A Brief Guest Post by Wouter Henkelman

Contrary to recent postings on various outlets, I have not discovered (or claimed discovery) of a new inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam, Iran: all credit for this splendid discovery goes to Mojtaba Doroodi (Shiraz) and Soheil Delshad (Freie Universität Berlin).

The new inscription, baptised DNf, is a trilingual caption in format comparable to DNc and DNd. Although short and partly broken, it contains a number of new elements that are of philological and historical interest. A commented edition by Doroodi and Delshad will shortly be published in the online journal ARTA (http://www.achemenet.com/en/tree/?/on-line-publications/arta)

Wouter Henkelman

One Carnival to Rule them All: January, 2019

Introductory Matters

January is always an exciting month.  It kicks off a new year and it begins with a celebration of the greatest of all the Christian theologians and exegetes, Huldrych Zwingli.  But, believe it or not, I’m not going to talk about Zwingli.  Or Luther.  Or Calvin.  Or any of that historical theology stuff.  Instead, this Carnival is restricted to things biblical studies.  So hold on to your knickers, friends, because this Carnival is the One Biblical Studies Carnival to Rule Them All.

Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament

Science and Bible, again.  And yes, I realize that it’s a topic near and dear to many but I just don’t get it.  Science has to do with science and Scripture has to do with theology/ metaphysics.  They don’t play on the same playground, they aren’t neighbors, and they don’t sit down for coffee and chat about what they think about the other.  You never really hear about scientists fretting as to whether or not Christian theology will take it seriously but you have loads of Christian theologians who act like 13 year old girls craving the approval of the boy who won’t pay them any attention.   Nonetheless, if the whole science game is your bag, good for you.  You are Legion.

Archangels.  Where did they come from?  The remaining giants discuss.

Where did archangels come from? How did we end up with archangels in Jewish and Christian tradition?

Find out.

The LXX Reader’s Edition contest that ran in November… has announced the two winners…  here at the end of January (the 25th to be precise).  (3 months.  That has to be a record)(Bless their hearts)(They have political careers ahead of them if this LXX research thing falls through).

Someone wants to argue with Deane Galbraith about giants.

Over at Bible and Interpretation

Hendel and Joosten’s book  [on dating Biblical texts in Hebrew] is chock-full of insightful observations on a multitude of linguistic, textual, and cultural/historical phenomena, and they argue cogently that the best method for dating biblical writings should include all three of these data sources. Nonetheless, their answer to the question, “How Old is the Hebrew Bible?,” is unoriginal because they do little more than offer a sophisticated repackaging of the traditional linguistic dating approach and results, and it is also unsatisfactory because they eschew literary criticism in the formulation of their model of consilience for determining the ages of biblical literature.

Read the full essay.

Septuagint reading can be fun.  Or so we’re told.

There’s a super essay in B&I by Hendel and Joosten on the Hebrew Bible’s age.  You MUST read it (or else).

Many scholars, largely disregarding linguistic data, insist that most or all of the Hebrew Bible was written in the second half of the first millennium BCE, during the Persian and/or Hellenistic periods, and draw the inference that there is little or no historical content that predates this era….The ages of the books of the Hebrew Bible span a vast chronological range, from the early Iron Age to the Greek age, which we can discern at different degrees of focus. There is much that we can know about these topics, more than most scholars are willing to grant.

Oh boy.

Internet Monk is thinking along with Peter Enns about the Bible.  A bad decision on the best of days.  But anyway, he’s doing it.  And you may to give his thinkings a read.

Robert Alter’s really wonderful translation/ commentary on the Hebrew Bible gets a thorough going over in this ‘symposium’ on it in the Jewish Review of Books.  It is a substantial review by a good raft of scholars, and you should most definitely read it.  I was given a copy of Alter’s work for Christmas and I really love it.

Septuagint Summer School.  You know you want to.  It’s in the Summer.  In Europe.

New Testament

An Orthodox Priest named Stephen has a very interesting take on Jesus and social justice.  He opines

Secularism is the forgetting of God, or remembering Him in a manner that is truly less than God. This is the cause of all injustice. Indeed, it is the great injustice: that human beings forget their Creator and the purpose of their existence. When we forget God, everything is madness.

I recommend his intriguing essay.

Joel Watts tells us how the New Testament canon was actually formed.  Who knew…

Larry’s right.  Paul wasn’t ‘converted’.   He simply reformed.

Bill Mounce asks if ‘all’ the translations are wrong at Mark 1:16.  To which I reply, the ones most people use are, but the REB is right.  The REB proves itself over and over again the most reliable version in English and here it does so yet again.

Ian Paul discusses, naturally, the historicity of the visit of the Wise Men.  What the world needs is more Bultmannians.

Ian also talks about the notion that the Gospel can be funny at spots…  He’s apparently writing a book on the humor in the Bible….  But he’s British…

Philbert *The Traveler* Long had a bit of something to say about the Theology of Acts.  He remarks

There is a third element of the book of Acts which…

Bart Ehrman asks about early Christians and the belief in reincarnation.  He writes

It is often said today that reincarnation was a widespread teaching in early Christianity as well.  In fact, the evidence for it is ….     To see the rest of what I have to say, you’ll need to belong to the blog.  It’s easy to join, and costs less then fifty cents a week.

I don’t know what he says about it.  I’m not a blog-liever.  If you are, you’ll know.

James McGrath thinks Jesus was a hugger.  It’s an interesting and not altogether impossible reading of the text he is looking at.  Why not, I guess.  But Jesus also had a beard and there’s no reason to think that having a beard is required just because he had one…  ergo…

Richard Bauckham lectured at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem on Jesus Christ as the Alpha and Omega.  You’ll enjoy it.

Bart Ehrman answers a reader’s question about the Jewishness of the New Testament authors.  Someone (the questioner) has been reading the Nazi sympathizing New Testament scholars in Germany in 1930 again…  Fortunately Deane has the good sense (along with many others) to point out the absurdity of it all (and Bart pulled his post down… but you can still read it here).

Mike Bird writes a thing about ‘Apostle Paul’ and some early Church person thing.  What intrigues me about the post is the practice among some of saying ‘Apostle Paul’ instead of ‘The Apostle Paul’ as though ‘the’ is now out of fashion.  It’s weird.  Stop it.

And, finally, your ‘eyeroll of the month’- a post suggesting that the Sermon on the Mount has a dark side because it ‘others’ the pharisees….

This means the Sermon on the Mount is, in large part, constructed upon a negative “othering,” or stereotyping of rivals – namely, the Scribes and the Pharisees. The “righteousness” of the Scribes and Pharisees provides a foil for the higher righteousness of the Sermon.

Archaeology and Texts

Two biblioblogs took notice of the appearance of a website devoted to the polyglots:  Bible and Tech and ETC.  Who doesn’t like polyglots?  And websites?  And polyglot websites?

If you haven’t run across mention of it yet, there’s a Text criticism conference in Birmingham.  Bookings close in mid February.

Belarus text display?  Ok.  I guess a text has got to be somewhere.  Why not Belarus?  Though if I were a text I’d definitely prefer to be in the Zurich Central Library.  Or the British Library.

ETC also took notice of some dead sea scrolls stuffity stuff.  It’s madness though so you should probably just let is slide right on by.   Here’s a snippet just so you know I’m trying to be a blessing:

The texts preserving Psalms from Qumran classified by scholars as biblical texts are significant for the fluid/standard text debate because they preserve large-scale differences that designate them in the mind of many scholars as an alternative tradition or edition of the Psalter.

I hope they get Denzel Washington to play the lead when they make this DSS post at ETC into a movie…

Big news from Brent– the John Rylands texts are online.  Now that’s some useful material for sure.

Israeli looters want to beat Bedouin looters to the loot to be found, they hope, in the region of the Dead Sea around Qumran.  Looting Wars should be the title of the essay here reported.  One set of looters is state sponsored and the other individually driven.  But looters are looters.  if it isn’t your land, it isn’t your loot.

Interested in a digital library of text critical things?  Look no further.

At the time of writing this, we currently have images of or links to more than 1500 manuscripts in our library.

Aren Maeir has a new post on the Philistines and their war-y-ness-hood.  It’s a lot of fun.  The post, not the war-ness-ness of the Philistines.  They were such Philistines.

Michael Langlois lectured at the Ecole Biblique on bible forgeries and the like and it was recorded.  You can view it here.

Bob Cargill wrote a piece for BAR on the so called ‘Jerusalem Column’, noting

The Jerusalem Column is the first inscription from the Second Temple period where the full spelling of the Hebrew name of Jerusalem (ירושלימ) appears. By “full spelling,” I mean a spelling of Jerusalem that includes the letter yod (י) between the lamed (“l”; ל) and final mem (“m”; מ) at the end of the name.

Unfortunately he doesn’t actually use a ‘final mem’, as the article suggests, but a medial mem.  Final mem looks like this: ם.  Not like this: מ.  If BC just meant that the word on the inscription ended with mem that’s what he should have said, without calling it a ‘final mem’ because the two mean different things to people who study Hebrew texts. BAR’s readers won’t notice the difference, but there is one.

Be sure to give the lecture by Israel Finkelstein at the Ecole Biblique a watch if you haven’t already.  It’s way more fun than a pillar.

Important series-es for new testament textual criticism.  Brought to you by the good people of Evangelical Textual Criticism (as opposed to and in contradistinction from non-evangelical textual criticism).

The Nabatean stronghold of Sela gets a great writeup in the Jordan Times, blogged here.  An interesting site with an interesting history.

Paul Barford posted an interesting snippet on Israel’s display of looted archaeological finds.  He notes, though, that

International law bars an occupying military from displaying antiquities outside the occupied area. But (Nir Hasson, ‘Israel Displays Archaeological Finds Looted From West Bank‘ Haaretz Jan 01, 2019). The exhibition is part of the Israeli story invoking the need to preserve culture as a justification of their activities as occupier. Through their media they constantly promote the narrative that archaeological remains in the occupied territory must be ‘saved from’ the Palestinians.

Aren’t they nice to break the law to save artifacts from those awful terrible expansionist Palestinians……  Such humanitarians…

Green papyri.  Again.

Larry Hurtado is thinking about Jesus this month… indeed, something different about Jesus this month…  Be sure to read the whole and don’t cut any of it short.

Books

A new Theology of the Old Testament was reviewed at the very beginning of the month.  It is, seriously, a very good and useful volume.   Rick Brannan announced his writing schedule for 2019.  Have you ever seen such a thing?

Eric Harvey posted a list of books he has read this year.  That may not sound like anything special, until you read the post and realize that these are books for the blind and that there are theological / biblical studies tomes among them.  I suspect that a lot of good could be done if books in biblical studies for the blind were published more purposefully.

Philbert Long reviewed Carl Holladay’s commentary on Acts.  He begins, justifiably:

There have been several significant…

Leander Keck has a book on Inerrancy and the text of the New Testament that gets a mention (I don’t know why) by the ETC folk.  I guess they’re just catching up on book reading.

JB Lightfoot left unfinished his commentaries on several of Paul’s letters.  But he left notes.  Rob Bradshaw has them digitized.  And you can read the notes here.

Someone reviewed a book about following Jesus.  Read it if such things are of interest.  Joel Watts saw a book about Jesus by some Methodist and he was compelled by his Methodist sympathies to make his readers aware of it.

Are you having trouble with translating German?  Tavis Bollinger offers some help if you’re a Logos user.  Or, alternatively, learn German.

James *Not Jim, Don’t Use Jim* Spinti reminds us that editing book covers is just as important as editing book contents.  Otherwise things just look wrong and thus bad.

Larry Hurtado reviews a review of his book.  I’m looking forward to someone reviewing Larry’s review of the review so that then Larry can review the review of the review of his review of his book.

Carl *Hideous* Sweatman shared his reading list from last year.  It’s an interesting mix of bilge, rubbish and a few interesting works.  Send Carl recommendations for stuff that’s worth reading, please.  So that his 2019 can be better than his 2018 was.

Two books are reviewed here having to do with the Bible: Amos, in the Anchor Bible Commentary, and The Jesus Movement in its Expansion.  Scroll down to page 4 of the reviews embedded.

Lexundria.  Books. From antiquity.  Digitized.  Visit it.

Women Biblical Scholars (a blog you should definitely follow) announces the appearance of a monograph on women in Ephesus.  They point it out on the twitter

Dr. Elif Halal Karaman (@elflal) has an exciting new book out on Ephesian women. She tells Women Biblical Scholars (WBS) about it.

Miscellaneous Things

The CenSAMM has announced a conference scheduled for this Summer.  This will be of interest to many.

The 2019 Conference: The Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements: Critical and Interdisciplinary Approaches will take place on 27-28 June 2019 at the University of Bedfordshire (Bedford Campus).

Mike Bird has a great quote by Thomas Cranmer on abused wives and divorce.  I’m going to use it.  A lot.

Ben Witherington was interviewed by a guy at a Church and Ben is pleased to share the video of Ben’s interview on Ben’s ‘one stop shop for all things biblical and Christian’.  If you’re as into Ben as Ben is, you’ll enjoy Ben’s discussing Ben.

Brian Davidson has some thoughts on Logos 8.  It’s bible software.  For bible nerds.  Who don’t like real books.  But do like e-books.

Rick Brannan is going to send out a newsletter and he wants you to sign up for it.

Christian Brady had some really important things to say about death.  Give it a read.

Michael Satlow is putting together a resource page which assembles digital humanities materials on Judaism in late antiquity:

This is not meant to be comprehensive, but contains a number of sites and links that might be of interest to those interested in working on digital humanities projects relating to Jews and Judaism in (particularly late) antiquity.  I am happy to add and correct this list, so please feel free to send me your suggestions.  Over time, I may well annotate it as well.

The Center for Apocalyptic studies that Crossley runs has assembled a raft of podcasts and videos that may be of interest to persons interested in them.  Such things as one might find interesting.  Potentially.

Animals and the BibleCall for papers.  Check it out.

Dirk remarked on the twitter

ORBIS.  Larry Hurtado mentions it.

ORBIS is primarily intended to serve historians of the Roman Empire, the main questions shaping the project having to do with how Rome managed such a far-flung empire.  So it is “top down” in orientation, more amenable to questions about how trade or governance operated, and at what cost and time involved.

Larry Hurtado has some guidance on what to call people in various international academic contexts.  Give it a look, ye undergrads.

If you are interested in a gathering at Tyndale House, take note of this call for papers:

The 2019 NT Study Group will be meeting at Tyndale House from 26th to 28th June 2018Our theme this year is Writing, orality and the composition of the NT. We would welcome proposals of papers on any issue of scholarly debate on issues relating to this, including writing in ancient world as it affects the NT, memory theory and orality, and canonical composition and dating of NT documents.

Closing Thoughts

Well there it is, the most important official Biblical Studies Carnival of 2019 (so far).  Be sure to go over and grab the Logos free book of the month.  And check out the listing of upcoming Carnivals.

I’ll next be reporting from Zurich where I’m off to attend the Zwingli Conference (celebrating his arrival in Zurich 500 Years Ago) and where there are loads of cool activities planned.  Stay tuned.

The Hunt For Dead Sea Scrolls Needs to ‘Hurry’, Say Israelis

Because “if we don’t do it now and quickly, the looters will beat us to it” is the basic argument of this report.

Curious that such a sentiment should be expressed when Israel itself is happy enough to excavate in occupied territory.  The Israelis get around this, they think, by suggesting

Qumran’s location in the West Bank, far beyond the Green Line, is of no relevance. The importance of the scrolls and the fact that archaeological activity has been ongoing in the area for more than 50 years under the aegis of the Staff Officer for Archaeology in the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria resolves any question of whether it is permissible to excavate in the Northern Dead Sea area and to remove artifacts from an area that is not defined officially as being within the country’s borders.

So basically if something is important to us, we can claim the land we expect to find it on and you can’t say anything about it.  How absurd that is as an argument is plain to see.

Israel, looting Palestinian land, wants to beat the Bedouin looters to it…  So this is really a game of ‘who can loot first’.

Loot away…

The Exploration of Sela

Here’s an interesting archaeological news report:

Overseeing the Edom Plateau, south of Jordan, between Tafila and Busayra, stands the Edomite-Nabataean mountain stronghold, Sela, a fortress carved into the mountain, dating back more than 3,000 years.

A carved inscription and relief (engraved representation) of the Neo-Babylonian King Nabonidu (556-539BC), uncovered in Sela, stand witness to the importance of the age-old fortress during the period of Mesopotamian expansion into the area of Transjordan, said  Jordanian scholar Mohammad Najjar.

Sela was strategic to any military movement into the southern parts of Transjordan, as it guarded the settlements and agrarian land plots in its vicinity and stood as a watchtower over the entire south-western regions.

Greek historian Strabo (64BC-24AD) described it as “the metropolis of the Nabataean… fortified all around by rock, the outside part of the site being precipitous and sheer, and the inside parts having springs in abundance, both for domestic use and watering gardens”.

Etc.  Enjoy!

More Dead Sea Scrolls On the Horizon?

Newly discovered caves may hold more Dead Sea Scrolls

Though no new manuscripts found so far, archaeologists are hopeful after unearthing objects at Qumran used in the storage of ancient scripts.

Don’t believe it if manuscripts are found if they don’t come from fully documented, fully photographed, archaeological digs conducted by actual archaeologists.  Suspect fraud, in other words, and be skeptical unless given very, very good reason to believe otherwise.

Skepticism is the only proper academic attitude when it comes to new ‘discoveries’.

Claims That Pilate’s Ring Have Been Found Should Provoke Healthy Skepticism…

Or you lot haven’t learned a bloody thing from the Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls fiasco.

Ha’aretz reports

Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank

The ring was found during a dig led by Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem 50 years ago, but only now has the inscription been deciphered.

Oh sure.  RT says

His name was deciphered on the ring after it, and thousands of other finds, were handed over to the team currently working on the historical site. Pilate was an infamous Roman governor of Jerusalem in the years 26 to 36 who also allegedly ran Jesus’ trial.

After a thorough cleansing, the ring was photographed using a special camera at the Israel Antiquities Authority Labs, revealing the crucial name. The stamping ring bears a picture of a wine vessel surrounded by Greek writing that translated into “Pilatus.”

What are the exact provenance details?  Any photos of the find in situ?  If not why not?  What details does the ‘official’ publication in IEJ have that aren’t included in the sensationalist press releases?

Be skeptical, people.  Sure, the find might turn out to be totally legit.  But if you aren’t skeptical you aren’t doing your job as a scholar.

UPDATE:  Phil Long writes on the Biblical Studies group page:

Here is a link to the Times of Israel article, not behind a paywall. Good photograph and rendering of the ring. From the article, “The scientific analysis of the ring was published in the stalwart biannual Israel Exploration Journal last week, by the 104-year-old Israel Exploration Society.” The article in IEJ was entitled, “An Inscribed Copper-Alloy Finger Ring from Herodium Depicting a Krater,” but that does not sell newspapers. 

Key quote: “The authors, however, conclude that there is nothing in the ring’s design that makes it particularly either Roman or elite. They write that during the Second Temple period, the vessel “served as a meaningful Jewish symbol on sealing rings.”” 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/2000-year-old-ring…/

So what we have, once again, is an unsubstantiated, exaggerated claim without any scholarly underpinning. Just in time for Christmas…

Aren Maeir is Offering a MOOC on Archaeology

You should sign up-

Dear colleagues, friends, Minervites and Safiites,

Hi! I would like to bring to your attention, or remind you about, the online Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled: “Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah”, which will commence next week, on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018.

This innovative course, which I believe in many ways is a first for courses on the archaeology of the ancient near east in general and Israel/Palestine specifically, will deal with the archaeology of Israel/Palestine/Southern Levant during the Iron Age, with specific focus on Israel and Judah, and will also deal with other cultures as well.

The course will not only introduce Iron Age archaeology, but will also serve as a general introduction to archaeology, discussing theory and methods as used in archaeological research today. The course will include 8 “lessons” that will go online once a week. Each lesson will include several subsections, each with several short videos, texts to read, various activities for the students (including 3D models of choice archaeological objects so that students can “hold” some of the objects), and knowledge checks and quizzes. In addition, there are reading materials (mandatory and recommended). A very special part of the course are several interviews with leading scholars in Biblical Archaeology and related topics.

The course is open for all (all you have to do is register at: https://www.edx.org/course/biblical-archaeology-the-archaeology-of-ancient-israel-and-judah). While it is aimed as an introductory course (equivalent of a one semester course) for students without any background, I believe it can serve as a nice introduction to archaeology and to biblical archaeology for students studying archaeology and related fields.

In addition, I believe it would be very nicely incorporated in a more advanced class, in which sections of the MOOC could be shown and discussed and debated (and I’m sure there is plenty to debate…).

Please bring this to the attention of your colleagues, students and interested lay people, who will join the hundreds who have already signed up for the course!

See below the course trailer.

If I may add, working on the course has been a very enjoyable and enhancing learning experience for me! This is a new method of learning/teaching, which I feel is a nice example of putting some fresh directions into the methods used in traditional academic teaching. I have tried in the course to convey my excitement both for archaeology, and also for this new method of teaching!

I hope you, your colleagues and students, who will sign up for the course, will thoroughly enjoy it – and of course – argue with me about all kinds of things that are in the course!

Once again, here is the link to the course: https://www.edx.org/course/biblical-archaeology-the-archaeology-of-ancient-israel-and-judah

All the best,
Aren

Frank Cross on Unprovenanced Artifacts

“I am indeed to be included among those who think that artifacts, particularly those bearing inscriptions, should be published whether dug up in scientifically controlled excavations or dug up by plundering antiquities dealers, collectors or their minions. Inscribed artifacts have so much—I am tempted to say most—to contribute to history and culture that they dare not be discarded and ignored. . . . To throw away inscriptional materials because they come from illicit digs (or forgers) is in my opinion irresponsible, either an inordinate desire for certitude on the part of those without the skills or energy to address the question of authenticity or the patience to wait until a consensus of scholars can be reached. It is noteworthy that those most eloquent in denouncing the publication of material from illicit digs are narrow specialists, especially dirt archaeologists.

Via, with further thoughts on the topic and the ironic quote of the editor of BAR (ironic given BAR’s history of publishing whatever regardless of provenance).

Interestingly, whether he intended to or not, Cross and his like-minded friends who think provenance doesn’t matter set the stage for fraud, looting, and forgery.  The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Unprovenanced materials are trash from the perspective of historical reconstruction.  Trash.  Feel free to use trash if you wish, but your conclusions will be trash as well.

The September Biblical Studies Carnival: A Learning Extravaganza At the Fair

Below you’ll find a whole midway of Biblical Studies learning.  Check out the Hebrew Bible Hoop Shot, The New Testament Nacho Stall, the Archaeology Arcade, The Miscellaneous Mouse Coaster, and the Book Bumble Bee!  There are enough thrills here to delight even the most stoic scholar or student.  Or even the most angry of the angriest angry atheists.

At the Gate

Before you proceed one step further, you HAVE to read Dan Wallace’s post on the importance of the biblical languages in theological education.  Go do it now.

The Hebrew Bible Hoop Shot

It’s time to try your skills with the round ball and see how many points you can score by reading the posts described.  To start off, give a read to this essay which is over on Travis Bohlinger’s blog on teaching Hebrew Bible outside of your confessional boundaries if you aren’t Jewish.

There’s some Hebrew Bible stuff noted by Jose here.  3 points.

Mid October be sure not to miss the Annual Genizah Lecture if you are in or around Cambridge.  If you attend, you get three points.

John Rogerson lectured, shortly before his death (on 4 September, 2018- may he rest in peace), on the forgiveness of sin.  Give it a watch.  Deane has also assembled other lectures by Rogerson on things like the Kingdom of God and the Prophets.

James Tabor (my best friend from olden times) posted an interesting snippet on the Messiah before Jesus.  Give it a read.

The LXX readers edition editors are very excited about pre-publication endorsings.  You may be too.  Personally I’m very excited about the volume’s appearance.  In spite of the fact that I haven’t seen it…

Semitica is out with a new volume, number 60, edited by Langlois and Römer.

Did you know that Song of Songs was the most popular book of the Bible in the Middle Ages?  Yup.  Thanks, weird ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ mystic loons.  Read the post.  It’s good.

The New Testament Nacho Stall

Time for a snack, on New Testament cheesy nachos.  First up, the British New Testament Society annual meeting was held at St Mary’s, Twickenham.  There was plenty of tasty tacos and buttery biscuits and cotton candy to be had by all who attended.  The conference, open to all who are duly qualified, meets every September somewhere in the UK.

Christian Brady has some observations about the Syro-phonecian woman.  Spicy!

Nympha, anyone?  Nympha and the letter to the Colossians?  Well here’s your post!  Give it a read.  It’s spicy!

Michael Jones has some great stuff (jalapeno-esque) to say about Schweitzer and Paul and suffering.  Michael has been friends with Timothy Bertolet for a long time, so he’s something of an expert on suffering.

For pity’s sake… stop with the goat talk.  Richard Goode is behind this.  Richard *The Goat* Goode is a bad, bad, bad, bearded, bad man.

Conrad Gempf (LST) gave a 20 minute talk on Jesus and the Scriptures.  Enjoy.  It’s got a bit of onion but cheesy onion nachos are super.

Lauren Larkin on Luke.  Lovely.  Look.  It’s laudable.

Did you know that Mark’s use of the Old Testament is important for understanding his Christology?  Wow.  Next, we discover that water, when liquid, is wet, and we then learn that a bullet to the head can be seriously injurious!!!!!  More cheese please!

Christian Brady did a video lecture for a group and even though it posted at the tail end of August, I’m including it here, because I know you never saw it:

Phil Long did a series of posts on the Sermon on the Mount.  Here’s the kickoff.  And you can find the rest on his blogge.

Here’s a recap of the BNTS annual meeting.  Nice work, Travis…  Travis seems like a nice person though he may well not be.  I don’t know.  I’ve not met him.  He may be a serial killer.  Who knows.  Anyway, read his post.  It’s not like he can reach through your screen and strangle you.

Luke 23:46… in music….  Okie dokie.  That’s nacho-esque right there.  Very nacho-esque.

Jimbob Snapp has some interesting comments about Mark 7:3f.  It’s a load of nachos without too much cheese.  (But I wish he had a better blog layout.  I don’t like the aesthetics of it.  That’s just me, and I’m not being judgy, but it reminds me of the 1st generation America Online style and it hurts my soul and senses).

Mike Bird has some interesting things to say about the book of Revelation and the doctrine of revelation.  Give it a read.  It’s just mildly cheesy.

The Archaeology / Dead Sea Scrolls Arcade

Test your skills and see if you can tell the fakes from the real thing.  One thing’s certain; the articles from Dead Sea Discoveries and made freely available to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the journal are anything but fakes.

Israel Finkelstein lectured in Zurich and the three lectures have been posted on the University’s theology department YouTube page.  Enjoy.  There’s lot’s of wisdom there.

Michael Langlois was in Australia talking about forgery stuff.  If you missed it, you missed it.

Did they find the church where the First Council of Nicaea was held nearly 1700 years ago?  Maybe.  The evidence sure seems to be there.  If they did, well that’s just pretty cool.  And I can’t wait to see how BAR exaggerates it!  Fun times!

On the other hand, 9 Dead Sea Scrolls ‘discovered’ in recent years are obviously fakes.  Well, I mean obvious to everyone but BAR readers.  But, speaking of the Scrolls, T&T Clark published what will be a standard volume for study of the Scrolls on the 20th.  It’s a massive volume with massive amounts of information.

If you would like to learn archaeology from an actual archaeologist- take Aren Maeir’s MOOC – coming soon!  It looks fantastic.

The Miscellaneous Mouse Coaster

Sit back, relax, and prepare to be turned upside down and lose all the change in your pocket.  Michael Bird has some thoughts on dealing with predatory priests drawn from Basil.  If only the Romanists would follow Basil’s guidance.

Ready to be really horrified?  Then hop on the academic publisher paywall exploitation express!  Yeah, I’m looking right at you JSTOR.

There’s still time for you to make plans to attend the Mowinckel Memorial Lecture, given in November by the brilliant Anne Katrine Gudme.

The Museum of the Bible… some don’t like it.  Peter talks about how Alexander talks about it.  It’s worth talking about their talking about it but it itself is something each person on their own has to decide their feely feelings about without having their sentiments dictated to them from Iowa or Yale or Birmingham.  Make up your own minds, sheeple.

Get your calendar (or diary, if you’re a Britlander) and take note of the dates of the 2019 meeting of IOSCS.  And if that meeting doesn’t make your heart pound maybe Syriac Bootcamp will…  Man that sounds terrifying.  I don’t know, but I think they make you eat Syriac and drink Syriac and carry around big heavy bags of Syriac and sleep on Syriac and it all seems so cruel.  But maybe you’re into that…

Randy B. takes a look at the Golden Mouth and Calvin.  Sure, it’s not something related to the Bible but it’s a good post so I’m including it.  If you don’t like it, be sure to comment below….

Interesting lecture here about those who like and those who don’t like Semites, in biblical studies.  And thanks, Deane.  Speaking of Deane Galbraith, he wins the post title of the month with this one: An Assmannian Global Spirituality Index.  Germans have such funny names.  And talk about a roller coaster stomach churning plunge…

There was a lot of discussion of Nike this month.  Randy did the best job of discussing it.  You should read it.  Strictly speaking, it’s not a biblical studies post- but it does have to do with biblical interpretation/application and that’s a good enough reason to include it here.

Hey, go work at Emory!  If your thing is New Testament, that is.  They already have Jacob Wright, so they don’t need anyone else for Hebrew Bible.

The Book Bumble Bee

Welcome to the stinging (of your bank account).

First up, the Logos free book of the month for September was Walter Kaiser’s ‘Preaching and Teaching the Last Things’.  It’s a different one now, because the free book for October is up.  And I don’t know what it is.  Because this post went live before the posting of the new free book of the month.  So go find out what it is.  And avoid Kaiser’s book because it’s fundamentalist rubbish.

Don’t miss Paula Fredriksen’s review of Matthew Thiessen’s book on Paul.

Michael Jones is sharing news of a 40th anniversary edition of Sanders’ ‘Paul and Palestinian Judaism’.  Go ahead and get a copy if you don’t already have one.  It’s quite a large book (which means it says far more than we know) and it is a real sleep aid / door stop / deadly weapon when hurled at an annoying person’s head!  It’s multi-purpose!

Evidently one or two people who read something called ‘Credo’ magazine must be mildly interested in actual biblical scholarship (I know, it shocked me too), because they convinced Will Ross to write something about the LXX.  I’m sure in their heads they read that ‘El, ex, ex’ and don’t know what it means.  Hopefully Will can help them.

Don’t read this terrible interview by the terrible Travis Bowlinger of the equally terrible Chris Le Keith.  Don’t do it.  It’s about a good series but the two principles of the post are terrible.  Terrible……..

Interested in the history of scholarship?  German scholarship?  German Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship?  If you answered yes, this will be of interest to you.

Do take a look at the post on the OUP blog about a new book on Darwinism.  You won’t regret it as much as you would a bee sting.

Exit

We hope you had fun.  But, really, it doesn’t matter.  Because we did.  As you leave, make sure you haven’t forgotten your children.  And here’s our final word, brought to you by Terry Eagleton:

“Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.” Terry Eagleton

Hahahahaha.  Dilettante owned.

See you next time!

Learn Archaeology from Aren Maeir!

Check out the trailer for Aren’s MOOC (massive open online course) “Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah,” which will be online from early December 2018 on the EdX platform.

The course will be the equivalent of a semester long course on the archaeology of Iron Age Israel and Judah. The course is open to all – and for a fee, one can receive a certificate from EdX or academic credit from Bar-Ilan University.

Check it out – and pass the word on to friends, colleagues and students – to sign up for the course as soon as registration is open!

A Brief Note on the Announcement of the Discovery of Cheese from Ancient Egypt

The following brief note is a guest post by the undersigned-

The researchers who announced the discovery of the most ancient cheese from an Ancient Egyptian context should at least mention the Egyptian pioneer researcher  – the chemist Zaky Iskander, the former director of the Cairo Museum Research Lab. Zaky Iskander identified cheese, already in 1942, in alabaster vessels from a tomb of the First Dynasty. He published this result together with his colleague Ahmed Zaky in  Annales du Service des Antiquités Égyptiennes 41 (1942), p. 295, p. 300. See Also A. Lucas and J.R. Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, London 1962, p. 330.

Prof. Orly Goldwasser
PI, ISF grant 735/17 “Classifying the Other”.
Head, Egyptology
Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Cooking in Cuneiform- A Guest Post by Alice Slotsky

Cooking in Cuneiform
Alice Slotsky, PhD Yale 1992 NELC

“When the lion makes soup, who says it’s not good?” (Sumerian proverb)

On behalf of scholarly standards, I do dare complain about the recent soup-making of the Yale Babylonian Collection: “What did ancient Babylonians eat? A Yale-Harvard team tested their recipes,” by Bess Connolly Martell (<https://news.yale.edu/2018/06/14/what-did-ancient-babylonians-eat-yale-harvard-team- tested-their-recipes>). It is astonishing to read that the culinary tablets “might have remained unused forever in a display case in the Yale Babylonian Collection were it not for an invitation to a cooking event…” Add a large cup of smelling salts to the numerous previous culinary events and research based on this material! Further, the brilliant, seminal work of Jean Bottéro on these difficult texts—deciphering, translating, interpreting, instructing— is not credited at all, but referred to as anonymous “old translations.” The following gives a representative sample of previous scholarship and cooking events, all of which acknowledged the essential impossibility of ever knowing exactly the ingredients, measures, and methods:

  • Jean Bottéro, “The Culinary Tablets at Yale,” JAOS 107 (1987), his presidential address to the AOS annual meeting.
  • “Mastering the Art of Babylonian Cooking,” New York Times, January 3, 1988.
  • Jean Bottéro, Textes culinaires Mésopotamiens/Mesopotamian Culinary Texts (1995). Jean Bottéro, The Oldest Cuisine in the World, transl. Theresa Lavender Fagan (2004). Alice Slotsky, SBL Forum “Cuneiform Cuisine: History Reborn at Brown” (2007).
  • Laura Kelly, “New Flavors for the Oldest Recipes,” Aramco World 63:6 (2012).
  • Alice Slotsky, BBC Science Documentary, “Ideas That Changed the World” (2012). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAp-oA7Ypk4
  • Prior cooking events in the U.S. include ones held on the following occasions: the AOS meeting in New Haven (1987); Brown University Department of Classics, Annual Cuneiform Cuisine (1999-2007); the Festschrift presented to B. R. Foster (2010); Harvard Semitic Museum, “A Taste of the Past” with Nawal Nasrallah (2015).
  • Several cookbooks have been published, such as Flavours of Babylon by Linda Dangoor (2011), and there are many ongoing blogs, for example, “The Silk Road Gourmet” by Laura Kelly. More popularized articles include “The Cuisine of Babylonia Comes Back Again in Tablet Form,” People Magazine (1988). Jean Bottéro appeared on several French television programs and had wide press coverage.