The Levantini Podcast, formerly the Foreigncy Podcast, is a show about Near Eastern history, language, religion and culture. We speak with academics and experts on a variety of topics, both ancient and modern.
Divorcing Lilith: From the Babylonian Incantation Bowls to the Cairo Genizah
Gideon Bohak is a Professor in the Department of Jewish Philosophy and Talmud at Tel Aviv University. He is a specialist in Jewish magic, especially in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and in the study of the Cairo Genizah. Professor Bohak came back on the show to discuss a paper he co-authored titled Divorcing Lilith: From the Babylonian Incantation Bowls to the Cairo Genizah. We talked about the transmission of Jewish magical recipes from incantation bowls in Sasanian Iran to those found later in the Cairo Genizah and we also discussed the character of Lilith and her place in the pantheon of Jewish demonology. You can purchase Professor Bohak's book Ancient Jewish Magic on Amazon.
Check out our previous podcast with Professor Bohak for a good primer on Jewish Magic in Late Antiquity.
Matthew Chalmers is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Northwestern University’s Department of Religious Studies. He is a scholar and theorist of religion, working with texts and traditions of the late antique eastern Mediterranean in Greek, Coptic, Aramaic, and Hebrew. In his current book project, The Samaritan Other: Representation, History, and Lost Late Antique Difference, he spotlights the continuous participation of Samaritans – a third Israel – in the historical and cultural processes that defined imperial Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. Our discussion focused on the origins of Samaritan religion and identity and how both Judaism and Christinaity have dealt with the issue of Samaritan claims to the Israelite tradition.
The Rise and Fall of Viticulture in The Late Antique Negev Highlands
Daniel Fuks is a Newton International Fellow of the British Academy at the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. As a PhD candidate in the Archaeobotany Lab at Bar-Ilan University, he was the leading author of the research study that examined the rise and fall of the Byzantine Negev viticulture. You can find a link to the study here. Additionally, the Mediterranean Seminar nominated the paper as ‘Article of the Month’ in November 2020 which you can check out here.
Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism
Sarit Kattan-Gribbetz is an Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University and the author of Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism, which can be purchased on Amazon. The book explores the rhythms of time that animated the rabbinic world of late antiquity, revealing how rabbis conceptualized time as a way of constructing difference between themselves and imperial Rome, Jews and Christians, men and women, and human and divine.
Playaling is a language learning platform founded by Jordan Gerstler-Holton, a former Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellow and long-time student of Arabic. Playaling is composed of a dedicated team of language professionals making engaging real-world Arabic content available to teachers and students across the globe with a heavy focus on Arabic dialect instruction. Lena Krause, an Arabic teacher at Beacon Academy in Evanston, Illinois, has done a tremendous job creating the North African Darija content on the site. You can access all of Playaling’s Arabic learning materials for free on their website Playaling.com
When the Gods Were Born
Carolina Lopez-Ruiz is a Professor at Ohio State University in the Classics Department and her research focuses on understanding Greek culture in its broader ancient Mediterranean context. She has authored a number of books on the Phoenician civilization and in this episode we discussed her book When The Gods Were Born - Greek Cosmogonies and the Near East, which examines the links between ancient Greek civilization and Northwest Semitic peoples and how the cultural exchange between the two influenced Greek origin myths. You can purchase a copy of When the Gods Were Born on Amazon.