Welcome to the November issue of Ancient News!
We’re looking forward to seeing you at ASOR and SBL/AAR later this month. Keep an eye on your inbox for announcements about our virtual exhibit sales, and be sure to stop by our booth in the exhibit hall!
In this issue of Ancient News, we are featuring a Q&A with William A. Tooman, author of The Torah Unabridged: The Evolution of Intermarriage Law in the Hebrew Bible. Scroll down to read Tooman’s responses to our questions about his research.
In sale news, we’re currently running a two-week sale on books in Babylonian Studies! Through 11/13, save up to 60% on select titles, and get free shipping on orders of $100 or more when you use sale code BBY22 at checkout.
Finally, we have several exciting new releases, and another book in press! Sign up via the link below to be notified when The Tomb of Parennefer, Butler of Pharaoh Akhenaten is published later this month.
Originally presented at a joint annual meeting of the Middle West Branch of the American Oriental Society and the Midwest Region of the Society of Biblical Literature (held at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago), the essays included in this book survey fifty years of Mari studies. Thirty-seven pages of indexes provide ready access to the wealth of information contained in these essays. Illustrated with photos and maps.
This volume grew out of a collaborative study of the eighteen mostly unpublished Late Babylonian commodity price-only tablets in the British Museum. The purpose of this project was two-fold. First, to prepare text editions of all the preserved tablets in the corpus; second, to pursue the perplexing matter of if and/or how these tablets and their market values were related to the prodigious arsenal of ostensibly similar price quotations in the Astronomical Diaries.
This volume completes the publication of Middle Babylonian texts from the Rosen Collection that date to the Kassite period, a project that was initiated by Wilfred H. van Soldt with CUSAS 30 in 2015. In this book, Elena Devecchi provides full transliterations, translations, and extended commentaries of 338 previously unpublished cuneiform tablets from Kassite Babylonia (ca. 1475–1155 BCE).
This volume brings together the work of scholars using various methodologies to investigate the prevalence, importance, and meanings of feasting and foodways in the texts and cultural-material environments of the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. The offerings range from the third-millennium Early Dynastic period in Mesopotamia to the rise of a new cuisine in the Islamic period and transverse geographical locations such as southern Iraq, Syria, the Aegean, and especially the southern Levant.
The Torah Unabridged is a detailed examination of legal reasoning in the Hebrew Bible. Focusing on the exegetical operations by which biblical laws related to intermarriage were applied to circumstances and persons that lie outside the sphere of their explicit content, this book reconstructs the ways in which laws regarding intermarriage evolved, were interpreted, and were applied across time and place.
Tel Miqne-Ekron is one of the largest and most significant Iron Age archaeological sites in Israel. Based on fourteen seasons of excavations, this volume in the Tel Miqne series documents remarkable finds from the late Iron Age II Philistine temple.
“Bechar has undertaken an in-depth study of the ceramics at Hazor and put its assemblage in dialogue with those of surrounding settlements, which will be extremely useful for archaeologists working in the region. This study allows her to make important conclusions—such as the fact that pottery shapes at Tel Arqa in the LB II become less similar to those in the Southern Levant and more similar to those of the Northern Levant. In border zones where allegiances fluctuate, this kind of ceramic shift may represent one of the few available ways to understand political shifts at the time.”—Ellen Morris, author of Ancient Egyptian Imperialism
Theban Tomb 188 is the sole archaeological site in the ancient Theban necropolis securely dated to the reign of the “heretic pharaoh” Akhenaten (1353–1336 BCE). The result of several years of clearance and recording by Dr. Susan Redford, director of the Akhenaten Temple Project’s Theban Tomb Survey, this richly illustrated book provides a detailed description of the remaining wall scenes and texts of this historically important ancient monument.
William A. Tooman, author of the recently published The Torah Unabridged, joined us for a Q&A about the current field of biblical research and what inspired his interest in early Judaism.
Can you tell us about your current research, and how you became interested in the topic?
I am interested in anything to do with textual composition and interpretation in ancient Israel and Early Judaism. A lot of my time is spent pursuing those intertwined topics, searching for a better understanding of how those cultures wrote and how they read. I try to follow their footsteps without assuming that their practices were similar to the ways that I write and read. I suppose the origins of my interest goes back to my childhood. I was raised in a family that deeply valued craftsmanship. Back then, the craft was woodworking, but what I detect in the work of the ancient scribes who gave us the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and similar literatures are people who had a similar love of texture, and contour, and design. In my own view, they are craftspeople, perhaps even artists, and I am happy to spend any time that I can with the exquisite literary artifacts that they left us.
How do you anticipate your research will help inspire other research in your discipline?
I don’t know if my own research will inspire anyone, but I can say that spending time investigating early Jewish interpretation never disappoints. It’s hermeneutically sophisticated, erudite, and always surprising. It has certainly enriched my own intellectual life. If anything that I write helps encourage students to pursue early Jewish literature and early Jewish interpretation themselves, that would be the greatest reward for my work.
Is there any research coming from newer scholars in the field that particularly excites you?
I have quite diverse interests, so my answer might seem a bit scattered. I will read anything Sara Milstein writes. She is one of those scholars from whom I learn valuable things no matter the topic. I am also interested in the post-deconstructionist and anti-historicist turn in contemporary literature. In many ways, biblical studies follows wherever philosophy and literature go, though it’s always a decade behind. Keeping abreast of their general direction of travel is always worth doing. Finally, I think that the REPAC project (Repetition, Parallelism and Creativity: An Inquiry into the Construction of Meaning in Ancient Mesopotamian Literature and Erudition), headed by Nicla De Zorzi at University of Vienna, has enormous potential. The objectives of that project are very similar to my own research goals with respect to ancient Jewish literature, so I am eagerly awaiting its major publications.
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