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Illuminating Moses

A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance

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Edited by Jane Beal

In Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception, readers discover the roles of Moses from the Exodus to the Renaissance--law-giver, prophet, writer--and their impact on Jewish and Christian cultures as seen in the Hebrew Bible, Patristic writings, Catholic liturgy, Jewish philosophy and midrashim, Anglo-Saxon literature, Scholastics and Thomas Aquinas, Middle English literature, and the Renaissance.
Contributors are Jane Beal, Robert D. Miller II, Tawny Holm, Christopher A. Hall, Luciana Cuppo-Csaki, Haim Kreisel, Rachel S. Mikva, Devorah Schoenfeld, Gernot Wieland, Deborah Goodwin, Franklin T. Harkins, Gail Ivy Berlin, and Brett Foster.

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Edited by Claire Clivaz, Andrew Gregory and David Hamidović

Ancient texts, once written by hand on parchment and papyrus, are now increasingly discoverable online in newly digitized editions, and their readers now work online as well as in traditional libraries. So what does this mean for how scholars may now engage with these texts, and for how the disciplines of biblical, Jewish and Christian studies might develop? These are the questions that contributors to this volume address. Subjects discussed include textual criticism, palaeography, philology, the nature of ancient monotheism, and how new tools and resources such as blogs, wikis, databases and digital publications may transform the ways in which contemporary scholars engage with historical sources. Contributors attest to the emergence of a conscious recognition of something new in the way that we may now study ancient writings, and the possibilities that this new awareness raises.

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Edited by Wim Hofstee and A. van der Kooij

The volume Religion beyond its Private Role in Modern Society aims at contributing to the debate on the distinction between public and private spheres with regard to the role of religion in modern societies. This issue which is inherent to many conceptions regarding social order, modernity, freedom of conscience, and the changing role and function of religion is discussed not only from a social scientific but also from a historical and philosophical point of view. The articles dwell on several aspects of the role of religion in different societies in modern times, and the overall theme is explored from the perspective of various religious traditions and groups, both institutional and non-institutional. It turns out that the distinction made is difficult to maintain.

Francis Mercury van Helmont's Sketch of Christian Kabbalism

Translated and Edited by Sheila A. Spector

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Edited by Sheila Spector

Sheila A. Spector’s translation of the Sketch of Christian Kabbalism, by Francis Mercury van Helmont (1614-98), is the first English version of the foundational seventeenth-century treatise appended to Knorr von Rosenroth’s compendium, the Kabbala Denudata. After a survey of the historical context in general, Jewish and Christian Kabbalah in particular, and a brief biography of van Helmont, Spector’s introduction explains how the author adapted the original Jewish myth for Christian purposes. The bilingual text contains a facsimile of the original Latin on one side, facing the English translation on the other, with Van Helmont’s footnotes supplemented by the translator’s endnotes. The edition is essential for scholars, though of interest to the general reader as well.

Constructing Tradition

Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism

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Andreas Kilcher

The question of constructing tradition, concepts of origin, and memory as well as techniques and practices of knowledge transmission, are central for cultures in general. In esotericism, however, such questions and techniques play an outstanding role and are widely reflected upon, in its literature. Esoteric paradigms not only understand themselves in elaborated mytho-poetical narratives as bearers of “older”, “hidden”, “higher” knowledge. They also claim their knowledge to be of a particular origin. And they claim this knowledge has been transmitted by particular (esoteric) means, media and groups. Consequently, esotericism not only involves the construction of its own tradition; it can even be understood as a specific form of tradition and transmission. The various studies of the present voume, which contains the papers of a conference held in Tübingen in July 2007, provide an overview of the most important concepts and ways of constructing tradition in esotericism.

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Rachel Anisfeld

History and literature come together in a new way in this study of the midrashic collection Pesikta deRav Kahana. The book combines the findings of rabbinic historians and early Christianity scholars with a close reading of this midrashic text on its own and in relation to the tannaitic midrashim which preceded it. The rich picture that emerges suggests that PRK, in its new homiletical and aggadic stance, develops a religious language more appealing and accessible to the masses, an outreach language meant to win rabbinic popularity. Exploring issues of power and rhetoric, the book also places PRK’s outreach language into the cultural context of the imperialism of Roman Christian homily.

Intertextuality in the Tales of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav

A Close Reading of Sippurey Ma'asiyot

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Marianne Schleicher

Until 1806, Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (1772–1810) disseminated his thoughts on redemption through homilies. In 1806, however, Nahman chose the genre of tales as an additional and innovative means of religious discourse. An academic close reading of all of the tales, known as Sippurey Ma’asiyot, has not yet been undertaken. As the first comprehensive scholarly work on the whole selection of tales and contrary to previous scholarship, this book does not reduce the tales to biographical expressions of Nahman’s tormented soul and messianic aspirations. Instead, it treats them as religious literature where the concept of “intertextuality” is considered essential to explain how Nahman defines his theology of redemption and invites his listeners and readers to appropriate his religious world-view.

Edited by Alan J. Avery-Peck

The prize-winning Encyclopaedia of Judaism is now available online. More than 200 entries comprising more than 1,000,000 words. This unique reference tool offers an authoritative, comprehensive, and systematic presentation of the current state of scholarship on fundamental issues of Judaism, both past and present. While heavy emphasis is placed on the classical literature of Judaism and its history, it also includes principal entries on circumcision, genetic engineering, homosexuality, intermarriage in American Judaism, and other acutely contemporary issues. Comprehensive and up-to-date, it reflects the highest standards in scholarship. Covering a tradition of nearly four thousand years, some of the most distinguished scholars in the field describe the way of life, history, art, theology, philosophy, and the practices and beliefs of the Jewish people.
The Encyclopaedia of Judaism Online is also available in print, visit www.brill.com for more information [ second edition].
Features and Benefits - More than 200 entries comprising more than 1,000,000 words - Combines entries on classical literature and history of Judaism with entries on contemporary issues - Advanced search options and cross-searching with other reference works under Brill Online like The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online

Descenders to the Chariot

The People Behind the Hekhalot Literature

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James Davila

The Hekhalot literature is a bizarre conglomeration of Jewish esoteric and revelatory texts in Hebrew and Aramaic, produced sometime between late antiquity and the early Middle Ages and surviving in medieval manuscripts.
These texts claims to describe the self-induced spiritual experiences of the "descenders to the chariot" and to reveal the techniques that permitted these magico-religious practitioners to view for themselves Ezekiel's Merkavah as well as to gain control of angels and a supernatural mastery of Torah.
Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological evidence from the Middle East, anthropological models, and a wide range of cross-cultural evidence, this book aims to show that the Hekhalot literature preserves the teachings and rituals of real religious functionaries who flourished in late antiquity and who were quite like the functionaries anthopologists call shamans.
Scholarly monographs on topics in the iconography of Judaism.