabbinic/Medieval Judaic Studies: The Judaic Studies Program at Franklin & Marshall College invites applications for a Visiting Assistant Professor, beginning Fall 2014, pending final administrative approval. The position is in premodern Judaism with possible subfields in rabbinics, medieval philosophy, or Kabbalah. It is renewable for up to three years on evidence of good teaching and administrative approval. Appointment will be at the instructor or assistant professor level depending on qualifications; teaching experience highly desirable.

The successful candidate will teach introductory courses in Hebrew Bible and Classical Jewish Texts as well as upper-level courses in his/her specialty; the teaching load is 3/2. Candidates should submit the following materials as PDF files (searchable preferred) to letter of application, curriculum vitae, graduate transcript, three letters of recommendation, and teaching evaluations.

Hard copies are also acceptable, and may be sent to Professor Maria Mitchell Chair, Judaic Studies Program, Franklin & Marshall College, Box 3003, Lancaster PA 17604-3003. The deadline for receipt is February 14, 2014. Franklin & Marshall College is a highly selective liberal arts college with a demonstrated commitment to cultural pluralism. EOE
UPDATE: Please refer to the revised information on this position, now posted here.

Fredriksen on Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism

MARGINALIA: Paula Fredriksen on David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition. Conclusion:
Do any of these infelicities matter? Yes and no. Yes, they matter if you want a historical description of these ancient texts and their authors in context. No, they don’t if you want to know the particular ingredients of the West’s tradition of anti-Judaism. That latter project is the heart of this haunting book. Read it. You will find yourself, again and again, wishing that you could reach your hand back in time, catch these toxic themes at their launch, and prevent all the deaths that you know will surely follow.
An earlier review and an essay by Nirenberg are noted here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

St Andrews Symposium

REMINDER: St Andrews Symposium for Biblical and Early Christian Studies: Ancient Readers & Their Scriptures: The Texts, Reading Strategies, and the Versions of the Hebrew Bible in Second Temple and Early Judaism. The call for papers is now open, with a deadline of 1 February 2014. Follow the link for more information.

Noted earlier as well here. You can find information on some past symposia here, here, here, and here.

Bible Secrets Revealed: Cargill Q & A

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Bible Secrets Revealed, Episode 1: “Lost in Translation.” Robert Cargill responds to viewers’ questions on the History Channel series (Robin Ngo).

Background here, here, and here.

Finance in Religious Law: A Comparative Conference

TODAY AND TOMORROW AT THE HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Finance in Religious Law: A Comparative Conference - Judaism, Christianity, Islam. (The post is at the Talmud Blog, but thanks also to Menachem Butler for alerting me to the event.)

Ben Sira website

From Gary Rendsburg comes this notice:


We are pleased to announce the launch of the new website, The diverse ancient (Qumran, Masada) and medieval (Cairo Genizah) manuscripts of the book of Ben Sira are currently housed in libraries and institutions (and in one instance a private collection) in Cambridge, Oxford, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem. This website brings together for the first time the entirety of the manuscript tradition (even if the Bodleian Library folios of MS B are not available at our website at this time), in a convenient user-friendly format.

At this point we have launched only the first stage of the website, with high-resolution digital images of the documents. Future updates will include transcriptions, translations, and resources.

The developers of the website gratefully acknowledge the assistance and cooperation of the custodians of the various Ben Sira documents, all of whom are acknowledged at the Introduction page of the website.

Gary A. Rendsburg and Jacob Binstein
Department of Jewish Studies
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.A.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Brannan on MOTP1, plus electronic edition!

RICK BRANNAN: Received: Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures by Bauckham/Davila/Panayotov. His review is coming in due course. Meanwhile, he is posting a tweet (#MoreOTP) on each chapter as he reads it. By the way, I have posted a TC of volume one here.

Rick also notes on Facebook that an electronic edition of the volume is available with Logos Bible Software, which is (good) news to me.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day


More here and here and links.

Also, lots more on time travel here, here, here, here, and links.

UPDATE: James McGrath comments, apparently yesterday.