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  • Philosophy, Theology & Science x

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Edited by Gerrit Bos and Michael McVaugh

The short Latin treatise De curis puerorum is the translation of a lost Arabic original attributed (perhaps mistakenly) to the famous al-Rāzī (Rhazes); one of the rare texts on pediatrics circulating in the Middle Ages, it was so popular that it was soon re-translated into Hebrew, not once but three times! Gerrit Bos and Michael McVaugh have edited the Latin and Hebrew texts, accompanying them with an English translation and a full commentary situating the original Arabic against the medical writings available to tenth-century Islam. The contents of the work range remarkably widely, covering skin diseases, eye and ear infections, teething, vomiting and diarrhea, constipation, worms, and bladder stones, among other things, outlining their causes, symptoms, and possible treatments.

Abraham Bar Hiyya on Time, History, Exile and Redemption

An Analysis of Megillat ha-Megalleh

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Hannu Töyrylä

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.

Zodiac Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Their Reception

Ancient Astronomy and Astrology in Early Judaism

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Helen R. Jacobus

The ancient mathematical basis of the Aramaic calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls is analysed in this investigation. Helen R. Jacobus re-examines an Aramaic zodiac calendar with a thunder divination text (4Q318) and the calendar from the Aramaic Astronomical Book (4Q208 - 4Q209), all from Qumran. Jacobus demonstrates that 4Q318 is an ancestor of the Jewish calendar today and that it helps us to understand 4Q208 - 4Q209. She argues that these calendars were taught in antiquity as angelic knowledge described in 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. The study also encompasses Babylonian, Hellenistic, Byzantine astronomy and astrology, and classical and Jewish writings. Finally, a medieval Hebrew zodiac calendar related to 4Q318 with an astrological text is published here for the first time.

The Beginning of the World in Renaissance Jewish Thought

Ma’aseh Bereshit in Italian Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah, 1492-1535

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Brian Ogren

In The Beginning of the World in Renaissance Jewish Thought, Brian Ogren offers a deep analysis of late fifteenth century Italian Jewish thought concerning the creation of the world and the beginning of time. Ogren’s book is the very first to seriously juxtapose the thought of the great Jewish thinker Yohanan Alemanno, Alemanno’s famed Christian interlocutor, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the important Iberian exegete active in Italy, Isaac Abravanel, and Abravanel’s renowned philosopher son Judah, known as Leone Ebreo. By bringing these thinkers together, this book presents a new understanding of early modern uses of Jewish texts and hermeneutics. Ogren successfully demonstrates that the syntheses of philosophy and Kabbalah carried out by these four intellectuals in their quests to understand the beginning itself marked a new beginning in
Western thought, characterized by simultaneous continuity and rupture.

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Edited by Alan Avery-Peck, Craig A. Evans and Jacob Neusner

Twenty-two essays, written by top scholars in the fields of early Christianity and Judaism, focus on methodological issues, earliest Christianity in its Judaic setting, Gospel studies, and history and meaning in later Christianity. These essays honor Bruce Chilton, recognizing his seminal contribution to the study of earliest Christianity in its Judaic setting. Chilton’s scholarship has established innovative approaches to reconstructing the life of Jesus, a Jew whose religious ideology developed and therefore must be understood within the Judaism of the first centuries. Following upon Chilton’s approaches and insights, the essays collected here illustrate the centrality of the literatures of early Judaism to the critical exegesis of the New Testament and other writings of early Christianity.

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Edited by Gabriella Gelardini and Harold Attridge

Scholars of Hebrews have repeatedly echoed the almost proverbial saying that the book appears to its reader as a "Melchizedekian being without genealogy". For such scholars the aphorism identified prominent traits of Hebrews, its enigma, its otherness, its marginality. Although Franz Overbeck might unintentionally have stimulated such correlations, they do not represent what his dictum originally meant. Writing during the high noon of historicism in 1880, Overbeck lamented a lack of historical context, one that he had deduced on the basis of flawed presuppositions of the ideological frameworks prevalent of his time. His assertion made an impact, and consequently Hebrews was not only "othered" within New Testament scholarship, its context was neglected and by some, even judged as irrelevant altogether. Understandably, the neglect created a deficit keenly felt by more recent scholarship, which has developed a particular interest in Hebrews’ contexts. Hebrews in Contexts, edited by Gabriella Gelardini and Harold W. Attridge, is an expression of this interest. It gathers authors who explore extensively on Hebrews’ relations to other early traditions and texts (Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman) in order to map Hebrews’ historical, cultural, and religious identity in greater, and perhaps surprising detail.

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Walter Homolka

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.

The Proselyte and the Prophet

Character Development in Targum Ruth

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Chr.M.M. Brady

The Proselyte and the Prophet: Character Development in Targum Ruth by Christian M. M. Brady is an exegetical study of Targum Ruth with a focus upon the transformation of the biblical characters into exemplars of rabbinic piety. Ruth becomes the ideal proselyte while Boaz is presented as a judge, a scholar of the Law, and a prophet. Brady demonstrates that the Targumist follows standard Targumic practice, rendering each Hebrew word of the biblical text into Aramaic, while making additions that further his agenda of presenting Ruth as a rabbinic model to be emulated.

In addition to the character analysis Brady provides a transcription of the manuscript Valmadonna 1, a new translation into English, and a verse-by-verse commentary of Targum Ruth.

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Katharina E. Keim

In Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer: Structure, Coherence, Intertextuality Katharina E. Keim offers a description of the literary character of Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer, an enigmatic work of the late-eighth-to-early-ninth centuries CE. Katharina E. Keim explores the work’s distinctive literary features through an analysis of its structure and coherence. These literary features, when taken together with the work’s intertextual relationships with antecedent and contemporaneous Christian and Jewish (rabbinic and non-rabbinic) texts, reveal Pirqei deRabbi Eliezer to be an innovative work, and throw light on a new turn in Jewish literature following the rise of Islam.

Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

Studies in Honour of Philip S. Alexander

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Edited by George J. Brooke and Renate Smithuis

In Jewish Education from Antiquity to the Middle Ages fifteen scholars offer specialist studies on Jewish education from the areas of their expertise. This tightly themed volume in honour of Philip S. Alexander has some essays that look at individual manuscripts, some that consider larger literary corpora, and some that are more thematically organised.

Jewish education has been addressed largely as a matter of the study house, the bet midrash. Here a richer range of texts and themes discloses a wide variety of activity in several spheres of Jewish life. In addition, some notable non-Jewish sources provide a wider context for the discourse than is often the case.