11 posts

How to Read Ancient Texts

I am reading the proofs of my contribution to The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries. The following quotes from Daniel Boyarin are true not only for dealing with what the Talmud has to say about Jesus but for any time we are engaging ancient texts. The effort must be made to read the texts in their own context and resist the temptation to ask of the texts the questions we have, but […]

Jesus in the Talmud

This past year I was asked by Chris Keith to write a chapter on Jesus in the Talmud for The Reception of Jesus in the First Three Centuries. Last month I was invited to speak at the 1892 Club at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. They recorded it and have posted the presentation (and the rest of the series) on YouTube.  

Valmadonna Collection Purchased by the National Library of Israel – Targum MS in Museum of the Bible

UPDATE: The Targum manuscript Valmadonna 1 was sold separately to the Museum of the Bible. This is very good news! It appears the entire a portion of the collection has been purchased by the Israeli National Library. As I shared several years ago Sotheby’s was exhibiting and the family seeking to sell this incredibly important collection. It is particularly important for Targum scholars because it includes Valmadonna 1 (formerly Sassoon 282). The Sotheby’s catalogue described the […]

BenSira.org is Live

I received an email recently from my undergraduate advisor and outstanding biblical scholar Gary Rendsburg announcing a new project:  BenSira.org. This has been developed with one of his Rutger’s undergraduate honors students (of course!), Jacob Binstein. It looks to be an incredible resource. Please spread the word! Welcome to www.bensira.org, the website devoted to the ancient and medieval Hebrew manuscripts of the book of Ben Sira. These documents, which are housed in Cambridge, Oxford, London, […]

“Spinning Spinoza” When is a Jew not a Jew?

I have never read as much Spinoza as I feel I should have (and I thought about that again while in Amsterdam). I had a colleague at a previous institution who was a HUGE Spinoza fan. He was also very reformed and, as this piece points out, would portray Spinoza as the Patriarch of the Reform Judaism. I always thought this was odd since my reading suggested that …well, he wasn’t very Jewish at all. […]

Conference: “New Perspectives on Jews and Judaism”

Given my recent research on the Book of Ruth, rabbinic interpretation thereof, and rabbinic conversion I am very disappointed that I will likely be traveling on the West Coast during this conference. If, however, you are in the Philly area and have such interests you should not miss this. Taking Turns: New Perspectives on Jews and Judaism The 17th Annual Gruss Colloquium in Judaic Studies, May 2-3, 2011 A sampling of the schedule: MONDAY, MAY […]

A stumbling block…

When I was being shown around Freiburg last week my guide actually stumbled and then stopped and pointed to be the “Stolperstein” upon which she had halted. This term literally translates as a “stumbling stone” and is a small concrete cube covered in brass that is etched with the name of a single Jew or other victim of the Nazi regime who was deported and killed. The dates of their deportation and death are also […]

The Economist on “The Art Scroll Talmud”

The Economist has a short article on a new edition of the Talmud. I haven’t spent much time with this so I am not sure how it is revolutionizing Talmud study… For Orthodox Jews, lifelong study of the Talmud is the supreme religious precept. But for many earnest students through the ages, it has been a frustrating grind. Written in Aramaic (often described as the language of Jesus), it does not easily surrender its textual […]