PSCO Presentation: 18 November, 2004

"Astrology and the Descenders to the Chariot"
James Davila, St. Andrews University

"Astrology in the Rhetoric of Jewish and Christian Chosenness"
Annette Yoshiko Reed, McMaster University

THE THIRD MEETING OF THE 2004-05 YEAR WILL BE HELD on Friday 19 November, in San Antonio just before the AAR/SBL annual meetings. We are scheduled for Conference Room 8 in the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm (presumably we can stay later if we wish). There will be two brief presentations to help spur discussion.

In Preparation for Jim Davila's Presentation

Participants might want to look at chapter 3 of Davila's Descenders to the Chariot: The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature (JSJSup 70; Leiden: Brill, 2001). There is a précis of that chapter in the section "Becoming a Shaman" of his article, "The Hekhalot Literature and Shamanism," SBLSP 33 (1994), 767-89, also available online at:

In Preparation for Annette Yoshiko Reed's Presentation

I. Astrology and the chosenness of Abraham: Exegesis of Gen 12 -- Jubilees 12:16-22; 3 Sib.Or. 218-228; Philo, On Abraham 69-71; Josephus, Ant. 1.154-58

II. Astrology and the Abrahamic covenant: Exegesis of Gen 15:5 and Gen 22:17-18 -- Pseudo-Philo, LAB 18:5; Bereshit Rabbah 44:10, 12; b. Shabbat 156a

III. Jesus and the Star in the East: Exegesis of Matt 2:1-2 -- Tertullian, On Idolatry 9; John Chrysostom, Homily 6

The relevant selections are on the handout that I'll be distributing, which I've also posted on my website in case anyone is interested in peeking at it in advance of the meeting.


If someone would like to organize a pre-seminar group meal, or would like to be included in such, please let Bob Kraft know.