The Missing Link in the History of the Hebrew Bible

The oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible is the Leningrad codex, written by an Egyptian Jewish scribe in 1008 CE. (The Aleppo codex, written around 930, is missing nearly 200 pages.) Older still are the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include extensive fragments of the Bible and date to before 68 CE. Only one manuscript of the Bible exists from the intervening period, and Jennifer Drummond tells its story:

The Ashkar-Gilson manuscript was purchased by Fuad Ashkar and Albert Gilson (hence its name) from an antiquities dealer in Beirut in 1972, and some years later they donated it to Duke University in North Carolina. Based on carbon-14 dating and paleographic analysis, the Ashkar-Gilson manuscript was dated to sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries CE, right at the tail end of the so-called “silent era”—an almost 600-year period from the 3rd through the 8th centuries, or the time between the oldest Hebrew Bible fragments (the Dead Sea Scrolls) and the oldest complete authoritative Masoretic codices.

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Aleppo codex, Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Masoretes

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus