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Septuagint

Noah, Hero of the Great Primeval Famine

Noah's name expresses his father's hope that Noah will bring comfort from the pain of the curse of the land, and before he plants his vineyard, he is called "a man of the land" (איש האדמה). These and other verses point to an older core narrative which spoke not of a flood but of a primeval famine that Noah brings to an end.

Dr.

Idan Dershowitz

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Shemini Atzeret: Redacting a Missing Festival into Solomon’s Temple Dedication

Deuteronomy does not have the festival of Shemini Atzeret (“the eighth day of assembly”) while Leviticus and Numbers do. This difference can help explain why the festival is absent in the story of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple in Kings but appears in the version of this same story in Chronicles.

David Bar-Cohn

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Ptolemy II’s Gift to the Temple in the Letter of Aristeas

The Letter of Aristeas embellishes its account of Ptolemy’s gift of a table and bowls to the Jerusalem Temple with what Greek rhetoric calls ekphrasis, a graphic description of a thing or person intended to bring the subject vividly to the eyes of the reader. What is the purpose of this embellishment?

Prof.

Benjamin G. Wright III

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The Depiction of Jeroboam and Hadad as Moses-like Saviors

Set against the Pharaonic Solomon, Jeroboam frees Israel from servitude and founds the Northern Kingdom. Hadad plays a similar role on behalf of the Edomites. Why are these two “rebels” depicted as heroes?

Dr.

Tzvi Novick

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An Altar on Mt Ebal or Mt Gerizim: The Torah in the Sectarian Debate

The textual remnants of a Second Temple religious polemic between Judeans and Samaritans about where God’s chosen mountain lies.

Dr.

Jonathan Ben-Dov

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Bring the Man to the Carcass or the Carcass to the Man?

A 2000-year-old question on how to read a single word in the Torah has generated different opinions on how a custodian for someone’s animal should go about proving that the animal was killed by a beast and not stolen.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Why "Passover"? On the True Meaning of Pesaḥ-פסח

Dr.

Barry Dov Walfish

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Which Sacrificial Offerings Require Libations?

A burnt offering (olah), described as “sweet smelling” food for YHWH, always includes grain and wine libation “side-dishes,” constituting a complete meal. A purification offering (chattat), however, is a cleansing ritual. Should it also have an accompanying libation? The Masoretic Text of Numbers 28-29 offers an inconsistent answer that differs from that of the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch.

Dr.

Naphtali Meshel

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The Bronze Plating of the Altar: Numbers Versus Exodus

After Korah’s failed rebellion, God commands Elazar to plate the altar with the bronze firepans of the two hundred and fifty tribal leaders (Num 17). But didn’t Bezalel already plate the altar in bronze as God commanded when it was first built (Exod 27 and 38)?

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Unspoken Hemorrhoids: Making the Torah Reading Polite

Two places in the Bible describe God striking people with hemorrhoids (ophalim): the curses in Parashat Ki Tavo and the story of the Philistines’ capture of the ark in 1 Samuel 5-6. In the latter, the Philistines make golden statues of their afflicted buttocks to propitiate the Israelite deity. Traditional readings replace these crass references with the less offensive term techorim (abscesses).

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Before the Beginning: Appreciating the Thought of an Ancient Cosmologist

Prof.

Ziony Zevit

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Socio-Religious Background and Stabilization

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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Teshuva and "Returning to the LORD" - Are They One and the Same?

Dr.

David Lambert

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The Yam Suph in the Transjordan?

Deuteronomy describes the Israelites camped opposite Suph in the Transjordan. However, the Israelites cross a Yam Suph near Egypt. Moreover, King Solomon builds a fleet of ships on Yam Suph near Eilat. Where is Yam Suph?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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“All of Jacob’s Descendants Numbered Seventy-Five”: The Opening of Exodus in the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Book of Exodus begins with an accounting of the members of Jacob's family who went with him to Egypt. Our Torah, the Masoretic Text, lists 70 people. Dead Sea Scroll manuscript 4QExb, however, records 75 people. How do we account for this and other differences between the texts?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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What Was the Tachash Covering in the Tabernacle?

Animal, vegetable or mineral? Assyriology and archaeology provide an answer to an ancient question.

Dr. Rabbi

Norman Solomon

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The Building Blocks of Biblical Interpretations: Text, Lexicon, and Grammar

Illustrations From Parashat Ekev

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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The Expulsion of Ishmael: Who Is Being Tried?

The literary similarities between the expulsion of Ishmael account and that of the Akedah implies that a trial is taking place.

Dr.

Rachel Adelman

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Other Biblical Text Traditions

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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