Monday, October 23, 2017

Review of Wilke, Farewell to Shulamit

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Carsten Wilke, Farewell to Shulamit: Spatial and Social Diversity in the Song of Songs. Jewish thought, philosophy and religion, 2. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. viii, 170. ISBN 9783110500547. $91.99. Reviewed by Susan Sorek, Oxford Continuing Education (
The Song of Songs has long been the focus of various conflicting debates amongst Old Testament scholars. Is it theological allegory, a story, or a compilation of erotic folksongs? There is only one constant throughout the Song, the central female character Shulamit, who appears to embody an ideal ‘norm’ of womanhood. Wilke examines the text in terms of spatial diversity and finds that the Song displays a discontinuous cycle of personal encounters within urban, rural and pastoral scenes. Then he attempts to contextualise the Song by comparing it with the conventions of Hellenistic love poetry and with the ritual symbolism of Dionysian cult, within the historical framework of the multiethnic borderland east of the Jordan.


Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Septuagint Studies Supervision (3)

WILLIAM ROSS: SUPERVISORS & PROGRAMS FOR SEPTUAGINT STUDIES – PART III. Part three in a three-part series. I noted part one here and part two here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

The Shekel Prize

NUMISMATICS: New book prize created by AINA (Numismatic News).
A new award called the Shekel Prize has been created by the board of directors of the American Israel Numismatic Association.

It is to be given annually to the author of the best book published on the subject of Ancient Judaea, Holy Land, Israel or Jewish Numismatics.


The first prize winner is Yoav Farhi, author of “Khirbet Qeiyafa Vol. 5: Excavation Report 2007–2013, The Numismatic Finds: Coins and Related Objects.” Other contributors to this volume are C. Lorber, S. Shalev and S. Shilstein. The Shekel Prize medal will be presented later this year in a ceremony in Israel.

It is good to hear of this new award. Congratulations to Yoav Farhi and colleagues.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Penn State acquires Eisenbrauns

CHANGE: Penn State University Press acquires Eisenbrauns as new imprint. Eisenbrauns has been a major publisher for scholarly books on the Bible and the Ancient Near East for a long time.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Aramaic "Pseudo-Daniel"

IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS: What the Bible Doesn’t Tell You About Daniel (Exclusive) (Andrew Perrin, Christian Week).
Most would know Daniel as a sage, courtier, dream interpreter, and lion tamer. If you’ve read sections of the Apocrypha you’ll also know him as a dragon slayer. Yet Daniel’s resume in the Dead Sea Scrolls was even broader. We gain glimpses of this from a newly discovered Aramaic text suitably called Pseudo-Daniel.
All of the Danielic material is pseudepigraphic, including the biblical Book of Daniel. So "Pseudo-Daniel" isn't a very descriptive title. But the text gives us some new legends about the figure of Daniel.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Provenance issues with a Coptic Galatians manuscript

THE BIBLE NATION: Is An Ancient Text In The Museum of the Bible Real Or Fake? Sketchy doesn't even begin to describe the controversy surrounding artifacts in the new Museum of the Bible, which is backed by evangelicals investigated for illicit artifacts (Candida Moss and Joel Baden, The Daily Beast).
In 2014, an exhibit of biblical artifacts was displayed with great fanfare at the Vatican. Called “Verbum Domini,” or “The Word of the Lord,” it featured items from the Green Collection, which had been amassed by the owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family of Oklahoma City. That collection of artifacts amassed by the evangelical family is part of the controversial soon to be opened Museum of the Bible.

Along with rare fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and a first edition of the King James Bible were lesser-­known items, including some never-­before-­seen ancient biblical manuscripts.

Among the two hundred artifacts was a papyrus fragment of the New Testament. Its edges are frayed, but it is clearly decipherable: the text is from the second chapter of the book of Galatians. It is written in Coptic, the language of Egyptian Christianity for much of the first millennium. While visually it looks like Greek, because it uses many Greek letters, the script hints at the papyrus’s origins in the arid climate of late antique Egypt. Given its small size—­about four inches by four inches—­most visitors probably gave it little more than a passing glance. But it immediately caught the eye of Roberta Mazza, a papyrologist from the University of Manchester. Although this was the first public display of the papyrus, Mazza had seen it before: it had been offered for sale on eBay less than two years earlier.

This article is adapted from the authors' new book, Bible Nation, on which more here and links. For many past posts on the Museum of the Bible, Hobby Lobby, and the Green Collection, see here and here and follow the links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

A political science professor looks at the Talmud

TALMUD WATCH: Talmud as seen by a political scientist (Ira Sharkansky, San Diego Jewish World).
JERUSALEM — For something like 15 years, I’ve been studying Talmud Shabbat mornings for an hour or so with a religious (i.e., Orthodox) neighbor. We’ve been friends for more than 40 years, since we were both at the University of Wisconsin.

I’ve commented several times, perhaps not to his delight, and to other religious friends, also not to their delight, that the experience has made me more Jewish but less religious.

The short explanation is that I perceive what is trivial and even ridiculous in the holy text, along with considerable wisdom and much to admire intellectually.

A thoughtful and wide-ranging overview of the topic by a nonspecialist.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Whales during the Flood

TALMUD WATCH: Was there room for whales in the ark? The rabbis wondered how the majestic sea-creatures survived the Flood (Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, The Jewish Chronicle). Noted because the article cites passages from the Babylonian Talmud and Midrash Genesis Rabbah about the fate of aquatic creatures during the Flood. The author gives specific references, which is helpful. I have not checked the references myself, but there you have them.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

More on the recent discoveries at the Western Wall

ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS: As the Romans did: discoveries show Jerusalem’s transformation after destruction (Adam Abrams,
Israeli archaeologists this week unveiled the results of large-scale excavations that lend unprecedented insight into the transformation of Jerusalem around the time of its destruction during the Second Temple period more than 2,000 years ago.

The discoveries—including massive portions of the Western Wall unseen for 1,700 years and an ancient Roman theater—were made in excavations conducted during the past two years in Jerusalem’s Old City. The findings were disclosed at a press conference held by the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) beneath Wilson’s Arch in the Western Wall Tunnels.

The newly revealed eight stone courses of the Western Wall had been hidden beneath 26 feet of earth and were perfectly preserved after being excavated. The Roman theater contains approximately 200 seats and, according to archaeologists, required a “great deal” of investment in its construction.

Background here. Cross-file under Temple Mount Watch.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Spellbinding music

VIDEO ART: Israeli video artist Victoria Hanna brings spells ancient and modern to Berkeley (Laura Paull, The Jewish News of Northern California).
Hanna today is a singer, composer, teacher and video artist who performs in Israel onstage, at schools, official ceremonies and important national occasions, and for international audiences at festivals. Her unique angle is that she creates songs from modern and ancient Hebrew texts, adapting musical styles from traditional Jewish music to new music and hip-hop.


With support from the Schusterman program, UC Berkeley students and the public will be able to participate in a collaboration that explores new territory in Jewish culture. As the Magnes’ fall 2017 resident artist, Hanna will co-teach Spagnolo’s new course, “Jewish Nightlife: Poetry, Music, and Ritual Performance from Renaissance Italy to Contemporary Israel.” The course explores the cultural impact of the arrival of both Kabbalah, a branch of Jewish mysticism, and coffee, of all things, to Venice “in the roaring 1570s,” Spagnolo said.

“Coffee allowed people to stay up at night, and propelled the invention of new Jewish rituals based on the nighttime singing of Hebrew poetry, that have impacted many ideas and practices to this very day,” he said.

As the course’s music lab component, Hanna and the students will develop a performance series that will be open to the public. It was Spagnolo’s idea that Hanna use some of the Hebrew amulets held in the Magnes collection as a creative source.

What an interesting project. Be sure and watch the video at the link.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Museum of the Bible press conference

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The Museum of the Bible in the Spotlight. Washington, D.C. Bible museum invites dialogue (Robin Ngo and Megan Sauter).
Chances are you’ve heard some of the controversy surrounding the Museum of the Bible in the months leading up to its opening. Rather than hide or pretend such issues don’t exist, the museum chose to address them directly. On October 17—one month before its opening day—the Museum of the Bible held a press conference featuring a panel of the museum’s leaders and academic consultants to “outline the rigorous process used to create content displayed throughout the museum and answer questions about the museum’s collection practices, some of which have been challenged.” In the first half of the press conference, the panel members addressed a variety of topics on the museum’s approach and exhibit content.


When the panel took questions from the media, one word dominated the conversation: provenance. An artifact’s provenance is its record of ownership. Such a record can provide information on its place of origin and corroborate its authenticity.
I received an invitation to apply to attend the press conference, but I was unable to be in Washington D.C. for it. It's good to have this report from BAS.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Review of Bible Nation

THE ETC BLOG: Brief review of Bible Nation (Peter M. Head).
Over the weekend I managed to read the new book by Candida Moss and Joel Baden called Bible Nation: the United States of Hobby Lobby.

I noted the book as forthcoming here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Batchelder Conference for Archaeology and Biblical Studies

THE BIBLE PLACES BLOG: 19th Batchelder Conference for Archaeology and Biblical Studies (Todd Bolen). Coming in early November at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Irish "Gnostic" (?) island for sale

FOR YOU, SPECIAL DEAL: Dream of owning your own private island off Ireland? This is epic (Frances Mulraney, Irish Central).
West Skeam Island is a small 33-acre island with a monumental history from the Vikings to the Great Hunger and for a cool $2.3 million, you could own it all.


The island is home to three quaint, old Irish cottages, revamped on the interior to give you most of your mod cons, but from where you can distance yourself from the mainland and enjoy West Skeam’s four private, attractive beaches or explore the ruins of its 4th-century Gnostic Christian Church.

With a rumored Viking burial ground and an out-of-use, overgrown WWII-era landing strip, this Special Area of Conservation was first inhabited in 350 AD by early Gnostic Christian settlers escaping persecution under Pope Constantine, while the next recorded inhabitants were two families by the name of O’Regan who lived on West Skeam from the time of the Famine in the mid-19th century to the 1950s.
It sounds like a lovely island, and if I had a couple million to spare I might be tempted. But I am skeptical about this Gnostic church business. As you can see, the link leads to an article about Irish saints and it has nothing to do with Gnostics. I don't doubt that there is a ruin of an ancient church on the island, which is very cool in itself. But I don't know of Gnostic Christianity reaching Ireland with an active community and a church building in the fourth century. I can find no indication that that happened. Irish Christianity is not my area of expertise, but I do know a good bit about Gnosticism.

Still, it sounds like a nice island with its own ruin of some kind or other, if you're in the market for that sort of thing.

If any specialists in Gnosticism or Irish Christianity want to correct me and provide evidence, please drop me a note.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

The Lod Mosaic is returning to Lod to stay

MUSEUM: Breathtaking 1,700-year-old Lod mosaic to finally have a floor to call home. Decades after its discovery, country's 'finest' tile art will be displayed to the public at the central Israeli city's Mosaic Archaeological Center - when it's completed in 2019 (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).
After touring the world, Israel’s most impressive mosaic will finally have a port of its own. Before dropping anchor at the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center upon its projected completion in 2019, the massive mosaic, decorated with seafaring motifs, had an adventure of its own.

PaleoJudaica followed the Lod Mosaic's travels for some year. For past posts, start here and follow the links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

What did Ham do to Noah?

DR. RABBI DAVID FRANKEL: Noah, Ham and the Curse of Canaan: Who Did What to Whom in the Tent? (
Why does Noah express such a severe curse for the seemingly minor sin of observing his nakedness? Why does Noah curse his grandson instead of his son?
This interpretation has been around for a while. For my part, I am very skeptical of exegesis that requires a major rewrite of the story as a reconstruction of a hypothetical original. But read the essay and see what you think.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fuchs, The Geonic Talmud

The Geonic Talmud
The Attitude of the Babylonian Geonim to the Text of the Babylonian Talmud

By Uziel Fuchs
Edited by: Amos Geula

Publisher: World Union of Jewish Studies
In collaboration with: Herzog Academic College
Series: Eshkolot – Jewish Studies Series
Categories: Talmud, Jewish Studies, Jewish Thought
Publish date: August 2017
Language: Hebrew
Danacode: 45-131148
Cover: Hardcover
Pages: 374
Weight: 1200 gr.

The Babylonian Talmud is the fundamental work of the Oral Law, both by virtue of the widespread and intensive study of it, and by virtue of reliance on it in halakhic writings, for over a thousand years. The Talmud gained much of its importance during the Geonic period. Throughout this time its transmission shifted from oral recitation to written copies, its text became standardized, and it was sent out from the Babylonian academies across the Jewish diaspora. Its intensive study and complex system of transmission both orally and in writing resulted in many variant readings between extant copies.

This book deals with questions concerning the ways in which the Babylonian Talmud became such as seminal work, and especially the Geonate’s treatment of the its textual tradition: the ways in which the Geonim related to the variant readings, how they chose between them, and according to what criteria; to what extent were its early readings preserved and to what extent was its text altered. In the second half of the book the entire corpus in which the Geonim deal with Talmudic variants is presented and discussed.
A few past PaleoJudaica posts on the subject of the book are here, here, and here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Review of Rapoport-Albert, Women and the Messianic Heresy of Sabbatai Zevi

YESHIVA UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR JEWISH LAW BLOG: Review of Rapoport-Albert, _Women and the Messianic Heresy of Sabbatai Zevi, 1666–1816_ (Joshua Schwartz).
Review of Ada Rapoport-Albert, Women and the Messianic Heresy of Sabbetai Zevi, 1666-1816. Oxford: Littman, 2011. 400 pp. $64.50.
Rapoport-Albert now argues that the Sabbatian movement represented a bellwether moment for women’s liberation within Jewish history, a “veritable gender revolution that the Sabbatian movement envisaged, and in no small measure put into effect.”
This book review is from a few years ago, but it just came to my attention.

Past PaleoJudaica posts on Shabbetai Zvi and Sabbatianism are here, here, here, with many links. In particular, this post has some reflections on how Shabbetai can help us better understand some aspects of ancient messianism.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Underground Roman-era stables looted in the Galilee

APPREHENDED: Family Finds Roman-era Stables Beneath Their Garden, Arrests Made Over Looting.Eilabun residents uncovered elaborate caves carved out of bedrock in ancient Galilean Jewish village, and allegedly robbed the site (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).
It’s not rare in Israel to burrow in the garden, say, to plant flowers, and to find an ancient artifact. One family in the Galilean village of Eilabun found not some measly oil lamp or pagan figurine under their courtyard, but the opening to an elaborate system of underground caves dating to the Roman era, about 2,000 years ago. Earlier this week, authorities made two arrests for illegal excavation of the precious site, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.

Back in the Roman days, the caves seem to have served for storage and stabling, over centuries.

Which begs the question: The caves are about three meters below the surface, archaeology inspector Nir Distelfeld told Haaretz. So, how did they get horses down there and why would they? Why not build a stable with walls above ground?

Neither the headline nor the article make it very clear (at least to me) who was arrested.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Ebeling et al. (eds.), The Old Testament in Archaeology and History

NEW HEBREW BIBLE TEXTBOOK: UW Religion Today: The Ancient Israelites Through Archaeology, History and Text (Paul V.M. Flesher, University of Wyoming). Excerpt:
Does that mean we should ignore the Old Testament? By no means. Both archaeology and Scripture constitute primary sources for the study of ancient Israel. They must be used together for the most complete historical picture.

This fall sees the publication of the first introductory book that does just that -- a book suitable for both general readers and introductory college courses. It is called “The Old Testament in Archaeology and History” and is edited by a team led by Jennie Ebeling and Edward Wright, and includes Mark Elliott, a former longtime Cheyenne resident, and myself. The chapters are written by experts in archaeological research and biblical studies, and bring together the latest finds and best analyses to provide a history of ancient Israel.

The book takes a historical approach to understanding the ancient Israelites, bringing together biblical evidence and archaeological discoveries to address questions of historical analysis and understanding. Rather than pit the two kinds of data against each other, it treats all the information equally; indeed, it often finds them on the same side.

I will end with a shameless plug: Read this book! You will gain the fullest and most complete understanding of ancient Israel available.

Note: “The Old Testament in Archaeology and History,” edited by Jennie Ebeling, J. Edward Wright, Mark Elliott and Paul V. M. Flesher. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More on the UNESCO withdrawal

MORE ON THE U.S. AND ISRAELI DECISION TO WITHDRAW FROM UNESCO: Scolding UNESCO, GOP lawmakers introduce resolution on Jewish ties to Jerusalem. After Trump administration announces it will withdraw from UN cultural body over anti-Israel votes, Sen. Cruz and Rep. Gaetz accuse agency of 'trying to rewrite history' (ERIC CORTELLESSA, Times of Israel).
On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, followed up on the move by authoring a resolution that “recognizes and affirms the historical connection of the Jewish people to the ancient and sacred city of Jerusalem.”

It goes on to cite archaeologically excavated sites, like the City of David, that contain vast quantities of antiquities from the ancient Jewish and Christian presence in the city.
This Opinion piece is also of interest:

Alan Dershowitz: Trump was right to walk away from UNESCO -- for now (Wathington Examiner).
Background here and here and many links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Sefer Yetsira

KABBALAH WATCH? ‘Sefer Yesira,’ the Story of a Text in Search of Commentary. An ancient, tiny book cataloging the components of the cosmos: was it magic, Kabbalah, a philosophical treatise, or something else? (Tzvi Langermann, Tablet Magazine).
The minuscule composition known as Sefer Yesira (SY), so tiny some thought it to be meant as an amulet, is a challenging text, begging for commentary. Though the Hebrew text is very short (about 1,000 words), it has played an important role in Jewish thought, and in more recent times, in the academic study of Jewish thought. The “book” itself contains very little prose; it consists mostly of catalogs of the components of the cosmos, in groups of two (pairs of opposites), three, and seven, and their sums—10, 12, 22, and 32. The cataloged components are those making up the physical universe, the human body, and time. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are very significant as well and are matched to the other components of the universe. The original intent of the author or authors is not known.

A book of this sort cannot be understood without commentary, and SY has been interpreted in very different ways. Some claim that it was originally meant to be a work of mystical magic, but this reading is clearly prejudiced by the kabbalistic appropriation of the text, a process which began in the 12th century, and, even more so, by a fierce turf defense by academic specialists in the Kabbalah.

I do not know if at it is at all possible to assert anything about the original authorial intent behind the text. One can, however, speak with a great deal of certainty about the way the first interpreters of SY read the book. We possess extensive commentaries, in Judaeo-Arabic and in Hebrew, written by individuals throughout the Jewish diaspora in the early medieval period. Some are famous, others are familiar mainly to specialists. Each of the following glossed Sefer Yesira, reading it as a book of science: ...
Sefer Yetsira is indeed a mysterious text, more so even than is indicated in this article. There is no agreement on its original date of composition or what the original text looked like. Some years ago I comment briefly on it and gave some bibliography here. It is foundational to the mystical traditions of Kabbalah and the Zohar, whether or not it is itself a mystical text.

Variant English spellings include Sepher Yetsirah, Sefer Yetzira, and Sefer Yesira.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Birds in the Flood Story

DR. GUY DARSHAN: The Motif of Releasing Birds in ANE Flood Stories (
The ancient Near East had many versions of the flood story, such as Atrahasis, Ziusudra, Utnapishtim, etc., most of which predate the Torah’s account of Noah’s flood. But what is the earliest extant version of the releasing birds motif?
The answer may surprise you.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Festschrift for Michael Stone

The Embroidered Bible: Studies in Biblical Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Honour of Michael E. Stone

Edited by Lorenzo DiTommaso, Concordia University Montréal Matthias Henze, Rice University and William Adler, North Carolina State University
This Festschrift contains forty-one original essays and six tribute papers in honour of Michael E. Stone, Gail Levin de Nur Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies and Professor Emeritus of Armenian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The volume’s main theme is Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, envisioned in its broadest sense: apocryphal texts, traditions, and themes from the Second-Temple period to the High Middle Ages, in Judaism, Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Islam. Most essays present new or understudied texts based on fresh manuscript evidence; the others are thematic in approach. The volume’s scope and focus reflect those of Professor Stone’s scholarship, without a special emphasis on Armenian studies.
Congratulations to Professor Stone!

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jerusalem's lost theater found

A rare 200-seat theater from the Roman period and eight large ancient stone courses have been unearthed under the Western Wall’s Wilson’s Arch by the Israel Antiquities Authority.


“This is a relatively small structure compared to known Roman theaters, such as at Caesarea, Beit She’an and Beit Guvrin,” said [excavator Tehillah] Lieberman. “This fact – in addition to its location under a roofed space, in this case under Wilson’s Arch – leads us to suggest that this is a theater-like structure of the type known in the Roman world as an odeon.”

“In most cases,” he continued, “such structures were used for acoustic performances. Alternatively, the structure might have been what is known as a bouleuterion, the building where the city council met – in this case, the council of the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina.”

Interestingly, the archeologists believe the theater was never used.

Also, over at the Bible Places Blog, Todd Bolen has some commentary on the find.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

The rebellious elder in the Talmud

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Rebellious Elders. Daf Yomi: Why heresy is rare in Talmudic law, where judicial dissent and tiered courts institutionalized freedom of thought.
In Chapter Eight of Tractate Sanhedrin, we saw how the rabbis dealt with the case of a “stubborn and rebellious son,” ben sorer u’moreh. Such a wayward youth is condemned to stoning by Torah law, yet the rabbis interpreted the law so strictly as to render its application virtually impossible. This week, in Chapter 10, the rabbis dealt with the complementary case of a “rebellious elder,” zaken mamre; but in this case, it was interesting to see, they make no such effort at extenuation. It seems as if the rabbis are harsher on rebellion when it comes from an elderly and respected member of the community than when it comes from a gluttonous and drunken youth. But why should this be so? After all, the punishment for the elder is strangling, which is considered a lesser sanction than stoning; this might suggest that his crime is less severe.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

Review of Burns, The Christian Schism in Jewish History and Jewish Memory

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Book Note | The Christian Schism in Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Joshua Blachorsky).
Joshua Ezra Burns. The Christian Schism in Jewish History and Jewish Memory. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Joshua Burns, in The Christian Schism in Jewish History and Jewish Memory, has offered a fresh new foray into this conversation, which he describes as a “Jewish history of the Christian schism” (p. 12). Burns continues the trend of eschewing the traditional parting model and envisioning a split only after the beginning of the 4th century. But he does so with a novel lens, focusing on the rabbinic evidence. In Burns’s interpretation, Tannaitic texts, c. 200 CE, view Jewish Christians as those who practice incorrectly but are wholly Jewish, indicating that the rabbis did not see any decisive split as having yet occurred. However, due to social and religious changes over the next few centuries in Roman Palestine, whereby a wholly gentile Christianity won the day, Amoraim knew only of this later group. Thus later, Amoraic texts speak of gentile Christians, and do so as total others. Burns, accordingly, locates the rabbinic perception of what he calls a “schism” in this later, Amoraic period.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.

The Te’omim Cave

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: The Te’omim Cave: Rebel Hideout and Cult Site. Jerusalem hills cave reveals layers of history (Robin Ngo).
During the Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132–136 C.E.), Jewish rebels sought refuge from the Roman army in secret hideouts throughout Judea. One such hideout was the Te’omim Cave, a massive cave complex in the Jerusalem hills west of the city. There, within the innermost chambers of the cave, archaeologists discovered three hoards of Roman, Judean and revolt coins, weapons and pottery evidently hidden by the rebels.

As usual, this column is a summary of a BAR article that is behind the subscription wall. But the column is interesting in itself.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.