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Volume Editors: Gregory R. Lanier and J. Nicholas Reid
Studies on the Intersection of Text, Paratext, and Reception brings together thirteen contributions from leading scholars in the fields of textual criticism, manuscript/paratextual research, and reception history. These fields have tended to operate in isolation, but recent years have seen a rise in valuable research being done at their multiple points of intersection. The contributors to this volume show the potential of such crossover work through, for example, exploring how paratextual features of papyri and minuscules give insight into their text; probing how scribal behaviors illumine textual transmission/restoration, and examining how colometry, inner-biblical references, and early church reading cultures may contribute to understanding canon formation. These essays reflect the contours of the scholarship of Dr. Charles E. Hill, to whom the volume is dedicated.
The Rhetoric of Ritual Failure in the Polemic Against the Host of Heaven
Author: Cat Quine
In Casting Down the Host of Heaven Cat Quine analyses the ambiguous nature of the Host and explores the role of ritual in the polemic against their worship. Although commonly assumed to be YHWH’s divine army, the book reveals their non-military and fluid nature. Quine demonstrates that it was the fluidity of the Host and their roles in the divine realm that permitted the creation of wide-ranging polemic against their worship. Her analysis shows that this polemic was expressed in ritual terms which persuaded its audiences, both ancient and modern, of its legitimacy and authority.
Author: Thomas E. Hunt
In Jerome of Stridon and the Ethics of Literary Production in Late Antiquity Thomas E. Hunt argues that Jerome developed a consistent theology of language and the human body that inflected all of his writing projects. In doing so, the book challenges and recasts the way that this important figure in Late Antiquity has been understood. This study maps the first seven years of Jerome’s time in Bethlehem (386–393). Treating his commentaries on Paul, his hagiography, his controversy with Jovinian, his correspondence with Augustine, and his translation of Hebrew, the book shows Jerome to be immersed in the exciting and dangerous currents moving through late antique Christianity.
Engaging the Hebrew Bible in Early Judaism and Christianity
Ancient Readers and their Scriptures explores the various ways that ancient Jewish and Christian writers engaged with and interpreted the Hebrew Bible in antiquity, focusing on physical mechanics of rewriting and reuse, modes of allusion and quotation, texts and text forms, text collecting, and the development of interpretative traditions.
Contributions examine the use of the Hebrew Bible and its early versions in a variety of ancient corpora, including the Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament, and Rabbinic works, analysing the vast array of textual permutations that define ancient engagement with Jewish scripture. This volume argues that the processes of reading and cognition, influenced by the physical and intellectual contexts of interpretation, are central aspects of ancient biblical interpretation that are underappreciated in current scholarship.
For some time scholars have debated whether the Song of Songs has connections to the wisdom genre and how this changes our understanding of it. In Wise and Foolish Love in the Song of Songs, Jennifer Andruska shows that the influence of the wisdom genre on the Song is pervasive, running throughout the book, and offers an entirely new understanding of the book’s wisdom message. She demonstrates that the Song has combined elements of the ancient Near Eastern love song and wisdom genres to produce a wisdom literature about romantic love, inspiring readers to pursue a particular type of love relationship, modelled by the lovers throughout the poem, and aiming to transform them, through character formation, into wise lovers themselves.
Jewish Experiences with Water in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt
In Waters of the Exodus, Nathalie LaCoste examines the Diasporic Jewish community in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and their relationship to the hydric environment. By focusing on four retellings of the exodus narrative composed by Egyptian Jews—Artapanus, Ezekiel the Tragedian, Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria—she lays out how the hydric environment of Egypt, and specifically the Nile river, shaped the transmission of the exodus story. Mapping these observations onto the physical landscape of Egypt provides a new perspective on the formation of Jewish communities in Egypt.
Author: Ian Wilson
This essay offers an introduction to select disciplinary developments in the study of history and in historical study of the Hebrew Bible. It focuses first and foremost on “cultural history,” a broad category defined by nineteenth- and twentieth-century developments in anthropology and sociology, literary theory and linguistics, and other fields of study. The first part of the essay comments on developments since the so-called “linguistic turn,” highlighting some key works on culture, narrative, and memory, in order to establish a contemporary historical approach to biblical studies. It then turns to questions of the Hebrew Bible’s usefulness for historical study, and highlights studies of King David and the Davidic polity in ancient Israel/Judah, to show how scholars of the Bible have done historical work in recent years. And finally, it provides a case study of the book of Joshua, demonstrating how historians can utilize biblical texts as sources for cultural history.
A Dialogue on the Ambiguity of Divine Presence and Absence
Author: Brittany Melton
In Where is God in the Megilloth? Brittany N. Melton constructs a dialogue among Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs centred on this question, in an effort to settle the debate about whether God is present or absent in these books. Their juxtaposition in the Hebrew Bible highlights their shared theme of apparent divine absence, but, paradoxically, traces of God’s presence are unearthed as well.
By examining various aspects of this theme, including the literary absence of God, divine abandonment, God-talk, allusive language, God’s providence, and divine silence, it becomes clear that the ambiguity of divine presence and absence in the Megilloth presents a significant challenge to current conceptualizations of divine presence and absence in the Hebrew Bible.
A Re-Assessment of the Influence of Deuteronomism in Genesis
Author: Megan Warner
In Re-Imagining Abraham: A Re-Assessment of the Influence of Deuteronomism in Genesis Megan Warner revisits the tradition that Genesis was edited by editors sympathetic to the theology of the Deuteronomist. On the basis of close, contextual readings of the four passages most commonly attributed to (semi-)Deuteronomistic hands, Warner argues that editorial use of Deuteronomistic language and themes points not to a sympathy with Deuteronomistic theology but rather to a sustained project to review and even subvert that theology. Warner’s ‘re-imagining’ of Abraham demonstrates how Israel’s forebear was ‘re-imagined’ in the post-exilic context for the purpose of offering the returning exiles a way forward at a time when all the old certainties, and even continued relationship with Yahweh, seemed lost.
In Interpreting Quoted Speech, Samuel Hildebrandt analyzes the literary phenomenon of one speaker quoting the words of another speaker within prophetic discourse. Challenging approaches that categorize these speech quotations and use them as direct windows into Israel’s past, Hildebrandt makes a compelling case for reading quoted speech in its literary context. He presents a substantial method for such an interpretive approach, demonstrates its value in a detailed analysis of Jeremiah 2.1-3.5, and highlights the significance of quoted phrases in Jeremiah and other prophetic texts. Interpreting Quoted Speech marks an important contribution to the exploration of Jeremiah’s discourse and polyphony and, due to its accessible methodology and exegesis, offers a model for further research in prophetic literature.