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Aramaic Incantation Bowls in Museum Collections

Volume One: The Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities, Jena


James Nathan Ford and Matthew Morgenstern

The Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena houses one of the major European collections of incantation bowls. Forty bowls bear texts written in the Jewish, Manichaean Syriac or Mandaic scripts, and most of the rest (some twenty-five objects) in the Pahlavi script or in various pseudoscripts. The present volume comprises new editions of the Aramaic (and Hebrew) bowl texts based on high-resolution photographs taken by the authors, together with brief descriptions and photographs of the remaining material. New readings are often supported with close-up photographs. The volume is intended to serve as a basis for further study of magic in late Antiquity and of the Late Eastern Aramaic dialects in which the texts were composed.

Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017


Edited by Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund

The Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran have attracted increasing interest in recent years. These texts predate the “sectarian” Dead Sea scrolls, and they are contemporary with the youngest parts of the Hebrew Bible. They offer a unique glimpse into the situation before the biblical canons were closed. Their highly creative Jewish authors reshaped and rewrote biblical traditions to cope with the concerns of their own time. The essays in this volume examine this fascinating ancient literature from a variety of different perspectives. The book grew out of an international symposium held at the University of Copenhagen in August 2017.

The Development of the Biblical Hebrew vowels

Including a Concise Historical Morphology


Benjamin Suchard

The development of the Biblical Hebrew Vowels investigates the sound changes affecting the Proto-Northwest-Semitic vocalic phonemes and their reflexes in Tiberian Biblical Hebrew. Contrary to many previous approaches, Benjamin Suchard shows that these developments can all be described as phonetically regular sound laws. This confirms that despite its unique transmission history, Hebrew behaves like other languages in this regard. Many Hebrew sound changes have traditionally been explained as reflecting non-phonetic conditioning. These include the Canaanite Shift of *ā to *ō, tonic and pre-tonic lengthening, diphthong contraction, Philippi’s Law, the Law of Attenuation, and the apocope of short, unstressed vowels. By reconsidering reconstructions and re-evaluating phonetic conditions, this work shows how the Biblical Hebrew forms regularly derive from their Proto-Northwest-Semitic precursors.

History, Biography, and the Genre of Luke-Acts

An Exploration of Literary Divergence in Greek Narrative Discourse


Andrew W. Pitts

Unlike contemporary literary-linguistic configurations of genre, current methodologies for the study of the Gospel genre are designed only to target genre similarities not genre differences. This basic oversight results in the convoluted discussion we witness in Lukan genre study today. Each recent treatment of the genre of Luke-Acts represents a distinct effort to draw parallels between Luke-Acts and a specific (or multiple) literary tradition(s). These studies all underestimate the role of literary divergence in genre analysis, leveraging much—if not, all—of their case on literary proximity. This monograph will show how attention to literary divergence from a number of angles may bring resolution to the increasingly complex discussions of the genre(s) of Luke-Acts.

The Regimen sanitatis of “Avenzoar”

Stages in the Production of a Medieval Translation


Michael R. McVaugh, Gerrit Bos and Joseph Shatzmiller

The authors publish a previously unedited Regimen of Health attributed to Avenzoar (Ibn Zuhr), translated at Montpellier in 1299 in a collaboration between a Jewish philosopher and a Christian surgeon, the former translating the original Arabic into their shared Occitan vernacular, the latter translating that into Latin. They use manuscript evidence to argue that the text was produced in two stages, first a quite literal version, then a revision improved in style and in language adapted to contemporary European medicine. Such collaborative translations are well known, but the revelation of the inner workings of the translation process in this case is exceptional. A separate Hebrew translation by the philosopher (also edited here) gives independent evidence of the lost Arabic original.

Ancient Manuscripts in Digital Culture

Visualisation, Data Mining, Communication


Edited by David Hamidović, Claire Clivaz and Sarah Bowen Savant

Ancient Manuscripts in Digital Culture presents an overview of the digital turn in Ancient Jewish and Christian manuscripts visualisation, data mining and communication. Edited by David Hamidović, Claire Clivaz and Sarah Bowen Savant, it gathers together the contributions of seventeen scholars involved in Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies. The volume attests to the spreading of digital humanities in these fields and presents fundamental analysis of the rise of visual culture as well as specific test-cases concerning ancient manuscripts. Sophisticated visualisation tools, stylometric analysis, teaching and visual data, epigraphy and visualisation belong notably to the varied overview presented in the volume.


Liv Ingeborg Lied


During the first decades of the twenty-first century, a growing number of libraries and collections around the world have digitized their manuscript holdings, making manuscripts visually accessible online. Exploring the outcome of these digitization processes as an ongoing media shift, the present article discusses the potential consequences of the new visual availability of manuscripts to paradigms and practices of textual scholarship. How may the increased presence of manuscripts online contribute to a change in editing practices, as well as the academic reader’s expectations for the content and format of critical editions? How may the increased presence of digitized manuscripts online affect studies of manuscripts – beyond editorial practices, and (how) will the digitization of manuscripts change the needs of scholars to access manuscripts in libraries and collections?


H.A.G. Houghton


The adoption of digital editing software has led to a significant change in the process of creating a critical edition of the New Testament, as embodied in the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior. Data is no longer gathered as a collation of witnesses against a standard base text, but in the form of complete transcriptions of individual manuscripts which then form the basis of an automatically generated apparatus. This chapter outlines the procedures involved in creating a body of such electronic data. In particular, it considers the accuracy and transparency of the current transcription process for this edition, suggesting that proofreading is an important stage even if a double-blind approach has been used for the initial transcriptions and arguing for a fuller use of the TEI Header to describe the source and limitations of the transcription. It also addresses the publication and release of XML files, proposing that such scholarly work is best made available in the form of individual files consisting of a single biblical book and under a license which only requires attribution to the original creators when the data is re-used rather than restricting data to non-commercial use or stipulating that derivatives must be released under the same terms (share-alike).


Jennifer Aileen Quigley and Laura Salah Nasrallah


This chapter offers a history of the edX/HarvardX course “Early Christianity: the Letters of Paul”. It delineates the pedagogical considerations for the development, structure, and implementation of their course, reflecting upon our experiment in whether and how feminist pedagogy could be deployed in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). We constructed a MOOC that formed a “classroom” or community where all learners contributed to the production of knowledge. This construction included broader strategies of decentering: the organizing faculty member was set alongside other experts, and even the figure of Paul was less of a focus than those to whom he wrote. The chapter offers quantitative data about course participants and qualitative data about the experience of the teaching staff and online students, which may be useful to developers of other such courses in Religious Studies. But the real aim of the chapter contends that MOOCs should keep as a key goal the crafting of a public, free, and critical space for students who express a desire, no matter their location on the globe, to learn about and to discuss the Bible.