This article is a case study in the transition of texts from manuscript to print. It looks at all surviving manuscripts and 15th–16th-centuries printed editions of Jacob ben Asher’s ʾArbaʿah Turim, Tur Orah Hayyim. Based on a close textual investigation of Tur Orah Hayyim, chapter 428, it identifies and dates manuscript clusters, and establishes how different imprints are linked with the manuscript tradition and with each other. The article suggests that the Soncino 1490 imprint by Solomon Soncino exerted a crucial influence on the printed text of Tur Orah Hayyim. Whereas before imprints were independent and closely associated with individual manuscripts, Soncino 1490 became the archetype for all but one subsequent 15th–16th-centuries imprints, and direct dependence on manuscripts subsided.
The Midianite’s Dream ( Judges VII), Its Role and Meanings
Commentators have long been divided in appraising Gideon. Some consider him an outstanding champion of Yahweh’s cause. Others judge him as, at best, flawed, at worst a vainglorious manipulator who corrupted Israel’s relationship with Yahweh and weakened her hold on the Promised Land. Despite abundant commentary on Gideon, the Midianite’s dream has attracted little specific exegetical attention beyond recognition that, on hearing its interpretation, Gideon was transformed. Yet it must surely rank as one of the most remarkable episodes in Judges. This study considers the dream’s hermeneutical function in illuminating Gideon’s character and changing relationship with Yahweh. It examines the dream’s place in the Gideon narrative and explores the meaning of its symbolism for the writer’s time and readership. It demonstrates that the narrative’s structure, and the dream’s place within it, were carefully planned and crucial to its interpretation. Finally, it analyses heuristic literary devices used in the narrative.
This study examines four Josephan passages discussing souls entering a new body or life. It argues that research on this issue can be advanced from the conclusion by several scholars that despite the language of reincarnation it is really the belief in resurrection that underlies Josephus’s accounts. The key findings include: Josephus does not directly characterize the new life as a reward, and the fact that its recipients are good souls does not contradict reincarnation. The descriptions of the new body in
This paper demonstrates that the bird and the mountains phrase in Ps 11:1 compares well with a common metaphor relating to siege warfare and military conquest found in Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions and considers the resulting implications.
Personifications in the Psalter and an Exemplary Analysis of Ps 85:11
While Lady Wisdom, Zion and Jerusalem, for example, are well-known and frequently analyzed personifications in the Old Testament, the study of personifications in the book of psalms is a research desideratum. After presenting the theoretical background of the term personification with special focus on the function of the verb, I will present the results of verb personifications in the psalter followed by a textual analysis of the personified virtues of steadfast love, truth, justice and peace in Ps 85:11. One example of the encounter between justice and peace in the form of a kiss, from Christian reception history, forms the last part of the article. The paper aims to contribute to the broad and intense discussion of metaphor analysis in psalms research on the three levels of theory, of textual analysis of the whole book of psalms and of Ps 85,11 and the reception history of metaphors.
David A. Michelson
It is often stated in handbooks that in 175 b.c.e., Judaea (or Jerusalem) was transformed from an ethnos to a polis. This statement is based on received opinions about Hellenistic (and especially Seleucid) administrative categories that can no longer be maintained. A re-examination of the relevant literary and epigraphic evidence shows that ethnos was not used as an antonym to polis in Hellenistic sources. The article then tries to explain the emergence of a scholarly paradigm that took ethnos to be precisely that: the designation for oriental, non-urbanized communities that were inferior in important regards to the Greek polis. The main influence is argued to have been Aristotle’s peculiar use of the two terms. The scholarly concept of an ethnos/polis-divide can be traced back to nineteenth-century scholarship and its “orientalist” conceptions. This is important for appreciating recent discussions of the nature of Jewish identity in antiquity (“people” or “religion”), and for an increased awareness in Jewish studies of the discourses that have shaped common knowledge about the Hellenistic Orient in general and Judaism in particular.