Then and Now
academic

Who Read the Bible in Antiquity?

A video of the lecture that I gave at Trinity University on “Who Read the Bible in Antiquity” to kick off their Lennox Seminar.  Meeting faculty colleagues there and interacting with the students in the seminar were both a lot of fun for me, although I wish that someone told me that my collar was...

Ezra: Role Play Exercise

Each time I teach “How the Bible Became Holy” I spend a day role-playing the response to Ezra’s return to Jerusalem in 458 BCE.  We focus on the aftermath of Nehemiah 8 but students have read all of Ezra and Nehemiah.  This year we had to break the class into three groups, each simultaneously conducting...

Gary Anderson Lecture on Jewish Attitudes Toward Wealth and Poverty

In early November I convened a workshop on Jewish Attitudes Toward Wealth and Poverty.  We spent most of our time at the workshop discussing translations of Jewish texts and we are in the process of assembling those (and other) texts to publish together as a kind of source book. One of the highlights of the...

Workshop: Jewish Attitudes Toward Wealth and Poverty

I am very happy to announce an upcoming workshop at Brown University that I am coordinating, “Jewish Attitudes Toward Wealth and Poverty,” to take place on November 1-3, 2015.  More information can be found on the workshop website. A description: Traditional Jewish texts present different approaches to wealth, poverty, and money. The purpose of this...

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religion

For the last several years I have worked as a co-editor on The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religion, “the first comprehensive single-volume reference work offering authoritative coverage of ancient religions in the Mediterranean world.”  It is now available for pre-order, with publication scheduled for December 15, 2015.  While I have my own skepticism about the...

Interview: How the Bible Became Holy

I recently gave an interview to “New Books in Jewish Studies.”  The interview (about 30 minutes) can be heard here.

The Ein Gedi Scroll: What We Could Potentially, Maybe Learn

A bit over a month ago the Israel Antiquities Authority announced a stunning achievement: a burnt scroll found in excavations of the ancient synagogue of Ein Gedi in 1970 has been partially deciphered using micro-CT technology.  It turns out to contain at least the beginning of the book of Leviticus and, after the Dead Sea...

Great Jewish Books: Second Time Around

Last year I taught an undergraduate class called “Great Jewish Books” and posted the syllabus here.  The course, I thought, went very well.  Nevertheless, since I am an inveterate tinkerer, I have tinkered with the syllabus for the upcoming semester.  In terms of readings, I switched the excerpts for both classic rabbinic texts and medieval...

Wikipedia in the Classroom

I have, in the past, used class assignments involving Wikipedia.  These usually involved students identifying weaknesses in entries dealing with the subject of the class, making the changes in Wikipedia to remedy these weaknesses, and then tracking the entry to see if anybody else modifies or deletes their changes.  I always found these assignments to...

Conference Announcement: Jewish Attitudes Toward Wealth and Poverty

I am delighted to announce a conference that I am organizing on “Jewish Attitudes toward Wealth and Poverty.”  We are now in the “call for proposals” phase; please consider submitting a proposal and spread the word.  A short description is below and more information can be found here. The Program in Judaic Studies at Brown...

American Historical Association

I will be participating in a roundtable on “Jewish History/General History: Rethinking the Divide” at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, Monday, January 5, 11 AM – 1 PM.  In this paper I will reflect on historical turn in the study of Jews in antiquity from history to “rabbinics” (some thoughts about that...

Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine Presentation

This is an exciting time for the “Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine” project.  This online project seeks to collect and make accessible all of the published inscriptions from the region from the Persian period through the early seventh century CE.  We have been spending much time changing our data to make it “EpiDoc conformant” (a data standard...