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Printing the Talmud

Complete Editions, Tractates, and Other Works and the Associated Presses from the Mid-17th Century through the 18th Century

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Marvin J. Heller

Printing the Talmud: Complete Editions, Tractates and Other Works, and the Associated Presses from the Mid-17th Century through the 18th Century is a profusely illustrated major work describing the complete editions of the Talmud printed from about 1650 to slightly after 1800. Apart from the intrinsic value of those editions, their publication was often contentious due to disputes, often bitter, between rival publishers, embroiling rabbis and communities throughout Europe. The cities and editions encompassed include Amsterdam, Frankfort am Main, Frankfurt on the Oder, Prague, and Sulzbach. This edition of Printing the Talmud addresses these editions as an opening to discuss the history of the subject presses, their other titles and their general context in Jewish history.
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Jethro and the Jews

Jewish Biblical Interpretation and the Question of Identity

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Beatrice Lawrence

In Jethro and the Jews, Beatrice J. W. Lawrence examines rabbinic texts that address the biblical character of Jethro, a Midianite priest, Moses’ advisor and father-in-law, and the creator of the system of Jewish jurisprudence. Lawrence explores biblical interpretations in Midrash, Targum and Talmud, revealing a spectrum of responses to the presence of a man who straddles the line between insider and outsider. Ranging from character assassination to valorization of Jethro as a convert, these interpretive strategies reveal him to be a locus of anxiety for the rabbis concerning conversion, community boundaries, intermarriage, and non-Jews.
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Edited by Ariel Feldman, Maria Cioată and Charlotte Hempel

This volume is offered as a tribute to George Brooke to mark his sixty-fifth birthday. It has been conceived as a coherent contribution to the question of textuality in the Dead Sea Scrolls explored from a wide range of perspectives. These include material aspects of the texts, performance, reception, classification, scribal culture, composition, reworking, form and genre, and the issue of the extent to which any of the texts relate (to) social realities in the Second Temple period. Almost every contribution engages with Brooke’s own remarkably wide-ranging, incisive, and innovative research on the Scrolls. The twenty-eight contributors are colleagues and students of the honouree and include leading scholars alongside promising new voices from across the field.
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Die biblisch-hebräische Partikel נָא im Lichte der antiken Bibelübersetzungen

Unter besonderer Berücksichtigung ihrer vermuteten Höflichkeitsfunktion

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Peter Juhás

English:
In Die biblisch-hebräische Partikel נָא im Lichte der antiken Bibelübersetzungen Peter Juhás addresses the function of the much-debated particle -nā in Biblical Hebrew from the point of view of the most important ancient Bible translations (Greek, Syriac, Latin). His research combines textual criticism, translation technique, discourse pragmatics, and the study of politeness in language.

A systematic and comprehensive investigation of the evidence shows that the pragmatic function of this particle is strongly conditioned by the context and cannot be explained by a simple unified denominator. Hence an approach applying a differentiation of various discourse levels proves oneself to be very helpful for the interpretation of this complex particle.

Deutsch:
In der vorliegenden Monographie untersucht Peter Juhás die Funktion der viel diskutierten biblisch-hebräischen Partikel -nā im Lichte der wichtigsten antiken Bibelübersetzungen (LXX, Pšīṭtā und Vulgata). Dabei werden Textkritik, Übersetzungswissenschaft, Diskurspragmatik und Höflichkeitsforschung kombiniert.

Eine systematische und umfassende Untersuchung der textuellen Evidenz zeigt, dass die pragmatische Funktion dieser Partikel von jeweiligem Kontext stark konditioniert ist und mit einem einfachen gemeinsamen Nenner nicht erklärt werden kann. Ein Zugang, der verschiedene Diskursebenen unterscheidet, erweist sich daher für die Interpretation dieser komplexen Partikel als sehr hilfreich.
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Catherine Hezser

This study constitutes the first comprehensive examination of rabbinic body language represented in Palestinian rabbinic sources of late antiquity. Catherine Hezser examines rabbis’ appearance and demeanor, spatial movement, gestures, and facial expressions on the basis of literary and social-anthropological methods and theories. She discusses the various forms of rabbis’ non-verbal communication in the context of Graeco-Roman and ancient Christian literary sources and in connection with the material culture of Roman and early Byzantine Palestine. Catherine Hezser convincingly shows that in rabbinic literature body language serves as an important means of rabbis’ self-fashioning. Rabbinic texts create the image of a particularly Jewish type of intellectual who functioned and competed for adherents within the highly visual and body-conscious environment of late antiquity.
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Traductor Scriptor

The Old Greek Translation of Exodus 1-14 as Scribal Activity

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John Screnock

In Traductor Scriptor, John Screnock situates the Old Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible within the broader scribal culture of the ancient world. Building on current methods in Septuagint studies and textual criticism, Screnock engages the evidence from Qumran, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Old Greek to argue that the phenomena of translation and transmission are fundamentally similar. Traductor Scriptor presents a unique approach to the use of the Old Greek for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, based on new theoretical considerations and an in-depth analysis of text-critical data in the Old Greek translation and Hebrew manuscripts of Exodus 1–14.
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Paul Spilsbury and Chris Seeman

This volume provides the first full commentary to Book 11 of Josephus' Judean Antiquities, with a new English translation. In Antiquities 11 Josephus offers a retelling of the biblical narratives of Ezra-Nehemiah ( Ant. 11.1–183) and Esther ( Ant. 11.184–296), along with a brief post-biblical narrative dealing with late Persian-era Judea ( Ant. 11.297–347). The commentary interprets Josephus’ narrative in detail, identifying biblical, historical and literary considerations that arise from the text. Attention is given to manuscript variants, vocabulary, use of sources, parallel accounts, and Josephus' Jewish, Roman, and Greek historiographical contexts. The volume also contains an appendix on Alexander the Great’s visit to Jerusalem as related in non-Josephan sources.
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Medieval Midrash

The House for Inspired Innovation

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Bernard H. Mehlman and Seth M. Limmer

Medieval Midrash: The House for Inspired Innovation is the first book-length study of this under-examined genre of Jewish Literature. Mehlman and Limmer cover the history of scholarship of these curious texts and evaluate the origins, dating, and authors of Medieval Midrash. In addition to addressing such scholarly questions, Medieval Midrash illustrates its themes and judgments through the annotated translation of the six extant texts that revolve around the key figure of King Solomon. This book, whose underlying tropes speak to the continuing need for creative religious expression, will be of interest to scholars and non-academics alike.
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The Proselyte and the Prophet

Character Development in Targum Ruth

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Chr.M.M. Brady

The Proselyte and the Prophet: Character Development in Targum Ruth by Christian M. M. Brady is an exegetical study of Targum Ruth with a focus upon the transformation of the biblical characters into exemplars of rabbinic piety. Ruth becomes the ideal proselyte while Boaz is presented as a judge, a scholar of the Law, and a prophet. Brady demonstrates that the Targumist follows standard Targumic practice, rendering each Hebrew word of the biblical text into Aramaic, while making additions that further his agenda of presenting Ruth as a rabbinic model to be emulated.

In addition to the character analysis Brady provides a transcription of the manuscript Valmadonna 1, a new translation into English, and a verse-by-verse commentary of Targum Ruth.
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Edited by Hindy Najman, Jean-Sébastien Rey and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar

This volume is intended to problematize and challenge current conceptions of the category of “Wisdom” and to reconsider the scope, breadth and Nachleben of ancient Jewish sapiential traditions. It considers the formal features and conceptual underpinnings of wisdom throughout the corpus of the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hellenistic Jewish texts, Rabbinic texts, and the Cairo Geniza. It also situates ancient Jewish Wisdom in its Near Eastern context, as well as in the context of Hellenistic conceptions of the Sage.