Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Forgeries in Accordance?

Arstein Justnes laments the inclusion of several post-2002 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in Accordance modules. Somewhat annoyingly, he rejects two Exodus fragments identified by Eshel and Eshel as forgeries... :) I guess that makes more work for me in revising my dissertation!

Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy

A new book has been announced in honor of John Collins that contains a number of articles of text-critical interest.

Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls: John Collins at Seventy
Edited by Joel Baden, Yale University, Hindy Najman,University of Oxford and Eibert Tigchelaar, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.


This volume, a tribute to John J. Collins by his friends, colleagues, and students, includes essays on the wide range of interests that have occupied John Collins’s distinguished career. Topics range from the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism and beyond into early Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. The contributions deal with issues of text and interpretation, history and historiography, philology and archaeology, and more. The breadth of the volume is matched only by the breadth of John Collins’s own work.

TC Papers:

The Social Location of the Scribe in the Second Temple Period
Samuel L. Adams

Heraclitus’s Homeric Problems and Midrash Genesis Rabbah: Comparisons and Contrasts
Philip Alexander

Redactor or Rabbenu? Revisiting an Old Question of Identity
Joel S. Baden

The Dream of a Perfect Text: Textual Criticism and Biblical Inerrancy in Early Modern Europe
Ronald Hendel

Scribal Innovation and the Book of Tobit: A Long Overdue Discussion
Naomi S. S. Jacobs

Deity and Divine in the Hebrew Bible and in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Reinhard G. Kratz

The Place of the Early Printed Editions of Josephus’s Antiquities and War (1470–1534) in the Latin Textual Tradition
David B. Levenson and Thomas R. Martin

Perfecting Translation: The Greek Scriptures in Philo of Alexandria
Hindy Najman and Benjamin G. Wright

Textual Criticism of Hebrew Scripture in the 20th Century
Emanuel Tov

The Samaritan and Masoretic Pentateuch: Text and Interpretation(s)
Eugene Ulrich

An Egyptian-Semitic Bilingual Abecedary?

As an interesting follow-up to the recent discussion about the origin of the Hebrew alphabet, there is apparently an upcoming lecture on a bilingual Egyptian-Semitic abecedary from Theban Tomb 99. Sounds interesting! If anyone is able to attend, do tell!

HT Agade

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hebrew Inventers of the Alphabet?

A recent article publicizes the theory of Douglas Petrovich's theory that Hebrews invented the alphabet. Petrovich claims to identify new letters on inscriptions from Egypt and read them as Hebrew, from which he argues that the Hebrews invented the alphabet. Such a theory has been argued before, but it is interesting to see such a theory revived here.

It's fairly well-established that Egyptian hieroglyphs were adapted into an alphabet to write a Semitic language at an early period. What is most problematic is identifying which Semitic language. We know precious little about the earliest stages of the Northwest Semitic languages, and the language boundaries we are so used to thinking about in later periods do not easily fit the oldest evidence. I heard Petrovich give the same paper last year, and the examples he showed did not strike me as good evidence for identifying them as Hebrew as distinct from other Canaanite languages/dialects. Many of his identifications and translations seemed highly questionable; neither were they really distinctive of Hebrew. I'm willing to give him a hearing, but I remain very skeptical that he will be able to make this case in a compelling manner.

HT Agade

Update: Similar, but more detailed, thoughts from Christopher Rollston on the early Semitic inscriptions.

Monday, November 21, 2016