Yes, we know, it’s been a while since our last around the web post. This is mainly due to our Twitter feed, which has been covering a lot of internet based Talmudic going-ons. If you want to stay up-to-date, make sure you regularly check the feed on the sidebar.
First, in local news, we’d like to give a big Talmud Blog welcome to the most recent addition to our staff- Sarit Kattan-Gribetz! Sarit joins us from the Religion Department of Princeton University, where she is working towards her PhD.
Yeshiva University reference librarian Zvi Erenyl has put together a handy guide for users of his library looking to research Ancient Judaism. Many of the links that he has compiled in the guide’s different sections (Primary Sources: Jewish, Epigraphy, Archaeology, etc.) are to fully open-access sites, and most of the rest should be accessible through any university library. Along with Zvi’s blurbs on each resource, the site is a valuable tool for all.
As blogged by Menachem Mendel, The Schocken Institute for Jewish Studies of the Jewish Theological Seminary is now running an ebookstore. The price is definitely right for the majority of the titles, for example: Moshe Assis’ A Concordance of Amoraic Terms, Expressions and Phrases in the Yerushalmi is selling for fifteen dollars a volume as an ebook, as opposed to the $145 for the three volume set in print. Some books have also been out of print for sometime, such as Lieberman’s Sifre Zuta/Talmuda shel Keisarin, and the Facsimile edition of MS JTSA No. 44830 to Avodah Zarah prepared by Abramson. It seems like they are still adding books. Personally, I would love to be able to download Finkelstein’s facsimile of the Sifra according to Codex Assemani LXVI. Menachem Mendel pointed out that the site doesn’t have any information on the electronic format of the books. I called Schocken up to ask them, and it turns out that the books are available in PDF. Still, they weren’t sure about printing options, searchability, and whether one could open the files up on multiple computers. After purchasing and downloading one of the files, I can tell you that there is no search, but that the volumes can be opened on as many computers as you would like and can printed with no problem.
Two exhibits going on now in New York that are related to Talmudic literature should be of interest to our readers. They have both been covered heavily online over the past few months, but just in case you missed them, here they are:
1) “The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times” exhibit at Discovery Times Square makes the Scrolls seem much more exciting than the Shrine of the Book does. Even better, the exhibit saves the trip to the Kotel.
2) “Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos” at the museum of New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World displays artifacts from the Yale University Art Gallery. I managed to visit before I returned to Israel a few months ago and I highly suggest going. While cleaning up the blog recently, we even came across the post-which-never-was:
“This is so incredible!”, sighed the pony-tailed man in the exhibition’s opening hall. As the only other visitor there at the time, it was clear that he was talking to me, and I acknowledged the power of what was on display. “And it’s so incredible that we’re here at the same time. I mean, I’m an Orthodox priest, and you must be an Orthodox Jew- what better way to look at these artifacts!”.
After briefly sharing our names and points of origin- he had driven from North Carolina to see the exhibit- our conversation quickly turned to the Gospels’ Jewish context. It turned out that my new friend the priest was a big believer in the importance of studying early Christianity’s Jewish context, and I got to telling him about the tenents of the Jerusalem School (I suggested he read Flusser and Notley’s The Sage From Galilee). His exclamation that sparked the conversation was correct. Seeing the map of Dura Europos and noting the proximity of the town’s synagogue, house church, and Mithraeum, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the multiethnicity of the city’s blocks.
The exhibit’s two rooms are filled with quite an array of artifacts from Dura, displaying aspects of daily life in the city and especially, ritual life. The collection, as has been noted on many other online forums, brings together objects from all diferent religious walks of life. One room also is also lined with black and white photos of Yale’s 1930s digs, many of which are available on their site.
As the catalog admits, the exhibit’s goal is not “to provide a comprehensive historical overview of Dura-Europos”, but to focus on Dura “as a strategic Roman garrison-city, and the ways in which this role created a pluralistic urban society”. The exhibit accomplishes this more modest goal exquisitely.