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Breaking Wind from Your Ass – Biblical Scholar Slips a Fart Joke into the Bible

Posted by NT Wrong on December 12, 2008

A Biblical Scholar's Fart Joke?

The (alleged) fart of Achsah: A Biblical Scholar

There’s a story in Joshua 15.15-19 (repeated almost verbatim in Judges 1.11-15), in which Caleb offers his daughter Achsah to any warrior who can defeat the city of Debir. The warrior Othniel accepts Caleb’s challenge and successfully conquers Debir. As Debir lies to the south of Hebron, towards the Negev, it’s a dry and dusty place. On arrival in Debir, the new bride Achsah is understandably pissed off at her father for offering her as a prize, particularly because she has ended up in some desert hellhole. So Achsah requests her new husband to ask Caleb to give her a pair of wells as well. And Caleb agrees, giving her the region’s famous ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’ wells.

When the bride comes to Caleb (Josh 15.18 // Judg 1.14) she does something which is described using a verb which only appears in this story and in Judg 4.21:

וַתִּצְנַ֖ח מֵעַ֣ל הַחֲמֹ֑ור

After she does this thing, Caleb asks (apparently in response), “What can I do for you?” (מַה־לָּֽךְ). The interpretive crux is: what has provoked Caleb’s response? There isn’t any obvious cognate for the verb root ṣ-n-ḥ, and as a result there have been a variety of (educated) guesses. The traditional English interpretation has been “alighted” or “dismounted” (from her donkey), although the LXX translates “shouted” (adding that Achsah also “murmered”, in Judges).

However, G. R. Driver translated it as follows:

“She broke wind … from her ass.”

As far as I can tell, Driver first suggested this translation in an article in a book published in 1955 (Mélanges Bibliques rédigés en l’honneur de André Robert). However, he never tired of his farting translation, and the same explanation gets a second (and third) wind in articles from 1964 (ALUOS 4: 6-25) and 1967 (JQR 57: 49-165).

Before you exclaim, “WTF?”, you should also know that this farting translation was then adopted by a major Bible translation: the New English Bible (NEB) (1970). As it so happened, the Convener of the Old Testament Committee which translated the NEB was one… Sir G. R. Driver. Arthur Gibson, in Biblical Semantic Logic, confirms that Driver admitted to him that the translation was made “at his own insistence” (30). Although Driver’s farting translation made it into print, it was widely ridiculed. And the translation “she broke wind” was eventually changed to “she dismounted” when the NEB was revised [in 1972, and was not included in the NEB’s successor,] the Revised English Bible (1989).

Driver considered that his farting translaton was “sufficiently proved” from the Akk. cognate ṣanāḥu and the LXX. Although in fact, the LXX of Joshua and Judges has Achsah “shouting” in both accounts. Driver interpreted this ‘shouting’ as an anal noise, without any examples of such an anal usage for what is everywhere an oral noise, and even citing a completely different word for “fart” in Aristophanes. Arthur Gibson (following a proposal by G.E.M Anscombe) dubbed Driver’s interpretation an example of “the anal/oral fallacy” (Biblical Semantic Logic, 31). So the argument from the LXX seems to be quite creative. Furthermore, the Akkadian term ṣanāḥu is a specialist medical term for anal bleeding, and is not used in Akkadian to mean “break wind”. There is in fact another standard Akkadian term for farting; it is ṣarātu (Biblical Semantic Logic, 32).

Yet Driver also offered one further reason for good measure — Achsah probably farted “as a sign of her disgust” at the dry waterless desert her father had given her husband. Why would Achsah have chosen such a foul sign of her discontent, rather than choosing some more civil means of attracting her new husband’s attention? This is where Driver seals the argument. She was Middle Eastern. Arabs are, not least in the imagination of Sir Godfrey Rolles Driver, a farting and belching lot. That’s how they communicate, don’t you know, what?

“Such customs persist amongst the Arabs of Transjordan to the present day, as shown by the anonymous traveller’s account [The Times, 6 May 1957, p. 12] of belching as a means of signifying approval of an entertainment. As he was leaving the country, he went to a certain village to say farewell to the head man (muḫtâr) and was not surprised to find that a special banquet had been prepared in his honour; then ‘as, according to custom, I belched my satisfaction after the meal and complimented him in particular on the delicious cooking of the fish, he removed a fish-bone from between his teeth and his eyes twinkled. “Such a pity it tasted a little like donkey,” he said.’ The unchanging East is rapidly changing, but many old customs and habits linger on and can still be cited to illustrate many in the Old Testament, which are now quite unintelligible to Western readers.”
– Sir G. R. Driver, explaining his farting translation

So, what makes it really more likely that Achsah farted than, alternatively, emitted a loud oral complaint or perhaps clapped her hands together to attract her husband’s attention? What clinches Driver’s translation is the belching and farting Arabs of the Transjordan, as recorded in The Times newspaper by an anonymous belching English traveller of the exotic Orient. Now, I don’t deny that belching is a compliment to the chef in many parts of the world. But isn’t it interesting how this serves as an explanation of Achsah’s gesture from the top of her ass. Driver notes that the customs of the East are “rapidly changing” — but apparently not enough to make it inappropriate to make this most extraordinary generalisation… and not enough to stop referring to the East as “the unchanging East”!

You know what I suspect? G. R. Driver was playing a joke. (There’s nothing quite as funny as a fart joke, after all.) This was all a deliberate and elaborate ploy to get the phrase “she broke wind… from her ass” into the Bible. It was something like a public school dare. But G. R. Driver’s joke has now been exposed.

Fortunately, Sir Godfrey died in 1975, comfortable in the knowledge that he had slipped a fart joke into the Bible.

Posted in Biblical interpretation, Colonialism, Historical Books | 9 Comments »

Trogodytes and Horites Again – Monstrous Troglodytes?

Posted by NT Wrong on November 25, 2008

The term Trogodytes was used by Roman writers to describe a people in the Eastern Desert, between the Nile and Red Sea, east of Aswan. Some writers, at least in the copies we have of their works, refer to them (incorrectly) as Troglodytes (‘cave-dwellers’).

As I noted before, the name of the ‘Horites’, who are either the Edomites (Gen 36.20ff) or — in an alternative biblical story — their predecessors (Deut 2.12), also seems to be derived from a play on Heb. chor (“cave”), referring to cave-dwellers. The Trog(l)odytes lived on both side of the Red Sea. Strabo even lumps together the Trogodytes of the Horn with Arabs rather than Ethiopians. Likewise, the land of the Horites/Edomites was described as stretching as far as the Red Sea (1 Kings 9.26). So, we have the strange coincidence of cave-dwelling associations with the names of those dwelling in this region, in both Roman and Hebrew texts.

Dana Reynolds claims:

“They often made their homes among rocks and ravines or grottos as do some of the present day Afar tribes. It has been surmised that their name came to be a punning homophone for a cave-dweller or one who dwells under ground or in grottos because the word came to be spelled with an l as Troglodyte.”
Journal of African Civilizations 11 (1991), 126.

Is this the same pun which we see in Hebrew, in ‘Horite”? I tentatively surmise that it could have been derived from the Egyptian description for the general region, Kharu, and adapted in Hebrew to make a pun on “cave” because of their (perceived or real) cave-dwelling.

These Trogodytes, were also referred to as Blemmyes, Be(d)ja, and Megaboroi — and Be(d)ja (Bedayat / Bedawi) provides the origin of the term “Bedouin” (Reynolds, 125). The ancient sources describe them as living mainly in the Eastern Desert of Egypt and in Ethiopia. A set of tables prepared for an article by Hans Barnard (“”Il n’ya pas de Blemmyes”) collates all of the ancient references to these peoples (or this people, referred to under various names).

round-faced_bedja_womanHere’s a modern Bedja, care of Reynolds (p. 127), which amused me, because — despite the description in the caption — she has nothing like a “long narrow face and jaw”:

Like the Horites, who were identified as monstrous Rephaim and cave-dwellers, the Trogodytes and Blemmyes were described as monsters. Strabo describes the Trogodytes as having no voices, and the Blemmyes as having no heads but mouths and eyes in their chests. These were, after all, mythic descriptions of those who lived near the abyss at the end of the world (from which ‘Abyssinia’ is derived), beyond the mythic Yam Suph (neither ‘Red Sea’ nor ‘Reed Sea’, but mythic ouroboros).

Posted in Historical Books, Pentateuch | Comments Off on Trogodytes and Horites Again – Monstrous Troglodytes?

Trogodytes and Horites – Troglodytes Alike

Posted by NT Wrong on November 11, 2008

James Davila posted recently on a book review by Binoy Barman in the Lebanon Daily Star which reports on Cleopatra’s cunning linguistic skills:

“Cleopatra was accomplished and had an attractive personality. She had command over several languages, including Egyptian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Parthian, Median, Syriac, [Ethiopian] and Trogodite (many of them are extinct now), besides Latin and Greek.”

Trogodyte is the language of the people on the sea coast of Egypt, north of ancient Ethiopia, including the main sea-port at Berenice. Here’s a map from ‘Trogodytica: The Red Sea Littoral in Ptolemaic Times’, G. W. Murray and E. H. Warmington The Geographical Journal, Vol. 133, No. 1 (Mar., 1967), pp. 24-33, 29. The Nile is on the left-hand side, and the Red Sea on the right:


These Trogodytes seem to have close contacts with the Nabataeans, whose territory stretches up to the land represented by biblical Edom and Moab from the bottom of the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Trogodytes lived on both sides of the Red Sea, in both the Eastern Desert of Egypt and the Arabian desert. According to the article above, Codex Vaticanus of the Septuagint translates ‘Sukkiim” in 2 Chron 12.3 as “Trogodyte”, grouping them with Shishak’s invading force, Libyans, and Ethiopians.

I’m wondering whether it’s a coincidence or not, but a number of ancient Greek and Romans confused “Trogodyte’ with the more familiar word “Troglodyte” (meaning ‘cave-dweller’). The Nabataeans were often identified as cave-dwellers, too. The coincidence that I have in mind is the legendary race of ‘Horites’ mentioned in various places in the Bible, located in Edom or Seir, which was later taken over by the Nabataean Arabs. They are identified with the legendary Rephaim in Deuteronomy. ‘Horite’ (whether it originally derived from Egyptian Kharu, or not) may be a play on Heb. chor (“cave”). If ancient Greco-Roman writers confuse a geographical term from the Red Sea coast with the term for ‘cave-dwellers’, based on a common association of the inhabitants with cave-dwelling, could this phenomenon be related to the Hebrew description of people as ‘cave-dwellers’ in roughly the same geographic region?

Posted in Historical Books, Pentateuch | 1 Comment »

Anson Rainey, ‘East of the Jordan’ is not ‘The Rest of the Ancient Near East’

Posted by NT Wrong on October 23, 2008

Anson Rainey’s article in the latest BAR (34:06, Nov/Dec 2008 ) is a confused and misleading piece of popular apologetics. The best to be said for it is that, in trying to prove a Transjordanian origin for ‘Israel’, it has managed to undermine its broader thesis (which argues that the biblical account of Israel’s origins are historically true).

Inside, Outside: Where Did the Early Israelites Come From?

Here’s an outline of Rainey’s argument, which demonstrates how he is hoist by his own petard:

1. Rainey provides evidence to suggest that there are links between the Transjordan settlements on one hand and settlements in the Cisjordan which he identifies as ‘Israelite’ on the other.

Rainey points to similarities in the pottery and domestic house construction between Transjordan sites such as Tall al-‘Umayri and the Cisjordan sites where the ‘Israelites’ are said to have settled. He also claims that Hebrew has more affinities with Transjordanian languages (such as Aramaic [sic] and Moabite) than with Phoenician (that is, coastal Canaanite).

2. Rainey says that the Bible claims that the ‘Israelites’ came from the Transjordan, that is, “from east of the Jordan”.

“The Bible is very clear. They were pastoral nomads who came from east of the Jordan.”
“The famous hieroglyphic text known as the Merneptah Stele, which dates to about 1205 B.C.E., refers to “Israel” at this time as a people (not a country or nation) probably located in Transjordan.”
“There is no reason to doubt the principal assumption of the Biblical tradition that the ancient Israelites migrated as pastoralists from east of the Jordan.”

3. But the Bible does not claim that the Israelites came from the Transjordan. To the contrary, the Bible claims that they came from the north, in Aram-Naharaim in Syria, and the distant north-east in Mesopotamian Ur. And again, to the contrary, the Bible claims that the Israelites just passed through the Transjordan in a quick conquest of that region (allowing Gad, Reuben, and half-Manasseh to settle after they dispossessed the locals).

These are completely different areas, separated by a vast distance:

4. For Anson Rainey, ‘the Transjordan’ has metamorphosised into the rest of the ancient Near East. In order to harmonize the Transjordanian archaeological and linguistic evidence with the Bible, he has had to speciously refer to the whole of the rest of the ancient Near East as ‘East of the Jordan’. But, the term ‘East of the Jordan’ is confined to the Transjordan in the Bible’s own story.

When Rainey refers to Abraham’s origin in Ur, he bends the decription of Ur to make it sound like he is talking about the Transjordan:

“Abram (later Abraham), the first Hebrew, was born in Ur, a city far east of the Jordan.”

Yeah, Ur is “far east of the Jordan”, in the same way that that you’d describe China as being “far east of the Jordan”.

And yet, Rainey has the gall to summarise the origins of Abraham in Aramean/Mesopotamian Ur, Paddan-Aram, and Aram-Naharaim as “east of the Jordan” (Note that Anson Rainey is co-editor of a biblical atlas, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World):

“The Biblical narrative is very clear as to where the first Israelites came from: outside Canaan, east of the Jordan.”

When the Bible talked about the land “over the Jordan”, it meant just that – the land which was across the other side of the Jordan from where ‘Israel’ was in the Cisjordan. But Rainey has disingenuously blurred this area (the Transjordan) with much of the rest of the ancient Near East, purely in order to try to defend the historicity of the Bible.

While on one hand Rainey produces ‘linguistic evidence’ which links Hebrew to legitimate Transjordanian sites such as Ammon and Moab, he also attempts to slip in Arameans from the distant north and north-east:

“this provides a nearly airtight case that the speakers of ancient Hebrew came from the same area as the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Arameans.”

What “same area”? The land of the Arameans is a distinct area from that of the Transjordan!

5. In conclusion, if Rainey is right about the Transjordanian origins of Israel, the Bible itself must be wrong about the Aramean origins. Hoist by your own petard, Anson Rainey!

This is probably not what Anson Rainey had intended. But, that is the effect of his article. And because Anson Rainey is very familiar with the geography of the two distinct areas, his constant attempts to conflate the Transjordan with Mesopotamia can only be viewed as disingenuous.

Update – see these other criticisms:
– Douglas Mangum, at Biblia Hebraica, looks at a number of other problems in Rainey’s article;
– Duane Smith, at Abnormal Interests, made an initial comment about the historical complexity of the topic, and now provides counter-examples which suggest Rainey’s use of comparative linguistic data is selective.

Posted in Fundamentalism, Historical Books, Historiography, Pentateuch | 13 Comments »

Old Testament Minimalism, Jesus Legends, Calvin & Hobbes – Thomas Verenna

Posted by NT Wrong on October 20, 2008

Historian Thomas Verenna (Friend of the Guild of Biblical Minimalists) commenced a blog on historiography and biblical literature in October 2008: The Musings of Thomas Verenna.

Thomas provides a review of Gary Rendsburg’s introduction to The Hebrew Bible: New Insights and Scholarship (ed. Frederick Greenspahn, 2007), describing Rendsburg’s attack on ‘minimalists’ as “no less than dishonest hyperbole and blanket ad hominem”.

He also defends a mythicist’s approach to the character ‘Jesus’ in the Gospels.

And he also provides this rather fine Calvin & Hobbes cartoon:

Posted in Biblioblogs, Historical Books, Historiography, Jesus & Christ | 24 Comments »

Deuteronomistic History or Recalcitrant Hodgepodge? – K. L. Noll

Posted by NT Wrong on October 9, 2008

K. L. Noll’s words of advice for readers of Joshua-Kings is to reject as unfeasible any explanation of it in terms of a unity of authorship.

“Intead, permit the Former Prophets to be the recalcitrant hodgepodge of narrative discontinuities that they really are.”
– K. L. Noll Deuteronomistic History or Deuteronomic Debate? (A Thought Experiment), Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 31 (2007): 311-345, 344.

Now, finally, there’s a comment that’s true to form.

Posted in Historical Books, Historiography | Comments Off on Deuteronomistic History or Recalcitrant Hodgepodge? – K. L. Noll

To What Extent is Joshua-Kings ‘Deuteronomistic’?

Posted by NT Wrong on October 7, 2008

Deuteronomy has a prevalent, consistent and distinctive mode of expression and a set of theological ideas which, while not entirely different from the other books of the Torah, make it stick out from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.

What is more, many of these distinctive expressions and theological ideas crop up with greater or lesser regularity in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. This prompted Andreas Masius, in the 16th Century, to proclaim that they must surely be the work of a single post-exilic author, probably Ezra, who afflatum non solum hunc Josuae, verum etiam Judicum, Regum. A version of this idea was later taken up with great gusto by Martin Noth, in his Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien (1943).

In an appendix to Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (1972), Moshe Weinfeld identified the following deuteronomic concerns also shared by Joshua-Kings:

    – affirmation of Yahweh alone
    – anti-idoltary
    – cult centralization
    – divine election of Israel, including the exodus from Egypt and covenant
    – conquest and possession of the land
    – law observance and covenant loyalty
    – retribution by both blessing and curse

In his appendix, Weinfeld listed only those examples of ‘deuteronomistic’ phrases (that is, deuteronomic-like phrases appearing in Joshua-Kings) for which there was a similarity in both theological content and stylistic form. Weinfeld also identified a few expressions on topics such as prophecy and Davidic election that recur throughout the books of Joshua-Kings (and books such as Jeremiah), but which are not shared with Deuteronomy. So I’m going to ignore those instances below, along with any examples in Weinfeld’s appendix where only Joshua-Kings and Jeremiah have shared phrases. Also, it pays to note, that when these folk say ‘Deuteronomy’, what they really mean is some putative primitive core of Deuteronomy, such as Noth’s Deut 4.44–30.20.

So, the question is: what happens when you take Weinfeld’s appendix, and summarise the deuteronomistic content on a book-by-book basis? Is there an amazing consistency which proves the existence of a unified literary plan developed by a single author?

No, there isn’t. Have a look …

If the Deuteronomist was the single author of Joshua-Kings, he must have been a little schizophrenic! While there are large chunks of Kings which employ the language and theology of Deuteronomy, and bits of Joshua and Judges 2, there’s not much going on in the remainder of Judges and the books of Samuel. The major similarities appear in small clusters (Josh 1-2, 22-23, Judg 2-3, 1 Sam 8 and 12, 1 Kgs 2-3, 8-9, 11, 14, 16, 2 Kings 14-17, 21-23), with some very large sections lacking any deuteronomistic features at all, or even appearing to be anti-deuteronomistic (Judges). Moreover, when you look at the particular concerns of each book, they vary significantly from book to book.

Merely on the results of Weinfeld’s own analysis, things are clearly more complicated than the ‘Deuteronomist’ hypothesis allows…

Posted in Historical Books | 8 Comments »

NEWS IN BRIEF: Severe Lisp Saves Life of Ephraimite Man

Posted by NT Wrong on September 19, 2008

Ephraimite manREUTERS, GILEAD – Ephraimite man Elishama ben Ammahud says he has never been “sho thankful” that he was born with a severe lisp as he was yesterday afternoon.

His lisp may have resulted in years of torment at school, but it was all worth it when he attempted to cross the Jordan into Gilead yesterday.

“I have never been sho thankful for my shevere shpeech impediment as I wash yeshterday,” commented Mr Ammahud to reporters. “It shaved my life,” he added.

– Reuters, September 19, 2675

Posted in Historical Books | Comments Off on NEWS IN BRIEF: Severe Lisp Saves Life of Ephraimite Man

Michelangelo’s David, His Foreskin, Bono’s Question, and Jewish, Hellenistic, and Renaissance Conceptions of Embodiment

Posted by NT Wrong on September 14, 2008

In his introduction to the Book of Psalms, Bono wonders why Michelangelo’s statue of David includes a foreskin:

“David was a star, the Elvis of the Bible, if we can believe the chiselling of Michelangelo (check the face – but I still can’t figure out this most famous Jew’s foreskin).”
– Bono, ‘The Book of Psalms’

There is a Rabbinic distinction between circumcision of ‘the overhang’ (Milah circumcision) and circumcision of the entire prepuce that covers the corona (Periah circumcision). Some argue that the full Periah circumcision was not instituted until Hellenistic times, and therefore David would have only had a Bris Milah. But, I can’t find any evidence for such a historical development, let alone evidence that Michelangelo would have been aware of historical developments in Jewish circumcision practice. Moreover, it looks to me like Michelangelo’s David has a fully intact foreskin.

In any case, given the Platonic, Hellenizing features of the body of David (and also of Christ) in Michelagelo’s statues, it is more likely that Michelangelo was reproducing a Classical conception of the perfect representative of humanity — whether of Christ or his prototype, David. Graham Ward explains:

“Perhaps more striking are the sculptures of Michelangelo, especially his Risen Christ and his famous David. These bodies are not Jewish bodies and neither of them shows a circumcised penis. Now why, in a culture that found great significance in the circumcision and the humanity of Christ, is the circumcision itself not physically portrayed, even when the genitals of Jesus are carefully delineated?… In the Renaissance period circumcision was mainly associated with Muslims (who were slaves) or with Jews, who were associated with the greedy and covetous sides of nascent capitalism… [T]he circumcized body is a socially and aesthetically (and therefore also cosmically) inferior body… a mutilated and wounded body; not the kind of body that could function as a microcosm of cosmic and political harmony… As classical statues were being excavated, rediscovered and collected, so, in what might be termed a historicist move, Michelangelo returns to figurations of the body evident in the time of Jesus himself. In this inflection the Jewish body is rendered socially, politically, aesthetically, and finally theologically invisible.”
– Graham Ward, ‘On the Politics of Embodiment and the Mystery of All Flesh.’ Pages 71-85 in The Sexual Theologian: Essays on Sex, God and Politics by Marcella Althaus-Reid, Lisa Isherwood, eds. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004: 81-82.

That sounds like a reasonable explanation to me. I hope that answers your question, Bono.

Posted in Fine Arts, Historical Books, Reception | 14 Comments »

Review of Biblical Literature – Sep 13, 2008

Posted by NT Wrong on September 14, 2008

There’s some interesting stuff in the latest Review of Biblical Literature, including:

Wazana, Nili, כל גבולות ארץ All the Boundaries of the Land: The Promised Land in Biblical Thought in Light of the Ancient Near East (Hebrew) (2007)

Wazana’s study of biblical descriptions of Israel’s borders provides comparisons to aNE data and detailed studies of the biblical texts. Interestingly, she finds that some ancient descriptions of borders refer to actual ‘lines’, contrary to what you find in a lot of scholarly literature. She also examines the ideological function of the various types of texts. Invaluable for understanding books like Joshua.

Fishbane, Simcha, Deviancy in Early Rabbinic Literature: A Collection of Socio-Anthropological Essays (2007)

There are ten essays in the collection, four of which are previously unpublished. Fishbane covers a number of ‘deviants’ in Rabbinic literature: bastard mamzerim, long-haired Nazirites, leaky menstruating women, Rabbinic magicians and female witches, skanky ho’s, spazzy physically handicapped people, dirty Samaritans, perverse Goyim, etc.

Crook, Zeba A. and Philip A. Harland, editors, Identity and Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean: Jews, Christians and Others: Essays in Honour of Stephen G. Wilson (2007)

Comprising …

Kim Stratton – curse rhetoric in early Judaism and Christianity
Adele Reinhartz – why is Caiaphas ignored by historians of 2nd T Judaism?
Willi Braun – meals and social formation
Philip Harland – how meal stereotypes were used as polemical social labelling
Richard Ascough – not only Christians were involved in missionizing activities
John Barclay – ioudaios in Josephus = ethnic ‘Judean’
John Kloppenborg – the author and recipients of the Letter of James as Jewish-Christians
Laurence Broadhurst – newly discovered musical papyri and Gnostic musical texts
Larry Hurtado – textual transmission and Christian identity
Edith Humphey – naming as crafting identity in Revelation
Michele Murray – evidence in Apostolic Constitutions for continued Christian attendance at synagogue, observance of festivals and Sabbath, and no ‘parting of the ways’
Roger Beck – 8th -century AD ‘Horoscope of Islam’
Graydon Snyder – Ethiopian Jews, including DNA analysis supporting their conversion to Judaism rather than ancestry in Dan
Alan Segal – Daniel Boyarin on division between Christianity and Judaism
Robert Morgan – theological and historical approaches to biblical studies should be kept separate
William Arnal – the need to separate traditional biblical studies into seminaries, as distinct from comparative religious studies of Jewish and Christian religions in the Academy

Posted in Academia, Books, Early Christian literature, Early Jewish literature, Historical Books | Comments Off on Review of Biblical Literature – Sep 13, 2008