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New Perspectives on Tradition and Transformation
Volume Editors: Albert Geljon and Nienke Vos
Based on the paradigmatic shift in both liturgical and ritual studies, this multidisciplinary volume presents a collection of case studies on rituals in the early Christian world. After a methodological discussion of the new paradigm, it shows how emblematic Christian rituals were influenced by their Greco-Roman and Jewish contexts, undergoing multiple transformations, while themselves affecting developments both within and outside Christianity. Notably, parallel traditions in Judaism and Islam are included in the discussion, highlighting the importance of ongoing reception history. Focusing on the dynamic character of rituals, the new perspectives on ritual traditions pursued here relate to the expanding source material, both textual and material, as well as the development of recent interdisciplinary approaches, including the cognitive science of religion.
Author: I. Tzvi Abusch
In this volume, I. Tzvi Abusch presents studies written over a span of forty years prior to his retirement from Brandeis University in 2019. They reflect several themes that he has pursued in addition to his work on witchcraft literature and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Part 1 includes general articles on Mesopotamian magic, religion, and mythology, followed by a set of articles on Akkadian prayers, especially šuillas, focusing on exegetical and linguistic (synchronic) studies and on diachronic analyses. Part 2 contains a series of literary studies of Mesopotamian and biblical classics. Part 3 is devoted to comparative studies of terms and phenomena. Part 4 examines legal texts.

The Harvard Semitic Studies series publishes volumes from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant and Harvard Semitic Monographs, https://hmane.harvard.edu/publications.
In The Shepherd of Hermas and the Pauline Legacy, Jonathan E. Soyars traces the influence of Pauline literary traditions upon one of the most widely attested and influential apocalyptic texts from early Christianity. Scholarship largely considers Hermas to have known very little about Pauline letters, but by looking beyond verbatim quotations Soyars discovers extensive evidence of his adoption, adaptation, and synthesis of identifiable Pauline material in the Visions, Mandates, and Similitudes sections. Hermas emerges as a Pauline interpreter who creatively engages topics and themes developed within and across the Pauline letters through time. These results reconnect the Shepherd with early Paulinism and extend reconstructions of the sphere of Pauline influence in the second century C.E.
Visualisation, Data Mining, Communication
Ancient Manuscripts in Digital Culture presents an overview of the digital turn in Ancient Jewish and Christian manuscripts visualisation, data mining and communication. Edited by David Hamidović, Claire Clivaz and Sarah Bowen Savant, it gathers together the contributions of seventeen scholars involved in Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies. The volume attests to the spreading of digital humanities in these fields and presents fundamental analysis of the rise of visual culture as well as specific test-cases concerning ancient manuscripts. Sophisticated visualisation tools, stylometric analysis, teaching and visual data, epigraphy and visualisation belong notably to the varied overview presented in the volume.
The Egyptian Priestly Figure as a Teacher of Hellenized Wisdom
In The Tradition of Hermes Trismegistus, Christian H. Bull argues that the treatises attributed to Hermes Trismegistus reflect the spiritual exercises and ritual practices of loosely organized brotherhoods in Egypt. These small groups were directed by Egyptian priests educated in the traditional lore of the temples, but also conversant with Greek philosophy. Such priests, who were increasingly dispossessed with the gradual demise of the Egyptian temples, could find eager adherents among a Greek-speaking audience seeking for the wisdom of the Egyptian Hermes, who was widely considered to be an important source for the philosophies of Pythagoras and Plato. The volume contains a comprehensive analysis of the myths of Hermes Trismegistus, a reevaluation of the Way of Hermes, and a contextualization of this ritual tradition.
The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani, a Coptic papyrus codex preserved at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, describes Mani’s mission, teachings and debates with sages in the courts of the Sasanian empire during the reign of Shapur I; with an extended account of his last days and death under Bahram I. The text offers an unprecedented new source for the history of religions in Late Antiquity, including interactions of Manichaean, Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions in Iran, remarkably transmitted into the Mediterranean world as part of Manichaean missionary literature. This is the first of four fascicles constituting the editio princeps, based on enhanced digital and multispectral imaging and extended autoptic study of the manuscript.
In The Metaphor of the Divine as Planter of the People Jennifer Metten Pantoja traces the emergence of the conceptual metaphor YHWH IS THE PLANTER OF THE PEOPLE in ancient Hebrew poetry and follows its development throughout biblical history and Second Temple literature, in order to illustrate how the deep connection to the land shaped ancient thought and belief. Within this broader, primary metaphor, the complex metaphor YHWH IS THE VINTNER OF ISRAEL is also analyzed as an image predominant in the pre-exilic prophetic literature. Recent advances in cognitive linguistics, coupled with traditional historical-critical methods, as well as a survey of the material culture, work in tandem to illuminate one snapshot of ancient Israel’s conception of the divine.
Incubation Sanctuaries in the Greco-Roman World
Author: Gil Renberg
Where Dreams May Come was the winner of the 2018 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, awarded by the Society for Classical Studies.

In this book, Gil H. Renberg examines the ancient religious phenomenon of “incubation", the ritual of sleeping at a divinity’s sanctuary in order to obtain a prophetic or therapeutic dream. Most prominently associated with the Panhellenic healing god Asklepios, incubation was also practiced at the cult sites of numerous other divinities throughout the Greek world, but it is first known from ancient Near Eastern sources and was established in Pharaonic Egypt by the time of the Macedonian conquest; later, Christian worship came to include similar practices. Renberg’s exhaustive study represents the first attempt to collect and analyze the evidence for incubation from Sumerian to Byzantine and Merovingian times, thus making an important contribution to religious history.

This set consists of two books.
Author: Stewart Moore
In Jewish Ethnic Identity and Relations in Hellenistic Egypt, Stewart Moore investigates the foundations of common assumptions about ethnicity. To maintain one’s identity in a strange land, was it always necessary to band tightly together with one’s coethnics? Sociologists and anthropologists who study ethnicity have given us a much wider view of the possible strategies of ethnic maintenance and interaction.

The most important facet of Jewish ethnicity in Egypt which emerges from this study is the interaction over the Jewish-Egyptian boundary. Previous scholarship has assumed that this border was a Siegfried Line marked by mutual contempt. Yet Jews, Egyptians and also Greeks interacted in complicated ways in Ptolemaic Egypt, with positive relationships being at least as numerous as negative ones.
Author: Erin Evans
Despite the surge of interest in Gnostic texts following the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, the Coptic Books of Jeu and Pistis Sophia remain understudied. Often dismissed as convoluted, confused, and repetitious, Erin Evans convincingly shows that these texts represent the writings of a distinct religious group with a consistent system of theology, cosmology, and ritual practice. This book offers an in-depth examination of these texts, their relationship to other contemporary Gnostic ideas, and their use in the context of a practicing religious group. Three thematic sections demonstrate how the collection of texts functions as a whole, covering baptisms and mystical ascent procedures, guides to moral living, and introductory texts and myths.