Monday, April 25, 2005

An Exile from the Republic of Letters Returns

I am happy to report that, with little or no help from the Persian Empire, I have ended my exile from the Republic of Letters, that is, the web.

And I am positively delighted to report that my sojourn--to help start some new scholarly conversations, to work on some books, and to find a job for next year--has been successful.

I ran the first conference on the political history of writing in the ancient Near East. It was held at the end of February at the University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Jim Davila, with typically wide-ranging interest, asked if anyone would be blogging it. The answer, of course, is, "yes, Jim, me--just two months late!" Fellow Biblicists participating were Bill Schniedewind, whose presentation on the death of written Hebrew and Jewish nationalism was as genial as it was provocative, and Peter Machinist, who placed the conference in the context of the past century of ancient Near Eastern studies' moves to a broader intellectual public. I felt honored to be involved in the lineage of Henri Frankfort's Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man and Robert McCormick Adams' City Invincible. It's true these were ambitious comparative projects done at the Oriental Institute, featuring a wide range of scholars of great intellectual firepower. I can certainly vouch for our intellectual ambitions and the stunning depth of knowledge and ideas the participants brought--now I just have to turn it into a book! What's best is that this is going to be an annual tradition at the Oriental Institute.

But this only scratches the surface of the people and ideas, not to mention the food (the caterers began life catering for Aerosmith, and they did not disappoint). The U of Chicago Chronicle did a nice piece on it, and this will have to do for tonight.

This week, look for more on the conference: intellectual sparks between philology and anthropology! Did the Hittites speak Hittite, was Sumerian a sham perpetrated by Amorite intellectuals, or does it even make sense to talk about languages living and dying? Plus, what I've been thinking about ancient Israel as a public, the native Jews of South Africa, and the courses I'll be teaching at Cornell next year.


Anonymous said...

gratz on the Cornell gig! Hope you like hockey.

Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


Welcome back! Looking forward to your posts.


Rebecca said...

Seth - does this mean you got the Hebrew Bible job at Cornell (in Near Eastern Studies), or something else? In any case, congratulations, and look me up, neighbor - I live in Ithaca, and teach Jewish Studies at Ithaca College:

Jerry A. said...

I have the Hebrew Bible job at Cornell--for this year. And who knows? I'm excited about teaching and living there and it may lead to more.

Soon I'm going to post my initial thoughts on teaching the Women in the Hebrew Bible course--your feedback will be most welcome.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Congratulations, Seth, on your upcoming job -- and on your blog.

Rebecca, good to see your name here, too.

I'd write more, but an accident has left me temporarily lefthanded. (My own blog tells the details . . . well, some of them anyway.)

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

Anonymous said...

Hi people
I do not know what to give for Christmas of the to friends, advise something ....

Anonymous said...

Hello. Good day
Who listens to what music?
I Love songs Justin Timberlake and Paris Hilton

Anonymous said...

I am really excited! This will be my first time visiting, good stuff. Very useful. Enjoyed the visit!
- c mosquito ringtone free nokia ringtone free verizon ringtone mp3 ringtone nokia ringtone free motorola ringtone free mp3 ringtone samsung ringtone free polyphonic ringtone britney spears ringtone

Anonymous said...

[url=]buy viagra[/url]
[url=]viagra information[/url] - [url=
.html]viagra price[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=]free verizon wireless cell phone[/url]
[url=]verizon broadband wireless card[/url] | [url=]verizon wireless high speed internet[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=]ctu ringtone[/url]
[url=]free halloween ringtones[/url] | [url=]get free ringtones[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=]100 free ringtones[/url]
[url=]download free ringtones nokia[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=]free alltel ringtones[/url]
[url=]free nokia ringtones[/url] * [url=]free us cellular ringtones[/url]