Dec 13 2017

Call for Applications: Summer School. Sceptical Strategies, Methods, and Approaches in the Middle Ages: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions. Hamburg, Germany. July-August, 2018

Call for Applications

Summer School: Sceptical Strategies, Methods, and Approaches in the Middle Ages: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Traditions

July 29–August 3, 2018, Hamburg/Germany

Application Deadline: January 31, 2018

Excerpt from the European Association for Jewish Studies web site:

In the second Summer School we will focus on major sceptic concepts, strategies and key terms in medieval Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin literature. Participants and instructors will focus on sceptical and anti-sceptical enquiry of concepts of truth and knowledge as well as sceptical methods of doubting and arguing. The Summer School will offer a unique platform to discuss the tension between philosophy and faith, and between reason and revelation within medieval discourses. Participants will be engaged with primary Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic texts. The aim is to provide participants with the tools to examine scepticism and anti-scepticism within Christian, Islamic, and Jewish contexts in relation to attaining true knowledge.

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact:

Maria Wazinski, e-mail:, phone: +49-(0)40-42838-8605

Nov 30 2017

Conference announcement: SEAC 26, Graz (Austria), Aug 27 – Sept 1, 2018


The following conference announcement was recently uploaded here, part of which is pasted below for readers’ convenience.

SEAC 26, Graz (Austria), August 27 – September 1, 2018
Harmony and symmetry: Celestial regularities shaping human cultures

First Announcement
Scientific Rationale

Culture is impossible without structure, and structure means regularity, the repetition of similar units of social behaviour. Astronomy as the oldest of natural sciences was always strongly connected with these regularities in human societies. Astronomical observations were important for temporal and spatial structuring daily life, providing orientation in a purely practical, but also in its spiritual meaning, thus connecting natural phenomena with astrological and religious interpretations of the world. The celestial sphere, regarded as the sky of astronomy and meteorology, as well as the heaven of divine numina, from the early times of Anaximander and Pythagoras till Copernicus and Kepler was equated with symmetry, harmony, and beauty. Till today this has been reflected in the structure of cultural creations, from architectural objects to musical forms. This broad conception of Astronomy in Culture will form the basis of the conference.

May 26 2017

Conference Announcement: INSAP X, Oxford XI, SEAC XXV: The Road to the Stars (September 18-22, 2017)

A cultural astronomy conference jointly held by The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena (INSAP X), the Oxford Conference (Oxford XI), and The International Society for Archaeoastronomy and Astronomy in Culture (SEAC XXV) will take place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, September 18-22, 2017.

Entitled “Road to the Stars,” this conference will bring scholars, artists, and other professionals in the field of Cultural Astronomy together to present their research.

Please click here to learn more, or to register.

The proposed schedule is available here.

Mar 05 2017

4,000 Year Old Dolmen Found in Upper Galilee



An unusually large Bronze Age dolmen, or megalithic tomb, has been discovered by Dr. Gonen Sharon of Tel Hai College’s Galilee Studies Program. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, this dolmen is unique due to its size, its surrounding structure, and rock drawings engraved on its ceiling — the first art ever evidenced on a dolmen from the ancient Near East.

Dolmens are well evidenced globally, from the U.K. to Asia, including those with known or suspected astronomical alignments or markings. For example, dolmens have been found in North Korea decorated with cup marks corresponding to various constellations, with many such marks aligned toward the direction of the sunrise at winter solstice. (1) In the Middle East, thousands of dolmens have been found, including concentrated areas known as “dolmens fields”.

Archeologists from Tel Hai College, the Antiquities Authority, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published a study on the find in the Upper Galilee last weekend in the scientific journal PLOS One.

At this point, there have been no specific archeoastronomical findings related to this dolmen. I will update if any new information is published.

To read the full Jerusalem Post article, please visit this link.

To view several other dolmens in the Middle East and beyond, please click here.

(1) Yang, Hong-Jin. 2014. “Astronomical Aspects of Korean Dolmens”. In Clive L. N. Ruggles, Ed. Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy. Springer, pp. 2149-2156.

Dec 23 2016

Happy holidays!

Category: Announcementsalobel @ 3:38 pm

Wishing all my readers a happy holiday season, and a joyous new year!




Oct 02 2016

A happy Jewish new year!

Category: Announcements,Special Postingsalobel @ 11:50 am




L’shanah tovah to all of my readers celebrating the Jewish new year.

May you be inscribed and sealed for a happy, sweet, healthy, and prosperous year!

 לשנה טובה תכתבו ותחתמו


Sep 22 2016

Entrepreneurship for Academics: Online course begins January, 2017

Category: Announcements,Coursesalobel @ 10:08 am


For all PhDs and ABDs, including adjunct lecturers, who seek a supplemental income and have considered going into business for themselves, either while seeking full-time academic positions or permanently, this course may be right for you.

Entrepreneurship for Academics will cover the fundamentals of launching a home-based small business, including entrepreneurial skills such as:

  • Thinking and writing like an entrepreneur (for academics)
  • Evaluating existing skills and developing a business concept
  • Academic entrepreneurship
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • For-profit vs. not-for-profit structures
  • Developing a mission statement
  • Market research and competition analysis
  • Business registration, incorporation, legal, and potential funding resources in your community
  • Pricing
  • Web site content ideas
  • Advertising, promotion and social media strategies
  • Media relations
  • Basic bookkeeping
  • Open questions from students

Times and dates (five sessions):

Sundays, January 22, 29, and February 5, 12, and 19, 2017, 1:00-2:30 pm Eastern time.


Online, via GoToMeeting


$299.00 Canadian (Students from all countries are welcome.)

Sign up at this link.

Contact Dr. Andrea D. Lobel at for more information.

And of course, please feel free to share this widely. Thank you!



Jun 28 2016

New publication: Divination as Science A Workshop on Conducted during the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw, 2014. Jeanette C. Fincke, Ed.



This new book on the scientific nature of divination in the ancient Near East was recently released (June, 2016) by Eisenbraun’s. Reviews and comments are very much welcome.

Bibliographic details:

Divination as Science
A Workshop on Conducted during the 60th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, Warsaw, 2014
Edited by Jeanette C. Fincke
Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale – RAI 60W1
Eisenbrauns, 2016
Pp. xi + 172
ISBN: 1-57506-425-1
ISBN13: 978-1-57506-425-3
Your Price: $44.55


There is no doubt that Ancient Near Eastern divination is firmly rooted in religion, since all ominous signs were thought to have been sent by gods, and the invocation of omens was embedded in rituals. Nonetheless, the omen compendia display many aspects of a generally scientific nature. In their attempt to note all possible changes to the affected objects and to arrange their observations systematically for reference purposes, the scholars produced texts that resulted in a rather detailed description of the world, be it with respect to geography (the urban or rural environment on earth, or celestial and meteorological phenomena observed in the sky), biology (the outer appearance of the bodies of humans or animals, or the entrails of sheep), sociology (behavior of people) or others. Based on different divination methods and omen compendia, the question discussed during this workshop was whether the scholars had a scientific approach, presented as religion, or whether Ancient Near Eastern divination should be considered purely religious and that the term “science” is inappropriate in this context. The workshop attracted a large audience and lively discussion ensued. The papers presented in this volume reflect the focus of the sessions during the workshop and are likely to generate even more discussion, now that they are published.

Table of Contents for Divination as Science



Bibliographical Abbreviations

Divination Between Religion and Science, JoAnn Scurlock

Bias in Observations of Natural Phenomena made for Divinatory Purposes, Ulla Susanne Koch

“Šamaš, great lord, whom I am asking, answer me with a reliable ‚Yes!”: The Influence of Divination on the Result of War, Krzysztof Ulanowski

Sheep Anatomical Terminology in the šumma immeru Omen Series and Additional Texts, Yoram Cohen

Some Remarks about the Old Babylonian Libanomancy Texts, Maria Stella Cingolo

The Oldest Mesopotamian Astronomical Treatise: enuma anu enlil, Jeanette C. Fincke

Divination and Religion as a Cultural System, Paul Delnero


General index

Index of texts

For more information, or to order, please visit Eisenbrauns.

Jun 20 2016

Three upcoming events on ancient and early medieval Jewish medicine (Berlin)

Courtesy of Lennart Lehmhaus:

We would like to draw your attention to and cordially invite you to THREE upcoming events on the topic of ancient and early medieval Jewish medicine.

The Berlin based research project A03 on Talmudic and Byzantine medical knowledge, run by Markham J. Geller and Philip van der Eijk (AvH-professor, Humboldt University Berlin), will host Dr. Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim as a research fellow in June (20 – 29 June 2016).

Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim (Goldsmiths, University of London) will present and discuss in various formats (workshops/lecture) her current research into the early history of a medical tradition in Hebrew (Book of Asaf/Sefer Refu’ot) and on the transfer of medical knowledge between East (China/Tibet/Central Asia) and West (Graeco-Roman/ Persian and Arabic traditions).

Tuesday, 21 June (ca. 15:00- 17:30, TOPOI library, ground floor) Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim will host a reading workshop (texts in translation) on the topic “The Hebrew Book of Asaf on Humours and Winds”.


Thursday, 23 June (16:30-18:00, TOPOI library), Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim and Lennart Lehmhaus (A03-SFB 980, FU Berlin) will discuss the issue of “Bloodletting between the Talmudim and the Hebrew Book of Asaf” from a comparative perspective (as part of the course “Medizin im Talmud”, but open to all).


Friday, 24 June (10-12), Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim will present a lecture within the framework of the SFB 980 Jour Fixe on “The Silk-Roads as a model for exploring Eurasian transmissions of medical knowledge”
(SFB-Villa, Schwendenerstr. 8, 14195 Berlin).


Everyone is welcome. Due to a limited number of seats,  please RSVP to:

The fellowship is generously sponsored by the Collaborative Research Center/ SFB 980 “Episteme in Motion. Transfer of Knowledge from the Ancient World to the Early Modern Period”)

Apr 21 2016

A happy Passover!

Category: Announcements,Judaismalobel @ 11:48 am


Wishing everyone who celebrates the holiday a happy, healthy, and kosher Passover!

We’re looking forward to spending it with our dear friends, who are like family to us. Weather-permitting, I can’t wait to do some astronomical observing.

From our home to yours, may you know joy and freedom this year and always!

To You alone we give thanks. Even if our mouths were filled with song as the sea, and our tongues with joyous singing like the multitudes of its waves, and our lips with praise like the vast expanse of the sky; and our eyes shining like the sun and the moon, and our hands spread out like the eagles of heaven, and our feet swift like deer, we would still be unable to thank You, oh God of our ancestors, and to bless Your Name, for even one of the thousands of millions, and myriads of myriads, of favours, miracles and wonders which You have done for us and for our ancestors before us.

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