Jonathan Ben-Dov: Reinterpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s monuments via the Watcher/Fallen Angel Tradition

Professor Jonathan Ben-Dov (George and Florence Wise Chair of Judaism in the Ancient World, University of Haifa) “explores the reinterpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s monuments from Lebanon as a representation of the myth of the Watchers” in a paper delivered at Boston College on November 20, 2013, “Iconography and Myth: From Nebuchadnezzar to the Fallen Angels”.

ben-dov-nebuchadnezzar

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

Jacob L. Wright on Aronofsky’s Noah and Flood Traditions

In the latest episode of Emory Looks at Hollywood series, Jacob L. Wright, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory’s Candler School of Theology, discusses the various Flood traditions which lie behind and within, and which were inspired by the biblical Flood story, including one of the most recent developments in the unfolding tradition, Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah (2014).

Wright also has a short article on the same subject in Sacred Matters, “Noah: An Unrighteous Man”.

See also:

Cathleen Falsani, interview with Darren Aronofsky, “The ‘Terror’ of Noah: How Darren Aronofsky Interprets the Bible”, The Atlantic, March 26, 2014

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “Who Gets to Decide if Noah is Biblical?” Religion Despatches, April 1, 2014

h/t: Jim West

John Rogerson on Law and Justice in the Old Testament

Emeritus Professor John Rogerson presents the 2012 Beauchief Abbey Lent lectures at Beauchief Abbey, Sheffield: “Law & Justice in the Old Testament”. The five lectures are available as YouTube videos (the second lecture recorded in audio only).

Handouts for the five lectures may be downloaded here.

The laws of a society reflect to some extent its values and ideals. The laws in the Old Testament also do this, but there is an additional, prophetic factor, which means that Old Testament laws do not just have a regulative purpose, but also a transforming purpose. Thus, to study Old Testament laws means to study the prophetic impulse that sought to shape a society that reflected the divine image.

First Lecture:
‘What is the point of studying these things today?’

Lecture 2:
‘How should we approach the law “codes” in the Old Testament?’

Lecture 3:
‘The Covenant “Code”, Exodus 21.1-23.19’

Lecture 4:
‘The Deuteronomic “Code”, Deuteronomy 12.1-26.19‘

Final Lecture:
‘The Holiness Laws, Leviticus 19-26’

The Human Condition: The Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible – Thomas Römer’s 2013 Seminars at the Collège de France

Thomas Römer

Videos of Thomas Römer’s 2013 seminars at the Collège de France, entitled The Human Condition: The Ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible, are available at the Collège’s website, or for download at the links provided below (800mb+). The seminars have been overdubbed by an English translator.

Thomas Römer is Professor of Old Testament at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Collège de France, and author of many works, including Israels Väter (1990) on the Patriarchal traditions in the Pentateuch.

In these seminars, Römer discusses the question of the human condition, drawing on ancient Near Eastern texts such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and, especially, on biblical texts.

07 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Introduction: The Gilgamesh Epic Read as a Reflection on the Human Condition

14 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Man “Image of God” or “Sinner From The Very Beginning”?

21 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Divine Violence, Human Violence

28 FEBRUARY 2013, 2:00 pm
Diversity of Cultures and Languages

21 MARCH 2013, 2:00 pm
Friendship, Love, Sexuality 1/2

28 MARCH 2013, 2:00 pm
Friendship, Love, Sexuality 2/2

04 APRIL 2013, 2:00 pm
Man in the Face of Death

11 APRIL 2013, 2:00 pm
Individual Death and the End of the World – Is Man Able to Imagine an Absolute End?

InscriptiFact: Ancient Near Eastern Inscriptions

InscriptiFact

InscriptiFact provides free online access to high-quality images of Ancient Near Eastern inscriptions, care of the West Semitic Research Project, “an academic project affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Religion and directed by Dr. Bruce Zuckerman”.

The site includes “Dead Sea Scrolls; cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia and Canaan; papyri from Egypt; inscriptions on stone from Jordan, Lebanon and Cyprus; Hebrew, Aramaic, Ammonite and Edomite inscriptions on a variety of hard media (e.g., clay sherds, copper, semi-precious stones, jar handles); and Egyptian scarabs”, and Ugaritic tablets.

In order to use the site, users must download the viewer software and send an application for a username and password by facsimile to Marilyn Lundberg on (001) (310) 541-2361.