Monday, May 30, 2011

The Tabernacle Explorer 3D Software and Videos

To those of you who have not seen this page or these videos (video 1, video 2), I would like to direct your attention to them, and encourage you to check it out.

I hope that this software will help you with the study of The Tabernacle.

Tabernacle 3D Models Page

I have decided to remove my Tabernacle 3D Models page as well. From now on please use my Tabernacle Explorer 3D for all your 3D Tabernacle needs ;)

This change will give me a chance to keep all of my models up to date at the same time, without having to waste tremendous amount of time to update each model individually.

All latest updates to my model will be incorporated into the Tabernacle Explorer so that you can see it all at once and in a much better quality.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition

Here is an interesting and quite useful book related to the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is called "The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition" ed. by Florentino García Martínez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. - Leiden ; New York ; Köln :Brill.

This book, or rather - a reference guide, will be indispensable for those who would like quickly to compare the Masoretic Text against the DSS, as well as to get basic insights into what the DSS actually say in this or that particular verse, and in this or that particular scroll.

Tabernacle wise, this book includes text from some of the verses of the description, and of'course, the references to the scrolls for further and more deeper study. Thus, if you would like to see and compare the Tabernacle description of MT with DSS for yourself, this book would be a good place to start. Especially considering the fact, that at this point it is available online.

Here is an excerpt from the foreword of the book:

"This book is intended as a practical tool to facilitate access to the Qumran collection of Dead Sea Scrolls. As such, it is primarily intended for classroom use and for the benefit of specialists from other disciplines (scholars working on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament or Rabbinic literature, specialists on Semitic languages, on the History of Judaism or on the History of Religions, among others) who need a reliable compendium of all the relevant materials found in this collection. As such, it is not intended to compete with, let alone to replace, the editio princeps of the materials published in the series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert or outside this series, or the preliminary publications of materials which have not yet appeared in the DJD Series. The plates printed in the critical editions, as well as the transcriptions, translations and commentaries of the first editors are, and will always remain, the basis of all serious work on the Scrolls.

Whereas the evidence of the biblical manuscripts from Qumran will be shortlyavailable in The Qumran Bible by E. Ulrich, this book offers a fresh transcription and an English translation of all the relevant non-biblical texts found at Qumran, arranged by serial number from Cave 1 to Cave 11. By biblical scrolls we understand here the copies of the books that subsequently emerged as the traditional Hebrew Bible, as well as the remains of tefillin and mezuzot which only contain quotations of those biblical books. In several cases the distinction between biblical and non-biblical texts is not clear-cut. Thus, the so-called Reworked Pentateuch consists mainly of the biblical text of the pentateuchal books, be it sometimes in a different order, but also has some sections with material that is not included in the Hebrew Bible; likewise, we have included the non-biblical psalms from the Psalms Scrolls 4Q88, 11Q5 and 11Q6. Not included are the scant remains of Ben Sira from Cave 2. The inclusion in the edition of these ‘additions’ does not imply a judgment on their ‘biblical’ or ‘non-biblical’ character. In three cases we have included texts not found at Qumran, but related to manuscripts from Qumran; this goes for the remains of the mediaeval copies of the Damascus Document and the Aramaic Levi Document found in the Cairo Genizah, and for the copy of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice recovered at Masada."
You can read and download the entire book at this link.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Forms and Methods of Early Jewish Reworkings of the Pentateuch in Light of 4Q158

Here is another interesting article, although it is not only about the Tabernacle, but rather about the entire Pentateuch. It is called "The Forms and Methods of Early Jewish Reworkings of the Pentateuch in Light of 4Q158" by Molly M. Zahn.

The value of this article is that it provides detailed overview of some of the verses of the Tabernacle description, while comparing them to the text of LXX, Samaritan Pentateuch and the newly discovered text of Dead Sea Scrolls. Particularly, you will learn that the text of the description of The Tabernacle did not suffer any major alterations in either of the sources throughout the ages.

Here is an abstract:

"This dissertation provides a detailed analysis of the methods and goals that characterize the rewriting of Scripture in the 4QReworked Pentateuch (4QRP) manuscripts from Qumran (4Q158, 4Q364–367). It focuses first on determining the “compositional technique” used in each particular instance of departure from known textual versions—that is, the specific way in which the Vorlage was altered. Separately, an attempt is made to understand the interpretive processes leading to each change. The dissertation also includes a new text edition, with extensive notes, of 4Q158, the one 4QRP manuscript that did not previously exist in a satisfactory edition. 4Q158 provides the point of departure for the project and is examined in greatest detail. The investigation of 4Q158 and the other 4QRP manuscripts indicates that each is unique in terms of the compositional techniques employed and the purposes to which those techniques were put. The methods of reworking in the 4QRP manuscripts are then compared with those evidenced in two related texts or text groups: the Samaritan Pentateuch and its Qumranic forebears, and the Temple Scroll (11QT).

The Introduction and Conclusion contextualize this detailed analysis in the ongoing debate about the interrelationships between the various forms scriptural rewriting could take in Second Temple Jewish texts. Especially important in this regard is the ambiguous relationship between expanded versions of biblical books and texts that, while dependent upon Scripture for much of their structure and content, nevertheless constitute new, independent compositions. The 4QRP manuscripts occupy a prominent place in this debate because they seem to lie on the boundary between these two categories. The analysis conducted here provides empirical foundations for exploring issues that arise out of this discussion, such as the relationship between particular forms of reworking and particular exegetical goals; the connection between particular forms and purposes of reworking and the status of the resulting rewritten text; and the ways in which rewritten texts that constitute new compositions can be distinguished from expanded editions of biblical books. As such, it contributes to the understanding of an important stage in the development of the scriptural text and the history of exegesis."

You can read and download the entire article at this link.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Parallel Hebrew Bible (Leningrad Codex, English Transliteration, Young's Literal Translation)

Here is something that I think you may find useful: a Parallel version of the Pentateuch text.

I could not find the right version to use in my studies, so I had to create one of my own. So here it is - the Parallel Pentateuch: Leningrad Codex-English Transliteration-Young's Literal Translation.

I designed this book to be primarily a handy reference for those who study Pentateuch. And even though it is based on the public domain texts that may not represent the most accurate versions available, three translations in parallel would still give you an excellent opportunity to compare and truly appreciate the magnificence of the original text.

The text is aligned by verse. Young's Literal Translation was adjusted to fit the standard modern verse notations. The dimensions of the book (closed) is about 8"x6"x1.5", paperback style.

Check out the preview above to get a better idea about the book and the layout.

The Descriptive Tabernacle Texts of the Pentateuch

Here is a relatively old article that attempts to use the Tabernacle description to try to identify the composition of the Pentateuch, perhaps in a unique yet similar style to the Documentary/Supplementary Hypothesis.

It is called "The Descriptive Tabernacle Texts of the Pentateuch" by Baruch A. Levine, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 85, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1965), 307-318.

Here is an excerpt:

"Exodus 35-39, Leviticus 8-9, and Numbers 7 are descriptive accounts of the construction of the ark and Tabernacle, their consecration, and the initiation of the priestly cult. Our method in studying these texts will be form-critical in that we are interested primarily in the tales of textual materials utilized by the writers of the Pentateuch and not in the various documentary sources which are adduced for the Pentateuch. The descriptive tabernacle texts bear affinities to other records preserved in the Bible, and also to extra-biblical archival material from many parts of the ancient Near East, principally Mesopotamia. In analyzing these Tabernacle accounts we will be attempting to identify the forms, or types, which they represent. Such analysis cannot normally yield an exact date for the texts under consideration, but it can afford insight into the process of the composition of the Pentateuch and into the origins of its institutions."

You can read and download the entire article at this link.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Priestly Account of Building The Tabernacle

This article is called "The Priestly Account of Building The Tabernacle" by Victor (Avigdor) Hurowitz, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 105, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1985), 21-30.

This article provides an interesting point of view and comparison of the description of The Tabernacle to other sources, particularly those of the other ancient cultures.

Here is an abstract:

"Since Wellhausen the account of building the Tabernacle has been viewed as the result of a gradual expansion of an original story found in Exodus 25-29 + 39:42-43 + Leviticus 9. The present paper analyzes the structure of the extant Tabernacle account and compares it with other accounts of building temples found in the Bible (l Kgs 5:15-9:25) and Mesopotamian and Ugaritic sources. The Tabernacle story in its canonical form is shown to be identical in pattern to these other accounts (especially to the Samsuiluna B inscription; Exod 25:l-9 + 35:l -36:8 has a close parallel in Gordon, UT 51 V 74 - VI 21)"

You can read and download the entire article at this link.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Text and Textile in Exodus: Toward a Clearer Understanding of מעשה חשב

Here is an exceptional article that attempts to identify the technique that was used to create the Tabernacle’s Hangings and Coverings.

It is called  "Text and Textile in Exodus: Toward a Clearer Understanding of מעשה חשב" by Judith Lapkin Craig Mendham, New Jersey (2002), published in Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of the The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY.

Here is a quote:

"Could the מעשה חשב have been “tapestry”? Our answer is that while tapestry was highly developed, it probably was not the method employed, because the widespread term for “tapestry”—“mardatu”—was not used.
The choice of the phrase מעשה חשב probably indicates a relationship to the equally highly developed art of sash weaving.
Somehow, the word חשב meaning “belt or girdle” came out of חבש, with its sense of binding or tying. The understanding of מעשה חשב as “craftsmanship” could have come out of the recognition that these sashes were works of extraordinarily skilled designers. More research is needed to understand whether the term מעשה חשב was specific as to the technique the weaver-craftsman was to use (i.e., sash weaving), or whether it had already developed beyond this literal meaning to take on the sense of “craftsmanship” as it is translated today."

You can read and download the full article at this link.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Bible and the Emergence of Modern Science

This article is actually a supplement to my previous post, as it provides necessary background to understand the article by Ms. Robertson. This article also fills the gaps that Ms. Robertson failed to address and makes necessary missing connections to the subject at hand - importance and role of the Tabernacle.

The article called "The Bible and the Emergence of Modern Science" by Peter Harrison (2006).

Here is an abstract:
"The Bible played a significant role in the development of modern science. Most obviously, its contents were important because they could be read in ways that seemed either to conflict with or to confirm new scientific claims. More important, however, were changes to the way in which the Bible was interpreted during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The move away from allegorical readings of Scripture and the new focus on the historical or literal sense – a development promoted by humanist scholars and Protestant reformers – contributed to the collapse of the symbolic world of the Middle Ages and paved the way for new mathematical and taxonomic readings of nature. Biblical hermeneutics was thus of profound importance for those new ways of interpreting nature that we associate with the emergence of modern science."
You can download and read an entire article at this link.

Also, I highly recommend to read cited articles: "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution" and " by C.P. Snow and "The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution" by John Brockman, even though they are somewhat biased and do not deal directly with the subject of the Tabernacle.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"He Kept the Measurements in His Memory as a Treasure": The Role of The Tabernacle Text in Religious Experience

Here is another piece of comparative reading for you. It is called "He Kept the Measurements in His Memory as a Treasure: The Role of The Tabernacle Text in Religious Experience, by Amy H.C. Robertson

(An abstract of a dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate Division of Religion, Hebrew Bible, 2010).

This is a very good attempt to underline the importance of the Tabernacle description and its role as a religious experience.

The article is not very technical and somewhat biased, even vague. The major downside is that it fails to identify the nature and extreme importance of the religious experience that would steam from the description of the Tabernacle. However, it is most certainly worth reading and I recommend you to do so.

Here is an abstract:

"This study examines the literary idiosyncrasies of the biblical description of the tabernacle (Exod 25-31 and 35-40) using categories and insights borrowed from ritual and literary theory. It makes the case that the very features of activity that cause anthropologists to identify a particular activity as ritualized are not only present in literary form in the tabernacle text, but form the foundation of its character as literature. Building upon this observation, it considers the question of the reader experience supported by this text, ultimately making the case that the experience of an absorbed reader of this text can be fruitfully compared to the experience of an individual who participates in a ritual. Insights about the effects of specific features of ritualized activity on participants are applied, here, to the profound repetition, formalism, sensory appeal, and ambiguity in this literature. Furthermore, because the tabernacle text includes significant lacunae alongside its repetition and formalism, the experience of reading this text is ultimately compared to ritualized mandala construction, whose texts evince a similar juxtaposition of detail and gaps, and whose ritual is, primarily, imaginative. In a final chapter devoted to the communication of implicit messages through ritual, in conversation with the field of art history and religious philosophy, this study discusses several messages that are suggested by the literary form of the tabernacle text, but which are left outside the realm of discourse. The conclusion sketches the application of the methodology employed in the present study to the Temple Text."

You can download and read the entire article right here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Comparative Reading: "A Literary Structural Overview of Exod 25-40"

Here is another interesting article, called "A Literary Structural Overview of Exod 25-40", by Raplh E. Hendrix, Andrews University Seminary Studies, Summer 1992, Vol 30, No. 2, 123-138.

This article is not particularly insightful, but it goes in great length is trying to underline the use of terms "miskan" and "'ohel mo'ed", as well as to classify the differences between the two. Nothing that you do not know already from this blog, but still worth to be read: 

"Exod 25-40 has at least three maxi-structural axes: literary, topical, and terminological. It has at least one subsidiary, mini-structural axis: grammatical. Its structural integrity, particularly that integrity demanded by the presence of overarching maxi-structures, has given strong argument for approaching the biblical text in its canonical form.
As considered in a previous study, in Exod 25-40 the terms miskan and 'ohel mo'ed provide a four-section terminological structure. In these sections the term(s) used to name the physical construction were variously miskan, 'ohel mo'ed, miskan-dominant, and mixed miskan-'ohel mo'ed. Within this terminological structure, coexisted topical structures (generally presented in lists of six or nine elements) and literary sub-structures such as parallelism, inverted parallelism, and linear lists. In their co-existence, none of the literary structures negated the others, but rather complemented them along axes within differing literary dimensions."

You can read and download the entire article at this link.

Comparative Reading: "The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle".

While I'm working on the update to my models, I figured I'll provide you with some reading materials that you can find useful for comparative purposes.

Here is an article called "The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle", by Haran. M. The article itself is not very interesting, but it does provide nice summary of the Tabernacle description and points out problematic parts (i.e. dimensions of the courtyard of the Tabernacle):

"The number of pillars on each side of the court creates a minor geometrical puzzle. If we assume, as indeed emerges from the text, that the space between each pillar is cubits, and, moreover, that the pillars start from the corners, the number of pillars across the length of the court will be found to be 21 (or 19, without reckoning the corner pillars) and across its width 11 (or 9). See 2. On the other hand, if we say that there should be exactly 20 pillars across the length of the court and exactly 10 to the width, every corner being counted twice (the total number of pillars on all four sides thus being 56), we shall find that the space between each pillar is not five cubits. Furthermore, the distances between the pillars of the court lengthwise will be less than those across its width (100: 19 as against 50:9). This point has puzzled many commentators. "
You can read and download the entire article at this link

Monday, May 2, 2011

Working on a major update

I'm working on a major update to my models and my blog, so it will be some time until I will be posting regularly again.

For those of you who following my blog, please be patient and stay tuned -you will not be disappointed. ;)

Summary of possible designs of the Altar of Burnt Offering

I have found several more images depicting possible design of the Altar of Burnt Offering. These images from the web site (click on the link to view other images of the Altar presented there):
As you can see from this image, such design is also very plausible and practical. However, one thing that is personally bothering me is that the Altar itself has to have these "slots" on each of the corners to accommodate such Grate design, which could affect Altar's structural integrity and fire resistance.

For quick comparison, below are the other possible designs that I have covered so far (including my own), so that you can see them all at once and judge for yourself.

This one is from the web site:

And this one is from the James Strong's book - "The Tabernacle of Israel in the desert":

And these several designs are from Dutch text edition of Agostino Torniello's Annales Sacri et Profani by Heribertus Rosweydus (1569, Utrecht - 1629, Antwerp), ca. 1625 by TORNIELLO, A, coutesy of this web site:

And here is my design, that you can see on most of the images on this blog:

So as you can see, there are many different ways that the text of Exodus 27:1-8 and Exodus 38:1-7, can be interpreted. However, there is only one possible solution. Which one - it is still a mystery to me. But like I have said before, there are several important things that the design had to accommodate:

  1. Be relatively lightweight, so that the Altar with its Grate, Utensils and Coverings could be carried by relatively few people (4 most likely)
  2. Be relatively fire resistant, so that the Altar and its Grate could withstand an open fire for Burnt Offerings.
  3. Provide ease of access for cleaning both the Grate and the Altar during its service and transportation (see Numbers 4:13)
  4. Provide ease of access to the ashes produced by the Altar while it is still in operation (while the fire is burning on the Altar) - see i.e. Leviticus 6:10


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