Kevin Edgecomb has outdone himself and set the standard for future Biblical Studies Carnivals absurdly high and I doubt that it will be attained in the near or intermediate future.Â Very fine job Kevin, I don’t think there’s anymore that can be said–you’ve covered everything.
Here are some of the articles from Historiae (2007) accessible as free pdf downloads:
Conceptos de transmisiÃ³n de la enfermedad en Mesopotamia: algunas reflexiones
Today was my first day teaching this semester. I have a great group of students for a Biblical Hebrew Syntax and Exegesis class–they make teaching tremendously fun. If this were not wonderful enough, my awesome wife gave me a little gift to celebrate the new semester (it’s good to have an Eisenbrauns wish list):
Edited by Simo Parpola and Robert M. Whiting
Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project – NATCP, 2008
xxii + 289 pages, English and Akkadian
Your Price: $75.00
As soon as I saw the announcement that this volume was coming out, I knew that it was something that I would want to add to my library.Â However, I must admit that I had a bit of a “wait and see” attitude with respect to the English-Assyrian part of the dictionary.Â I just wasn’t too sure how extensive the English lemmas would be.
Well, I’ve waited and seen and it turns out that my initial skepticism was not warranted.Â This dictionary is very well done and if you are interested in Assyriology or Semitics, it will be very handy for you.Â I knew that they would include all the standard English words, but when I saw that they had Assyrian lemmas for the following I was really impressed:Â itch, itsy-bitsy, jaded, jingle, jocund, and jokester.
Here’s a pdf scan of the beginning of the J’s so you can see the graphical layout and a further sample of the book:
Mladen Popovic has drawn my attention to a fantastic conference that will take place at the Groningen Qumran Institute April 28-29. This is the start of a new series of biennial conferences. They have some fantastic presenters lined up to speak upon the conference theme: The Authoritativeness of Scriptures in Ancient Judaism: The Contribution of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Here is a .doc file listing the conference schedule and contact information for Mladen Popovic if you’re interested in attending:
Among his books are “Epithetes royales akkadiennes et sumeriennes”
(1967) and two collections of Mesopotamian texts in translation,
“Hymnes et priÃ¨res aux dieux de Babylonie et d’Assyrie” (1976) and
(with Jacques Briend) “Textes du Proche-Orient ancien et histoire
–Jean-Marie Durand via Jack Sasson, Agade
I’m currently preparing a review of this book:
God as Father and Mother in Deutero-Isaiah
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series- JSOTS 398
by Sarah J. Dille
Sheffield Academic Press, 2004
xiii + 200 pages, English
List Price: $120.00
Your Price: $83.88
Dille has a very interesting statement:
There is no use of the phrase bene-yisra’el (‘children of Israel’), which is so conventional elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible that it is essentially a dead metaphor. As a dead metaphor the phrase bene-yisra’el fails to evoke a parent-child relationship (just as names such as ‘Johnson’ are no longer evocative of the son relationship).
The problem is that I can’t figure out how to test this observation and she doesn’t provide any support–anyone have an idea? Do you think bene-yisrael is a dead phrase and if so, why?
Yesterday I received my copy of Lambert’s Babylonian Oracle Questions:
Babylonian Oracle Questions
Mesopotamian Civilizations – MC 13
by W. G. Lambert
Pp. xiv + 216; 57 plates, English
Cloth, 8.5 x 11
List Price: $49.50
Your Price: $44.55
These oracles were addressed to deity pairs when people wanted to know answers to “Yes” or “No” questions.Â These questions were recorded and entered the stream of tradition as new apprentices learned the craft.
As is always the case with Lambert, the hand copies of the texts are amazing and he includes helpful notes as well.Â I’ll try to comment more as I have time to dig into the book a bit deeper.
At this point a word of thanks must be given to Eisenbrauns.Â Any other publisher would have priced this volume 5 times higher than did Eisenbrauns–I’m sure that this book will not be a best seller, production of the hand copy plates is not cheap, and Eisenbrauns elected to use environmentally friendly materials and printing processes.Â They were able to do all of this and price it at a level that makes this volume accessible for inclusion in personal libraries.Â Thanks Eisenbrauns and keep up the great work!
T&T Clark offers the following essays free for electronic download (HT: John Hobbins):
In Search of Philip R. Davies: Whose Festschrift Is It Anyway?, edited by Duncan Burns and John W. Rogerson
“Jew By Nature”: Paul, Ethnicity, and Galatians by R. Barry Matlock
The Second Temple Origins of the Halakhah of Besah by Jacob Neusner
Why Talk About the Past: The Bible, Epic and Historiography by Thomas L. Thompson
The Rhetoric of 2 Peter: An Apologia for Early Christian Ethics (And Not ‘Primitive Christian Eschatology’) by Robert L. Webb
The Death of Biblical History by Keith W. Whitelam
Whenever one teaches an introductory class an instructor almost always must simplify the material and the luxury of deep discussions upon debated subject matter are rarely possible.Â However, as we simplify material we must be careful that we do not distort it in the process.Â As I listened to a portion of Christine Hayes’ first lecture of her Old Testament course at Yale I found myself in strong disagreement with her characterization of ancient Near Eastern religion.Â For instance:
People regarded, umm, the various natural forces as imbued with divine power and as in some sense as divinities themselves.Â The earth was a divinity; the sky was a divinity; the water was a divinity–had divine power.Â In other words the gods were identical with or imminent in the forces of nature (this transcription is around minute 4:50 of the lecture).
Let me say at the outset that Hayes is a specialist in talmudic-midrashic studies and not ancient Near Eastern studies.Â I have taken one graduate class in rabbinics and if I had to give a lecture in the area of talmudic studies I would hope that people would cut me some slack. Â That said, I think that Hayes’ presentation is overly simplistic and misleading.
It is true that if you read Jacobsen’s work on Sumerian religion, The Treasures of Darkness, you might come away with an understanding similar to that of Hayes since Jacobsen does make a big deal over the etymological connections between the god names and the names for sky, water, air, etc.Â However, he locates this identification of the deities with nature only in the earliest period of Sumerian history and then proposes a kind of evolutionary progression of the religion toward abstract thoughts.
Furthermore, just because a word has the dinger sign (this is a “determinative” that provides a classification of a noun) in front of NA4 or ID2 it doesn’t automatically mean that the writer viewed stones or a river as a divine being.Â It may indicate that at one time people thought this, but forms and customs are often frozen and their use continues long after they loose their meaning.
Also, you can’t paint with a broad brush and say something like, “All Mesopotamians viewed the gods as natural objects or imminent in them.”Â I am sure that there were a good crop of atheists within the ancient Near East just as there are in our society today.Â Not everyone drank the kool-aid of what we think was the consensus religion within ancient societies.Â I read a humorous incident of this with Tom Palaima during my studies at the University of Texas Classics department in which youths were in very big trouble with the town elders because they went around one night and knocked off all the phalli of the Hermes figures at the major intersections.Â Do you think these youths had deep respect and fear of Hermes?
All of us are prone to over-simplification in our teaching and I’m sure that I have done it from time to time.Â However, we need to be aware of this tendency and try to present an accurate, if simplified, picture of the subjects we address.
One of my goals for the International Biblical Studies Writing Month was to write a review of William Schniedewind and Joel Hunt’s A Primer on Ugaritic:
I’m happy to report that I finished the review and it is published in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures accessible here.