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Rabbinic Discourse as a System of Knowledge

"The Study of Torah is Equal to them All"

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Hannah Hashkes

In Rabbinic Discourse as a System of Knowledge Hannah Hashkes employs contemporary philosophy in describing rabbinic reasoning as a rational response to experience. Hashkes combines insights from the philosophy of Quine and Davidson with the semiotics of Peirce to construe knowledge as systematic reasoning occurring within a community of inquiry. Her reading of the works of Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion allows her to create a philosophical bridge between a discourse of God and a discourse of reason. This synthesis of pragmatism, hermeneutics and theology provides Hashkes with a sophisticated tool to understand Rabbinic Judaism. It also makes this study both unique and pathbreaking in contemporary Jewish philosophy and Rabbinic thought.

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Edited by Giuseppe Marcocci, Aliocha Maldavsky, Wietse de Boer and Ilaria Pavan

Space and Conversion in Global Perspective examines experiences of conversion as they intersect with physical location, mobility, and interiority. The volume’s innovative approach is global and encompasses multiple religious traditions. Conversion emerges as a powerful force in early modern globalization.

In thirteen essays, the book ranges from the urban settings of Granada and Cuzco to mission stations in Latin America and South India; from villages in Ottoman Palestine and Middle-Volga Russia to Italian hospitals and city squares; and from Atlantic slave ships to the inner life of a Muslim turned Jesuit. Drawing on extensive archival and iconographic materials, this collection invites scholars to rethink conversion in light of the spatial turn.

Contributors are: Paolo Aranha, Emanuele Colombo, Irene Fosi, Mercedes García-Arenal, Agnieszka Jagodzińska, Aliocha Maldavsky, Giuseppe Marcocci, Susana Bastos Mateus, Adriano Prosperi, Gabriela Ramos, Rocco Sacconaghi, Felicita Tramontana, Guillermo Wilde, and Oxana Zemtsova.

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Michelle M. Hamilton

In Beyond Faith: Belief, Morality and Memory in a Fifteenth-Century Judeo-Iberian Manuscript, Michelle M. Hamilton sheds light on the concerns of Jewish and converso readers of the generation before the Expulsion. Using a mid-fifteenth-century collection of Iberian vernacular literary, philosophical and religious texts (MS Parm. 2666) recorded in Hebrew characters as a lens, Hamilton explores how its compiler or compilers were forging a particular form of personal, individual religious belief, based not only on the Judeo-Andalusi philosophical tradition of medieval Iberia, but also on the Latinate humanism of late 14th and early 15th-century Europe. The form/s such expressions take reveal the contingent and specific engagement of learned Iberian Jews and conversos with the larger Iberian, European and Arab Mediterranean cultures of the 15th-century.

Abraham Bar Hiyya on Time, History, Exile and Redemption

An Analysis of Megillat ha-Megalleh

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Hannu Töyrylä

An analysis of Megillat ha-Megalleh by Abraham Bar Hiyya (12th c.) as a complete text in its historical and cultural context, showing that the work - written at a time when Jews increasingly came under Christian influence and dominance – presents a coherent argument for the continuing validity of the Jewish hope for redemption. In his argument, Bar Hiyya presents a view of history, the course of which was planted by God in creation, which runs inevitably towards the future redemption of the Jews. Bar Hiyya uses philosophical, scientific, biblical and astrological material to support his argument, and several times makes use of originally Christian ideas, which he inverts to suit his argument.

The Ten Commandments

Interpreting the Bible in the Medieval World

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Lesley J. Smith

What did the ten commandments have to teach? Using the commentaries of a group of scholars from c. 1150-1350, such as Peter Lombard, Robert Grosseteste, and Bonaventure, along with confessors’ manuals, mystery plays and sermon material, this book investigates the place of the Decalogue in medieval thought. Beginning with the overarching themes of law and number, it moves to consider what sort of God is revealed in the commandments of the first stone tablet, and uncovers the structure that lay behind the precepts dealing with one’s neighbour. Interpreting the commandments allows us to look at issues of method and individuality in the medieval schools, and ask whether answers intended for the classroom could make an impression on the wider world.

YHWH is King

The Development of Divine Kingship in Ancient Israel

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Shawn W. Flynn

Amidst various methodologies for the comparative study of the Hebrew Bible, at times the opportunity arises to improve on a method recently introduced into the field. In YHWH is King, Flynn uses the anthropological method of cultural translation to study diachronic change in YHWH’s kingship. Here, such change is compared to a similar Babylonian development to Marduk’s kingship. Based on that comparison and informed by cultural translation, Flynn discovers that Judahite scribes suppressed the earlier YHWH warrior king and promoted a creator/universal king in order to combat the increasing threat of Neo-Assyrian imperialism. Flynn thus opens the possibility, that Judahite scribes engaged in a cultural translation of Marduk to YHWH, in order to respond to the mounting Neo-Assyrian presence.

Illuminating Moses

A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance

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Edited by Jane Beal

In Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception, readers discover the roles of Moses from the Exodus to the Renaissance--law-giver, prophet, writer--and their impact on Jewish and Christian cultures as seen in the Hebrew Bible, Patristic writings, Catholic liturgy, Jewish philosophy and midrashim, Anglo-Saxon literature, Scholastics and Thomas Aquinas, Middle English literature, and the Renaissance.
Contributors are Jane Beal, Robert D. Miller II, Tawny Holm, Christopher A. Hall, Luciana Cuppo-Csaki, Haim Kreisel, Rachel S. Mikva, Devorah Schoenfeld, Gernot Wieland, Deborah Goodwin, Franklin T. Harkins, Gail Ivy Berlin, and Brett Foster.

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Edited by Claire Clivaz, Andrew Gregory and David Hamidović

Ancient texts, once written by hand on parchment and papyrus, are now increasingly discoverable online in newly digitized editions, and their readers now work online as well as in traditional libraries. So what does this mean for how scholars may now engage with these texts, and for how the disciplines of biblical, Jewish and Christian studies might develop? These are the questions that contributors to this volume address. Subjects discussed include textual criticism, palaeography, philology, the nature of ancient monotheism, and how new tools and resources such as blogs, wikis, databases and digital publications may transform the ways in which contemporary scholars engage with historical sources. Contributors attest to the emergence of a conscious recognition of something new in the way that we may now study ancient writings, and the possibilities that this new awareness raises.

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Edited by Wim Hofstee and A. van der Kooij

The volume Religion beyond its Private Role in Modern Society aims at contributing to the debate on the distinction between public and private spheres with regard to the role of religion in modern societies. This issue which is inherent to many conceptions regarding social order, modernity, freedom of conscience, and the changing role and function of religion is discussed not only from a social scientific but also from a historical and philosophical point of view. The articles dwell on several aspects of the role of religion in different societies in modern times, and the overall theme is explored from the perspective of various religious traditions and groups, both institutional and non-institutional. It turns out that the distinction made is difficult to maintain.

Francis Mercury van Helmont's Sketch of Christian Kabbalism

Translated and Edited by Sheila A. Spector

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Edited by Sheila Spector

Sheila A. Spector’s translation of the Sketch of Christian Kabbalism, by Francis Mercury van Helmont (1614-98), is the first English version of the foundational seventeenth-century treatise appended to Knorr von Rosenroth’s compendium, the Kabbala Denudata. After a survey of the historical context in general, Jewish and Christian Kabbalah in particular, and a brief biography of van Helmont, Spector’s introduction explains how the author adapted the original Jewish myth for Christian purposes. The bilingual text contains a facsimile of the original Latin on one side, facing the English translation on the other, with Van Helmont’s footnotes supplemented by the translator’s endnotes. The edition is essential for scholars, though of interest to the general reader as well.