Singing Psalm 53 as the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer

This is labeled on YouTube as a sung version of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic. But it is elsewhere labeled as Psalm 53 in Syriac, sung in Georgia, for Pope Francis! It is beautiful either way, but this illustrates nicely the problems that arise when people start discussing texts in languages they don’t understand. Not [Read More…]

The Eye of a Needle

The page The Christian Left shared this image on Facebook, and a couple of comments that were made on it there deserve responses. First, you will sometimes hear that the Eye of the Needle was an actual gate in Jerusalem which a camel could indeed pass through, on its knees and leaving any goods it [Read More…]

Learn Aramaic Online

It is aimed at speakers of German, but I imagine that even if you don’t know German yet (and if not, why not?!), this site focused on teaching the modern spoken Aramaic/Syriac of Eastern Christian communities will still be of interest and useful to you. I’ve added it to the list of Useful Sites that [Read More…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]