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Beyond “Universalism versus Particularism” in the Study of Ancient Judaism and Christianity: A Note on Aseneth

By Jill Hicks-Keeton

“Who belongs?” Ancient Jewish and Christian thinkers were deeply concerned with defining who belonged to the community of people chosen by the God of Israel. Debates and divisions ensued about the proper relationship of Jews and gentiles, unstable identity categories that were themselves constructed variously by our ancient sources. Often the contested question of who belonged was tackled through narrativized theology—that is, storytelling in which God was a central character. See complete essay

How to Avoid Gender-Based Hostility During Fieldwork

By Beth Alpert Nakhai

Like many whose fieldwork takes place far from home, I found the 2014 report"Survey of Academic Field Experiences: Trainees Report Harassment and Assault," which documented the dangers that fieldwork in isolated settings poses to (primarily) women, both riveting and horrifying. By quantifying a set of problems that many of us were aware of but which few of us took action against, the report transformed our understanding of the professional responsibilities we must commit to while engaged in fieldwork. See complete essay

Metallurgy, the Forgotten Dimension of Ancient Yahwism

By Nissim Amzallag

The book of Genesis advises us that the worship of YHWH is as old as the first flickerings of history—first evinced upon the birth of Enosh, son of Seth and grandson of Adam: “It was then that people began to call upon the name of YHWH” (Gen 4:26). Consequently, Abraham was not the first worshipper of YHWH, the first discoverer of the supreme divine being. At best, the patriarchs promoted an original form of worship of YHWH that their contemporaries either forgot or denatured. What is the nature of this primeval Yahwism? To what extent does it differ from Israelite Yahwism, the theology advanced in the Bible? See complete essay

Magdala's Stone of Contention

By David Gurevich

“I referred to this trend as the” "Da Vinci codification" of our culture”, stated recently Steven Fine, the Director of the Center for Israel Studies in the Yeshiva University, assessing the scholarly debate which developed around the famous Magdala Stone. Fine addressed his comments to the theories of the Hebrew University professor Rina Talgam, an archaeologist of the Kinneret Academic College, Mordechai Aviam, and a few notable scholars outside Israel. The story takes us to Migdal where a decorated stone was discovered in-situ in the 1st century CE synagogue. See complete essay

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