The Valmadonna Book Collection Goes on Sale Again

A fascinating story that illustrates the precariousness of Jewish cultural heritage: (via Dianne Bazell)


Passover Coke

Rabbi Geffen sounds like a great man who understood the importance of maintaining tradition while adapting to new cultures.¬†To me that’s being Jewish is all about.

I actually do eat corn during Passover, and I don’t see the problem. Corn is not a grain and is not leavened in any case. Ashkenazim don’t eat corn (along with beans, rice, and other similar plants), but Sephardim do. In fact, I believe the Ashkenazi understanding of “grains” is wrong and should be consciously repudiated. It’s a silly rule. I would even eat barley and oats as long as they are not leavened, which means cooked for more than eighteen minutes. This putting “a hedge around the Torah” business sometimes gets ridiculous, obsessive, and comical. (via Nelson French)


The Power of Symbolism

Here is my dissertation: ¬†‚ÄúThe Interpretation of Religious Symbols in the Graeco-Roman World:¬† A Case Study of ¬† Early ¬†Christian Fish Symbolism‚ÄĚ (3 vols): ¬†Yale University, 1993. ¬†Please note that the pagination in the PDF files, though close, is not exactly the same as in my original dissertation (due to formatting issues).

I originally intended this as part of a comparative study of ancient symbols, including the menorah for Jews.   Given the length of the project, this was not practical.  However, I regard my dissertation as comparative project whose goal is to understand the nature of religious symbolism.

There are many things that I would now change, including writing style. ¬†Of note is the Avercius (Abercius) inscription text, which has several errors; for a correct edition, see ¬†I also wish that I had ¬†included a section on the use of fish and fishing symbolism in the gospels. ¬†If interested, take a look at the text of a talk I gave on this topic in ‚ÄúEssays and Talks‚ÄĚ in ‚ÄúLarry Kant‚ÄĚ (

I have also somewhat changed my views of Freud and Jung.  I always appreciated them, but my dissertation is more critical of them than I would be now.

Diss1; Diss2; Diss3; Diss4; Diss5; Diss6


Rev. Jim Wallis on Government Cuts

As a Jew, I thoroughly share the sentiments of Rev. Jim Wallis.  The TaNaKh and rabbinic tradition command us to take care of the poor and marginalized.  That why we are told not to plough the corners of our fields.  When the Hebrew Bible and the rabbis talk about caring for the needy, they refer to communities and governments.  The structures envisioned in those texts are governmental, and they *require* (not merely suggest) a society take the needy into account.  This tradition does not focus on voluntary acts and association, but on political structures that create a just society.  Those who try to convert these into free-market scenarios, which advocate economic commitments that are solely private, do not understand what the texts actually say.  Those who know the Hebrew and the history should start articulating the true nature of this tradition, which demands that governments protect those in need.



Jewish Symbols: The Menorah

See my talk: ¬† Laurence H. Kant, “Reassessing the Interpretation of Ancient Symbols,‚ÄĚ Hellenistic Judaism Section Panel on¬†Erwin Goodenough, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature¬†Annual Meeting, Anaheim, November, 1989: This piece deals with symbol interpretation and the early Jewish interpretation of symbols, particularly the menorah: ¬© 1989, Laurence H. Kant, All rights reserved: ¬†¬†MenorahTalk1

This is a summary of my view of how a symbol conveys its meanings.


Translations of Genesis

These are examples of my new translations of two small portions of Genesis: © 2007 Laurence H. Kant:


A Personal View of Kashrut (Kosher)

See Laurence H. Kant,¬†‚ÄúA Personal View of Kashrut,‚ÄĚ Opinion,¬†Shalom, September, 2010, p. 11:¬†Kashrut2


Aqedah (Genesis 22): Binding of Abraham and Isaac

See Laurence H. Kant, ‚ÄúSome Restorative Thoughts on an Agonizing Text:¬† Abraham‚Äôs Binding of Isaac and the Horror¬†on¬† Mt. Moriah ¬†(Gen. 22)‚ÄĚ: ¬†‚ÄúPart 1,‚ÄĚLexington Theological Quarterly 38 (2003) 77-109; ‚ÄúPart 2,¬†Lexington Theological Quarterly 38¬†(2003)¬†161- 94: AqedahPart1a andAqedahPart2a

See also Laurence H. Kant, ‚ÄúArguing with God and¬†Tiqqun Olam:¬† A Response to Andre LaCocque on the¬†Aqedah,‚Ä̬†Lexington Theological Quarterly 40 (2005) 203-19 (this was a response to an article by¬†Andr√© Lacocque, ‚ÄúAbout the ‚ÄėAkedah‚Äô in Genesis 22:¬† A Response to Laurence H. Kant,‚ÄĚLexington Theological Quarterly 40 (2005) 191-201): AqedahResponseToLacocque


Jewish Inscriptions in Greek and Latin

See Laurence H. Kant, “Jewish Inscription in Greek and Latin,” in¬†Aufstieg und Niedergang der r√∂mischen Welt, 2.20.2:671-713.¬† Berlin:¬† Walter de Gruyter, 1987 at the following two links: ¬†JewishInscriptions1;¬†JewishInscriptions2


Ancient Synagogues in Jewish Inscriptions

See my talk: ¬†Laurence H. Kant, ‚ÄúEarly Jewish Synagogues in Epigraphic Evidence,‚ÄĚ Archaeology of the New Testament World¬†Group, American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting,¬†San Francisco, November, 1992: ¬© 1992, Laurence H. Kant, All rights reserved: ¬†SynagogueTalk1


Avercius (aka Abercius)

Final Draft before publication of Laurence H. Kant ‚ÄúThe Earliest Christian Inscription:¬† Bishop Avercius‚Äô Last Words Document the Emergence of the Church,‚ÄĚ in¬†Bible Review 17.1, February, 2001, pp. 10-19, 47: ¬†AverciusBAS1

3b) Here is my most up-to-date edition of the text:  AverciusText


Iraqi Treasures Return, But Questions Remain

“Iraq announced the return of hundreds of antiquities that had ended up in the United States, although 632 pieces repatriated last year were now unaccounted for.”



A discussion of resurrection in a modern context:


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