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Literary Allusion in the Bible (Book of Daniel): SBL/AAR 2012

Posted on by Brooke

One of my two proposals to SBL/AAR 2012 has been accepted, with the other still unreported. "SBL/AAR" is the annual meeting of two societies, the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion.

I will be presenting in the Book of Daniel consultation on "Allusion to Isaiah in Daniel 7-12, in Light of 35 Years of Allusion Criticism." The pitch is to look at the methodological disarray that characterizes the study of literary allusion in the Bible, and demonstrate how a commitment to greater clarity yields better readings and opportunity for more productive exchanges between scholars.

I see that Chris Jones has reawakened the Twitter hashtag #SBLAAR for reporting acceptances. What will you be doing in Chicago this November at SBL/AAR? And is anyone else still waiting for word on any of your proposals?

Poetics of Scribal Culture in Inner-Biblical Oralities of Allusive Redaction-Echoes, and Stuff

Posted on by Brooke

My main research focus, when I can get to it, concerns literary allusion in the Bible (also called "inner-biblical interpretation," or "inner-biblical exegesis").

Insofar as I have a Big Idea, it mostly involves running around like Chicken Little and yelling that the field of biblical studies isn't producing a coherent conversation about "inner-biblical allusion" because we quarantine ourselves (as we so often do) from the secular ancillary scholarship (in this case, on the poetics of literary allusion).

What disturbs and intrigues me recently is, I think that there is another scholarly context to which I'll need to tether my continuing work in biblical allusion. You know it well, and most recently, it looks something like this.

Upside: maybe I get to blow the dust off my Akkadian again. Downside: Hier werden deutsche.

[Poetics of Scribal Culture in Inner-Biblical Oralities of Allusive Redaction-Echoes, and Stuff was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2012/01/16. Except as noted, it is © 2012 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Plagiarism Paralysis

Posted on by Brooke

I’ve want to write a post about plagiarism, with reference to an excellent series of educational “what-is-plagiarism?” posters that I recently discovered.

But, the company publishing the posters won’t return my emails asking for permission to reproduce them.

[Plagiarism Paralysis was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/04/06. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities 2011

Posted on by Brooke

Along with everything else in life that you’ve been missing, the Day in the Life of Digital Humanities (“Day of DH”) 2011 came and went a couple of weeks back. What are the “Digital Humanities,” you ask? You could settle for me telling you that it’s humanities accomplished digitally, or you could ask the Wikipedia about it; or best of all, you could simply hear the explanations offered by those who have self-identified over the last three years as working in “digital humanities.” Here are just a few:

Digital Humanities is the application of humanities methodologies and theories to modern technology research. -Andy Keenan, University of Alberta, Canada

Under the digital humanities rubric, I would include topics like open access to materials, intellectual property rights, tool development, digital libraries, data mining, born-digital preservation, multimedia publication, visualization, GIS, digital reconstruction, study of the impact of technology on numerous fields, technology for teaching and learning, sustainability models, and many others. -Brett Bobley, NEH, United States

I think digital humanities, like social media, is an idea that will increasingly become invisible as new methods and platforms move from being widely used to being ubiquitous. For now, digital humanities defines the overlap between humanities research and digital tools. But the humanities are the study of cultural life, and our cultural life will soon be inextricably bound up with digital media. -Ed Finn, Stanford University, USA

On the Day of Digital Humanities, hundreds of folks who see their work in this way agreed to write a blog post about what they were doing that day, March 18, 2011. (This was the day that I became aware of the term, "digital humanities,” because the Day nosed its way onto my Twitter feed, whereupon I followed the tag #dayofdh for the rest of that day and the next.)

You will be excited to know that I’ve saved the best news: Because the fine folks at Day of DH have made the RSS feeds for the blog posts available as an OPML file (or, to translate, “Because blah blah the internet is cool”), I have been able to place the blog posts on my public NetVibes page! And you have a whole year to peruse them before Day of DH 2012!

[Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities 2011 was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/04/05. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

More Active Reading: How to Read a Textbook Chapter

Posted on by Brooke

A week or so back, I wrote here about exercises in “active reading.” There, I included links to a number of blank worksheets that students could use to help them read actively (Bull’s Eye organizer; Fish-bone organizer; K-W-L sheet; and more).

As an exemplar to the class, I “actively read” a scholarly essay: I wrote a short phrase next to every paragraph in the essay, and also filled in each of the worksheets. I then called attention to this in class and posted it to their Blackboard.

The next weekend, while supervising a local chess tournament, I came upon a kind of “active reading” poster in the middle-school library (Flickr):

THIEVES, an acronym for Title, Heading, Everything I want to know, Visuals, End-of-section material, So what?

This pretty much exactly corresponds to what I tell students about how to read the chapters from their textbook:

  • Read the chapter’s introductory paragraph. List the keywords in the margin of that paragraph.

  • Read the major headings (“Jeremiah and the Deuteronomists”; turn them into questions (“What do the Deuteronomists have to do with Jeremiah?").

  • Look at the graphics: photographs, tables, timelines, maps. What do they make you think of? What questions do they make you ask? Write these in the margins of the chapter’s first page.

  • Ask yourself: What sorts of things do you already know about the topics coming up in this exercise?

  • Read the concluding paragraph and any study questions or glossaries at the end of the chapter. Plan to search out the answers to these as you read the chapter.

  • Read one (1) major section in the chapter. For each paragraph, jot the main points into the margin, in your own words. At the end of the section, describe aloud what that section communicated to you. Repeat this for each section. This should take several sittings, probably one sitting for each major section.

  • Bring this chapter into conversation with your life. What difference does this information make? How does it challenge things you already knew or believed? How does it help answer or solve questions you have had in the past? What does it make you want to try to discover next?


This may seem time-consuming, but in practice it is an incredible time saver: with interactive reading, you can read the chapter once instead of several times, because you retain the content at a much higher rate than through passive reading. Also, by breaking the reading up over several sittings, the subject matter can “percolate” for you, making unexpected connections to your other studies or activities.

Students, do you already do any of these kinds of things when reading? Profs, do you offer any kind of guidance or instruction in active reading?

[More Active Reading: How to Read a Textbook Chapter was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2011/03/18. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Links for SBL10 Workshop Presentation

Posted on by Brooke

“‘To Those Far and Near’: the Case for Community at a Distance.”

The Background:

A Community of Scholarship, Emory’s Candler School of Theology.

Episode CXXVIII of the Endless Thread, Pharyngula.

Losers of Friday Night on Their Computers, Twitter search. [link fixed]

SBL Annual Conference 2010 (#sbl10), Twitter search. [link fixed]

Intro to OT Online Group Paper (concluding summary), Wetpaint.

Dissecting Community: Example from Sociology:

Community, Infed (Informal Education).

The Project:

Bible and Teaching Blogs via feeds, NetVibes.

Collaborative Wiki on the Hendel Affair, Wetpaint.

[Links for SBL10 Workshop Presentation was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/11/22. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Little Help: The Old Testament in the New Testament

Posted on by Brooke

Do you have any favorite resources concerning allusion to the Hebrew Bible in the New Testament? It could be books, essays, or articles.

I’m thinking of things like Richard Hays’ Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (Yale, 1989) or J. Ross Wagner’s Heralds of the Good News: Isaiah and Paul ‘in Concert’ in the Letter to the Romans (Brill, 2002), or Thomas R. Hatina’s In Search of a Context: The Function of Scripture in Mark’s Narrative (Sheffield, 2002).

Do you have any favorites about the OT in the NT? And if so, what makes them good?

Open Access Intro to OT

Posted on by Brooke

This post concerns my ideas for a particular kind of open-access Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

I recently floated a Tweet (and Facebook status update) that asked around about any open-access Introduction to the Old Testament. I have an idea for such a project, and wanted to see if anything was already out there (knowing pretty well that there is not).

Akma proved (as I knew he would) to be an eager conversation partner, and his responsive post has generated some discussion. I follow up there with some remarks about what I have in mind.

What I plan to try for is an Introduction to the OT that:


  • is freely available online;

  • is historical- and literary-critical in focus (as is a Coogan or a Collins, say; in other words, not a "theological introduction" narrowly reflecting the concerns of faith communities or other readerly social contexts);

  • is authored by a socially diverse body of contributors.


With the "open source" aspect, I mean to respond to a clear need. I would like my own students to have a freely-available, critical Introduction. (I'd actually like them to have several, as well as several open-access Hebrew and Greek grammars, and so on.)

With the authorship and content that I have in mind, I mean to address a situation in the field. During the time that historical criticism was held to be in decline, traditional historical-literary introductions continued to be ceded to the white male authors, while women and people of color wrote works intended to supplement such introductions. Now, though, the recognition of the biblical authors as among the "Others" to whom we try to listen earnestly has prompted some rehabilitation of the historical-critical approaches. It is well past time to have "traditional" historical-literary-critical Introductions to OT that reflect genuine diversity of authorship. (What holds together such an Intro would be a shared commitment to grounding one's historical-literary claims in publicly-shared evidence and lines of reasoning; what makes it diverse would be the unpredictable range of possible perceptions and assessments regarding that evidence.)

Akma had the excellent idea that such an Intro could be "modular": after the initial publication, if somebody wanted to offer a supplemental chapter, zie could do so as long as the controlling body agreed that the supplemental work fit the scope and formatting of the project.

I will be writing up an outline delimiting the methods, outline, and scope of the project, and will also be having discussions with possible contributors. I am at a very early stage on this, so you will have to stay tuned a while to hear more about what takes shape.

SBL 2010 Program Book

Posted on by Brooke

Mark Goodacre alerts us that the preliminary online program book is available for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. He tells us what he’s doing there (I am so totally at that second one, Mark), and invites us to do the same.

The title of my own presentation is, “To Those Far and Near”: The Case for “Community” at a Distance. I am presenting it in the session, “Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies.” The theme for this session is “A Workshop on Interactive Technologies for Teaching and Learning.”

Insert here obligatory fear-based murmblings about the current state of the project.

Who else is presenting? What other interesting things are you doing at SBL 2010?

[SBL 2010 Program Book was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/06/08. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Little Help? Song of Songs Resources

Posted on by Brooke

Can any of my readers offer some favorite resources on the Song of Songs? Critical commentaries, essays in books, journal articles, entries from Bible dictionaries/encyclopedias?

Ultimately, my interest will be in the “I am black and beautiful” bit and also the eroticism of Song of Songs. But, at this stage, I’m interested in any of your favorite high-quality critical resources on the book.

Thanks!

[Little Help? Song of Songs Resources was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/06/03. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

What I'm Reading: Eastern Religions Edition

Posted on by Brooke

I am trying to learn something of the history and development of eastern religions in Korea, and am somewhat hampered by my lack of preparation in the “eastern religions” part. And in the “Korea” part.

Into the fifth of six chapters in Joseph A. Adler’s Chinese Religious Traditions (Prentice Hall: 2002), I can recommend this work to other newcomers to eastern religions. The focus is on:


  • Confucianism

  • Daoism

  • Buddhism

  • “popular religion”


After introducing each of these, the presentation is diachronic, exploring the development of each religious strand in China’s stages of history. The work brings certain running characteristics of each of the “big four” into regular comparison and contrast, creating narrative pathways that help me, anyway, to meaningfully navigate the subject matter’s complexities. This ’graph, concluding a major section on Neo-Confucianism in early modern China, is an example (brackets represent material I add for clarity):
Neo-Confucian self-cultivation bears interesting resemblances to the realization of Buddhahood in Mahayana [Buddhism] and Perfection…in Daoism…. While Confucians objected to the Mahayana [Buddhist] theory of no-self of emptiness, the original Confucian claims that individuals are inherently social beings is logically very similar to the premise of the [Mahayana Buddhist] theory of no-self, namely the radical interdependence of all things. And like the aspiring Daoist zhenren (perfected person), Neo-Confucians understood self-cultivation to involve the transformation of the whole person, including the psycho-physical nature.

This sort of synthesis is typical, and I find it a great help as a novice to the material.

Personally fascinating to me is the inclusion of “popular religion,” which is essentially a synchretic set of practices whose origins precede even Confucius and whose development continues today.

Also in my hands are Daniel L. Overmyer, Religions of China (Harper and Row, 1986), and James Huntley Grayson, Korea: A Religious History (rev. ed.; RoutledgeCurzon, 2002).

I know that this subject matter is not “up the alley” of my usual readers, but if you can recommend further reading, especially on the development of eastern religions in Korea, I would be grateful.

[What I'm Reading: Eastern Religions Edition was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/05/24. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

A Little Help? History of Eastern Religions in Korea

Posted on by Brooke

I would like to find some reading on the history of eastern religious traditions in Korea, especially Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. If possible, these resources should:


  • be balanced chronologically: they may include modern times, but the ancient stuff should not be rushed to get to the present;

  • be at a near-introductory level; we can presume some knowledge of the origins of these traditions outside Korea, but I’m looking for textbook-type materials, not cutting-edge scholarship;

  • distinguish between myth and history, acknowledging the scarcity of early data and also the historical value of myth, while not uncritically embracing myth as history;

  • focus on the introduction and development of these religious traditions in Korea.


Anyone? Anyone? Thanks.

[Addendum: I should clarify that the intended reader is me, not my seminary students. So, it's okay if the readings are academically rigorous and not specifically geared toward Christian learners.]

[A Little Help? History of Eastern Religions on Korea was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/05/21. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Random Bullets of Research

Posted on by Brooke

It’s piled noticeably higher and deeper around here. Currently in the hopper are:


  • Deciding on bibliography for a course on “The Old Testament in the New Testament (Allusion and Influence)”;

  • Learning our institutional options and guidelines regarding creating course-packs, for above;

  • Bringing my dissertation’s bibliography (late 2007) up to date, for revision;

  • Inquiry into what “community” is, how we recognize it in a group of learners, and where it is found in the first sixteen years or so of internet-based online education (presentation for SBL 2010).

  • Bread in the Bible and the ANE, baby.


Fortunately, I took the precaution of earning a research degree. Otherwise, I’d be worried.

[Random Bullets of Research was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/04/06. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

SBL 2010: "Community" in Online Learning

Posted on by Brooke

My presentation proposal for the 2010 annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature has been accepted. The paper is, "To Those Far and Near": The Case for "Community" at a Distance. The session is about Web 2.0 tools in teaching and learning, and is offered by the section, Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies.

I will share an abstract and my plans for the presentation later on. Briefly, what prompts me to choose this topic is my frustration that many educators who are unfamiliar with online learning will pronounce authoritatively that “real” or “authentic” community only happens face to face. It would be fine if this position were adopted as the conclusion of an argument befitting the holder of a research degree. However, the impossibility of “online community” is too frequently asserted as a non sequitur, without investigation into the fifteen-odd years of data at our disposal. Humanities educators may presume without inquiry that distance learning is limited to a static mode of knowledge-distribution. Among Christian theological educators, one commonly hears discussion-closing, preemptive appeals to “embodiment” and “incarnation.”

My presentation will offer a paper that takes the data—student evaluations, scores on collaborative assignments, teacher testimonials, independent surveys—into account. I may look also make note of online communities not relating to distance education. Ideally, the paper will focus on courses that traditionally depend on the creation of community toward the end of moving and changing student participants. Ideally, the paper will be offered asynchronously so that the presentation itself will involve a real-time community-building activity.

Are you skeptical of the possibility of online “community”? If so, what are the grounds of your skepticism, and what sort of evidence for online “community” might you (in principle) take seriously?

Do you already experience “community” among folks who have not met face to face? If so, where and how do you experience it?

[SBL 2010: "Community" in Online Learning was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/04/02. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Barley Flour, Pita, and "Oven Spring"

Posted on by Brooke

While the common barley flour used by the ancient Israelite lacks some of the qualities by which wheat flour makes such good loaves, even limited practice yields strategies of preparation that help barley flour produce the most leavened and appetizing possible bread.

As some of you know, the subject of bread production in Israel and the ancient Near East has seized my attention. While getting acquainted with the subject, one of my early projects is spending time learning to handle barley flour. While wheat flour would have been preferred where available (as today), barley flour was more affordable to the common family and, at certain times of the agricultural cycle, even the sole available grain. My Arrowhead Mills barley flour arrived a couple of days ago, courtesy of Amazon.

Dough preparation and cooking method:

The cooking method that I am starting with seeks to imitate use of the cylindrical clay oven, or tannûr, against the side of which one slaps a flat “patty”: the flat patty cooks very rapidly against the heated surface, until the cook judges it done and removes it. I am using an oven and pizza stone, heated to about 550-570 degrees Fahrenheit (285-300 C). Patties take about 2-5 minutes to cook, depending on size and leavening.

For leavening, I am using a sourdough starter that I created from white flour in February 2008 and have fed since. I use just a small smear of starter so that only a negligible few grams of white flour contribute to the barley loaf.

I use 1/2 C barley flour with 1 T olive oil and 1/2 t salt to produce four pita-like loaves.

Working with barley flour:

(Here I deal with leavened loaves. Unleavened barley bread is as easy and as uninteresting as unleavened wheat: a flat, crisp loaf. Nice for dipping into stuff, though.)

Modern recipes reflect the difficulties of working with pure barley flour: they all use a relatively small portion of barley flour, mainly for flavor, while relying on wheat flour for its material properties: more gluten, with its elasticity and potential for a good “rise.”

Barley flour has relatively little gluten. Therefore, even when you knead it a lot (layering the strings of gluten and creating overlapping web-like matrices of strings), it does not assume the strength of kneaded wheat dough. Since the dough does not “hold together” well, the gasses created by the yeast tend to just “ooze out” of the dough altogether: fewer bubbles, less “rise.”

Early discoveries:

So far, I find two inter-related strategies that help solve the problems in working with unmixed barley flour:


  1. The first is the concept of “oven spring.” When dough first heats up in the oven, the yeast responds by “going into overdrive,” metabolizing very quickly and producing bubbles rapidly before getting too hot and dying off. This is why a baker slashes the skin of a (large, non-pita) loaf before baking: it allows the expansion to happen and prevents unsightly rupturing of the skin. My point here is that “oven spring” allows for a peculiarity of pita preparation: we allow the dough to rise, then smoosh down most of that rise when we flatten balls into patties. This proves to be okay, because “oven spring” will buy us a final, rapid rise, helping to produce a tender loaf. The intense heat of a clay tannûr (or pizza stone) yields an awesome “oven spring.”

  2. The second, related, strategy is to be gentle in making flat patties of the pita-like bread made for slapping against the cooking surface. A rolling pin smooshes the dough down too much, losing almost all of the bubbles produced during the rising period. Also, the rolling pin crushes and tears at the already-crumbly barley dough, opening fissures through which the essential gasses of the “oven spring” will escape. But, by working the risen balls of dough with my hands, I can be gentle, preserving as much as possible of the lengthy “rise,” and also keeping the surface smooth and without fissures in order to contain the precious gasses of the “oven spring” during cooking.


The current result is a pretty tasty, tender, hand-sized pita with a flaky crumb and enough larger bubbles to make it interesting. Unlike a wheat-flour pita, it does not have the whole-patty rise that produces the characteristic “pocket” associated with the pita.

Future experiments will begin to achieve a more organized character, with attempts at different amounts of hydration and, eventually, working with molds.

[Barley Flour, Pita, and “Oven Spring” was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/03/19. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Needles in Haystacks

Posted on by Brooke

A friend likes to joke about the beginnings of her research on the biblical Book of Job. She was delighted to find that her initial searches produced great big lists of results: phrases like “good Job”; “Job approval”; even, “How to be happy in your Job.”

My latest research project, on which some of you have already been wonderfully helpful, is bread production in ancient Israel and among its ancient Near Eastern neighbors. Right now, I have the ATLAS database open in front of me (the serials database of the American Theological Libraries Association).

Did you know that, in the Christian religious scholarly literature that dominates such a database, there’s this whole big interest in “bread” that has nothing to do with bread molds, clay ovens, fermentation, or varieties of grains?

[Needles in Haystacks was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/03/17. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

On Not Being a Yutz: Egyptian Religion

Posted on by Brooke

Ancient Egyptian religion: not self-explanatory.

While I have not posted on the subject recently, I continue to keep up on reading The Context of Scripture in a year. (Joseph’s got the beat covered, as usual.) Among the Egyptian canonical inscriptions, we have completed those that have a “divine focus” (cosmologies, hymns, prayers, incantations). Over the weeks, I have come to a conclusion:

A couple of years of instruction in Egyptian language notwithstanding, on the subject of ancient Egyptian religion, I am, relatively speaking, a yutz.

Nothing to be ashamed of: my schooling in the contexts of the Hebrew Bible, anchored in the West Semitic, has tended to look eastward to Mesopotamia. But, I feel the need to do some reinforcing reading (rapidly, given my time constraints).

I’ll be working the stacks for resources for a few days. Let me know if there is anything I should especially keep my eyes open for.

[On Not Being a Yutz: Egyptian Religion was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/03/16. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

New Course: The OT in the NT

Posted on by Brooke

In Fall 2010, I will be teaching a new course: “The Old Testament in the New Testament.” Students will learn about literary allusion, and examine select examples of allusion to the Hebrew Bible in the Christian New Testament.

As part of assessing the case for specific examples of allusion, students will develop claims about


  • what the OT source text means in its literary and social/historical context, and

  • how this allusion in the NT alluding text functions as a rhetorical trope in its own literary and social/historical context.


I will be allowing students to take the course either for OT credit or for NT credit, shaping their final exegesis papers accordingly.

Besides the usual run of Masters students (mostly M.Div or MTS), the course will also be open to doctoral students, who will have to meet an appropriately higher bar in the course work.

My dissertation—“Daniel Evokes Isaiah: The Rule of the Nations in Apocalyptic Allusion-Narrative”—involved allusion to Isaiah in the book of Daniel, and I have looked forward to the opportunity to teach allusion to my students in Bible.

If you have any interest in literary allusion generally, or in “the OT in the NT,” what would your wish list be for select topics? (I have a handful of my own ideas, of course.) What related issues would you want to see treated?

[New Course: The OT in the NT was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/03/12. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

Bread-making in the Ancient Near East

Posted on by Brooke

This is a request for resources. I plan to begin some research into bread-making in ancient Israel and in the ancient Near East. I will focus on bread production in the home, but am casting a wide net here at the beginning. So, I will even be looking into biblical grain offerings.

A live-yeast bread maker myself, I have from time to time essayed some early experiments in naan-type leavened flat loaves and in unleavened flat breads. I also have my eye on the kinds of sticky, wet doughs possibly suggested by the “queen of heaven” bread-molds and other terra cotta molds.

Without discounting the explanatory value of evidence from common-era societies, I mean to limit myself to primary evidence from Egypt, the Levant, and Mesopotamia, in the Bronze and Iron ages; perhaps, too, the Achaemenid  period around Judea.

Are there are resources you think I should take special care to find? Anything I might fruitfully keep in mind as I get started?

[Bread-making in the Ancient Near East was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2020/03/08. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

It's a Sign of the Times

Posted on by Brooke

So this is what it takes for me to have a moment to blog: my students taking a one-hour exam. What do I want to say in this golden moment?

This: When I think of the spring term, in which my teaching load will be greatly reduced from the lunatic schedule I’m on now, I most look forward to writing on the Bible. Right now, I'm teaching all the time, so in my brain it’s all-pedagogy-all-the-time. Great, but by now there’s an imbalance in the Force: after a summer and fall of thinking and writing about teaching, I have a yen for wide-open Bible spaces. (And maybe brush off my Egyptian. Wide open Bible and Egyptian spaces.)

Will next term be different for you in some way? And how will it?