Then and Now
Old Testament

The Wisdom of Ben Sira: How Jewish?

I have written a short piece on how the book of Ben Sira (also known as Ecclesiasticus, which today is found in the Apocrypha) was pushed to the Jewish margins and on some recent attempts to bring it back into at least the fringes of Jewish consciousness.  The essay can be found 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...

From Israelite to Jew: 6: The Torah

In this episode I discuss the historical formation of the Torah, or Pentateuch, and provide an introduction to the documentary hypothesis. I am now receiving technical support from Brown University, and the quality of the audio is improved. The episode can be heard here. More download options can be found here. The podcast can also...

From Israelite to Jew: 2: Religion of Israel

This is the second episode of the podcast, “From Israelite to Jew.” It focuses on the religion of ancient Israel, as reflected in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and archaeological finds. The podcast can be heard here, or click on the player below. It can also be accessed via iTunes.