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DepositInternational Lawyers without Public International Law: The Case of Late Ottoman Egypt

This essay is part of a pioneering special issue on Ottoman international law, and analyses the work of several Egyptian and Ottoman lawyers focused on the understudied field of private international law. It argues for greater attention to the history of private international law by examining lawyers and functionaries in Ottoman and post-Ottoman Egypt, an especially productive site for the resolution of disputes about domicile and nationality, not to mention trade and investment. I pays particular attention to ‘Abd al-Hamid Abu Haif, an Egyptian jurist who prepared a pioneering Arabic-language study of private international law. Close examination of the writings of Abu Haif (as well as those of Gabriel Noradounghian and other late Ottoman lawyers) demonstrates that Ottoman legal history is fertile ground for analyzing the questions of individual status and affiliation that lie at the heart of the (notoriously convoluted) field of conflict of laws.

DepositPilgrimage Itineraries: Seeing the Past through Rabbinic Eyes

This article makes several claims. It argues that the genre of “pilgrim’s literature” is present in rabbinic sources, and identifies rabbinic pilgrimage itineraries. Secondly, it shows that aside from the expected melancholic post-Temple itinerary, there exist itineraries for Babylon and for biblical conquest that do a very different kind of visual and affective work. Furthermore, like Christian and Greco-Roman pilgrimage writings, these rabbinic itineraries seek to visualize the past (and sometimes the future) in the landscape. The article reads these rabbinic itineraries not as sources through which to reconstruct a history of actual travel, but rather as mediations and techniques in and of themselves, through which the past was made visible. Related to this is how, like many Greco-Roman and Christian writings, these rabbinic sources thematize sight. However – and this is linked again to textuality – these sources almost always call for the performance of vision through liturgical or scriptural acts of recitation.

DepositFrom Jonah to Jesus and back: three Ways of Characterization and their Reverse Application

The resemblance between the Gospel story about Jesus stilling a storm in the Sea of Galilee (Mt. 8:18, 23-27, Mk. 4:35-41, Lk. 8:22-25) and the Jonah story (Jon. 1:1-16) has been long acknowledged by scholars. This article contends that since the relations between the two stories are those of polar opposition, it should be possible, by way of reversal, to reconstruct from the three Synoptic versions of the storm-stilling story another three underlying images of Jonah, in addition to the multiply and often contradictory images of this unusual figure, current in the Second Temple literature. Aside from it, the comparison to other storm-stilling stories and a brief discussion of the “Sign of Jonah” pericope yield some additional methodological insights.

DepositThe Watchers in Rewritten Scripture: The Use of the Book of the Watchers in Jubilees

If we set aside the canon of scripture as it endured in Judaism, we see that Jubilees interprets the Book of the Watchers as scripture. Much as it does with Genesis, Leviticus, and Isaiah, Jubilees accounts for the Book of the Watchers, addresses problems in the apparent meaning, and provides a meaning consistent with a broader set of theological principles. Studying the manner in which Jubilees uses the Book of the Watchers leads us to a greater understanding of the concept of scripture held by at least one second-century teacher, the process of interpretation when the problems in the source are deeply theological, and the process of composition. Tracing the tensions in the sources used and produced by the author of Jubilees will lead us to a discussion of authorship that relies on rhetorical analysis rather than multiplicity of authorship to explain the use of the Book of the Watchers in Jubilees.

DepositThe Aramaic incantation texts as witnesses to the Mandaic Scriptures

The Aramaic incantation texts from late antique Mesopotamia have been invoked as sources for the dialects of Late Aramaic, as well as sources on the religions of Late Antiquity, but outside of the small cabal of scholars who work on these texts, they are seldom viewed as a legitimate source of information about either. Often, they are deprecated as “defective” vernacular texts drawing upon a myriad of “hybrid” or heterodox folk religious traditions, rather than the normative orthodox religions from which they putatively derive. In addressing them, we presuppose a set of dyads: the material within them has been categorized as “religious” or “magical” on the one hand, and “literary” or “oral” on the other. These abstract categories, thus conceived, are then reified and sealed off from one another. By consigning these texts to one or another arm of these dyads, we perpetuate this highly problematic categorization. In my view, much could be obtained by setting aside the question of categorization and examining the ways in which these texts appear to be in dialog with one another.

DepositReflections on the Use of Social Networking Sites as an Interactive Tool for Data Dissemination in Digital Archaeology

Based on a case study, the paper analyses the possibilities of social media as a tool for science communication in the context of information and communication technology (ICT) usage in archaeology. Aside from discussing the characteristics of digital archaeology, the social networking sites (SNS) Twitter, Sketchfab, and ResearchGate are integrated into a digital research data dissemination tool. As a result, above-average engagement rates with few impressions were observed. Compared with that, status updates focusing on actual fieldwork and other research activities gain high numbers of impressions with below-average engagement rates. It is believed that most of the interactions are restricted to a core audience and that a clearly defined social media strategy is obligatory for successful research data dissemination in archaeology, combined with regular posts in the SNS. Additionally, active followers are of highest importance.

DepositStudies in the Linguistic Prehistory of the Boeotian Dialect

This article offers a brief synopsis and partial summary of my Ph.D. Dissertation The Aeolic Dialects of Ancient Greek: A Study in Historical Dialectology and Linguistic Classification (Cambridge, 2016). This will consist of situating the contribution of the study in its scholarly context (summarising the first chapter of the dissertation), followed by a more concise synopsis of the linguistic features analysed by the dissertation and its evaluation methodology. The main dissertation synopsis is then followed by a concise survey of the dissertation’s principal results for Boeotian dialect research, aside from the dissertation’s general conclusions that an Aeolic subgrouping is likely, and that Boeotian appears to share a closer affinity with Thessalian than it shares with Lesbian, and that from the cumulative evidence a Thessalian-Boeotian subgrouping within Aeolic appears to be more likely than a Thessalian-Lesbian one.

Deposit“He Only Talks”: Arruntius and the Formation of Interpretive Communities in Ben Jonson’s Sejanus

In this essay I argue that the portrait of Arruntius as a passive Stoic is injudicious, and then I develop a new reading of Jonson’s depiction of Arruntius based on the textual evidence from both the quarto and folio editions of the play. The essay proceeds in three sections. In the first section, I question the commonly held view regarding Arruntius’s Stoicism: is Arruntius an exemplary Stoic when he can be seen fulminating repeatedly against Tiberius, Sejanus, and even the gods? In the second section, I focus on Arruntius’s speeches during the trial of Silius in act 3. The critical perception that Arruntius comments from the margins of the stage is reinforced by modern editions which designate as many as twenty-six of Arruntius’s speeches in act 3 as asides. A collation of the quarto and folio texts shows that the count is inflated. Furthermore, in the original texts, Arruntius’s most pointed criticism is not typographically distinguished as asides: they are printed as regular speech. Based on this finding, I reconsider the function of Arruntius’s invective by asking whether in substance and delivery, his remarks upon the legal proceedings in act 3 constitute a form of parrhesia (or frank speech). In the final section, the focus becomes more theoretical: what is the significance of the public nature of Arruntius’s commentary? How does Arruntius involve others in his legal analysis and how does the group of commentators form a critically engaged public? Because readings of the play’s philosophical and political significance seem to hinge upon the interpretation of this one character, and because critical interpretations of Jonson’s political imagination seem to depend so heavily on this play, I believe it is doubly important for us to reevaluate the case of “old Arruntius” who “only talks” (2.219, 2.299).