Thursday, October 27, 2016

Interview with Eva Mroczek

Joseph Ryan Kelly interviews Eva Mroczek about her new book The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity.

Conference on Scribes and Texts in the Persian Period

An upcoming conference has a number of speakers working on scribes and texts in Judah in the Persian period.

From Josette Elayi []

ASPEP Conferences (Association for the research on Syria-Palestine in the Persian Period), November 16, 2016, Institut Protestant de Théologie de Paris.

1. Conference of Jeon Jaeyoung
« Diverse Socio-religious Groups in the Persian Yehud and their Scribal Conflicts in the Pentateuch ».

2. Conference of André Lemaire
« L’enseignement de l’araméen dans l’empire achéménide».

3. Conference of Matthieu Richelle
« Que peut-on dire du paléo-hébreu à l’époque perse ? ».

4. Conference of Marie-Jeanne Roche
« Une inscription funéraire araméenne d’al-‘Ula ».

5. ASPEP General Assembly.

HT Agade

More Upcoming Conferences and Job Opportunities

More conferences and jobs to consider from the COMSt email list:

Dear COMSt members and subscribers,
as usual, I would like to share with you some information/announcements that could be useful or interesting to some of you:
Conferences and calls
- Digitised Hebrew Manuscripts: British Library and Beyond, London, 21 November 2016:
- The 50th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Birmingham, 25-27 March 2017,
- The Discoveries of Manuscripts from Late Antiquity: Their Impact on Patristic Studies and the Contemporary World, San Juan, 28-31 March 2017, Cfp open until 30 October 2016,
- 19th International Conference on Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, Lisbon, 16-17 April 2017, Cfp open up to 31 October 2016
- Modulations and transpositions: the contexts and boundaries of ‘minor’ and ‘major’ genres in late antique Christian poetry, Lisbon 1-2 June 2017, and Heidelberg 15-16 December 2017, Cfp open up to 16 January 2017
- Ninth Enoch Seminar “From tôrāh to Torah: Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity”, Camaldoli, 18-23 June 2017,,_conference
Positions and fellowships
- PhD scholarship in theology and religious studies: Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins, Groningen, deadline 31 October 2016,
- research fellow in Early Christianity, Melbourne, deadline 30 November 2016,
- job in digital humanities: Pelagios community manager, Lancaster, deadline 28 October 2016,
- 2017 incoming fellowship in Ethiopian manuscript studies, Hamburg, deadline 30 November 2016,
COMSt Bulletin
I would like to use the opportunity to remind you that the deadline for the forthcoming issue of the COMSt Bulletin is 31 October 2016, and we look forward to get text versions of the papers from the latest COMSt conference (do let me know if you may need some more days to finalize your contribution).
With my very best wishes to everyone
Eugenia Sokolinski
Project Coordinator
Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies
Universität Hamburg
Alsterterrasse 1
20354 Hamburg

Tel. +49 40 42838 7777
Fax +49 40 42828 3330
Mob. +49 1632879120

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

More on the New Hebrew Paprus from the Judean Desert

More news sources on the new Hebrew papyrus seized by the IAA. Eitan Klein is quoted in Live Science as saying that the papyrus is dated to the 7th century BCE, rather than the 8th. Christopher Rollston suspects it may be a modern forgery on ancient papyrus based on 1) "some palaeographic and orthographic anomalies and inconsistencies in this papyrus inscription"; 2) its "sensational" content (I assume he means the fact that it mentions a woman and/or Jerusalem?); and 3) its lack of a solid provenance (he casts some doubt on the IAA backstory, though I am not sure the accounts are contradictory). Jim Davila is optimistic about the authenticity of the papyrus, though noting Rollston's concerns.

HT Eibert Tichelaar

Update 27 Oct 2016
In the official IAA press release, Klein suggests it is from the second half of the 7th century.

Monday, October 24, 2016

9th Enoch Seminar - From tôrāh to Torah: Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity

Jason Zurawski sends word of the 9th Enoch Seminar, From tôrāh to Torah: Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity in June 2017. Sounds like an exciting lineup!


Dear Members and Friends of the Enoch Seminar,
We have had a wonderful response to our initial announcement of the 9th Enoch Seminar, From tôrāh to Torah: Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity, which will take place from June 18-23, 2017, at the lovely Monastero di Camaldoli, ideally situated in the forested hills of Tuscany. See below for a detailed description of the topic and themes, as well as a list of the current participants. You may also visit the conference website for all updated information:
Participation in the 9th Enoch Seminar is very limited and is by invitation only. If you would like to attend, please be in touch with Jason Zurawski at Proposals for short papers (3000-4000 words) are being accepted through December 15th. Online registration for the meeting will begin in December.
Thank you for your time and best wishes,
Bill Schniedewind
Jason Zurawski
Gabriele Boccaccini
From tôrāh to Torah:
Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity
June 18-23, 2017
Camaldoli, Italy
The Ninth Enoch Seminar
With the support of
Alessandro Nangeroni International Endowment
University of Michigan
Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
Michigan Center for Early Christian Studies
Conference Chairs: William Schniedewind and Jason Zurawski (in collaboration with Gabriele Boccaccini)
The Enoch Seminar and the resultant volume will examine the diverse understandings of tôrāh, beginning with the texts of the Hebrew Bible through to the Second Temple period and late antiquity, moving beyond traditional paradigms such as the early usage of tôrāh as general instruction vs. the transition to nomos, as “law,” or the development of a “normative” notion of Torah (capitalization intentional) in the Second Temple period. Participants are encouraged to rethink our scholarly assumptions and preconceptions on the topic and tackle the questions anew in light of more critical philological and historical approaches. We seek to examine the various notions of tôrāh (and nomos) in all relevant literature, regardless of scholarly or denominational corpora, both within ancient Jewish/Judean traditions and in light of broader influences, whether Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Persian, etc. As this meeting follows and builds upon the work from the Fifth Nangeroni Meeting, “Second Temple Jewish Paideia in its Ancient Near Eastern and Hellenistic Contexts” (June/July 2015), discussions pertaining to the connections between tôrāh/Torah/nomos/dat and education, pedagogy, wisdom, etc., are especially encouraging. Our aim will be to discuss the variety of ways that tôrāh was defined and developed in the literature.
The pre-circulated papers will be presented briefly (5 min.), followed by a response (10 min.) and a sustained discussion by the participants. Major papers (5000-8000 words) and short papers (3000-4000 words) should be submitted by May 1, 2017. This will allow respondents and other participants sufficient time to prepare.
Samuel Adams (Union Presbyterian Seminary)
Sara Ahbel-Rappe (University of Michigan)
Carol Bakhos (University of California, Los Angeles)
Andreas Bedenbender (Paderborn University)
Gabriele Boccaccini (University of Michigan)
Francis Borchardt (Lutheran Theological Seminary of Hong Kong)
Calum Carmichael (Cornell University)
James Charlesworth (Princeton University)
Esther Chazon (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Federico Dal Bo (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Vicente Dobroruka (Universidade de Brasília)
Lutz Doering (University of Münster)
Oliver Dyma (Katholische Stiftungsfachhochschule München)
Steven Fraade (Yale University)
Christine Hayes (Yale University)
Ronald Herms (Fresno Pacific University)
David Jackson (William Carey Christian School, Australia)
Magnar Kartveit (VID Specialized University)
Anne Kreps (University of Oregon)
David Lambert (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Liv Ingeborg Lied (MF Norwegian School of Theology)
Paul Mandel (Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies)
Eva Mroczek (University of California, Davis)
Jason Myers (Greensboro College)
Rivka Nir (Open University of Israel)
Juan Carlos Ossandón (Pontificia Universitas Sanctae Crucis)
Anders Klostergaard Petersen (Aarhus University)
Patrick Pouchelle (Centre Sèvres – Paris)
Jeremy Punt (Stellenbosch University)
Alexander Rofé (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Ishay Rosen Zvi (Tel Aviv University)
Jacque van Ruiten (University of Groningen)
Michael Satlow (Brown University)
Brian Schmidt (University of Michigan)
William Schniedewind (University of California, Los Angeles)
Stefan Schorch (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg)
Malka Simkovich (Catholic Theological Union)
Joan Taylor (King’s College London)
Jacqueline Vayntrub (Brandeis University)
Benjamin Wright (Lehigh University)
J. Edward Wright (University of Arizona)
Jason Zurawski (University of Groningen)

Dr. Jason M. Zurawski
Postdoctoral Fellow, Qumran Institute
Department of Old Testament and Early Judaism
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Groningen

Secretary, Board of Directors

Postdocs in Munich

I have several friends and colleagues working in Munich now, and their Distant Worlds group seems to be quite an exciting research context. See below their announcement for two postdoctoral positions.

From Walther Sallaberger []

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich is one of the leading European universities, with a tradition reaching back more than 500 years. In 2012, the university established the Munich Graduate School for Ancient Studies ‘Distant Worlds’ with funding from the German Excellence Initiative. The Graduate School is an interdisciplinary research network bringing together LMU and research institutions in Munich to provide an optimal environment for disciplinary research and the promotion of junior academics in the field of ancient studies. As part of its doctoral study and postdoctoral training programme, the Graduate School combines research from a broad spectrum of disciplines within the field of ancient studies.

The Graduate School invites applications for the following positions:

2 Postdoctoral Positions
Salary grade 13 TV-L / 100%

These temporary positions are available from 1 April 2017 until 31 March 2019.
It is possible to apply for a one-year extension in the form of a scholarship.

Each of the positions will coordinate a junior research group. The junior research groups are oriented towards one of the seven focus areas

1. Constructions of Norms
2. Constructions of Elites
3. Constructions of the ‘Beautiful’
4. Organisation of Coexistence
5. Organisation of Exchange
6. Organisation of Dealing with Dissent
7. Organisation of Memory and Forgetting


Successful candidates will conduct an independent research project contributing to one of the seven focus areas, to be chosen by the candidates themselves. In pursuing their research, candidates will be supported by mentors chosen from the group of Principal Investigators of the School.

They will collaborate with doctoral students in an interdisciplinary junior research group and coordinate the activities of that group (supported by mentors).

They will develop new research perspectives in the field of ancient studies together with doctoral students, Principal Investigators and other members of the Münchner Zentrum für Antike Welten.


In order to qualify for application, candidates must have completed their doctorate in the field of ancient studies with outstanding results. Applicants will need to submit a proposal for an independent research project. They should demonstrate their openness towards working in an interdisciplinary context as well as an interest in basic and theoretical questions.

The School offers the scope for individual academic development and an inspiring research environment.

Applicants with disabilities who possess essentially equal qualifications will be given preference. LMU Munich is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity, and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Please submit the following required application documents

(A) as one pdf file:
(1) Application letter (letter of motivation)
(2) Curriculum vitae
(3) List of publications and list of courses taught
(4) Degree certificates
(5) Research proposal (max. 7.500 characters incl. spaces) plus bibliography
(6) Sample of your written work (app. length: 10–12 pages).

(B) as pdf file:
completed application form
(download via:

(C) 2 Letters of reference:
To be emailed directly by the referees to citing the reference number DW-PostDoc/17_your_name

Please submit your complete application in German or English citing the
reference number DW-PostDoc/17 at the latest by 1 December 2016
exclusively via email to:

You can find further information on the Graduate School "Distant Worlds“
on the following website:

For further questions please contact Ms Anna Waldschütz

HT Agade

Sunday, October 23, 2016

New 8th Century Papyrus from Judah?

I have just heard of reports of a new papyrus from Judah mentioning Jerusalem that sound very exciting (NB the photo on the news article is not of this papyrus, but a much later semicursive document)! It was discovered in the Judean Desert and purchased on the antiquities market, placing it in a somewhat compromised position in the eyes of some. Supposedly it can reliably be dated to the 8th century BCE, which makes it a remarkably rare document from pre-exilic Judah on a perishable writing support. Apparently it will be presented in Jerusalem at the annual New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region conference on Oct. 26-27, 2016. If anyone has the chance to see the presentation, I would greatly appreciate any important details about this interesting document!

HT Todd Bolen

Update - Årstein Justnes pointed out the following related links:

Roberta Mazza

Jim Davila

Times of Israel - who provide the first picture of the papyrus and give the date of the 7th century or approximately 700 BCE