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Abstract

Three new monographs have appeared in 2023 that explore the Bible and nonhuman animals: Peter Joshua Atkins, The Animalising Affliction of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4: Reading Across the Human-Animal Boundary (London: T&T Clark, 2023; pp. xiv + 260); Dong Hyeon Jeong, Embracing the Nonhuman in the Gospel of Mark (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2023; pp. xii+177); Saul M. Olyan, Animal Rights and the Hebrew Bible (New York: OUP, 2023; pp. xii+144). This review brings these books into conversation, suggesting six questions that they grapple with and which might stimulate further research.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This paper discusses how Ps 40 reflects a widely attested and complex discourse on how legalities relate to the human self—a discourse involving matters such as law’s relation to human flourishing and perfectibility (e.g., Deut 30:6–14; Jer 31:31–34; Ps 19; Wis 6 and 9; Philo; for others views of perfectibility, cf. Gen 6:5; 8:21; Qoh 9:3). Psalm 40 combines praise and lament, with divine law as a key factor in this liturgical text’s logic. After clarifying literary-historical and form-critical issues in studies of Ps 40, it will be argued that whether or not there is a literary relationship to Jer 31, these texts display divergent logic on law’s relationship to human flourishing. The paper contributes to scholarly understanding of legal discourse and lament in Jewish antiquity.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum
Author:

Abstract

Evangelicals have often considered C. S. Lewis’s view of scripture insufficient, viewing several of his statements as directly rejecting the inerrancy of scripture. However, this reading overlooks a foundational theological principle which frames Lewis’s view on scripture—his notion of ‘transposition’. When read in light of this principle, Lewis’s statements on the inspiration of scripture gain greater nuance and resist a strict reading of him as noninerrantist. More, Lewis’s principle of transposition, when applied to scripture, affords space for developing a thick account of inerrancy.

Open Access
In: Evangelical Quarterly: An International Review of Bible and Theology
Author:

Abstract

This article provides a new statistical methodology to identify kaige revision within the Septuagint. The method establishes the most accurate criteria for identifying this revision through searching the undisputed kaige texts. These criteria include existing suggestions and several new ones. The result leads to a more secure grasp of kaige revision and the ability to confidently detect kaige readings in manuscripts and quotations.

Open Access
In: Textus

Abstract

Recent research has introduced the categories of deluxe or high-quality Dead Sea Scrolls. We reconsider this category and propose a classification of manuscripts on the basis of handwriting quality. As a test case, we classify all Hasmonaean-type biblical manuscripts as elegant, professional, or substandard. We discuss eleven scrolls with elegant handwriting and consider other physical, scribal, and textual features of these scrolls. Our study calls into question the idea that especially biblical manuscripts would have been copied according to the highest standards. We show that different quality standards were in operation for Hasmonaean-type biblical manuscripts.

Open Access
In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Author:

Abstract

This essay will explore to which the degree the opisthographic papyri from Qumran can be seen as a scribal cluster, which I understand to be a group of manuscripts that were produced and/or circulated within the same scribal context. This contribution will present a case study by focusing on the papyrus opisthographs 4Q433a/4Q255, 4Q499/4Q497, 4Q503/4Q512, and 4Q509/4Q496/4Q506. These manuscripts will be considered by combining material and textual approaches. Analysis from the perspective of palaeography and codicology will establish if these scrolls share significant material features, such as writing style, columnisation, and scribal markings. Textual analysis will assess the intertextual relations between these compositions and explore whether they share common themes and vocabulary. This case study aims to increase our understanding of how the scribes behind the Dead Sea Scrolls engaged with their texts, and explores different scholarly approaches to reconstruct ancient groupings of texts.

Open Access
In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Author:

Abstract

Although functioning primarily as a priest and a prophet, Ezekiel frequently utilized literary devices drawn from the wisdom tradition. The end to which he applied the tools of the wise was, however, far from typical. Where the counsel of the sages generally emphasized prudence and conformity, Ezekiel deployed sapiential speech forms within a disruptive rhetorical strategy designed to subvert debased institutions, delusional cult ideology, and aggrandizing historical narrative. This essay examines two examples from the prophet’s extensive repertoire, highlighting his idiosyncratic but devastatingly effective use of satire.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

I argue that the Levitical Prayer offered in Neh 9:5–37 (LP) offers a version of Judean history that does not include the Babylonian exile. Instead, it narrates an unbroken chain of possession of Judean territory that spans from the conquest and settlement of Canaan to the post-monarchic context of the prayer’s composition. Drawing insights from the study of cultural trauma, I make the case that the interpretive importance of such a catastrophic event cannot be assumed for subsequent Judean communities who sought to form a sense of cultural identity through the retelling of a shared past. Potentially traumatic events like the Babylonian exile are not actualized naturally; communal trauma is instead the product of social processes in the present that serve the needs of present and future communities. An elision of the Babylonian exile from a piece of post-monarchic period literature like the LP does not, therefore, require the interpretative conclusion that the prayer was written by the descendants of Judeans who avoided exile and remained in Judea during the sixth century ʙᴄᴇ. Importantly, neither does it exclude the possibility that the LP was produced by a community whose ancestors were displaced and resettled in Babylonia during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. Through this analysis I invite scholars to explore a broader range of interpretative possibilities in their study of Ezra-Nehemiah as a composition and the understanding of the defining elements of Judean identity in the post- monarchic period.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

Septuagint Kingdoms, the Greek translation of Samuel-Kings, has an ambiguous linguistic reputation. While scholars sometimes note natural linguistic features, its isomorphic and literal translation style is typically emphasised. This ambiguity has apparently caused several scholars to misinterpret LXX 1 Kgdms 3:2, which uses the verb βαρύνω in reference to the failing eyesight of the priest Eli. When examined against other evidence, notably Euripides’ Alcestis, Kingdoms is shown to use a natural though poorly attested Greek expression meaning “go blind.” This paper demonstrates the natural idiomatic use of βαρύνω in 1 Kgdms 3:2 and shows its value in refining our understanding of “heavy eyes” in other non-translation Greek texts. More broadly, it promotes the reading of the LXX against the wider history of the Greek language.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

Alphabetic acrostics (AA s) are a known phenomenon in the Hebrew Bible (HB). Recently, scholars have argued that other poems in the HB evidence “alphabetic thinking”, or some kind of consciousness of alphabet in their composition. Peter C. W. Ho has argued for what he calls alphabetic compositions (AC s), i.e., poems that are not proper acrostics but share common poetic devices with acrostics. In this article, I attempt to refine Ho’s list of common features of AA s and regroup them into macro-level and micro-level alphabet-imitating devices. With a clear understanding of these devices I test whether certain poems attempt to imitate the alphabet in their overall shape at macro-level as well as in their choice of words at micro-level. I argue that only when clear alphabet-imitating devices are present in both the form and the linguistic content of a poem can it be reliably identified as an AC. Finally, I problematize the use of AC s as a set of cross-referring poems designed to carry Psalter motifs by dealing with the possible presence of reworked and repurposed alphabetic poems in the Psalter.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum