Category Archives: Events

Welcome to Helsinki! A List of CSTT Contributions to the EABS/ISBL Meeting

In only two weeks, hundreds of biblical scholars will gather in Helsinki to attend the combined meetings of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS) and the International meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), which takes place from 31 July to 3 August.

As the meetings are held in our hometown, we hope to showcase to you all the diverse and wide range of research the CSTT is currently engaged in. To make your conference experience easier, we have brought together all contributions by our research centre to this year’s EABS/ISBL meeting.

The contributions are grouped under four headings corresponding to the different research teams in our centre. The list includes contributions from our full and associate members. You can find the abstracts of the papers and more information on the sessions by using the excellent online program book.

We warmly welcome you all to lovely Helsinki!


TEAM 1. Society and Religion in the Ancient Near East

July 30 – 16:00–17:30
CSTT-director Martti Nissinen: Presiding in panel discussion “What I Would Like to See Happening in Biblical Studies,” in Opening Session

Aug 1 – 14:00 – 17:00
Martti Nissinen: Presiding, in themed-session “Timo Veijola’s Contribution to Biblical Studies,” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Martti Nissinen: “Why Prophets Are (Not) Shamans,” in themed-session “Shamanism in the Bible and Cognate Literature” in Anthropology and the Bible (EABS)

July 31 – 9:00–11:00
Izaak J. de Hulster: “Hermeneutical Reflections on a Recently Excavated Cylinder Seal Fragment from Abel-beth-maacah,” in Iconography and Biblical Studies (EABS)

July 31 – 14:00–17:00
Izaak J. de Hulster: Presiding, in Iconography and Biblical Studies (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Izaak J. de Hulster: “Predecessors of Hilma Granqvist: Women Exploring the Land(s) of the Bible before 1920,” in themed-session “Holy Land Explorers: In Recognition of Hilma Granqvist” inHistory of Biblical Scholarship in the Late Modern Period

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Jason Silverman: “Imperium as Context for Defining “Elite”: Persians and Yahwistic Socio-economic Structure,” in themed-session “Elite Cultures and Achaemenid Koine” inJudaeans in the Persian Empire (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Kirsi Valkama: “Aapeli Saarisalo and Biblical Archaeology” in themed-session “Holy Land Explorers: In Recognition of Hilma Granqvist” inHistory of Biblical Scholarship in the Late Modern Period

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Kirsi Valkama and Rick Bonnie: Presiding, in Archaeology and the Biblical World

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Joanna Töyräänvuori: “The Ambiguity and Liminality of the Mediterranean Sea in Ancient Semitic Mythology,” in Ugarit and the Bible: Life and Death (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Gina Konstantopoulos: Presiding, in Dispelling Demons: Interpretations of Evil and Exorcism in Ancient Near Eastern, Jewish and Biblical Contexts (EABS)

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
ShanaZaia: “‘My Brothers Were Plotting Evil’: Family Violence in the Ancient Near East,” in Families and Children in the Ancient World

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Sebastian Fink: “Visual Poetry in Sumerian Lamentations: A Diachronic View,” inDiachronic Poetology of the Hebrew Bible and Related Ancient Near Eastern and Ancient Jewish Literature (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Sebastian Fink: “Entering and Leaving This World: Birth and Death in Mesopotamia,” inUgarit and the Bible: Life and Death (EABS)

Aug 3 – 9:00–10:30
Andres Nõmmik: “A Consideration of the City-States of the Late Bronze Age Southern Levant,” in Ancient Near East

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Patrik Jansson: “Prophesying and Twisting: Exploring the Metaphorical Description of Prophesying Women in the Greek Text of Ezekiel 13:17–23,”in Metaphor in the Bible (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Lauri Laine: “What God Should Not Be, but Still Somehow Is? Cognitive Perspectives on ‘Theological Incorrectness’,” inWhat a God is Not – the Early History of Negative Theology (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–15:30
Helen Dixon(Wofford College): “Sign, Performance, Possession, Home: What Are Non-royal Phoenician Mortuary Stelae Doing?” in themed-session “Texts in Space” in Ancient Near East


TEAM 2. Text and Authority

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Team 2 leader Anneli Aejmelaeus: “Re-linking 1 Sam 3 and 4,” inSeptuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Tuukka Kauhanen: Presiding, in themed-session “Septuagint Syntax” in Septuagint Studies

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Tuukka Kauhanen: “Editing the Septuagint of 2 Samuel,”in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

July 31 – 16:00–17:30
Katja Kujanpää: “Job or Isaiah? What Does Paul Quote in Rom 11:35?” in themed-session “Textual History”, in Septuagint Studies

Aug 2 – 16:00–17:30
Jessi Orpana: Presiding, in themed-session “History, Kingship and the Economy” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Paavo Huotari: “Characteristics of the Lucianic Reviser in 2 Samuel,” in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

July 31 – 16:00–17:30
Miika Tucker:“Continuity and Change: A Historical Perspective on the Assessment of Septuagint Jeremiah as a Textual Witness,”in themed-session “Textual History” in Septuagint Studies


TEAM 3. Literary Criticism in the Light of Documented Evidence

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Team 3 leader Juha Pakkala: Presiding, in themed-session “Evoking Coherence in Redactional Processes of Fortschreibung and in Re-writing Biblical Texts” in Developing Exegetical Methods (EABS)

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Mika Pajunen: “The Functions of Extensive Psalms and Prayers in Narrative Contexts,”in themed-session “Evoking Coherence in Redactional Processes of Fortschreibung and in Re-writing Biblical Texts” inDeveloping Exegetical Methods (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Ville Mäkipelto: Presiding, in themed-session “Translation Technique and Revisions” in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Ville Mäkipelto: Presiding, in themed-session “Joshua 8 – Literary Development in Light of Text, Literary, and Redaction Critical Perspectives” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 9:00 – 11:30
Timo Tekoniemi: Presiding, in themed-session “Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in Light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00 – 17:30
Timo Tekoniemi: Presiding, in themed-session “Textual Criticism” in Septuagint of Historical Books (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:00
Reinhard Müller(Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster): “Timo Veijola’s Commentary on Deuteronomy,” in themed-session: “Timo Veijola’s Contribution to Biblical Studies” in Editorial Techniques in the Hebrew Bible in light of Empirical Evidence (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:00
Reinhard Müller (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster):“Eckart Otto’s Models of ‘Urdeuteronomium’ and Deuteronomistic Deuteronomy,” in themed-session: “Eckart Otto’s Commentary on Deuteronomy” in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Law

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Urmas Nõmmik: “Changes in Form and Genre: Five Research Questions,” inDiachronic Poetology of the Hebrew Bible and Related Ancient Near Eastern and Ancient Jewish Literature (EABS)

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Anssi Voitila(University of Eastern Finland): “Usage-Based Translation Syntax of the Septuagint,”in themed-session “Septuagint Syntax” in Septuagint Studies

Aug 3 – 9:00–10:30
Anssi Voitila (University of Eastern Finland): Presiding, in themed-session “Interpretation” in Septuagint Studies


TEAM 4. Society and Religion in Late Second Temple Judaism

July 30 – 16:00–17:30
Team 4 leader Jutta Jokiranta: Member in panel discussion “What I Would Like to See Happening in Biblical Studies,” in Opening Session

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Matthew Goff (Florida State University) and Jutta Jokiranta:“Survey Results on Ethics and Policies Regarding Unprovenanced Materials” in themed-session “Ethics and Policies Regarding Unprovenanced Materials” inQumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 9:00–11:00
Jutta Jokiranta: Presiding, in themed-session “Ritual and Qumran” in Ritual in the Biblical World

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Raimo Hakola:“The Ancient Synagogue at Horvat Kur, Galilee: Excavations 2010-2018,” in Archaeology and the Biblical World

July 30 – 16:00–17:30
Rick Bonnie: Member in panel discussion “What I Would Like to See Happening in Biblical Studies,” in Opening Session

July 31 – 14:00–17:30
Rick Bonnie: ”Researching Cultural Objects and Manuscripts in a Small Country: The Finnish Experience of Raising Awareness of Provenance, Legality, and Responsible Stewardship,” in themed-session “Ethics and Policies Regarding Unprovenanced Materials” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 9:00–10:30
Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, in themed-session “Gendered Virtue?” in Virtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Aug 1 – 16:00–17:30
Charlotte Hempel (University of Birmingham) and Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, Early Career Development Workshop

Aug 2 – 9:00–11:00
Elisa Uusimäki: “Is There ‘Virtue’ in Semitic texts? An Analysis of the Testament of Qahat,” in themed-session “Is there Virtue in Semitic texts?” in Virtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, in themed-session “Portraying Virtue” inVirtue In Biblical Literature (EABS)

Aug 3 – 9:00–11:00
Elisa Uusimäki: Presiding, in themed-session “Open Session” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 14:00–17:30
Katri Antin:“Intellectual Illumination as a Visionary Experience,” in themed-session “Visions and aspects of Spatial Theory – Focus OT” in Vision and Envisionment in the Bible and its World (EABS)

Aug 3 – 9:00–11:00
Katri Antin:“Implicit Exegesis as a Mean of Transmitting Divine Knowledge in the Thanksgiving Psalms,”in themed-session “Open Session” in Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Aug 1 – 16:00–17:30
Hanna Tervanotko: Member in panel discussion “Teaching Gender and the Bible,” in Status of Women in the Profession

Aug 2 – 14:00–17:30
Hanna Tervanotko: “Reading 1 Samuel 28 and Odyssey 11 through the Lens of Shamanism,” in themed-session “Shamanism in the Bible and Cognate Literature” inAnthropology and the Bible (EABS)

Aug 1 – 14:00–15:30
Sami Yli-Karjanmaa: “Philo’s Reincarnational Anthropology: A Comparison with Clement,” in themed-session “Philo of Alexandria” in Judaica

Aug 3 – 9:00–11:15
Hanna Vanonen: “Apocalyptic Vision or Ritual Instructions? The Qumran War Texts as Apocalyptic Literature,” in themed-session “Apocalyptic Literature: Second Temple Judaism” in Apocalyptic Literature

What has Tbilisi to Do with Helsinki?

By Jutta Jokiranta.

Georgia (Tbilisi) and Finland (Helsinki) have a lot in common, we discovered when CSTT members spent a successful week in Tbilisi Javakhishvili University. People in both countries speak a strange language, their number is around 5 million, and both countries have gained independence a hundred years ago (Finland in 1917, Georgia for a short period in 1918).

Tbilis as seen from the hill of the Mtatsminda Pantheon (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

CSTT is about “cross-fertilization,” making scholars from different fields and areas of expertise to communicate and learn from each other. This was a specific purpose of the Tbilisi meeting, “Texts, Traditions and Transmission: Global and Local Transitions in the Late Second Temple Period,” 21‒25 May 2018, organized by CSTT Teams 2 and 4, in cooperation with local hosts in Tbilisi, especially Anna Kharanauli, Natia Mirotadze, and their students.

The aim of the symposium was to find points in common in the study of the history of the Second Temple period—the scribal milieu—and the study of scribal revisions of scriptural texts and traditions.

Picture by Ville Mäkipelto

Did we find points in contact? To give an example, special interest was on the so-called kaige-recension, in which the translators at the turn of the era brought the original text of the Septuagint into closer conformity with the Hebrew proto-Masoretic text. Anneli Aejmelaeus explored its origins and suggested tracing it to Greek speaking synagogues in Palestine. Rick Bonnie gave an overview of early synagogue finds in Palestine and showed how their architecture could be characterized by restricted access and private visibility; these buildings were used by only part of the village population. Raimo Hakola reassessed the evidence for the assumed village scribes in Galilee behind the Q-document that Matthew and Luke used, and identified a more likely home place for them in the Judean setting.

Keynotes from outside CSTT were Catherine Hezser and Mladen Popović. Hezser challenged us to think in more precise terms about scribes who were craftsmen and sages who were learned writers of literary texts. Popović presented a model of “book publishing” in the ancient world and compared the Dead Sea Scrolls scribes to Roman literati and reading communities.

The 9th/10th century three-nave basilica in Uplistsikhe (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

The meeting organization was exceptional as CSTT members prepared to the meeting in a brainstorming session already in the spring. This was worthwhile as communication took place “behind the scenes” outside the meeting too. The organizers, Raimo Hakola, Paavo Huotari, and Jessi Orpana are now planning a publication on the basis of the meeting.   

Georgian scholars have long-standing contacts with Helsinki Septuagint scholars. We also learned from rich Georgian manuscript collections and their research. Inscriptions have been found in Iberia—as the former kingdom in Eastern Georgia was called—in five different languages, Persian, Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin.

CSTT director Martti Nissinen exploring the caves of the ancient rock town Uplistsikhe (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

Two excursion days at several archaeological sites and churches were a true climax for the week. In the end, a visit to the National Museum of Georgia as well as our exquisite evening meal experiences proved that Finland and Georgia are not quite the same: in Georgia, archaeological finds start from early hominids onwards—and fruit and wine do grow better in Georgia.

Exploring a local archaeological site (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).
Enjoying the amazing Georgian food culture (picture by Ville Mäkipelto).

Cel­eb­rat­ing the In­ter­na­tional Wo­men’s Day 2018 with a Wiki­pe­dia edit-a-thon

Text by Katri Rostedt.

On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, the Centres of Excellence ANEE and CSTT co-organized a Wikipedia edit-a-thon with the theme “Women and the Ancient Near East”. The aim was to improve both the Wikipedia pages on female scholars of the ancient Near East and on women in the ancient sources. The event took place in a casual but inspiring atmosphere, and the Wikimedia volunteers provided some editing training for the ones not so familiar with Wikipedia content creating. The event gathered 15 participants, who created in total 4 new Wikipedia articles, edited 9 existing ones, and added 2540 words to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is a web-based encyclopedia that is based on the openly editable content. The Wikipedia project is supported by Wikimedia Foundation that owns the Wikipedia.org –domain, and e.g. exercises outreach and controls the servers. The Foundation does not edit the Wikipedia content, though, but the volunteers (that is, anyone with internet access and a Wikipedia username) are taking care of producing and editing texts. Updating and correcting the information on Wikipedia is an easy and effective way to spread rightful knowledge; Wikipedia is a heavily trusted tool among the greater public, pupils, reporters and students.

This is the second time the Wikipedia edit-a-thon event relating to especially women and ancient near east has been organized in Finland, and a similar event was also held at the AAR/SBL annual meeting in Boston in 2017. One of the active persons behind these previous events is ANEE Team 3 vice-leader and CSTT member, Rick Bonnie, who finds these events very effective endeavors for advancing the knowledge both on Wikipedia and the gender gap: “Research has shown that ca. 90 percent of Wikipedia editors are male. This has a profound impact upon what content is being created and updated on Wikipedia. Hence, it is important that we as researchers try to make sure that the content of Wikipedia is not gender biased.”

The event was made successful with the editing training help of Wikimedia Finland volunteers, Heikki Kastemaa and Tia Kangaspunta. Heikki Kastemaa, Chair of Wikimedia Finland, hopes to narrow the gap between reading Wikipedia and actually editing its content:”Editing Wikipedia is easy, you just need a profile in order to do that. You can edit while you read.”

The researchers of ANEE and CSTT urge everyone to organize similar events for their communities. We are also happy to give you some tips, if needed!

Further reads

Article on Wikipedia about gender gap

For more information to get started with Wikipedia editing, look the introduction

Text originally published at the ANEE website.

Visiting lecture by Mark S. Smith: “The Three Bodies of God”

In recent years scholars and non-scholars alike have become interested in biblical references to the body of God. Smith sketches out a typology of three types of divine bodies based on different scales, locations, and settings in the religion of ancient Israel: (1) a natural “human” body; (2) a super-sized “liturgical” body; and (3) a “cosmic” or “mystical” body.

Mark S. Smith is the Helena Professor of Old Testament Language and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary. He specializes in Israelite religion and the Hebrew Bible, as well as the literature and religion of Late Bronze Age Ugarit. He has obtained master’s degrees from Catholic University of America, Harvard University, and Yale University, and PhD at Yale. He has also served as the Skirball Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University, and also taught at Yale and Saint Joseph’s University. A Roman Catholic layman, Smith also served as a visiting professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

The event will be on Wednesday 21.3 at 18:00 in the House of Science and Letters, hall 104 (Kirkkokatu 6, Helsinki).

The lecture will be held in English and is organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East. Welcome!

Link to the Facebook event

CSTT Annual Meeting 2018 on “Authority and Change” at Lammi

The CSTT 2018 Annual Meeting took place 8.-11. February at the Lammi Biological Station. The special theme Authority and Change was approached from different angles by the keynote speakers Joanna Töyräänvuori, Shana Zaia, Christoph Levin, and George Brooke. We also heard two interesting panels dealing with the definition of authority and the usage of edited texts in reconstructing history.

Most of the hands-on work took place in smaller workshops, bringing the CSTT teams together in different combinations. This way of working produced exciting new ideas and opportunities for collaboration between scholars dealing with different kinds of source materials.

The following pictures hopefully illuminate some of the exciting and fruitful moments in the snowy Lammi.

CSTT group photo with the beautiful Finnish winter milieu (photo by Lauri Laine).

The presentation by Tuukka Kauhanen, dealing with different levels of history that can be gleaned through edited texts (photo by Lauri Laine).
Participants at the CSTT Annual Meeting 2018 (photo by Lauri Laine).
One of the smaller workshops: teams 2 and 3 discussing text-critical cases (photo by Ville Mäkipelto).
The happy panel “What is Authority” with Jutta Jokiranta, Anneli Aejmelaeus, Martti Nissinen, Francis Borchardt, and Jason Silverman (photo by Ville Mäkipelto).
The concluding panel with the CSTT scientific advisory board members Kristin De Troyer and George Brooke, as well as Christoph Levin and our leader Martti Nissinen (photo by Lauri Laine).
Last moments (photo by Lauri Laine).

CFP “The Persian Empire, the Social Sciences, and Ancient Historiography” (Helsinki, Jan. 2019)

[Update] Deadline for abstracts extended to 3 June 2018.

The workshop “The Persian Empire, the Social Sciences, and Ancient Historiography” takes place at the University of Helsinki 9–11 January 2019. It is co-sponsored by the Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions and the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires.

Studying the first Persian Empire (550 – 330 BCE) is both frustratingly immense and too restrictive, with extant evidence often not directly answering the questions we wish to ask of it. For social and cultural dynamics, very careful methodology is necessary to tease out more sophisticated understandings. However, it is no longer sufficient merely to mine existing theory that appears to be adaptable; rather, ancient historians need better integration in the broader social scientific discourse. Therefore, the purpose of this workshop is twofold: 1) for ancient historians to engage with cutting edge social scientific work and find new, potentially fruitful angles; 2) to contribute to the development of social scientific theory through the ancient evidence.

The workshop intends to bring together historians and social scientists, to discuss how theory and historical data can be better brought into dialogue—and to explore ideas for potentially fruitful new angles and collaborations

The keynote speakers will be Prof. Charis Bouteri (Sociology, Paris), Prof. Eve Caroli (Economics, Paris), and Prof. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (Political Science, NYU).

Call for papers open

There is now a call for paper proposals for the workshop under the headings of sociology, economics, and political science, each day focuses on two general themes. For the sociology session we invite papers exploring social networks and social authority; for the economics session we invite papers on taxation and forced labor and forced migration; for the political science session we invite papers exploring imperial administration and elite identity.

Each day of the workshop will begin with a keynote lecture with discussion, followed by workshop of pre-circulated papers on the day’s themes, followed by a response and wider thematic discussion. It is our sincere hope that this format will enable as much evidence-based discussion of the theoretical issues as possible, as well as lay some groundwork for future collaboration between historians and social scientists.

Abstracts for 20-30 minute summarized papers should be submitted by 3 June 2018. Please indicate in the abstract the field heading (sociology, economics, or political science) and theme or themes. Abstracts should be submitted in pdf to jason.silverman@helsinki.fi. Accepted proposals will need to submit a draft paper for circulation to workshop participants before 15 December 2018. Abstracts from PhD candidates as well as senior scholars, and both historians and social scientists are warmly welcomed. Since the purpose of the workshop is exploratory and methodological, it is not envisioned that this event will result in an edited volume.

 

Queering Qohelet

By Marika Pulkkinen.

During the last decades, the LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered/transsexuality, Intersexed) movement and queer activists have focused on pragmatic issues such as same-sex marriage and rights for adoption for couples living in a same-sex partnership or marriage. The debates on these issues tend to center on questions of kinship: how do the current civil legislations around the world correspond to the reality in which many LGBTI people live? In biblical studies, the interpretation of specific passages that have been used to deny these rights have gained overwhelming attention.

Nevertheless, recent studies from queer hermeneutic perspectives have shifted in tone from apologetic to more descriptive, which in my view seems liberating. Not only the texts that have been used in these debates, but also other biblical texts are currently under examination. One possible way to read the ancient texts is to focus on the aesthetics from the embodied perspective. For instance, José Esteban Muñoz’s study Cruising Utopia. The Then and There of Queer Futurity (NYU Press, 2009) aims at construing or imagining a utopic queer future that is built on the past reality of the LGBTI people. Muñoz formulates his scope in almost eschatological tones: “[q]ueerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality. […] We may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality. We have never been queer, yet queerness exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future. The future is queerness’s domain.” (2009, 1).

This study can be seen as a counter force for Lee Edelman’s No Future. Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Duke University Press, 2004), which is also a study from a queer reading perspective. The study views the queer present as by definition lacking a future. Edelman criticizes heteronormative reproductive futurism. For him, “queerness names the side of those not ‘fighting for the children,’ the side outside the consensus by which all politics confirms the absolute value of reproductive futurism.” (2004, 3). Edelman uses the capitalized ‘Child’ “[…] as the emblem of futurity’s unquestioned value and purpose […]” (2004, 4).

In 2017 SBL annual meeting in Boston, the program unit of LGBTI/Queer hermeneutics chaired by professor Joseph A. Marchal (Ball State University) arranged a book review panel of Lee Edelman’s No Future, as well as an open call for papers reading the Book of Ecclesiastes from the perspective of queer experience and queer theory. The book of Ecclesiastes have been read from various queer hermeneutical perspectives (see, e.g., Jennifer Koosed 2006, cf. also the literature listed in her chapter in The Queer Bible Commentary). Particular attention has been paid to Qohelet’s “latent homosexuality” (cf. Frank Zimmermann, The Inner World of Qohelet, 1973). Taking a different path, Jared Beverly‘s presentation (Chicago Theological Seminary) explored Qohelet in dialogue with Lee Edelman’s No Future (2004), focusing on Edelman’s critique of “the (heteronormative) investment in the future that necessitates the sacrifice of (queer) present,” as Beverly put it. Qohelet is seen as lacking the view which is predominant elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible: a positive emphasis on the future through reproduction. Beverly sums up in his abstract that Qohelet’s “[…] perspective does not invest in the figure that Edelman calls ‘the Child’ because all of one’s investment in the future is ultimately futile anyway […].” Hence, Qohelet’s advice to enjoy the present (8:15) can be viewed in light of the tone of queer temporality.

The papers presented in the LGBTI/Queer hermeneutics section were firmly engaged in concepts used in the cultural studies as well as the recent phenomena and products of popular culture. In addition, the theoretical framework behind the papers was based on critical theory, semiotics, and poststructuralism. The discourse seemed to alienate a scholar like me who is more accustomed to take part in conversations of more textually (rather than theoretically) orientated approaches, but is also enough informed by the cultural gap between these approaches to not ask entirely naïve questions. This alienation prevented me from inquiring, e.g., how to locate a queer experience of parenthood? Are the LGBTI parents not part of “reproductive futurism”? Perhaps this kind of questions will be discussed more profoundly next year, as the program unit of LGBTI/Queer hermeneutics has a call for papers for formulating interpretive methods that emerge from the diversity of LGBTI/Q experience and thought focusing on kinship in SBL annual meeting 2018.

For further reading:

Jeremy Punt 2011, “Queer Theory, Postcolonial Theory, and Biblical Interpretation: A Preliminary Exploration of Some Intersectio” in Bible Trouble: Queer Reading at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship. Ken Stone & Theresa Hornsby (Eds.). Society of Biblical Literature: Semeia Studies. Atlanta, 2011, 321–341.

Jennifer L. Koosed, “Ecclesiastes/Qohelet” in The Queer Bible Commentary. Deryn Guest, Robert E. Goss, Mona West & Thomas Bohache (eds.) London: SCM Press, 2006, 338–355.)

Cover image: Frieze on the Royal Albert Hall depicting Qohelet 9:1, by GeographBot: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frieze_on_the_Royal_Albert_Hall_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1430602.jpg.

 

Helsinki-based CSTT at SBL and ASOR Annual Meetings 2017, Boston

This year, the combined annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religions takes place November 18–21 in Boston (Massachusetts, USA).

We have, once again, made the scheduling for your annual experience easier by gathering together all contributions from our Finland-based Centre of Excellence in Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions to these annual meetings. The contributions are grouped under four headings corresponding to the different research teams in our centre. The list includes contributions from our full and associate members. You can find the abstracts of the papers and more information on the sessions by using the excellent AAR/SBL online program book and mobile planner.

Prior to the AAR/SBL annual meeting, there is also the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Boston, which takes place November 15-18 in the Weston Bastin Waterfront hotel. CSTT contributes to that meeting too!

See you all in Boston!


TEAM 1. Society and Religion in the Ancient Near East

CSTT-director Martti Nissinen is a member of the editorial board S19-250 Writings from the Ancient World.

Nov 19 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Martti Nissinen: Presiding in Hebrew Scriptures and Cognate Literature; Pentateuch, theme: Empirical Models Challenging Biblical Criticism.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Martti Nissinen: “Healing Prophets at the Interface of Divination and Magic” in Hebrew Scriptures and Cognate Literature

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Izaak J. de Hulster: “The end(s) of the earth: an iconographic contribution to ancient geography and the visualisation of the ‘biblical world map'” in Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible.

Nov 17 – 8:20 – 10:00 AM (ASOR)
Raz Kletter: Chair in Meeting the Expenses: Ancient Near Eastern Economies I.

Nov 17 – 10:40 – 12:25 AM (ASOR)
Raz Kletter: “Major Changes on the Road to Small Change: Scale Weights, Hoards, and Modes of Exchange” in Meeting the Expenses: Ancient Near Eastern Economies II.

Nov 18 – 9:00 – 11:30 PM
Jason Silverman: “The Identity of Zemah in Zechariah” in Book of the Twelve Prophets.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Jason Silverman: “Josephus and the Supposed Rise of the Priesthood in Yehud” in Literature and History of the Persian Period.

Nov 17 – 8:20 – 10:20 AM (ASOR)
Saana Svärd and Aleksi Sahala: “Am I Seeing Things? Language Technology Approach to ‘Seeing’ in Akkadian” in Senses and Sensibility in the Near East I.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Saana Svärd: “Women in Temples and Cult of the Neo-Assyrian Empire” in Levites and Priests in History and Tradition.

Nov 17 – 4:20 – 6:20 PM (ASOR)
Gina Konstantopoulos: “Public and Private: the Role of Text and Ritual in Constructing and Maintaining Protected Spaces in Mesopotamia” in Ambiguity in the Ancient Near East: Mental Constructs, Material Records, and Their Interpretations III.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Sanna Saari: “‘With His Bare Hands’: Iconography of Unarmed Samson in Judges 14:5–6” in Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible.

Nov 17 – 4:20 – 6:20 PM (ASOR)
Helen Dixon: “The ‘Look’ and ‘Feel’ of Levantine Phoenician Sacred Space” in Art Historical Approaches to the Near East II.

Nov 17 – 7:00 – 8:15 PM (ASOR)
Helen Dixon and Geoff Emberling: Presiding at the ASOR Programs Committee.

Nov 19 – 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Helen Dixon, Hanna Tervanotko, Sarah Shectman, Jacqueline Vayntrub, and Krista Dalton: “Wiki, Women, and Bible Workshop and Happy Hour” – Wikipedia editing session hosted by the Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, the Student Advisory Board, and Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.


TEAM 2. Text and Authority

Team 2 leader Anneli Aejmelaeus is a member of the editorial board S19-105a TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Anneli Aejmelaeus: Presiding in Textual Criticism of Samuel-Kings.

Nov 20 – 4:00 – 6:30 PM
Anneli Aejmelaeus: “Hexaplaric Recension and Hexaplaric Readings in 1 Samuel” in Textual Criticism of Samuel-Kings.

Nov 20 – 4:00 – 6:30 PM
Jessi Orpana: “The Transmission of Creation Traditions in the Late Second Temple Period” in Transmission of Traditions in the Second Temple Period.

Nov 19 – 9:00 – 11:30 PM
Katja Kujanpää: “Uninvited Metalepsis? Paul’s Diverse Ways of Receiving the Original Context of Quotations from the Pentateuch” in Intertextuality in the New Testament.

Nov 18 – 9:00 – 11:30 PM
Marika Pulkkinen: “Paul’s Quoting Technique in Comparison to Later Rabbinic Methods” in Intertextuality in the New Testament.

Nov 18 – 1:00 – 3:30 PM
Miika Tucker: “Further Lexical Studies Regarding the Bisectioning of Septuagint Jeremiah” in International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies.


TEAM 3. Literary Criticism in the Light of Documented Evidence

Team 3 leader Juha Pakkala is a member of the editorial board S19-105a TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism.

Nov 18 – 4:00 – 6:30 PM
Juha Pakkala: “The Origin of the Earliest Edition of Deuteronomy” in Book of Deuteronomy.

Nov 19 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Juha Pakkala: “Empirical Models and Biblical Criticism” in Hebrew Scriptures and Cognate Literature; Pentateuch.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Mika Pajunen: “Differentiation of Form, Theme, and Function in Psalms and Psalm Collections” in Transmission of Traditions in the Second Temple Period.

Nov 20 – 4:00 – 6:30 AM
Mika Pajunen: “The Textual Criticism of the Text of Kings and Chronicles in the Hebrew Text of Ben Sira” in Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible.

Nov 18 – 4:00 – 6:30 AM
Francis Borchardt: “The Framing of Female Knowledge in the Prologue of the Sibylline Oracles” in Pseudepigrapha.

Nov 21 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Francis Borchardt: Presiding in Hebrew Bible and Political Theory.

Nov 19 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Ville Mäkipelto: “Does the Samaritan Book of Joshua Provide Evidence for the Textual History of Josh 24?” in Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible.

Nov 19 – 4:00 – 7:00 AM
Timo Tekoniemi: “Identifying kaige and proto-Lucianic readings in 2 Kings with the help of Old Latin manuscript La115” in International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies.

Nov 18 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Reinhard Müller: Respondent in Deuteronomistic History; Book of Deuteronomy, theme: Deuteronomy 1–3: The Beginning of History or the Introduction to a Separate Book?

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Reinhard Müller: “The Making of Composite Psalms: Documented Evidence, Hypothetical Cases, Methodological Reflections” in Transmission of Traditions in the Second Temple Period.

Nov 18 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Urmas Nõmmik: “Remarks on the Formation of the First Isaiah through Diachronic Poetological Lens” in Formation of Isaiah.

Nov 20 – 4:00 – 6:30 AM
Urmas Nõmmik: “The Ben Sira Masada Scroll and the Transmission Process of the Book of Job” in Transmission of Traditions in the Second Temple Period.


TEAM 4. Society and Religion in Late Second Temple Judaism

Nov 19 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Jutta Jokiranta: Presiding at Mind, Society, and Religion in the Biblical World, theme: Supercooperators: Costly Signaling Theory and Its Applications to Biblical Studies.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Raimo Hakola: “Jesus and the Galilean Poor in the Context of Ancient Representations of Poverty” in Historical Jesus.

Nov 16 – 2:00 – 4:00 AM (ASOR)
Tine Rassalle, Rick Bonnie, and Annalize Rheeder: “Architecture and Stratigraphy of the Horvat Kur Synagogue Area” in The Synagogue at Horvat Kur.

Nov 20 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Jessica Keady: “An Initial Exploration of Positioning Theory and Gender in the War Scroll” in Mind, Society, and Religion in the Biblical World.

Nov 20 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Jessica Keady: “Masculinities, War, and Purity: The Positions of Non-Priestly Men in the Dead Sea Scrolls” in Levites and Priests in History and Tradition.

Nov 18 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Elisa Uusimäki: “Wisdom, Revelation, and Textuality: Insights from Ancient Judaea” in Prophetic Texts and Their Ancient Contexts.

Nov 20 – 4:00 – 6:30 AM
Elisa Uusimäki and Anna-Liisa Tolonen: “4 Maccabees: Ancestral Perfection in the Roman Diaspora” in Hellenistic Judaism.

Nov 18 – 1:00 – 3:30 AM
Hanna Tervanotko: Presiding at Prophetic Texts and Their Ancient Contexts, theme: Textualization of Revelation.

Nov 19 – 9:00 – 11:30 AM
Hanna Tervanotko: “‘They opened the Book of Law’: Tracing Divinatory Use of Torah in 1 Maccabees” in Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature.

 

Recent Dead Sea Scroll Forgeries – Academic Community Faces New Ethical Dilemmas

By Jutta Jokiranta.

Recent “Post-2002 Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments” have created a lively debate and brought forward new challenges to which the academic community does not yet have ready-made policies.

In summer 2017, SBL International Meeting in Berlin (Qumran and Dead Sea Scrolls Unit) held sessions on “Tracing and Facing Possibility of Forgeries: Methodology, Ethics, Policies.” Seven papers  discussed the question of authenticity of recently surfaced Dead Sea Scrolls-labelled fragments that belong to private or institutional collections.

CSTT was involved in livestreaming those sessions, which are available for viewing on our YouTube-channel. Several authors have published their doubts of authenticity in the recent Dead Sea Discoveries 24 (2017).

Sidnie Crawford, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Presiding
Kipp Davis, Trinity Western University
“Scaffolding Non-Overlapping Magisteria: Philology, Science and Journalism in the Study and Publication of Non-Provenanced Judaean Desert Manuscripts”
Michael Langlois, Université de Strasbourg
“Assessing the Authenticity of DSS Fragments Through Palaeographical Analysis”
Torleif Elgvin, NLA University College, Oslo
“Copying Modern Text Editions in the Post-2002 Scrolls Fragments”
Ira Rabin, BAM Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing
“The Contribution of Material Analysis to the Identification of Forged Writing Materials”

Jutta Jokiranta, University of Helsinki, Presiding
Sidnie White Crawford, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Ryan Stokes, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Looking for Forgeries in the Southwestern Baptist Fragments”
Årstein Justnes, Universitetet i Agder
“The Post-2002 and the Post-2009 Dead Sea Scrolls-like Fragments: A Timeline”
Andrew B. Perrin, Trinity Western University
“Ignoring, Engaging, or Incorporating Non-Provenanced Aramaic Fragments in Secondary Source Publications and Research Projects”

Questions around these topics are many: What are the ways to identify forgeries? Which features are decisive, which are suggestive? Should unprovenanced materials be studied and published in the first place, and if yes, on which terms? What should be done when scholars disagree? Should new fragments be listed among previous discoveries if there are doubts about their authenticity, and if yes, how? What should be done with already published materials if suspicion is raised? Which terms should a scholar agree if asked to evaluate new material? How should the academic community take initiative and bear responsibility and what can be done in legal and ethical terms?

An individual scholar can hardly be an expert in all aspects related to provenance and authenticity issues, and new cooperation and team work are needed. The SBL Annual Meeting in Nov 2017 will have several sessions dealing with provenance and forgery questions (collected here). Next summer SBL International Meeting 2018 in Helsinki will continue the discussion; call for papers for the session on “Ethics and Policies regarding Unprovenanced Materials” is open.

Some recent links:

University of Agder site collecting data and publishing observations and viewpoints: https://lyingpen.com/

Trinity Western University Dead Sea Scrolls Institute YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpt-jmAbCL1_2i6Oj1VBWEQ

Science Magazine article on Museum of the Bible: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/10/can-museum-bible-overcome-sins-past

Times of Israel article on Dead Sea Scrolls scam: https://www.timesofisrael.com/dead-sea-scrolls-scam-dozens-of-recently-sold-fragments-are-fakes-experts-warn/

 

Uusi kokoelma Qumranin tekstejä tutkijoille ja tekstien historiasta kiinnostuneille

Huomenna 27.9. julkaistaan Gaudeamuksen kustantama Kuolleenmeren kirjakääröt: kriittinen suomennosvalikoima (toim. Raija Sollamo ja Mika Pajunen). Kirjan julkistamistilaisuus järjestetään Helsingin yliopiston Teologisen tiedekunnan tiedekuntasalissa (Vuorikatu 3, 5. krs.) kl. 13-14. Paikalla on huippuyksikömme tiimiin kolme kuuluva dosentti TT Mika Pajunen, joka esittelee kirjan digitaalista ja printtiversiota.

Kokoelma on tutkijoiden, asiantuntijoiden ja muiden aiheesta tarkemmin kiinnostuneiden käyttöön suunnattu. Se sisältää uusina suomennoksina Qumranista 1940-1950 -luvuilla löydettyjä tekstejä, jotka julkaistiin jo aiemmin teoksessa Kuolleenmeren kadonnut kansa. Tämä tutkijoille suunnattu painos avaa tarkemmin tekstien löytöhistoriaa, ajoitusta, tulkintaa ja sisältöä. Kirjoittajat ovat johtavia suomalaisia Kuolleenmeren kääröjen tutkijoita.

Tervetuloa mukaan oppimaan lisää kirjan julkistamistilaisuuteen!

Lisätietoja kirjasta löydät kustantajan verkkosivuilta. Katso myös aikaisempi blogikirjoitus kyseisten tekstien suomennoskokoelmasta.