In Israel in Egypt scholars in different fields explore what can be known of the experiences of the many and varied Jewish communities in Egypt, from biblical sources to the medieval world. For generations of Jews from antiquity to the medieval period, the land of Egypt represented both a place of danger to their communal religious identity and also a haven with opportunities for prosperity and growth. A volume of collected essays from scholars in fields ranging from biblical studies and classics to papyrology and archaeology, Israel in Egypt explores what can be known of the experiences of the many and varied Jewish communities in Egypt, from biblical sources to the medieval world.
In Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Matthew V. Novenson brings together thirteen state-of-the-art essays by leading scholars on the various ways ancient Jewish, Christian, and classical writers conceive of God, Christ, Wisdom, the demiurge, angels, foreign gods, and other divine beings. In particular, the book revisits the “early high Christology” debates of the 1990s, identifying the lasting contributions thereof as well as the lingering difficulties and new, emerging questions from the last thirty years of research. The essays in this book probe the much-touted but under-theorized distinctions between monotheism and polytheism, Judaism and Hellenism, Christianity and paganism. They show how what we call monotheism and Christology fit within the Greco-Roman world of which they are part.
Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments: A New Interpretive Approach elucidates the unique characteristics of Talmudic discourse culture. Approaching Talmudic literature from a linguistic perspective, the book shows the extensive and hidden ways in which later rabbis used early formulations. Applying Quentin Skinner's interpretive question “What was the author doing in composing the text in this particular way?" to Talmudic literature reveals that Talmudic debate is not only about ideas, concepts and laws but also about the latter's connection to pre-existing formulations. These early traditions, rather than only being accepted or not, are used by later generations to build their own arguments. The book articulates the function of tradition at the time that Rabbinic Judaism was forged.
This volume, edited by René Brouwer and Emmanuele Vimercati, deals with the debate about fate, providence and free will in the early Imperial age. This debate is rekindled in the 1st century CE during emperor Augustus’ rule and ends in the 3rd century CE with Plotinus and Origen, when the different positions in the debate were more or less fully developed. The book aims to show how in this period the notions of fate, providence and freedom were developed and debated, not only within and between the main philosophical schools, that is Stoicism, Aristotelianism, and Platonism, but also in the interaction with other, “religious” movements, here understood in the general sense of groups of people sharing beliefs in and worship of (a) superhuman controlling power(s), such as Gnosticism, Hermetism as well as Judaism and Christianity.
In Violence in the Hebrew Bible scholars reflect on texts of violence in the Hebrew Bible, as well as their often problematic reception history. Authoritative texts and traditions can be rewritten and adapted to new circumstances and insights. Texts are subject to a process of change. The study of the ways in which these (authoritative) biblical texts are produced and/or received in various socio-historical circumstances discloses a range of theological and ideological perspectives. In reflecting on these issues, the central question is how to allow for a given text’s plurality of possible and realised meanings while also retaining the ability to form critical judgments regarding biblical exegesis. This volume highlight that violence in particular is a fruitful area to explore this tension.
Author: Serge Ruzer
In Early Jewish Messianism in the New Testament Serge Ruzer takes a new tack on the investigation of early Christian polemical strategies against the backdrop of Second Temple Judaism. Complementing traditional inquiry on the subject, Ruzer focuses on those elements of Messiah- and Christ-centered ideas that bear witness to patterns of broader circulation – namely, the Jewish messianic ideas that provided the underpinning for the identity-making moves of Jesus’ early followers. The volume suggests that such attempts can be expected to reflect eschatological ideas of the Jewish ʻOtherʼ. Exploring cases where the New Testament shows itself an early witness for belief patterns found in contemporaneous or only later rabbinic sources, this volume reveals a fuller picture of Second Temple Jewish messianism.
On the Life of Abraham displays Philo’s philosophical, exegetical, and literary genius at its best. Philo begins by introducing the biblical figures Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as unwritten laws. Then, interweaving literal, ethical, and allegorical interpretations, Philo presents the life and achievements of Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation, in the form of a Greco-Roman bios, or biography. Ellen Birnbaum and John Dillon explain why and how this work is important within the context of Philo’s own oeuvre, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, and ancient philosophy. They also offer a new English translation and detailed analyses, in which they elucidate the meaning of Philo’s thought, including his perplexing notion that Israel’s ancestors were laws in themselves.
Proceedings of the International Conference Held at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, 24–26 October 2017
Editor: Henryk Drawnel
The essays in Sacred Texts and Disparate Interpretations cover an array of core themes from various areas of Qumran studies, including textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple history, philology, paleography, Wisdom and religious poetry.
Contributors to this volume generally consider these themes from a historical perspective, trying to find new solutions to old questions and entering in constructive dialogue with the opinions of other scholars. Paleographic investigations, textual criticism as well as literary and philological approaches make this volume a valuable contribution to the variegated and often highly specialized directions of inquiry into the contents and historical background of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Author: Ken Penner
This work consists of an introduction, transcription, translation, and commentary to the Greek translation of Isaiah in the Codex Sinaiticus. It comments on the Greek language in its context, especially on how the Greek language is stretched beyond its normal range of function. It addresses the peculiarities of Codex Sinaiticus, including its history, scribes, divisions, and orthography. In line with the aims of the Brill Septuagint Commentary Series, it mainly discusses not how the text was produced, but how it was read.
In The Cave 3 Copper Scroll: A Symbolic Journey, Jesper Høgenhavn presents a reading of the Copper Scroll as a literary text. For more than 60 years, scholars have debated whether or not the treasures recorded here reflect historical realities. This study argues that the dichotomy between “facts” and “fiction” is inadequate for a proper understanding of the Copper Scroll. The document was designed to convey specific images to its readers, thus staying true to the format of an instruction for retrieving hidden treasures. Yet, the evoked landscape is dense with symbolical associations, and the journey through it reflects deliberate narrative patterns. The scroll was written against the background of the social and political turmoil of Jewish Palestine in the 1st century CE, and reflects contemporary concerns and interests.