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Experientia, Volume 2

Linking Text and Experience

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Edited by Colleen Shantz and Rodney Werline

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Edited by Caroline Vander Stichele and Hugh Pyper

Children’s Bibles are often the first encounter people have with the Bible, shaping their perceptions of its stories and characters at an early age. The material under discussion in this book not only includes traditional children’s Bibles but also more recent phenomena such as manga Bibles and animated films for children. The book highlights the complex and even tense relationship between text and image in these Bibles, which is discussed from different angles in the essays. Their shared focus is on the representation of “others”—foreigners, enemies, women, even children themselves—in predominantly Hebrew Bible stories. The contributors are Tim Beal, Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Melody Briggs, Rubén R. Dupertuis, Emma England, J. Cheryl Exum, Danna Nolan Fewell, David M. Gunn, Laurel Koepf, Archie Chi Chung Lee, Jeremy Punt, Hugh S. Pyper, Cynthia M. Rogers, Mark Roncace, Susanne Scholz, Jaqueline S. du Toit, and Caroline Vander Stichele.

Unity and Diversity in the Gospels and Paul

Essays in Honor of Frank J. Matera

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Edited by Christopher W. Skinner and Kelly R. Iverson

This volume addresses the perennial issue of unity and diversity in the New Testament canon. Celebrating the academic legacy of Fr. Frank J. Matera, colleagues and friends interact with elements of his many important works. Scholars and students alike will find fresh and stimulating discussions that navigate the turbulent waters between the Gospels and Paul, ranging from questions of Matthew's so-called anti-Pauline polemic to cruciform teaching in the New Testament. The volume includes contributions from leading scholars in the field, offering a rich array of insights on issues such as Christology, social ethics, soteriology, and more.

Editing the Bible

Assessing the Task Past and Present

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Edited by John S. Kloppenborg and Judith H. Newman

The Bible is likely the most-edited book in history, yet the task of editing the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts of the Bible is fraught with difficulties. The dearth of Hebrew manuscripts of the Jewish Scriptures and the substantial differences among those witnesses create difficulties in determining which text ought to be printed as the text of the Jewish Scriptures. For the New Testament, it is not the dearth of manuscripts but the overwhelming number of manuscripts—almost six thousand Greek manuscripts and many more in other languages—that presents challenges for sorting and analyzing such a large, multivariant data set. This volume, representing experts in the editing of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, discusses both current achievements and future challenges in creating modern editions of the biblical texts in their original languages.

Social Theory and the Study of Israelite Religion

Essays in Retrospect and Prospect

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Edited by Saul M. Olyan

This volume assesses past, theoretically engaged work on Israelite religion and presents new approaches to particular problems and larger interpretive and methodological questions. It gathers previously unpublished research by senior and mid-career scholars well known for their contributions in the area of social theory and the study of Israelite religion and by junior scholars whose writing is just beginning to have a serious impact on the field. The volume begins with a critical introduction by the editor. Topics of interest to the contributors include gender, violence, social change, the festivals, the dynamics of shame and honor, and the relationship of text to ritual. The contributors engage theory from social and cultural anthropology, sociology, post-colonial studies, and ritual studies. Theoretical models are evaluated in light of the primary data, and some authors modify or adapt theory to increase its utility for biblical studies.

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Edited by Diana Lipton

This book reexamines the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative in Genesis 18–19, an ethically charged text that has significantly influenced views about homosexuality, stereotyping the other, the rewards and risks of hospitality, and the justice owed to outsiders. Its twelve essays, reflecting their authors’ considerable geographical, religious, methodological, and academic diversity, explore this troubling text through the lens of universalism and particularism. Biblical Sodom is read as the site of multiple borders—fluid, porous, and bi-directional—between similar and different, men and angels, men and women, fathers and daughters, insiders and outsiders, hosts and guests, residents and aliens, chosen and nonchosen, and people and God. Readers of these exegetically and theologically attentive essays published in memory of Ron Pirson will experience a rare sense of an ancient text being read in and for the modern world.

The Calm before the Storm

Selected writings of Itamar Singer on the late Bronze Age in Anatolia and the Levant

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Itamar Singer

In a career that so far has spanned nearly four decades, more than thirty of them as Professor of Hittitology in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University, Itamar Singer has had a profound impact on the field of ancient Near Eastern studies, and Hittite studies in particular. His wide-ranging contributions have nowhere been more deeply felt than in the historical reconstruction of the international affairs of the thirteenth century b.c.e.—the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. The essays collected in this volume are a testament to the impact of his research on understanding Hatti’s diplomatic relations with the other great powers in this critical period of human history and on elucidating the complex dynamics that led to the disintegration of the Hittite Empire.

The Politics of Pessimism in Ecclesiastes

A Social-Science Perspective

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Mark R. Sneed

Scholars attempt to resolve the problem of the book of Ecclesiastes’ heterodox character in one of two ways, either explaining away the book’s disturbing qualities or radicalizing and championing it as a precursor of modern existentialism. This volume offers an interpretation of Ecclesiastes that both acknowledges the unorthodox nature of Qoheleth’s words and accounts for its acceptance among the canonical books of the Hebrew Bible. It argues that, instead of being the most secular and modern of biblical books, Ecclesiastes is perhaps one of the most religious and primitive. Bringing a Weberian approach to Ecclesiastes, it represents a paradigm of the application of a social-science methodology.

Blood Expiation in Hittite and Biblical Ritual

Origins, Context, and Meaning

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Yitzhaq Feder

This pioneering study examines the use of blood to purge the effects of sin and impurity in Hittite and biblical ritual. The idea that blood atones for sins holds a prominent place in both Jewish and Christian traditions. The author traces this notion back to its earliest documentation in the fourteenth- and thirteenth-century B.C.E. texts from Hittite Anatolia, in which the smearing of blood is used as a means of expiation, purification, and consecration. This rite parallels, in both its procedure and goals, the biblical sin offering. The author argues that this practice stems from a common tradition manifested in both cultures. In addition, this book aims to decipher and elucidate the symbolism of the practice of blood smearing by seeking to identify the sociocultural context in which the expiatory significance of blood originated. Thus, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the meaning and efficacy of ritual, the origins of Jewish and Christian notions of sin and atonement, and the origin of the biblical blood rite.

Israel in the Persian Period

The Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C.E.

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Erhard S. Gerstenberger

Although the Persians are seldom mentioned explicitly in the Hebrew Bible, the Persian period (539–331 B.C.E.) gave new shape to ancient Israel, as the biblical text evolved and the foundations of the Judeo-Christian tradition were laid. Therefore, contrary to earlier views, Persian politics, culture, and religion were the setting within which the nascent Jewish community lived and took shape. Against the backdrop of the history and intellectual world of Persia, Gerstenberger describes this exciting 200-year period in the history of Israel, which saw both the creation of biblical literature (historical, prophetic, and poetic writings, especially the Psalms) and important theological developments (e.g., the shape and characteristics of the Jewish community, monotheism, and new means of shaping one’s world).