This article contains the unpublished Syriac text of the Story of the Dog Who Talked. Put down in writing by the West Syrian monk ʿAzīz bar Ṣlīḇā bar Bassūs in the year 1503, the Story is, arguably, the earliest datable specimen of the fairy tale genre of folklore attested in the Syriac language. The text of the Story, published on the basis of manuscript Mardin, Church of the Forty Martyrs, 350, is accompanied by an English translation and discussion.
Different from the general opinion that Pss 25–34 and 35–41 represent individual cycles of poems, this article argues that the concluding cycle of Book I of the Psalter starts with Ps 32. The cycle Pss 32–41 is determined by the beatitude אַשְׁרֵי, which opens Pss 32 and 41. The cycle as a whole consists of eleven poems and represents a poetic tryptich: with its 42 poetic lines the alphabetic acrostic Ps 37 takes a central position and is framed by panels of five poems on both sides.
Scholars agree that the book of Proverbs cannot be related to an actual performance context. Many identify literarily staged performance contexts and, therefore, speech performances in the book. The idea of an actual performance context is dismissed on the ground that no oral-performance setting can be reconstructed for any part of Proverbs. In this article, I suggest that cognitive research into how humans process language fills theoretical lacunae in approaches that limit performance context and speech performance to ancient oral settings. I propose conceptual models of performance context and speech performance that account for interpretations common among scholars that Proverbs was produced to influence readers, in spite of our inability to reconstruct ancient oral performance settings. In sum, I suggest that the communicative (if asynchronous) interaction between producers and readers (ancient to modern) can be seen as the actual (if composite and entirely cognitive) performance context of the book.
In recent years an increasing scepticism has arisen concerning the Deuteronomistic character of the Book of the Four (Hos, Amos, Mic, Zeph). Many themes and motifs have been regarded as “inspired” by or “oriented” towards the Deut and DtrH, but not exclusively Dtr. redaction. Hosea 1*, the beginning of the composition, however, has been neglected in this respect. Unlike 2 Kgs 9–10, which reflects a positive view of Jehu’s fulfilment of Yhwh’s command at Jezreel, Hos 1 condemns him for the bloodguilt at the same place. The discrepancy is often explained through different theological backgrounds. In contrast, this article shows that both thematically (the end of the Jehuites) and in terms of phraseology (“harlotry,” idioms with the noun “blood,” “bow,” symbolic use of the verb “lift up,” nouns belonging to the semantic field of riding), there is a close literary connection between Hos 1* and 2 Kgs 9–10. Thus, for good reasons Hos 1* can be considered Dtr.
This article examines whether Chronicles was influenced by Ezek 40–48—i.e., whether the book contains material not found in P or developed therefrom. To this end, it investigates the basis on which the Chronicler distinguishes priests from Levites, identifies those he deems responsible for guarding the Temple, elucidates his view of the Temple’s sanctity, and discusses whether he draws on one or several sources.
The meaning of מעדנת in 1 Sam 15:32 is disputed, variously being translated “trembling,” “in chains,” or “cheerfully.” Based on linguistic and contextual evidence, I argue that it is best translated “luxuriantly” or “well-fatted,” and depicts Agag like a fattened animal going to slaughter.
According to Dan 11:45, the king of the north, recognizably Antiochus IV, dies in the area of Judea, bringing an end to his kingdom. The book of Daniel thus provides a unique, although historically inaccurate, perspective on the downfall of the Seleucid Empire. In this article I show that this account uses two Danielic kings—Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar—as models for Antiochus’s actions and thus exposes a literary pattern used to portray the king’s end. I argue that doing so, Dan 11 is more interested in reflecting on kingship in Judea in the post-Seleucid period than conveying historical information. Finally, I explore the implications of this reading on our understanding of Daniel’s historical settings.
This paper seeks to examine the relations between the singular provision on seduction of an unbetrothed girl in the Book of the Covenant and the sequence of provisions regarding illicit intercourse in Deut 22, which reach their peak with the provision on rape of an unbetrothed girl. It will suggest that an examination of the two passages and their various literary and legal contexts, along with a study of similar provisions in the ancient Near Eastern law collections and adherence to the legal logic guiding their articulation, should bring to the conclusion that the provision in the Book of the Covenant is later than, and dependent upon, the sequence of provisions in Deuteronomy, and is intended to complement it. This interpretive decision supports Van Seters’ view of the relationship between the Book of the Covenant and the Deuteronomic legislation.
This article examines performance as part of the prophetic and revelatory in ancient Jewish literature. The body of the article centres on the so-called “prophetic actions” within the biblical corpus. Scholarship’s use of this category has highlighted nonverbal performance as a part of prophecy but raises questions regarding the efficacy of these varied actions as well as their distinction from written or spoken prophecy. Here I reapply J.L. Austin’s speech act theory to further examine their function. Isaiah 20:1–6 and Jeremiah 51:59–64, my central case studies, demonstrate not only the variety among these performances but also how interwoven they are with prophetic biography, writing, and speech. Exploring such phenomena through this more flexible lens further illuminates the continued significance of performance and prophecy in the Second Temple period, which the article demonstrates using 11QPsalmsa and the Exagoge of Ezekiel.