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Sacha Stern

In the year 921/2, the Jewish leaders of Palestine and Babylonia disagreed on how to calculate the calendar. This controversy led to the celebration of Passover and other festivals, through two years, on different dates. Although the whole Jewish Near East was drawn into the controversy, it was later forgotten, until its 19th-century rediscovery in the Cairo Genizah. The faulty editions of these texts have led to much misunderstanding about the nature and aftermath of the controversy. In this book, Sacha Stern re-edits completely the texts, discovers many more, and challenges the consensus on the controversy’s history. This book sheds light on medieval Rabbanite relations, and on the processes that brought about the standardization of the calendar in medieval Jewry.
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Edited by Helen Roche and Kyriakos N. Demetriou

The first ever guide to the manifold uses and reinterpretations of the classical tradition in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, Brill’s Companion to the Classics, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany explores how political propaganda manipulated and reinvented the legacy of ancient Greece and Rome in order to create consensus and historical legitimation for the Fascist and National Socialist dictatorships.
The memory of the past is a powerful tool to justify policy and create consensus, and, under the Fascist and Nazi regimes, the legacy of classical antiquity was often evoked to promote thorough transformations of Italian and German culture, society, and even landscape. At the same time, the classical past was constantly recreated to fit the ideology of each regime.
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Pieter B. Hartog

In Pesher and Hypomnema Pieter B. Hartog compares ancient Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Bible with papyrus commentaries on the Iliad. Hartog shows that members of the movement which produced and preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls adopted classical commentary writing and adapted it to their own needs.
The connection between the Qumran Pesharim and Hypomnemata on the Iliad resulted from exchanges of scholarly knowledge across Hellenistic-Roman Egypt and Palestine. Analysing the effects of these knowledge exchanges, Pesher and Hypomnema demonstrates that members of the Qumran movement were thoroughly embedded within their Hellenistic and Roman environment.
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Edited by Eran Almagor and Lisa Maurice

In Ancient Virtues and Vices in Modern Popular Culture, Eran Almagor and Lisa Maurice offer a comprehensive collection of chapters dealing with the reception of antiquity in popular media of the modern era (19th-21st centuries). These media include theatrical plays, cinematic representations, Television drama, popular newspapers or journals, poems and outdoor festivals. For the first time in Classical Reception Studies, ancient Jewish literature and imagery are included in the discussion. The focus of the volume is both the continuity and variance between ancient and modern sets of values, which appear in the new interpretations of the ancient stories, figures and protagonists.
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Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Introductions to Astrology

A Parallel Hebrew-English Critical Edition of the Book of the Beginning of Wisdom and the Book of the Judgments of the Zodiacal Signs. Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Astrological Writings, Volume 5

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Shlomo Sela

The present volume offers a critical edition of the Hebrew texts, accompanied by English translation and commentary of Reshit Ḥokhmah (Beginning of Wisdom) and Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot (Judgments of the Zodiacal Signs) by Abraham Ibn Ezra (ca. 1089–ca. 1161). The first, the summa and by far the longest of his astrological works, the target of the most cross-references from the rest of that corpus and the most influential, enjoyed the widest circulation among Jews in the Middle Ages and after. The second, by contrast, is the most obscure. It is never referred to elsewhere by its author and is the only work for which Ibn Ezra’s authorship must be substantiated. Reshit Ḥokhmah and Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot were written in order to explain concepts common to the various branches of astrology that Ibn Ezra addressed elsewhere and to elucidate the worldview that underlies astrology. These two treatises are the richest and most varied with regard to the astrological information they present. Reshit Ḥokhmah and Mishpeṭei ha-Mazzalot also exemplify the close collaboration between astronomy and astrology in medieval science and are the two components of Ibn Ezra’s astrological corpus with the most extensive, comprehensive, and significant astronomical content.
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Edited by Mladen Popović, Myles Schoonover and Marijn Vandenberghe

The essays in this volume originate from the Third Qumran Institute Symposium held at the University of Groningen, December 2013. Taking the flexible concept of “cultural encounter” as a starting point, the essays in this volume bring together a panoply of approaches to the study of various cultural interactions between the people of ancient Israel, Judea, and Palestine and people from other parts of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world.

In order to study how cultural encounters shaped historical development, literary traditions, religious practice and political systems, the contributors employ a broad spectrum of theoretical positions (e.g., hybridity, métissage, frontier studies, postcolonialism, entangled histories and multilingualism), to interpret a diverse set of literary, documentary, archaeological, epigraphic, numismatic, and iconographic sources.
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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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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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Edited by Yair Furstenberg

Jews and Christians under the Roman Empire shared a unique sense of community. Set apart from their civic and cultic surroundings, both groups resisted complete assimilation into the dominant political and social structures. However, Jewish communities differed from their Christian counterparts in their overall patterns of response to the surrounding challenges. They exhibit diverse levels of integration into the civic fabric of the cities of the Empire and display contrary attitudes towards the creation of trans-local communal networks. The variety of local case studies examined in this volume offers an integrated image of the multiple factors, both internal and external, which determined the role of communal identity in creating a sense of belonging among Jews and Christians under Imperial constraints.
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Christus Militans

Studien zur politisch-militärischen Semantik im Markusevangelium vor dem Hintergrund des ersten jüdisch-römischen Krieges

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Gabriella Gelardini

In Christus Militans knüpft Gabriella Gelardini an Interpretationen an, die das Markusevangelium im Kontext des jüdisch-römischen Krieges und des Aufstiegs der Flavier interpretieren. Von Interesse sind darin aber nicht nur „ideologische Macht- oder Herrschaftsdiskurse“ und damit „politische Theologie,“ sondern insbesondere auch die militärischen Zusammenhänge und die Kriegssemantik im engeren Sinn. Dies erfolgt eingedenk der großen Bedeutung, die das Militär und der Krieg für die Herstellung und Aufrechterhaltung von Herrschaft in der Antike hatten, besonders bei Dynastiewechseln, etwa wie hier von der julisch-claudischen zur flavischen Dynastie.
Diesen Wechsel zur flavischen Dynastie zeichnet die Autorin zunächst in einer umfassenden kontextuellen Analyse nach, nicht allein auf der Basis des Werkes von Josephus und antiken Historikern, sondern erstmals auch unter Einbezug zeitnaher Militärhistoriker. Die Rekonstruktion dieses durch Militär und Krieg erzielten Aufstiegs, der seinen krönenden Abschluss in der Machtergreifung und einem den Krieg beendenden Triumph in Rom fand, trägt sie dann an den Evangelientext heran, und stellt in der Erzählung des Protagonisten Jesus Christus vergleichbare politisch-militärische Inkodierungen fest, nicht zuletzt auch in Form von „hidden transcripts,“ welche diesen Herrschaftsantritt ebenfalls als einen Dynastiewechsel darstellen, nämlich von der herodianischen zur davidisch-messianischen Dynastie.
Politisch-militärische Inkodierungen ließen sich in jeder Szene finden, so dass die Autorin das Repertoire von Anknüpfungsmöglichkeiten des markinischen Texts an den literarisch-historischen Kontext des ersten jüdisch-römischen Kriegs um viele, neue und oft auch plausiblere Deutungsangebote erweitert konnte. Inkodierungen stellte sie aber auch auf lexikalischer Ebene fest; denn nicht weniger als ein Drittel des markinischen Lexikons trägt im Blick auf seine Semantik auch oder ausschließlich militärische Bedeutung. Eine zentrale Rolle misst sie der sogenannten Passion Jesu zu. Denn zwar steht der Kreuzestod als Sinnbild für die militärische Niederlage, interpretiert man seinen Tod jedoch konsequent im Kontext des „Triumphzugs,“ dann wäre er auch als sühnendes und von Kriegsschuld reinigendes Opfer zu deuten. Und als solches – lässt sich schließen – hätte Jesus die religiös zwingende Voraussetzung für eine gottgewollte und siegreiche, durchaus auch militärisch zu verstehende Rückkehr geschaffen.

In Christus Militans, Gabriella Gelardini builds on interpretations that construe the Gospel of Mark in the context of the Jewish-Roman War and the rise of the Flavians. She explores not only “ideological discourses of power and domination,” but also military contexts and the semantics of war. This book thus acknowledges the great importance of the military and warfare for establishing and maintaining power in antiquity.