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Isaiah 49:12 mentions “the land of Sinim.” Gesenius and most nineteenth-century scholars identified this place with China, but virtually all scholars today identify it instead with Aswan (Syene) in southern Egypt. It is argued here, based on the literary context, the wording “the land of [plural gentilic],” and the phonetics of Sinim, that the term means China.

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In: Vetus Testamentum
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In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This note provides further arguments against a proposed Egyptian etymology of the divine name or title צְבָאוֹת (ṣᵉbāʾōt), as initially proposed by Manfred Görg, and expands a recent article by Giuseppina Lenzo and Christophe Nihan.

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In: Vetus Testamentum
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2 Chronicles 32:24–31 provides an early reading of Isa 38–39, but the brevity of the account in Chronicles makes its interpretation challenging. There is an additional motif of pride that is not easy to interpret (32:25–26). In this article I suggest that it might have been added by the Chronicler because he had noticed the admission of fault by the sick king in the psalm in Isa 38. Building on the portrait of Hezekiah found in Isa 38, the Chronicler depicts Hezekiah acknowledging that he was not worthy of the benefit received and humbling himself. Hezekiah models for the reader the Chronistic ethic of repentance. When Hezekiah is tested by God (32:31), the statement that “God left him to himself” reflects the Chronicler’s interpretation of what is found in Isa 39, where the king responded as best he could to the arrival of Babylonian envoys without the benefit of prophetic guidance. The glowing depiction of Hezekiah’s achievements in the surrounding verses implies that the Chronicler believed that Hezekiah passed this test.

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In: Vetus Testamentum

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This brief note proposes a new identification for a fragment of one of the Psalm manuscripts from Qumran. On the basis of material conditions—but above all else, the distinctive paleography of the script—4Q98c (4QP st) should be considered as part of the same manuscript known as 4Q85 (4QP sc). If this identification is correct, the latter now contains material known from the second half of the (proto-)MT Psalter, increasing the plausibility that it once contained the entire book of Psalms.

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In: Dead Sea Discoveries

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When the Dead Sea scroll 1QHodayota, containing a collection of thanksgiving psalms from Qumran, was acquired by Eleazar L. Sukenik in 1947, he received it in two separate bundles of folded and wadded material. In this article, I explore whether the material from these two bundles belongs to the same scroll or to two separate scrolls as Jean Carmignac and Angela Kim Harkins have proposed. While it is generally recognized that the folded bundle contained cols. 9–20, it is disputed whether cols. 1–8 were found with cols. 21–28 in the wadded bundle. I examine early photographs and accounts of the discovery, acquisition, and opening of 1QH a to establish what material came from the wadded bundle and whether there is evidence that the bundles belonged to the same scroll. I also discuss different scenarios for how the folded and wadded bundles of 1QH a might have been formed and which of them offers the most plausible explanation for the state of the material evidence.

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In: Dead Sea Discoveries

Abstract

The Old Aramaic inscription Sefire I ( KAI 222) includes, in a series of mimetic curses, a debated clause that has been read by most previous scholars to involve a mysterious {gnbʾ} gannābaʾ(?) ‘thief’, which (or who?) is symbolically burned (Sefire IA:36–37). The present article argues that there are lexicographic (cognates in later Aramaic dialects) and phonological (geminate prenasalization) grounds for understanding {gnbʾ} to encode instead ganbaʾ (< *gabbaʾ) ‘straw’. The burning of this straw to symbolize consequences should a treaty partner renege has clear parallels in Mesopotamian and Syro-Anatolian magical and ritual language, including treaty curses, and produces a more typical image in a list of mimetic curses involving materials (wax), objects (a bow and arrow), and animals (a calf).

In: Aramaic Studies
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In: Aramaic Studies

Abstract

This article examines a Syriac erotic binding spell, ‘Binding of a Husband’. We provide a text-critical edition of this spell based on three manuscripts and reconsider previous editions and translations. We also try to establish the aim of the text and its place in the Syriac magical tradition. For this purpose, the evidence from modern Syriac magic manuscripts as well as from other pieces of Syriac literature is addressed. In addition, we discuss possible parallels for ‘Binding of a Husband’ beyond Syriac literature.

In: Aramaic Studies