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Edited by Tom Holmén and Stanley E. Porter

A hundred years after A. Schweitzer's Von Reimarus zu Wrede, the study of the historical Jesus is again experiencing a renaissance. Ongoing since the beginning of the 1980's, this renaissance has produced an abundance of Jesus studies that also display a welcome diversity of methods, approaches and hypotheses. The Handbook of the Study of the Historical Jesus is designed to handle this diversity and abundance. Drawing from first-class scholarship throughout the world, the four large volumes of the Handbook offer a unique assembly of leading experts presenting their approaches to the historical Jesus, as well as a thought-out compilation of original studies on a large variety of topics pertaining to Jesus research and adjacent areas.

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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.

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Harvey E. Goldberg

Interchange between anthropology and biblical scholarship began because of perceived similarities between “simpler” societies and practices appearing in the Hebrew Bible. After some disengagement when anthropologists turned mainly to ethnographic fieldwork, new cross-disciplinary possibilities opened up when structuralism emerged in anthropology. Ritual and mythology were major topics receiving attention, and some biblical scholars partially adopted structuralist methods. In addition, anthropological research extended to complex societies and also had an impact upon historical studies. Modes of interpretation developed that reflected holistic perspectives along with a sensibility to ethnographic detail. This essay illustrates these trends in regard to rituals and to notions of purity in the Hebrew Bible, as well as to the place of literacy in Israelite society and culture. After discussing these themes, three examples of structuralist-inspired analysis are presented which in different ways take into account historical and literacy-based facets of the Bible.

A Dialogue between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke

Chinese Homecoming and the Relationship with Jesus Christ

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Xiaoli Yang

In A Dialogue between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke Xiaoli Yang offers a conversation between the Chinese soul-searching found in Haizi’s (1964–1989) poetry and the gospel of Jesus Christ through Luke’s testimony. It creates a unique contextual poetic lens that appreciates a generation of the Chinese homecoming journey through Haizi’s poetry, and explores its relationship with Jesus Christ. As the dialogical journey, it names four stages of homecoming—roots, vision, journey and arrival. By taking an interdisciplinary approach—literary study, inter-cultural dialogue and comparative theology, Xiaoli Yang convincingly demonstrates that the common language between the poet Haizi and the Lukan Jesus provides a crucial and rich source of data for an ongoing table conversation between culture and faith.

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Steed Vernyl Davidson

Examining the legacies of European imperialism, Steed Vernyl Davidson traces how the Bible reflects strong affinities with empire and provides on-going justifications for empire and concentrations of power. Writing/Reading the Bible in Postcolonial Perspective traces the evolution of the Bible from its production in empires of antiquity to its supportive role in the development of modern imperialism. The work also engages the ambiguities of the Bible as anti-imperial tool. Set within an examination of postcolonial studies as a revolutionary and revisionary discourse, this work presses for a more vigorous postcolonializing of the Bible in Biblical Studies. A description of the contemporary features and manifestation of empire forms the context within which further exploration of postcolonial biblical critical work can take place. Following an assessment of previous work in the field, the challenges of intersectional work with queer studies, terrorism studies, technology, and ecological studies are laid out as future tasks

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Jennifer L. Koosed

This work provides a brief introduction to feminist interpretation of scripture. Feminist interpretation is first grounded in feminism as an intellectual and political movement. Next, this introduction briefly recounts the origins of feminist readings of the Bible with attention to both early readings and the beginnings of feminist biblical scholarship in the academy. Feminist biblical scholarship is not a single methodology, but rather an approach that can shape any reading method. As a discipline, it began with literary-critical readings (especially of the Hebrew Bible) but soon also broached questions of women’s history (especially in the New Testament and Christian origins). Since these first forays, feminist interpretation has influenced almost every type of biblical scholarship. The third section of this essay, then, looks at gender archaeology, feminist poststructuralism and postcolonial readings, and newer approaches informed by gender and queer theory. Finally, it ends by examining feminist readings of Eve.

Confronting Orientalism

A Self-Study of Educating through Hindu Dance

Edited by Sabrina D. MisirHiralall

The author aims to use Kuchipudi Indian classical Hindu dance to educate non-Hindus about Hinduism with postcolonialism in mind. This goal arises from her dance experiences and the historical era of imperialism. Colonization occurs when those in power believe there is a need to dominate in a manner that subjugates people. Colonizers created colonies as they moved into territory because they felt there was a need to “civilize” the so-called savages of the land. Postcolonialism is an intellectual discourse that confronts the legacy of colonialism and attempts to de-colonize. With the legacy of colonialism and a postcolonial lens in mind, some research questions arise. How does she, as a Kuchipudi dancer, use Hindu dance to educate non-Hindus about the Eastern literature of Hinduism? For non-Hindus, she feels the power of the exoticizing gaze when she dances, which might very well block the educational intention of the dance. This exoticizing gaze prevents the understanding of the traditional nature of the dance and the introduction to Hinduism as a world religion. The author’s problem is moving the exotic gaze of non-Hindus to an educational gaze that seeks to learn about the ethics of Hinduism in a manner that takes into consideration the multiple perspectives of the complex society we live in today.

“In short, MisirHiralall’s research highlights the role of contemplation and critical-self reflection in creating opportunities for true intercultural relations that respect the epistemologies of traditionally marginalized and stigmatized non-Western religions and cultures. This is essential theoretical and practical research for a multicultural society that is grounded in first-person, lived experience.” – Tyson E. Lewis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art Education, University of North Texas

“Most impressive is that MisirHiralall is walking her talk through a thoughtful and lyrical self-study that is situated in the in-between: between the mind and body, the gaze of the Other and the self, the Eastern and Western worlds, and the fields of dance, religion, philosophy, cultural studies, and teacher education.” – Monica Taylor, Ph.D., Professor and Deputy Chair of the Department of Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University

“In MisirHiralall’s Confronting Orientalism, the reader is gifted with a rare glimpse into a philosopher-educator’s wrestling with her teaching through the medium of Hindu dance …. All who think seriously about the context and impact of their teaching in connection with their core values can benefit from reading of this book.” – Michael D. Waggoner, Ph.D., Professor of Postsecondary Education, University of Northern Iowa, Editor of Religion & Education

The Sense of Quoting

A Semiotic Case Study of Biblical Quotations

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David W. Odell-Scott

In The Sense of Quoting, Odell-Scott argues that the neutral continuous script of ancient manuscripts of the Greek New Testament composed with no punctuation and no spacing provided readers discretionary authority to determine and assess the status of phrases as they articulate a cohesive and coherent reading of the script. The variety of reading renditions each differently scored with punctuation supported the production of quotations. These cultivated and harvested quotes while useful for authorizing sectarian discourse, rarely convey the sense of the phrase in the continuous script. Augustine’s work on punctuating the scriptures in service to the production of plainer quotable passages in support of the rule of faith is addressed. Odell-Scott’s textual analysis of a plainer quotable passage at verse 7:1b concerning male celibacy supports his thesis that plainer passages are the product of interpretative scoring of the script in service to discursive endeavours. To quote is often to misquote.

The Bible in Aramaic, Vol. 2 

Based on Old Manuscripts and Printed Texts. Vols IVa-IVb

Edited by Alexander Sperber

In 1924, Professor Sperber graduated from Bonn University with a dissertation on "Das Propheten-Targum in seinem Verhältnis zum masoretischen Text". He was then invited to prepare a critical edition of the Targum. Thus Professor Sperber began an immense task.
The Bible in Aramaic is the fruit of more than forty years of study, during which he made innumerable trips to various countries in order to visit libraries and examine manuscripts. The first part of the Bible in Aramaic appeared in 1959. Needless to say that this work is indispensable for students of the Old Testament. Let the reviews that have accumulated over the years speak for themselves.

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David C. Bellusci

Amor Dei, “love of God” raises three questions: How do we know God is love? How do we experience love of God? How free are we to love God? This book presents three kinds of love, worldly, spiritual, and divine to understand God’s love. The work begins with Augustine’s Confessions highlighting his Manichean and Neoplatonic periods before his conversion to Christianity. Augustine’s confrontation with Pelagius anticipates the unresolved disputes concerning God’s love and free will. In the sixteenth-century the Italian humanist, Gasparo Contarini introduces the notion of “divine amplitude” to demonstrate how God’s goodness is manifested in the human agent. Pierre de Bérulle, Guillaume Gibieuf, and Nicolas Malebranche show connections with Contarini in the seventeenth-century controversies relating free will and divine love. In response to the free will dispute, the Scottish philosopher, William Chalmers, offers his solution. Cornelius Jansen relentlessly asserts his anti-Pelagian interpretation of Augustine stirring up more controversy. John Norris, Malebranche’s English disciple, exchanges his views with Mary Astell and Damaris Masham. In the tradition of Cambridge Platonism, Ralph Cudworth conveys a God who “sweetly governs.” The organization of sections represents the love of God in ascending-descending movements demonstrating that, “human love is inseparable from divine love.”