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Die Entstehung des biblischen Konzepts der Leviten
Author: Raik Heckl
Die Untersuchung zeichnet die Entstehung des Levitismus nach. Dieser kommt erst in der spätvorexilischen Zeit als judäische Innovation des Stammeskonzeptes auf. Überlieferungen über den Jakobsohn Levi werden nach 722 in Juda zur Formung einer Gruppenidentität der Beamten und literalen Eliten genutzt. Mose und Aaron als Beamte des Gottes Israel werden Protagonisten dieser Gruppierung, weswegen man auch das Priestertum am Zentralheiligtum als Teil der Beamtenschaft integrierte, sodass u.a. im Deuteronomium von levitischen Priestern gesprochen wird. In der nachexilischen Zeit wurden eine Reihe von Berufen und Gruppen unter der Bezeichnung „Leviten“ als eine Art Tempelbeamtentum der Priesterschaft unterstellt. Dabei wurde eine Professionalisierung des Kultbetriebes und eine radikale Trennung von kultischen und nichtkultischen Bereichen und Tätigkeiten vollzogen. Darin agierten die Leviten für das Volk und repräsentierten es in den nichtkultischen Bereichen des Tempels.

The study tracks the origins of the Biblical Levitism. It only emerged in the late pre-exilic period as a Judean innovation of the tribal concept. After 722, traditions about Jacob's son Levi were used in Judah to form a group identity of officials and literal elites. Moses and Aaron, as officials of the God of Israel, became protagonists of this group. Therefore, the priests at the central shrine were also integrated as part of the officials, so that Deuteronomy, for example, speaks of Levitical priests. In the post-exilic period, a number of professions and groups were subordinated to the priesthood under the designation "Levites" as a kind of temple office. In the process, a professionalisation of the cultic sector and a radical separation of cultic and non-cultic areas and activities took place. In this, the Levites acted on behalf of the people and represented them in the non-cultic areas of the temple.
The Apocalypse of Abraham is a pseudepigraphal work that narrates Abraham’s rejection of idol worship and his subsequent ascent to heaven, where he is shown eschatological secrets through angelic mediation. This fascinating text was only preserved in Old Church Slavonic and must be studied as both a medieval Christian and an ancient Jewish text. This monograph addresses the following questions:
-Why were medieval Slavs translating and reading Jewish pseudepigrapha?
-How much, if at all, did they emend or edit the Apocalypse of Abraham?
-When in antiquity was it most likely written?
-What were its ancient Jewish social and theological contexts?
In Johannine Social Identity Formation after the Fall of the Jerusalem Temple Christopher Porter reads the Fourth Gospel through the lens of social identity theory as means of reconciling the social dislocation and trauma of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple. Analysing the Fourth Gospel in conversation with other temple-removed texts of Qumran, Philo, and Josephus the gospel’s intent to renegotiate cultic life without the temple can be seen. Through this analysis it is argued that the Fourth Gospel primarily functions as an intra-mural Jewish text, attempting to negotiate the formation of a Jesus-follower social identity in direct continuity with earlier Jewish shared social narratives. Finally, this work reviews the Johannine Community as an outcome of the Gospel identity formation.
Religion, Ethnicity, and the Shaping of Jesus-Oriented Jewishness in the Fourth Gospel
In John within Judaism, Wally V. Cirafesi offers a reading of the Gospel of John as an expression of the fluid and flexible nature of Jewish identity in Greco-Roman antiquity. While many have noted John’s general Jewishness, few have given it a seat at the ideologically congested table of ancient Jewish practice and belief.
By interrogating the concept of “Judaism” in relation to the complex categories of “religion” and “ethnicity,” Cirafesi argues that John negotiates Jewishness using strategies of ethnic identity formation paralleled in other Jewish sources from the Second Temple and early rabbinic periods. In this process of negotiation, including its use of “high christology” and critique of Ioudaioi, John coalesces with other expressions of ancient Jewish identity and, thus, can be read “within Judaism.”
Doublets, Textual Divination, and the Formation of the Book of Jeremiah
The biblical book of Jeremiah was frequently expanded and revised through duplication by anonymous scribes in ancient Judea. Who were these scribes? What gave them the authority to revise divinatory texts like Jeremiah? And when creating duplicates, what did they think they were doing? In Scribes Writing Scripture: Doublets, Textual Divination, and the Formation of Jeremiah, Justus Theodore Ghormley explores possible answers to these questions. The scribes who revised Jeremiah are textual diviners akin to divining scribal scholars of ancient Near Eastern royal courts; and their practice of expanding Jeremiah through duplication involves techniques of textual divination comparable the practice of textual divination utilized in the formation of ancient Near Eastern divinatory texts.
Author: James Nati
The Dead Sea Scrolls have demonstrated the fluidity of biblical and early Jewish texts in antiquity. How did early Jewish scribes understand the nature of their pluriform literature? How should modern textual critics deal with these fluid texts?
Centered on the Serekh ha-Yaḥad – or Community Rule – from Qumran as a test case, this volume tracks the development of its textual tradition in multiple trajectories, and suggests that it was not understood as a single, unified composition even in antiquity. Attending to material, textual, and literary factors, the book argues that ancient claims for textual identity ought to be given priority in discussions among textual critics about the ontology of biblical books
While some describe the Greek Psalter as a “slavish” or “interlinear” translation with “dreadfully poor poetry,” how would its original audience have described it? Positioning the translation within the developing corpus of Jewish-Greek literature, Jones analyzes the Psalter’s style based on the textual models and literary strategies available to its translator. She demonstrates that the translator both respects the integrity of his source and displays a sensitivity to his translation’s performative aspects. By adopting recognizable and acceptable Jewish-Greek literary conventions, the translator ultimately creates a text that can function independently and be read aloud or performed in the Jewish-Greek community.
Author: Seth Bledsoe
This book offers fresh readings of the Aramaic book of Ahiqar, an oft underappreciated ancient wisdom text. In undertaking a comprehensive literary analysis, incorporating both the drama and the sayings together, Bledsoe shows that Ahiqar’s didactic impulse is founded on a sense of uncertainty about life, offering advice for those in times of distress, much like the titular character himself. While Ahiqar shares many features with instructional literature like Proverbs, the ambiguous cosmic and social order imagined in the text resonate more strongly with the likes of Qoheleth or Job. Bledsoe also takes seriously the Elephantine context, suggesting that the social and political ethic evinced by the work would have resonated strongly with the Judean community in Achaemenid Egypt.
Volume Editors: Timo Nisula, Anni Maria Laato, and Pablo Irizar
Religious Polemics and Encounters in Late Antiquity: Boundaries, Conversions, and Persuasion, explores the intricate identity formation and negotiations of early encounters of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). It explores the ever-pressing challenges arising from polemical inter-religious encounters by analyzing the dynamics of apologetic debate, the negotiation and formation of boundaries of belonging, and the argumentative thrust for persuasion and conversion, as well as the outcomes of these various encounters, including the articulation of novel ideas. The Late Antique authors studied in the present volume represent a variety of voices from North Africa, passing through Rome, to Palestine. Together, these voices of the past offer invaluable insight to shape the present times, in hope for a better future.
Author: Attila Bodor
In The Theological Profile of the Peshitta of Isaiah, Attila Bodor explores theological elements in the Peshitta version of Isaiah. Through a close study of its interpretative renderings, the author shows that this lesser-known ancient version is not only an important witness to textual history and a repository of early exegetical traditions, but it also testifies to the beliefs of the early Syriac-speaking community from which the Peshitta emerged. In the monograph, sixty-three Peshitta divergences from the Hebrew are collected and analyzed from the book of Isaiah in order to illustrate the theological implications and the impact of these divergent renderings on the interpretation and reception of the major Isaianic themes that treat God, the Messiah, and the people of God.