Then and Now
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America First

America leads through its values.  A hackneyed phrase if there ever was one and one that I never took seriously until this week. The true meaning of this phrase – and particularly of the key ambiguous words “leads” and “values” – began finally to dawn on me as I followed the ludicrous attempt by Sean...

Justice for All

I had a letter published in the New York Times yesterday.  I actually wrote it a couple of weeks ago.  I continue to be upset by the enormous impact that money has on our legal system; it seems so very un-American.  At the same time, in light of the massacre in Orlando this seems so...

Toward a New Model of Academic Publishing

A couple of months ago I published a letter in the New York Times sketching a different way forward for academic publishing.  I have now published a more robust version of that argument in The Chronicle: Academic Publishing: Toward a New Model By Michael Satlow May 18, 2016 The web, we all thought, was going...

How to Get Into Brown University…

…in 1793.  For a research project (to be revealed in time) I have been looking at The Laws of Rhode-Island College (later renamed Brown University).  It begins: No person shall be admitted into this College, unless upon examination by the President, or in his absence one Professor and two at least of the Tutors, he...

And the Other…. Syllabus for course on the Mishnah and Tosefta

The second course I will be teaching this semester is a graduate student oriented course on the Mishnah and Tosefta.  You can find a copy of the syllabus here. If you would prefer a copy in Word in order to modify for your own needs, please contact me.  As always, suggestions are welcome.  

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 Diaspora in Berlin

Last month I gave a lecture at the Jewish Museum in Berlin as part of a program on “What Does the Diaspora Mean for Jews and Muslims?”  My 30-minuteish lecture (in English) begins at minute 4:27.  The other speaker’s (excellent) lecture (in German) on Islamic views follows, and the panel discussion and questions (in English...

Love Is As Strong As Death

        Construction on campus caused me to detour the other day to an out of the way corner of the Green where a tower sits.  I had, of course, seen this tower before, but never close up and its (very well-locked) entrance.  The inscription above the door identifies it as the Carrie...

How the Bible Became Holy Syllabus

In order to make paperback edition of the book (just released last month!) more attractive for course adaptation, I have prepared a modifiable (.docx) syllabus structured around the course.  It can be downloaded here or from this page, which also contains other resources that would facilitate using the book as a teaching resource.

When the Center Does Not Hold

Centrifugal force, entropy, call it what you will, but life has a way of drifting.  All those good habits and intentions slowly, subtly, but inexorably begin to crumble, like the masonry on my porch.  Three times a year I usually find enough energy and mental space to step back, take stock of the widening gap...

Bad Prophecies

Prophets, according to the Hebrew Bible, cannot really afford to be wrong.  Deuteronomy 18:20 in fact singles out accurate prediction of the future as a necessary characteristic of the future.  Yet several of the prophets of ancient Israel – the very ones preserved in the Hebrew Bible (not to mention what must be assumed to...

Race, Religion, and Ethnicity in Antiquity: Zotero Group

Last semester I taught a graduate seminar on Race, Religion, and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean (see here).  As a class project we began to compile a relevant bibliography and provide some minimal annotations.  That bibliography is on Zotero (as a public group) under the title RaceReligionEthnicityAntiquity (link here).  This is the first time I...