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Hannah W. Matis

In The Song of Songs in the Early Middle Ages, Hannah W. Matis examines how the Song of Songs, the collection of Hebrew love poetry, was understood in the Latin West as an allegory of Christ and the church. This reading of the biblical text was passed down via the patristic tradition, established by the Venerable Bede, and promoted by the chief architects of the Carolingian reform. Throughout the ninth century, the Song of Songs became a text that Carolingian churchmen used to think about the nature of Christ and to conceptualize their own roles and duties within the church. This study examines the many different ways that the Song of Songs was read within its early medieval historical context.
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Scriptural Interpretation at the Interface between Education and Religion examines prominent texts from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic communities with a view to determining to what extent education ( Bildung) represents the precondition, the central feature and/or the aim of the interpretation of 'Holy Scripture' in antiquity. In particular, consideration is given to the exegetical techniques, the hermeneutical convictions and the contexts of intercultural exchange which determine the process of interpretation. The volume contains, in turn, a methodological reflection as well as investigations of scriptural interpretation in Jewish texts from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.E., in New Testament writings, and in witnesses from late ancient Christianity and in the Qur’an. Finally, it contains a critical appraisal of the scholarly oeuvre of Hans Conzelmann. This work thus fosters scholarly understanding of the function of scriptural interpretation at the interface between education and religion.
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Sean Durbin

In Righteous Gentiles: Religion, Identity, and Myth in John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, Sean Durbin offers a critical analysis of America’s largest Pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, along with its critics and collaborators. Although many observers focus Christian Zionism’s influence on American foreign policy, or whether or not Christian Zionism is ‘truly’ religious, Righteous Gentiles takes a different approach.

Through his creative and critical analysis of Christian Zionists’ rhetoric and mythmaking strategies, Durbin demonstrates how they represent their identities and political activities as authentically religious. At the same time, Durbin examines the role that Jews and the state of Israel have as vehicles or empty signifiers through which Christian Zionist truth claims are represented as manifestly real.
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The Question of God’s Perfection

Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud

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Philosophers have often described theism as the belief in the existence of a “perfect being”—a being that is said to possess all possible perfections, so that it is all-powerful, all-knowing, immutable, perfectly good, perfectly simple, and necessarily existent, among other qualities. But such a theology is difficult to reconcile with the God we find in the Bible and Talmud. The Question of God’s Perfection brings together leading scholars from the Jewish and Christian traditions to critically examine the theology of perfect being in light of the Hebrew Bible and classical rabbinic sources. Contributors are James A. Diamond, Lenn E. Goodman, Edward C. Halper, Yoram Hazony, Dru Johnson, Brian Leftow, Berel Dov Lerner, Alan L. Mittleman, Heather C. Ohaneson, Randy Ramal, Eleonore Stump, Alex Sztuden, and Joshua I. Weinstein.
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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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This book is the first full-length work concerning the restoration and excavations carried out at Qal’at Sem’an in Syria in the twentieth century. It was written by the notable architect and archaeologist Georges Tchalenko based on his notes, plans, photographs and sketches as he undertook the work in the years before and during the Second World War. Left unpublished at the time of his death during the Lebanese Civil War, it is published here for the first time in the original French with an English translation. The text is richly illustrated throughout and accompanied by a biographical essay by John Tchalenko and an introduction to the historiography of Qal’at Sem’an and Symeon Stylites by Emma Loosley Leeming.
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Sortilege—the making of decisions by casting lots—was widely practiced in the Mediterranean world during the period known as late antiquity, between the third and eighth centuries CE. In My Lots are in Thy Hands: Sortilege and its Practitioners in Late Antiquity, AnneMarie Luijendijk and William Klingshirn have collected fourteen essays that examine late antique lot divination, especially but not exclusively through texts preserved in Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac. Employing the overlapping perspectives of religious studies, classics, anthropology, economics, and history, contributors study a variety of topics, including the hermeneutics and operations of divinatory texts, the importance of diviners and their instruments, and the place of faith and doubt in the search for hidden order in a seemingly random world.
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Maarten van Heemskerck’s Rome

Antiquity, Memory, and the Cult of Ruins

Arthur J. Di Furia

This book presents the first sustained study of the stunning drawings of Roman ruins by Haarlem artist Maarten van Heemskerck (1498–1574; in Rome, 1532–ca. 1537). In three parts, Arthur J. Di Furia describes Van Heemskerck’s pre-Roman training, his time in Rome, and his use his ruinscapes for the art he made during his forty-year post-Roman phase.
Building on the methods of his predecessors, Van Heemskerck mastered a dazzling array of methods to portray Rome in compelling fashion. Upon his return home, his Roman drawings sustained him for the duration of his prolific career. Maarten van Heemskerck’s Rome concludes with the first ever catalog to bring together all of Van Heemskerck’s ruin drawings in state-of-the-art digital photography.
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The seventeen studies in Golden Calf Traditions in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam explore the biblical origins of the golden calf story in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and 1 Kings, as well as its reception in a variety of sources: Hebrew Scriptures (Hosea, Jeremiah, Psalms, Nehemiah); Second Temple Judaism (Animal Apocalypse, Pseudo-Philo, Philo, Josephus); rabbinic Judaism; the New Testament (Acts, Paul, Hebrews, Revelation) and early Christianity (among Greek, Latin, and Syriac writers), as well as the Qur’an and Islamic literature. Expert contributors explore how each ancient author engaged with the calf traditions—whether explicitly, implicitly, or by clearly and consciously avoiding it—and elucidate how the story was used both negatively and positively for didactic, allegorical, polemical, and even apologetic purposes.
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Ethics in the Gospel of John

Discipleship as Moral Progress

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Sookgoo Shin

In Ethics in the Gospel of John Sookgoo Shin seeks to challenge the dominant scholarly view of John’s ethics as an ineffective and unhelpful companion for moral formation. In order to demonstrate the relevance of John’s ethics, Shin argues that the development of discipleship in John’s Gospel should be understood as moral progress, which was a well-known moral concept in the ancient Mediterranean world. Having drawn an ethical model from the writings of Plutarch, this study aims to identify the undergirding ethical dynamic that shapes John’s moral structure by bringing out the implicit ethical elements that are embedded throughout John’s narratives, and thus suggests a way to read the whole Gospel ethically and appreciatively of its literary characteristics.