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Prayer in the Ancient World (PAW) is an innovative resource on prayer in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The over 350 entries in PAW showcase a robust selection of the range of different types of prayers attested from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, the Levant, early Judaism and Christianity, Greece, Rome, Arabia, and Iran, enhanced by critical commentary.
The project illustrates the variety of ways human beings have sought to communicate with or influence beings with extraordinary superhuman power for millennia. By including diverse examples such as vows and oaths, blessings, curses, incantations, graffiti, iconography, and more, PAW casts a wide net. In so doing, PAW privileges no particular tradition or conception of how to interact with the divine; for example, the project refuses to perpetuate a value distinction between “prayer,” “magic,” and “cursing.”

Detailed overviews introduce each area and address key issues such as language and terminology, geographical distribution, materiality, orality, phenomenology of prayer, prayer and magic, blessings and curses, and ritual settings and ritual actors. In order to be as comprehensive as practically possible, the volume includes a representative prayer of every attested type from each tradition.

Individual entries include a wealth of information. Each begins with a list of essential details, including the source, region, date, occasion, type and function, performers, and materiality of the prayer. Next, after a concise summary and a brief synopsis of the main textual witnesses, a formal description calls attention to the exemplar’s literary and stylistic features, rhetorical structure, important motifs, and terminology. The occasions when the prayer was used and its function are analyzed, followed by a discussion of how this exemplar fits within the range of variation of this type of prayer practice, both synchronically and diachronically. Important features of the prayer relevant for cross-cultural comparison are foregrounded in the subsequent section. Following an up-to-date translation, a concise yet detailed commentary provides explanations necessary for understanding the prayer and its function. Finally, each entry concludes with a bibliography of essential primary and secondary resources for further study.
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In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

James Crossley and Robert Myles’s Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict is a considerable accomplishment in its situation of Jesus as a figure inseparable from the material conditions of labor exploitation. The present review discusses two topics that the book touches upon only briefly, but linger under the surface of their analysis: Jesus’ treatment of enslaved laborers and utopian social experimentation. This article juxtaposes Jesus with the roughly contemporaneous figure of Spartacus to consider about the availability of social experimentation and the location of slaves within class-based analyses of Roman antiquity.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author:
This series is dedicated to the development and promotion of the linguistically-informed study of the Bible in its original languages. Biblical studies has greatly benefited from modern theoretical and applied linguistics, but stands poised to benefit from further integration of the two fields of study. Most linguistics has studied contemporary languages and attempts to apply linguistic methods to the study of ancient languages requires systematic re-assessment of their approaches. This series is designed to address such challenges, by providing a venue for linguistically-based analysis of the languages of the Bible. As a result, monograph-length studies and collections of essays in the major areas of linguistics, such as syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis and text linguistics, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, and comparative linguistics will be encouraged and any theoretical linguistic approach will be considered, both formal and functional. Primary consideration is given to the Greek of the New and Old Testaments and of other relevant ancient authors, but studies in Hebrew, Coptic, and other related languages will be entertained as appropriate.

The series has published an average of two volumes per year over the last five years.
In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

This is a review article of James Crossley's and Robert Myle's, Jesus in Class Conflict (2023). After a chapter by chapter summary, the review provides some assorted critical reflections on among other issues the 'biographical' approach still apparent here, despite a critical effort to distance from 'great man' approaches to history.

Open Access
In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author:

Abstract

This essay is a review of Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict by James Crossley and Robert J. Myles, a historical materialist exploration of what we know about the life of Jesus and the Jesus movement in first-century Roman Palestine. This review focuses particularly on the ways in which Crossley and Myles engage with considerations of gender and masculinity as part of their engagement with the historical materials.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Author:

Abstract

Crossley and Myles’s Jesus: A Life in Class Struggle offers an innovative and accessible reading of the movement around Jesus in terms of class struggle. The authors combine a breadth of knowledge about first-century realities, acumen in exegesis of the Gospel texts, and contemporary crowd theory to reach new conclusions regarding Jesus and his disciples, especially in his last days, and regarding the ‘failure’ of their movement. This review examines their understanding of the ‘Jesus movement’ and its relationship to the Galilean peasantry and their methodology in extrapolating from the Gospels; and proposes a more thorough Marxist theorization of the Gospels’ role in producing the ‘failure’ they describe.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

This essay is an extended review of, and engagement with, James Crossley and Robert J. Myles’s Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict (2023). The review particularly commends them for a work which addresses the difficult question of whether one is able to recover an ‘historical’ figure from tradition, and notes that effort, in many ways, becomes a compelling form of reception criticism. It notes, as well, some key places for future consideration (e.g., the implications of their work for masculinity studies).

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

This article offers a rejoinder to the five critical reviews appearing in jshj of the book by James Crossley and Robert J. Myles, Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict (Zer0 Books, 2023).

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus