Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Interviews, critiques and new thoughts on the Qeiyafa ostracon

Gordon Govier, writer for Christianity Today and copublisher of The Book and the Spade, interviewed me for a short but sweet segment (click here to listen) on the Qeiyafa ostracon. Gordon listens patiently while I try to lay out a million reasons why this text is exciting even without Gershon Galil's dramatic but uncertain reconstructions. An interview with perhaps the world's expert on Iron Age Hebrew script, Christopher Rollston, should follow.

Rollston has the essential epigraphic critique of this important find, and John Hobbins has a thoughtful, challenging engagement with Rollston's and my own points.

In my new book, written before the ostracon was published, I tried to lay out an intellectual framework for dealing with precisely the phenomenon this text represents: new encounters between language and writing in the ancient Levant. In a day or two I'll have a post in which I attempt to fit what we now know about this text into the bigger picture: the culture and politics of writing in Iron Age Israel.

The Invention of Hebrew is a National Jewish Book Award Finalist

I was delighted to see this announcement. It is also the only finalist in the "Scholarship" category from a press that does not begin with the word "Jewish." I don't know what that means but I thought I'd add it. Maybe it means that I am the winner in scholarship from gentile presses? I like to think everybody's a winner, in a larger sense.