Then and Now
Bible; Second Temple; Jews; Judaism; Jerusalem; religion; academic; history; Jewish history; Haggai; Zechariah

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...

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...

Interview: TLV1

When in Jerusalem recently I was interviewed for TLV1, an English-language internet radio station, about How the Bible Became Holy.  The interview can be heard here, starting around minute 25.

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...

More Reviews

Reviews of How the Bible Became Holy have begun to appear.  Here are the ones that I know about: JWeekly: http://www.jweekly.com/includes/print/71803/article/off-the-shelf-new-books-offer-fresh-perspectives-on-ancient-texts/ The Jewish Daily Forward:  http://forward.com/articles/200343/how-we-know-the-bible-was-written-by-human-hands/?p=all Commentary: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/missing-the-text/ Los Angeles Review of Books: http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/timely-history-timeless-story There has also been a surprisingly sophisticated discussion of the book appearing in less formal web venues, which is especially gratifying....

Paul, Homosexuality, and Midrash

Most scholars today believe that there is no concept of “homosexuality,” as we usually understand the term, in the Bible.  That is, both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, although clearly familiar with homoerotic sexual acts, do not know of the “homosexual,” a person who has an identity based on the gender of their...

From Israelite to Jew: 4: Return

The fourth episode of the podcast, “From Israelite to Jew.” This episode traces the first two returns from Babylonia to Jerusalem, first under Sheshbazzar and then under the dual leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the building of the Second Temple (539 BCE – 516). The podcast can be heard here; more downloading options are...