Then and Now
How the Bible Became Holy

How the Bible Became Holy

In this startling reinterpretation of biblical history, a leading scholar shows how the Bible became the sacred text it is today


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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...

Digital Preservation

Over the past few years, institutional digital repositories and more broad-based digital “commons” have proliferated.  Many are found at universities (Brown now has one) and sites such as Zenodo and Humanities Commons.  Such platforms serve two purposes.  First, they provide a (relatively) stable environment that can preserve digital data.  Second, they serve as a digital...

Jewish Charity in Antiquity

The online forum Ancient Jew Review recently published three essays on Jewish charity in antiquity, by Alyssa Gray, Gregg Gardner, and Yael Wilfand.  I highly recommend these essays which together provide an excellent introduction to the state of research in this field.  My own response to them was also published here.

Jews and Money: A New Course

Last year I co-taught a class called “Wealth: Religious Approaches” and ran a related workshop, “Jewish Approaches to Wealth and Poverty.”  I am now preparing the sources presented at the workshop for publication and will be teaching a new course based on these previous forays, called “Jews and Money.”  I had originally intended this course...

Using Video in Religious Studies Classes

A few years back I tried to incorporate video clips into my teaching.  Below is a link to a brief account I recently published in AJS Perspectives on this experiment. What are ways that you find most useful to incorporate sound, images, or other nontextual media into your Jewish Studies classrooms?  

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...

Create, Process, Link: Some Final Thoughts on The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference

Now back home it will take me a while to process what I’ve learned at The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference, and even longer to work through my new, vastly expanded, to-do list.  Here I want only to sketch out a few thoughts.  I don’t think that any of them are particularly original but having the...

The Big Ancient Mediterranean: Middle Thoughts

As The Big Ancient Mediterranean Conference begins to wind down, my head is swirling.  People are working on amazing things and it is hard not to keep thinking of all the different ways to learn from them in order to better enhance my own project.  We will wrap up today and I imagine that I...

The Big Ancient Mediterranean: A Preliminary Thought

I had the good fortune of participating today in a conference called The Big Ancient Mediterranean at the University of Iowa. The purpose of the conference is to discuss ways in which digital projects (including my own Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine) might better use linked open data to facilitate research.  There is a nice cross-representation of...

BAM: The Big Ancient Mediterranean

I’m delighted to be taking part in a conference on the “Big Ancient Mediterranean” at the University of Iowa next week.  The goal of the conference is to help various digital projects dealing with the ancient Mediterranean – such as my own Inscriptions of Israel/Palestine – figure out how best to link the data in...

The Naming of Brown University

Brown University began its life as the College of Rhode Island.  In 1804, Nicholas Brown  gave the college $5000 in order to endow two professorships, and in gratitude the Corporation renamed the college in his honor.  This is, of course, all well-known. Nevertheless, it was a thrill to stumble upon notice of this event this...

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...