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The Religious Worldviews Reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 28–30 May, 2013

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Edited by Ruth A. Clements, Menahem Kister and Michael Segal

The Dead Sea Scrolls offer a window onto the rich theological landscape of Judaism in the Second Temple period. Through careful textual analysis, the authors of these twelve studies explore such topics as dualism and determinism, esoteric knowledge, eschatology and covenant, the nature of heaven and / or the divine, moral agency, and more; as well as connections between concepts expressed in the Qumran corpus and in later Jewish and Christian literature. The religious worldviews reflected in the Scrolls constitute part of the ideological environment of Second Temple Judaism; the analysis of these texts is essential for the reconstruction of that milieu. Taken together, these studies indicate the breadth and depth of theological reflection in the Second Temple period.

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Anthony Keddie

In Revelations of Ideology, G. Anthony Keddie proposes a new theory of the social function of Judaean apocalyptic texts produced in Early Roman Palestine (63 BCE–70 CE). In contrast to evaluations of Jewish and early Christian apocalyptic texts as “literature of the oppressed” or literature of resistance against empire, Keddie demonstrates that scribes produced apocalyptic texts to advance ideologies aimed at self-legitimation. By revealing that their opponents constituted an exploitative class, scribes generated apocalyptic ideologies that situated them in the same exploited class as their constituents. Through careful historical and ideological criticism of the Psalms of Solomon, Parables of Enoch, Testament of Moses, and Q source, Keddie identifies an internally diverse tradition of apocalyptic class rhetoric in late Second Temple Judaism.

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Matthew S. Goldstone

In The Dangerous Duty of Rebuke Matthew Goldstone explores the ways in which religious leaders within early Jewish and Christian communities conceived of the obligation to rebuke their fellows based upon the biblical verse: “Rebuke your fellow but do not incur sin” (Leviticus 19:17). Analyzing texts from the Bible through the Talmud and late Midrashim as well as early Christian monastic writings, he exposes a shift from asking how to rebuke in the Second Temple and early Christian period, to whether one can rebuke in early rabbinic texts, to whether one should rebuke in later rabbinic and monastic sources. Mapping these observations onto shifting sociological concerns, this work offers a new perspective on the nature of interpersonal responsibility in antiquity.

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk R. van den Kamp and Eric Peels

Since ancient times Leviathan and other monsters from the biblical world symbolize the life-threatening powers in nature and history. They represent the dark aspects of human nature and political entities and reveal the supernatural dimensions of evil. Ancient texts and pictures regarding these monsters reflect an environment of polytheism and religious pluralism. Remarkably, however, the biblical writings and post-biblical traditions use these venerated symbols in portraying God as being sovereign over the entire universe, a theme that is also prominent in the reception of these texts in subsequent contexts.
This volume explores this tension and elucidates the theological and cultural meaning of ‘Leviathan’ by studying its ancient Near Eastern background and its attestation in biblical texts, early and rabbinic Judaism, Christian theology, Early Modern art, and film.

The Scriptural Tale in the Fourth Gospel

With Particular Reference to the Prologue and a Syncretic (Oral and Written) Poetics

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Edward H. Gerber

A more nuanced view of the Fourth Gospel’s media nature suggests a new and promising paradigm for assessing expansive and embedded uses of scripture in this work. The majority of studies exploring the Fourth Evangelist’s use of scripture to date have approached the Fourth Gospel as the product of a highly gifted writer, who carefully interweaves various elements and figures from scripture into the canvas of his completed document. The present study attempts to calibrate a literary approach to the Fourth Gospel’s use of scripture with an appreciation for oral poetic influences, whereby an orally-situated composer’s use of traditional references and compositional strategy could be of one and the same piece. Most importantly, pre-formed story-patterns—thick with referential meaning—were used in the construction of new works. The present study makes the case that the Fourth Evangelist has patterned his story of Jesus after a retelling of the story of Adam & Israel in two interrelated ways: first in the prologue, and then in the body of the Gospel as a whole.

Sibyls, Scriptures, and Scrolls

John Collins at Seventy

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Edited by Joel Baden, Hindy Najman and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar

This volume, a tribute to John J. Collins by his friends, colleagues, and students, includes essays on the wide range of interests that have occupied John Collins’s distinguished career. Topics range from the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism and beyond into early Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. The contributions deal with issues of text and interpretation, history and historiography, philology and archaeology, and more. The breadth of the volume is matched only by the breadth of John Collins’s own work.

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Edited by Dan Batovici and Kristin de Troyer

Reception history has emerged over the last decades as a rapidly growing domain of research, entertaining a notable methodological diversity. Authoritative Texts and Reception History samples that diversity, offering a collection of essay that discuss various reception-historical issues, from a plurality of perspectives, across several fields: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament, early and late-antique Christianity. While furthering specific discussions in their specific fields, the contributions included here—authored by both established and emerging scholars—illustrate just how wide the umbrella of ‘reception history’ can be, and the varied range of topics, concerns and approaches it can accommodate.

The Language and Literature of the New Testament

Essays in Honor of Stanley E. Porter’s 60th Birthday

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Edited by Lois Fuller Dow, Craig A. Evans and Andrew W. Pitts

In The Language and Literature of the New Testament, a team of international scholars assembles to honour the academic career of New Testament scholar Stanley E. Porter. Over the years Porter has distinguished himself in a wide range of sub-disciplines within New Testament Studies. The contents of this book represent these diverse scholarly interests, ranging from canon and textual criticism to linguistics, other interpretive methodologies, Jesus and the Gospels, and Pauline studies.

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Jacobus Kok

In New Perspectives on Healing, Restoration and Reconciliation in John, Jacobus (Kobus) Kok investigates the depth and applicability of Jesus’ healing narratives in John’s gospel. Against the background of an ancient group-oriented worldview, it goes beyond the impasse of most Western approaches to interpreting the Biblical healing narratives to date.

He argues that the concept of healing was understood in antiquity (as in some parts of Africa) in a much broader way than we tend to understand it today. He shows inter alia why the interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman could be interpreted as a healing narrative, illustrating the ancient interrelationship between healing, restoration and reconciliation.

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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.