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Two Recent Archaeological Notest

March 9, 2013

There are two interesting archaeological notes in the news. While neither are from the ancient Near East, both are fascinating pieces nonetheless.

1) The AP reports that researchers at Stonehendge now think that the site originally began as a burial ground:

New studies of cremated human remains excavated from the site suggest that about 500 years before the Stonehenge we know today was built, a larger stone circle was erected at the same site as a community graveyard, researchers said Saturday.

2) The BBC reports that a recently excavated may include a mythical “Viking Sunstone”:

An oblong crystal the size of a cigarette packet was next to a pair of dividers – suggesting it was part of the navigational equipment.

It has now been shown that it is of Iceland spar – a form of calcite known for its property of diffracting light into two separate rays.

Testing a similar crystal, the scientists proved that by rotation it was possible to find the point where the two beams converge – indicating the direction of the Sun.

They say it works on cloudy days, and when the Sun has set.

As an extra bonus, I’d like to point out that Icelandic spar plays a prominent role in Thomas Pynchon’s novel Against the Day.

Epicurus and the Problem of Evil

March 5, 2013

Comic courtesy of Scenes From A Multiverse

My Mosaic 1 students start on Greek lit this week (a Journey that will take the better part of the month. While we don’t read Epicurus in class, the echoes of his fiery rants on theodicy will resound in our ears through the end of the year.

Back in the Saddle

March 1, 2013

In pre-Julian times, the calendar started in March. So for someone like myself who is more at home in the ancient world and think that CE refers to “Current Events,” this is as good a time as any to start this blog back up.

After too long a period of time, I’m trying to get back in the writing saddle. Teaching a 4/4 load with an additional summer course for several years has really eaten into my writing and research, but I need to get out some thoughts on Gilgamesh.

With new translations (and “translations”), new manuscripts, and new monographs circling about, my well-worn copies of George’s translation are feeling more and more out of dated. I’m hoping to post snipits of translation here on a weekly basis and get some feedback from the scholarly community (and layfolk as well).

May the Fourth Be with You

May 4, 2012


Happy Star Wars Day everyone.

For My Students…

December 7, 2011

For all my students dealing with the wonkiness of our university’s website, I dedicate the following webcomic from xkcd:

BTW: I swear I’ll get back to regular blogging when this semester is over! See you all on the other side of the semester divide.

September’s Biblioblog Carnival is Up

October 2, 2011

Scotteriology has the most recent roundup of Bible-related blogging from around the intertubes. The selections of post this month are quite truncated and eclectic, due in large measure to the paucity of submissions sent in. However, this just makes each link all that more precious. Of particular interest to me is Rebecca Lesses’s collection of online resources on Jewish magic.

Update: Here’s the “greater” post of the month’s biblical blogging activity. More links, more posts, more happy goodness.

Sociological Invisibility Cloak

September 28, 2011

Courtesy of SMBC.

Mid-Atlantic Regional 2012 Call for Papers

September 27, 2011

It’s that time again! The call for paper is out for the Society of Biblical Literature’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting. This year’s meeting will again be held in New Brunswick. Paper proposals are due Monday, December 5th. Full information below:

Read more…

Biblical Reboot

September 19, 2011

Of course, this isn’t the earliest reboot. For that you’d need to look at some of the distinctive in different editions of the Gilgamesh epic. Still, this is a lovely way of illustrating some of the “continuity errors” in the larger biblical corpus. I also recommend  James McGrath‘s post relating the latest debacle from Lucas to epic storytelling in the ancient world.

Why Oracles are so Opaque

September 18, 2011

(Courtesy of SMBC)