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Archive for Ancient History

Did the Sages Forget the Hasmoneans

Many scholars have addressed the place of the Hasmoneans in Talmudic literature. The most well-known treatment in Israel is Gedaliah Alon’s “Did the Jewish People and Its Sages Cause the Hasmoneans to be Forgotten?” Another contribution to the academic discussion around this question has been written by Vered Noam and recently published in Zion, “Did […]

Seth Schwartz on Ancient Jewish History

Seth Schwartz, an important historian of Ancient Jews and Judaism, has done a number of short videos about the topic for Ancient Jew Review.

Listening to the Epic of Gilgamesh in Akkadian

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear the Epic of Gilgamesh being read in Akkadian? Well, now is your chance. The SOAS, University of London has posted on their web site a number of Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) texts being read in ancient languages. (here) HT to the Ancient Jew Review […]

Rockefeller Museum Collection Online

The Israel Antiquities Authority, as part of its attempt to upload digital images of objects held under its auspices, has began to post digital images of the archaeology collection found at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum. The collection can be found online here. HT to Dr. Lea Mazor.

An Early Use of the Term Midrash at Qumran

NRG has an article (Hebrew) about recent research on the Qumranic book Sefer Moshe  (the fragment is 4Q249 frg 1, published by Stephen Pfann in DJD 36). The research was conducted by Jonatan (Yonatan) Ben-Dov and Daniel Stoekl Ben Ezra. Using new technology the two were able to discover that the title of the book Sefer Moshe had been changed to […]

Workshop on Ancient Religion and Modern Technology

The Judaic Studies department at Brown University will be hosting a workshop on Ancient Religion and Modern Technology that will take place on February 13-14. The schedule and information can be found here.

Happy Birthday to Julian the Apostate

November 17 is the birthday of Flavius Claudius Julianus, a.k.a. Julian the Apostate. (hat tip) Julian is important for Jewish history because in 363 CE he initiated work on the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to […]

Jewish Demography in Antiquity

If anyone is going to be near Columbia University this Thursday afternoon, this might be worth a look.

The Origins of the Alphabet

Balshanut links to this exchange about the origins of the alphabet. Two scholars disagree whether it was invented by “illiterate Canaanite miners in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai peninsula” or “highly sophisticated Northwest Semites.” Also see this very good post on the origins of the alphabet by Christopher A. Rollston, who […]

The Historical Aftermath of the Ḥurban

As those on the East Coast of the US are soon to see this year’s Tisha B’av exit, I thought that I would bring a text that accentuates the gap between the historical memory of ḥurban ha-bayit and what we know from the historical record. The text below is from Lee I.A. Levine, “Judaism from […]

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