Then and Now
religion

The Meaning of “Torah”: A Report from the Enoch Seminar

A couple of months ago I attended a meeting of the Enoch Seminar in Camaldoli, Italy.  The conference, which included an extraordinary range of scholars, grappled with the meaning of the word and concept of “Torah” from the biblical period through Late Antiquity.  There were a mix of session topics and formats and I have...

Naming Rabbis: A Digital List

A little over five years ago I posted an idea about creating a social network analysis of the rabbis found in classical rabbinic literature.  In the interim I have thought a lot about this project but have done very little on it.  I still believe it is worth doing, though, and I have finally taken...

Shared, but How?

  What is a “ball”?  Does a ball exist when there is nobody around to see it? Over the past couple of months I have been exposed to the thought of Bruno Latour.  Latour tries to thread the needle between seeing all of reality as a social or rhetorical construction and a strictly realist or...

Tagging the Talmud

This essay is cross-posted at thetalmud.com where it kicks off a series on digital humanities. The other week I attended a workshop called Classical Philology Goes Digital Workshop in Potsdam, Germany.  The major goal of the workshop, which was also tied to the Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities was to further the work of creating and analyzing...

How the Bible Became Holy: Italian Version

I am tickled to announce that my book, How the Bible Became Holy, has been released in Italian translation.  It is titled, E il Signore parlo a Mose: Come la Bibbia divenne sacra.  A description is here.

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 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...

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...

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...

Was Paul a Palestinian Jew?

In her review of How the Bible Became Holy in the Wall Street Journal, Sarah Ruden wrote: He tries to undercut, for instance, the well-founded consensus that Paul was a Diaspora Jew, from a family established in Tarsus (in modern-day Turkey), who first lived in Jerusalem during his youth or young adulthood for study and...

Interview on How the Bible Became Holy

Reform Judaism Magazine has printed an interview with me about my book in their latest edition.  An online version can be found here.

Hiring for an Academic Job (3): Process

In the last two posts I discussed establishing the criteria for an academic job and the data necessary for assessments.  In this post I want to put the pieces together into a concrete process and then offer a few closing reflections on this series. The committee should determine which materials to solicit from applicants based...