Oct 11

About this blog

alobel @ 9:35 pm

Who am I? I’m Andrea D. Lobel, Ph.D., religion scholar, and writer/editor. I am a Course Lecturer and Research Associate at Carleton University, and Rabbi/Mentor at Darshan Yeshiva.

I’m currently working on two books. Under a Censored Sky: Astronomy and Rabbinic Authority in the Talmud Bavli and Related Literature (forthcoming, Brill Publishers), and an edited fiction anthology, Other Covenants: Alternate Histories of the Jewish People (forthcoming).

Research: My research spans the history of science in religion, as well as hermeneutics — more specifically, the study of religion and its intersections with the history of science, astronomy, cosmogony, cosmology, mathematics, nature, space exploration, and religious authority.

My research has been primarily focused on Judaism, but it also encompasses knowledge transmission between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam more broadly, given the historical and geographical trajectories.

My background also includes research and coursework in Second Temple and Medieval Judaism, as well as astronomy, cosmology, and astral religion in the ancient Near East, Hinduism and early Christianity.

Teaching: My undergraduate teaching has included courses in western religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism, myth, biblical studies, as well as a course entitled Skies and Texts of the ancient Near East, which focused on the religious textual traditions pertaining to astronomy and astral religion in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, Ugarit, and ancient Israel.

Other: I’m an amateur astronomer, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (among other professional organizations), and a science fiction fan.

Why this blog? This blog began with the postings on the study of religion and astronomy, with a focus on astronomy and Judaism; but its scope has been broadened to span religion and the sciences, more broadly speaking. These include, but are not limited to, astronomy, cosmology, and/or space exploration, medicine, environmental sciences, and other scientific fields.

I invite religion and history of science scholars to send me information about their upcoming or recent book, article, or book review releases, or presentations in any field related to religion and the sciences. Comments are always welcome.

Why the blog title? For more about Chaldea, click here.

Please feel free to visit my Academia.edu page or my Twitter feed.

I may be reached at andrea.lobel (at) carleton.ca

Thank you for visiting!

A note on uploaded images: Reasonable care has been taken to ensure that images are either in the public domain, or are available for fair comment. Other images appear on this blog upon receipt of permissions by the owners. If you own an image that has somehow been incorrectly listed online as being in the public domain, please e-mail me, and I will remove it as soon as possible.

13 Responses to “About this blog”

  1. Nick Campion says:

    Hi Andrea,

    great blog – excellent idea.

    How are you?


  2. alobel says:

    Hi, Nick!

    Thanks very much.

    I’ve been well. Teaching and research have been keeping me quite occupied. How have you been?

    Coincidentally, I was going to e-mail you about your recent book, ‘The Dawn of Astrology’. I’m enjoying it.

  3. Roz Park says:

    I live in Alberta (where partner is part-time university lecturer in astronomy) & UK, and am just back from working on a favourite dig in Israel. My archaeology experience since 1999 has fortuitously been on sites with Synagogue Zodiacs. I am an Egyptologist especially interested in the origins of astronomy in Ancient Egypt. Although my Somerset neighbour Nick Campion wouldn’t agree with me, I am starting to have the startling conviction that the earliest known religious astronomy (circa. 4000 BCE) is perhaps ‘Out of Israel’, rather than of Mespotamian beginnings. Watch this space, as they say!

  4. Roz Park says:

    have you any opinion on the book “Babylonian Star-Lore” by Gavin White (2008), the review of which I have just read by Deborah Houlding on http://www.skyscript.co.uk

  5. alobel says:

    Hi, Roz! Thanks for posting!

    There is certainly some compelling research on the existence of early astronomical alignments in the Levant by Sara L. Gardner and others. I’m not certain whether these pre-date the Mesopotamian findings; perhaps time (and further excavations) will tell.

    I haven’t yet read ‘Babylonian Star-Lore’. Would you recommend it?

  6. Roz Park says:

    Excavations with an archaeoastronomer as part of the team are much needed on the Chalcolithic high-placed temple sites. Teleilat Ghassul c.4500BCE is an exciting beginning and, with the Rujm el-Hira site, it continues to get better. I am particularly enthusiastic about the “Leopard temples” in the Negev and Sinai which strike me as being celestial images on the ground. I cannot comment further as the notes and rule-of-thumb measurements of some fascinating geometry I made 7 years ago are back in the UK.// Yet to read “Babylonian Star-Lore”….

  7. Sara L. Gardner says:

    In response to the astrological alignments and other evidence in the Levant. Some it definitely predates the Mesopotamian star charts. The Constellation Leo or Israelite Judah appears on the Chalcolithic pavement at Megiddo dating to 3300 BCE as well as other intriguing drawings that may be Taurus, Scorpio and some other possibilities. The standing stones at Gezer align with the both solstices, the equinoxes and the lunar solstice. The stones that are in place today date to about 1600 BCE, but there are underlying stones that date earlier. Furthermore, Gezer has caves with drawings that may well be of the stones and relative horizons. Above the horizons and the verticle lines that I think are representative of the stones are animals. None that we would recognize today. The cave date to 2900 BCE well before any written star charts from Mesopotamia.

    Hope this helps,
    Dr. Sara L. Gardner

  8. Sara L. Gardner says:

    I should add that the Mesopotamian texts date to about 1500 BCE. But knowledge is cumulative and therefore, could have been used as much as 300 years earlier. My research shows that the above was in place as much as 1500 years earlier.

  9. alobel says:

    Thanks for posting here, Dr. Gardner.

    I wonder if precession of the equinoxes would have figured into the possible Chalcolithic portrayal of Taurus (as opposed to Aries) at Megiddo, especially given the evidence you’ve found of quite early awareness of the equinoxes and solstices. If you happen to read this, do you have any thoughts on the matter?

  10. Attenberger Alexandra says:

    Dear Madam, found your blog by searching out Chaldea and it felt good to find you. May I ask you, when you have the time, to look at another blog, which I find highly interesting just the same. It is seventhoughts.blogspot.com. The writer and his wife are currently living in London, and are deeply interested in archaic teachings. She is a nuclear physicist and he was an officer in the british army. They dedicate their lives to study and to contribute to the world at the same time, by giving seminars in Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam and in the past in southern Spain. Also they volunteer in high-schools in London, to help young people to find a place and give more meaning to their lives.
    Well, sending you well wishes and I hope you enjoy the blog, Alexandra

  11. alobel says:

    Hello, Alexandra. Thanks for visiting! Interesting blog.

  12. Carla Sulzbach says:

    Awesome blog, Andrea!!!!

  13. alobel says:

    Thanks, Carla!

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