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Cushites in the Hebrew Bible

Negotiating Ethnic Identity in the Past and Present

Series:

Kevin Burrell

Cushites in the Hebrew Bible offers a reassessment of Cushite ethnographic representations in the biblical literature as a counterpoint to misconceptions about Africa and people of African descent which are largely a feature of the modern age.

Whereas current interpretations have tended to emphasize unfavourable portraits of the people biblical writers called Cushites, Kevin Burrell illuminates the biblical perspective through a comparative assessment of ancient and modern forms of identity construction. Past and present modes of defining difference betray both similarities and differences to ethnic representations in the Hebrew Bible, providing important contexts for understanding the biblical view. This book contributes to a clearer understanding of the theological, historical, and ethnic dynamics underpinning representations of Cushites in the Hebrew Bible.

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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.

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Sonja Noll

In The Semantics of Silence in Biblical Hebrew, Sonja Noll explores the many words in biblical Hebrew that refer to being silent, investigating how they are used in biblical texts, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Ben Sira. She also examines the tradition of interpretation for these words in the early versions (Septuagint, Vulgate, Targum, Peshitta), modern translations, and standard dictionaries, revealing that meanings are not always straightforward and that additional work is needed in biblical semantics and lexicography. The traditional approach to comparative Semitics, with its over-simplistic assumption of semantic equivalence in cognates, is also challenged. The surprising conclusion of the work is that there is no single concept of silence in the biblical world; rather, it spans multiple semantic fields.

Separating Abram and Lot

The Narrative Role and Early Reception of Genesis 13

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Dan Rickett

In Separating Abram and Lot: The Narrative Role and Early Reception of Genesis 13, Dan Rickett presents a fresh analysis of two of Genesis’ most important characters. Many have understood Lot as Abram’s potential heir and as an ethical contrast to him. Here, Rickett explores whether these readings best reflect the focus of the story. In particular, he considers the origin of these readings and how a study of the early Jewish and Christian reception of Genesis 13 might help identify that origin. In turn, due attention is given to the overall purpose of Genesis 13, as well as how Lot and his function in the text should be understood.

Septuagint, Targum and Beyond

Comparing Aramaic and Greek Versions from Jewish Antiquity

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Edited by David James Shepherd, Jan Joosten and Michaël van der Meer

In Septuagint, Targum and Beyond leading experts in the fields of biblical textual criticism and reception history explore the relationship between the two major Jewish translation traditions of the Hebrew Bible. In comparing these Greek and Aramaic versions from Jewish antiquity the essays collected here not only tackle the questions of mutual influence and common exegetical traditions, but also move beyond questions of direct dependence, applying insights from modern translation studies and comparing corpora beyond the Old Greek and Targum, including, for instance, Greek and Aramaic translations found at Qumran, the Samareitikon, and later Greek versions.

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Leoor Gottlieb

Targum Chronicles and Its Place Among the Late Targums heralds a paradigm shift in the understanding of many of the Jewish-Aramaic translations of individual biblical books and their origins. Leeor Gottlieb provides the most extensive study of Targum Chronicles to date, leading to conclusions that challenge long-accepted truisms with regard to the origin of Targums. This book’s trail of evidence convincingly points to the composition of Targums in a time and place that was heretofore not expected to be the provenance of these Aramaic gems of biblical interpretation. This study also offers detailed comparisons to other Targums and fascinating new explanations for dozens of aggadic expansions in Targum Chronicles, tying them to their rabbinic sources.

The Development of the Biblical Hebrew vowels

Including a Concise Historical Morphology

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Benjamin Suchard

The development of the Biblical Hebrew Vowels investigates the sound changes affecting the Proto-Northwest-Semitic vocalic phonemes and their reflexes in Tiberian Biblical Hebrew. Contrary to many previous approaches, Benjamin Suchard shows that these developments can all be described as phonetically regular sound laws. This confirms that despite its unique transmission history, Hebrew behaves like other languages in this regard. Many Hebrew sound changes have traditionally been explained as reflecting non-phonetic conditioning. These include the Canaanite Shift of *ā to *ō, tonic and pre-tonic lengthening, diphthong contraction, Philippi’s Law, the Law of Attenuation, and the apocope of short, unstressed vowels. By reconsidering reconstructions and re-evaluating phonetic conditions, this work shows how the Biblical Hebrew forms regularly derive from their Proto-Northwest-Semitic precursors.

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David J. Fuller

Habakkuk is unique amongst the prophetic corpus for its interchange between YHWH and the prophet. Many open research questions exist regarding the identities of the antagonists throughout and the relationships amongst the different sections of the book. A Discourse Analysis of Habakkuk, David J. Fuller develops a model for discourse analysis of Biblical Hebrew within the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. The analytical procedure is carried out on each pericope of the book separately, and then the respective results are compared in order to determine how the successive speeches function as responses to each other, and to better understand changes in the perspectives of the various speakers throughout.

Intolerance, Polemics, and Debate in Antiquity

Politico-Cultural, Philosophical, and Religious Forms of Critical Conversation

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Edited by George H. van Kooten and Jacques van Ruiten

In Intolerance, Polemics, and Debate in Antiquity scholars reflect on politico-cultural, philosophical, and religious forms of critical conversation in the ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, and early-Islamic world. They enquire into the boundaries between debate, polemics, and intolerance, and address their manifestations in both philosophy and religion. This cross-cultural and inclusive approach shows that debate and polemics are not so different as often assumed, since polemics may also indicate that ultimate values are at stake. Polemics can also have a positive effect, stimulating further cultural development. Intolerance is more straightforwardly negative. Religious intolerance is often a justification for politics, but also elite rationalism can become totalitarian. The volume also highlights the importance of the fluency of minorities in the dominant discourses and of their ability to develop contrapuntal lines of thought within a common cultural discourse.

Leviticus

A Commentary on Leueitikon in Codex Vaticanus

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Mark Awabdy

In Leviticus Awabdy offers the first commentary on the Greek version of Leviticus according to Codex Vaticanus (4th century CE), which binds the Old and New Testaments into a single volume as Christian scripture. Distinct from other LXX Leviticus commentaries that employ a critical edition and focus on translation technique, Greco-Roman context and reception, this study interprets a single Greek manuscript on its own terms in solidarity with its early Byzantine users unversed in Hebrew. With a formal-equivalence English translation of a new, uncorrected edition, Awabdy illuminates Leueitikon in B as an aesthetic composition that not only exhibits inherited Hebraic syntax and Koine lexical forms, but its own structure and theology, paragraph (outdented) divisions, syntax and pragmatics, intertextuality, solecisms and textual variants.