New Books for July Reading

(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 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

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

“A joint report by German and Syrian organisations has documented severe damage to Syria’s historical heritage and antiquities.” (Report on Academia)

“An ancient cave decorated with distinguished engravings depicting scenes of animals has been discovered at Wadi Al-Zulma in North Sinai.”

“The southern region of Najran [in Saudi Arabia] is set to become the largest open museum of rock inscriptions in the world.”

Egypt is proposing a merger of its tourism and antiquities departments.

“British anti-racism protestors called for the destruction of Egypt’s Giza Pyramids on Sunday, after tearing down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and throwing it in the Avon river.”

“A comparison between the names mentioned in the biblical book of Jeremiah and those appearing on archaeological artifacts from the period when the prophet is believed to have lived – around the sixth to seventh centuries BCE – offers support to its historicity.”

The British Museum blog: “Whip up a classical feast with nine recipes from ancient Greece and Rome.”

The latest British Museum travel guide is for Thebes in the 13th century BC.

New: Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life, by Titus Kennedy. The author was on the Eric Metaxas show recently discussing the book.

Coming soon: The Case for Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People, by John D. Currid (also in Logos)

Carl Rasmussen shares photos of Aphrodisias, one of the most beautiful antiquity sites in Turkey and one that many tourists never see (including, sadly, your roundup writer).

“Windows into the Bible” is a new podcast by Marc Turnage that looks at geographical, cultural, historical, and spiritual contexts. I’ve been told the episode on Pilate is quite intriguing.

HT: Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Agade, Ted Weis, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

The completely buried Roman city of Falerii Novi has been mapped with radar technology.

An Egyptian archaeologist is using technology, including Google tools, to assist in the work of preserving and documenting her nation’s heritage.

A research study is using AI to analyze ancient feces and learning in the process of the relationship between humans and dogs.

Phillip J. Long provides a helpful review of a valuable up-to-date summary of the DSS and their relation to Qumran: Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran, by Sidnie White Crawford.

The final publication of Tall Zira’a, Volume 6, Hellenistic to Umayyad Period (Strata 8–3) is now available online as a free download.

‘Atiqot 99 (2020) is now online.

“Tutankhamun In Colour,” a BBC program featuring colorized photos from Howard Carter’s Egyptian explorations, will air on June 18.

Context Matters is a weekly podcast begun earlier this year and hosted by Cyndi Parker.

In a BBC audio presentation, Bridget Kendall explores ancient Babylon with four experts.

More than 1,000 color sides taken by Kenneth Russell have been added to the ACOR Photo Archive.

Carl Rasmussen shares a photo of an ancient papyrus attesting that a man had offered sacrifices to the gods—a way of proving that one was not a Christian.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is now offering “remote sifting.”

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

The Jerusalem Post runs a story on the 2013 discovery of a winery at Jezreel. A scholarly article was published this year on the excavation in the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies.

Analysis of pottery workshops in the Jerusalem area reveals changes brought about by the Roman destruction of the city in AD 70. The underlying journal article was recently published in BASOR.

In his latest “Discussions with the Diggers,” Bryan Windle interviews Robert Mullins, focusing on his current excavations of Abel Beth Maacah. (I read yesterday that Yadin in the 1950s would have preferred to excavate Abel instead of Hazor, but he was unable to because of the military situation.)

Virtual conference on June 15-16: On the Origin of the Pieces: The Provenance of the Dead Sea Scrolls

W. Raymond Johnson of the Oriental Institute gave a lecture this week on “Medinet Habu and Tell el-Amarna: Tales of Blocks and Towers.”

SBL Press has “unpublished” Burton MacDonald’s A History of Ancient Moab from the Ninth to First Centuries BCE after determining that it “does not adequately adhere to the expected standard of marking all direct quotations from other sources.” (If you want a copy, better grab one now. Or if you already purchased, you can send it back for a refund.)

New release: A Week in the Life of Ephesus, by David A. deSilva. I enjoy the way this series makes learning historican context enjoyable. (Also available in Logos.)

Kris Udd gave a one-day Seminar on Bible Chronology at his church a few months ago, and he has made the videos and print materials available for free download. I have benefitted from Dr. Udd’s excellent chronology materials for many years, and I am happy to see them made widely available.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Charles Savelle, Joseph Lauer

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Guidebooks for the British Museum

(Post by A.D. Riddle)

On my last trip to the Middle East, I was able to spend some time in London at the British Museum. At the bookshop inside the museum, I discovered a guidebook to the museum. It is not new, but it was new to me. The book is entitled Through the British Museum with the Bible, and if you are planning to spend time in the British Museum anytime soon, I highly recommend this guide. The British Museum is awesomely vast, and you could get lost in it for days. This guide (and others like it) will help you get more out of your time there, and make sure you do not miss the important stuff.

Through the British Museum with the Bible is authored by Brian Edwards and Clive Anderson and is already in its 5th edition.

What do I like about this guidebook? First, unlike other Bible guides for the British Museum, this one is actually the correct size for a guidebook. That is to say, it easily fits in a pocket so that you can have it with you while remaining hands-free. It is also written as a guidebook, providing such information as (1) the gallery and display case where an object is located, (2) brief but sufficient descriptions to understand the object and how it connects to the Bible, and (3) a photo of the object which helps in locating it quickly.

Second, Through the British Museum with the Bible covers a larger number of objects than the other two guides by Mitchell and Masters, listed below. This means it should be useful for more than a single day at the museum.

The other two guides mentioned above are:

(1)  T. C. Mitchell’s The Bible in the British Museum: Interpreting the Evidence (2004). This book covers 72 objects in the British Museum. It is slightly heavier with text, and might be better read before and after your visit to the museum. In my opinion, it is too much reading to do while you are actually in the museum.

(2)  Peter Masters’ Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum, 2nd edition (2016). [I am told the 2nd edition reflects changes in gallery and case numbers as the museum has rotated objects, but is essentially the same content as the 1st edition (2004).] This is a very good guidebook as well.

As I was preparing this blog post, I discovered there is a long history of writing books that relate objects in the British Museum to the text of the Bible. Some of these earlier books can be found online for free.

Kitchin, James George.
     1890     The Bible Student in the British Museum: A Descriptive Guide to the                      Principal Antiquities Which Illustrate and Confirm the Sacred                              History. London: Cassell & Co.

Kinns, Samuel.
     1891     Graven in the Rock, or, The Historical Accuracy of the Bible                                  Confirmed by Reference to the Assyrian and Egyptian Monuments                      in the British Museum and Elsewhere. London: Cassell & Co.

Habershon, Ada R.
     1909     The Bible and the British Museum. London: Morgan and Scott.

Jannaway, Frank G.
     1922     The British Museum With Bible In Hand. London: Sampson, Low,                      Marston & Co.

As a final note, Through the British Museum with the Bible is published by DayOne Publications. As I peruse their website, I see a number of other books that might appeal to readers of this blog. Some examples include: Evidence for the Bible, by the same authors Clive Anderson and Brian Edwards; travel guides for Israel, Jordan, Rome, and Egypt; and books on church history. You might find their website worth a visit.

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Weekend Roundup

“A six year old hiking with his family [at Tel Jemmah] . . . discovered a one-of-a-kind, 3,500-year-old depiction of a naked, humiliated Canaanite prisoner and his victorious warden.”

A new study of organic material on the Iron Age altars from the shrine at Arad indicates that frankincense and cannabis were burned on them in ancient times.

A well-preserved Roman mosaic floor from the 3rd century AD has been discovered in a vineyard in northern Italy.

Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved 3rd century AD Roman ship in Serbia.

A recent review of Egyptian antiquities in Scotland has identified more than 14,000 objects.

The latest post on the ASOR Blog is about the Egyptians’ views of foreigners.

A Jewish leader in Tehran denies that a traditional tomb of Esther and Mordecai was set on fire. The article in a regime-approved newspaper includes other interesting background about the shrine.

Mark Wilson reflects on Paul’s imprisonments in light of his current confinement in Turkey.

A Times of Israel article describes two new documentaries on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In one, a priest explains how the “holy fire” is lit with a lighter.

“Following an extreme and unusually long heatwave last week, Israel on Sunday was hit by showers and unseasonably cold temperatures.”

Museums reopening in Italy will use “chaperones” and vibrating necklaces to ensure people don’t get too close to each other.

Now on pre-pub for Logos: A Christian’s Guide to Evidence for the Bible: 101 Proofs from History and Archaeology, by J. Daniel Hays ($19).

Ferrell Jenkins dug up a great photo to illustrate Isaiah 1:18.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Arne Halbakken, Keith Keyser, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Appian Media has just released “Lessons from the Land: The Gospels,” a 13-part video series aimed at elementary-aged students. Workbooks are coming so that the videos can be used in Bible classes.

David Chapman, editor of the ESV Archaeology Study Bible, is on The Crossway Podcast series explaining how archaeology aids in understanding the Bible.

OVRtour is a new app (for Apple) that provides guided tours in the Holy Land.

A 3D model of Tel Burna has been updated with annotations.

National Geographic has a short piece on the Jordan Trail.

The summer solstice at Stonehenge will be livestreamed this year.

“Recent research highlights the power of the canine nose to uncover buried remains from ancient human history.”

The Ark Encounter is selling individual and family lifetime passes for a limited time.

Carl Rasmussen shares photos that illustrate the NT concept of “running the race.”

HT: Agade, Keith Keyser, Arne Halbakken

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Weekend Roundup, Part 2

Greece is planning to reopen its tourist sites on June 15.

The Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome will be restored beginning in September. The story includes a video (in beautiful Italian).

The Acropolis in Athens is undergoing a number of renovations to improve safety and enhance the experience for visitors.

As you would expect, National Geographic’s story on the Pamukkale region in Turkey has some stunning photos.

Curators at the British Museum helped border officials confiscate a collection of fake antiquities.

Recent episodes in the Lonesome Curator series focus on “Food in Nazareth” and “The Nebuchadnezzar Brick.”

Sophia Germanidou gives an overview on the use of bees’ honey in the ancient world.

Jennifer Drummond explains how to make Roman “French” Toast.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has produced a video showing how to cook Tiger nuts, based on vignettes in the tomb of Rekhmire.

The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press is making some of its books available for free pdf download.

The Travelogues website provides graphic materials from Greece and the eastern Mediterranean from the 15th century onward.

HT: Ted Weis, Agade, Joseph Lauer, Charles Savelle, Explorator

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A first-century synagogue discovered at Beth Shemesh will have to be moved because it is in the line of the highway-widening project. An article in Hebrew at Makor Rishon includes a photo.

Haaretz: A “study of the three oldest stone enclosures at Göbekli Tepe has revealed a hidden geometric pattern, specifically an equilateral triangle, underlying the entire architectural plan of these structures.”

A project to preserve and popularize a group of megalithic dolmens in northern Lebanon has been completed.

Brent Nongbri asks whether Qumran Cave 1 is really Cave 1.

Bryan Windle’s Top Three Reports in Archaeology in April look to technology stories as well as the impact of COVID-19.

Wayne Stiles explains how Paul’s incarceration in Rome is instructive in our present crisis.

Christopher Rollston is the guest on The Book and the Spade, talking about the Dead Sea Scroll forgeries (part 1, part 2).

Nijay Gupta recommends the best resources for studying New Testament backgrounds and context. And Brad Cooper shares a broader list of similar resources that also includes online courses, online resources, and more.

The latest Biblical Studies Carnival is online, filled with links to stories, blogposts, podcasts, and book reviews from the past month.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer, BibleX

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Weekend Roundup, Part 1

A team excavating Khirbet a-Ra‘i (the alleged Ziklag) in January and February discovered “a rare ‘smiting god’ figurine, a bronze calf figurine, two seals and decorated Canaanite and Philistine pottery from the 12th Century BCE.”

With everyone home, antiquities thieves are having a field day in Judea and Samaria.

With the Israel Museum closed, the Dead Sea Scrolls are now safely stored “behind five locked doors in a humidity and temperature-controlled vault at the Shrine of the Book.”

Owen Jairus reports on discoveries made in the Nazareth Archaeological Project, as recently published by its director Ken Dark.

The summer season at Tell es-Safi/Gath has been cancelled. Other excavations have apparently cancelled as well, though I haven’t yet seen those notices.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project has unveiled a new virtual exhibition.

The Palestine Open Maps project has just launched, and it is based on the 1940s survey maps from the British Mandate.

On Kindle for $2.99: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, by Richard Bauckham.

Hisham’s Delights is a new digital cookbook from the kitchen of the Albright Institute.

HT: Agade, Ted Weis, Joseph Lauer

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