a great new book on the bronze age aegean edited by eric cline

The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean, edited by Eric H. Cline

The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean, edited by Eric H. Cline

the oxford handbook of the bronze age aegean, edited by friend and colleague eric h. cline, is now available for purchase. there is a great write-up on marsia sfakianou bealby’s challenging the past blog.

if you’re into the bronze age aegean, then this is the book for you.

the publisher’s description:

The Greek Bronze Age, roughly 3000 to 1000 BC, witnessed the flourishing of the Minoan and Mycenean civilizations, the earliest expansion of trade in the Aegean and wider Mediterranean Sea, the development of artistic techniques in a variety of media, and the evolution of early Greek religious practices and mythology. The period also witnessed a violent conflict in Asia Minor between warring peoples in the region, a conflict commonly believed to be the historical basis for Homer’s Trojan War. The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean provides a detailed survey of these fascinating aspects of the period, and many others, in sixty-six newly commissioned articles.

Divided into four sections, the handbook begins with Background and Definitions, which contains articles establishing the discipline in its historical, geographical, and chronological settings and in its relation to other disciplines. The second section, Chronology and Geography, contains articles examining the Bronze Age Aegean by chronological period (Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age). Each of the periods are further subdivided geographically, so that individual articles are concerned with Mainland Greece during the Early Bronze Age, Crete during the Early Bronze Age, the Cycladic Islands during the Early Bronze Age, and the same for the Middle Bronze Age, followed by the Late Bronze Age. The third section, Thematic and Specific Topics, includes articles examining thematic topics that cannot be done justice in a strictly chronological/geographical treatment, including religion, state and society, trade, warfare, pottery, writing, and burial customs, as well as specific events, such as the eruption of Santorini and the Trojan War. The fourth section, Specific Sites and Areas, contains articles examining the most important regions and sites in the Bronze Age Aegean, including Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Knossos, Kommos, Rhodes, the northern Aegean, and the Uluburun shipwreck, as well as adjacent areas such as the Levant, Egypt, and the western Mediterranean.

Containing new work by an international team of experts, The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean represents the most comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date single-volume survey of the field. It will be indispensable for scholars and advanced students alike.

i wonder if this talk will be any good? magness on cargill

Dr. Jodi Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will give a lecture at Brite Divinity School on Thursday, February 25, 2010 entitled, "Robert Cargill's Qumran Digital Project."

Dr. Jodi Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will give a lecture at Brite Divinity School on Thursday, February 25, 2010 entitled, "Robert Cargill's Qumran Digital Project."

brite divinity school has announced that dr. jodi magness, the kenan distinguished professor of teaching excellence in early judaism at the university of north carolina, chapel hill, will give a lecture in the moore building, room 201, on thursday, february 25, 2010 at 11:00 am entitled, ‘robert cargill’s qumran digital project.’

i’m wondering if she will view my research in a favorable light, or in a critical manner like she did at the recent new orleans sbl book review session, where she was among a panel of scholars that reviewed my book? will she take issue with my results (that qumran was established as a hasmonean fort and later reoccupied and expanded by a jewish sectarian community responsible for some of the dead sea scrolls in the caves nearest qumran), or my digital reconstruction modeling methodology (which is a completely transparent (via wireframes) reconstruction of all interpretations of all published scholars of every archaeological locus, distinguished by time periods), or both?

will dr. magness continue to argue that qumran was built as a sectarian settlement from the ground up?  will she argue that the dead sea scrolls were all written by essenes at qumran? some?

attend the lecture and find out!

for some background, read vol. 72, no. 1 in near eastern archaeology here. order the book online at gorgias or amazon.

i can’t wait to hear the podcast!

perhaps i’ll use my forthcoming march lecture in philadelphia entitled, ‘why the dead sea scrolls still matter’ to respond a bit. we’ll see :) -bc

update: also, don’t miss dr. magness’ main lecture on ‘the archaeology of qumran and the dead sea scrolls,’ thursday evening, february 25, 2010 from 7:00 -8:30 pm at the kelly alumni center at brite divinity school (texas christian university).

and i am told by brite that there will be no podcast. perhaps someone in the audience could tweet or blog the lectures?

the dude abides: on the new coen brothers movie and cathleen falsani book

Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey Lebowski (aka "The Dude") in The Big Lebowski

Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey Lebowski (aka "The Dude") in The Big Lebowski

during my excavation at omrit, israel in 2004, dig directors j. andrew overman and dan schowalter began calling me ‘the dude’ because of my long curly hair, my penchant for wearing pajama bottoms outdoors on the kibbutz at night, and because i was living and working in malibu, ca at the time. apparently, i resembled jeffrey lebowski (aka ‘the dude’) played by jeff bridges in the movie ‘the big lebowski.’ i had never seen the movie, but after watching it in a makeshift kibbutz theater comprised of a bed sheet, digital projector, a laptop computer, and some kibbutz lawn chairs, i was sold. it was the funniest (albeit the cussiest) movie i had ever seen, especially for those moments in life where you’re exhausted and bickering among friends become sheer comedic gold. (the gold star helped.)

now, there is a new book atop my most wanted list: the dude abides: the gospel according to the coen brothers by cathleen falsani. regarding the book:

Join award-winning author and columnist Cathleen Falsani as she explores the serious existential questions raised in the movies of the wildly popular and always irreverent Coen brothers. Coen fans and film lovers will appreciate Falsani’s unique blend of contemporary insight and spiritual discernment that is both entertaining and illuminating.

the book comes at about the same time as the newest coen brothers movie: a serious man. in an interview with the book’s author entitled, ‘the coen brothers on judaism, and job,’ about the coen brothers movie, we learn from michael paulson of the boston globe that:

The film is being compared to Job because it centers on a seemingly decent man for whom everything suddenly goes wrong, without explanation, and his efforts to seek help from God are as unsuccessful as they are persistent. The film opens in Boston Friday; I thought it was stunning — mesmerizing, witty, bleak, honest.

i loved the big lebowski. i love the book of job. and i love the entire corpus of coen brothers movies. i shall buy the book and watch the movie when it is released.

possible new resource for sunday school class (or for some, a freshman religion course)

the dead sea comic popped up on my radar this morning. it appears to be a comic book-themed activity book for children filled with facts and figures about the bible. it is the brainchild of british cartoonist steve english. it appears to be a new offering for sunday school literature. downthetubes.net has blogged about it here. i can’t tell where it lies on the scale from fundamentalist to minimalist, but this might make a good tool for a church sunday school class (or a freshman religion class at some christian university for a professor that likes to use silly illustrations to illustrate biblical topics ;- ).

ucla’s arts library to be eliminated

UCLA Arts Library

UCLA Arts Library

i heard about this yesterday through the grapevine, but it was confirmed today. the ucla arts library is going to be eliminated and integrated into other ucla libraries. according to the plan, the volumes will still be housed at ucla’s westwood campus, but within other libraries. this is yet another victim of the california budget cuts.

this is unfortunate because the arts library is a wonderful space to research the arts and it’s a great place to study. however, it’s not as if the library’s volumes are disappearing; the volumes will still be at ucla. it’s inconvenient and not ideal, but these are desperate times.

(and for the record: the photo shown in the la times article is *not* a picture of the arts library, but of the historic powell library. there is no plan to shut down the powell library, which is a part of the extensive ucla library system.

the real question is: who is going to get this coveted space (which is adjacent to the center for digital humanities in the public affairs building)?


see the letter to gary strong, university librarian from a group claiming to be ‘instructors—at ucla and beyond—in the arts, architecture, art history, film, television, theater and the humanities.’

new free biblical hebrew textbook available online

Ruth 1 from the Aleppo Codex

Ruth 1 from the Aleppo Codex

john a. cook and robert d. holmstedt have made available online their new biblical hebrew textbook entitled, ‘biblical hebrew: a student grammar‘ for free. available as a simple .pdf download, the book appears at first glance to be a well organized introduction to biblical hebrew. because it was developed with online dissemination in mind, the book integrates several pedagogical techniques (like digitally marking up texts and apparatuses for clearer explanation) that are not found in older, classical hebrew textbooks. releasing the book for free online will guarantee greater exposure and therefore better adoption than publishing a bound paper volume alone. likewise, the digital format will allow for quicker corrections to any typographical errors that can then be integrated into the text itself, which is superior to a separate, printed errata sheet tucked inside the front cover of a printed volume.

for those of you that always wanted to learn hebrew, this is a great opportunity. thank you to drs. cook and holmstedt for the effort and for making it available for free online.

harvard and the digital humanities

jon stokes has a good article on harvard’s decision to use digital publisher scribd to sell a limited number of its books. is this a growing trend for universities in the collapsing economy? give it a read.

codex sinaiticus now available online

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sinaiticus

news reports announce that the multiple, geographically disparate sections of the oldest known complete bible, codex sinaiticus, have been digitized and have available to the public free of charge on one site: www.codexsinaiticus.org.

sinaiticus is significant not only because of what it is (the oldest known copy of the bible), but because of what it contains: the complete hebrew bible (christian old testament) and the complete new testament along with ‘epistle of barnabas,’ and portions of ‘the shepherd of hermas.’ that is to say, the ‘bible’ used to contain other books that were later weeded out during the canonization process. yes, the ‘word of god’ (should you define that as the biblical canon) changed over time.

read more on sinaiticus. also read up on the epistle of barnabas and the shepherd of hermas.

The Qumran Digital Model: SBL Joint Session Book Review

Nov 21-24, 2009. Dr. Cargill will be a respondent in a joint session panel that will review his new book, “The Qumran Digital Model: An Argument for Archaeological Reconstruction in Virtual Reality” (Gorgias Press, 2009) at the 2009 Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. The panel will discuss the author’s conclusion that Qumran was originally established as a Hasmonean fortress that was reoccupied by a sectarian Jewish group, as well as Dr. Cargill’s methodology for using virtual reality and other technologies to aid archaeology. Dr. Robert Mullins (APU) will moderate the joint session. Panelists include Dr. Jodi Magness (UNC), Yuval Peleg (IAA), Dr. Lawrence Schiffman (NYU), and Dr. Eric Cline (GWU). Dr. Robert Cargill (UCLA) will offer a response, and the presentations will be followed by a question and answer period.

i officially have my first isbn number

here is the word from my publisher, gorgias press:


1/7/2009 A New Series from Gorgias
The Bible in Technology (BIT) is a series that explores the intersection between biblical studies and computer technology. It also includes studies that address the application of computer technology to cognate fields of ancient history. The series provides a forum for presenting and discussing advancements in this area, such as new software or techniques for analyzing biblical materials, online projects, and teaching resources. The series also seeks to reflect on the contribution and impact of computer technology on biblical research and teaching methods.

Information Technology and Egyptology in 2008 by Nigel Strudwick
Publication of the proceedings of the 2008 meeting of the Computer Working Group of the International Association of Egyptologists (Informatique et Egyptologie), including papers on databases, complex systems, 3D modelling, textual analysis systems, the uses of the internet for sharing photographs, and bibliography.
ISBN 978-1-60724-068-6, Hardback, $106

Also in the pipeline: Qumran through (Real) Time: A Virtual Reconstruction of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls By Robert Raymond Cargill
This book proposes a new occupation model for the remains of Khirbet Qumran, the site associated with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Using the latest in virtual reality technology, the author reconstructs the site of Qumran and demonstrates that the site was initially built as a Hasmonean fortress, and was later expanded into a residence for a self-sufficient community responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls.
ISBN 978-1-60724-058-7, Hardback


so apparently i have an isbn number. i guess that makes it official. the book is an expanded revision of my 2008 doctoral dissertation. i had better get to revising. :-)

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