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Author: Daniel Schumann
In Gelübde im antiken Judentum und frühesten Christentum stellt Daniel Schumann auf breiter Quellenbasis die Diskurse zum „Gelübdewesen“ dar, wie sie sich in antik-jüdischen und frühchristlichen Quellen aus der Zeit des Zweiten Tempels schriftlich niedergeschlagen haben. Er zeigt dabei auf, wie Judentum und Christentum seit der Spätantike durch die Rezeption dieser Diskurse in ihrer Religionspraxis an antiken Formen des Gelübdewesen partizipierten und dieses auch weiterentwickelten. Ferner legt er offen, wie sich in jüdischer wie auch christlicher Wahrnehmung Stimmen der Wertschätzung aber auch der Reserviertheit durch die Jahrhunderte hindurch aneinanderreihen; handelt es sich doch beim Gelübdewesen um eine kultpraktische Übung, bei der Heil und Unheil so nah beieinander zu liegen scheinen wie wohl sonst bei kaum einer anderen frömmigkeitlichen Handlung.

In Gelübde im antiken Judentum und frühesten Christentum Daniel Schumann aims to trace the earliest discourses on vows, as they are recorded in ancient Jewish and early Christian sources from the time of the Second Temple. He also shows how Judaism and Christianity have participated in ancient forms of vow-making since late antiquity and how they also have developed these discourses further. By presenting these discourses on the basis of a broad range of sources, he reveals how in Jewish as well as in Christian perception, voices of esteem but also of reservation have been raised throughout the centuries. After all, vows are a cult-practical exercise in which well-being and disaster are in closer proximity than in most other acts of devotion.
Volume Editors: Andrew Perrin and Loren T. Stuckenbruck
The four kingdoms motif enabled writers of various cultures, times, and places, to periodize history as the staged succession of empires barrelling towards an utopian age. The motif provided order to lived experiences under empire (the present), in view of ancestral traditions and cultural heritage (the past), and inspired outlooks assuring hope, deliverance, and restoration (the future). Four Kingdom Motifs before and beyond the Book of Daniel includes thirteen essays that explore the reach and redeployment of the motif in classical and ancient Near Eastern writings, Jewish and Christian scriptures, texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, depictions in European architecture and cartography, as well as patristic, rabbinic, Islamic, and African writings from antiquity through the Mediaeval eras.
On the Contemplative Life is known for its depiction of a philosophical group of Jewish men and women known as the ‘Therapeutae’. Yet the reasons for their depiction have been little understood. In the first commentary on the treatise in English for over 100 years, the social, cultural and political background of the times in which Philo lived are shown to be crucial in understanding Philo’s purposes. As Alexandrian Jews were vilified and attacked, Philo went to Rome to present the case for his community, faced with intense opposition. Side-stepping direct confrontation, Philo here cleverly presents the Therapeutae as the pinnacle of excellence, most especially in their communal meal, while ridiculing his accusers in a stinging parody of a festive banquet.
Volume Editor: Antti Laato
The aim of The Challenge of the Mosaic Torah in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is to address the theological issues arising when different ancient religious groups inside three Abrahamic religions attempted to understand or define their opinion on the Mosaic Torah. Twelve articles explore various instances of accepting, modifying, ignoring, criticizing, and vilifying the Mosaic Torah. They demonstrate a range of perspectives of ways in which the Mosaic Torah has formed a challenge. These challenges include Persian religious policy (when the Mosaic Torah was formed), intra-Jewish discussions (e.g. Samaritans), religious practices (the New Testament debates of ritual laws) and interreligious debates on validity of the Torah stipulations (with Christians and Muslims). All the papers were discussed at the international conference, “The Challenge of the Mosaic Torah in Judaism, Christianity and Islam”, organized by Åbo Akademi University and held in Karkku, Finland, 17-18 August, 2017 .
In Israel in Egypt scholars in different fields explore what can be known of the experiences of the many and varied Jewish communities in Egypt, from biblical sources to the medieval world. For generations of Jews from antiquity to the medieval period, the land of Egypt represented both a place of danger to their communal religious identity and also a haven with opportunities for prosperity and growth. A volume of collected essays from scholars in fields ranging from biblical studies and classics to papyrology and archaeology, Israel in Egypt explores what can be known of the experiences of the many and varied Jewish communities in Egypt, from biblical sources to the medieval world.
On the Life of Abraham displays Philo’s philosophical, exegetical, and literary genius at its best. Philo begins by introducing the biblical figures Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as unwritten laws. Then, interweaving literal, ethical, and allegorical interpretations, Philo presents the life and achievements of Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation, in the form of a Greco-Roman bios, or biography. Ellen Birnbaum and John Dillon explain why and how this work is important within the context of Philo’s own oeuvre, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, and ancient philosophy. They also offer a new English translation and detailed analyses, in which they elucidate the meaning of Philo’s thought, including his perplexing notion that Israel’s ancestors were laws in themselves.
Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments: A New Interpretive Approach elucidates the unique characteristics of Talmudic discourse culture. Approaching Talmudic literature from a linguistic perspective, the book shows the extensive and hidden ways in which later rabbis used early formulations. Applying Quentin Skinner's interpretive question “What was the author doing in composing the text in this particular way?" to Talmudic literature reveals that Talmudic debate is not only about ideas, concepts and laws but also about the latter's connection to pre-existing formulations. These early traditions, rather than only being accepted or not, are used by later generations to build their own arguments. The book articulates the function of tradition at the time that Rabbinic Judaism was forged.
Volume Editors: René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati
This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.
Volume Editor: Matthew V. Novenson
In Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Matthew V. Novenson brings together thirteen state-of-the-art essays by leading scholars on the various ways ancient Jewish, Christian, and classical writers conceive of God, Christ, Wisdom, the demiurge, angels, foreign gods, and other divine beings. In particular, the book revisits the “early high Christology” debates of the 1990s, identifying the lasting contributions thereof as well as the lingering difficulties and new, emerging questions from the last thirty years of research. The essays in this book probe the much-touted but under-theorized distinctions between monotheism and polytheism, Judaism and Hellenism, Christianity and paganism. They show how what we call monotheism and Christology fit within the Greco-Roman world of which they are part.
Volume Editors: Jacques van Ruiten and Koert van Bekkum
In Violence in the Hebrew Bible scholars reflect on texts of violence in the Hebrew Bible, as well as their often problematic reception history. Authoritative texts and traditions can be rewritten and adapted to new circumstances and insights. Texts are subject to a process of change. The study of the ways in which these (authoritative) biblical texts are produced and/or received in various socio-historical circumstances discloses a range of theological and ideological perspectives. In reflecting on these issues, the central question is how to allow for a given text’s plurality of possible and realised meanings while also retaining the ability to form critical judgments regarding biblical exegesis. This volume highlight that violence in particular is a fruitful area to explore this tension.