Daily Archives: 20 May 2012

Congratulations to the Two Post-Doctoral Recipients of the Nadler Fellowship (Tel Aviv University)

Oded Lipschits writes-

The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University is proud to announce the awarding of two post-doctoral fellowships for the academic year 2012-2013 in the fields of Archaeology, Ancient Israel Studies and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. Recipients of the fellowships are Policarpo Sánchez Yustos, Associate Professor, Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Valladolid, Spain (Palaeolithic Archaeology) and Philippe Wajdenbaum, Ph.D. University of Brussels (Hebrew Bible and Greek Classics).

The Institute of Archaeology is a self-sufficient research facility that provides administrative and scientific assistance as well as the technical support necessary to carry out archaeological field projects. These activities are sponsored mainly by the Sonia and Marco Nadler Fund, the Jacob M. Alkow Fund and the Friends of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.

Since its creation, the Institute has been intensively involved in many major interdisciplinary archaeological field projects. Each summer hundreds of students and a large number of researchers from Israel and around the world participate with TAU faculty in university-accredited, Institute-sponsored excavations. Current digs include Apollonia-Arsuf, Tel Azekah, Tel Bet-Shemesh, Tel Bet Yerah, Tel Megiddo, Tel Socoh, Yavneh-Yam, proto-and pre-historic sites such as Qesem Cave, Sede Ilan and A`in Miri and salvage excavations according to need. Previous excavations include Ramat Rahel,Tel Aphek-Antipatris, Tel Beer-Sheba, Tel ‘Ira, Tel Jezreel, Tel Kabri, Tel Lachish and Yafo, as well as proto- and prehistoric sites at Nahal Qanah and Nahal Zehorah.

The Institute’s research facilities include archaeobotany, petrography and metallurgy laboratories. These analyze and evaluate non-artefactual data that supplement the socioeconomic picture of ancient communities provided by artefactual records. In addition, the services of a pottery restoration workshop, a photography studio and a graphics department are available to the field archaeologists.

The Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, the Institute’s publishing arm enables publication of the results of fieldinvestigations carried out under the auspices of the Institute. The department produces the editorial content of Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, a peer-reviewed open forum that welcomes contributions from scholars in Israel and around the globe. The department also publishes the Monograph Series, Tel Aviv Occasional Publications and Salvage Excavation Reports. The Monograph Series is a platform for the publication of final reports of the Institute’s major archaeological projects as well as multi-disciplinary investigations in Near Eastern archaeology and civilizations carried out by the Institute’s faculty members.

The Friends of the Institute of Archaeology is a nonprofit organization established in 1978 with the purpose of supporting the activities of the Institute.

While digging for riches buried deep in Israel’s past, the Institute looks to the future by supporting multi-disciplinary graduate programs that will produce a new generation of archaeologists uniquely suited to 21st-century methodologies.

For more information, visit the Institute website: http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/.

Congratulations to both recipients! Well done!

Dear Christians, Those ‘Facebook’ Pictures Which You Suggest Have to Be Passed On are Annoying- God

Quote of the Day

God speaks to you that you may make the right decision. But God does not satisfy our curiosity as to what happens about other men who do not decide for Christ. What will be the ultimate fate of other men is not your concern; we may not and are not to know that, except in so far as we must realize that it is our duty not only ourselves to remain loyal to the way of Jesus, but as far as possible to help others to find the way that leads to life. It is not the consequence of our superior merit that we ourselves have found this way. We have not come to it because we are better than other people. It is the grace of God which has set our feet in that way. — John Calvin  (via Doug Iverson on FB).

For You Sciency People…

If you happen to reside in SoCal you might want to make plans to attend the ‘God and Human Believing: Christian Faith and Science‘ Conference.  I don’t know anyone on the program except Wentzel, but his lecture will be worth attending!

Just Tell the Truth

via Sam Lee on FB

If You Have 30 Children, Pay For Them Yourself

Is there anywhere in the world that this is ok?  Is there anywhere where someone can blatantly sow his seed without considering the consequences and then cavalierly ask others to put up the money to support the children he’s fathered?  This is authentically sickening-

A Tennessee man who has fathered 30 children with 11 different women is asking the state for a reprieve from his child support obligations.  Knoxville man Desmond Hatchett, 33, earns the minimum wage but has had his salary garnished since he had his first child 14 years ago, TV station WREG reports.  Despite telling a reporter in 2009 that he was done having babies Mr Hatchett has fathered another nine children over the last three years.  It’s putting pressure on his meagre salary with half of his earnings going to the mothers of his numerous families.

Unfortunately for the many mothers of Mr Hatchett’s children the state cannot take more than 50 percent of his salary so some women receive only slightly more than US1$ per month for each child.  The state said it has no way to force Mr Hatchett to stop having children.  In 2009 Mr Hatchett told an interviewer “I had four kids in the same year. Twice.”  He is believed to be the Knox County record holder for the most children fathered.

The mothers of these children are equally responsible.  If you can’t afford a child, don’t have one.  If you can’t afford 10, don’t have 10.  If you can’t afford 1, you sure as heck can’t afford 30!!!!!  What depravity.

Scholars You Should Know: James ‘Jim’ Aitken

James is on the faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University.  Besides being a genuinely nice person, he’s a very, very fine scholar, making regular and significant contributions to the field of Septuagint studies among others.  Take a look at his not inconsiderable list of publications-  and it’s just a partial listing:


  • The Semantics of Blessing and Cursing in Ancient Hebrew (Louvain: Peeters, 2007).
  • G.I. Davies, assisted by J.K. Aitken, D.R. de Lacey, P.A. Smith & J. Squirrel, Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions: Corpus and Concordance, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Edited books

  • The Continuum Companion to the Septuagint (London: T&T Clark/Continuum, forthcoming 2012).
  • On Stone and Scroll: Essays in Honour of Graham Ivor Davies (ed. with K.J. Dell and B.A. Mastin) (BZAW 420; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011).
  • Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers (edited with T. Rajak, S. Pearce & J. Dines) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
  • Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations (edited with E. Kessler) (New York: Paulist Press, 2006).

Recent papers

  • ‘Fat Eglon’, in G. Khan & D. Lipton (eds), Studies on the Text and Versions of the Hebrew Bible in honour of Robert Gordon (VTS 149; Leiden: Brill, 2012), 141-54..
  • ‘Text Criticism: Apocrypha,’ in M.D. Coogan, ed., The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Books of the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
  • ‘The Significance of Rhetoric in the Greek Pentateuch,’ in J.K. Aitken, K.J. Dell, and B.A. Mastin (eds), On Stone and Scroll (BZAW 420; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011), 507–22.
  • barak, etc.’, in H.-J. Fabry and Ulrich Dahmen (eds), Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Qumrantexten, Band 1 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2011), 521–28.
  • za‘am, etc.’, in H. Fabry (ed.), H.-J. Fabry and Ulrich Dahmen (eds), Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Qumrantexten, Band 1 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2011), 861-62.
  • ‘The Literary Attainment of the Translator of Greek Sirach’, in J.-S. Rey & J. Joosten (eds), The Texts and Versions of the Book of Ben Sira: Transmission and Interpretation(JSJSup 150; Leiden: Brill, 2011), 95–126.
  • ‘Judaic National Identity’, in L.L. Grabbe & O. Lipschits (eds), Judah Between East and West: The Transition Period from Pesian to Greek Rule (ca. 400-200 BCE) (LSTS 75; London T&T Clark, 2011), 31-48.
  • ‘Job’s diet: comfort, food and suffering’, in Piotr Mitzner and Anna Szczepan-Wojnarska (ed.), Hiob Biblijny, Hiob Obecny w Kuluturze (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Kardynala Stefana Warszawa, 2010), 47–68.
  • ‘Jewish Use of Greek Proverbs’, in N. de Lange et al. (eds), Jewish Reception of Greek Bible Versions (Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 53-77.
  • ‘The Septuagint Translation Legend in a Byzantine Prognosticon‘, Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies 43 (Winter 2008-09), 32-35.
  • ‘Context of Situation in Biblical Lexica’, in J. Dyk and W. van Peursen (eds), Foundations for Syriac Lexicography III (ISLP; Gorgias Press, 2009), 181-201.
  • ‘Other Hebrew Lexica: Zorell and Alonso Schoekel’, in J. Dyk and W. van Peursen (eds), Foundations for Syriac Lexicography III (ISLP; Gorgias Press, 2009), 251-64.
  • ‘Phonological Phenomena in Greek Papyri and Inscriptions and their Significance for the Septuagint’, in J. Corley and V. Skemp, Studies in the Greek Bible: Essays in honor of Francis T. Gignac, S.J. (CBQMS, 44; Washington DC: CBA, 2008), 256-77.
  • ‘The God of the pre-Maccabees: Designations of the divine in the early Hellenistic period’, in R.P. Gordon (ed.), The God of Israel (University of Cambridge Oriental publications, 64; Cambridge University Press, 2007), 246-66.
  • ‘Poet and Critic: Royal Ideology and the Greek Translator of Proverbs’, in Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers, edited by T. Rajak, S. Pearce, J. Aitken & J. Dines) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
  • ‘Rhetoric and Poetry in Greek Ecclesiastes’, Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies 38 (2006), 55-78.
  • ‘What does Christianity in Jewish terms mean?’, in J.K. Aitken & E.D. Kessler (eds), Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations (New York: Paulist Press, 2006), 203-17.
  • ‘Sanctus Matthaeus, magister sapientiae, summa cum laude’, in Jeremy Corley & Vincent Skemp (eds), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit (CBQMS, 38; Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2005), 264-79.
  • ‘Hengel’s, Judentum und Hellenismus‘, Journal of Biblical Literature 123 (2004), 331-41.
  • ‘Introducing the Septuagint’, Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies 34 (2004), 20-26.

Jim is a scholar with whose work you should become familiar. And if you have the chance to meet him, do so. He’s a delight.

People, People, People… Your Fixation on Sex Will Be Your Undoing

… a man is suing his anesthesiologist in a Miami courtroom after his penis had to be amputated following implant surgery. Enrique Milla and his wife Gloria are seeking “tens of millions” in damages from Dr. Laurentiu Boeru, according to Local 10, arguing that the doc failed to properly evaluate risks in light of pre-existing conditions — including uncontrolled diabetes — that allegedly led to complications following the procedure. The horror unfolded after Milla went for a elective surgery at Coral Gables Hospital in 2007 because he was experiencing erectile dysfunction. “He didn’t do this to have a bigger penis,” Milla’s attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, told the Miami Herald’s Gossip Extra. “This was because of medical reasons: He just wanted to have relations with his wife.”

Sorry, but his desire to get a penile implant so as to have relations with his wife isn’t a medical reason. There’s no ‘medical reason’ requiring sex. None. Nada. Nichtig.

But 9 days after surgery, a small infection became gangrene — and much, much worse. “It turned into a flesh-eating bacteria that ate his penis centimeter by centimeter,” Aronfeld said outside court, “and as a result of this, he has to spend the rest of his life without a functioning penis. He has to sit down to urinate, he’ll never have any intimate relationships with anyone, and he’s lost his manhood.”

He hasn’t lost his manhood, or his humanity. He’s only lost an organ. And not even, honestly speaking, a censessary one. It’s not as if he lost a lung or a kidney or his liver or his heart (although brain is up for debate).

If he weren’t so fixated on sex he never would have got himself in the mess in the first place.

Read an Excerpt From Matti Friedman’s ‘The Aleppo Codex’

In the Times of Israel.  You’ll enjoy the snippet, and the entire book.  My review of the volume is here.

Hoaxes Are Forever, Antonio

Shroud of Turin

No matter how many times, how competently, nor how accurately pseudo-archaeology is debunked, it will always find a fan base.  That’s why some still insist that the Turin Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus and why others imagine that Talpiot really is the family tomb of Jesus.  Hoaxes are forever, Antonio.  Hoaxes are forever… because dilettantism is forever and so is wishful-thinking, clever marketing, and the skill to scam.

Alla domanda è facile rispondere. Ne parla su Fox News Jon Jefferson, che ha appena pubblicato un romanzo. Ha dovuto studiare anche l’argomento Sindone. In particolare scrive:

  1. The Middle Ages were the heyday of religious relics, too – artifacts (often human bones and body parts) intended to inspire devotion—and to draw pilgrims to the churches that possessed them. 
  2. The relics trade was brisk and bogus-laden. A partial list of medieval relics includes two heads of John the Baptist; three corpses of Mary Magdalene; six—count ‘em, six—foreskins from the circumcised penis of the baby Jesus; 30 “holy nails” used in the crucifixion; and enough wood from the True Cross to build a small armada.

E anche la Sindone non sfugge a questo ragionamento, sufficiente per sé a dimostrare la non autenticità della reliquia. Ma lasciamo, comunque, ai cattolici il diritto di sognare. Ci mancherebbe altro.

Where in the World is George Bush These Days?

Hangin’ with his homies in the hood…

via Michael Turner on G+

New From Aren Maeir

Philistia and the Judean Shephelah After Hazael: The Power Play between the Philistines, Judeans and Assyrians in the 8th Century BCE in Light of the Excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

It’s pp. 241–62 in Disaster and Relief Management – Katastrophen und ihre Bewältigung, ed. A. Berlejung. Forschungen zum Alten Testament 81. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

The ‘Jesus Discovery’ is ‘Tendentious and Incompetently Edited’…

And that’s just one of the unpleasant things Raphael Magarik has to say about Tabor and Jacobovici’s ‘Jesus Discovery’ in Forward Magazine.  Here’s Magarik’s concluding paragraphs:

In 1835, rewriting the Gospels was the work of grave scholars, the finest minds of the Enlightenment. Today, it is an enterprise at once more democratic and more susceptible to wealth. Any tenured professor can sloppily reconfigure the Gospels, and any blogger with the will can imagine his own Jesus. But to get a book deal with Simon & Schuster, it helps to know James Cameron.

“The Jesus Discovery” has all the faults of amateurism: It is poorly organized, tendentious and incompetently edited. Paradoxically, it also has the flaws of mass-market television. Its version of Christianity — in which Jesus was a family man, and his resurrection an uplifting metaphor — is a matter of bloodless controversy. The theory is supposed to be sensationalist, and yet the Jesus of Tabor and Jacobovici led a life no stranger than Norman Vincent Peale’s.

In the place of history as Hegelian drama, Tabor and Jacobovici give us a thoroughly middlebrow replacement. “We have never failed to enter a tomb,” they report in one of many sententious asides, “without a sobering and moving sense of the shared humanity that the tomb so tangibly represents.” This is a past drained of difference or strangeness, an assembly of theme music and cheap sentiment without any real historical perspective. Since Strauss, historical criticism has become a principal way of retelling and reinterpreting the Jesus story: Scholarship has given us Jesus the social revolutionary, the apocalyptic Jew and the laconic sage. Compared with these reconstructions, Tabor and Jacobovici’s family man Jesus is not only poorly evidenced, but also tawdry and unexciting.

An amateur book.  That’s the finest summary statement I’ve yet seen.