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Authors: Naama Golan and Shai Gordin

Abstract

This article addresses two cases from the narratives in Daniel in which a similar theological question arises concerning the uncertainty of God’s ability to deliver his servants: (1) The chief officer’s denial of Daniels’ request (Dan 1:10) despite the fact that God granted Daniel grace and compassion from the chief officer, and (2) the speech of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan 3:17–18), in which they entertain the possibility that God will not, or perhaps cannot, save them. Commentators and translators throughout the generations have struggled with these theological problems, and we can identify a clear trend seeking to read the relevant verses in a way that removes the uncertainty, replacing it with certain faith in God’s deliverance.

In this article, we demonstrate how this interpretive trend surprisingly continues even with modern biblical scholars. Based on a literary analysis, we suggest that reading the MT version without altering it to conform with certain theological preconceptions may shed new light on the Daniel narratives, thereby exposing their deep and complex message.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

The collocation נצרת לב in the profile of the strange woman in Proverbs is a well- known exegetical crux (Prov 7:10). Since in Prov 4 guarding one’s heart has a positive meaning, the phrase “guarded of heart” in the portrait of a negative character seems out of place. Traditionally scholars approached this difficulty (1) by emending the MT to נצרת לוט, i.e., picturing the woman covered with a veil; (2) by positing נצר II and reading the phrase as “tumultuous mind”; and (3) by arguing that the root in question may have the unique connotation of “cunning” or “wily” in Prov 7:10. Given the dominant death-related symbolism in the depiction of this anti-heroine, this discussion links the verb “to guard’ in Prov 7 to its usage in Isa 65:4, arguing that the strange woman is thought of as possessing a tomb-chamber for a heart and styled as the ultimate femme fatale.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This article investigates the different stages in the formation of Ps 45 and will point out their purposes by analyzing the acting characters, their positions, and their relationships. The study will suggest a new understanding of שגל and emphasize the importance of the frame with the opening verses and closing remarks, thus gaining a new approach to understanding Ps 45 as both an expression of royal ideology and of scribal self-confidence.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Chelcent Fuad

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between the pentateuchal tithe laws in Lev 27:30–33; Num 18:21–32, and Deut 14:22–29 from a literary perspective and finds that (1) Lev 27:30–33 is the oldest tithe law in the Pentateuch that may have been the common source of the other pentateuchal tithe laws, (2) the tithe law in Num 18:21–32 may have been literarily dependent upon the tithe law in Deut 14:22–29, (3) the purpose of the legal revision of the pentateuchal tithe laws was to replace rather than to supplement the older legislation, and (4) the tithe law in Lev 27:30–33 may have been a product of the Priestly School, whereas the tithe law in Num 18:21–32 may have stemmed from the Holiness School albeit from a later stratum than H proper (Lev 17–26).

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

This study focuses on the difficult ending of 1 Sam 20:41 in the Masoretic text (MT): וַיִּבְכּוּ אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ עַד דָּוִד הִגְדִּיל, rendered normally as “They wept together; David wept the longer.” Many have pointed out the peculiarity of this phrase, and different emendations were proposed, based mainly on the LXX. The present article suggests an emendation of 1 Sam 20:41, according to which the original text read here עד בור הגדול. The mention of the “Great Cistern” at the end of the previous story in the Book of Samuel (19:22), provides strong support for this suggestion. It is proposed that the mention of the “Great Cistern” in the original text intended to narrow the geographical gaps between the different stories about David and Saul.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

Additions B and E to LXX Esther have been variously dated from the second century BCE to the first century CE. This study links the two Greek Additions, on the one hand, with Philo’s writings through the concept of the “evil-hating justice” and, on the other hand, with the historical persons and events related to the Jewish-Alexandrian conflict of 38-41 CE, and dates their composition or final redaction to the early forties of the first century CE.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

Abstract

This essay is concerned with the meaning of torah and its relationship with wisdom in late Second Temple Judaism. It has been previously argued that, as the Mosaic torah had gained dominance, the wisdom school absorbed and accommodated the Mosaic torah tradition, and yet maintained all the essential elements of the sapiential tradition. Through a study of two Jewish apocalypses, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, the essay discovers not only the sapientialization of the Mosaic torah, but also the total submission of the wisdom tradition under the authority of the Mosaic torah tradition to gain legitimacy. It argues that this is done through a submission of sapiential revelations to the Mosaic revelation received at Sinai, and a portrayal of wisdom recipients and apocalyptic visionaries as types of Moses. This process reflects religious innovation under the disguise of compliance with established, older traditions.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

Abstract

In his recounting of the Exodus narrative of the making of the priestly vestments in Judean Antiquities 3.151-180, 184-187, Josephus provides a vivid description of the high priest’s wardrobe, including its cosmological connotations. This article shows that Josephus uses cosmological motifs in his recounting of the high priestly attire in order to convey a message to his intended audience in Rome. Josephus adds his own accents to the biblical narrative to convince his public that the high priest’s fine clothing functions as a statement that the Judean God is not a national deity with restricted power, but the Highest God, who is the only creator, maintainer, and supreme ruler of the universe. Seen from this perspective, we observe Josephus in dialogue with a well-established Greco-Roman clothing imagery tradition that portrays gods and mortals in symbolic garments to enhance their far-reaching power or authority.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Gershon Galil

Abstract

The formation of the books Judges and Samuel is re-examined in this article. The author maintains that two main editions of the book of Samuel were created. The first was composed in Jerusalem during the reign of Solomon. The author of this edition was also the author of the second edition of the Book of Judges (“B”). The first edition of Judges, the “book of saviors,” which was composed in the north at the beginning of the age of monarchy (“A”), was also one of the four main sources which were incorporated into the first edition of Samuel. The other sources were: the “acts of Saul”; the “acts of David,” and the “book of Jashar.” The second edition of Samuel and the third of Judges were edited by a single person, the Deuteronomist, in Babylonia, ca. 560 BCE. He prepared an extensive composition describing the history of Israel from Moses to Jeremiah. In Deuteronomy the path was delineated and norms were determined. The main body (Joshua–Kings) records the ups and downs in Israel’s relationship with God; and the epilogue (the book of Jeremiah) focuses on the destruction and Exile, explaining the events and informing the exiles of the message of redemption.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Abstract

The article is a contribution to the current discussion about the beginnings of prophetic books in ancient Israel. It investigates the significance of the so-called „Literary Predictive Texts“ (LPT) and the Neo-Assyrian prophecies for our understanding of the emergence of prophetic writings in Israel. TheLPTin particular had received only little attention so far. Tying in critically with some recent studies, this article compares the Marduk prophecy and the Neo-Assyrian tablet SAA9 3 with selected passages from the book of Amos (Amos 3–6* and Amos 6*). It concludes that in contrast to the Neo-Assyrian collective tablets the LPTcannot serve as appropriate analogies to early prophetic scrolls, but that they are helpful to understand the phenomenon of tradent prophecy.

In: Vetus Testamentum