Sometimes life gets so busy that I fall behind recent finds. So, here is a summary. There is also some news that I know about regarding a conference here in NY but nothing official has been sent out so I will refrain from posting just yet.
Discovery at Hirbert Madras
Official news from the IAA [In Hebrew]
An archaeological discovery, including an impressive mosaic floor that is large and beautiful and a church, was uncovered in excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority at Horbat Midras in the Judean Shephelah. Various scholars who visited the site during the excavation proposed identifying the place as the residence and tomb of the prophet Zechariah.
In recent months an archaeological excavation was conducted at Horbat Midras in the wake of an antiquities robbery during the course of which robbers attempted to breach and plunder an ancient underground complex.
Horbat Midras is known as the site of a large, important Jewish settlement that dates from the Second Temple period until its destruction during the Bar Kokhba uprising in 135 CE. Among the remains at the site are those of buildings, caves, agricultural installations and extensive hiding refuges. The site was identified by a number of scholars as the location of a major settlement and research of the site was begun in the late nineteenth century and continues until the present. In the 1980s a lintel bearing a unique decoration was discovered at the site. Due to the similarity between it and an identical lintel from the Horbat Nevoraya synagogue in the north of the country, Professor Amos Kloner and Dr. Zvi Ilan ז”ל put forward the theory that an ancient Jewish synagogue is located nearby. [See rest Here]
Congrats to Notre Dame’s Eugene Ulrich
Two Notre Dame professors recently received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to pursue their scholarly work next year, increasing the University’s record number of NEH fellowships to 44 in the last 12 years.
Notre Dame has earned more NEH fellowships since 1999 than any other university in the country, according to a University press release. The University of Michigan earned 35 NEH fellowships and Harvard earned 26.
Notre Dame theology professor Eugene Ulrich received a fellowship this year in Ancient Languages to pursue his book, “The Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” a compilation of his previous work on the topic.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls … open up a period that we had lost sight of, a period that had just been lost to history,” Ulrich said. “Which is part of the period of the composition of the Scriptures.”
Ulrich’s career has been focused on exploring this era through the scrolls, and therefore gaining a greater appreciation for and understanding of the Biblical texts.
His work began as a graduate student at Harvard under Frank Cross, one of the two original American editors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. His dissertation became an analysis of one of the major scrolls.
Conference: Ancient Jewish Science and the History of Knowledge (April 4th 9:00 am). The conference organizers are Jonathan Ben Dov (University of Haifa) and Seth Sanders (Trinity College).
See link here
This is a must see! If this interests you, you will also want to see the exhibition of the magnificent Lod mosaic at New York’s Metropolitan museum until April 3rd (See link here).
Discovery of 2,000 Year Old Channel in the City of David
Several years back the first century Pool of Siloam was discovered and a couple of years ago the massive staircase leading from the southern most part of the City of the David up the Temple was uncovered and is still being partially excavated. Recently, a large channel built under the staircase leading up to the Western Wall plaza was recently excavated. Here (Digging completed on tunnel under Old City walls in East Jerusalem) is just one article of the a story which was reported in several places.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has completed an archaeological dig of a tunnel that will enable visitors to cross under the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, not far from the Temple Mount.
The tunnel, which was uncovered during excavations conducted over the past few months, was formerly used for drainage and dates back to the Second Temple. It links the City of David in Silwan with the Archaeological Park & Davidson Center, which is located near the Western Wall.
(See rest here)
New Fragment of Ben Sira from the Taylor-Schechter Genizah
University of Cambridge
Cambridge University Library
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit
Fragment of the Month: January 2011
A new fragment of the book of Ben Sira, T-S AS 118.78
By Shulamit Elizur and Michael Rand
The original Hebrew text of the apocryphal book of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) lies at the very heart of the story of the discovery of the Cairo Genizah and the subsequent dispersal of its contents to the libraries of Europe and the United States. Indeed, the discovery of the Genizah may be dated to 1865, the year when Jacob Saphir visited the repository in the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat, as reported in his book Even Sapir (Lyk, 1866). However, it was not until 1896 that the effort to recover and acquire Genizah manuscripts began in earnest, for this was the year when the twin sisters Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson returned from a trip to Cairo with a number of leaves from the Genizah that they had succeeded in purchasing. When they showed these leaves to Solomon Schechter at Cambridge University, he quickly recognised among them the remains of the Hebrew Ben Sira. Schechter’s discovery touched off a bitter rivalry between himself and Adolf Neubauer of Oxford University, the object of which was the identification of further fragments of this book. It was in the course of this rivalry that Schechter traveled to Cairo and secured permission to transfer the bulk of the contents of the Genizah to Cambridge University Library (for further details see Reif 1997 and Jefferson 2009).
[See rest here, which includes a discussion and transcription of the Hebrew text].
Appointment of Prof. L.H. Schiffman as Vice Provost of Yeshiva
President Joel Appoints Vice Provost
Lawrence Schiffman Will Lead Effort to Create a Unified Undergraduate Faculty and Improved Student Experience at Yeshiva University
President Richard M. Joel has announced the appointment of Lawrence H. Schiffman as vice provost for undergraduate education at Yeshiva University. Schiffman joins the University from New York University where he served as the Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Chair of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.
“Professor Schiffman will lead the effort to ‘re-imagine’ undergraduate education at Yeshiva University,” said President Joel. “This undertaking will involve restructuring the undergraduate colleges, creating a unified undergraduate faculty to establish more commonalities and synergies among disciplines at both the Wilf and Beren campuses. The vice provost will work in close collaboration with the undergraduate deans and the provost to strengthen and foster a student experience of excellence and success and provide the optimum environment for faculty scholarship and teaching.”
Schiffman earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Brandeis University and is a specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism in Late Antiquity, the history of Jewish law and Talmudic literature. He has previously served as president of the Association of Jewish Studies and has taught at Yale University, Ben Gurion University, Johns Hopkins University and the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, among others. Students will have the opportunity to study under Schiffman in his role as professor of Jewish studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
[See rest here]