Representing gods and men in the ancient Near East and in the Bible

Representing Gods and Men

The Collège de France hosts the videos of papers delivered at the 2015 Seminar in Thomas Römer’s series The Hebrew Bible and Its Contexts, May 5-6, 2015:

Representing gods and men in the ancient Near East and in the Bible (Représenter dieux et hommes dans le Proche-Orient ancien et dans la Bible)

The videos are available for download in *.mov format.

La question des images est un élément central pour l’intelligence des religions anciennes et modernes. Les religions monothéistes se basent toutes sur le Décalogue qui interdit la fabrication des images. Mais comment comprendre cet interdit : s’agit-il d’un refus de toutes sortes d’images ou « seulement » de la représentation du divin ? Et quelle est la raison d’être d’un tel interdit ? Pourquoi considère-t-on illégitime de représenter des dieux et des hommes, ce qui fut pratique courante dans le Proche-Orient ancien ? Le colloque s’efforcera d’apporter des éclaircissements sur plusieurs questions : Quelle est la fonction des représentations du divin mais aussi des hommes ? Quelles sont les différentes manières de représenter des dieux  et quelle est la fonction de ces représentations ? Les représentations permettent-elles de mieux comprendre les cultes officiels et les cultes privés ? Quel est le rôle des images dans le culte royal ? Le roi est-il l’image des dieux ? Y a-t-il des religions aniconiques ? Pour quelles raisons décide-t-on d’interdire des images ? Y a-t-il des précurseurs au commandement biblique dans le Proche-Orient ou ailleurs ?

The question of images is a central element in the understanding of ancient and modern religions. The monotheistic religions are all based on the Decalogue, which prohibits the making of images. But how should we understand this prohibition: is it a rejection of all kinds of images or “only” of the representation of the divine? And what is the purpose of such a prohibition? Why it is considered improper to represent gods and men, which was common practice in the ancient Near East? The symposium will seek to clarify several questions: What is the function of the representations of the divine and also of men? What are the different ways of representing the gods and what is the function of these representations? Do the representations provide insight into official and private worship? What is the role of images in the royal cult? Is the king the image of the gods? Are there any aniconic religions? For what reasons does one decide to prohibit images? Are there any precursors to the biblical commandment in the ancient Near East or elsewhere?

Mardi 5 mai 2015

9 h 30 Introduction to the Symposium (Ouverture du colloque): Thomas Römer

Pause

Présidence : Thomas Römer

13h00 Discussion

Déjeuner

Présidence : Michaël Guichard

Pause

Présidence : Christophe Nihan

17h45 Discussion

Mercredi 6 mai 2015

Présidence : Nele Ziegler

Pause

Présidence : Dominique Charpin

12h45 Discussion

Déjeuner

Présidence : Jean-Marie Durand

Pause

16h45 Discussion et clôture du colloque

Yair Zakovitch on Intermarriage, Ruth versus Ezra and Deuteronomy

Professor Yair Zakovitch (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) delivered a talk on “Intermarriage And Halachic Creativity” as part of the Orange County Community Scholars Program (OCCSP), podcasted Feburary 17, 2005.

The talk is available in m4a audio format:

Zakovitch_Yair

Interview with Jacob L. Wright on Nehemiah

arutz-sheva-7

Eve Harow, of Arutz Sheva 7 Radio‘s “Judean Eve” program, interviews Dr Jacob L. Wright on his work, in particular his book Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah-memoir and Its Earliest Readers (2004).

The interview is in the Hour 2 portion of “Judean Eve”, 21 Tevet 5771 (20 Dec 2010).

The article mentioned at the beginning of the interview is also available free online: Jacob L. Wright, “A Nation Conceived in Defeat”, Azure no. 42, Autumn 5771 / 2010.

Dr. Jacob Wright is assistant professor of Hebrew Bible in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta and Director of Graduate Studies in the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies. At Emory, he teaches courses on biblical interpretation, the history and archaeology of ancient Israel, and Northwest Semitic languages. He is the author of Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and Its Earliest Readers, which won a Sir John Templeton Award (the largest prize for first books in religion). In addition to responsibilities in the excavations at Ramat Rachel (located outside Jerusalem), he is currently writing a book for Oxford University Press that examines the relationship between war, memory and national identity in ancient Israelite society. He spoke with Eve from Paris, where he is lecturing and receiving another distinguished award. His thesis is that, thanks to the Biblical authors and figures like Ezra and Nehemiah, the defeat of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah ultimately fostered a more resilient and enduring national identity that was able to sustain the loss of territorial sovereignty. The Bible presents procreation and education as the ultimate strategies of Jewish survival. Listen to the interview to understand this tremendous, brilliant Bible scholar and his unique contributions to Jewish thought.

Robert Henry Charles – Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English

Charles

Robert Henry Charles’s classic edited collection of translations of Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (1913) is made available by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL).

Another copy is available on Internet Archive: vol 1 and vol 2.

Although somewhat superseded by James Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (1983-85) and Bauckham, Davila, and Panayotov’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures 1 (2013), the translations in Charles’s edited volumes are still regularly used and referred to.

Volume 1: The Apocrypha of the Old Testament

Historical Books
Esdras (Cook)
1 Maccabees / William O.E. Oesterley
2 Maccabees / James Moffatt
3 Maccabees (Emmet)

Quasi-historical Books Written with a Moral Purpose
Tobit (Simpson)
Judith (Cowley)

Wisdom Literature
Sirach / George H. Box and William O.E. Oesterley
Wisdom of Solomon (Holmes)

Additions to and Completions of the Canonical Books
1 Baruch (Whitehouse)
Epistle of Jeremy [Jeremiah] (Ball)
Prayer of Manasses [Manasseh] (Ryle)
Additions to Daniel
Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Children (Bennett)
Susanna (Kay)
Bel and the Dragon (Witton Davies)
Additions to Esther (Gregg)

Volume 2: The Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament

Primitive History Rewritten from the Standpoint of the Law
The Book of Jubilees / Robert Henry Charles

Sacred Legends
The Letter of Aristeas (Andrews)
The Books of Adam and Eve (Wells)
The Martyrdom of Isaiah (Charles)

Apocalypses
1 Enoch (Charles)
The Testaments of the 12 Patriarchs (Charles)
The Sibylline Oracles (Lanchester)
The Assumption of Moses (Charles)
2 Enoch, or the Book of the Secrets of Enoch (Forbes and Charles)
2 Baruch, or the Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (Charles)
3 Baruch, or the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch (Hughes)
Ezra (Box)

Psalms
The Psalms of Solomon (Gray)

Ethics and Wisdom Literature
4 Maccabees (Townshend)
Pirke Aboth (Herford)
The Story of Achikar [Ahikar] (Harris, Lewis, Conybeare)

History
The Fragments of a Zadokite Work [Cairo Damascus Document] (Charles)

Michael Satlow – From Israelite to Jew

Professor Michael Satlow, of Brown University, offers a complete set of lectures on early Judaism (recorded 2011), available for free download on iTunes. The course, “From Israelite to Jew” covers the exile, return from exile, Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods, including Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the destruction of the Temple.

 Name   Description   Released   Price 

 Episode 1 – Between Faith and Reason–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 2 – The Religion of Israel–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 3 – Exile–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 4 – Return–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 5 – Ezra–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Talmud–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 6 – The Torah–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 7 – Nehemiah–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
Episode 8 – Jews of the Persian Empire–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 9 – Hellenism Arrives–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 10 – Jubilees and 1 Enoch–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 11 – The Revolt of the Maccabees–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 12 – The Hasmonean Kings–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 13 – Origins of Jewish Sectarianism–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 14 – Hellenistic Judaism–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 15 – Herod the Great–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 16 – Philo–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 17 – The Dead Sea Scrolls–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 18 – Jesus and Other Strange Jews–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 19 – Josephus–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 20 – The First Century–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 21 – Destruction–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
 Episode 22 – After the Destruction: A Beginning or an End?–1/4/11 Free View In iTunes
Professor Michael L. Satlow specializes in Early Judaism and has written extensively on issues of gender, sexuality, and marriage among Jews in antiquity, as well as on the Dead Sea scrolls, Jewish theology, methodology in Religious Studies, and the social history of Jews during the rabbinic period. His latest book is entitled Creating Judaism.

James McGrath on Apocalyptic Literature and Early Judaism

James McGrath has a number of YouTube videos on biblical studies and related areas. These include:

1. ‘Apocalyptic and Early Judaism’

A class taught by Dr. James F. McGrath at Butler University. The first part focuses on apocalyptic literature and the Book of Daniel as an example of this genre. The second part focuses on Judaism in the time of Jesus and the three major groups that existed in that time: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.

2. ‘After the Exile: The Transition from Pre-Exilic Judah and Israel to Post-Exilic Judaism’

A class by Dr. James F. McGrath at Butler University on the impact of the experience of the exile on the characteristics and institutions of the Jewish religion and its Scriptures