Monday, March 24, 2003


The information below is taken from the "About" link to your right, but I'm putting it all up here as a first posting for ease of reference.

A "weblog" or ("blog") is a regularly updated, archived web page devoted to a specific topic. There are blogs that are personal diaries, blogs that give up-to-the-minute political commentary, and blogs devoted to special topics like this one. Some are added to many times a day; most are updated less frequently. Unlike discussion lists, which take messages from numerous subscribers, a blog is maintained and added to by a single person (or sometimes a few people). One person (on whom below) runs this one.

This blog - - is an experiment that aims to chronicle and comment on current developments (mainly as recorded in Internet sources) in the academic field of ancient Judaism and its historical and literary context. I'm aiming to add to it at least several times a week, so please visit it to see what it is about and then continue to visit it often. is a blog on ancient ("paleo-") Judaism ("Judaica") 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, 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, 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, medieval or later Judaism, or something even more tangential happens to strike me as especially interesting, I may throw it in as well. Hey, it's my blog.

Which brings up me. My name is Dr. James R. Davila (please call me Jim) and I am a Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies at 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 has anything to do with it or bears any responsibility for it. Opinions expressed are either my own or are clearly labeled as someone else's (with whom I may agree or disagree). This service is offered "as is," with no warranty of accuracy or correctness and no endorsement of any sites linked to. I blog. You decide.

I would be very grateful if readers would send me links to recent developments online regarding ancient Judaism as so understood, along your own comments if you have any. Please send all e-mail correspondence to (and be forewarned that I feel free to post anything sent to this address to the 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.

1. Reviews of books on ancient Judaism published online. (I already get the Review of Biblical Literature, so please don't send me any from this source.) 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 post your comments.
2. Journal articles on ancient Judaism published online.
3. Newspaper articles published online on anything to do with ancient Judaism, including reports of new discoveries, well or dreadfully done "Sunday supplement" treatments, use (or misuse) for modern political ends, etc.
4. 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 on the Web. If you have ordering information (e.g., a UMI order number), give me that as well
5. Threads on e-mail discussion lists which happen to be saying interesting things about ancient Judaism. (I already subscribe to Ioudaios-L, so please don't send me things from there.) I will only note these for discussion lists that maintain an archive that allows me to link to the post or thread.
6. 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.
7. Job advertisements for academic or research positions in an area of ancient Judaism or at least involving ancient Judaism as a component. I will 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 Judaism as subspecialty. Send me the description and, if possible, a link to a web page. No charge for this (or anything else on this blog), but I would like you to tell us who got the job when the search is over. If I don't hear back from you after a decent interval, I may come looking for you to find out.
8. 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.
9. Outrageous or (intentionally or unintentionally) humorous online articles, websites, blog discussions, et cetera pertaining in some way to ancient Judaism.
10. Factual corrections to anything I've already posted. If you convince me that I've made a mistake, I'll post a correction.
11. 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're 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 often.

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