This Week: Divination in the classroom, Israel and its eras, archaeology in Jerusalem, Kheredankh’s funerary stele, plague studies, catastrophe – and more!
Patrick Angiolillo describes his divination role-playing activity: “The students would be asked to develop their own forms of ritual divination, underscoring the concept that prophecy and divination were highly physical, calculated, lived experiences, and concretizing those aspects of the concept in practice.”
Andrew Tobolowsky shares his classroom handout: “A Short Introduction to the Bible and the History of Ancient Israel.”
This Week: Pedagogy and chavruta, early Christian textuality, translation, Talmudic time, messianic grammar – and more!
Krista Dalton describes using chavruta text-study as a habitual part of the religious studies classroom.
The thoroughgoing analysis, broad learning, and original theses evinced in this volume are a lodestar for scholars.
This Week: Star Trek rabbis and #pedagogy, ancient prophecy, German Jewish scholarship, Samaritans, Georgian, Iron Age letters – and more!
Rebecca Kamholz uses Star Trek fan discussions to teach Talmud: “What I finally realized was that there is a genre familiar to us in modern life that closely parallels the form and flow of the Talmud: the internet discussion board.”
With scholarship of the highest caliber, Ancient Prophecy is one of the most complete and authoritative accounts of the prophetic phenomenon in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, says reviewer William Kelly.
This Week: Constantine’s fervour (or not), the Byzantine Mary, late Babylonian ritual, pedagogy, Egypt and exhibition, #openaccess journals – and more!
Stories about the Virgin—who played a vital role in the religious everyday-life of most Byzantine Christians—supplied threads for that web and colored the imaginaire of a whole civilization. The people shaped her as she shaped them.
This Week: Full Cross and Menorah Forum, Roman Egyptian mummy labels, Byzantine coinage, Rabbula online, migration, prophetic performance – and more!
In The Cross, Robin Jensen has challenged us to think across discipline and beyond simple periodization, throwing down a cross-shaped gauntlet. I suggest that we pick it up.
These essays were part of a panel at the Society of Biblical Literature 2018 Annual Meeting reviewing Robin Jensen’s The Cross: History, Art and Controversy (2018) and Steven Fine’s The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel (2016).
In many ways the session on which this Ancient Jew Review forum is based originated some 30 years ago, when as a bright eyed doctoral student I attended a lecture on the earliest history of the cross in Christian art, delivered by an assistant professor whom I had not previously heard of named Robin Jensen.
This Week: Menorah, cross, and object agency, the grammar of messianism, new Dionysius cult inscription in Plovdic, Fergus Millar, late antique north Africa – and more!
Even the earliest Christian theologians recognized that the cross was a simple intersection of horizontal and vertical lines, but also knew that these were indicated dimensions (height, depth, width) as well as compass points (North, South, East, and West).
Jensen’s The Cross shares the same virtues as Fine’s. Like Fine, Jensen not only discusses material artifacts, pictorial images, texts from the Bible and later theological reflection and debate, she has other material available to her: she narrates the story of the True Cross, traces the evolution of the cross as an object of veneration, demonstrates cross-piety in hymnody, and discusses what I’ll call invisible ritual crosses, namely, the sign of the cross with which Christians mark themselves by gesticulation.
This Week: Cross and Menorah Forum, Roman and post-Roman Syria, women on Wikipedia, rural Coptic education, Arab conquests – and more!
Steve Fine assures us that they are not doing so, but the whole idea of matching Cross and Menorah volumes invites an immediate question: is there anything uniquely or especially valuable in focusing on such symbols? Do all religions have core symbols?
At the 2018 meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Denver, two program units collaborated in reviewing two books published by Harvard University Press: Robin Jensen’s The Cross: History, Art and Controversy (2018) and Steven Fine’s The Menorah: From the Bible to Modern Israel (2016).
This Week: Dancing Roman gods, theo-economics, rabbinic captivity, Coptic and Syriac resources online, gender in Jewish Studies – and more!
In the ancient Mediterranean, the divine was an active participant in the economy. In Divine Accounting: Theo-Economics in the Letter to the Philippians, I investigate how early Christ-followers used financial language to articulate and imagine their relationship to the divine.
What was the ordinary, nonelite experience of the Roman religious world? How far can we recover the everyday interactions of Romans and their deities in the republican and early imperial periods?
This Week: Jewish origins, liturgical bodies at Qumran, pandemic, Nero’s fire, Gnosticism, 194 reliefs from Tell Halaf – and more!
Steven Weitzman reflects on the personal aspect of writing about the quest for the origin of the Jews: “I knew this book would have to be a meta-study more than a historical one, an exploration of how we think about origins more than attempt to solve the riddle of origin.”
This Week: Enslaved leadership in early Christianity, ancient literature as media matrix, hyperphilology, pedagogy, eschatological gentiles – and more!
My research contributes to a growing body of scholarship that takes as axiomatic the claim that understanding the media context of antiquity is an essential task for interpretation. It also opens further avenues for considering how narratives were composed and received in Second Temple Judaism, as well as the relationship between composition and reception.