Friday, September 20, 2013

Congratulations to Philip Esler

THE UNIVERSITY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE: University announces new Portland Chair in New Testament Studies.
The University of Gloucestershire has announced the appointment of the eminent theologian, author and academic, Professor Philip Esler, to one of its most distinguished posts - the Portland Chair in New Testament Studies.

Dirk Smilde Fellowship at Groningen University

CONGRATULATIONS: Prof. Steve Mason receives first Dirk Smilde Fellowship.
Prof. Dr. Mladen Popović, director of the Qumran Institute of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen, will award Prof. Dr. Steve Mason the inaugural Dirk Smilde Fellowship on 20 September 2013. The ceremony will take place in the Drents Museum in Assen, location of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition.

Prof. Steve Mason (University of Aberdeen)is the first Dirk Smilde Fellow to start in the academic year 2013-2014. He shall stay at the Qumran Institute from January through May 2014. Prof. Mason is a leading specialist on the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, the Jewish religion of the early Roman period, and Jewish cultural interactions with Greek and Roman culture. He is editor-in-chief of the first commentary series on Josephus (published by Brill, Leiden). His research focuses on the wider cultural and historical context of the world Josephus was living in. Prof. Mason’s research is a perfect match with the research of the Qumran Institute and the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.
More on Professor Mason here and links.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

PhD fellowship

AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OSLO: PhD Research Fellowship in Early Christian Studies.
A full-time PhD research fellowship position in Early Christian Studies is available at The Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo. The position is attached to the ERC-project NEWCONT. Tentative starting date is 1st January 2014.

Job description

NEWCONT is an ERC-funded research project that focuses on the Coptic Nag Hammadi Codices in the context of Christianity and monasticism in the fourth and fifth centuries. It is a project that seeks to increase our knowledge of early Christianity and monasticism and the historical reception of the Bible. For further information on the NEWCONT-project, see the project's webpages.

The proposed PhD-project should be relevant to the NEWCONT-project, with which the successful applicant will be in close collaboration. Proposals focusing on the history and theology of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries are especially welcome. The working language is English, and the PhD-dissertation should be written in English.

The appointment is for a period of 4 years. 75 percent of the position is allocated to the Candidate's research training, while 25 percent is allocated to required duties. The required duties comprise teaching, research assistance, etc.

The purpose of the PhD Research Fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a doctoral dissertation (monograph) to be defended at a public defense for the doctoral degree. The successful candidate will be automatically accepted to the research-training program (PhD-program) at the Faculty of Theology.
Follow the link for further particulars.

HT Liv Ingeborg Lied on Facebook.

Assistant Professor of Christian Near East

JOB AT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA: Assistant Professor of Christian Near East.
The Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures in the School of Arts & Sciences at the Catholic University of America invites applications for a tenure track position, to begin in August 2014, at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor, in early Christian Near Eastern languages, literature, and history. The successful candidate will have a thorough knowledge of Syriac grammar and literature. Knowledge of Classical Arabic and other Semitic languages, as well as other Christian Near Eastern languages, such as Coptic and Armenian, is a plus.

The successful candidate will have an earned doctorate, with an excellent record of teaching, publishing, research, and service, or the promise of these, commensurate with experience. Responsibilities will include: teaching graduate courses and seminars in Syriac language and literature, the history of the Christian Near East, and other languages within the candidates competence; advising students in the Department; participation in activities within the Department and allied programs and units within the University (including the possibility of undergraduate teaching on occasion); conducting and directing research in the languages and literatures of the Christian Near East.
The application deadline is 1 November 2013. Follow the link for further particulars.

HT James McGrath on Facebook. Cross-file under "Syriac Watch."

Iraqi Jewish archive again

SHORT ANSWER: NO. Does Iraq deserve the return of its Jewish archive? But even more to the point, it is far from clear to me that the archive will be safer or better cared for there than where it is now.

More thoughts on these issues here (especially the last paragraph and links). Additional background here with links going back a decade.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Middle East latest


There are reports of the murders of at least three Christians by Islamist rebels in the Aramaic-speaking Syrian town of Maaloula (Ma'loula, Malula), although there is limited verification. What is clear, though, is that the town is caught between the Syrian Government and the rebels and things are going badly there.

Eyewitness Account of Three Syrian Christians Killed by Extremists (Joan Frawley, National Catholic Register)

Syrian Jihadist Slits Throat of Christian Man Refusing to Deny Christ, Then Taunts Fiancée, 'Jesus Didn't Come to Save Him' (Leonardo Blair, The Christian Post).

Christians fighting for survival against jihadist rebels in ancient Maaloula (Catholic Online).

Maaloula's cathedral and churches empty of Christians as Syria's latest front-line fight takes its toll. Its churches are empty, its monasteries deserted, many pitted and holed by the battles raging around them. (Bill Neely, ITV News, The Telegraph).

Syrian Militants Battle For Christian Village (Deborah Amos, NPR).

Background on Maaloula is here with many, many links.

Meanwhile in Egypt: Coptic archaeological site wrecked (Daily News Egypt).
The latest attack targeted Ansana, a historical Egyptian site believed to have been used as a Coptic monastery. Yet, information about it is scarce. “[The site] was never properly studied and published,” said archaeologist Monica Hanna. The site was bombed with dynamite. ... The whole area is full of Coptic, Syriac and Greek inscriptions that have not been completely studied and documented.
I cannot hope to keep track of all the relevant (to PaleoJudaica) atrocities happening right now in the Middle East, but these are some of them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review of Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery

BOOK REVIEW IN MARGINALIA: David Lincicum on Forgery and Counterforgery, by Bart Ehrman: Lies, Damned Lies, and Patristics. Excerpt:
Learned humanists exposed many more of these ancient frauds during the Renaissance, but the authenticity of the documents that compose the New Testament was not seriously questioned until the late eighteenth century. Since that time, there has been protracted debate about not only the presence of pseudepigrapha in the New Testament but also the possible motivations a pseudepigrapher might have had. Most critical scholars now acknowledge at least some pseudonymous texts in the New Testament, but the question of motive still rattles. Some contend that pseudonymity was practiced as an open secret, a transparent fiction, and that the audience was in on the ruse. Others claim that the students or co-workers of departed apostles wrote the letters, perhaps even with their blessing, the same way a philosopher’s student might write in their name.

There’s just one problem: this pretty much never happened in antiquity. Following a growing chorus of voices in recent years — though German Neutestamentler have been saying this a lot longer and with more consistency, significant voices have arisen in the Anglophone world as well — Ehrman rightly notes that whenever a forgery is uncovered in antiquity, it is condemned as deceptive. For too long, scholars have hidden behind the hazy notion that the idea of “intellectual property” didn’t exist in the ancient world — as though authors lived in a golden utopia of verbal communism, untroubled by the very possibility of plagiarism per definitionem, until all this came to a screeching halt in 1710 with the first copyright statute. The intention of pseudepigraphers, as Ehrman and others have demonstrated in convincing detail, is to deceive. You don’t begin a letter, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints … ,” unless you want the audience to think you’re Paul.