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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.

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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.

Rule-Formulation and Binding Precedent in the Madhhab-Law Tradition

Ibn Quṭlūbughā’s Commentary on The Compendium of Qudūrī

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Talal Al-Azem

In Rule-Formulation and Binding Precedent in the Madhhab-Law Tradition, Talal Al-Azem argues for the existence of a madhhab-law tradition’ of jurisprudence underpinning the four post-classical Sunni schools of law. This tradition celebrated polyvalence by preserving the multiplicity of conflicting opinions within each school, while simultaneously providing a process of rule formulation ( tarjīḥ) by which one opinion is chosen as the binding precedent ( taqlīd). The predominant forum of both activities, he shows, was the legal commentary.

Through a careful reading of Ibn Quṭlūbughā's (d. 879/1474) al-Taṣḥīḥ wa-al-tarjīḥ, Al-Azem presents a new periodisation of the Ḥanafī madhhab, analyses the theory of rule formulation, and demonstrates how this madhhab-law tradition facilitated both continuity and legal change while serving as the basis of a pluralistic Mamluk judicial system.

Synopsis Purioris Theologiae / Synopsis of a Purer Theology 

Latin Text and English Translation: Volume 2, Disputations 24 - 42

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Henk van den Belt, Riemer Faber, Andreas Beck and William den Boer

This bilingual edition of the Synopsis Purioris Theologiae (1625) provides English readers access to an influential textbook of Reformed Orthodoxy. Composed by four professors at the University of Leiden (Johannes Polyander, Andreas Rivetus, Antonius Walaeus, and Anthonius Thysius), it offers a presentation of Reformed theology as it was conceived in the first decades of the seventeenth century. From a decidedly Reformed perspective, the Christian doctrine is defined in contrast with alternative or diverging views, such as those of Roman Catholics, Arminians, and Socinians. The Synopsis responds to challenges coming from the immediate theological, social, and philosophical contexts. The disputations of this second volume cover topics such as Predestination, Christology, Faith and Repentance, Justification and Sanctification, and Ecclesiology.

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Edited by Mark Beaumont and Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth

al-Radd al-jamīl attributed to al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) is the most extensive and detailed refutation of the divinity of Jesus by a Muslim author in the classical period of Islam. Since the discovery of the manuscript in the 1930’s scholars have debated whether the great Muslim theologian al-Ghazālī was really the author.

This is a new critical edition of the Arabic text and the first complete English translation. The introduction situates this work in the history of Muslim anti-Christian polemical writing. Mark Beaumont and Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth argue that this refutation comes from an admirer of al-Ghazālī who sought to advance some of his key ideas for an Egyptian audience.

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Richard J. Serina

Scholarship has recognized fifteenth-century speculative thinker Nicholas of Cusa for his early contributions to conciliar theory, but not his later ecclesiastical career as cardinal, residential bishop, preacher, and reformer. Richard Serina shows that, as bishop in the Tyrolese diocese of Brixen from 1452 to 1458, and later as resident cardinal in Rome, Nicolas of Cusa left a testament to his view of reform in the sermons he preached to monks, clergy, and laity. These 171 sermons, in addition to his Reformatio generalis of 1459, reflect an intellectual coming to terms with the challenge of reform in the late medieval church, and in response creatively incorporating metaphysics, mystical theology, ecclesiology, and personal renewal into his preaching of reform.

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam

Collected Essays

Saïd Amir Arjomand

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam is a comprehensive study of the development of Shiʿism. Its bearers first emerged as a sectarian elite, then a hierocracy and finally a theocracy. Imamate, Occultation and the theodicy of martyrdom are identified as the main components of the Shiʻism as a world religion. In these collected essays Arjomand has persistenly developed a Weberian theoretical framework for the analysis of Shiʿism, from its sectarian formation in the eighth century through the establishment of the Safavid empire in the sixteenth century, to the Islamic revolution in Iran in the twentieth century. These studies highlight revolutionary impulses embedded in the belief in the advent of the hidden Imam, and the impact of Shiʻite political ethics on the authority structure of pre-modern Iran and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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Edited by Emanuel Tov, Kipp Davis and Robert Duke

This volume contains thirteen previously unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, twelve Hebrew Bible fragments and one non-biblical fragment, presented with the full scholarly apparatus and advanced reconstruction techniques. The books from the Hebrew Bible are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Micah, Psalms, Daniel, and Nehemiah. The latter is an especially important addition to known material. The non-biblical fragment probably represents a new copy of 4QInstruction.

The work on these fragments was conducted under the auspices of the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative, whose mission is to publish research conducted collaboratively by scholar-mentors and students. The ultimate goal is to provide students with the opportunity to develop as scholars under the guidance of their scholar-mentors.


N.B. In light of the ongoing discussion of the authenticity of several of the Dead Sea Scrolls fragments published in this first volume of the Publications of Museum of the Bible (Brill 2016), Brill is now able to provide access to an analysis of five of the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The material analysis of the fragments was carried out by the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung and -prüfung (BAM). Further research and analysis will be made available as part of the ongoing research into the published fragments, including an investigation of the known provenance of the fragments.

Reading the Bible across Contexts

Luke’s Gospel, Socio-Economic Marginality, and Latin American Biblical Hermeneutics

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Esa J. Autero

In Reading the Bible Across Contexts Esa Autero offers a fresh perspective on Luke’s poverty texts. In addition to an historical reading, he conducted an empirical investigation of two Latin American Bible reading groups – one poor and the other affluent – to shed light on Luke’s poverty texts. The interaction between historical reading and present-day readings demonstrates the impact of socio-economic status on biblical hermeneutics and sheds new light on Luke’s views on wealth and poverty. At the same time Esa Autero critically examines liberation theologian’s claim that poor are privileged biblical interpreters.

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André Villeneuve

In Nuptial Symbolism in Second Temple Writings, the New Testament and Rabbinic Literature, André Villeneuve examines the ancient Jewish concept of the covenant between God and Israel, portrayed as a marriage dynamically moving through salvation history. This nuptial covenant was established in Eden but damaged by sin; it was restored at the Sinai theophany, perpetuated in the Temple liturgy, and expected to reach its final consummation at the end of days.

The authors of the New Testament adopted the same key moments of salvation history to describe the spousal relationship between Christ and the Church. In their typological treatment of these motifs, they established an exegetical framework that would anticipate the four senses of Scripture later adopted by patristic and medieval commentators.