congratulations to dr. jeremy smoak, inaugural winner of the asor aviram prize for best paper

Dr. Jeremy Smoak, UCLA

Dr. Jeremy Smoak, UCLA, was awarded the Aviram Prize for best paper

Congratulations to UCLA’s Dr. Jeremy Smoak, who has been awarded ASOR’s inaugural Aviram Prize for best paper of the year. Dr. Smoak’s paper is entitled, “May Yahweh Bless You and Guard You from Evil: The Structure and Content of Ketef Hinnom Amulet I and the Background of the Prayers for Deliverance in the Psalms.” The paper compares the rhetorical structure of the amulet from Ketef Hinnom to several Psalms that petition Yahweh for protection against evil. The paper will be presented at the 2011 ASOR annual meeting in San Francisco this November, and will be published in the Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions within the next year.

Joseph Aviram

Joseph Aviram

The Dorot Foundation announced its sponsorship of the prize earlier this year. The Aviram Prize, administered by the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), was established to honor Joseph Aviram, who has held the positions of Director and President of the Israel Exploration Society (IES), an organization to which he has devoted the past seventy years.

(Abraham Rabinovich wrote an excellent article on Aviram for the Jerusalem Post back in April 2011.)

The Aviram Prize is awarded by a committee of distinguished scholars to the paper “that most advances the scholarship of its given field.”

Congratulations to Dr. Smoak on this honor.

report: cuneiform tablet preserving portion of a law code discovered at hazor

Tel Hazor, IsraelWhere was this in 2006 when I was digging there? lol.

Potentially great news: according to Dr. Jack Sasson:

Hazor Law Code Fragments

The Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin have
recovered two fragments of a cuneiform tablet preserving portions of a
law code at Hazor.

The text parallels portions of the famous Law Code of Hammurabi, and,
to a certain extent even the Biblical “tooth for a tooth”. The team is
presently working its way down towards a monumental structure dating
to the Bronze Age, where more tablets are expected to be found.

The tablet is currently being studied at the Hebrew University. More
details to follow as soon as possible.

The excavations are sponsored by the Hebrew university and the Israel
Exploration Society, and take place in the Hazor National Park.

Now this has the potential of being something big. Drs. Amnon Ben-Tor, Sharon Zuckerman, and the excavation team have been looking for some sort of text archive for some time there. But to uncover a law code, well, that will get scholars and sensationalists alike buzzing.

Congrats to the excavators. Now that the story has broken, I’d love to see some photographs and some preliminary comments from the excavation team. A blog would be a great way to show some images to scholars and get their initial feedback.

The next question is: how long until a major news outlet gives us some sensationalist headline like ‘Biblical Law Code Found in Israel’ or ’10 Commandments Discovered?’ and who will be the guilty party?

More on the Hazor excavation here.

UPDATE:  See photos here.

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