My new book, The Case for a Proto-Gospel: Recovering the Common Written Source Behind Mark and John, has been sent out to the printer and should become available in about two weeks.
I have a new piece up at the Bible and Interpretation site, titled “Is John a Synoptic Gospel?” It’s based on my forthcoming book “The Case for a Proto-Gospel: Recovering the Common Written Source Behind Mark and John.” It’s in the final stage of manuscript preparation before going to the printer, but I have to work out some final pre-press issues with the publisher. Hopefully, it will go to
Research conducted by Tel Aviv University and Israel Antiquities
Authority archaeologists shed new light on these cult practices thanks
to new excavations at the site of a temple uncovered in 2012. Or, at least that’s what’s being argued by some of the excavators according to this article from The Times of Israel
An interesting article about the rise of fears in non-Jewish cultures that Jews would take them over. The
Here’s a portion of the opening. The article goes on to explore subsequent historical developments within the Christian world in which fears that a Jew could someday become Pope fueled some Christian reactions against the Jewish people.
In 70 CE, the Roman Emperor Vespasian’s son, Titus, had defeated the Judean rebellion, destroying Jerusalem and the Second Temple. However, once victorious, he chose as his willing consort Berenice, the sister of Agrippa II, the former king of conquered Judaea. This choice was not so odd as it may sound: Berenice and her brother had opposed the Jewish revolt from the beginning. Along with the spoils of the Temple, Titus brought Berenice back to Rome, where, according to Cassius Dio (Roman History LXV 15), she lived with him as if she were his empress, exerting considerable power.
Some Romans were troubled by the romance of Titus and Berenice and spoke out against her. In her prior marriage to the king of Pontus, Berenice had required that he convert to Judaism and be circumcised. There was probably concern that Titus would be convinced to do the same. The result would be a Jewish emperor of Rome, in effect reversing the outcome of the Jewish War. Worse, Titus and Berenice’s children would be Jewish, ensuring that future emperors would be Jewish. In other words, the Roman Empire would be in Jewish hands.
A day or two late, perhaps, but still timely. Jim West hosts the February 2020 Biblical Studies Carnival.
In my 101 Myths of the Bible, I raised questions about whether the sons of Jacob formed the twelve tribes of Israel (Myth 63). The idea wasn’t new or original at the time. Variations on the argument within the scholarly community had existed well before I put my own take into the record. In a recent essay at Thetorah.com, there is a nice academic review of the question: Did Israel Always Have Twelve Tribes? Worth a read.
While the temple in Jerusalem was the iconic center of life for Jewish people in the Second Temple Period, it’s not very well known that there where other Jewish temples that existed alongside and in contrast to the Jerusalem temple. Although a lot isn’t known about these other centers of worship, they included the anti-Jerusalem Samaritan Temple; a temple in Egypt’s Persian era at Elephantine that may have worshipped more gods than just Yahweh; and the very historically problematic Oniad dynasty temple allegedly in the Egyptian city of Leontopolis, mentioned in the writings of Josephus and 2 Maccabees.
Meron M. Piotrkowski’s Priests in Exile: The History of the Temple of Onias and Its Community in the Hellenistic Period attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding the Oniad movement and fill in the many gaps in the historical record, about which there are many academic arguments. If this sort of thing excites you then mosey over to Ancient Jew Review for Miguel Vargas’s lengthy and interesting review of Priests in Exile: The History of the Temple of Onias and Its Community in the Hellenistic Period