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Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs -

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    The Sahara desert is one of the harshest, most inhospitable places on the planet, covering much of North Africa in some 3.6 million square miles of rock and windswept dunes. But it wasn't always so desolate and parched. Primitive rock paintings and fossils excavated from the region suggest that the Sahara was once a relatively verdant oasis, where human settlements and a diversity of plants and animals thrived. A new analysis of...

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    During the Stone Age ancestral humans lived with a variety of animal species along what was an area of wetlands in the middle of the Jordanian desert. The site, in the town of Azraq Basin, has been excavated and has revealed an abundance of tools and animal bones from up to 250,000 years ago, leading to better understanding of how ancestral humans have adapted to this changing environment. Excavation of a Middle Paleolithic site at...

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    A 2,000-year-old building where Roman gladiators in Pompeii trained for combat has opened to the public eight years after its collapse following rainfall. Credit: Cesare Abbate/ANSAThe Pompeii archaeological site said the public can tour the Schola Armaturarum on Thursdays. Experts will explain their painstaking restoration of frescoes that decorated the site where gladiators trained before combat in the ancient Roman...

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    Archaeologists in Mexico have found the first temple to the pre-Hispanic deity Xipe Totec, a god of fertility and war who was worshipped by sacrificing and skinning captives. A skull-like stone carving and a stone trunk depicting the Flayed Lord, a pre-Hispanic fertility god depicted as a skinned human corpse, are stored after being excavated from the Ndachjian–Tehuacan archaeological site in Tehuacan, Puebla state, where...

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  • 01/06/19--23:15: Aanval & Verdediging
  • Op vrijdag 11 januari vindt in theaterzaal Casino in Koksijde de studiedag ‘Aanval & Verdediging’  plaats. Deze dag wordt georganiseerd naar aanleiding van het pensioen van Marc Dewilde, met de steun van de gemeente Koksijde, het Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed, AWA en CO7.

    Bekijk het programma van de studiedag en schrijf je nog snel in via

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    André Puéjean, Les Alpes Graies et Poenines à l'époque romaine : Fin du Ier siècle avant J-C - milieu du Ve siècle, Nîmes, 2018.

    Éditeur : Nombre 7 Editeur
    496 pages
    ISBN : 978-2-36832-432-5
    35 €

    Préface de Michel Gayraud. Troisième édition revue et augmentée.
    À l'époque romaine, les Alpes Graies comprenaient la Tarentaise, le Beaufortain et le Haut-Faucigny, peuplés par les Ceutrons ; les Alpes Poenines correspondaient au Valais suisse occupé par les Valaisans.
    Conquises par Auguste, les Alpes Graies et la Vallée Poenine formèrent à partir de Claude deux provinces procuratoriennes avec Aime et Martigny pour capitales. Vers la fin du IIe siècle, ces deux provinces furent réunies pour n'en former qu'une seule sous l'autorité d'un même procurateur siégeant à Aime. Au IVe siècle, la capitale provinciale fut transférée à Moûtiers et le gouverneur prit le titre de praeses. Vers le milieu du Ve siècle, l'occupation burgonde mit un terme définitif à la province romaine des Alpes Graies et Poenines.


    Source : CRISES

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    via Philippine Inquirer, 22 Dec 2018: An editorial by a friend Kate Tantuico on the recent return of the Balangiga Bells. Tantuico is also co-convening a session on Heritage Management Law and Policy in this year's SPAFACON.

    The post The Balangiga Bells and the right to self-determination appeared first on SEAArch - Southeast Asian Archaeology.

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    via Antiquities Coalition, December 2018: Prof. Steven Gallagher is the other co-convener on the session about Heritage Management Law and Policy in this year's SPAFACON. Full policy paper in the link below.

    The post How to Successfully Fight the Illicit Trade in Stolen Art and Antiquities in Asia? Remove an Antiquated English Law from Hong Kong’s Legal System appeared first on SEAArch - Southeast Asian Archaeology.

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  • 01/07/19--01:20: Tenth anniversary of AWOL
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    There have been a number of interesting blog posts and articles about pedagogy and biblical studies, with a number of very creative assignments and activities having been shared. Many of these have appeared over the past year or so through the website Ancient Jew Review, but a few are from elsewhere. Since the new semester […]

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  • 01/07/19--02:54: Berenike Trogodytika
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    Forwarded for Paolo Monella:

    Applications are invited for the “Digital Humanities Winter School Palermo 2019” (#DHWSPA19) that will take place at the University of Palermo, Italy, from March 4-7 2019.

    The winter school is sponsored by the Associazione per l’Informatica Umanistica e la Cultura Digitale, and by the Departments Scienze Umanistiche and Culture e Società and the Dottorato di ricerca internazionale in Studi Culturali Europei | Europäische Kulturstudien of the University of Palermo.

    During the first day, talks by Fabio Ciotti, Vito Matranga, Raul Mordenti, Tito Orlandi, Elena Pierazzo, Roberto Rosselli Del Turco will provide an initial introduction to the digital humanities and Simona Stoyanova will lead a 2-hours workshop on TEI/EpiDoc markup.

    In the following days, three 7-hours workshops will provide a hands-on introduction to:
    1. TEI XML markup per scholarly digital editions (Luciano Longo);
    2. Python programming for text and TEI XML analysis (Paolo Monella);
    3. querying and visualization of a TEI XML edition (Tiziana Mancinelli).

    A detailed program, the syllabi of the workshops and further information are available on the winter school website

    Participation is free of charge and open to students working on their BA or MA thesis, PhD students and scholars. No previous specific digital skills are required. Please apply by filling in the form in and uploading a CV (including an optional publication lists) by January 15, 2019. Priority will be given to PhD students and to those with research projects including digital humanities methods. Acceptance will be communicated by January 20.

    The language of the winter school will be Italian, with the exception of the TEI/EpiDoc workshop held by Simona Stoyanova, which will be in English.

    [Italian version in]

    All best,

    Luciano Longo
    Paolo Monella
    Tiziana Mancinelli

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    1. J. Louis Martyn and Two-Level Drama in the Gospel of John


    The Society of Biblical Literature’s Annual Meeting always offers a whirlwind of sessions catering to every niche of biblical scholarship. Yet sometimes the most enlightening are those taking the pulse of current conversation in the tried-and-true subject areas. I benefited from just such a session in the Johannine Literature group, as this year marked the fiftieth anniversary of J. Louis Martyn’s seminal History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel. This watershed publication was commemorated by Craig Koester, R. Alan Culpepper, Adele Reinhartz, and M. C. de Boer. Martyn’s contribution was further explored in a session featuring fresh readings of John 9 informed by his essential work on the compelling pericope. I found myself inspired by such a significant landmark in the Johannine conversation to contribute my own perspective on this memorable microcosm of post-Martyn discussion. With a wink and a nod to Martyn’s famous ‘two-level drama’, interweaving the gospel’s story of Jesus with the story of the ‘Johannine community’ that produced it, I propose here my take on a different kind of dual-level dynamic: a ‘two-level drama’ of scriptural interpretation.


    1. A Two-Level Drama of Scriptural Interpretation in John 9


    Though lacking explicit reference to ἡ γραφή (‘the Scripture’) or a direct citation thereof, Scripture’s looming presence in the pericope can be nonetheless delineated via a dual-level dynamic between emplotted and compositional roles for scriptural interpretation. On the first level, Scripture functions within the narrative by motivating the plot’s central conflict over scriptural interpretation. On the second level, scriptural allusion resolves this emplotted tension between characters with the author’s own scriptural interpretation compositionally crafted into the passage itself. This twist on a ‘two-level drama’ in John 9 develops through a three-act sequence: Act One (vv. 1-7), Act Two (vv. 8-34), and Act Three (vv. 35-41).[1]


    Act One (vv. 1-7)


    The emplotted dimension of Scripture’s function frames the narrative with two key features. First, light imagery depicting Jesus as ‘revelation’ and sight/blindness imagery representing believing and unbelieving responses to revelation set the stage with scriptural allusion to Isaianic quotations addressing spiritual blindness to revelation in John 12:37-41 (Isaiah 53:1, 6:10). On this backdrop, the disciples’ enquiry into the cause of the blind man’s condition (“who sinned?”, v. 2) introduces the second key feature delineating Scripture’s in-narrative role: identifying the ‘sinner’ as the one who has transgressed the Law. Jesus’ response redirects this question to his work as revelatory light, which alone can remedy the condition of spiritual blindness: “It was not that this man sinned…but that the works of God might be made manifest in him…I am the light of the world” (vv. 3-5). A tension between Jesus as revelation and interpretation of the Law in light of this revelation is thus sparked in the opening exchange. The ensuing healing (vv. 6-7) invites in Act Two not only the attention of the man’s community (vv. 8-12) but more importantly that of Jesus’ recurring opponents in the Gospel of John: the Jewish authorities (vv. 13-24). In these unfolding interactions, Scripture’s motivation of intra-character conflict grows even more conspicuous.


    Act Two (vv. 8-34)


    Act Two focusses further on identifying the ‘sinner’, narrowing the first act’s revelatory symbolism to Scripture’s emplotted role in dispute over transgression of the Law. Jesus’ conspicuous absence in these verses foregrounds the language of Sabbath controversy (vv. 14, 16) and invocation of Moses (vv. 28-29) that echoes prior encounters (esp. 5:1-47). The conflict is thereby cast in terms of the Jewish authorities’ claim to interpret Scripture in the form of the Law.[2] The once-blind man (vv. 13-17, 24-34), as well as his parents (vv. 18-23), are interrogated in the authorities’ desperate endeavour to condemn Jesus a sinner (vv. 16, 24).[3] Invoking Moses to this end, however, ironically proves their undoing: “…we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from” (vv. 28-29). Doggedly clinging to misinterpretation of Moses’ testimony in Scripture, upon which their hopes are set and by which they will be judged (5:45-47), they fail to recognize Scripture’s continuity with the one of whom Moses wrote (5:46, cf. 1:45). Scripture’s function in the plot is thus made explicit in the Jewish authorities’ ultimate failure as scriptural interpreters. They are unable to ‘see’ the continuity between Jesus as revelation and the Law as ‘scriptural revelation’. Their exasperated dismissal of the once-blind man in v. 34 then leads into the author’s clever subversion of his characters’ misinterpretation of Scripture with his own proper interpretation of Isaiah in the pericope’s closing act.


    Act Three (vv. 35-41)


    Act Three climactically culminates my proposed two-level drama by shifting Scripture’s role from the ‘emplotted’ level to the ‘compositional’ level. This final act mirrors the first by highlighting the symbolic language of believing sight and unbelieving blindness with even more pronounced allusion to the imminent Isaianic citations of 12:37-41: sight (ὁράω, 9:37; 12:40 / βλέπω 9:39, 41 / ὀφθαλμός, 12:40), blindness (τυφλός, 9:39-41 / τυφλόω, 12:40), and belief (πιστεύω, 9:35-36, 38; 12:37, 38, 39).[4] These striking parallels betray the deliberate hand of the Johannine author, who artfully resolves the debate between his characters with a display of compositional prowess. The second act abruptly halts unresolved in v. 34 with the religious authorities thwarted in their attempt to condemn Jesus a sinner via misinterpretation of Scripture. Jesus’ closing address then admonishes the once-blind man to believe in the one he has seen (vv. 35-39), while condemning his opponents as those who claim to see but are actually blind (vv. 39-41). Jesus has appeared in this passage as revelatory light, but those blinded by unbelief from seeing his continuity with scriptural revelation are cleverly used to illustrate the author’s own scriptural interpretation of Isaiah: “Though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him…For again Isaiah said, ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart’” (12:37-40). Through Isaianic allusion to Isaianic citation, Scripture’s compositional function further manifests a ‘two-level drama’ of the Johannine use of Scripture in this quintessential text.


    III. ‘Emplotted’ and ‘Compositional’ Levels in the Johannine Use of Scripture


    What does this two-level drama of scriptural interpretation in John 9 ultimately demonstrate? Interestingly, the pericope’s conclusion does not resolve as would perhaps be expected. Though Jesus has previously countered the Jewish authorities on their invocation of Moses and his writings, he does not do so here. Rather, the conflict shifts entirely from the points of reference thus far characterising the emplotted level of Scripture’s function. It is not via intra-character debate over familiar terms of Sabbath or Moses that the authorities’ misinterpretation of Scripture is subverted. Instead, the author contrasts his characters’ failure with his own successful appropriation of Scripture for composing the gospel itself. The emplotted role of Scripture is thus resolved in a way that highlights Scripture’s compositional use by the gospel author. My thanks are due to Martyn’s remarkable legacy for the helpful language of ‘two-level drama’, which I believe offers here new insights into the use of Scripture in John 9.


    Written by Julia Lindenlaub University of Edinburgh



    [1] Preference for this ‘three-act’ linear structure of heightening tension (rather than a chiastic structure) is persuasively advocated by Dorothy Lee in her analysis of this passage as a ‘symbolic narrative’: The Symbolic Narratives of the Fourth Gospel: The Interplay of Form and Meaning (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1994), 161-87.

    [2] Martin Asiedu-Peprah designates the action of 9:1-41 as “the continuation and the development of the ongoing juridical controversy (5:1-47) between Jesus and his opponents on the issues of the Sabbath law and Jesus’ identity” (Johannine Sabbath Conflicts as Juridical Controversy, WUNT 2/132 [Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001], 118-19). The abundant parallels between these two passages not only affirm the importance of scriptural interpretation in both, but also highlight the interesting divergence from intra-character resolution here in John 9. That Jesus does not explicitly address Scripture’s interpretation in 9:35-41 (contra 5:31-47) places center stage the author’s own ability to rightly interpret Scripture by alluding to Isaiah.

    [3] Alicia Myers helpfully observes that in identifying Jesus as the sinner, the religious authorities implicitly conclude that he is “incompatible with Scripture” (Characterizing Jesus: A Rhetorical Analysis on the Fourth Gospel’s Use of Scripture in its Presentation of Jesus, LNTS 458 [London: T&T Clark, 2012], 151).

    [4] Among a number of essays on the programmatic import of Isaiah for the Johannine author, Catrin Williams has recently discussed Isaianic themes of light, sight, and revelation in: “Johannine Christology and Prophetic Traditions: The Case of Isaiah,” in Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism: Royal, Prophetic, and Divine Messiahs, ed. Benjamin E. Reynolds and Gabriele Boccaccini, AJEC 106 (Leiden: Brill, 2018), 92-123.

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    There’s been some interesting buzz at both the Archaeological Institute of America’s annual meeting and the Modern Language Association annual meeting about the monograph and publishing in an increasing digital world. I’m not sure that I have anything profound to add to this, but as a way of keeping track of the conversation and taking some notes, I do have a few thoughts. Some of this was prompted by the excellent post at the Society for Classical Studies blog on how to pitch your book to a publisher at the annual meetings. 

    First, the monograph. Across various twitter chains this past week, people have commented that the monograph continues to be the standard for tenure in Mediterranean archaeology and Classics (and a similar idea prevails, I think, in history and, I would guess, in English). As a Mediterraneanist who neither had a monograph before tenure, nor has one now, the idea that the monograph plays this key role in our discipline, strikes me as a bit foreign and possibly outdated. This isn’t to suggest that I don’t venerate the monograph as much as the next person! In fact, writing a monograph remains a “bucket list” thing for me, and, as someone who often struggles to sustain an argument over the course of an email, writing a monograph is something that I only admire. In fact, some of my favorite books are monographs and I spend as much time reading monographs as anything else.

    That all being said, I’m fairly certain that most academic positions in the U.S. do not require a monograph for tenure since most tenure-track academic positions in the U.S. are at second tier state schools, junior colleges, or small colleges and universities that have rather heavy teaching and service loads, do not reward or support research consistently, and generally welcome active engaged faculty, but also recognize a wide range of scholarly activity. This isn’t a value judgement on folks who write and love monographs. The other trend, of course, is that there are fewer and fewer tenure track positions in the U.S. Of course, contingent, adjunct, and term faculty can and do produce meaningful research and monographs, this is only rarely part of their formal obligations for their faculty position. In other words, most people working these days in the academy do not have to write monographs. 

    Second, publishing monographs – from the publishers’ perspective at least – is very expensive. A typical monograph runs $100 per page (around $30,000) according to a famous Ithaka report. This expense, of course, includes staff, marketing, design, editing, production, and various other necessary work to develop, publish, and promote a monograph. As another twitter thread pointed out, if a monograph doesn’t sell ~450 copies (or so) a publisher often takes a loss (although I would suspect this varies over the publishing landscape) and this loss increases the cost of future monographs, I would guess. 

    To be clear, a well-produced, edited, and designed monograph is a beautiful thing and often plays a role in my decision to buy it. At the same time, I probably only buy 10-15 monographs per year. While I recognize that individuals are rarely the target audience of a bound academic book these days, I think it speaks to changing ways of engaging with academic writing.

    I would also estimate that 90% of my professional reading in any given year is done digitally. Digital reading, for me at least, is a bit different from analogue reading. I tend to be much less likely to be sucked into the linear argument offered by the monograph and much more likely to mine the book for references, for supporting arguments, and for particular insights on more narrow topics. The ability to digitally search a book for references or topics and to skim a book more efficiently tempts me to find what I need and move on. This may not be a good thing (and at times I feel bad for the authors who I know spent years weaving an intricate argument over multiple chapters), but I think that the growing popularity of edited volumes, “companions” and “handbooks,” and collection which are designed to be easily disaggregated and tend to offer focuses studies addressing particular issues rather than sweeping arguments, speaks to changing reading and research habits among academics as well as an approach to publishing that sees such volumes as a way to manage risk, create subscription-based service for well-known collections, and generate revenue from individuals who might be inclined to purchase a single article from a larger collection.

    The changes in how what we produce as scholars and how we read and research brings me to the issue digital, open access publishing in academia. Open access academic publishing has a few challenges. First, since publishing a monograph is expensive, publishing an open access monograph for which the opportunities to recoup costs are minimal, requires either a subvention or a publishing process that is significantly less costly. Most like, open access publishing will require both of these things. Open access publishing also faces an uphill battle in terms of credibility. Between predatory publishers who primarily exist to harvest subventions to issues with quality control, distribution, and marketing, the standard metrics by which we evaluate the quality of academic publications remain difficult to reconcile with the open access landscape as it currently stands. In other words, open access publishing in general has problems that are significant enough to it from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with traditional academic houses in the publishing ecosystem. Finally, open access publishing almost always means digital publishing. As the digital environment tends to support different forms of reading and writing, digital monographs remains in a distinct minority of open access works (although some presses and platforms are working to change this!). If the monograph is perceived as a gold standard in academia, then the lack of prestige among open access publishers and the disjunction between digital reading practices and the kinds of arguments present in traditional monographs, will reinforce each other. Digital open access monographs seem to me to be a hard sell in the current academic environment. 

    Moreover, to manage the expense of open access publishing, more cooperative and collaborative models between authors and publisher come into play. At my press, The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, we work more closely with our authors and often share responsibility for various parts of the production process that a traditional press might take out of a scholar’s hands. This is neither a good or a bad thing as many scholar’s appreciate the hands-on approach to publishing their work, but at the same time, it is different from the conventional publishing experience and scholars who are already being pushed to maximize every minute of their professional lives, might find the craft approach to publishing incompatible with assembly line expectations.    


    As a bit of a coda, there are some things that we as scholars can to do to help fortify the open access publishing. While open access publishers will always welcome good quality and appropriate manuscripts, I, at least, can understand why scholars might chose to take a conventional manuscript to a conventional publisher especially if tenure, promotion, or performance incentives depend on these publications.

    This does not stop anyone from CITING open access works. In an era of metrics, citations form one of the key ways that an open access publisher earns prestige. In traditional academic practices, however, citing open access ensures that your readers can access your references. 


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    Excavation work led by the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute team has unearthed a...

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    Maria Nowak, Wills in the Roman empire: a documentary approach

    • Hard cover
    • 978-83-938425-2-0


    The present book deals with the testamentary practice as seen through papyri, tablets, doctrinal and literary sources, manuscript tradition, etc. mostly in the period after the constitutio Antoniniana. The aim of Wills in the Roman empire: a documentary approach is to reconstruct how people applied law and how testamentary practice looked like in everyday life: how wills were made and opened, what was the meaning of particular dispositions. These questions constitute a part of a wider discussion concerning the level of knowledge and application of Roman law in the provinces after the edict of Caracalla. The book is supplemented with four Appendices, where all wills from the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods are collected for the first time in scholarly literature.
    Complete book


    Review from Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.01.02
    Review from Latomus (2018), 77(1)

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    Tomasz Derda, P. Bodmer I Recto: A Land List from the Panopolite Nome in Upper Egypt (after AD 216/7)

    • Hard cover
    • XXIV + 200 pages
    • 50 figures
    • ISBN 978-83-925919-3-1


    In its collection Bibliotheca Bodmeriana possesses a papyrus, whose verso contains Books V and VI of the Iliad (published by Victor Martin, Papyrus Bodmer I. Homère, Iliade chants 5 et 6, Cologny – Genève 1954). The document published in the present volume was written on the recto of the papyrus, which was subsequently used to make copies of the Iliad. The preserved fragments of P. Bodmer 1 recto do not allow us to precisely establish the character of the document or to answer the question as to whether this character was identical in all sections. An overview of the contents clearly indicates that the document was not a land register sensu stricto, although it contains some elements typical of documents of this kind.
    Complete book
    Papyri photos

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