Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future

 Came across this as I'm wandering the web...  According to the publisher's website:
Mobilizing the Past is a collection of 20 articles that explore the use and impact of mobile digital technology in archaeological field practice. The detailed case studies present in this volume range from drones in the Andes to iPads at Pompeii, digital workflows in the American Southwest, and examples of how bespoke, DIY, and commercial software provide solutions and craft novel challenges for field archaeologists. The range of projects and contexts ensures that Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future is far more than a state-of-the-field manual or technical handbook. Instead, the contributors embrace the growing spirit of critique present in digital archaeology. This critical edge, backed by real projects, systems, and experiences, gives the book lasting value as both a glimpse into present practices as well as the anxieties and enthusiasm associated with the most recent generation of mobile digital tools.
You can buy the book for $20 at Amazon, but why not just download the book or selected chapters for free? Go to the website, where there is a Table of Contents with each downloadable chapter including some supplementary resources. (E.g., videos of presentations.) Nothing specifically biblical, but chapters on Cyprus and Caesarea Maritima. Really remarkable advances in imaging and data collection.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Ancient Near Eastern Cross-Cultural Time Line

Here's a fine Ancient Near Eastern Cross-Cultural Time Line from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. It covers Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Levant/Megiddo, Egypt, Nubia, and Persia from 10,000 BCE to 1000 CE. It zooms up well enough to see everything clearly. It's a free download, but, if used in a presentation or publication, please credit "Courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago."
[HT: BiblePlaces Blog]

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sefaria: A Living Library of Jewish Texts

Thanks to a notice on the BiblePlaces blog, I spent some time looking around the Sefaria site. It is pretty amazing, and it's free. You can see in the graphic above a glimpse of the immense amount of works included on the site that are available in Hebrew and English. (A recent Times of Israel article notes the inclusion of the Steinsaltz Talmud.)

One thing that particularly interests me is that I can view the biblical text in parallel Hebrew and English and have a whole host of "connections" available in a parallel column that mention that verse. Mishnah, Midrash, Talmud, and so much more, even including Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews. According to their stats, almost 94 million words in this library!

There are ways to customize the interface (fonts, language, columns), create your own notes, share in community observations, run searches for most anything, etc. Truly remarkable.  I wish this had been available when I was writing my dissertation on Psalm 22 and the Crucifixion of Jesus where I conducting a history of interpretation including Jewish readings of Psalm 22. Then again, there is so much here, it might have added to my work! 

But wait, there's more! There is also an app available for both Android and iOS.
And... be sure to check out the Visualization and interactive data. I recommend playing with this "Jerusalem" one. References are tagged and sorted by date, location, etc.
In any case, Sefaria is definitely worth checking.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New Bible Mapper WebViewer!

Web page view showing results of a search for sites in John 2
David P. Barrett, creator of the Bible Mapper program and co-author of the Crossway ESV Bible Atlas, has just released an initial version of the Bible Mapper WebViewer. According to Barrett,
It is intended to be a quick reference tool for Bible geography information, not a way to make maps (there is not a way to save, export, or print a map other than the default tools of your browser). I envision people using it to look up Bible geographical information on the fly, such as on their mobile device at church or Bible study, or on their computer while studying a passage. You can also input a reference like "Joshua 10-12," or pass in a page URL, and it will automatically fetch the text and map all the locations it can discern on it (though it's definitely not 100%).
There are still some glitches in my intial testing. It works well in Chrome on my Android phone and on my desktop computer, but it got hung up in Firefox on my desktop. The interface is very nice and works well on my phone, but zooming in/out requires repeated taps of the + and - icons. Searching for a specific site works very well. Searching for sites mentioned in a specific passage or sites mentioned on a web page works but is not entirely reliable. Including the option to display hi-res tiles did not particularly slow things down, and it's nice to be toggle on/off OT and NT roads. (If you're looking for something more in-depth, check out the Bible geocoding at

Especially for its purpose as an quick reference, particularly for mobile devices, this is a very nice tool, and it's even better that Barrett is providing it for free. Thanks, David Barrett!

The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek - An upgrade to Liddell-Scott-Jones

I'm catching up a bit here, but The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek (published late 2015) looks to be an important and critical addition to Greek lexical resources. (To keep this separate from BDAG=the Baer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich lexicon, I guess we'll have to abbreviate this one to BrillDAG.) I've not looked at it personally yet, but according to Larry Hurtado, this lexicon effectively supercedes the venerable Liddell-Scott-Jones (LSJ) both by going beyond the 2nd century CE to the the 6th century CE and by including more entries from Christian patristic literature. According to the Brill catalog page:
The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek is the English translation of Franco Montanari’s Vocabolario della Lingua Greca. With an established reputation as the most important modern dictionary for Ancient Greek, it brings together 140,000 headwords taken from the literature, papyri, inscriptions and other sources of the archaic period up to the 6th Century CE, and occasionally beyond.The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek is an invaluable companion for the study of Classics and Ancient Greek, for beginning students and advanced scholars alike. Translated and edited under the auspices of The Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC, The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek is based on the completely revised 3rd Italian edition published in 2013 by Loescher Editore, Torino. Features • The principal parts of some 15,000 verbs are listed directly following the entry and its etymology. For each of these forms, the occurrence in the ancient texts has been certified. When found only once, the location is cited. • Nearly all entries include citations from the texts with careful mention of the source. • The dictionary is especially rich in personal names re-checked against the sources for the 3rd Italian edition, and in scientific terms, which have been categorized according to discipline. • Each entry has a clear structure and typography making it easy to navigate.
There is a 28-page preview available, and it certainly is attractively laid out and presented.
A quick survey of some of the entries indicates that there are many more lemmata included as compared to either LSJ or BDAG, but one may still wish to consult those for some citations not included in BrillDAG. Considering that it is from Brill and is 2431 pages long (there is also a 2-volume edition), €99,00 / USD$125.00 seems to be quite a fair price. It's also available as an online resource, but that's going to cost you €1.975,00 / USD $2,590.00 per year!
It will be interesting to see if any of the major Bible software publishers will be able to obtain digital rights to include it within their packages.