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Three Introductions to Psalms on Poetry, Translation, and Music by Joel Bril (Berlin 1791). A Bilingual Edition, translated with Commentary and an Introduction
This annotated bilingual edition presents to readers for the first time a key Hebrew book of Jewish Enlightenment. Printed in Berlin in 1791, Joel Bril’s Hebrew introductions to Psalms constitute the earliest interpretation of Moses Mendelssohn’s language philosophy, translation theory, and aesthetics. In these introductions, Mendelssohn emerges as a critic of Maimonides who located eternal felicity not in union with the Active Intellect but in the aesthetic experience of the divine through sacred poetry. Bril’s theoretical insights, the broad range of his myriad textual sources, and his linguistic innovations make the Book of the Songs of Israel a touchstone of modern Hebrew literary theory and Jewish thought.
These last three books of Josephus’s Antiquities detail Jewish history between the establishment of direct Roman rule in Judea in 6 CE and the outbreak of the Judean rebellion against Rome in 66—a rebellion that culminated in 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. Along the way, these books also constitute the main source for the context in which Christianity was born. This volume offers a translation of Josephus’s Greek text, along with a commentary that aims to clarify the history to which Josephus testifies and also its meaning for him as an exiled Jerusalemite and rebel-turned-historian.

Abstract

This article draws upon the discipline of linguistics in order to propose refinements to understandings of coherence as typically employed in much biblical interpretation. After arguing in favor of inductive, linguistic definitions of coherence and distinguishing it from cohesion, it examines several examples of biblical interpretation in which conventional understandings of, and criteria for, coherence are employed. Key differences between these two understandings of coherence are then mapped onto prominent trends in analysis of text formation and interpretation in an effort to identify ways that biblical scholars can refine and sharpen their textual analyses through more careful use of coherence.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author:
Since the publication of the Septuagint in the 3rd century BCE, scholars have attempted to describe the types of stones that populate the biblical text. Modern academic scholars rely on ancient translations despite the contradictions and historical implausibility which manifests. Abandoning the ancient translations, this study synthesizes comparative linguistics with the archeogemological corpus. By ascertaining valid cognates, the Hebrew stone names may be equated with names in ancient languages which correspond with known species of stones. This allows us to confirm the identities of the stones mentioned in the biblical text and place them into historical context.
The Image of Jews and Judaism in Biblical Interpretation, from Anti-Jewish Exegesis to Eliminationist Antisemitism
Author:
“Unheil,” curse, disaster: according to German scholar Gerhard Kittel, this is the Jewish destiny attested to in scripture. Such interpretations of biblical texts provided Adolf Hitler with the theological legitimatization necessary to realizing his “final solution.”

But theological antisemitism did not begin with the Third Reich. Ferdinand Baur’s nineteenth-century Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy empowered National Socialist scholars to construct an Aryan Jesus cleansed of his Jewish identity, building on Baur’s Enlightenment prejudices. Anders Gerdmar takes a fresh look at the dangers of the politicization of biblical scholarship and the ways our unrecognized interpretive filters may generate someone else’s apocalypse.
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.
What does it mean when Christians confess that Jesus was ‘born of the Virgin Mary’? This volume of essays, written by an international group of scholars, approaches this question from various perspectives. From examining the Old Testament backgrounds to exploring the Virgin Birth in various traditions and cultures, each chapter offers fresh perspectives. The contributors explore topics ranging from the Pre-Nicene tradition to modern cinematic interpretations, and from the perspectives of renowned theologians to interfaith dialogue with Islam and Hinduism. Engaging and thought-provoking, this volume promises to illuminate the significance of the Virgin Birth across diverse religious and cultural contexts.