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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.

Studies in Jewish and Christian History (2 vols) 

A New Edition in English including The God of the Maccabees, introduced by Martin Hengel, edited by Amram Tropper

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Elias J. Bickerman

Elias J. Bickerman, who passed away a quarter of a century ago, was one of the twentieth century's great historians of the ancient world. His innovative genius and breathtaking erudition are evident in his writings, many of which are now considered classics. Bickerman's contributions to the history of ancient Judaism and early Christianity remain particularly significant but his three volume collection, Studies in Jewish and Christian History, has been out of print for some time. Thus, the publication of this new edition of Studies, now entirely in English, along with Bickerman's most famous book, The God of the Maccabees, is designed to bring Bickerman's central studies on ancient Judaism and early Christianity to a new generation of students and scholars.

Studies in Exegesis

Christian Critiques of Jewish Law and Rabbinic Responses 70-300 CE

Herbert Basser

Is early Christianity simply Judaism in a foreign accent? Do we have evidence from the Jewish side concerning which biblical verses Jews and Christians bickered over in their interpretations? What did Jesus and Pharisees really argue about? By closely examining the exegetical underpinnings of the controversies between Jews and Christians, Herbert Basser discovers the Jewish side to a debate that, until now, has not received adequate scholarly treatment. He goes behind the words of the gospels and behind the words of the rabbis to decipher the sources upon which both are based in order to make sense of them. Baser shows that the strife between Jews and Christians developed primarily after the death of Jesus when the early Jesus traditions were recast by church writers into bitter controversies between Jesus and Pharisees and between Christian and Jew—controversies that have widened and increased with the passage of centuries.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Two Powers in Heaven

Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism

Segal

In this study of the rabbinic heretics who believed in Two Powers in Heaven, Alan Segal explores some relationships between rabbinic Judaism, Merkabah mysticism, and early Christianity. Two Powers in Heaven was a very early category of heresy. It was one of the basic categories by which the rabbis perceived the new phenomenon of Christianity and one of the central issues over which Judaism and Christianity separated. Segal reconstructs the development of the heresy through prudent dating of the stages of the rabbinic traditions. The basic heresy involved interpreting scripture to say that a principal angelic or hypostatic manifestation in heaven was equivalent to God. The earliest heretics believed in two complementary powers in heaven, while later heretics believed in two opposing powers in heaven. Segal stresses the importance of perceiving the relevance of rabbinic material for solving traditional problems of New Testament and gnostic scholarship, and at the same time maintains the necessity of reading those literatures for dating rabbinic material.

Please note that Two Powers in Heaven was previously published by Brill in hardback, ISBN 90 04 05453 7 (no longer available).

Jacob Neusner

For Aristotle, politics, economics, and philosophy define the social construction of any society. For Judaism, the Mishnah—along with Scripture—sets forth the systematic statement for understanding the social construction and world view of Judaism around 200 C.E. The Mishnah functioned as the basic law in the holy land and was adopted also by Jews in the Diaspora, from Babylonia to the western satrapies of the Iranian empire of the Sasanians. Professor Jacob Neusner takes seriously the three principal tasks of theoretical thought enjoined by Aristotle and asks us to look at the Mishnah not as an inert collection of traditions passed on, but as a deliberate, programmatic statement of Judaism’s way of life and world view. He points to the systematic nature of the Mishnah, with its six divisions, and shows how collectively those divisions cover the everyday life of the people. The Mishnah contains independent judgements about the nature of the system and does not merely rehearse what tradition says about a given topic. This interpretive aspect of the Mishnah has been ignored to the interpreter’s peril, because it is precisely by paying attention to how the Mishnah uses traditions for its own purposes that the interpreter can appreciate the building blocks of Judaism: its politics, economics, and philosophy.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Families and Family Relations

As Represented in Early Judaisms and Early Christianities: Texts and Fictions. Papers read at a NOSTER colloquium in Amsterdam, June 9-11, 1998

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Edited by Athalya Brenner and Jan Willem van Henten

STAR - Studies in Theology and Religion, 2

The fruits of discussion at an international gathering of biblical and other scholars interested in “families” in the ancient Near East are offered here. This is not a collection of “proceedings” in the usual sense; rather the essays mark a conscious joint effort to advance the discussion in the newly opened debate on “families” in the “biblical worlds”.
Topics discussed include the metaphor of marriage in Early Judaism, the brother-sister relationship in Ancient Israel, Hebrew family names, domesticity in Judaism, kinship in the Pauline churches, and women in John’s Gospel.
The contributors include, among others, A. van der Kooij, R. Hachlili, G. Mussies, M. Peskowitz, P. Esler, S. van Tilborg, and R. Bieringer.

Theology, Biblical Scholarship and Rabbinical Studies in the Seventeenth Century

Constantijn l'Empéreur (1591-1648), Professor of Hebrew and Theology at Leiden

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van Rooden