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Gender, Intertextuality, and Politics
In Uncovering Jewish Creativity in Book III of the Sibylline oracles, Ashley L. Bacchi reclaims the importance of the Sibyl as a female voice of prophecy and reveals new layers of intertextual references that address political, cultural, and religious dialogue in second-century Ptolemaic Egypt. This investigation stands apart from prior examinations by reorienting the discussion around the desirability of the pseudonym to an issue of gender. It questions the impact of identifying the author’s message with a female prophetic figure and challenges the previous identification of paraphrased Greek oracles and their function within the text. Verses previously seen as anomalous are transferred from the role of Greek subterfuge of Jewish identity to offering nuanced support of monotheistic themes.
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.
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.
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.
Studien zur politisch-militärischen Semantik im Markusevangelium vor dem Hintergrund des ersten jüdisch-römischen Krieges
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.
Art, History, and the Historiography of Judaism in Roman Antiquity explores the complex interplay between visual culture, texts, and their interpretations, arguing for an open-ended and self-aware approach to understanding Jewish culture from the first century CE through the rise of Islam. The essays assembled here range from the “thick description” of Josephus’s portrayal of Bezalel son of Uri as a Roman architect through the inscriptions of the Dura Europos synagogue, Jewish reflections on Caligula in color, the polychromy of the Jerusalem temple, new-old approaches to the zodiac, and to the Christian destruction of ancient synagogues. Taken together, these essays suggest a humane approach to the history of the Jews in an age of deep and long-lasting transitions—both in antiquity, and in our own time.

This book is also available in paperback.

"Taken as a whole, Fine’s book exhibits the value of bridging disciplines. The historiographical segments integrated throughout this volume offer
essential insights that will inform any student of Roman and late antiquity." Yael Wilfand, Hebrew University, Review of Biblical Literature, 2014.
In Early Christianity in the Lycus Valley, Ulrich Huttner explores the way Christians established communities and defined their position within their surroundings from the first to the fifth centuries. He shows that since the time of Paul the apostle, the cities Colossae, Hierapolis and Laodicea allowed Christians to expand and develop in their own way.
Huttner uses a wide variety of sources, not only Christian texts - from Pauline letters to Byzantine hagiographies - but also inscriptions and archeological remains, to reconstruct the religious conflicts as well as cooperation between Christians, Jews and Pagans. The book reveals the importance of local conditions in the development of Early Christianity.
Ideas, Practices, Actors
Law and Empire provides a comparative view of legal practices in Asia and Europe, from Antiquity to the eighteenth century. It relates the main principles of legal thinking in Chinese, Islamic, and European contexts to practices of lawmaking and adjudication. In particular, it shows how legal procedure and legal thinking could be used in strikingly different ways. Rulers could use law effectively as an instrument of domination; legal specialists built their identity, livelihood and social status on their knowledge of law; and non-elites exploited the range of legal fora available to them. This volume shows the relevance of legal pluralism and the social relevance of litigation for premodern power structures.
In: Law and Empire
In: Early Christianity in the Lycus Valley