Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Royal Judahite Storage Jar: A Computer-Generated Typology and Its Archaeological and Historical Implications

That’s the title of a new essay just published in Tel Aviv-

In this paper, the authors (Sergi, Karasik, Gadot, and Lipschits) present an objective, repeatable and independent computer-generated typology of the Iron Age II Oval Storage Jar, also known as the lmlk or Royal Judahite Storage Jar. The paper demonstrates that this jar was in use from the late 9th to the early 6th century BCE and that it was distributed beyond the confines of the Judahite administrative system. The OSJ first appeared as a local phenomenon that was limited to the Shephelah, with no particular political or ethnic affiliation. During the early to mid-8th century BCE, the production of some of the jars became standardized, which is evidence of the consolidation of the Kingdom of Judah and its territorial expansion into the lowlands region. By the late 8th century BCE, at least one or more of the workshops producing these jars became integrated into the royal Judahite administrative system that stamped jar handles, and this established the workshop’s main function until the destruction of Judah in the early 6th century BCE.

With thanks to Prof. Lipschits for the heads-up.

A Mozart Mass for Your Sunday Morning

I Didn’t Know Rush Limbaugh Had a Brother…

But this guy must be.

As reported by Towleroad, a Cleveland radio personality–Dominic Dieter of WMMS 100.7’s show Rover’s Morning Glory–told the father of a possibly lesbian girl to have his daughter raped by a man until she’s straight.

The comment came after he received an e-mail from a father who had found his teenage daughter kissing another girl. Dieter decided to dispense his advice: Have one of your friends “—–” her. That’s right. According to Dieter, the father should get one of his grown adult friends to “—–” his teenage daughter because she kissed a girl.

First, the Dieter creature is a vile and totally depraved reprobate.  And second, that sounds exactly like something Rush Limbaugh would say.  America’s airwaves are occupied by the lowest sorts of miscreants.  I’m not a talk radio fan and every month there are more reasons just to listen to NPR in the morning and some CD or other from my collection the rest of the day.

Dan Savage is an Intolerant Hate-Monger

Dan Savage offended some Christian teens when he told them “We can learn to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about gay people.”  Savage made his comments during a speech at the National High School Journalist Conference in Seattle.  After many students walked out of the speech, one of whom appeared to be crying, Savage said, “It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the bible, how pansy —-d some people react when you push back.”  Fox News reports that Savage’s comments upset the executive director of GOProud, a gay conservative group.

It seems Mr Savage is all for tolerance- except when it comes to Christians and then, like all radical atheists and their ilk, Christians are a favorite target.  Mr Savage, get better yourself, hypocrite.

Egyptian Burial Practices: A Lecture at Vanderbilt University

By Egyptologist Kara Cooney-

Quote of the Day

Neque deseramus aggregationem nostri, quemadmodum mos est quibusdam; sed exhortemur, idque eo magis, quia videtis approppinquantem diem. – The author of the Letter to the Hebrews (10:25).

Jonathan Stökl Is on the Twitter

Here’s his twitter page.  Haven’t yet learned who he is?  Well you can here or here.  He’s a fellow SOTS-ian and a delightful person.  Very much worth ‘following’.

The Former Head of Israel’s Shin Bet Has No Confidence in Barak or Netanyahu

While America’s Christian Zionists fawn over, slobber for, and unconditionally support Bibi and Barak, those in the know in Israel don’t trust either of them.

Yuval Diskin accuses Israel’s leaders of misleading the public on Iran, says they are making decisions ‘based on messianic feelings.’

That pretty much sums up Bibi’s view of himself.

Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin expressed harsh criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday in a meeting with residents of the city of Kfar Sava, saying the pair is not worthy of leading the country.  “My major problem is that I have no faith in the current leadership, which must lead us in an event on the scale of war with Iran or a regional war,” Diskin told the “Majdi Forum,” a group of local residents that meets to discuss political issues.

Why Bibi continues to receive any support from anyone, but especially from Israelis, is the world’s greatest mystery. That Christian Zionists in Canada and America adore the man is idiocy.  He’s the world’s most dangerous man.

Ruh-Roh…

The University of Pennsylvania is keeping mum on the resignation of a dean of its graduate school, who duped the Ivy League school into believing he had a doctoral degree from Columbia University.  A report this week by the Philadelphia Inquirer raised questions about the pedigree of Doug Lynch, vice dean of the graduate school of education, who claimed to have received a master’s degree and a doctorate from Columbia University in 2005 and 2007, respectively.  Neither of those claims is true, according to Columbia officials. Lynch did received a master’s degree in 2010, and has entered — but not yet completed — the doctoral program.

Bizarrely

Neither of those claims is true, according to Columbia officials. Lynch did received a master’s degree in 2010, and has entered — but not yet completed — the doctoral program.  …  “He mistakenly believed that it was complete,” University of Pennsylvania graduate school spokeswoman Kat Stein told the newspaper, referring to his doctoral degree.

‘… did received…’  Nice…  Anyway, how does one enter a program and think one is done when one isn’t?  I don’t know how other people’s brains work but I keep up pretty well with things I’ve finished and things I haven’t.

At any rate it reminds me of the story of the guy who pretended to be a doctor, a cop, a Congressman, etc… (or in other words it reminds me of a lot of people).  The things people will do for money…

It’s Time For Zionism to Retire

So writes Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz:

The national liberation movement’s time came and went. Now we have a state. Neither good citizenship nor misdeeds have anything to do with Zionism anymore.

Moreover

Zionism is already 115 years old; it should have retired long ago. If on Independence Day we’re concerned about the future of a state approaching retirement age (presuming it’s a man, not a woman, who would have retired two years ago ), then we should call for the replacement of Zionism with something younger, more energetic and more relevant. Zionism should have become a rank-and-file pensioner shortly after the state was established or, at most, when the movement turned 62 or 67.

And

A state does not retire, but a national liberation movement must, like every elderly citizen – knowing when its time has passed. It must be consigned to history. These things are even more true if the movement has already fulfilled its mission, achieved its goals and now everyone is beating up on it, misusing it, decking themselves in its feathers and taking its name in vain.

Read it all. I’m sure if he weren’t Jewish the parade of people calling him anti-semitic would circle a New York block. I’m sure I’ll be called that again simply for linking to the essay. But none of that stops Levy from being 100% right.

Ezra, Nehemiah: New Collegeville Bible Commentary

The generous Thomas Bolin has graciously sent a copy of his nifty little volume on Ezra and Nehemiah.

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah relate the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon during the rule of the early Persian kings. For a long time, interpretations of these two books by Christian exegetes characterized the Judaism of the post-exilic age as narrow and nationalistic. This interpretation led to a separation of post-exilic Judaism from its pre-exilic Israelite roots that allowed for a supersessionist reading of the Old Testament based on perceived deficiencies in the religious views of the post-exilic era.

Informed by recent advances in our knowledge of the Persian Empire, this commentary, demonstrates that Ezra and Nehemiah offer a compelling story of a people’s attempt to reassemble the fragments of their heritage as they face the future in a greatly changed world.

I’ve uploaded my review here.  In a word, Bolin’s work is grand.

More Rubbish From Simcha’s Production Company

Simcha’s employees have been waging a comment war against Cargill and Goodacre (and myself) over on Bob’s blog and the always patient and excessively decent Mark Goodacre has had enough of it. He writes, in part

I was disappointed to see Nicole Austin, Associate Producer on The Resurrection Tomb Mystery documentary (The Jesus Discovery in Canada), characterizing this blog as engaging in slander.  In a comment on Robert Cargill’s blog today, she responded to Paul Regnier who  had asked her a question about the scholars working on the project.  She wrote:

You are repeating the same slander which has dominated the Cargill/West/Goodacre blogs and has kept the majority of true scholars away from this discussion. 

Nicole, who works for Associated Producers Ltd., goes on to make other rude remarks, mentioning me by name again, but it is the accusation of slander that I find especially disappointing.

Do note Mark’s polite tone.  Here’s my own response (in comments on Bob’s blog) to Nicole and the others employed by Simcha and doing his dirty work in comments:

I haven’t been following this discussion since, to be fair, comments usually aren’t that interesting. Here, in the case of Simcha’s paid supporters, I’ll simply observe that nothing ‘nicole’ and the others have said is relevant since none of the people who work for him are scholars. Their views are the views of the ignorant.I seriously doubt that they have thought about the subject for more than 5 minutes and their ‘views’ are spoon fed to them in the same way that a baby bird has its mother’s regurgitated stomach contents thrust into its mouth.

The accusation of ‘slander’ is just a red herring – more of the same ‘smoke and mirrors’ which has characterized this whole fiasco. From shifting claims to accusations of ‘ganging up’ on poor benighted besieged Simcha/Tabor it’s all pure rubbish.

The good news is, next week or next month ‘nicole’ and the others will have another project to work on. They’ll probably make up some new nonsense about Jesus living on Masada for awhile and then they’ll issue press releases and find a few under-educated dilettantes or ‘on the payroll’ flunkies (like John and Nicole) to peddle the nonsense.

And they’ll forget all about ‘the jesus discovery’ because, when all is said and done, they’re just passing through the academic landscape as tourists.

Mark is definitely more patient than I am.  But I’m a good bit older and with less lifespan remaining, less likely to waste time trying to be nice to people who don’t deserve the courtesy.  For Simcha’s workers to accuse anyone of slander when one of his own has regularly accused me of anti-semitism and when he himself has accused Cargill of the same is- I’ll just say it- laughable and contemptible.  These dilettantes ought not be allowed within a mile of the bible or its related fields.

Mozart, I Still, Still Can’t Quit You

A beautiful church sonata.

Life and Faith in Ancient Times: An Exhibition

If you’re in the Philadelphia area surely you’ll wish to pay this exhibition a visit:

Ancient handwritten texts of the words that shaped the future of the Western world will go on view this spring in the Mandell Center at The Franklin Institute in the profoundly moving exhibition, Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times.  PECO is the Presenting Sponsor of the exhibition, which opens to the public on May 12.

And (kind of humorously)

Included among the 2,000-year-old writings, which are on exhibit in North America for the first time, are handwritten passages from Genesis, including the resonant opening words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

I would hope they were handwritten… know what I mean?  Anyway, it does sound like an interesting display.  Read more at the link above.

Larry has some very astute observations.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Over the last few months I had more reports of academics being let go by Christian-aligned academic institutions, and for what seem to be very minor differences of view on any one of a variety of relatively minor matters.  These are degree-granting institutions, supposedly committed to academic excellence (or so says their publicity), yet behaving in a paranoid manner toward their own academic staff, because on some matter arising from their scholarly work they say or write something that bothers some high administrator.

These are all also putatively Christian institutions (making as much of this in their publicity as well), which, if anything, actually makes this behavior even more troubling.  Typically, no due process, no hearing, no opportunity to explain or give warrants for the offending action, or to correct allegations made, no fair consideration of matters at all:  Just a dismissal.

And, as I’ve stated, in all the instances…

View original post 592 more words

Almost Everything You Buy Comes From 10 Corporations

You don’t have as much ‘choice’ as you think you do after all…

via Victoria Nigar on G+ (click to enlarge)

Quote of the Day

He refused to burn incense to the emperor because he loved the true king; and so they burned him instead. –Polycarp  (via Ben Myers on the twitter)

The M.O. Of Hershel Shanks

First, a bit of background information.  I along with 4 others moderate a biblical studies discussion list called, I think quite cleverly, the Biblical Studies Discussion List.  It’s a ‘closed list’ which means only members have access to posts and only members can post both questions and responses.  And even at that most members are moderated.  Such a procedure keeps the list focused and makes it impossible for the lunatics to make it into a forum of dilettantism.

Each participant receives, when membership is requested a list of the ‘rules’ by which all must abide.  These rules are designed to keep things running smoothly.  Were they not in place, given the ‘wild west’ nature of the internet, chaos would ensue.  One of these rules states – in no uncertain terms-

9. If you want to forward to the list a message that was sent to you privately, please first obtain permission from the original sender. And no posting by any list member may be posted or shared anywhere for any reason without the express written permission of the author. There are no exceptions to this rule. Persons who repost or quote without permission will be removed from the list and banned.

We, the other moderators and I, firmly believe in the near-sanctity of intellectual property and consequently we insist that only those who write posts may grant permission for their being quoted outside the confines of the list.  Further, since it is a discussion list, it is easy enough to quote out of context (given the nature of discussion something said in its course and taken out of context may not mean what it’s made to mean in a new context).   Therefore, to make sure that such misquotings and thus misprisions of the views of others is not permitted, the rule stands.

That brings me to the M.O. of Mr Shanks.  I’ve learned today that Shanks quotes, out of context, Niels Peter Lemche.  And the quote he uses came directly from a discussion held on the Biblical Studies list without either appropriate attribution to the list (he calls it a blog) or, and most importantly, without Lemche’s explicit permission.

Section: In Their Own Words: ”To ordinary archaeologists, Biblical archaeologists are lowlife.” Posted on Biblical Studies Blog by Niels Peter Lemche, professor of biblical studies at the university of Copenhagen and renowned biblical minimalist.1 Lemche was reacting to a BAR column about the funding of archaeological excavations in Israel.2

Notes
1. See Josef Garfinkel, … BAR May/June 2011
2. Rachel S. Hallote, Archaeological Views. Who pays for Excavations? BAR March/April 2008

Since Mr Shanks isn’t a list member (unless he is so under a false name), I can only presume that someone on the list has ‘passed along’ a quote either intentionally misrepresenting what Lemche said or – failing to understand the context – wrongly.   Either way, someone broke the rules and Mr Shanks received, and used, material without permission.

This is, to me, excessively inappropriate.  Scholarship is an enterprise which cannot best be undertaken when people are not straightforward or when they use the work of others (well or poorly) without following the ‘rules of the road’.  That Shanks evidently has, and used, a ‘mole’ is distressing and, if I’m being frank, annoying.  That’s an M.O. I can’t respect.

A Classic Renewed and Reinvigorated

The old BKAT is coming back to life in a wholly new series of the same title!  Neukirchener Verlag sent along this email:

Go here for more.  The publisher’s webpage is here.

Secular v. Confessional Biblical Studies

A new essay on Bible and Interpretation is worth reading.

Recently there has been much discussion on the appropriateness of confessional approaches to the Bible within the academy and of how the discipline fits within the broader context of the liberal arts. A rather vocal group of scholars argue that faith-based perspectives have no place in the secular academy, and thus all biblical scholarship (and associated organizations) ought to be closed to such perspectives. There is a similar hard-line position on the other side, though proponents tend not to be overly concerned with academia in general. There are several interrelated fallacies that crop up in the heat of exchange, and these are worth mentioning. It is my opinion that the discipline of Biblical Studies is best served by the tension and dialogue created by retaining both approaches side-by-side.

He’s probably right.