Historical Jesus research, Jewish or Christian, is marked by the search for origins and authenticity. The various Quests for the Historical Jesus contributed to a crisis of identity within Western Christianity. The result was a move “back to the Jewish roots!”
For Jewish scholars it was a means to position Jewry within a dominantly Christian culture. As a consequence, Jews now feel more at ease to relate to Jesus as a Jew.
For Walter Homolka the Christian challenge now is to formulate a new Christology: between a Christian exclusivism that denies the universality of God, and a pluralism that endangers the specificity of the Christian understanding of God and the uniqueness of religious traditions, including that of Christianity.
Jewish Love Magic: From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages is the first monograph dedicated to the supernatural methods employed by Jews in order to generate love, grace or hate. Examining hundreds of manuscripts, often unpublished, Ortal-Paz Saar skillfully illuminates a major aspect of the Jewish magical tradition.
The book explores rituals, spells and important motifs of Jewish love magic, repeatedly comparing them to the Graeco-Roman and Christian traditions. In addition to recipes and amulets in Hebrew, Aramaic and Judaeo-Arabic, primarily originating in the Cairo Genizah, also rabbinic sources and responsa are analysed, resulting in a comprehensive and fascinating picture.
“Due to the general neglect of the topic in previous scholarship, the richness of the research corpus and the scientific precision of the author, Saar’s
Jewish Love Magic is an important volume that should be on the shelf of every scholar focusing on ancient Jewish magic, but also on Jewish culture and cultural history in general. Furthermore, the book is an enjoyable read also for a non-specialist audience thanks to its clarity and fluency.” - Alessia Belusci,
Yale University, in:
Journal of Semitic Studies 64.2 (2019)
Fighting over the Bible explores the bitter conflicts between main stream Jews and their internal and external opponents, especially between particular Jewish groups such as Pharisees, Sadducees, Qumranites, Samaritans, Rabbanites and Karaites, as well as with Christians and Muslims regarding their interpretations of Jewish Scripture. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is an important sacred text for all branches of the Abrahamic faiths, but it has more often divided than unified them. This volume explores and exemplifies the roots of these interpretive conflicts and controversies and traces the rich exegetical and theological approaches that grew out of them. Focusing on the Jewish sources from the late Second Temple period through the high Middle-Ages, it illustrates how the study of the Bible filled the vacuum left by the Temple’s destruction, and became the foundation of Jewish life throughout its long conflicted history.
"This is a rich and engaging volume, one of impressive erudition and sound scholarship. It demonstrates a deep understanding of the history that it seeks to unravel and document. I especially appreciate the attention given to primary sources in their original languages (usually accompanied by English translation) and the balanced and fair-minded handling of controversial issues." -
Richard A. Taylor,
DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) Voice, 2017
"Overall, this is a useful volume that provides a concise starting point for inquiry."
Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont,
Biblical Notes 183 (2019)
Akim Volynsky: A Hidden Russian-Jewish Prophet Helen Tolstoy goes far beyond the accepted image of Akim Volynsky as a controversial literary critic of the 1890s who ran the first journal of Russian Symbolists, promoted philosophic idealism and proposed the first modernist reading of Dostoevsky. This book, through the study of periodicals and archive materials, offers a new view of Volynsky as a champion of Symbolist theater, supporter of Jewish playwrights, an ardent partisan of Habima theater and finally, a theoretician of Jewish theater. Throughout his life, Volynsky was a seeker of a Jewish-Christian synthesis, both religious and moral. His grand universalist view made him the first to see the true value of leading Russian writers – his contemporaries Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
This collection of articles is an innovative contribution to religious studies, because it picks up concepts developed in the wake of the so-called “spatial turn”. Religions are always located in a certain cultural and spatial environment, but often tend to locate (or translocate) themselves beyond that original setting. Also, many religious traditions are not only tied to or associated with the area its respective adherent live in, but are in fact “bi-local” or even “multi-local”, as they closely relate to various spatial centers or plains at once. This spatial diversity inherent to many religions is a corollary to religious diversity or plurality that merits in-depth research. The articles in this volume present important findings from a series of settings within and between Asia and Europe
An analysis of
Megillat ha-Megalleh by Abraham Bar Hiyya (12th c.) as a complete text in its historical and cultural context, showing that the work - written at a time when Jews increasingly came under Christian influence and dominance – presents a coherent argument for the continuing validity of the Jewish hope for redemption. In his argument, Bar Hiyya presents a view of history, the course of which was planted by God in creation, which runs inevitably towards the future redemption of the Jews. Bar Hiyya uses philosophical, scientific, biblical and astrological material to support his argument, and several times makes use of originally Christian ideas, which he inverts to suit his argument.
Amidst various methodologies for the comparative study of the Hebrew Bible, at times the opportunity arises to improve on a method recently introduced into the field. In
YHWH is King, Flynn uses the anthropological method of cultural translation to study diachronic change in YHWH’s kingship. Here, such change is compared to a similar Babylonian development to Marduk’s kingship. Based on that comparison and informed by cultural translation, Flynn discovers that Judahite scribes suppressed the earlier YHWH warrior king and promoted a creator/universal king in order to combat the increasing threat of Neo-Assyrian imperialism. Flynn thus opens the possibility, that Judahite scribes engaged in a cultural translation of Marduk to YHWH, in order to respond to the mounting Neo-Assyrian presence.