Crossing Boundaries in Early Judaism and Christianity

Ambiguities, Complexities, and Half-Forgotten Adversaries. Essays in Honor of Alan F. Segal


This volume celebrates the scholarship of Alan Segal. During his prolific career, Alan published ground-breaking studies that shifted scholarly conversations about Christianity, rabbinic Judaism, Hellenism and Gnosticism. Like the subjects of his research, Alan crossed many boundaries. He understood that religions do not operate in academically defined silos, but in complex societies populated by complicated human beings. Alan’s work engaged with a variety of social-scientific theories that illuminated ancient sources and enabled him to reveal new angles on familiar material. This interdisciplinary approach enabled Alan to propose often controversial theories about Jewish and Christian origins. A new generation of scholars has been nurtured on this approach and the fields of early Judaism and Christianity emerge radically redefined as a result.

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Andrea Lieber, Ph.D. (1998), Columbia University, is Professor Religion at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where she holds the Sophia Ava Asbell Chair of Judaic studies. She is the author of The Essential Guide to Jewish Prayer and Practices (Penguin/Alpha Books, 2012) and co-editor with Lynn LiDonnici of Heavenly Tablets: Rewriting Tradition in Early Judaism. Volume in Honor of Dr. Betsy Halpern-Amaru (Brill, 2007).

Kimberly B. Stratton, Ph.D. (2002), Columbia University, is Associate Professor of Religion in the College of the Humanities at Carleton University, Ottawa. Her book, Naming the Witch: Magic, Ideology, and Stereotype in the Ancient World (Columbia UP, 2007), won the Frank W. Beare award from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (2008). She co-edited, with Dayna Kalleres, Daughters of Hecate: Women and Magic in the Ancient World (Oxford UP, 2014) and has published numerous essays on magic, gender, violence, and identity in the ancient world.

Alan F. Segal: A Life in Perspective
Kimberly B. Stratton

Introduction to the Volume
Andrea Lieber

Part 1: Two Powers in Heaven (Heavenly Ascent and Angelification)
1 The Self-Glorification Hymn from Qumran
John J. Collins

2 Theosis through Works of the Law: Deification of the Earthly Righteous in Classical Rabbinic Thought
Jonah Chanan Steinberg

3 From the Covenant of the Rainbow to the Covenant at Sinai, from the Pilgrimage to the Temple to the Vision of the Chariot, from the Blessing
of the First Fruits to the Priestly Blessing, and from the Tiqqun leil Shavuʿot to the Revelation of the Shekhinah
Rachel Elior

Part 2: Rebecca’s Children (Jewish Christian Origins)
4 Some Particulars about Universalism
Ellen Birnbaum

5 Imagining Jesus, with Food
Michel Desjardins

6 Antiquity’s Children: History and Theology in Three Surveys
Tzvee Zahavy

Part 3: Paul the Convert (Conversion, Apostasy, Identity)
7 Giving Up the Godfearers
Ross S. Kraemer

8 Marcion and Boundaries
Stephen G. Wilson

9 The Interpreter as Intertext: Origen’s First Homily on the Canticle of Canticles
Celia Deutsch

10 Translation and Transformation: The Coptic Soundscapes of The Thunder: Perfect Mind
Jared C. Calaway

Part 4: Life after Death (Death and Treatment of the Dead)
11 Maccabees, Martyrs, Murders, and Masada: Noble Deaths and Suicides in 1 and 2 Maccabees and Josephus
Jonathan Klawans

12 The Lament of the Martyrs and the Literature of Destruction (Rev 6:10)
William Morrow

13 A Rabbinic Translation of Relics
Jeffrey L. Rubenstein

Part 5: Sinning in the Hebrew Bible (Morality, Theodicy, Theology)
14 The Golden Rule in Classical Judaism
Jacob Neusner

15 From Theodicy to Anti-theodicy: Midrashic Accusations of God’s Disobedience to Biblical Law
Adam Gregerman

Appendix: Complete List of Publications
All interested in the history of Jewish and Christian origins, Gnosticism, Dead Sea Scrolls, and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Late antiquity. Academic libraries and those whose holdings include the works of Alan F. Segal will certainly want to include this volume in their collection.
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