Search

DepositThe Heruls Fragments of a History

Some gentes–armed social units or peoples such as the Goths, the Franks, the Burgundians or the Vandals–became an intrinsic part of European history. Others like the Heruli, the Sciri, the Gepids and the Rugians played their somewhat vague role, but disappeared from our sources without having had the opportunity to form any stable regnum on formerly Roman provinces or to forge new medieval national identities. To be sure, historians did not hesitate to apply to the “neglected barbarians” the concept of Völkerwanderung, complete with historical maps showing entire peoples wandering across the page. In Late Antiquity there were Gothic, Vandalic and Alanic groups acting at various settings in time and space. The sources denominate these groups by the same name, for example, Silings and Hasdings are accepted as two Vandalic clusters. It is astonishing that the Herulian groups acting in the East as in the West are not accepted as such. Most scholars discussed the idea of a East- and Westherulian people, separated from the other in its history.

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 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.

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.

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).

DepositThe Pleasures of Polyglossia in Emirati Cinema: Focus on From A to B and Abdullah

Polyglot films highlight the coexistence of multiple languages at the level of dialogue and narration. Even the notoriously monolingual Hollywood film industry has recently seen an increase in polyglot productions. Much of Europe’s polyglot cinema reflects on postwar migration. Hamid Naficy has coined the phrase ” accented cinema ” to define diasporic filmmaking, a closely related category. This essay considers polyglot Emirati films as part of an increasingly popular global genre. It argues that the lack of a monolingual mandate is conducive to experiments with language choices, and that the polyglot genre serves best to emphasize efforts made to accommodate the diversity of cultures interacting in urban centers in the United Arab Emirates. Case studies of Ali F. Mostafa’s From A to B (2014) and Humaid Alsuwaidi’s Abdullah (2015) demonstrate the considerable contributions Emirati filmmakers have already made to a genre, which offers a powerful potential for cinema in the UAE. A comparative analysis identifies the extent to which each of the two films reveals elements inherent in three of the five sub-categories outlined by Chris Wahl.