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Naomi S.S. Jacobs

In Delicious Prose: Reading the Tale of Tobit with Food and Drink, Naomi S.S. Jacobs explores how the numerous references to food, drink, and their consumption within The Book of Tobit help tell its story, promote righteous deeds and encourage resistance against a hostile dominant culture. Jacobs’ commentary includes up-to-date analyses of issues of translation, text-criticism, source criticism, redaction criticism, and issues of class and gender. Jacobs situates Tobit within a wide range of ancient writings sacred to Jews and Christians as well as writings and customs from the Ancient Near East, Ugarit, Greece, Rome, including a treasure trove of information about ancient foodways and medicine.

Waters of the Exodus

Jewish Experiences with Water in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

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Nathalie LaCoste

In Waters of the Exodus, Nathalie LaCoste examines the Diasporic Jewish community in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and their relationship to the hydric environment. By focusing on four retellings of the exodus narrative composed by Egyptian Jews—Artapanus, Ezekiel the Tragedian, Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria—she lays out how the hydric environment of Egypt, and specifically the Nile river, shaped the transmission of the exodus story. Mapping these observations onto the physical landscape of Egypt provides a new perspective on the formation of Jewish communities in Egypt.

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Lindsey A. Askin

In Scribal Culture in Ben Sira Lindsey A. Askin examines scribal culture as a framework for analysing features of textual referencing throughout the Book of Ben Sira (c.198-175 BCE), revealing new insights into how Ben Sira wrote his book of wisdom. Although the title of “scribe” is regularly applied to Ben Sira, this designation presents certain interpretive challenges. Through comparative analysis, Askin contextualizes the sage’s compositional style across historical, literary, and socio-cultural spheres of operation. New light is shed on Ben Sira’s text and early Jewish textual reuse. Drawing upon physical and material evidence of reading and writing, Askin reveals the dexterity and complexity of Ben Sira’s sustained textual reuse. Ben Sira’s achievement thus demonstrates exemplary, “excellent” writing to a receptive audience.

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Dean R. Ulrich

In The Antiochene Crisis and Jubilee Theology in Daniel’s Seventy Sevens, Dean R. Ulrich explores the joint interest of Daniel 9:24-27 in the Antiochene crisis of the second century B.C.E. and the jubilee theology conveyed by the prophecy’s structure. This study is necessary because previous scholarship, though recognizing the jubilee structure of the seventy sevens, has not sufficiently made the connection between jubilee and the six objectives of Daniel 9:24. Previous scholarship also has not adequately related the book’s interest in Antiochus IV to the hope of jubilee, which involves the full inheritance that God has promised to his people but that they had lost because of their compromises with Antiochus IV.

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Steve Mason

Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, is among the most important writers from classical antiquity. The significance of the works of Josephus as sources for our understanding of biblical history and of the political history of Palestine under Roman rule, can scarcely be overestimated.

This is the second volume published in this commentary series, which is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English.

Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus is also published by Brill in paperback (ISBN 0 391 04205 x, still available)

Anders Runesson, Donald D. Binder and Birger Olsson

Despite the recent explosion of research on ancient synagogues, investigators in the field have hitherto been forced to cull relevant evidence from a vast assortment of scholarly publications. This volume gathers for the first time all of the primary source material on the early synagogues up through the Second Century C. E. In the case of literary, epigraphic and papyrological evidence, catalog entries contain the texts in their original language and in English translation. For archaeological remains, entries provide technical descriptions along with plans and photographs. All listings are accompanied by bibliographic citations and interpretative comments. An Introduction frames the current state of synagogue research, while extensive indices and cross-references allow for easy location of specific allusions. An appendix to the catalog contains source materials on Jewish temples outside of Jerusalem.

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Christopher T. Begg and Paul Spilsbury

This volume provides a new English translation and commentary on Josephus' Judean Antiquities 8-10 in which he retells the history of Israel from the time of the latter divided monarchy down through the exilic period. The commentary devotes particular attention to Josephus' use of his many biblical sources for this period, e.g., the books of Kings, Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jonah and Nahum and Daniel. It also examines the question of the textual forms of these books used by him, and notes parallels to his presentation in both ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman literature. The book is intended primarily for biblicists and scholars of ancient Judaism.

Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus

Translation and Commentary

Steve Mason

Within the writings of Flavius Josephus his shortest work, the autobiographical Life, has often seemed the simplest to understand: as a defensive response to Josephus' rival Justus of Tiberias. Read in this vein, it is usually regarded as the clearest evidence of Josephus' utter carelessness as an author and of his willingness to tell patent lies as he attempted to justify what he knew to be his own sordid behavior during the earliest phase of the war with Rome. Refocusing our attention from the personal character and psychological motives of Josephus (which we cannot know) to the work itself (which is before us), Steve Mason brings this crucial narrative to life in new historical and literary contexts. He shows that it is a carefully structured appendix to Josephus' magnum opus, the Judean Antiquities, and that Josephus uses it to unashamedly celebrate his character according to the values and standards of his time. In the process, Josephus explains much about the geography of Galilee and about the social and political world of Judea in crisis. Most importantly, however, he emerges as a Judean statesman trying to communicate with his peers from other Mediterranean centers. Thus The Life is a rich mine of information, not only about the specifics of the Galilean society and the Judean-Roman war, but also about Roman-provincial relations and elite culture in Judea. Steve Mason enriches us with both an excellent literal translation and invaluable philological, literary, historical, archeological, and sociological commentary. Josephus' extensive corpus is generally acknowledged to be basic for the study of Judaism in the Roman world, for the background to early Christianity, and for aspects of Roman history. This model for understanding the historian's autobiography provides a an agenda for reading the other volumes as well.
This is the first comprehensive literary-historical commentary on the works of Flavius Josephus in English. Steve Mason, York University, Toronto, edits the scheduled 10 volumes.

Flavius Josephus: Life of Josephus is previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 11793 8, still available)

Miguel Pérez Fernández and John F. Elwolde

In Greek and Roman Palestine we find a Hebrew dialect that had existed alongside the literary language of Biblical Hebrew but had followed its own pattern of development. After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis elevated this dialect to the status of a literary language, 'Rabbinic Hebrew', and employed it in the composition of the Mishnah, Tosefta, and halakhic midrashim.
This volume is a practical grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew that brings M.H. Segal's 1927 grammar up to date by incorporating the results of recent investigations in this field. It also adds a clearly pedagogic perspective, with vocabulary and exercises in every unit, and introduces readers to the thinking of the Sages of Israel (each unit commences with a text that bears on a theological, historical, literary, or methodological topic).

Series:

Douwe (David) Runia

It is a remarkable fact that the writings of Philo, the Jew from Alexandria, were preserved because they were taken up in the Christian tradition. But the story of how this process of reception and appropriation took place has never been systematically research.

In this book the author first examines how Philo's works are related to the New Testament and the earliest Chritian writing, and then how they were used by Greek and Latin church fathers up to 400 c.e., with special attention to the contributions of Clement, Origen, Didymus, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, and Augustine.

Philo in Early Christian Literature is a valuable guide to the state of scholarly research on a subject that has thus far been investigated in a rather piecemeal fashion.