Call for Papers on Aramaic Magical Bowls

The American Academy of Religion’s Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity program unit, and the Society of Biblical Literature Aramaic program unit and Religious World in Late Antiquity Section, are co-sponsoring a session on the Aramaic and Mandaic magical bowls. A session is being planned on the Aramaic magic bowls. Given the interdisciplinary sponsorship, we propose [Read More…]

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Magic Bowls at #AARSBL15 in Atlanta

For those interested in Judaism, Mandaeism, Late Antiquity, ancient magic, Aramaic, and any number of other topics, there are two sessions at AAR this year that you ought not to miss. One is the Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity session, about which I’ll include details further below. But the other is a session which will [Read More…]

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Fundamentalists and Scholarship

I made the same point some years ago in a blog post. But the above image, shared on Facebook by the page Science & Scripture, makes the point much more effectively and succinctly. Does someone claim that they simply read the Bible and have no need for scholars, when they are reading the Bible in translation, [Read More…]

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The Very Model of a Biblical Philologist

Josh Tyra made this delightful video. David Lamb and Darrell Pursiful brought it to my attention. It is a parody of a famous Gilbert and Sullivan song. Mandaic gets a mention! [Read more…]

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Son of Man

I’ve been wondering for some time whether extreme skepticism of the depiction of Jesus even in our earliest sources hasn’t gone too far. A number of scholars have been bringing the pendulum back the other way. Bart Ehrman, for instance, thinks that Jesus thought himself to be the Messiah. If we remove all such views and [Read More…]

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Abba isn’t Daddy

Both Steve Caruso and I have made this point before. But Steve has reduced the point to a very simple infographic, and so I thought it was worth sharing.   [Read more…]

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Targum Neofiti Online

Via Ancient World Online, I learned that the Vatican Library has put Targum Neofiti online! If you are not familiar with them, the Targumim are Aramaic paraphrases of the Bible, which provide important insights into how ancient Jews understood their Scriptures.   [Read more…]

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Christopher Rollston on the James Ossuary

Steve Caruso shared the video below featuring Christopher Rollston and Gabriel Barkay talking about the James Ossuary. (If you missed it, see also Steve’s recent Twitter exchange with Jesus.) Of related interest, the Israel Antiquities Authorities has an online archaeological database that is full of useful resources.   [Read more…]

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Abba Again

It is now two weeks since we finally dived into the details of the Lord’s Prayer in my Sunday school class. Moving at our usual fast pace, we covered one word on that occasion: Father. I highlighted the evidence for Jesus have addressed God as abba in Aramaic, and the misconception that abba meant “daddy” [Read More…]

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Performing Ancient Texts in the Original Languages

My colleague Chris Bungard is one of the performers (the first you see) in the above video, which was made as part of an NEH Summer Institute: Roman Comedy in Performance. It got me thinking. Has anyone done something similar with Biblical texts, acting out and narrating stories in the original languages? [Read more…]

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Win a Slightly Defective Jesus!

OK, so I left the word “pendant” out of the title. Steve Caruso is holding a giveaway on the Aramaic NT site. Click through to enter! [Read more…]

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