Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Blog: a weblog created for DI4716, a course on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha at the Divinity School of the University of St Andrews. By Jim Davila and Grant Macaskill.

This blog (or weblog) is ancillary to a one-semester undergraduate course (DI4716) that we are teaching in 2007 at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Our names are Dr. Jim Davila, Reader in Early Jewish Studies and Dr. Grant Macaskill, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. This course (or “module,” as they say in the British system) explores the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, a loose collection of ancient quasi-Biblical writings fictionally attributed to biblical characters or set in the Old Testament period but rejected from the mainstream scriptural canons of both Judaism and Christianity. We shall study the orthodox and heretical interests and concerns of these documents; the reasons for their exclusion from the major canons; the problem of sorting out who wrote and edited them, when, and why; and the influence of these works after antiquity. The focus this year will be on texts preserved in exotic ancient church languages including Coptic, Ethiopic, Latin, Slavonic, and Syriac, but all texts will be read in English translation and no knowledge of any ancient languages is required or assumed (…) The blog opens on 9 February 2007 and will close sometime in May.

Obras em Jerusalem com transmissao ao vivo

Israel instala câmeras para transmitir obras em local sagrado
As autoridades israelenses instalaram câmeras para filmar os trabalhos de escavação que estão ocorrendo perto do Monte de Templo ou Haram Sharif em Jerusalém, local sagrado para judeus e muçulmanos. As imagens serão transmitidas ao vivo pela internet, em uma tentativa de acalmar os muçulmanos do mundo todo.

Leia a notícia toda na BBC Brasil – 15 de fevereiro, 2007.

Webcast for Jerusalem excavations
The Israeli authorities have installed cameras to film excavation work being carried out near the Temple Mount or Haram Sharif in East Jerusalem. The footage will be broadcast live on the internet, in an attempt to ease widespread anger in the Muslim world (cont.)

Morreu ontem Bruce Metzger

Morreu ontem, aos 93 anos, o grande especialista em grego do Novo Testamento, Bruce Manning Metzger, professor emérito do Princeton Theological Seminary. Seus muitos textos todos nós usamos. Sua memória, reverenciamos.


Bruce Manning Metzger

Bruce Manning Metzger (1914-2007)Dr. Bruce M. Metzger, the internationally renowned textual critic, bible scholar, and biblical translator, New Testament professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, and past President of the SBL (1971), died on February 13, 2007 at his home in Princeton at the age of 93.

Born on February 9, 1914 in Middletown, Pennsylvania, Metzger attended Lebanon Valley College (AB, 1935), where he first studied Greek and textual criticism, and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.B., 1938, Th.M., 1939), where his teachers included Henry. S. Gehman, W. A. Armstrong, Otto Piper, and Emil Brunner, prior to doctoral studies in classics and patristics at Princeton University (MA, 1940, Ph.D., 1942). He was ordained in 1939 by the Presbytery of New Brunswick (now PC[USA]).

During a forty-six year career at Princeton Theological Seminary (1938-1984), which was capped by his appointment as George L. Collard Professor of New Testament Language and Literature (1964-1984; Emeritus, 1984-), Metzger taught more students than anyone else in the seminary’s history (among them were David Noel Freedman, to mention one of the very first, and Bart Ehrman and myself, to mention two of the last). Metzger was also a visiting scholar or fellow at nine institutions (including Wolfson College, Oxford, Clare College, Cambridge, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton), presented academic lectures at more than one hundred institutions on six continents, and delivered more than 2500 sermons or studies in churches belonging to a wide variety of denominations.

Internationally recognized as a leading NT textual critic, Metzger was arguably the greatest textual specialist and biblical translator America has produced. Among his many publications, pride of place belongs to his trilogy on the text, versions, and canon of the NT. Most widely influential is his handbook on The Text of the New Testament (1964; translations include German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian, and Russian; 3d, enl. ed. 1992; 4th ed. with Bart Ehrman, 2005), from which multiple generations of textual critics learned their craft. It presented (in a genuinely balanced and pedagogically useful form) the essentials of what would later be termed “reasoned eclecticism,” the dominant approach in the discipline today (his influence with regard to methodology was extended even more widely by A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament). Without rival in the field, and an outstanding example of Metzger’s wide-ranging and encyclopedic knowledge, is his Early Versions of the New Testament (1977), which surveys not only the expected major versions, but also many minor ones (e.g., Thracian and Sogdian). The Canon of the New Testament (1987) combines careful and erudite attention to historical matters with a concern for theological questions and implications — another typically Metzgerian characteristic.

Metzger’s recognition as a leading NT textual critic is due also to his influential role as a member of the editorial committee responsible initially for The Greek New Testament and later for the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, and also his involvement in, and leadership of, the International Greek New Testament Project (1948-1984).

The full breadth of Metzger’s scholarship is most visible in his hundreds of articles, which cover textual criticism, philology, palaeography and papyrology, classical topics, Greco-Roman religions, the Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha, the New Testament, patristics, early church history, and Bible translation (to name only the major areas). In addition he has published (in at least two dozen journals) reviews of hundreds of books written in eight languages. A master of bibliographic detail, Metzger would find that telling reference in sources the rest of us did not know existed (see, e.g., p. 271 n. 28 in the latest edition of the Text of the NT). In a remarkable feat, Metzger published in eight different decades: his first article appeared in 1938, and his most recent book in 2006.

On both academic and popular levels, Metzger was well-known for his involvement (since 1952) with the RSV and especially NRSV translations. From 1977-1990 he was Chair of the Committee of Translators for the NRSV, and was largely responsible for seeing it through the press. His association with the RSV and NRSV was given additional visibility by his editorship of various study Bibles and tools based on these translations, as well as his service as Chair of the Committee on Translation of the American Bible Society 1964-1970. More controversial (he received huge amounts of mail, pro et contra), but quite typical of Metzger’s concern to promote Bible reading, was his editorship of the condensed Reader’s Digest Bible (1982). He took great satisfaction in the expansion of the NRSV to include all the texts viewed as canonical by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant Christians, and was pleased to present copies of it to both Pope John Paul II and His All Holiness Demetrios.

Metzger’s many awards, prizes, honors, and academic recognitions include honorary degrees from his alma mater, Findlay College, University of St. Andrews, University of Münster/Westfalia, and University of Potchefstroom; the presidencies of Studorium Novi Testamenti Societas (1971-1972), the Society of Biblical Literature (1971), the North American Patristic Society (1972), and the Society for Textual Scholarship (1995); and three Festschriften. Of particular note are Metzger’s election in 1978 as Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (its highest honor for those not residents of the UK), and the receipt in 1994 of its prestigious F. C. Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies (only the third American so honored). As Iain Torrence, the Seminary’s current President, observed, “Bruce Metzger’s sheer brilliance, clarity and Christian devotion set a standard all of his own.”

Yet for all his academic achievements and international renown, Bruce is warmly remembered by many as much or more for his personality and character. Friendly, modest, and self-effacing, seemingly always courteous and gracious, he took a genuine interest in his students, was a source of encouragement to colleagues and younger scholars alike, and deeply enjoyed his many speaking engagements in churches throughout the world. He had a knack of always finding something nice to say about a person or a book, an engaging sense of humor, and an apparently endless supply of amusing anecdotes. Though he tended to avoid talking about himself, he had some remarkable stories to tell (many were finally told in his Reminiscences of an Octogenarian [1997]), some of which were quite endearing: he once admitted, a bit sheepishly, to having studied Syriac vocabulary instead of listening to the lecture in a Christian Education class while a seminary student. Reflective of his character was his distinctive way of formulating advice: once when I was having second thoughts about a project I had agreed to undertake for a publisher, I consulted Bruce, who after listening attentively to the details of the matter, thought for a moment and replied, “Sometimes it’s good not to be too humble” — thereby both encouraging me to “go for it” while simultaneously reminding me to keep the matter in a larger perspective. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, whether as colleague, teacher, mentor, or friend.

Bruce Metzger is survived by his wife Isobel Elizabeth (daughter of John Alexander Mackay, the third President of the Seminary), and his sons John Mackay Metzger and James Bruce Metzger.

Michael W. Holmes, Bethel University

Fonte: SBL Forum

IAA – Israel Antiquities Authority

Visite a página oficial da Autoridade Israelense de Antiguidades, órgão encarregado da arqueologia em Israel. O site está em hebraico e inglês.


The Israel Antiquities Authority – Vision and Goals

The Israel Antiquities Authority is in charge of the country’s antiquities and antiquity sites, their excavation, preservation, conservation, study and publication thereof, as well as the country’s antiquity treasures.

The Israel Antiquities Authority will serve as the leading professional body for the study of the archaeology of Eretz-Israel. It will preserve, conserve and study the archaeological heritage of the country at the highest scientific level, and will maintain a balance between development needs and antiquities preservation.

The Israel Antiquities Authority will aim to increase public awareness and interest in the country’s archaeological heritage.

The Israel Antiquities Authority will encourage the professional capabilities of its employees and their obligations to the organization and its goals.

Novo recurso para o estudo do hebraico bíblico

WALTKE, B. K.; O’CONNOR, M. Introdução à Sintaxe do Hebraico Bíblico. São Paulo: Cultura Cristã, 2006, 850 p. – ISBN 9788576221418.

WALTKE, B. K.; O’CONNOR, M. P. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, [1990] 2004, xiv + 765 p. – ISBN 9780931464317.


Traduzida do inglês, esta é uma gramática intermediária da língua Hebraica Bíblica. Agradeço a indicação feita por Mauro Meister, que deixou um comentário sobre este valioso recurso em meu blog.

Meeting the need for a textbook for classroom use after first year Hebrew grammar, Waltke and O’Connor integrate the results of modern linguistic study of Hebrew and years of experience teaching the subject in this book. In addition to functioning as a teaching grammar, this work will also be widely used for reference and self-guided instruction in Hebrew beyond the first formal year.


O comentário de Mauro Meister é o seguinte:

“Prefaciar a obra de Waltke e O’Connor na sua tradução para a língua portuguesa é uma honra imensa. Quando a indiquei para tradução e os trabalhos foram iniciados, não tinha ideia de quanto tempo e esforço seriam necessários até que pudéssemos tê-la entregue ao estudioso da língua hebraica no Brasil. Não se trata da tradução de um livro simples, mas de uma obra, que além de volumosa, apresenta complexidade nas relações internas com vários índices fundamentais ao seu bom uso.

A necessidade desta obra específica em língua portuguesa é incontestável. Os estudos da língua hebraica no Brasil andam por lentos e tortuosos caminhos. Há poucas décadas havia, se não, as mais básicas gramáticas de hebraico disponíveis para nossos estudantes. Houve, naturalmente, um desenvolvimento na área, e nos últimos anos encontramos várias novas gramáticas publicadas em língua portuguesa, pelo que damos graças a Deus. Há menos de 10 anos que o primeiro dicionário Hebraico-Português de porte razoável tomou seu lugar nas bibliotecas de nossos estudantes. Estas obras, básicas para o ensino da língua hebraica, encontram, agora, o suporte de uma obra de grande peso, que tornou-se um manual de referência ao redor de todo o mundo, ainda que os próprios autores reconheçam o limite da mesma quanto às discussões de exceções e daí a necessidade de outras obras clássicas com Gesenius, Kautzsch e Cowley ou Jüon-Muraoka, que esperamos sejam um dia traduzidas para o português. Até então, nenhuma obra do porte de Waltke e O’Connor foi publicada em nosso vernáculo para o estudo do hebraico.

A introdução à sintaxe do hebraico bíblico é normalmente descrita como uma gramática intermediária. Para o estudante dedicado da língua, seu uso torna-se possível a partir do segundo ano de estudos e acrescenta informações fundamentais na construção da compreensão da língua. As qualidades didáticas da obra são inúmeras. Entre elas, destacamos o próprio uso da linguagem. Os autores se esmeram em explicar a terminologia usada, tanto no texto quanto nas notas de rodapé, permitindo ao estudante noviço uma leitura mais fácil. Encontram-se na obra mais de 3500 exemplos do uso específico relativo aos temas dos capítulos e seções. Além dos exemplos e suas traduções estarem no texto, as notas de rodapé apontam vários outros exemplos no texto na Bíblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) e também as discussões acadêmicas em artigos, livros e comentários são apontadas, abrindo o caminho para o estudo avançado de cada uma das questões apresentadas. As referências cruzadas são inúmeras, tanto nas notas quanto nos índices finais de Tópicos, Autores, Palavras Hebraicas e Citações das Escrituras. A inserção de uma bibliografia separada por tópicos aponta os caminhos para a pesquisa avançada.

Ainda que após a publicação do livro (1990) as pesquisas na língua hebraica tenham avançado, abrangendo o estudo de novas categorias linguísticas e metodologias, a obra de Waltke e O’Connor continua a ser reimpressa, por seu porte e valor inestimáveis. Essa é, sem sombra de dúvidas, uma obra que o estudioso do Hebraico Bíblico deve ter em sua biblioteca.”


Entrevista com o escritor Gore Vidal

Três expressivos intelectuais norte-americanos ousaram enfrentar, após o 11 de Setembro, a “Junta Bush-Cheney”: o lingüista Noam Chomsky, a ensaísta Susan Sontag (falecida em 2004) e o escritor Gore Vidal.

Leia abaixo a entrevista de Gore Vidal à Folha.

Com Bush, perdemos a Constituição, diz Vidal (Folha Online: 12/02/2007 – 09h51)

Soberba acirra ódio dos rivais conservadores de Gore Vidal (Folha Online: 12/02/2007 – 09h57)

Suspensas obras na Esplanada das Mesquitas

Obra polêmica em local sagrado de Jerusalém é adiada
As autoridades israelenses anunciaram nesta segunda-feira a suspensão das obras polêmicas de construção de uma passarela em um local sagrado para judeus e muçulmanos em Jerusalém, enquanto são realizadas consultas públicas.

Leia na BBC Brasil – 12 de fevereiro de 2007.

Veja também Confronto na Esplanada das Mesquitas.

Arqueologia da Palestina e sistema de crenças

Ontem, Duane Smith comentou o post de Christopher O’Brien em A Note on an Abnormal Interest, com fortes elogios a este arqueólogo que ousa desafiar as “certezas” de determinados grupos.

Chamo a atenção dos interessados no debate sobre a arqueologia da Palestina e a História de Israel para as suas considerações. Tem muita gente precisando parar e refletir sobre o que ele diz.

No seu post, ele procura classificar e explicar a postura das pessoas quando confrontadas com os resultados da arqueologia da Síria-Palestina.

Ele reflete sobre algo muito sério: há arqueólogos que tratam o assunto com profissionalismo e há um pequeno grupo de pessoas que, embora leigas no assunto, têm uma visão esclarecida sobre a arqueologia e seus resultados. Mas a maior parte das pessoas – talvez por não terem uma visão mais ampla do mundo do Antigo Oriente Médio e da história da pesquisa na região – falam do assunto com outras perspectivas, visões, objetivos. E é isso: apenas “falam”. Falam muito mais para confirmar a si mesmas – na verdade, seu sistema de crenças – do que para entender o tema. São pessoas com vista curta e boca grande. Em bom português: não enxergam além do próprio nariz. Como poderão entender a perspectiva da pesquisa científica?

Em certo ponto ele diz que

Myriads of folks who deeply desire that the conclusions of the archaeologists support either their religious or their political perspectives, sometimes both, make up the larger of the other two groups. Perhaps they need to have their religious or political beliefs confirmed; perhaps they hope that archaeology will provide a “scientific” basis for evangelism. Perhaps they fear the loss of faith in themselves or others if archaeology does not support their beliefs. Many identify this group with Biblical fundamentalism and while it includes most fundamentalists, it is in reality much larger than that. One of the hallmarks of this group is their almost universal failure to acknowledge controversy among experts and to suppress or more commonly massage evidence that is not supporting of their position.

Duane Smith está dizendo que há milhares de pessoas que desejam ardentemente que as conclusões dos arqueólogos ofereçam suporte para suas visões religiosas ou políticas, ou para as duas simultaneamente. Talvez essas pessoas tenham necessidade de ver suas crenças religiosas ou políticas confirmadas, talvez elas acreditem que a arqueologia possa oferecer uma base ‘científica para seu evangelismo, ou ainda, talvez elas tenham medo de perder a fé em si mesmas ou nos outros se a arqueologia não confirmar suas crenças… Muitos identificam este grupo com os fundamentalistas bíblicos, mas, além de incluir muitos fundamentalistas, na verdade, ele é muito maior (cont.)


I will note that classical archaeologists occasionally debate their finding and their hypotheses in strong and sometimes derisive tones. But in general, none of them thinks their immortal soul or anyone else’s depends on the outcome of these debates. Their honor or prestige may be on the line but not their religious beliefs. It is on the issue of religious belief that much of the talk, but little of the real archaeology, rests.

Quer dizer: os arqueólogos profissionais, quando se confrontam, debatem seus achados e suas hipóteses de maneira bastante dura. Mas, em geral, nenhum deles acredita que a salvação de sua alma dependa do resultado de seus debates. Sua honra e prestígio podem estar em jogo, não suas crenças religiosas. Mas é no campo das crenças religiosas que muito se bate boca, deixando a verdadeira arqueologia de fora, reflete Duane Smith.

O post completo diz:

A Note on an Abnormal Interest

February 11, 2007 Duane Smith

Chris O’Brien at Northstate Science has a second post on “apologetics archaeology” in which he offers further reflections on Syro-Palestinian archaeology. He again makes several important points and tells of a couple of his own experiences in a very instructive way. I am very sympathetic to Chris’ points in this recent post. I guess I need to write something meaningful on this topic too, but right now I’m just too worn out from bringing our library back into the house from the garage where it was being stored while our new carpet was installed, to be very coherent. What a pain.

One thing that I will note is that, except for those who work directly in the field (and not all of them) plus a very small group of interested laypersons, a high percentage of the talk in this area is just that, “talk,” with not the slightest reference to the real issues in all of their complexity. Today I will contribute a little to that “talk.” Discounting those whose main interest is selling magazines, the world of Syro-Palestinian archaeology seems to divide into two larger camps of unequal size and one much smaller camp. The smaller camp contains those professionals who struggle with the difficult evidence and develop interesting and useful, even testable, hypotheses that advance the field. Dever, Mazar, Gitin, Finkelstein, and Herzog, as well as many other professional archaeologists and a very few laypersons, are part of this group. In what follows, I write in generalities. One can find exceptional cases everywhere.

Myriads of folks who deeply desire that the conclusions of the archaeologists support either their religious or their political perspectives, sometimes both, make up the larger of the other two groups. Perhaps they need to have their religious or political beliefs confirmed; perhaps they hope that archaeology will provide a “scientific” basis for evangelism. Perhaps they fear the loss of faith in themselves or others if archaeology does not support their beliefs. Many identify this group with Biblical fundamentalism and while it includes most fundamentalists, it is in reality much larger than that. One of the hallmarks of this group is their almost universal failure to acknowledge controversy among experts and to suppress or more commonly massage evidence that is not supporting of their position.

The second of the two larger groups hopes that archaeology does not confirm the historicity of the Bible. There are many differing and often opposing motivations for this view: fear of some form of idolatry; fear of misuse of archaeological evidence to support political agendas; hope that archaeology will prove the Bible wrong with sufficient authority to also prove all or some religious beliefs wrong; a desire to separate western theology from its historical roots. I find all of these positions as equally wrong headed as fundamentalist religious positions. Members of this group will often acknowledge legitimate controversy but tend to fixate on evidence or individual archaeologists that seem most supportive of their own non-archaeological positions. They also often promote low probability explanations of evidence where the highest probability explanation does not suit the cause. Neither this group nor the one outlined in the previous paragraph seems much interested in proposing testable hypotheses or in having their own hypothesis tested.

I will note that classical archaeologists occasionally debate their finding and their hypotheses in strong and sometimes derisive tones. But in general, none of them thinks their immortal soul or anyone else’s depends on the outcome of these debates. Their honor or prestige may be on the line but not their religious beliefs. It is on the issue of religious belief that much of the talk, but little of the real archaeology, rests. My goal as a secularist with a strong (abnormal) interest in the field of Syro-Palestinian archaeology is to discuss the issues as if little or nothing were at stake. Shocking little really is. I think that a dedicated interest in this area of human inquiry should be as abnormal as is the same level of interest in any other branch of archaeology. I’m not claiming that the larger public shouldn’t have an interest in Syro-Palestinian archaeology. I am claiming that they shouldn’t have an opinion.

PS One subject that needs to be discussed more than it is, is how archaeological research of all kinds is funded. There are dragons and monsters in these waters.

Japoneses encontram no Egito sarcófagos raros

Arqueólogos acham sarcófagos raros no Egito – BBC Brasil – 10 de fevereiro de 2007

Arqueólogos anunciaram neste sábado terem descoberto três sarcófagos de madeira ao sul do Cairo – dois deles considerados raros devido ao período da história do antigo Egito que representam.

De acordo com o chefe do conselho supremo de antiguidades do Egito, Zahi Hawass, os dois sarcófagos mais antigos estão entre os poucos artefatos já encontrados do chamado Reino Médio da civilização egípcia, há cerca de quatro mil anos.

Um dos sarcófagos do Império Médio é incrustado com pedaços de vidro preto, enquanto o outro é coberto apenas com pinturas.

O outro sarcófago data do Reino Novo (cerca de 1500 a.C.) e continha uma múmia. Ele foi decorado com imagens dos quatro filhos do deus Hórus.

Hawass disse que a descoberta dos sarcófagos representou algo único e importante.

Os sarcófagos foram encontrados por uma equipe de arqueólogos do Japão em câmaras mortuárias no complexo arqueológico de Saqqara.

A equipe japonesa vinha trabalhando na região desde o final da década de 90.

A Japanese archaeological team has discovered three painted wooden coffins in Egypt, including two from the little-known Middle Kingdom period dating back more than 4,000 years.