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Paul D. Mandel

In The Origins of Midrash : From Teaching to Text, Paul Mandel presents a comprehensive study of the words darash and midrash from the Bible until the early rabbinic periods (3rd century CE). In contrast to current understandings in which the words are identified with modes of analysis of the biblical text, Mandel claims that they refer to instruction in law and not to an interpretation of text.
Mandel traces the use of these words as they are associated with the scribe ( sofer), the doresh ha-torah in the Dead Sea scrolls, the “exegetes of the laws” in the writings of Josephus and the rabbinic “sage” ( ḥakham), showing the development of the uses of midrash as a form of instruction throughout these periods.

The Semantics of Glory

A Cognitive, Corpus-Based Approach to Hebrew Word Meaning

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Marilyn Burton

Despite its centrality in mainstream linguistics, cognitive semantics has only recently begun to establish a foothold in biblical studies, largely due to the challenges inherent in applying such a methodology to ancient languages. The Semantics of Glory addresses these challenges by offering a new, practical model for a cognitive semantic approach to Classical Hebrew, demonstrated through an exploration of the Hebrew semantic domain of glory. The concept of ‘glory’ is one of the most significant themes in the Hebrew Bible, lying at the heart of God’s self-disclosure in biblical revelation. This study provides the most comprehensive examination of the domain to date, mapping out its intricacies and providing a framework for its exegesis.

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Matthew A. Kraus

In Jewish, Christian, and Classical Exegetical Traditions in Jerome’s Translation of the Book of Exodus: Translation Technique and the Vulgate, Matthew Kraus offers a layered understanding of Jerome’s translation of biblical narrative, poetry, and law from Hebrew to Latin. Usually seen as a tool for textual criticism, when read as a work of literature, the Vulgate reflects a Late Antique conception of Hebrew grammar, critical use of Greek biblical traditions, rabbinic influence, Christian interpretation, and Classical style and motifs. Instead of typically treating the text of the Vulgate and Jerome himself separately, Matthew Kraus uncovers Late Antiquity in the many facets of the translator at work—grammarian, biblical exegete, Septuagint scholar, Christian intellectual, rabbinic correspondent, and devotee of Classical literature.

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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.

The Cross-Cultural Legacy

Critical and Creative Writings in Memory of Hena Maes-Jelinek

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Edited by Gordon Collier, Geoffrey V. Davis, Marc Delrez and Bénédicte Ledent

This volume pays tribute to the formidable legacy of Hena Maes–Jelinek (1929–2008), a pioneering postcolonial scholar who was a professor at the University of Liège, in Belgium. Along with a few moving and affectionate pieces retracing the life and career of this remarkable and deeply human intellectual figure, the collection contains poems, short fiction, and metafiction. The bulk of the book consists of contributions on various areas of postcolonial literature, including the work of Wilson Harris, the ground-breaking writer to whom Hena Maes–Jelinek devoted much of her career. Other writers treated include Ben Okri, Leone Ross, Kamau Brathwaite, Jamaica Kincaid, Peter Carey, Murray Bail, Patrick White, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Dan Jacobson, Joseph Conrad, and Eslanda Goode Robeson. Caryl Phillips revisits his earlier reflections on the ‘European tribe’. There are wide-ranging essays analysing consanguineous authors, on such topics as Caribbean treatments of the Jewish Diaspora, Swiss-Caribbean authors, the contemporary Australian short story and the Asian connection, and ‘habitation’ in Australian fiction, as well as a searching examination of the socio-political fallout from the scandal of Australia’s ‘Stolen Generations’.

Contributors are: Gordon Collier, Tim Cribb, Fred D'Aguiar, Geoffrey V. Davis, Jeanne Delbaere, Marc Delrez, Jean–Pierre Durix, Wilson Harris, Dominique Hecq, Marie Herbillon, Louis James, Karen King–Aribisala, Bénédicte Ledent, Christine Levecq, Alecia McKenzie, Carine Mardorossian, Peter H. Marsden, Alistair Niven, Annalisa Oboe, Britta Olinder, Christine Pagnoulle, Caryl Phillips, Lawrence Scott, Stephanos Stephanides, Klaus Stuckert, Peter O. Stummer, Petra Tournay–Theodotou, Daria Tunca, Cynthia vanden Driesen, Janet Wilson.

Septuagint, Sages, and Scripture

Studies in Honour of Johann Cook

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Edited by Randall X. Gauthier, Gideon Kotzé and Gert Steyn

The studies collected in this volume were written in honour of Johann Cook, emeritus professor of the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University. They cover a variety of subjects including the translation of Hebrew expressions into Greek, the reception of LXX texts in various contexts, topics related to wisdom and the LXX versions of sapiential literature, Ben Sira as a scribe of the Second Temple period, themes in the works of Philo and Josephus and the references to Sumkhos ben Joseph in rabbinic writings. The contributions therefore focus on the Septuagint, early Jewish sages and ancient scriptures. They present the results of original research, identify new lines and topics of inquiry and make novel contributions to existing insights.

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Edited by Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis and Vered Tohar

In Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception, the editors present a collection of essays that reveal both the many similarities and the poignant differences between ancient myths in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and modern secular culture and how these stories were incorporated and adapted over time. This rich multidisciplinary research demonstrates not only how stories in different religions and cultures are interesting in their own right, but also that the process of transformation in particular deserves scholarly interest. It is through the changes in the stories that the particular identity of each religion comes to the fore most strikingly.

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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Edited by J.T.A.G.M. van Ruiten and George van Kooten

Issues such as the immortality of the soul, the debate about matter versus life, and whether one was capable of knowing the outside world were all being extensively discussed in many religions and cultures in both East and West. The present volume addresses the concept of an immortal soul in a mortal body, and focuses on early Judaism and Christianity, where this issue is often related to the initial chapters of the book of Genesis. The papers are devoted to the interpretation of Gen 2:7 in relation to the broader issue of dualistic anthropology. They show that the dualism was questioned in different ways within the context of early Judaism and Christianity.

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Kurtis Peters

In Hebrew Lexical Semantics and Daily Life in Ancient Israel, Kurtis Peters hitches the world of Biblical Studies to that of modern linguistic research. Often the insights of linguistics do not appear in the study of Biblical Hebrew, and if they do, the theory remains esoteric.

Peters finds a way to maintain linguistic integrity and yet simplify cognitive linguistic methods to provide non-specialists an access point. By employing a cognitive approach one can coordinate the world of the biblical text with the world of its surroundings. The language of cooking affords such a possibility – Peters evaluates not only the words or lexemes related to cooking in the Hebrew Bible, but also the world of cooking as excavated by archaeology.