(Post by A.D. Riddle)

For those living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, there will be a very special showing of Hebrew Scrolls this coming Saturday. Many, perhaps, have seen a Torah scroll, which contains the text of the first five books of the Bible—the books of Moses. This collection of scrolls is rare, however, in that in includes the entire Old Testament.

Dallas International University is hosting the exhibition. The event is scheduled for Saturday, January 13, at 3:00pm, in the Event Center on campus.

The exhibition will begin with a talk covering topics such as the Hebrew Old Testament (or Tanakh), unique items in the scroll collection, and techniques used by scribes to copy a scroll. After the talk, visitors will be able to examine the scrolls up-close, discuss and ask questions about the scrolls, and take photographs. Some of the scrolls are several centuries old, some were specially commissioned in more recent times. This event is free and open to the public.

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To celebrate their 45 years of selling and publishing books, Eisenbrauns is offering a 45% discount on all their titles from now until December 21. This is great news for some of us who have had our eye on a volume or two but were discouraged by ever-climbing book prices. This is the largest discount I have seen, perhaps ever, so be sure not to miss this rare opportunity. To apply the discount, use the code EB45 during checkout.

To help get started, the sale page provides lists of Eisenbrauns’ recent releases, some of their most popular sellers, and 15 of James Spinti’s Favorite Eisenbooks.±

We have highlighted, and often recommended, several Eisenbrauns books on this blog over the years. More recently, they have published the first of a new series, Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. This initial volume contains the royal inscriptions of Amēl-Marduk, Neriglissar, and Nabonidus, covering the period 561-539 BC. (This seems a curious place to begin since the inscriptions of these same kings were published not all that long ago by Rocio da Riva. Nevertheless we are glad to see this new series appear. UPDATE: This information was incorrect. They overlap only with Amēl-Marduk and Neriglissar who combined have few inscriptions (14 texts). Da Riva’s publication includes Nabopolassar but does not include Nabonidus. The new Eisenbrauns volume includes Nabonidus but not Nabopolassar. For Nabopolassar 13 texts are published and for Nabonidus 61 texts (± 10) are published, so the Eisenbrauns volume covers quite a bit more material.

Also of note, one can use the sale discount to pre-order the The Royal Inscriptions of Sargon II by Grant Frame, due out next year. As mentioned here and here and here and here, I have been looking forward to this volume coming out. [UPDATE: Later on the same day I wrote this, Eisenbrauns announced the release of this title, so it is available now.]

Eisenbrauns publishes archaeological reports, studies in Biblical Hebrew, as well as theology and Biblical studies. Here are some specific series our readers may wish to explore:
Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement
History, Archaeology, and Culture of the Levant
Siphrut: Literature and Theology of the Hebrew Scriptures
Mesopotamian Civilizations
Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic
Languages of the Ancient Near East


Previously, on BiblePlaces.com Blog

We highlighted a small museum located in the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land. You may want to read that post first. The founder of this museum was Gustaf Dalman (1855-1941), a key figure in the development of the Institute. His collections populate most of the museum’s displays.

Dalman first visited the Holy Land for an extended time in 1899, and he lived there continuously from 1902 until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Though he was able to return two more times, the war essentially brought an end to Dalman’s activity in the Holy Land, and thereafter he researched it remotely from the Institute of Palestinology in Greifswald, Germany.

Photo sources: left, right.

In last week’s post, we mentioned the aspects of Palestinian life and the various fields of study that Dalman investigated as part of his encyclopedic research. Although some of Dalman’s writings have been translated into English, his most important work was not, at least not till now. Dalman’s magnum opus was a seven-volume work (in eight parts) entitled Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina, or Work and Customs in Palestine. An eighth volume was incomplete at the time of his death, and not until 2001 were the notes for this volume finally published. Below are the subjects covered by the eight volumes. At the very end of this post, you can view/download the detailed contents for Volume 1, Part 1. This should give a very good sense for the breadth and depth of these volumes.

  • Vol. 1, part 1: Course of the Year and Course of the Day: Autumn and Winter
  • Vol. 1, part 2: Course of the Year and Course of the Day: Spring and Summer
  • Vol. 2: Agriculture
  • Vol. 3: From Harvest to Flour: Harvesting, Threshing, Winnowing, Sieving, Storing, Milling
  • Vol. 4: Bread, Oil and Wine
  • Vol. 5: Textiles, Spinning, Weaving and Clothing
  • Vol. 6: Tent Life, Cattle and Dairy Farming, Hunting, FishingVol. 7: The house, Chicken Breeding, Pigeon Breeding, Beekeeping
  • Vol. 8: Domestic Life, Birth, Marriage and Death (it was also intended to include Singing and Music)
Photo source: Antiquariat an der Uni Muenchen.

Dalman, Gustaf H.
    1928-1942    Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina. 7 vols. Gütersloh: C. Bertelsmann.
    2001            Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina, Vol. 8: Fragment aus dem Nachlass. Berlin: Walter De Gruyter.

Dalman’s work is perhaps the most important window into pre-modern, agricultural/pastoral world of the Holy Land. Along with photographs like the Matson Collection, this is about as close as we today can get to seeing and experiencing daily life in Bible times. Yet, for so many of use who do not possess facility in the German tongue, Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina has remained inaccessible. That is why, a few years ago, it was exciting to find out that Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina is being translated into English. It is Nadia Abdulhadi-Sukhtian to whom we are in the debt for executing the translation. Volume 1, parts 1 and 2, were published in 2013.

Dalman, Gustaf H.
    2013    Work and Customs in Palestine, Vol. 1, Parts 1 and 2: The Course of the Year and the Course of the Day. Trans. Nadia Abdulhadi-Sukhtian. Ramallah: Dar Al Nasher.

Part 1 is available here. Part 2 is available here.

While preparing this post, we discovered that Volume 2 was published just this year. We are glad to see the project is moving along.

Dalman, Gustaf.
    2020    Work and Customs in Palestine, Vol. 2: Agriculture. Trans. Robert Schick. Ed. Nadia Abdulhadi-Sukhtian. Ramallah: Dar Al Nasher.

The only place where Volume 2 appears to be available is here. (Be advised that shipping appears to take one to one-and-a-half months.)

Detailed Contents of Volume 1, Part 1: The Course of the Year and the Course of the Day

ADDED NOTE: One of our readers visited the grave of Gustaf Dalman in the town of Herrnhut, Germany. Here is a photograph the reader sent.


(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Several years ago, Chris McKinny wrote a series of posts named “Secret Places.” We resurrect it now to draw your attention to another little-known museum in Jerusalem.

If you have been to Israel a few times, and names like Edward Robinson or Charles Warren are starting to mean something to you, then you may want to add this museum to your next visit.

The museum is located within the compound of Augusta Victoria church/hospital on top of the Mount of Olives. The church’s bell tower is a prominent landmark that can be seen at some distance from several directions. You have certainly seen it, even if you were not aware of what it was.

The German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in the Holy Land occupies a house located right behind (east of) the church. As you walk in from the main gate and follow the road to the right, you will see green signs in front of the church that direct you towards the “German Institute of Archaeology.”

The museum is located in the lower story of this house. It highlights the work of Conrad Schick, Gottlieb Schumacher, and especially Gustaf Dalman. On display you will find large models of Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher constructed by Schick, survey instruments used by Schumacher to draw maps and plans, as well as signs with biographical details.

Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, 1:25,000 scale.
Wood and cardboard model by Conrad Schick, 1867.

Most of the museum, however, is dedicated to the work of Gustaf Dalman. Dalman was the first director of the Institute. His name may be familiar to some readers as the author of Sacred Sites and Ways: Studies in the Topography of the Gospels (1935), one of the few works by Dalman translated into English. He was an expert in the study of, well, pretty much anything related to the Holy Land.

“Dalman’s main aim and starting point was to shed light on the biblical and post-biblical past of Palestine. Instead of only studying texts and relics of the past, and the Bible, he studied the daily activities and customs of the Arab population of Palestine…he combined anthropology, comparative religion, music, and biblical schalarship with geography, geology, botany, astrology, meteorology and zoology into a…new multi-disciplinary field of study…Palestinology”
(Abdulhadi-Sukhtian 2013: vii–viii).

Dalman recorded and collected just about anything you can imagine, and many of these collections are represented in the museum: photographic slides, ancient pottery and coins, herbs, rocks, and limestone models of tombs, presses and Palestinian houses. The models have removable roofs and walls so you can see the interior layout of the structures. It is a little mind-boggling that one man produced all this work.

Limestone models of Palestinian houses.

Theologians and pastors would come to the Institute for a three-month course taught by Dalman. A map in the museum shows his itinerary for field trips and a display case contains Dalman’s personal copy of Baedeker Palestine and Syria guidebook.

Gustaf Dalman’s personal materials, including business cards and Baedeker guide.

The museum is not large. You are free to visit, but the Institute requests that you call or email beforehand if you have a group. I would recommend keeping groups very small—ten people would start to feel crowded. A visit will only take about an hour, and most of the labels and signs provide English translations. While you are in the Augusta Victoria compound, the church has a collection of inscribed ossuaries in one of the side rooms. Some of the ossuaries have names like Matthew, Jesus, and Mary. The church also has a life-size replica of the ark of the covenant, and the Bibles of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta Victoria. From the top of the bell tower, on a not-particularly clear day, I was able to make out Baal Hazor, Nebi Samwil, the Dead Sea, and Herodium. It provides a nice view of Jerusalem’s Old City as well.

Contact information for the German Protestant Institute can be found on their website.

Abdulhadi-Sukhtian, Nadia, trans.
    2013    Work and Customs in Palestine, Vol. 1: The Course of the Year and the Course of the Day. 2 parts. Ramallah: Dar Al Nasher.


(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Eisenbrauns is about to release, or has just released, two new books. They arrive just in time to add to your July reading list, if you are so inclined.

The first book is a collection of essays published upon the retirement last year of James K. Hoffmeier. Hoffmeier was Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. “An Excellent Fortress for His Armies, a Refuge for the People”: Egyptological, Archaeological, and Biblical Studies in Honor of James K. Hoffmeier is edited by Richard E. Averbeck and K. Lawson Younger Jr. I believe the photograph on the cover may have been excavated from our own BiblePlaces.com’s archives. It shows the Jebel Barkal stela of Thutmose III. (Daniel Wright had a little fun with the cover design on Facebook.) Below is the table of contents. I see several interesting essays that I look forward to reading.

Chap. 1. The Tests of a Prophet (Richard E. Averbeck)

Chap. 2. Fishing for Fissures: The Literary Unity of the Kadesh Poem of Ramesses II and Its Implications for the Diachronic Study of the Hebrew Bible (Joshua Berman)

Chap. 3. Food for the Forces: An Investigation of Military Subsistence Strategies in New Kingdom Border Regions (Louise Bertini and Salima Ikram)

Chap. 4. Left Behind: New Kingdom Specialists at the End of Egyptian Empire and the Emergence of Israelite Scribalism (Aaron A. Burke)

Chap. 5. The Ficus Judaicus and the New Testament (Thomas W. Davis)

Chap. 6. Gifts of the Nile: Materials That Shaped the Early Egyptian Burial Tradition (Joanna Dębowska- Ludwin and Karolina Rosińska- Balik)

Chap. 7. Computer Analytics in Chronology Testing and Its Implications for the Date of the Exodus (David A. Falk)

Chap. 8. Uniting the World: Achaemenid Empire Lists and the Construction of Royal Ideology (Deirdre N. Fulton and Kaz Hayashi)

Chap. 9. Geophysical Research in Pelusium: On the Benefits of Using the Resistivity Profiling Method (Tomasz Herbich)

Chap. 10. The Genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 and Comparative Studies: Evidence for a Seam (Richard S. Hess)

Chap. 11. Sety I’s Military Relief at Karnak and the Eastern Gate of Egypt: A Brief Reassessment (Hesham M. Hussein)

Chap. 12. Maʿ at in the Amarna Period: Historiography, Egyptology, and the Reforms of Akhenaten (Mark D. Janzen)

Chap. 13. “I Have Made Every Person Like His Fellow” (Jens Bruun Kofoed)

Chap. 14. The Founding of the Temple in Ancient Egypt: Ritual and Symbolism (Ash Melika)

Chap. 15. Goliath’s Head Wound and the Edwin Smith Papyrus (Edmund S. Meltzer)

Chap. 16. Did the Patriarchs Meet Philistines? (Alan Millard)

Chap. 17. Writing Trauma: Ipuwer and the Curation of Cultural Memory (Ellen Morris)

Chap. 18. Old Kingdom Exotica at Pharaoh’s Court and Beyond: Dwarfs, Pygmies, Primates, Dogs, and Leopards (Gregory Mumford)

Chap. 19. Judges 10:11: A Memory of Merenptah’s Campaign in Transjordan (Steven Ortiz and S. Cameron Coyle)

Chap. 20. Digging for Data: A Practical Critique of Digital Archaeology (Miller C. Prosser)

Chap. 21. Debriefing Enemy Combatants in Ancient Egypt (Donald B. Redford)

Chap. 22. Israelite Origins (Gary A. Rendsburg)

Chap. 23. The Egyptian Background of the Joseph Story: Selected Issues Revisited (Nili Shupak)

Chap. 24. Mighty Bull Appearing in Napata: Memorialization and Adaptation of the Bronze Age into the Iron Age World of the Kushite, Twenty- fifth Dynasty of Egypt (Stuart Tyson Smith)

Chap. 25. Hosea 1–3 as the Key to the Literary Structure and Message of the Book (Eric J. Tully)

Chap. 26. The Egyptian Fortress Commander: A Career Check Based on Selected Middle and New Kingdom Examples (Carola Vogel)

Chap. 27. Mud- bricks as a Dating Tool in Egyptian Archaeology (Kei Yamamoto and Pearce Paul Creasman)

Chap. 28. The God ʾ El of Ramesses II’s Stela from Sheikh Saʿ d (the “Job Stone”) (K. Lawson Younger Jr.)

The second book coming from Eisenbrauns is New Directions in the Study of Ancient Geography, edited by Duane W. Roller. The table of contents did not give me a good indication for what to expect from this volume, but I was helped by the publisher’s description.

This volume brings together five essays that represent the latest directions in the study of geography in classical antiquity. Arranged chronologically, these contributions cover several centuries and cultures, ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire and deal with topics such as ancient cosmology, literary interpretations of geography, ancient navigation, and geography in the Roman Imperial world.
Beginning in the ancient Near East, Paul T. Keyser’s essay considers how Greek scholars—whose views on the cosmos are still relevant today—were influenced by early Near Eastern beliefs about the universe.

Moving to the Hellenistic period, Duane W. Roller presents and provides commentary on a navigational guide for Ptolemaic seamen written by Ptolemy II’s chief of naval staff, Timosthenes of Rhodes. Georgia L. Irby provides an analysis of a literary map—the Shield of Aeneas from Vergil’s Aeneid—as well as a detailed study of Pomponius Mela and his Chorographia, the earliest surviving Greco-Roman geographical treatise and the only extant independent geographical work in Latin. An essay by Molly Ayn Jones-Lewis completes the volume by describing how Tacitus’s Germania, of the early second century AD, is a work heavily reliant on environmental determinism, an issue that is still relevant today.

Together, these essays demonstrate the great diversity of both ancient geographical writing and modern scholarship on ancient geography. This volume will be greeted with enthusiasm by ancient historians and classical studies scholars, particularly those interested in the cultural and political facets of geography.

I remember the good ol’ days when Eisenbrauns’ vision was to make more affordable for the ANE student these kinds of specialized academic works. It seems we have to kiss those days goodbye. Both of these titles are listed for $99.95. You will find occasional opportunities, however, where the prices are discounted. On their Facebook page announcing the Hoffmeier Festschrift, Eisenbrauns invites people to “Sign up to find out when it publishes and receive 40% off!” I am not sure where or how you sign up.

HT: Mike Mason


(Post by A.D. Riddle)

Ancient Rome was a large and magnificent city, and while there are lots of impressive structures to be seen today, there are many ruins scattered around and under the modern city. The Atlas of Ancient Rome, quite an extraordinary work in its own right, takes up the task of illustrating the ancient city with plans, reconstructions, and other drawings. This two-volume set is a translation of an original Italian work edited by Andrea Carandini.

The first volume contains “Text and Images” and clocks in at 640 pages. The opening chapters include topics such as “The Natural Landscape” and “The Historical Landscape” and “Building Techniques.” These are followed by 14 chapters corresponding to the 14 Regiones of the ancient city. Each chapter covers the diachronic development of the city for that particular zone, so that, for example, you can without great difficulty focus your study specifically on Rome in the Age of Augustus or specifically on Flavian Rome. In volume one, you will also find a couple dozen beautiful and illuminating reconstruction drawings. I try to show off some of these reconstructions in the following video, and you can also view samples at the atlas’s dedicated webpage.

The atlas is not cheap. The publisher’s price is $200, and Amazon lists it for $169. Is it worth it? Volume one is quite impressive, but $169 is a stretch. My initial instinct was to set aside the second volume for later because it contains “Tables and Indexes.” I assumed “Tables and Indexes” would amount to lots of boring text giving statistics and other data. But when I cracked the cover on volume two, I realized that boy, had I got it wrong. Of the 464 pages, only about 45 page are black-and-white text. It turns out volume two is page after page after page of remarkable full-color plans, diagrams, and maps. Below is a short video in which I flip through some pages to give an idea of the content. You really have to hold it in your hands. After this, the price tag started to make more sense.

I am not a scholar of Rome, but I highly suspect that if your interest in the city goes deeper than the surface, then this two-volume set is a must-have. If you do not fit that description, then you will still probably want to encourage your library to get a copy.

Carandini, Andrea, ed.
2017 The Atlas of Ancient Rome. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Related sites:

YouTube video highlighting Atlas’s features, by Princeton University Press
Princeton University Press’s description of Atlas
Atlas’s dedicated webpage