I submitted my last grades for the semester and can now move on to some research and writing projects. I just updated the website for the 2011 CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar. The focus on this year’s Seminar is “History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible” and we have a number of interesting papers, including some from John Van Seters, Ehud Ben Zvi, Keith Bodner, among others. Feel free to take a look…
The 2011 Ancient Historiography Seminar will meet on Sunday 30 May 2010 as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies at the University of New Brunswick & St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, May 29-Tuesday May 31, 2011. The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne is a professional, academic working group of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies / Société canadienne des Études bibliques (CSBS/SCÉB).
Call for Papers for Fredericton 2011: History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible
The Ancient Historiography Seminar of the CSBS invites papers evaluating the state of historiographic research on the Hebrew Bible, including papers exploring the nature, function, and aesthetics of biblical historiography. Such studies may focus on, but are not limited to, the so-called Deuteronomistic History or the Chronicler’s History. As this is the last year of the Ancient Historiography Seminar, papers of a more summative nature evaluating the past contributions of the Seminar are also welcome.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler [dot] williams [at] kingsu.ca) by December 15, 2010.
The seminar meets as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, held Sunday May 29-Tuesday May 31 at University of New Brunswick & St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, as part of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities (further information at http://www.fedcan.ca).
If you have any questions concerning this year’s program, please contact the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler [dot] williams [at] kingsu [dot] ca).
World class Septuagintal scholar John William Wevers passed away last week. Here is a notice that was sent to the members of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies:
On July 23, Professor Emeritus John William Wevers, of the University of Toronto, passed away at the age of 91. Prof. Wevers was struck by a cerebral hemorrhage in the Toronto nursing home where he had lived since July 2008. A memorial service will be held in Toronto on Sept. 11.
During his long tenure at the University of Toronto, Prof. Wevers had brought the Department of Near Eastern Studies (now merged into the Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations) to unprecedented complement and quality; he himself became an undisputed master of Septuagint Studies during the last decades of the 20th century, having produced the critical edition of the whole Greek Pentateuch for the Göttingen Septuaginta Unternehmen, and added further text-critical studies, translations, and commentaries to each of the five main volumes of this edition. Prof. Wevers’s knowledge and contribution extended to several other languages; he had, in particular, made significant contributions to Classical Hebrew scholarship, as well as vigorously promoting its study at the University of Toronto.
He was one of the few scholars I know who had the mastery of the languages and texts necessary to do true textual criticism.
May his name be a blessing for future generations. R.I.P.
As chair of the CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne, I am pleased to present the schedule for this year’s meeting.
The theme for the 2010 Ancient Historiography Seminar is “The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography.” We have an impressive collection of presenters this year, including Mark Boda, Louis Jonker, Isaac Kalimi, Gary Knoppers, John Wright, Ehud Ben Zvi, among others.
The schedule is as follows:
The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography (Session 1) Sunday 30 May 2010 – 8:45-12:00 (CL 215) Chair / Président: Patricia Kirkpatrick (McGill University)
8:45-9:15 – “Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography: State of the Question” by Tyler F. Williams (The King’s University College, Edmonton)
9:15-9:45 – “To be, or not to be (King Saul), that is the question: Conjuring up the old problem of the Saul Narrative in Chronicles” by Peter Sabo (University of Alberta)
9:45-10:15 – “Peering through the Cloud of Incense: Davidic Dynasty and Community in the Chronicler’s Perspective” by Mark J. Boda (McMaster Divinity College)
10:30-11:00 – “Of Jebus, Jerusalem and Benjamin: The Chronicler’s Sondergut in 1 Chronicles 21 against the background of the late Persian Era in Yehud” by Louis Jonker (Stellenbosch University)
11:00-11:30 – “The Rise and Fall of King Solomon: Deuteronomistic versus Chronistic History” by Isaac Kalimi (East Carolina University)
11:30-12:00 – “Divine Retribution in Herodotus and the Chronicler” by John Wright (Point Loma Nazarene University)
12:00-13:30 Lunch Break
The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography (Session 2)
Sunday 30 May 2010 – 13:30-17:45 (CL 215) Chair / Président: Tyler F. Williams (The King’s University College)
13:30-14:00 – “‘Yhwh will raise up for you a prophet like me’: Prophecy and Prophetic Succession in Chronicles” by Gary N. Knoppers (The Pennsylvania State University)
14:00-14:30 – “Capital Punishment: The Configuration of Ahaziah’s Last Hours in 2 Chronicles 22” by Keith Bodner (Atlantic Baptist University)
14:30-15:00 – “To Besiege or Not to Besiege: The Chronicler’s Presentation of the Invasion of Sennacherib” by Paul Evans (McMaster Divinity School)
15:15-15:45 – “Implicit and Explicit Rhetoric in 2 Chronicles 35-36” by Mark Leuchter (Temple University Department of Religion)
15:45-16:15 – “Exile in Chronicles” by Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta)
16:15-16:45 – “Historiography in Lament: A Case Study of Isaiah 63:7-64:11” by Sonya Kostamo (University of Alberta)
16:45-17:15 – “Hearing Darius in Ezra: A Bakhtinian Analysis of the Voice of Darius in Ezra 6” by James Bowick (McMaster Divinity College)
17:15-17:45 – “Reflections on the Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography” by Christine Mitchell (St. Andrew’s College)
The full schedule, including abstracts and download links for the papers, for this year’s session may be found at the seminar website. The Ancient Historiography Seminar meets as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, held at Concordia University, Montréal, PQ, May 29-31, 2010.
Well, the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, as well as the International Organization of Septuagint and Cognate Studies, is over. New Orleans was great. The French Quarter has a lot of character; Bourbon Street was a bit more seedy than I remembered. I had a chance to see some of the rest of New Orleans as well. It seems that it either hasn’t quite recovered from Katrina or (more likely) it has been hit hard by the economic downturn — or a combination of both (at least the Saints are doing well!).
The conference was good. It seems a bit more manageable without AAR (first time I can recall having enough space in the conference rooms), though there are some sessions which I miss not having the opportunity to attend. I heard some good papers in the Chronicles/Ezra-Nehemiah, Septuagint, and Psalms sections, among others. I also had a nice time at a dinner organized by fellow blogger John Hobbins. The dinner featured a local chef who was superb (I now can say I like collard greens; I had them before in Arizona and thought they were awful, but now I know it was just the way they were prepared). Michael Fox was the special guest at the dinner; after a great introduction by Ray Van Leeuwen, he chatted about the second volume of his AB commentary on Proverbs (which will be the leading commentary on Proverbs for quite a while). I also met up with other bloggers at the function organized by Jim West. It was great to put some faces to the names.
The book displays were also in fine form. I spent far too much money on too few books (the prices were right, but the fact is books are just getting more and more expensive). I’ll have to post about some of my purchases at a later date.
Now to get back into lecture prep and grading mode… bah!
The call for papers for the 2010 sessions of the Ancient Historiography Seminar of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies has been released. The theme for 2010 is “The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography.”
The last quarter-century has seen a remarkable resurgence in scholarship on the book of Chronicles. The Ancient Historiography Seminar of the CSBS invites papers evaluating the state of Chronicles research, including papers exploring the text, context, or subtext of the Chronicler’s work and Yehudite Historiography in the late Persian/Early Hellenistic Period. While the focus of the session will be on Chronicles, papers on other examples of early Second Temple historiography, especially as they contribute to our understanding of the Chronicler, are welcome.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler [dot] williams [at] kingsu [dot] ca) byDecember 1, 2009.
The seminar will meet as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, held at Concordia University, Montréal, PQ, May 29-31, 2010.
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne is a professional, academic working group of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies / Société canadienne des Études bibliques (CSBS/SCÉB). Last year’s schedule and papers may be found here, while the papers from the 2006, 2007, and 2008 meetings may be found here.
This year’s Ancient Historiography Seminar will be meeting in a couple weeks at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies annual meeting in Ottawa (25 May 2009). The theme for this year is “Historiography and Prophecy” and there is a full program planned. Feel free to check out the full schedule on the Ancient Historiography Seminar website.
In addition, the latest Review of Biblical Literature contained a fairly positive review of the first publication from the Ancient Historiography Seminar. Based on the York 2006 meeting, The Function of Ancient Historiography in Biblical and Cognate Studies(Patricia G. Kirkpatrick and Timothy D. Goltz, eds.; Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, T & T Clark International, 2008), contains essays by John Van Seters, Kurt Noll, Eve-Marie Becker, among others.
This book provides fresh perspectives from new scholars while engaging lingering questions from seasoned ones, and the function of historiography in biblical literature continues to be an issue of wide disagreement among biblical scholars but an emerging consensus considers it to serve primarily an interpretive function. Such a function(s) are discussed vis-à-vis J. Huizinga’s broad, theoretical definition of historiography as “the intellectual form in which a civilization renders account to itself of its past.” Based on the latter, issues of historicity tend to be downplayed as the central focus; given the assumption that these are modern scholarly concerns. Thus, socio-historical intent (ideology) tends to be given priority, seeking to understand these writings on their own terms. This shift in focus is a key feature of the volume. Purchase from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Eisenbrauns.com
The Seminar’s second volume, from the Saskatoon 2007 meetings, is expected to be published in June 2009. The volume, Community Identity in Judean Historiography: Biblical and Comparative Perspectives(Gary N. Knoppers and Kenneth Ristau, eds.; Eisenbrauns, Forthcoming, June 2009), contains essays by Gary Knoppers, Ehud Ben Zvi, Mark Boda, Kenton Sparks, John Van Seters, among others.
The volume deals with issues of self-identification, community identity, and ethnicity in Judahite and Yehudite historiography. The scholars present addressed a range of issues, such as the understanding, presentation, and delimitation of “Israel” in various biblical texts, the relationship of Israelites to Judahites in Judean historical writings, the definition of Israel over against other peoples, and the possible reasons why the ethnoreligious community (“Israel”) was the focus of Judahite/Yehudite historiography. Papers approached these matters from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary vantage points. For example, some pursued an inner-biblical perspective (pentateuchal sources/writings, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah), while others pursued a cross-cultural comparative perspective (ancient Near Eastern, ancient Greek, Hellenistic historiographies, Western and non-Western historiographic traditions). Still others attempted to relate the material remains to the question of community identity in northern Israel, monarchic Judah, and postmonarchic Yehud. Order from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Eisenbrauns.com
“The Sept-tu-a-what?” is what I hear from many of my students when I first mention the Septuagint in my introductory lecture on the text and transmission of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. By mid-term, however (or should I say by the midterm, i.e., the midterm exam), virtually all of my students are able to tell me that the Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible begun around the third century BCE for the Pentateuch and completed sometime in the second or first century BCE for the rest of the books. Keen students should be able to further tell me that the title “Septuagint” comes from the Latin Septuaginta, which means “70” (thus the abbreviation LXX), and relates to the legendary origins of the translation by 70 Jewish elders from Israel (my “A” students may even relate how some versions of the legend report 72 elders were involved in the translation).
You may be wondering why I am bothering to relate something of my experience of teaching about the LXX. Just in case it didn’t come pre-marked in your calendar, February 8 is International Septuagint Day. This is a day established by the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) to promote Septuagint studies throughout the world.
In honour of International Septuagint Day, I thought I would provide some of the top reasons why we should study the Septuagint today:
The Septuagint preserves a number of Jewish-Greek writings from the pre-Christian era not contained in the Hebrew Bible (known in Christian circles as the Apocrypha or the Deuterocanonical works)
As such, study of the LXX can provide a glimpse into the thought and theology of diaspora Jews before the common era.
For the majority of the books of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the LXX provides us the earliest witness to the biblical text (earlier than most of Hebrew witnesses found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example) and is indispensable for textual criticism.
The LXX provides a unique glimpse into the literary and textual development for some books of the Old Testament (e.g., Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel), as well as the sometimes fuzzy border between literary development and textual transmission.
Insofar that all translations are interpretations, the LXX provides one of the earliest commentaries on the Hebrew Bible.
The LXX gives us a glimpse of the shape of the OT canon before the common era (at least for Greek-speaking Judaism in the diaspora, perhaps not for Palestinian Jews).
The LXX functioned as the Bible of most of the early Greek-speaking Christians (and continues to function as such for the Greek Orthodox Church).
In connection with the previous point, the LXX often served as a theological lexicon for the writers of the NT, and as such it provides a fruitful avenue of research into the background of many of the theological terms and concepts in the NT.
The LXX was the preferred Scriptures for many of the early church fathers and is essential for understanding early theological discussions.
It’s a great conversation starter at parties (Attractive Woman/Man: “Read any good books lately?” Budding LXX student: “Why yes, I was just reading the Septuagint today!” Attractive Woman/Man: “The Sept-tu-a-what?” Budding LXX student: “Let me buy your a drink and tell you more…”)
I imagine more reasons could be thought of to read and study the Septuagint, but the above list is a good start. If you are interested to learn more about the Septuagint, I encourage you to work through my “Resources Relating to the LXX” pages, though I will mention three essential resources:
A New English Translation of the Septuagint (Alberta Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright, eds.; Oxford University Press, 2007). This is the best English translation available of the LXX and a great place to begin your study of the Septuagint. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint (Baker Academic, 2000). This is probably the best introduction for beginning students. It aims to familiarize readers with the history and current state of Septuagintal scholarship as well as the use of the LXX in textual criticism and biblical studies. For a more detailed description, see my review in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly 64 (2002) 138-140. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
Septuaginta (Alfred Rahlfs, ed.; Editio altera/Revised and corrected edition by Robert Hanhart; German Bible Society, 2006). This is the popular edition of the Septuagint — and the only affordable version with the complete Greek text. Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com
I challenge you to think of some creative ways to celebrate International Septuagint Day today!
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies invites papers related to the theme for the 2009 seminar: “Prophets and Prophecy in Ancient Israelite Historiography.”
Papers are invited that seek to advance the study of ancient Near Eastern historiography as it intersects with the phenomenon of prophecy, and the role and message of the prophets within the Former and Latter Prophets as well as other historiographic books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Diverse methodological perspectives such as literary, historical, archaeological, epigraphical, and otherwise are invited, as are proposals from junior and senior scholars. Papers dealing with prophets and prophecy in non-biblical ancient historiography (such as Josephus, etc.) will also be considered.
The seminar will meet during the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, to be held at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, May 24-26, 2009. Contributors must be or become members of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler.williams [at] taylor-edu [dot] ca) by December 15, 2008. For more information please see the Ancient Historiography Seminar website: http://biblical-studies.ca/historiography.
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne is a professional, academic working group of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies / Société canadienne des Études bibliques (CSBS/SCÉB).
The editor of the SBL Forum, Leonard Greenspoon, has asked for my input in how best to blog the coming annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, in November 2008. I have a number of ideas, though I thought it would be good to propose some ideas and then open up discussion from other bibliobloggers. Here are my ideas:
First, the goal shouldn’t be to blog the entire meeting. That, obviously, would be a bit too much. I would think that all of the major presentations should be covered (e.g., the presidential address) as well as some of the more controversial papers. In addition, some editorial pieces may be worthwhile, especially since this will be the first SBL without the AAR.
Second, in addition to the type of posts noted in the first point, the SBL Meeting Blog should also serve as an ongoing “carnival-like” repository of links to SBL-related discussions going on in the blogosphere. Thus, someone could keep and eye out and put together a daily round-up of links. Even better, bloggers could be asked to email a trackback url to the editor of the SBL Meeting Blog when a relevant post is uploaded.
Third, perhaps a regular podcast from the SBL meeting could be arranged and distributed via the SBL Meeting Blog. This could include interviews with some SBL bigwigs, discussion of controversial papers, or just general impressions of the meeting.
If these are the sort of things the SBL Meeting Blog would cover, then the blog would need to be a team blog with different disciplines represented and perhaps an overal editor/organizer. Then we could assign certain bloggers to cover certain papers and topics, etc. Of course there would have to be some technical details worked out; first and foremost the question of where the blog would be located and what blogging platform would be used (WordPress is my vote). Leonard wants this as part of the SBL Forum, though I am not sure if their server has blogging software capability (I assume it probably does, though I am not sure if it is a unix based server or not).
At any rate, those are some of my ideas. I now open up the comments for a discussion on how best to blog the SBL annual meeting. What say you?