Author Archives: matthewnovenson

University of Edinburgh Research Network in Jewish Studies



(Matthew Novenson) In a previous post on our recent guest lectures by Prof. Guy Stroumsa and Prof. Sarah Stroumsa, I mentioned the Research Network in Jewish Studies at the University of Edinburgh, a newly established venture that deserves a post of its own. The RNJS comprises some thirty-odd academic staff from a range of disciplines in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (including biblical studies, classics, history, sociology, literature, European languages, and other fields). My colleague Dr. Hannah Holtschneider, Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies in the School of Divinity, secured initial funding for and leads the project, which has a number of valuable initiatives in the works: public lectures, specialist workshops, a database of local Jewish archival materials, and, perhaps most exciting, a forthcoming taught MSc degree in Jewish Studies. Watch the RNJS web site in the months to come.


This week at Edinburgh: Stroumsa and Stroumsa


(Matthew Novenson) Today and tomorrow (11-12 March 2013), we are enjoying a series of public lectures and seminar papers from Prof. Guy Stroumsa (Oxford University) and Prof. Sarah Stroumsa (Hebrew University) under the aegis of the Edinburgh Research Network in Jewish Studies, which is expertly led by our colleague Dr. Hannah Holtschneider. Today at 5:15 Guy Stroumsa is giving a lecture entitled “Teaching the Abrahamic Religions: A Subversive Enterprise?” And tomorrow at the same time Sarah Stroumsa is giving a lecture entitled “The Andalusi Connection: Muslim and Jewish Thinkers in Islamic Spain.” Both events are free and open to the public. Follow the links to book a place.


This week at Edinburgh: Schaper on monotheism and violence



(Matthew Novenson) This week’s Edinburgh Biblical Studies Research Seminar (Friday, 11:15am, Martin Hall, New College) features a paper from Prof. Joachim Schaper of the University of Aberdeen. Schaper’s expertise ranges from ancient Israelite history to Judaism in Hellenistic Egypt, and he is perhaps best known for his monographs Eschatology in the Greek Psalter (Mohr Siebeck, 1995) and Priester und Leviten im achämenidischen Juda (Mohr Siebeck, 2000). The title of his seminar paper is “Does monotheism breed violence? A look at the Israelite sources, in dialogue with Jan Assmann.” As always, visitors are very welcome.

Trip to the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow


(Matthew Novenson) This week at the University of Edinburgh is Innovative Learning Week, a mid-term week set aside for a range of beyond-the-classroom academic opportunities. Among a number of offerings from the School of Divinity, Helen Bond and I are taking a group of undergraduate and postgraduate students to the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow. The main attraction for us is a special exhibition on the Antonine Wall, the lesser known, more northerly counterpart to Hadrian’s Wall. Built under the order of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius in the early 140s C.E., the wall crosses Scotland from the Clyde in the west to the Forth in the east. Remains of it are still visible here and there across the central belt, and the Hunterian has a number of very well preserved milestones, votive altars, and other Roman artifacts from the construction. We also plan to see the museum’s collection of Ptolemaic and Roman coins (including some Tyrian shekels and Judaea capta coins) and artifacts from John Garstang’s excavation of Jericho in the 1930s, among other things. In short, lots of material remains pertinent to ancient Jewish and Christian history, right here in Scotland. 

St. Andrews Graduate Conference on Sacred Texts in Their Socio-Political Contexts


(Matthew Novenson) This summer, I will be giving a plenary lecture on the political context of the New Testament at the St. Andrews Graduate Conference for Biblical and Early Christian Studies, whose topic for 2013 is “Sacred Texts in Their Socio-Political Contexts” (7-11 July, coincident with the International SBL in St. Andrews). My distinguished counterparts are Nathan MacDonald on the Hebrew Bible, Loren Stuckenbruck on the pseudepigrapha and Qumran scrolls, and Candida Moss on early Christian texts. The organizers (Dan Batovici, Jamie Davies, and John Dunne) are accepting paper proposals until 1 March; follow the link above for particulars. CSCO readers may want to combine a trip to the CSCO Conference on Peter in Earliest Christianity (4-6 July) with a jaunt across the Firth of Forth for this interesting conference.