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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Text of the Hebrew Bible and Its Editions

As a fitting follow-up to Hendel's new book, Brill has announced the forthcoming publication of a new book on editions of the Hebrew Bible.

Andrés Piquer Otero and Pablo Torijano Morales, eds. The Text of the Hebrew Bible and Its Editions: Studies in Celebration of the Fifth Centennial of the Complutensian Polyglot.


"In The Text of the Hebrew Bible and its Editions some of the top world scholars and editors of the Hebrew Bible and its versions present essays on the aims, method, and problems of editing the biblical text(s), taking as a reference the Complutensian Polyglot, first modern edition of the Hebrew text and its versions and whose Fifth Centennial was celebrated in 2014. The main parts of the volume discuss models of editions from the Renaissance and its forerunners to the Digital Age, the challenges offered by the different textual traditions, particular editorial problems of the individual books of the Bible, and the role played by quotations. It thus sets a landmark in the future of biblical editions."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Book on the Hebrew Bible: Critical Edition by Ron Hendel

I just received word of a new book by Ron Hendel laying out the theory behind the Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition series. I always enjoy reading Hendel's methodological work, so I'm sure this will make for a good read. :)

Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible
Ronald Hendel

ISBN 9781628371574
Price: $45.95
Publication DateNovember 2016
Understand the purpose and background of the new The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition project

Our understanding of the textual history of the Hebrew Bible has been transformed in the wake of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Hendel explores and refines this new knowledge and formulates a rationale for a new edition of the Hebrew Bible. The chapters situate The Hebrew Bible; A Critical Edition project in a broad historical context, from the beginnings of textual criticism in late antiquity and the Renaissance to the controversies in contemporary theory and practice. This book combines close analysis with broad synthesis, yielding new perspectives on the text of the Hebrew Bible.

  • Theory and practice of textual criticism
  • Textual history of the Hebrew Bible
  • History of text-critical scholarship
Ronald Hendel is the Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written many books and articles on biblical religion, language, and culture, and he is the general editor of The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition. His most recent book is The Book of Genesis: A Biography.

View the hardcover edition of this title.

Download a printable standing order sheet to see other available volumes in the series and to give to your librarian to set up a standing order.

HT Agade

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Genizah Research Newsletter

In the latest newsletter of the Genizah Research Institute, Stefan Reif reports on a conference on the Hebrew texts of Ben Sirah.

They also highlight a new book on Greek translations in Byzantine Judaism, which will be of interest to those interested in the Greek Bible:

Nicholas de Lange, Japheth in the Tents of Shem: Greek Bible Translations in Byzantine Judaism (Mohr Siebeck, 2015).

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Peter Flint Has Passed Away

I just received word from Andy Perrin that Peter Flint has passed away. He will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues. Peter was well known for his important contributions to the study of the text of the Bible (particularly his work on the Psalms scrolls from Qumran and the large Isaiah scroll from cave 1) and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as his commitment to rigorous Evangelical biblical scholarship.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Christopher Rollston on the Jerusalem Papyrus

Christopher Rollston gets more specific on his concerns about the morphology of the text of the Jerusalem Papyrus in a recent blog post "The Jerusalem Papyrus: Complementary Notations".

HT Rick Bonnie