Jun 28 2016

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

divinationasscience

 

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

Description 

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

Preface

Abbreviations

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

Indexes

General index

Index of texts

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


Jan 20 2014

New publication: ‘From Alexandria, Through Baghdad: Surveys and Studies in the Ancient Greek and Medieval Islamic Mathematical Sciences in Honor of J.L. Berggren’

Greek and Islamic astronomy and mathematics

Sidoli, Nathan and Van Brummelen, Glen, Eds. 2014. From Alexandria, Through Baghdad: Surveys and Studies in the Ancient Greek and Medieval Islamic Mathematical Sciences in Honor of J.L. Berggren. [Hardcover]

Of interest to scholars and students of the history of mathematics and astronomy in ancient Greece and Medieval Islam is this volume, honouring the career of history of mathematics professor J.L. Berggren. The volume includes contributions spanning approximately seventy years of research, from the mid twentieth century onward.

Notable astronomical chapters include:

James Evans and Christian Carlos Cartman, “Mechanical Astronomy: A Route to the Ancient Discovery of Epicycles and Eccentrics.”

Alexander Jones, “Some Greek Sundial Meridians.”

and

David A. King, “An Ottoman Astrolabe Full of Surprises.”

For more information, please see the Springer web site.


Jan 03 2014

Recent publication: ‘New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish Reception of Copernican Thought’

newheavens

Published in 2013, New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish Reception of Copernican Thought, by Jeremy Brown (Oxford University Press) is described as the “first comprehensive examination of the Jewish reception of Copernican thought,” spanning four centuries of Jewish commentary on the Copernican model. In his research, Brown also demonstrates the ways in which religions tend to evolve to make room for new scientific findings, however threatening they may have initially appeared to be.

Here is the table of contents:

Introduction
Chapter 1 – Nicolas Copernicus and His Revolution
Chapter 2 – The Talmudic View of the Universe
Chapter 3 – David Gans and the First Mention of Copernicus in Hebrew Literature
Chapter 4 – The First Jewish Copernican: Rabbi Joseph Solomon Delmedigo
Chapter 5 – ”Copernicus Is the Son of Satan.” The First Jewish Rejections of Copernicus
Chapter 6 – David Nieto and Copernicanism in London
Chapter 7 – The Jewish Encyclopedias
Chapter 8 – The Eighteenth Century. Jews and Copernicus in the Newtonian Era
Chapter 9 – ”I Have Written a Book For the Young People.” David Friesenhausen’s Mosdot Tevel
Chapter 10 – The Nineteenth Century: Copernicus Without Hesitation
Chapter 11 – ”Let Copernicus and a Thousand Like Him Be Removed From the World.” Reuven Landau’s Rejection
Chapter 12 – The Modern Period
Chapter 13 – Relativity and Contemporary Jewish Geocentrists
Chapter 14 – Conclusions
Appendix
Bibliography

If any of my readers happen to pick this up, I’d welcome your comments here. Happy new year to all!

 

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Dec 02 2013

Forthcoming book — ‘Time, Astronomy, and Calendars in the Jewish Tradition’ (2014)

timeastronomycalendars

I greatly look forward to reading the following volume:

Stern, Sacha and Burnett, Charles (Eds.) (2014) Time, Astronomy, and Calendars in the Jewish Tradition. Leiden: Brill.

The table of contents is available here, on the Brill web site, and below, for your convenience.

Table of contents

Preface
A Jewish Parapegma? Reading 1 Enoch 82 in Roman Egypt
Jonathan Ben-Dov

Observing the Moon: Astronomical and Cosmological Aspects in the Rabbinic New Moon Procedure
Reimund Leicht

Cosmology as Science or Cosmology as Theology? Reflections on the Astronomical Chapters of Pirke DeRabbi Eliezer
Katharina Keim

Some Early Islamic and Christian Sources Regarding the Jewish Calendar (9th-11th centuries)
François de Blois

The Jewish Calendar Controversy of 921–22:
Reconstructing the Manuscripts and their Transmission History
Marina Rustow and Sacha Stern

The Hebrew Calendrical Bookshelf of the Early Twelfth Century: The Cases of Abraham bar Ḥiyya and Jacob bar Samson
Ilana Wartenberg

Scribal Prerogative in Modifying Calendrical Tables
Israel M. Sandman

Astronomical Tables of Abraham bar Ḥiyya
Raymond Mercier

The Sabbath Epistle by Abraham Ibn Ezra: its Purpose and Novelty
Anne C. Kinneret Sittig

Medieval Jews and Medieval Astrolabes: Where, Why, How, and What For?
Josefina Rodríguez Arribas

Some Hygiene and Dietary Calendars in Hebrew Manuscripts from Medieval Ashkenaz
Justine Isserles

Me pudet audire Iudeum talia scire: A Late Medieval Latin School Text on the Jewish Calendar
C. Philipp E. Nothaft

(Thanks again, Carla Sulzbach!)

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Dec 01 2013

New publication — “Time and Identity: Hellenism in the Calendar Speech of Jubilees chapter 6″

Here is the bibliographic information:

Ben-Dov, Jonathan. (2013) “Time and Identity: Hellenism in the Calendar Speech of Jubilees chapter 6″. (in Hebrew) Meghillot 10.

But why search when it’s available right here, on Academia.edu?

(With deep thanks to Carla Sulzbach for pointing me to this publication)

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Nov 01 2013

New publication: “From Babylon to Jerusalem: The Roots of Jewish Astrological Symbolism”, in ‘Sky and Symbol’ (Eds. Nicholas Campion and Liz Greene)

skysymbolandrealobel

My article, “From Babylon to Jerusalem: The Roots of Jewish Astrological Symbolism” has now been published in Sky and Symbol (Eds. Nicholas Campion and Liz Greene). The book may be ordered here, at Amazon.com if interested.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Nicholas Campion and Liz Greene

Part One: The Nature of Symbols
Is Astrology a Symbolic Language?
Nicholas Campion

Art, Astronomy, and Symbolism in the Age of Science
Gary Wells

Ritual Ornamentation—From the Secular to the Religious
Pamela Armstrong

Part Two: Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Expressions
The Burning Sun and the Killing Resheph: Proto-Astrological Symbolism and Ugaritic Epic
Ola Wikander

From Babylon to Jerusalem: The Roots of Jewish Astrological Symbolism
Andrea D. Lobel

The Perugia Fountain: An Encyclopaedia of Sky, Culture, and Society
Darrelyn Gunzburg

Theosis, Vision, and the Astral Body in Medieval German Pietism and the Spanish Kabbalah
Elliot Wolfson

‘Chemistry, That Starry Science’: Early Modern Conjunctions of Astrology and Alchemy
Peter Forshaw

Part Three: Astrological Symbols and Modernity
Katherine Maltwood, H. P. Blavatsky, and the Origins of the Glastonbury Landscape Zodiac
Anthony Thorley

The Celestial Imaginary in Weimar Cinema
Jennifer Zahrt

Reading the Future in the Landscape: Astrology in Zanadroandrenaland, Central East Madagascar
Christel Mattheeuws

Receiving the ‘Messengers’: The Astrology of Jung’s Liber Novus
Liz Greene

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Sep 15 2013

Recent Book: Living the Lunar Calendar

lunarc

Recent Publication:

Living the Lunar Calendar
Edited by Jonathan Ben-Dov, Wayne Horowitz, and John M Steele

This 2012 publication is a rich collection of papers by the editors, as well as Lawrence Schiffman, Sacha Stern, Robert Hannah, and others on the topic of lunar calandars in cultures including the ancient Near East, Christianity, Judaism, China, Japan, ancient Greece, America, and Russia. These papers engage topics including the variability of the lunar calendar, and the effects of this variability and the changing beginning of the month upon religious holiday planning, record keeping, etc. The table of contents of this excellent volume may be found here.

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Sep 14 2013

Book announcement: Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature

New Book Announcement:

Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature
Edited by Jonathan Ben-Dov, Seth L. Sanders

This new book (August, 2013), emerged from the 2011 conference held at NYU, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Among the contributors to this volume are Jonathan Ben-Dov, Seth L. Sanders, and Annette Yoshiko Reed.  Of special note with respect to astronomy and early Judaism is the article ”Networks of Scholars: The Transmission of Astronomical and Astrological Learning between Babylonians, Greeks and Jews”, by Mladen Popović.

I’ve ordered my copy, and greatly look forward to reading the book. I’ll be sure to review it here. (N.B. As of October, 2013,  Amazon lists the book as being available on December 15th.)


Jan 13 2009

New publication — The Constant Fire: Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate

constant

Astrophysics professor and Hubble Fellow Adam Frank has recently published a book that promises to transcend the standard science vs. religion dialogue. Entitled The Constant Fire: Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate, it seeks a rapprochement between the two camps. I, for one, look forward to reading it.

An article about the book may be found here. Here are a few more publication details, including a table of contents, on the University of California Press web site.


Oct 26 2008

Upcoming publication in ‘The World’s Religions After September 11′

Category: New publicationsalobel @ 11:31 pm

Just a quick announcement that one of my articles, entitled ‘Cultural Astronomy and Interfaith Dialogue: Finding Common Ground in the Skies’, will appear in the forthcoming four-volume set, The World’s Religions After September 11, being the proceedings of a conference of the same name. A complete table of contents may be found here. The collection will almost certainly be available through academic libraries.