Category Archives: Archaeology

The Bible & Archaeology

Ancient artifacts and the Bible illuminate each other in various ways, but it can be difficult to understand how this process works and how archaeological discoveries should be interpreted. In this book, Matthieu Richelle provides a concise, up-to-date introduction to the relationship between archaeology and the Old and New Testament Scriptures. He shows how historic physical artifacts and the biblical texts illuminate one another—creating a fascinating “dialogue” that sheds light on the meaning of both.  What emerges is a rich and balanced picture that enlivens our understanding of the Bible’s message, increases our appreciation for the historical and cultural contexts in which it was written, and helps us be realistic about the limits of our knowledge. This work is revised and updated from the original French translation.

It’s available here.  The publisher has sent a review copy, so look for a review later.

When it Comes to Archaeological and Textual ‘Discoveries’…

These days, I think our default position should be skepticism and everything should be viewed a fake until it’s PROVEN to be authentic instead of blindly accepting claims made in the media. That approach has gotten a lot of scholars a lot of egg on their faces.

Indeed, the default position of scholars should ALWAYS be skepticism. An object is guilty of being fraudulent until it is proven innocent by thorough peer reviewed analysis.

The May Biblioblog Carnival from Avignon

It’s 1 June and that means it’s hot out and that means it’s time for you to enjoy cool biblical studies blogging at its best.  And that means that it’s time to review the best posts of the preceding month.  And that means the best posts in biblical studies which appeared in May.  Here they are.  Sit back.  Have a cold one (and by that I mean root beer). Enjoy!

Hebrew Bible / Old Testament

A conference in Jerusalem revealed a series of texts recently deciphered from the Qumran caves, including one that seems to indicate the existence of a heretofore unknown manuscript.  It was biblioblogged here.  James McGrath went on something of a rampage against the young earth creationist people, posting several entries on May 2 on the topic- this being one of them.  I don’t think he’s a fan of the YEC.

Down Under they’re pitching an energy drink as a replacement for God and they’re using David to do it.  Thanks, Deane….

Interested in the Ark of the Covenant?  Then you need to watch this lecture by Thomas Römer.  It’s very learned.

Animals.

And watch this lecture about the Phoenecians…  because apparently they never existed… like New Zealanders and Hobbits…

Andy Stanley (a mega-church pastor who is by that very fact clearly no theologian or biblical scholar) blathered in May about Christians ‘unhitching’ from aspects of the Old Testament (the feckless heretic).  And he’s called on the carpet for it by the very wise Carmen Imes.  And unlike Stanley and all of his tragically ignorant defenders, Imes actually is a scholar.

If you’re in the mood for absolute lunacy, check out the craziness of the Answers in Genesis crowd…  as it tries to prove that Solomon was a monogamous soul.  Good heavens.

The editors of the forthcoming ‘LXX Readers Edition’ discuss their choice of the base text here.  They made the only sensible decision.

New Testament

The Jesus Blog people talked about a conference on social scientific criticism (etc) over on their semi-cool blog.  The conference has already taken place as this carnival posts but I’m sure that Chris Keith and the other participants will be happy to tell you all about th …..  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……….

Don’t skip John Barclay’s Firth Lecture.  It’s about Paul.  And Gifts.  Speaking of gifts, my birthday is coming up…  And remember, it’s more blessed to give to Jim (vl) than it is to receive.

George Athas wants to tell you about the parable of the talents.  You know who has talent?  Not Joel Watts.

A movie review showed up this month- about textual criticism.  Go figure.  Speaking of TC, here’s another interesting TC bitlet on Ephesians.  And yet more TC joy is over here, on Codex Marchalianus.

#Papyrusgate. Yup.  Because silly claims were made about a fragment of Mark supposedly dating to the first century but which, surprise surprise, doesn’t.  And, just in case you needed something to live in hope for, Larry Hurtado points out that ‘billions and billions’ (in the voice of that annoying science guy who’s dead) of fragments are yet to be studied.  So who knows, maybe among the rubbish there’s something that isn’t.  And then this happened.  And then this.  How long, O Lord…

Deane Galbraith tweeted “There will be a debate on whether Luke used Matthew (Mark Goodacre) or Matthew used Luke (Alan Garrow) at , in September. Just when you thought the Synoptic Problem couldn’t get any MORE exciting!!”   ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..

John Barclay gave an excellent talk on anthropology, theology and history at the University of Zurich that, if you missed, you can watch here.

Larry Hurtado talks some about anonymous Gospels.  (Pro-tip- all the gospels are anonymous).

Richard Goode is teaching Greek this Summer at Newman.  You’ll want to attend if you’re anywhere around Birmingham.  And while there, you’ll want to throw things at Richard and mock him mightily and mercilessly.  He expects it.  No, really, he wants you to throw things at him…

Rick Brannan offers some thoughts on what early Christians read.  Pro-tip:  none of them read anything by NT Wright (and if they had they would have called a Council to denounce and excommunicate him, amen).

Tim B. has a few things to say about 1Peter and the submission of wives… I guess he likes hate mail.

Archaeology

Herein the Museum of the Bible is gutted and the entrails hung up for a public display.  And Roberta Mazza gets quoted.

Dead Sea Scrolls stuff! Enjoy!  And more Dead Sea Scrolls stuff.  But you missed it.  If Michael is in your town in the future, you owe it to yourself to visit him.  Speaking of Dead Sea stuff, be sure to visit Matthieu Richelle’s new Paleo-Hebrew site.

Be sure to read Larry Schiffman’s ‘Jewish Connection to Jerusalem‘.  It’s archaeology-esque.

Books

This one you just have to see to believe.  I’ll just say – what do you get when you cross a graphic novel with Old Testament scholar Thomas Römer?

There’s something called the ‘Companion to the Bible and Film’ by T&T Clark- and there’s an interview about it.  So you should read it.  I think that if you take your bible to a film (not only are you a bit weird, but) you’re not going to be able to read it because it’s dark in the theater.  But maybe the book comes with tiny non invasive reading lights…

Phil Long reviewed a book about Messiah and Passover.  “Glaser began this book with an argument in favor of Christians celebrating Passover, or at least incorporating elements of Passover into their Christian worship.”   Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

The folk at New College mentioned a few online resources for biblical studies that will be on interest to many.  We have four new digital resource trials for Biblical Studies this month. They’re all accessible from the E-resource trials web page.  Take a look.  

And- run over right off and pick up the ‘Free Book of the Month’ from Logos.

Miscellaneous

Interestingly, the SBL archives have been moved down to Atlanta.  Hmmm…  Makes sense really since the SBL headquarters are not but a few miles from Emory (where the Pitts library is).

Bill Ross is talking about the LXX Reader’s Edition at something called the Evangelical Theology Society.  I guess it’s Trump supporters who study theology (but for the life of me I can’t imagine anyone in that crowd being smart enough to study theology).  At any rate, Bill’s session should be good…  One hopes… I guess.

Visit the new website of the Oxford University, Oriel College, Centre for the Study of the Bible.  Sure, they spelled ‘center’ wrong… but otherwise it’s fantastic.

J. Crossley has an essay about the Bible and English politics that I’m sure must be good but it’s behind a pay wall.  But hey, for $43 I could buy access to it for 24 hours or I could snatch up the whole issue in which it appears for a paltry $123.  Which to choose…. which. To. Choose….   And speaking of JC- he’s sure to be at the BCTR(S) meeting in London.  So you should go if you can.  It will cost you less than renting an essay for a day….

The DMG has digitized its various journals.  Chuck Jones has the details and you’ll definitely want to rummage through some of those issues.

James Crossley has added another task to his impressive list of tasks.  And congrats to him for it.

Jim Spinti has some interesting things to say about translations.  Worth a read.

Tim B. is hosting the ‘Roman’ (i.e., ‘official’) Carnival over at his place.  And, dear friends, enjoy your Summer…

Ido Koch Has An Announcement to Make About a Dig

Dear All,

I am happy to invite you in the name of the Tel Hadid Expedition to join us in the field this spring. This is a joint project, headed by Tel Aviv University and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, under the direction of Eli Yannai, Dan Warner (NOBTS), and yours truly (TAU). Visit our website (https://hadidexpedition.org/) to discover more about the project.

Students and members of the public are able to join in and work with Tel Hadid Expedition in the field this May 28 – June 21. To join, please contact us at: hadid.excavations@gmail.com.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in the spring,

Ido

That One Time the Times of Israel Tried To Act Objective

Ha.  It’s like hypocrisy, except worse, when the TOI acts like it hasn’t played a big part in spreading all kinds of exaggerated claims.

#ICYMI – An Interview With Philip Davies of the Palestine Exploration Fund

Prof. Davies was gracious and generous and granted an interview about his work with the PEF

What exactly is the PEF, and when was it founded?

The Palestine Exploration Fund was set up 150 years ago ‘for the purpose of investigation the Archaeology, Geography, Geology and Natural History of the Holy Land’. The word ‘Fund’ appropriately designated its primary activity of raising money by subscription and donation in order to finance this ambitious undertaking.
After a meeting on May 12th 1865 in the Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster, London, chaired by the Archbishop of York, the Fund, with the patronage of Queen Victoria, held its first meeting on June 22nd. Here the Archbishop declared three principles: whatever done must be on scientific principles; the Society should abstain from controversy; and it should not be started, nor conducted, as a religious society.

The meeting resolved further ‘that the exploration of Jerusalem and many other places in the Holy Land by means of excavations would probably throw much light upon the Archaeology of the Jewish people’. Accordingly, although there was obviously a focus of interest on biblical antiquity, the meeting called for a systematic survey, including the collection of plants and minerals, of the ‘Holy Land’, and recommended that ‘facts requisite for a systematic history be noted by competent observers on the spot’. So geography, geology and ecology were also part of its remit. In addition, it was noted ‘that the Biblical scholar may yet receive assistance in illustrating the sacred text from careful observers of the manners and habits of the people of the Holy Land’. This last comment reflects a view that might be criticized as an aspect of colonial mentality and ‘orientalism’—that life in nineteenth century Palestine very closely resembled that in the biblical period. But it was born, I think, less of an imperialist mindset and more from a mixture of naivety, curiosity and enthusiasm. Nor was it totally untrue in every respect, although many of those sent out on the Fund’s behalf to carry out research quickly came to realize that it was far from being entirely the case.

Among those who have explored Palestine under the Fund’s patronage are Charles Wilson, Charles Warren, Claude Conder, Horatio Kitchener, Gottlieb Schumacher, William Flinders Petrie, Frederick Bliss, Robert Macalister, Leonard Woolley, T.E. Lawrence, John Garstang, John Crowfoot, Kathleen Kenyon and Olga Tufnell.

What is its mission?

We still maintain the original aims of the Fund: to promote knowledge and understanding of every aspect of the land of Palestine at all periods, though archaeology, ethnology, anthropology, geology and any scientific means. In keeping with the founding principle of non-controversy, too, we continue to disclaim any political or religious ideology, though our membership obviously embraces a wide range of interests. The Fund initially published a Quarterly Statement of its activities, which became the Palestine Exploration Quarterly, and this we continue to produce, along with the PEF Annuals and other books. We have accumulated a great deal of material from our activities—written records, an extensive repertoire of pictures and photographs, and some artifacts—and these need curating, preservation, editing and digitizing. We also maintain a large library, to which our members and visitors have access. In addition, we provide grants for research and, in conjunction with the British Museum, we organize monthly lectures. We also lend materials to exhibitions and hope to continue to be able to organize touring exhibitions of our own.

How did you become involved with the organization?

Like many scholars, I have long known of, and used, the Fund’s facilities, and when I was asked whether I would like to join the Committee, I had little hesitation in agreeing because I have been so often to Palestine and developed a great affection for it, and a concern for its past, present and future. Having been elected as the Chair of the Committee I shall, I hope, remain actively involved with it for five more years. Biblical scholars have always contributed to the work of the PEF but our interest in the entire history and culture of Palestine means that a very wide range of people and of expertise is represented at every level. This makes us a bit different from societies interested mainly in biblical antiquity.

How might others become involved?

First of all, by joining: there are no restrictions on membership; the subscription is modest and includes the PEQ. There is still a wealth of material in our possession that requires analysis and we are keen to encourage new members to participate in our ongoing work to make the material more accessible through publication and digitization. We are also in the process of increasing our international profile by establishing a North American presence, which, under current plans, will be centred in Chicago. Although a lot of information is already accessible on our website (www.pef.org.uk), we are also planning to provide a members’ area which will afford restricted access to further materials, including videocasts of our lectures.

What do you see as the most important aspect of its work?

Different people will give different answers, because we cover so much ground and from so many different angles. But we would all accept that Palestine’s history and culture are nowadays strongly contested and subject to a great deal of popular misunderstanding. Much of its heritage is disappearing, and the PEF is an important, neutral promoter of all aspects of that heritage. As a biblical scholar, I naturally have a professional interest in just one small part of that history, though I was trained also as a student of Islam and I have an interest in Palestine especially as a place in which both imperial powers (from Egypt to Britain) as well as major religions, have settled, fought and sometimes come to some accommodation. As a bridge between three continents, it is also in its own right a very special part of our planet. I think the PEF’s dedication to the whole of its history (and prehistory) makes us special.

How does the PEF refrain from the trap of the politicization of archaeology?

Politicians always seek to control our understanding of the past, and the PEF’s own efforts were from the outset subject to attempts at political influence, especially in the years before the war of 1914-18. It is also, I think, well known that archaeology in modern Israel is part of a national effort not only to neutrally explore the past but to promote knowledge of Jewish connections with it. We are often approached from many sides by those interested in what we regard as political agendas, and we take care not to be seen to lend support to these aims. We encourage scholars and non-scholars of all persuasions to make full use of our resources but also to share our own aims and principles.

What are the perils involved in even using the name ‘Palestine’ in the organization’s title?

We have always used Palestine as a geographical designation, including Israel, part of Jordan and some of Syria, and it has been used continuously for the region for 2000 years. There really is no sound reason to abandon this usage. I am aware that ‘Land of Israel’ is the Jewish name for Palestine, and there is of course an Israel Exploration Society that covers the same geographical area as the PEF and publishes a corresponding Journal. But ‘Israel’ belongs to only a part of Palestine’s history and geography, and the same would be true of any territory occupied by a State of Palestine.

What are the future aims and goals of the PEF?

We need, most of all, to continue the digitizing of our collections, and with that our use of social media and digital communication, in order to offer members from outside the UK the tangible benefits they should enjoy of having access to news and material online as well as visiting our offices when in London. So in the last few years we have created in addition to a Facebook page, our own blog and Twitter feed, and we plan to create a members’ area on our website through which they can freely access some of our archives and download podcasts of our monthly lectures at the British Museum.

How can those interested in archaeology in the Levant help the PEF achieve its goals?

First of all by helping to finance our work. This can be through becoming members, but we are also most grateful for any other contributions in the form of bequests or endowments or donations of books to our library. We are a charity and while our income matches our expenditure there is much more we would love to be able to do to display our collections more fully and to develop them further. Second, by contributing to our publications, and participating in our online activity. For those living in London or nearby, we also have work to offer to volunteers. The Fund was not established as a learned society, and its membership is by no means dominated by scholars. We want to attract anyone with a genuine interest in any aspect of the land of Palestine.

Thank you, Philip!

Did the Fortified Jerusalem of the Middle Bronze Just Vanish, and What Does This Say About King David?

New in Bible and Interpretation

New Carbon-14 tests show that massive Middle Bronze fortifications near the Gihon Spring in Jerusalem shall not be regarded to this period anymore. The archaeological community is in a rage. If the Canaanite fortifications did not exist, how credible would be the biblical account of the United Monarchy?\

It’s a good one. And very fair.

The March Madness Edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival

Our 145th Biblical Studies Carnival launches with posts focusing on the Old Testament /Hebrew Bible.   The title of the Carnival, though, has nothing to do with the contents except that the Carnival will be a slam dunk of biblioblogging gloriousness and tiny underdogs will find their rightful exposure to the wider world.  It will be nothing like picking up a book Chris Tilling has written that has Paul on the title page but it turns out it’s really about chess or something equally terrible.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Old Testament / Hebrew Bible

Let’s start off our madness with an important reminder from James ‘The Bookman’ Spinti- that translations of translations are not the best starting point…  After making the point Spinti observes

Think Augustine, who knew no Hebrew and a smattering of Greek. He was dependent on the Old Latin translations—which frequently were less accurate than Jerome’s Vulgate, which was in the process of being completed while Augustine was alive. Jerome knew Hebrew well and not infrequently chided Augustine about his lack of knowledge of Greek and Hebrew (Jerome could be nasty…).

Could he be?  I never noticed…

Deane has a really interesting post on the origin of a marble statue representing Gen 6:1-4 and its connection to Old Faithful.  Really.  History is weird.

Eibert Tigchelaar’s lecture Beautiful Bookhands and Careless Characters has been posted online by the University of BirminghamSo say the folk at OTTC.

Jim Davila brings our attention to the John William Wevers LXX prize 2018 and your chance to nominate someone.  I nominate William Ross.  John Meade discusses the LXX canon… and let me say- NO, John, NO!   Mark Leuchter has a new article in the Journal of Hebrew Scripture, as announced here.  James McGrath has some things to say about something called ‘Young Earth Creationism‘.  Must be some sort of hipster band.  Hipsters are so weird, with their home brewed booze and their straggly rat infested greasy beards and nasty sweat encrusted caps… gross smelly beasts.

IOSOT is coming to Aberdeen in August of 2019 and they’ve already set up the website.  I love planners.  I may plan on going and skip SBL next year.

For 40 years the Hebrew Bible and digital technology have been intertwined.  And there’s a neat discussion / exhibition here.

If you want to have some fun read Matt’s post on Samson and Delilah.  It’s a 1922 film and it looks as terrible as you would think.  Some guy wanted to discuss some recent approaches to the book of Qoheleth.  Go ahead and read it, but it’s all vain.

Michael Homan has a great essay on the Mosaic Tabernacle in its ANE context.  It includes super illustrations.  Be sure not to miss it.  And if you’re in the UK you might be interested in this call for applications for Hebrew Manuscript Studies: Codicology, Palaeography, Art History.

Ryan Thomas needs your help deciphering a bit of Aramaic from Elephantine.  At the moment I’m posting this, the photo he provides is not working.  Hopefully it will be when the Carnival goes live.

Brant Petree has an interesting take on the bronze serpent.  From Numbers.  You know, the bronze serpent that healed all the rebellious Israelites after tens of thousands died thanks to their whinings… that bronze one.

Michael Heiser wrote a bit about the ‘Book of Og’.  It’s not the same as the terrible book by Chris Tilling called ‘The Book of Ugh’.  So please don’t confuse the two.

New Testament /Early Christianity

You may have missed it but Ben Witherington had a brief anecdote about the great C.K. Barrett, who had an amusing observation to make once about New Testament scholars.  And you may have missed the contents of the latest issue of New Testament Studies, but don’t worry, Danny Zacharias has your back.  I guess.  I think that’s what the kids say.  Who knows.  I don’t really care what the kids say anyway….

How did Jesus Become God?  The NOB debate. Professor Bart Ehrman and Dr Michael Bird debated the content of and issues surrounding Ehrman’s recent book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Preacher from Galilee.  It’s a series of videos.  #ICYMI (and you probably did miss it).

George *The Kiwi Starbucks Lover* Athas has a nifty post on the reason for Jesus’ execution (just in time for Easter).

Hugh Houghton does us all a favor here when he discusses the resurrection accounts in the Gospels, in Codex Sinaiticus!

Michael Langlois has some Jesus stuff on his blog about a Jesus film in the French tongue:  Jésus, l’enquête.  And who doesn’t want to investigate Jesus?  I mean besides the cray-cray ‘Jesus mythicists’ (who for people who claim they don’t believe Jesus existed sure do spend a lot of time talking about him….)

They’re going to have a study session in Cambridge at Tyndale House this July on the Gospel of John.  Pepsico has the details.  Roosters and the like make an appearance in the Tyndale House, Cambridge NT Blog.  Cock-a-doodle-doooooo….. They also discuss a variant in Luke 22:31  and one in Luke 23.  And Brian Davidson talked about the Tyndale GNT over at his place.  Meanwhile, the Logos folk asked ‘which text did Jesus use?‘  I’ll go ahead and answer: He used the Hebrew text.  He was, after all, a Palestinian Rabbi.

Joan Taylor and Helen Bond went to see the Mary Magdalene film and discussed it on the YouTube.  Others saw it too and were not at all that impressed with it.  And, back to Joan and Helen, they’re featured on a BBC 4 documentary on the women disciples of Jesus airing April 8 at 8 PM.  I sure wish it was airing here.

Mary also comes up for discussion by Michael Pahl.  I think Mary is pretty uninteresting as a New Testament character.  Far more interesting is the famed ‘Whore of Babylon’ in the book of Revelation.  She fascinates (as symbol).  But hey, to each her own, as the kids say (when they can bother to stop snapfacing and instagramming)…

Phil-Bob Long reviewed a commentary by F.F. Bruce.  Sort of surprised to see Bruce writing a newly published volume, what with him being all dead and all.  But stranger things have happened. And Tommy Wasserman is giving away a copy of his recent book on textual criticism.  Enter at your own risk.  Speaking of Textual Criticism, take a look at Ben Witherington’s post on p75.  The page is Patheos so beware of the plethora of ads you’ll have to slash through to get to the post.

Larry Hurtado didn’t like Mary Magdalene the film very much.  He would nearly rather watch paint dry.

Chris Keith will be talking about Jesus and cannibals (I think) in May- so you should arrange to go hear him.

Stephen Carlson wrote a bit about a forged manuscript.  Interesting if you’re into fakes.  And not fake, a multi-part examination of a new commentary on 2 Peter by Canadian Michael Kok you’ll want to check out here and here (so far).

Christoph Helig had a great post on learning Koine.  Go read it now, and then come back.  And if you want to learn Greek, do it at Newman University this Summer.

There’s a neat debunking of the myths about women and their place in the early Church over at the Oxford U. blog.  Give it a read.  And there’s also a neat post debunking NT Wright (alright maybe not debunking but perhaps showing his work to be bunk) by some kid with a Yosemite Sam mustache.  Come on, guys, shave so you don’t look like you’re hiding food in your face.

Henry Neufeld offered a reading of Hebrews 6:4-6 which isn’t altogether horrible or completely wrong.  Give it a read.  And Brian Fulthorpe discussed 1 Tim 2:11-15.  I’m not sure why, but as you know I’m not here to judge, I’m just a simple collector, like a Gospel redactor stringing pearls together on a string.  It’s up to you, precious soul, to decide what you like or don’t.

Archaeology /Scrolls

Roberta Mazza has an interesting piece on the illegal sale of papyri and what YOU can do about it.  You ought to read it if you haven’t already.  Beth She’arim is the subject of this post by the learned Jim Davila.

Todd Bolen discusses a newly discovered undisturbed Canaanite tomb.  Clearly, this proves that it isn’t Israel which has legitimate claim to the land, but the Canaanites (borrowing from the playbook of the Zionists who, whenever there is a ‘discovery’ of an Israelite this or that, use it to justify Jewish control of the land as though ancient Israel = modern Israel).

Archaeologists made some false claims about the City of David and now those false claims have been exposed by science.  Archaeologists need to abandon the Bible and spade approach.  They’re only hurting their own discipline.  And speaking of false claims, the false claim by Mazar concerning the so called ‘Isaiah Seal’ is the subject of a podcast by Chris Rollston.  And in yet another black eye for the discipline, Mellaart has been found to have forged many of his own ‘discoveries’.  Despicable.  Get your act together, archaeology.

Speaking of the unbelievable, they’ve done a Festschrift for Hershel Shanks….  Jesus take the wheel.

The Megiddo Mosaic gets a look from Arne Berge.  Who doesn’t love Megiddo and mosaics?

There was a neat post on International Women’s Day about women in archaeology that is very much worth a look.

Todd Bolen also had an interesting post about the large mikveh in Macherus which has been, for whatever reason, filled in.

James McGrath discusses Star Wars (?  is that the one with Kirk or Picard?) and archaeology.  What ties them together?  They’re both pretend (Star Wars all the time and archaeology whenever it hits the popular press).

Books and Other Media

Be sure to hop over to Logos and grab the free book of the month.  Very happy news from the Catholics: the Revised New Jerusalem Bible (New Testament) is out.  Next to the Revised English Bible, the Jerusalem Bible and the NJB are the best English translations.  So I’m going to have to obtain a copy of the RNJB when the whole thing is done in 2019. Speaking of Bible editions, happy news for the NT geeks- a new edition of the UBS/ NA text is coming in 2021/22.  And there’s also a new edition of the CSB coming.

There’s notice around and about concerning a new ‘Paul and Patristics’ database.  This is the first blog which I saw mention it (though twitter had noticed it a day before), so he gets the link.  Miraculously, this chap is blogging the RBL reviews when they appear.  RBL provides a good service so take a look if you’re one of the few who don’t already get the email from them.

Normally I wouldn’t mention a publisher’s sale but Wipf and Stock has stuff 50% off (on this list) till April 3.  So look it over and if you’re so inclined, get a bargain.  As they remark- Use code INV50 during checkout.

Better than 50% off, though, is free.  And you can download Huehnergard’s 3rd edition of his Akkadian Grammar for that low price.  That blog has all the best info just when you need to know it.  That guy is super.  And he’s the most beloved biblioblogger of all time.

David Instone-Brewer gives a bit of a tutorial on using LSJ’s lexicon in the STEP Bible.  Give it a read.

The Complete Jewish Study Bible is discussed over here with the editor in chief of the project.  If you like the ‘study bible’ genre, give it a read.  But remember-  Scot McKnight has an engaging post on Bible translation tribalism.   You’ll have to hack through the Patheos popups to get to it but with a steady hand and a sharp blade you’ll make it in an hour or two.

Here’s some good news- Francis Watson has a new book out.  He’s the best.  And as an example of what is not the best, here’s this post.  After you read it you’ll be all like ‘what?’  (And I only include it because I want you to know, precious soul, that you can do better if you try just a little.  Don’t be that guy…).

Check out STECA! – STECA is an international network for doctoral students and early career researchers, run by a Steering Committee, and currently based at the University of Birmingham. Our aim is to create a virtual common room to support early career researchers wherever they are based.   Bookmark it.

Faithlife has made a film on Textual Criticism.  Whaaaaaattttt?  Give it a look if you dare.  And the TC blog has a new contributor.  You may want to see the return of Elijah.  He doesn’t look at all like I expected him to.

Don’t miss this interview with David Instone-Brewer on the STEP Bible.  The STEP Bible is the best free Bible software I’ve yet encountered and I recommend it to my students each semester.  If you are a regular reader here you’ve probably heard me recommend it before as well.

And finally for this category- a gem from Jim.

Miscellaneous

Should you be keen to keep up with biblioblogging day by day, check out the Biblioblog Reference Library.  It doesn’t get a lot of press these days but it’s the perfect spot to get a ‘snapshot’ of the last 24 hours of biblioblogging fun.

Under no circumstances ought you miss the interview of Michael Langlois’s  titled ‘Revelations on the Bible’ in Science and Life Magazine.

The 2019 Hawarden ‘Old Testament in the New’ is ramping up its planning, so save the date.

Larry Hurtado has some musings on PhD studies.  He’s retired, so he’s old.  And old people have perspective.  So give it a look.  Seth Ehorn muses on what makes a good scholar.

Timothy Lim reconsiders the canonical process.  I sure hope it turns out different this time.  The last canon had Mark in it and Mark is the worst thing since Joel Watts….

Don’t miss Tim’s post on Bible reading.  It includes a picture, so non-readers like Joel Watts and Chris Tilling and all the Wrightians and Bonhoefferians will still be able to enjoy it.

And lastly- here is a list of women bibliobloggers for your examination (because March is the Month of Women)-

Coming Up

For the next two months these folk will be hosting the carnival:

If you’re interested in signing up to host a future Biblical Studies Carnival contact Phil Long (email@plong42). They’re a ton of fun to do.  And he needs good folk like you to help out.

Oh, and Happy Easter!

Happy 69th Birthday, Israel Finkelstein!

Today is Israel’s birthday. He’s an incredibly influential Israeli archaeologist and he has overseen the excavation of most of Israel’s most important sites. Over the years he’s been a great friend and I appreciate his great work. Check out a plethora of posts in celebration of his birth-iversary and a gallery of images:

Happy birthday!

Rollston’s Podcast on the So Called ‘Isaiah Seal’

Give it a listen here.

It Looks Like Science Has Proven Inflated Archaeological Claims Wrong, Again

A new Weizmann Institute study has discovered radiocarbon-dating evidence of the First Temple period under a tower in Jerusalem’s City of David that was previously dated to the Canaanite period. The findings, based on soil samples taken from under a seven-meter thick walled tower, shave nearly a thousand years from previous archaeological dating of the structure, which placed it c. 1700 BCE — and contradict a presumed biblical linkage to the site.

Downhill from the Temple Mount of Jerusalem, the Gihon Spring guard tower was discovered in 2004 by archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron. Based on pottery and architectural signifiers, the heavily fortified structure — and the rest of the Spring Citadel protecting Jerusalem’s precious water source — were dated to Canaanite construction (Middle Bronze II period).

“This is the largest fortress found in all of Israel to date between the Canaanite cities… and it seems that it is essentially the largest fortress found in Israel until the days of King Herod,” states the website.

‘It is essentially the largest fortress found in Israel until the days of King Herod’

However, new findings by an interdisciplinary cooperative team of Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists and Weizmann Institute scientists place the construction of the tower during the second half of the Iron Age — smack dab in the middle of the Israelite period, and much closer to the days of Herod than earlier suspected.

And later

Contrary to previous estimates, the date revealed by this radiocarbon dating was sometime around 900-800 BCE — nearly 1,000 years later than archaeologists had originally dated the tower, and well after the presumed reign of King David.

Yet again, the ‘bible in one hand, spade in the other’ approach to archaeology fails.

Pioneering Women in Archaeology for this #InternationalWomanDay

Give it a read here.  And yes, of course Kathleen Kenyon is mentioned.  It wouldn’t be a responsible essay if she weren’t.

The Illegal Papyrus Trade and What Scholars Can Do to Stop It

Read Roberta Mazza on the topic here.

If You’re in France, Watch This

And record it. And send a zipped file of it to me so I can watch it….

Because my buddy Michael Langlois is in it. And he’s super smart.

Palestine Exploration Fund 2018 Grant Applications

APPLICATIONS FOR 2018 GRANTS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED – DOWNLOAD THE POSTER HERE:

PEF Grants 2018.pdf

Application Form and Procedure — The following forms and notes are available to download here:  PEF grant form (PDF | DOC)  PEF reference request form.  Grant Notes 2018.pdf.  Follow our grants researchers in the field by visiting our blog at:  www.pef.org.uk/blog/

With thanks to Jonathan Stökl for the mention on the twitters.

A Great Piece on Israel Finkelstein

Here.

A New Discovery In Jerusalem

Via Joseph Lauer

This morning, Monday, January 1, 2018, the IAA circulated English and Hebrew press releases titled “”[Belonging] To the Governor of the City”: A Unique Stamped piece of clay from the First Temple Period, Inscribed in Ancient Hebrew Script, was Unearthed in the Israel Antiquities Authority Excavations in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem.” The releases also announced that “The important find was discovered over the course of the IAA’s excavations at the site, together with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. According to the excavator, Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, “the Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2700 years ago.””

Unfortunately, the release may not be read at the IAA’s website as “The IAA websites are temporarily unavailable due to maintenance”.  The IAA has posted the English release and a video to Facebook. See https://tinyurl.com/zcf3gen  and https://www.facebook.com/165143053508665/videos/1716208608402094/

Why did the Museum of the Bible’s scholars destroy ancient Egyptian artifacts?

By the tag team of Moss and Baden.  Give it a read.

The Sordid Tale of the Aussie Looter

I’m sure this kind of thing has always been going on and probably still is-

Joan Howard, the wife of a UN diplomat, used her travel to the region to join archaeology digs in the 60s and 70s. But a recent profile in The West Australian newspaper, showcasing her extensive collection, prompted outrage. Archaeologists have called for an investigation into her collection of cultural artefacts. The Australian Associated Press reports that the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs is now looking into the matter.

Shaaban Abdel Gawad, the director-general of the Retrieved Antiquities Department at Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Egypt’s foreign ministry had requested the investigation.

“We want to investigate how these pieces made it out of Egypt illegally,” he told the newspaper. Despite the controversy, it is not clear if Mrs Howard broke any national or international laws. The original profile piece, published in early November by The West Australian, nicknamed Mrs Howard “Indiana Joan” after Harrison Ford’s fictional globetrotting archaeologist.

It called her Australia’s “real life tomb raider” who had “a mischievous twinkle” in her eye when talking about her collection – which it said is worth more than A$1m (£571,000). Objects in the collection include a funeral mask from an Egyptian mummy, Neolithic axe heads dating back 40,000 years, Roman weapons, and coins and jewellery from ancient Egypt.

If it doesn’t have provenance, don’t have anything to do with it.

A Truly Useful and Important Resource for Old Testament Studies

Just published, “The Old Testament in Archaeology and History” is a volume with which I am intimately familiar, having read through most of it in early editorial stages.  I can recommend it to you for courses in Old Testament and for courses in Archaeology.  The essayists are all top notch and the editors are the cream of the Old Testament crop.

I received my copy today and I’m quite thrilled with the results of all that labor over all those months.  I think you’ll be quite impressed with it yourselves.