The Jewish Revolt against Rome

15 November 2014

jrSoon after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it became evident that the publication was far too big a project for the local institutions. It was logical that other scholars were invited to join the researchers. From the beginning, Qumranology was an international and multidisciplinary affair.

Still, the publication of the scrolls proceeded slowly. There is nothing strange about this. A parallel is the non-publication of the tens of thousands of unpublished cuneiform tablets in the British Museum, some of which have been waiting for more than a century. The finds in the Dead Sea caves were not different: thousands of fragments belonging to some 970 scrolls.

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Israel Divided | Summary

9 November 2014

israc3abl_verdeeldOver the past years, I have been writing a (Dutch) book about the Jewish world at the beginning of the common era. Of course, this is hardly an original theme, but the existing books usually discuss Temple Judaism as a kind of preliminary to either Rabbinical Judaism (leaving out Christianity) or Christianity (leaving out the halachic debates). I wanted a book that dealt with ancient Judaism in itself.

It was published recently. After some preliminary chapters about the historical context (the revolt of the Maccabees, the Hasmonaean dynasty, king Herod, the establishment of Roman rule), the three core chapters deal with the halachic debates, Josephus‘ rendering of these debates, and the eschatological ideas.

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Hadrian in Jerusalem

21 October 2014
The inscription (for larger photo, see original article)

The inscription (for larger photo, see original article)

A new episode in our series “the suicide of the humanities”: a dedication to the emperor Hadrian from Jerusalem. Read more about it here. Nice photos.

However, as a comment, “this is an extraordinary find” would have been enough. It’s a nice find indeed, but it adds little to what we already know. Adding that it is “of enormous historical importance” is precisely the kind of boast that we do not need, because people recognize that it is exaggerated.

In the western world, about one third of the population has a higher education. If only scholars and scientists would explain themselves on that level. Explain method. Don’t exaggerate.


Roman Toulouse

17 August 2013

Relief from the Musée Saint-Raymond, Touloyse

I have never met Mr Michel Gybels, who lives somewhere in southern France, likes to visit ancient ruins, and writes nice pieces about them. He already wrote for the Livius website about several cities in ancient Greece and Anatolia, and about the excavations in southern France. I must not forget that he knows an awful lot about medieval Catharism as well – this is his Dutch website – which explains why he has also contributed a piece on Manicheism.

His latest piece is about the excavations west of Toulouse, ancient Tolosa. I have added a history of the city, and was glad that I could refer to so many sources that are nowadays online available. Most photos by Gybels.

You will find the Toulouse stuff by Gybels and yours truly here.


Roman Military History

10 August 2013

Although nothing seems to change at LacusCurtius and Livius.org, that’s not really true. At the first site, Bill Thayer is doing a lot of proofreading, while at the second site, I have corrected a lot of minor and major factual errors. One of these had been in my inbox for nine months, because I am occupied with many other things, including my book on the “parting of ways” between Judaism and Christianity.

I am also trying to have the website converted to better software. The trouble is that I neither have sufficient time to do it myself nor €12,000 to outsource it. If someone has a brilliant plan, drop me a line.

Still, we’re adding things, although it’s mostly Bill, who is adding all kind of ancient texts to the “Roman Military History” section of LacusCurtius. You will find an English translation of Caesar’s Civil Wars and Hirtius’ Alexandrine War (Latin/English), African War (Latin/English), and Spanish War (Latin/English). The Gallic War will be there too, but not yet. Also available: Onasander, The General (Greek/English) and Aeneas Tacticus (Greek/English).


Le Clos de la Lombarde

31 July 2013

House of the Genius

Michel Gybels sent me a nice piece, with photos, of a usually closed excavation in Narbonne (France), called Le Clos de la Lombarde. In the 1970s, archaeologists discovered the foundations of houses, workshops, and a bathhouse. Later, the remains of a Christian basilica and a cemetery were excavated as well.

Go here for the story and the photos.


Shameless self-advertising

28 July 2013

Cover

Some time ago, my friend and colleague Arjen Bosman and I could proudly announce that Edge of Empire, our book about the Romans in the Low Countries, had been translated into English. However, it took some time until it reached the bookshops, but now the award-winning book ought to be available easily. You can also order it on Amazon or buy it directly at the website of the publisher. If you live in Holland, this webpage is the place to go.

Why you should buy this book? To read it, in the first place. Without false modesty: this is a nice book about a subject that deserves more attention than it usually gets. An English review of the original Dutch version is here.


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