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Contextualising a Fourth-Century Monastic Community
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This work tells the story of a community of fourth-century monks living in Egypt. The letters they wrote and received were found within the covers of works that changed our understanding of early religious thought - the Nag Hammadi Codices. This book seeks to contextualise the letters and answer questions about monastic life. Significantly, new evidence is presented that links the letters directly to the authors and creators of the codices in which they were discovered.
Histoire et archéologie antiques et médiévales
Les Chrétiens de Najrān sont célèbres grâce à leur martyrs (en novembre 523) et à leurs relations avec la principauté théocratique fondée par Muḥammad à Médine en 622. Mais, jusqu’à ces dernières années, seule la tradition savante manuscrite, chrétienne et musulmane, prouvait leur existence. Ce n’est plus le cas désormais. Depuis 2014, d’importants vestiges archéologiques, principalement des inscriptions rupestres, peuvent leur être attribués.
La nature et la distribution chronologique de ces vestiges apportent de substantielles inflexions aux connaissances sur l’histoire de ces Chrétiens, encore influents au xe siècle, et sur les langues et les écritures en usage à Najrān.

The Christians of Najrān are known by their martyrdom (November 523), described in Christian sources. According to Muslim tradition, the community was in relation with the polity of Medina, founded by Muḥammad in 622. Recent archeological discoveries attest this community in more details and bring substantial changes to our knowledge. Situated between Yemen and Medina, Najrān was not only an influential Christian community persisting until the 10th century, but has seen remarkable transformations. The Christians of Najrān underwent developments, some of which find an echo in the Qurʾān, the earliest layer of Arabic script and the Muslim tradition.
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Tehom, the Hebrew Bible’s primeval deep, is a powerful concept often overlooked outside of creation and conflict contexts. Primeval waters mark the boundary between life and death in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East, representing the duality of both deliverance and judgment. This book examines all contexts of Tehom to explain its conceptual forms and use as a proper noun. Comparative methodology combined with affect and spatial theories provide new ways to understand how religious communities repurposed Tehom. These interpretations of Tehom empower resilience in times of suffering and oppression.
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In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Abstract

The hypothesis according to which Jesus and his group were somehow involved in anti-Roman resistance has been systematically opposed by some quarters through the centuries. One of the most recent examples is Jesse P. Nickel’s The Things that Make for Peace: Jesus and Eschatological Violence, a book whose author boldly claims to have ‘refuted’ that hypothesis. The present article surveys this volume, concluding that it contains several misunderstandings of the field and method, as well as serious misrepresentations of the hypothesis under discussion, to the extent that everything indicates that it is influenced by theological presuppositions. These conclusions are not limited because Nickel’s book is representative of a much wider trend within the field.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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.
The church annexes of late antique Cyprus were bustling places of industry, producing olive oil, flour, bread, ceramics, and metal products. From its earliest centuries, the church was an economic player, participating in agricultural and artisanal production.
More than a Church brings together architecture, ceramics, numismatics, landscape archaeology, and unpublished excavation material, alongside consideration of Cyprus’s dynamic and prosperous 4th–10th-century history. Keane offers a rich picture of the association between sacred buildings and agricultural and industrial facilities—comprehensively presenting, for the first time, the church’s economic role and impact in late antique Cyprus.
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Abstract

This article discusses the author’s experience of teaching historical Jesus courses at several institutions in the United States over a span of fourteen years. It outlines some observed pedagogical challenges in teaching these courses and some strategies the author has employed to address them.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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This study reframes and reorients the study of 2 Enoch, moving beyond debates about Christian or Jewish authorship and considering the work in the context of eclectic and erudite cultures in late antiquity, particularly Syria. The study compares the work with the Parables of Enoch and then with a variety of writings associated with late antique Syrian theology, demonstrating the distinctively eclectic character of 2 Enoch. It offers new paradigms for research into the pseudepigrapha.