Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The SANE Symposium on Temples and Ritual in Antiquity

BYU's student organization for ancient studies, the Students of the Ancient Near East, has organized a symposium on temples and ritual in antiquity that will take place on Friday, November 7, 2008, in the BYU Wilkinson Student Center. The symposium will feature presentations from professors and students. Admission is free and no registration is required. Please refer to the above schedule for more details, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

P.S. - The symposium has also been mentioned at Temple Study , Mormon Metaphysics, and Heavenly Ascents.

P.P.S. - Most people aren't familiar with all the presenters, so I've taken the liberty of putting together very brief biographies. If there is no information next to your name it means I don't know anything about you, so get in touch with me and let me know what you'd like said about you:

Donald W. Parry is professor of Hebrew Bible at BYU and is currently editing the Great Isaiah Scroll for publciation. He received his PhD from the University of Utah.

Dan Belnap is assistant professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU. He earned his MA and PhD in Northwest Semitics from the University of Chicago.

David Larsen is a masters student in theology at Marquette University. He operates the Heavenly Ascents blog.

Bill Hamblin is a professor of history at BYU. He specializes in the Near East and warfare. He recently published Solomon's Temple in Myth and History with David Seely.

James Carroll received a bachelors degree from BYU in Computer Science, with a minor in ancient Near Eastern history. He is currently working on a PhD at BYU, where his research focuses on Computer Assisted Ancient Linguistics.

David Seely is professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Ancient and Biblical Studies.

Justin Robinson

Matthew Brown holds a B.A. degree in history from Brigham Young University. He is the author of eight books (with two more forthcoming) that focus on ancient scriptural texts and the history and beliefs of the LDS Church. Matthew has had several articles published in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, FARMS Review, and The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research.

Andrew Miller is working on a masters degree in Spanish Pedagogy. He operates the Strong Reasons blog.

Aaron Snyder is a senior in Political Science at BYU.

Daniel Becerra is a senior in ancient Near Eastern Studies with a Greek/New Testament emphasis. He recently returned from an archaeological dig at Tel es-Safi (Philistine Gath) in Israel.

Rachel Grover is working on a masters degree in art history at BYU. She recently returned from a research trip to Jordan.

Chris Dawe is a senior in classical civilization at BYU.

Bryan Benson is the Social Science program coordinator at Western Governor's University in Salt Lake City. He received his Ph.D from Boston College.

Dustin Simmons is a senior in classics at BYU. He is the president of BYU's chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national student association for Classics.

Keith Fairbank is a senior in classics at BYU.

Kerry Muhlestein is associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU. He received his PhD from UCLA in Egyptology.

Alyssa Lewis is a Junior in the Ancient Near Eastern Studies major at BYU.

Doug Marsh is a senior in classics.

Elliott Wise is working on a masters degree in art history at BYU.

John Gee is the William "Bill" Gay Assistant Research Professor of Egyptology at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He earned his Ph.D in Egyptology from Yale University.

Jacob Moody is a senior in ancient Near Eastern studies. He recently returned from his second season at the Tel es-Safi/Gath dig in Israel.

Mark Wright is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC Riverside. His research focuses on Mesoamerican archaeology.

Scott Preston Sukhan Nibley is a senior in English at BYU. He is minoring in ancient Near Eastern studies.

Joseph Petramalo is a senior in ancient Near Eastern studies at BYU.

I hope that helps. If anyone has any questions or concerns please feel free to let me know.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just so y'all are aware. . .

My blog's reading level:

blog readability test

All I need now is for someone to actually read it.

How to Teach Biblical Hebrew

I found an interesting article via the wonderful blog Awilum about teaching Biblical Hebrew. I will be teaching BYU's intensive Biblical Hebrew course next summer and enjoyed the links a great deal. Hopefully someone out there also finds them interesting.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

King of the Universe

I'm doing some research on 2 Maccabees and have come across an interesting little problem that may help my research a great deal. My thesis, in a nutshell, is that 2 Maccabees 7 is an interpolation from the late first or early second century CE. As part of my research, I've come in contact with a lot of different perspectives on 2 Macc. One of the most interesting, I think, comes from Christian Habicht way back in 1976.[1] He argues for a Hebrew original for 2 Macc 7. I’m intrigued by the possibility, and the phrase “king of the universe,” found in 2 Macc 7:9 (ὁ δὲ τοῦ κόσμου βασιλεὺς) seems to me to support the conclusion.

As Goldstein points out in his Anchor Bible volume on 2 Maccabees,[2] the term is absent from Jewish literature in Greek until after the first century CE. The phrase corresponds with the Hebrew melech ha‘olam, but ‘olam meant “eternity” until the beginning of the Common Era, when it came to signify the world or universe. The earliest such use is found in late Aramaic Qumran texts. ”King of Eternity” is how melech ha‘olam was translated into Greek prior to the first century CE (see Tobit 13:7, 11 – βασιλέα τῶν αἰώνων – King of Eternity).

If 2 Maccabees 7 was composed in the second century BCE, as is accepted, we would expect to find the phrase “King of Eternity,” as the phrase “King of the Universe” is not attested in Judaism during this time period. Goldstein assumes “King of the Universe” developed first in Greek Jewish literature and was later borrowed into Hebrew, but much more likely is that the Greek “King of the Universe” was a translation of the Hebrew phrase melech ha‘olam as it was understood in the Common Era. This would mean (1) 2 Maccabees 7 was translated into Greek from Hebrew, and (2) the translation took place well into the Common Era.

[1] Christian Habicht, 2. Makkabäerbuch (JSHRZ 1.3; Gütersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1976), 171–77, 233.

[2] Jonathan Goldstein, II Maccabees (Anchor Bible 41A; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983), 305.