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Where is God in the Megilloth?

A Dialogue on the Ambiguity of Divine Presence and Absence

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Brittany Melton

In Where is God in the Megilloth? Brittany N. Melton constructs a dialogue among Ruth, Esther, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs centred on this question, in an effort to settle the debate about whether God is present or absent in these books. Their juxtaposition in the Hebrew Bible highlights their shared theme of apparent divine absence, but, paradoxically, traces of God’s presence are unearthed as well.
By examining various aspects of this theme, including the literary absence of God, divine abandonment, God-talk, allusive language, God’s providence, and divine silence, it becomes clear that the ambiguity of divine presence and absence in the Megilloth presents a significant challenge to current conceptualizations of divine presence and absence in the Hebrew Bible.
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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Jaap Dekker, Henk R. van den Kamp and Eric Peels

Since ancient times Leviathan and other monsters from the biblical world symbolize the life-threatening powers in nature and history. They represent the dark aspects of human nature and political entities and reveal the supernatural dimensions of evil. Ancient texts and pictures regarding these monsters reflect an environment of polytheism and religious pluralism. Remarkably, however, the biblical writings and post-biblical traditions use these venerated symbols in portraying God as being sovereign over the entire universe, a theme that is also prominent in the reception of these texts in subsequent contexts.
This volume explores this tension and elucidates the theological and cultural meaning of ‘Leviathan’ by studying its ancient Near Eastern background and its attestation in biblical texts, early and rabbinic Judaism, Christian theology, Early Modern art, and film.
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Edited by Emanuel Tov, Kipp Davis and Robert Duke

This volume contains thirteen previously unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, twelve Hebrew Bible fragments and one non-biblical fragment, presented with the full scholarly apparatus and advanced reconstruction techniques. The books from the Hebrew Bible are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Micah, Psalms, Daniel, and Nehemiah. The latter is an especially important addition to known material. The non-biblical fragment probably represents a new copy of 4QInstruction.

The work on these fragments was conducted under the auspices of the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative, whose mission is to publish research conducted collaboratively by scholar-mentors and students. The ultimate goal is to provide students with the opportunity to develop as scholars under the guidance of their scholar-mentors.

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Paul and the Rise of the Slave

Death and Resurrection of the Oppressed in the Epistle to the Romans

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K. Edwin Bryant

Paul and the Rise of the Slave locates Paul’s description of himself as a “slave of Messiah Jesus” in the epistolary prescript of Paul’s Epistle to Rome within the conceptual world of those who experienced the social reality of slavery in the first century C.E. The Althusserian concept of interpellation and the Life of Aesop are employed throughout as theoretical frameworks to enhance how Paul offered positive ways for slaves to imagine an existence apart from Roman power. An exegesis of Romans 6:12-23 seeks to reclaim the earliest reception of Romans as prophetic discourse aimed at an anti-Imperial response among slaves and lower class readers.
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Dean R. Ulrich

In The Antiochene Crisis and Jubilee Theology in Daniel’s Seventy Sevens, Dean R. Ulrich explores the joint interest of Daniel 9:24-27 in the Antiochene crisis of the second century B.C.E. and the jubilee theology conveyed by the prophecy’s structure. This study is necessary because previous scholarship, though recognizing the jubilee structure of the seventy sevens, has not sufficiently made the connection between jubilee and the six objectives of Daniel 9:24. Previous scholarship also has not adequately related the book’s interest in Antiochus IV to the hope of jubilee, which involves the full inheritance that God has promised to his people but that they had lost because of their compromises with Antiochus IV.
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Orrey McFarland

In God and Grace in Philo and Paul, Orrey McFarland examines how Philo of Alexandria and the Apostle Paul understood divine grace. While scholars have occasionally observed that Philo and Paul both speak about God’s generosity, such work has often placed the two theologians in either strong continuity or stark discontinuity without probing into the theological logic that animates the particularities of their thought. By contrast, McFarland sets Philo and Paul in conversation and argues that both could speak of divine gifts emphatically and in formally similar ways while making materially different theological judgments in the context of their concrete historical settings and larger theological frameworks. That is, McFarland demonstrates how their theologies of grace are neither identical nor antithetical.
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Herrscherideal und Herrschaftskritik bei Philo von Alexandria

Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel seiner Josephsdarstellung in De Josepho und De somniis II

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Friederike Oertelt

Die in der Arbeit vorgenomme Auslegung der Schriften De Josepho und De Somniis II von Philo von Alexandria liest die beiden gegensätzlichen Darstellungen der Josephfigur als Beitrag zum Herrschaftsdiskurs. Die ambivalenten Tendenzen der biblischen Josephfigur bilden für ihn den Ausgangspunkt am Beispiel Josephs, Strukturen sowohl tyrannischer als auch idealer Herrschaft zu untersuchen. Philos Kenntnis griechisch-hellenistischer Philosophie sowie sein Verständnis der Tora als göttlich inspiriertem Text ermöglicht ihm, den politischen Charakter auf unterschiedlichen Ebenen zu reflektieren. Die Spannung zwischen beiden Traktaten bleibt dabei bestehen und kann als bewusste Darstellung gelungener und tyrannischer Herrschaft gedeutet werden. Zugleich entwickelt Philo aus den Ambivalenzen der Josephfigur heraus ein Herrschaftskonzept, welches aufgrund des Toraverständnisses politisches Handeln aus Abhängigkeiten befreit und universale Handlungsvorgaben und Kontrollinstanzen aufzeigt.

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The exegesis of De Josepho and De Somniis II intended in this work read the two portrayals of Joseph as Philo’s contribution to the discourse on government. The ambivalent tendencies in the Joseph figure form the point of departure for Philo in using it for examining structures of tyrannical and ideal rule. Philo’s knowledge of Greek-Hellenistic philosophy and his understanding of the Torah enables him to reflect upon the political character on different levels. Thus the tension between both treatises can be interpreted as a conscious portrayal of effective and of tyrannical rule. At the same time Philo develops a concept of government out of the ambivalences of the Joseph figure, which, on the basis of the understanding of the Torah, liberates political action from dependencies and points out universal guidelines for action and the authorities responsible for control of them.
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Edited by Christl M. Maier

This volume presents the main lectures of the 21st Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT) held in Munich, Germany, in August 2013. Seventeen internationally distinguished scholars present their current research on the Hebrew Bible, including the literary history of the Hebrew text, its Greek translation and history of interpretation. Some focus on archeological sources and the reconstruction of ancient Israelite religion while others discuss the formation of the biblical text and its impact for cultural memory. The volume gives readers a representative view of the most recent developments in the study of the Old Testament.

Contributors are: Olivier Artus, Ehud Ben Zvi, Beate Ego, Irmtraud Fischer, Christian Frevel, Shimon Gesundheit, Timothy P. Harrison, Louis C. Jonker, James L. Kugel, Christoph Levin, Amihai Mazar, Steven L. McKenzie, Konrad Schmid, Yvonne Sherwood, Zipora Talshir, Akio Tsukimoto, and Jacques Vermeylen.
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Cultural Beings

Reading the Philosophers of Genesis

Yuval Lurie

Human beings are a cultural species. This predicament enables them to take on many different cultural identities, all of which transcend the bounds of natural behavior of other species. To contemplate this predicament through philosophy is to reflect on such questions as, What makes cultural forms of life possible? What is encompassed in them? What lies at their core? What distinguishes them from natural forms of life? What brings them about, sustains, and causes them to change? Philosophical answers to these questions predate abstract ways of thinking, as they are sometimes embedded in ancient mythical and religious narratives. Such is the story told in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis in the Bible, revealing how human beings became the cultural beings that they are. This study suggests how that ancient and most celebrated story in the literature of the West may be read as harboring insightful philosophical observations on the cultural nature of human beings. It first focuses on the very concept of cultural forms of life, revealing its complicated conceptual links to natural forms of life. It then offers an interpretive framework for reading mythical, symbolic narratives. Using these ideas, it provides a philosophical reading of the Biblical narrative, disclosing it to harbor a metaphysically oriented conception of nature and two insightful philosophical overviews of the cultural nature of human beings. Both overviews endow human beings with an ability to manipulate nature, but in different ways: the first by subjugating parcels of nature to human will; the second by subjugating human beings themselves to a value-laden conception of things and ethical forms of life. Thus, human beings are portrayed as natural creatures possessed of a cultural nature that enables them to transform nature and recreate themselves through their unique cultural predicament.
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Die jüdische Apokalyptik in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung

Ein Beitrag zur Vorgeschichte des Christentums, nebst einem Anhange über das gnostische System des Basilides. Jena 1857. Nachdruck

A. Hilgenfeld