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American Institute of Pakistan Studies honors book by Professor Waleed Ziad
 

Congratulations to Professor Waleed Ziad, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies! His book Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints Beyond the Oxus and Indus (Harvard 2021) has recently received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2023 Annual Book Award. The book previously received the Albert Hourani Book Award in Middle East Studies (MESA, 2022), and was shortlisted for the British Association for South Asian Studies 2023 Book Award and the Bloomsbury Pakistan 2022 Book award. Click here to learn more about Professor Ziad’s work. 

As noted by the committee, Ziad’s book “is an ambitious study of a network of Sufi religious discourses and practices that spread through large stretches of Asia: ‘across the Indus and Amu Darya well into the Inner Asian Steppes and western China.’ Ziad calls this an ‘interconnected Persianate cosmopolis,’ the intellectual force behind which were Mujaddidi mystic-scholars educated in a variety of arts and sciences at institutions of higher learning in Bukhara, Kabul, Peshawar, and Delhi.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT PROFESSOR ZIAD’S HIGHLY AWARDED BOOK 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in News & Events on October 12, 2023  
A Monumental Synagogue, Magnificent Mosaics
 

Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, was recently featured in UNC’s Arts & Sciences magazine. This article, written by Kim Weaver Spurr, features Professor Magness and her decade-long archeological dig at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee. To read the full-length story, and to see some amazing pictures from this part of the world, CLICK HERE!

A UNC-led archaeological team in Israel’s Lower Galilee has uncovered stunning biblical mosaics at an ancient synagogue, like this one of Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders from Judges 16:3.

Magness began work at this site in 2011, leading to incredible discoveries that, as Spurr writes, “are transforming what we know about Jewish life in ancient Palestine.” Spurr continues by stating that “Magness began digging at Huqoq in 2011 because of big research questions she was hoping to answer. There is nothing in early rabbinic literature that would have prepared her for a synagogue like Huqoq, she said, and that’s where archaeology is helping to fill in the gaps and illuminate the dynamism and complexity of Jewish life 1,600 years ago.”

Jodi Magness’ husband, Jim Haberman, captured this shot of her standing on the synagogue’s east wall on the last day of excavations.

“During their years at Huqoq, Magness, a host of international specialists and hundreds of field school students from multiple consortium schools would continue to uncover myriad amazing finds, including the first non-biblical story ever discovered in an ancient synagogue…”

CLICK HERE to continue reading this captivating and visually stunning article!

Posted in News & Events on October 11, 2023  
Promotional Video for “Beyond Genesis” Webinar on 10/19/23 by Prof. Joseph Lam
 

“Beyond Genesis: The Many Creation Stories of the Bible,” a live webinar lecture happening on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 2023, 8:00PM (EDT) by Prof. Joseph Lam.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 2023, 8:00PM (EDT)

To register for the FREE event, click here: https://unc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FKXnSdpRS72gBqOlWffXlA#/registration 

Creation in the Bible is typically associated with the account of creation in seven days found in chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis. But few people are aware that the Bible contains fragments of a number of other creation stories that reflect mythological conceptions known from elsewhere in the ancient Near East. This lecture will introduce these alternative accounts, describe their parallels from the ancient Near East, and consider their implications for how we might think about the idea of a “biblical creation.”

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 2023, 8:00PM (EDT) FUNDRAISER FOR THE MILLER FUND FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS

About the Lecturer: Joseph Lam is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he specializes in the study of the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern religions and cultures. He is the author of the book Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible (Oxford University Press, 2016) and has recently released an online course on Wondrium (the Great Courses) called “Creation Stories in the Ancient World.”

Although no donation is required to attend the webinar, a donation of $20 is suggested: https://give.unc.edu/donate?f=105550&p=asrs

THERE WILL BE PRIZES!

– The highest donor will receive a 30 minute remote one-on-one meeting with the Religious Studies faculty member of their choice.

– The second highest donor will receive a signed copy of any book by the Religious Studies faculty member of their choice.*

– The names of all donors will be entered into a drawing. The person whose name is drawn can choose between a signed book and a 30 minute one-on-one meeting with the Religious Studies faculty member of their choice.

*The book has a fair market value of $20-50, which may reduce the winner’s charitable deduction based on IRS rules around charitable gifts.

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

Posted in News & Events on October 3, 2023  
Beyond Genesis: The Many Creation Stories of the Bible (Webinar by Professor Joseph Lam)
 

Mark your calendars for this exciting event on October 19, 2023 at 8pm! Professor Joseph Lam will deliver a lecture on Zoom entitled “Beyond Genesis: The Many Creation Stories of the Bible,” to benefit the Miller Fund for Graduate Students. No gift required to attend. REGISTER HERE. We hope to see you there!

Posted in News & Events on September 20, 2023  
Professor Jodi Magness and “The Nasty, Yucky, Funky World of the 1st Century” (podcast episode)
 

Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, recently appeared on an episode of Biblical Time Machine. This podcast series travels “back in time (metaphorically… it’s a podcast) to explore the real history of the people, places and events of the Old Testament, New Testament and everything in between.” In this episode, available on Apple Podcasts, Professor Magness engages in a frank and sometimes graphic discussion of what daily life REALLY would have been like in 1st-century Judaea: just nasty!

 

 

 

 

To listen to this fascinating history, CLICK HERE!

Posted in News & Events on September 18, 2023  
Why Christianity Framed Herod (feat. Dr Jodi Magness)
 

Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, recently appeared on an episode of PAULOGIA. With more than 24 million views, this YouTube channel “takes a look at the claims of Christians, wherever science is being denied in the name of ancient books.” In the episode below, Professor Magness is depicted as a cartoon and discusses the archeological evidence for the existence of Jesus while engaging with statements made by two scholars from BIOLA University. Click below to watch this creative and fascinating video!

 

Posted in News & Events on September 5, 2023  
Religious Studies Professor Helps Make Ancient Discovery
 

Jodi Magness, UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of religious studies, was recently featured on CBS17 news. During the newscast, Professor Magness discussed her ongoing excavation at Huqoq, an ancient synagogue in Galilee. CBS17’s Russ Bowen reports…


GALILEE, Israel (WNCN) — Buried in the earth for centuries and revealed slowly and methodically are the remains of a synagogue at Huqoq — an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s lower Galilee.

“I feel both lucky and very privileged because you know, my team and I are looking at mosaics and other things actually that have not been known of or visible to anybody, for hundreds and hundreds of years,” said Jodi Magness, UNC Kenan Distinguished Professor of religious studies.

“I started excavations there with the hopes of clarifying the nature of the fate of Jewish settlement in this part of Galilee against the background of the rise and spread of Christianity,” she added.

Magness said the journey also began with the hopes of excavating a kind of a synagogue building called the Galilean Type Synagogue.

That, she said, is “basically a very large basilica, kind of a rectangular building with columns inside to support the ceiling. That is best represented by the synagogue at Capernaum, which is just a couple of miles away from us.”

Magness and her team have discovered a well-preserved mosaic panel that decorates the floor just inside the main entrance. Included are what’s believed to be the names of artists or donors.

“It is actually not unusual to have donor inscriptions at the entrance to ancient synagogues when you have mosaic floors. So, I like to say that some things in Judaism haven’t changed in the last 1,600 years, because if you go into a synagogue today and I’m sure churches as well, for example, the first thing that you see is the list of the donors,” Magness said.

But that’s only part of what they’ve unveiled…


To read more of CBS17’s story and to see a clip from the newscast, CLICK HERE!

Posted in News & Events on July 14, 2023  
Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth, with Professor Jodi Magness
 

Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, recently appeared on an episode of Sparks of History. Generally, this podcast focuses on the intersection between Jewish and world history, and features a wide range of insightful, informative and entertaining video interviews and podcasts with renown authors, historians and rabbis. For more information, click here!

Click here, to watch the entire interview and learn from Professor Magness about Masada, the famous site and story of the last stand of a group of Jewish rebels who held out against the Roman Empire. To read her book Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth, click here.

Posted in News & Events on May 24, 2023  
Professor Hugo Mendez releases new book, The Cult of Saint Stephen in Jerusalem: Inventing a Patron Martyr
 

Congratulations to Religious Studies professor Hugo Mendez on the publication of The Cult of Saint Stephen in Jerusalem: Inventing a Patron Martyr (Oxford Early Christian Studies, 2023)! 

As the site of only a small and obscure Christian population between 135 and 313 CE, Jerusalem witnessed few instances of anti-Christian persecution. This fact became a source of embarrassment to the city in late antiquity―a period when martyr traditions, relics, and shrines were closely intertwined with local prestige. At that time, the city had every incentive to stretch the fame of its few, apostolic martyrs as far as possible-especially the fame of the biblical St. Stephen, the figure traditionally regarded as the first Christian martyr (Acts 6-8). What the church lacked in the quantity of its martyrs, it believed it could compensate for in an exclusive, local claim to the figure widely hailed as the “Protomartyr”, “firstborn of the martyrs”, and “chief of confessors” in contemporary sources.

This book traces the rise of the cult of Stephen in Jerusalem, exploring such historical episodes as the fabrication of his relics, the construction of a grand basilica in his honour, and the multiplication of the saint’s feast days. It argues that local church authorities promoted devotion to Stephen in the fifth century in a conscious attempt to position him as a patron saint for Jerusalem―that is, a symbolic embodiment of the city’s Christian identity and power. 

     

Posted in News & Events on April 13, 2023  


Professor Waleed Ziad’s book shortlisted for the British Association for South Asian Studies book prize!
 

Join us in congratulating Religious Studies professor Waleed Ziad. His book entitled Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints Beyond the Oxus and Indus (Harvard, 2021) has been shortlisted for the British Association for South Asian Studies book prize!

Hidden Caliphate (winner of the Albert Hourani Award from the Middle East Studies Association and shortlisted for the Bloomsbury Pakistan book award) examines the development across Asia of Muslim revivalist networks from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

For more information CLICK HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in News & Events on April 13, 2023  
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