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Reduced Laughter

Seriocomic Features and their Functions in the Book of Kings

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Helen Paynter

In this book Helen Paynter offers a radical re-evalution of the central section of Kings. Reading with attention to the literary devices of carnivalization and mirroring, she demonstrates that it contains a florid satire on kings, prophets and nations.
Building on the work of humorists, literary critics and biblical scholars, the author constructs diagnostic criteria for carnivalization (seriocomedy), and identifies an abundance of these features within the Elijah/Elisha and Aram narratives, showing how literary mirroring further enhances their satirical effect.
This book will be of particular interest to students and scholars concerned with the Hebrew Bible as literature but will be valued by those who favour more historical approaches for its insights into the Hebrew text.

The Death of Jacob

Narrative Conventions in Genesis 47.28-50.26

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Kerry Dwaine Lee

In The Death of Jacob: Narrative Conventions in Genesis 47.28-50.26 Kerry Lee investigates the deathbed story of the patriarch Jacob and uncovers the presence of a variety of conventional structures underlying its composition, especially a conventional deathbed story or type scene also found in numerous other texts in the Hebrew Bible and non-canonical Jewish literature. Finding fault both with traditional diachronic approaches as well as more recent synchronic studies, Lee uses an eclectic but coherent blend of contemporary methods (drawn from narratology, linguistics, ritual theory, legal theory, assyriology, and other disciplines) to show that despite its probably composite pre-history the last three chapters of Genesis have been intentionally and artfully structured by the hand predominately responsible for their final form.

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Paul S. Stevenson

In Stanzaic Syntax in the Madrashe of Ephrem the Syrian, which focuses on madrāšê V and VI in the Paradise cycle, Paul S. Stevenson looks at Ephrem’s poetic art from the point of view of a linguist. This study goes beyond the traditional levels of analysis, the clause and the sentence, and examines the structure of whole stanzas as units. The result is a surprisingly rich tapestry of syntactic patterning, which can justly be considered the key to Ephrem’s prosody. The driving force behind Ephrem’s poetry turns out not to be meter or sound play, but a variety of syntactic templates, which include even vertical patterning of constituents.

The Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia as Handbooks to Eternity

Exploring the Gnostic Mysteries of the Ineffable

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Erin Evans

Despite the surge of interest in Gnostic texts following the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, the Coptic Books of Jeu and Pistis Sophia remain understudied. Often dismissed as convoluted, confused, and repetitious, Erin Evans convincingly shows that these texts represent the writings of a distinct religious group with a consistent system of theology, cosmology, and ritual practice. This book offers an in-depth examination of these texts, their relationship to other contemporary Gnostic ideas, and their use in the context of a practicing religious group. Three thematic sections demonstrate how the collection of texts functions as a whole, covering baptisms and mystical ascent procedures, guides to moral living, and introductory texts and myths.

The Non-Israelite Nations in the Book of the Twelve

Thematic Coherence and the Diachronic-Synchronic Relationship in the Minor Prophets

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Daniel Timmer

In The Non-Israelite Nations in the Book of the Twelve Daniel Timmer offers the first comprehensive survey of the ‘nations’ in the Minor Prophets. The study approaches this important but highly diverse theme through the lens of conceptual coherence and demonstrates the interrelation of synchronic/holistic and diachronic/compositional approaches. After exploring the theme in each of the individual books of the Twelve and noting the varying degrees of coherence evident in each case, Timmer brings his findings to bear on contemporary understandings of the Twelve as a collection, arguing for the theme’s coherence across the collection on the basis of each book’s unique treatment of the nations.

Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition

From Modernists to Muḥdathūn

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Huda J. Fakhreddine

In Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition Huda J. Fakhreddine expands the study of metapoesis to include the Abbasid age in Arabic literature. Through this lens that is often used to study modernist poetry of the 20th and the 21st century, this book detects and examines a meta-poetic tendency and a self-reflexive attitude in the poetry of the first century of Abbasid poets. What and why is poetry? are questions the Abbasid poets asked themselves with the same persistence and urgency their modern successor did. This approach to the poetry of the Abbasid age serves to refresh our sense of what is “modernist” or “poetically new” and detach it from chronology.

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Edited by Petra Sijpesteijn and Alexander T. Schubert

Historians have long lamented the lack of contemporary documentary sources for the Islamic middle ages and the inhibiting effect this has had on our understanding of this critically important period. Although the field is richly served by surviving evidence, much of it is hard to locate, difficult to access, and philologically intractable. Presenting a mixture of historical studies and new editions of Greek, Arabic and Coptic material from the seventh to the fifteenth century C.E. from Egypt and Palestine, Documents and the History of the Early Islamic World explores the untapped wealth of documentary sources available in collections around the world and shows how this exciting material can be used for historical analysis.

Contributors include: Hugh Kennedy, Anne Regourd, Jairus Banaji, Alain Delattre, Shaun O’Sullivan, Anna Selander, Frédéric Bauden, Mostafa El-Abbadi, Rachel Stroumsa, Sebastian Richter, Tascha Vorderstrasse, Matt Malczycki, R.G. Khoury, Nicole Hansen, and Alia Hanafi.

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László Török

Twentieth century commentaries on Herodotus' passages on Nubia, the historical kingdom of Kush and the Aithiopia of the Greek tradition, rely mostly on an outdated and biased interpretation of the textual and archaeological evidence. Disputing both the Nubia image of twentieth century Egyptology and the Herodotus interpretation of traditional Quellenkritik, the author traces back the Aithiopian information that was available to Herodotus to a discourse on Kushite kingship created under the Nubian pharaohs of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and preserved in the Ptah sanctuary at Memphis. Insufficient for a self-contained Aithiopian logos, the information acquired by Herodotus complements and supports accounts of the land, origins, customs and history of other peoples and bears a relation to the intention of the actual narrative contexts into which the author of The Histories inserted it.

Ḍawʾ al-sārī li-maʿrifat ḫabar Tamīm al-Dārī (On Tamīm al-Dārī and His Waqf in Hebron)

Critical edition, annotated translation and introduction by Yehoshua Frenkel

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Edited by Yehoshua Frenkel

The present book investigates three short late Mamluk treatises about land properties (waqf) in the Palestinian city of Hebron, which the prophet Muhammad granted to Tamīm al-Darī. The treatise entitled Ḍawʾ al-sārī li-maʿrifat ḫabar Tamīm al-Dārī by al-Maqrīzī (d. 845/1442) is the core of the book. It is edited here for the first time on the sole basis of the copy corrected by the author. A facsimile of the manuscript is also provided at the end of the book. In order to illuminate the discourse on property rights and donation that prevailed in the Mamluk period and al-Maqrīzī’s position, two additional treatises dealing with the same issue are included. The first is al-Ǧawāb al-ǧalīl ʿan ḥukm balad al-Ḫalīl by Ibn Ḥaǧar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1448). The second is al-Faḍl al-ʿamīm fī iqṭāʿ Tamīm by al-Suyūṭī (911/1505). The three texts are fully translated and annotated and preceded by a thorough introduction.

Job the Unfinalizable

A Bakhtinian Reading of Job 1-11

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Seong Whan Timothy Hyun

In Job the Unfinalizable, Seong Whan Timothy Hyun reads Job 1-11 through the lens of Bakhtin’s dialogism and chronotope to hear each different voice as a unique and equally weighted voice. The distinctive voices in the prologue and dialogue, Hyun argues, depict Job as the unfinalizable by working together rather than quarrelling each other. As pieces of a puzzle come together to make the whole picture, all voices in Job 1-11 though each with its own unique ideology come together to complete the picture of Job. This picture of Job offers readers a different way to read the book of Job: to find better questions rather than answers.