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Saturday, September 10, 2011

REVIEW of Hannah M. Cotton (ed.), Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae. Volume 1

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.09.12

Hannah M. Cotton (ed.), Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae. Volume 1: Jerusalem, Part 1: 1 - 704. Corpus inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palestinae. A multi-lingual corpus of the inscriptions from Alexander to Muhammad.   Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 2010.  Pp. xxiv, 694.  ISBN 9783110222197.  $182.00.   

Contributors: Additional editors: Leah Di Segni, Werner Eck, Benjamin Isaac, Alla Kushnir-Stein, Haggai Misgav, Jonathan Price, Israel Roll and Ada Yardeni.

Reviewed by Hagith Sivan (dinah01@ku.edu)
This is the first volume in a projected series of nine volumes dedicated to the classical epigraphy of Israel, a modern state with somewhat fluctuating borders that do not, however, correspond to either ancient Judaea or to Roman Palestine. The corpus's uniqueness, according to the brief introduction, resides in its multi-lingual aspect. Its chronological spectrum embraces nearly a millennium (c. 300 BCE to c. 640 CE), and the editors ought to be commended for attempting to break away from the traditional chronologies that have dominated the field of Jewish studies. Thus, instead of "Second Temple" and the "Mishnah" and "Talmud" eras (c. 450 BCE to 70 CE; c. 70 to c. 200 CE; and c. 200 to 400/600 CE, respectively), the editors have adopted the conventional classical boundaries of the "Hellenistic" period (which they do, however, terminate with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE); the "Roman Period" (from 70 to Constantine), and "Late Antiquity" (from Constantine to the Arab Conquest). The inscriptions themselves do not appear to lend support to these temporal divisions, at least not in part 1 of volume 1 which, according to page 39, solely covers "inscriptions from the Hellenistic period up to the destruction of the Second Temple." Perhaps, for the sake of clarification, this important piece of information should have been placed on the title page.

Etc. at BMCR