Contra Apionem, the last known work by the Jewish author Flavius Josephus (38 - ca. 100 CE), is the only direct Jewish apology, that remains from antiquity. It is of special interest to us, because in its third part Josephus undertakes to explain the main ideas and laws of Judaism and its "theocratic" constitution to non-Jewish readers.
This volume gives an introduction to
Contra Apionem as a whole, a German translation, and a precise analysis and interpretation of the work's third part on Judaism, especially its meaning for non-Jewish readers.
This study gives the reader access to an aspect of Josephus and to a part of his important work
Contra Apionem, which, to date, have not attracted sufficient scholarly attention.
Jews and Christians under the Roman Empire shared a unique sense of community. Set apart from their civic and cultic surroundings, both groups resisted complete assimilation into the dominant political and social structures. However, Jewish communities differed from their Christian counterparts in their overall patterns of response to the surrounding challenges. They exhibit diverse levels of integration into the civic fabric of the cities of the Empire and display contrary attitudes towards the creation of trans-local communal networks. The variety of local case studies examined in this volume offers an integrated image of the multiple factors, both internal and external, which determined the role of communal identity in creating a sense of belonging among Jews and Christians under Imperial constraints.
Paul and the Rise of the Slave locates Paul’s description of himself as a “slave of Messiah Jesus” in the epistolary prescript of Paul’s Epistle to Rome within the conceptual world of those who experienced the social reality of slavery in the first century C.E. The Althusserian concept of
interpellation and the
Life of Aesop are employed throughout as theoretical frameworks to enhance how Paul offered positive ways for slaves to imagine an existence apart from Roman power. An exegesis of Romans 6:12-23 seeks to reclaim the earliest reception of Romans as prophetic discourse aimed at an anti-Imperial response among slaves and lower class readers.
The Origin and Meaning of Ekklēsia
in the Early Jesus Movement, Ralph J. Korner explores the ideological implications of Christ-follower associations self-designating collectively as
ekklēsiai. Politically, Korner’s inscriptional research suggests that an association named
ekklēsia would have been perceived as a positive, rather than as a counter-imperial, participant within Imperial Greek cities. Socio-religiously, Korner argues that there was no universal
ekklēsia to which all first generation Christ-followers belonged;
ekklēsia was a permanent group designation used by Paul’s associations. Ethno-religiously, Korner contends that
ekklēsia usage by
intra muros groups within pluriform Second Temple Judaism problematizes suggestions, not least at the institutional level, that Paul was “parting ways” with Judaism(s), ‘Jewishness’, or Jewish organizational forms.
Synagogues in the Works of Flavius Josephus, Andrew Krause analyses the place of the synagogue within the cultural and spatial rhetoric of Flavius Josephus. Engaging with both rhetorical critical methods and critical spatial theories, Krause argues that in his later writings Josephus portrays the Jewish institutions as an important aspect of the post-Temple, pan-diasporic Judaism that he creates. Specifically, Josephus consistently treats the synagogue as a supra-local rallying point for the Jews throughout the world, in which the Jewish customs and Law may be practiced and disseminated following the loss of the Temple and the Land. Conversely, in his earliest extant work,
Bellum judaicum, Josephus portrays synagogues as local temples in order to condemn the Jewish insurgents who violated them.
Private Associations and Jewish Communities in the Hellenistic and Roman Cities, Benedikt Eckhardt brings together a group of experts to investigate a problem of historical categorization. Traditionally, scholars have either presupposed that Jewish groups were “Greco-Roman Associations” like others or have treated them in isolation from other groups. Attempts to begin a cross-disciplinary dialogue about the presuppositions and ultimate aims of the respective approaches have shown that much preliminary work on categories is necessary. This book explores the methodological dividing lines, based on the common-sense assumption that different questions require different solutions. Re-introducing historical differentiation into a field that has been dominated by abstractions, it provides the debate with a new foundation. Case studies highlight the problems and advantages of different approaches.
Uncovering Jewish Creativity in Book III of the Sibylline oracles, Ashley L. Bacchi reclaims the importance of the Sibyl as a female voice of prophecy and reveals new layers of intertextual references that address political, cultural, and religious dialogue in second-century Ptolemaic Egypt. This investigation stands apart from prior examinations by reorienting the discussion around the desirability of the pseudonym to an issue of gender. It questions the impact of identifying the author’s message with a female prophetic figure and challenges the previous identification of paraphrased Greek oracles and their function within the text. Verses previously seen as anomalous are transferred from the role of Greek subterfuge of Jewish identity to offering nuanced support of monotheistic themes.