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Prayer in the Ancient World (PAW) is an innovative resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The over 350 entries in PAW showcase a robust selection of the range of different types of prayers attested from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant, early Judaism and Christianity, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Iran, enhanced by critical commentary.
The project illustrates the variety of ways human beings have sought to communicate with or influence beings with extraordinary superhuman power for millennia. By including diverse examples such as vows and oaths, blessings, curses, incantations, graffiti, iconography, and more, PAW casts a wide net. In so doing, PAW privileges no particular tradition or conception of how to interact with the divine; for example, the project refuses to perpetuate a value distinction between “prayer,” “magic,” and “cursing.”

Detailed overviews introduce each area and address key issues such as language and terminology, geographical distribution, materiality, orality, phenomenology of prayer, prayer and magic, blessings and curses, and ritual settings and ritual actors. In order to be as comprehensive as practically possible, the volume includes a representative prayer of every attested type from each tradition.

Individual entries include a wealth of information. Each begins with a list of essential details, including the source, region, date, occasion, type and function, performers, and materiality of the prayer. Next, after a concise summary and a brief synopsis of the main textual witnesses, a formal description calls attention to the exemplar’s literary and stylistic features, rhetorical structure, important motifs, and terminology. The occasions when the prayer was used and its function are analyzed, followed by a discussion of how this exemplar fits within the range of variation of this type of prayer practice, both synchronically and diachronically. Important features of the prayer relevant for cross-cultural comparison are foregrounded in the subsequent section. Following an up-to-date translation, a concise yet detailed commentary provides explanations necessary for understanding the prayer and its function. Finally, each entry concludes with a bibliography of essential primary and secondary resources for further study.
The Image of Jews and Judaism in Biblical Interpretation, from Anti-Jewish Exegesis to Eliminationist Antisemitism
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Brill's Studies in Theology and Religion (STAR) focuses on theological and religious themes that interact with public issues of contemporary society. It aims at publishing proceedings of conferences, edited volumes, and quality monographs, including outstanding dissertations. In its publications STAR will give high priority to the publication of the results of interdisciplinary research in an ecumenical, interreligious and intercultural context.

The series published an average of one volume per year over the last 5 years.
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Twenty-eight rewritten and updated essays on the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, and the Dead Sea Scrolls mainly published between 2019 and 2022 are presented in the fifth volume of the author's collected essays. They are joined by an unpublished study, an unpublished "reflection" on the development of text-critical research in 1970-2020 and the author's academic memoirs. All the topics included in this volume are at the forefront of textual research.
Credit is the oxygen of every society. In many cases we wonder why the rabbis prohibit certain business credit transactions considering them usury. The writer uses literary and epigraphic sources to decipher the rabbinic approach. This book shows how rabbinic legislation innovatively expand the Torah prohibition of usury in loans to all fields of credit. It is a pioneering inquiry regarding rabbinic literature compiled under Roman and Sasanid rule, helping to fill the void in research concerning credit. It also distinguishes various kinds of credit differentiating credit of money for money, or products, exposing the ramifications of the rabbinic legislation.
Established 50 years ago by the late Georges Vajda, the series Études sur le judaïsme médiéval, while specialising in Rabbanite and Qaraite texts in Hebrew, Judaeo-Arabic and Judaeo-Persian, publishes scholarly monographs, collective volumes, conference proceedings, as well as editions and translation in all areas of Medieval Jewish literature, philosophy, science, exegesis, ethics, polemics, mysticism and Genizah studies, focusing on the philological and philosophical approach. The series also publishes two separate subseries, Cambridge Genizah and Karaite Texts and Studies.

The series published an average of 3,5 volumes per year over the last 5 years.
Scholarly monographs on topics in the iconography of Judaism.

Abstract

Yair Furstenberg’s article in this issue, “The Rabbinic Movement from Pharisees to Provincial Jurists” (DOI: 10.1163/15700631-bja10070), ties what he sees as the changing boundaries of torah law at the hands of the Tannaim to changes in the legal landscape of the eastern provinces of the Roman empire in the second century. This brief essay is a response to the article, musing on its implications and raising questions for future research.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author:

Abstract

It is well established in the literature that the vocalization of verbs in the Bible occasionally reflects late linguistic developments, specifically, changes in the Hebrew stem system during the Second Temple period, which affected the vocalization but not the consonantal orthography of the verb. This paper discusses five phenomena involving changes in the tense system, rather than the stem system, during the Second Temple period which are reflected in the orthography itself, namely, in the addition or omission of matres lectionis. I argue that the Second Temple scribes did not consider orthographical amendments involving matres lectionis as actual changes of the biblical text. As a result, they sometimes made such amendments, even in the conservative text of the Pentateuch. The five phenomena discussed here are examples of such amendments, reflecting changes in the Hebrew tense system during the Second Temple period. The reason tense-system developments are evident in the verbal orthography, while stem-system developments are not, is that the latter affected not only the vowels but also the consonants of the verbal forms, which the scribes avoided changing.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

I argue that the Levitical Prayer offered in Neh 9:5–37 (LP) offers a version of Judean history that does not include the Babylonian exile. Instead, it narrates an unbroken chain of possession of Judean territory that spans from the conquest and settlement of Canaan to the post-monarchic context of the prayer’s composition. Drawing insights from the study of cultural trauma, I make the case that the interpretive importance of such a catastrophic event cannot be assumed for subsequent Judean communities who sought to form a sense of cultural identity through the retelling of a shared past. Potentially traumatic events like the Babylonian exile are not actualized naturally; communal trauma is instead the product of social processes in the present that serve the needs of present and future communities. An elision of the Babylonian exile from a piece of post-monarchic period literature like the LP does not, therefore, require the interpretative conclusion that the prayer was written by the descendants of Judeans who avoided exile and remained in Judea during the sixth century ʙᴄᴇ. Importantly, neither does it exclude the possibility that the LP was produced by a community whose ancestors were displaced and resettled in Babylonia during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. Through this analysis I invite scholars to explore a broader range of interpretative possibilities in their study of Ezra-Nehemiah as a composition and the understanding of the defining elements of Judean identity in the post- monarchic period.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum