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Collected Essays on Mani, Manichaeism and Augustine
Johannes van Oort
Thomas E. Hunt
Biblical Studies, Ancient Judaism, Ancient Near East, Egyptology, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnosticism & Manichaeism, Early Church & Patristics
This e-book collection is part of Brill's Humanities and Social Sciences E-Book collection.
The list of titles per collection can be found here.
This product consists of the following titles
• Die Namen des Vaters. Studien zu ausgewählten neutestamentlichen Gottesbezeichnungen
• Studies in Jewish and Christian History. A New Edition in English including The God of the Maccabees, introduced by Martin Hengel, edited by Amram Tropper
The volumes in this series assist research-level students and scholars in providing surveys of recent research on particular fields, with annotated bibliographies and suggestions for the direction of further research. Ideal for anyone about to research or write on a particular biblical book or topic.
Edited by Robert Morgan
Internationale Zeitschriftenschau für Bibelwissenschaft und Grenzgebiete
Edited by Bernhard Lang
Formerly known by its subtitle “Internationale Zeitschriftenschau für Bibelwissenschaft und Grenzgebiete”, the International Review of Biblical Studies has served the scholarly community ever since its inception in the early 1950’s. Each annual volume includes approximately 2,000 abstracts and summaries of articles and books that deal with the Bible and related literature, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha, Non-canonical gospels, and ancient Near Eastern writings.
A Cultural History of Dualism
The volumes of essays in this series examine this social dialectic of preaching - both orthodox and heterodox - in early Christianity and the Byzantine world, in Medieval and Early Modern Europe and in the period of the rapid expansion of Christianity beyond Europe in the 16th to 18th centuries. Themes discussed include the world views and pastoral concerns of preachers and their audiences, the composition of such audiences, the circumstances of preaching, the subject-matter of sermons, the different genres of sermons, their preparation and transmission, the dynamic we can discern between a preacher and his congregation, the use of tropes from other literary genres, how oral and written cultures meet in sermons, and the adaptations made to style and presentation in differing political communities and social landscapes.
It is hoped that the series will fill many of the lacuna which exist in the critical/analytical study of sermons and throw light on a range of unexplored areas in the history Christian experience.
Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion
Hans Dieter Betz, Don Browning, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel
• RGG has been a standard reference work since the publication of the first edition in 1908.
• Strongly international, cross-cultural and ecumenical, written by over 3,000 authors from 88 countries
• Covers an unparalleled breadth of subject matter in theological and biblical studies
• Up-to-date research and bibliographies make it an indispensable resource for all levels of users
• Interdisciplinary articles cover a wide range of topics from history, archaeology, liturgy, law, bible, music, visual arts, politics, social sciences, natural sciences, ethics, and philosophy.
• The 4th edition of RGG, the basis of the RPP translation, includes hundreds of new entries on Eastern religions and other religious subjects. The editors of RPP have added a number of articles and revised others for a global English-speaking readership.
• Short definitions and cross-references enable quick and easy searching
• Over 15,000 entries and 8 million words
• 13 volumes and an index
To download the preview please click here.
The series was completed in 2013.
Edited by Russell Fuller, Matthias Henze, Armin Lange and Emanuel Tov
The series will consist of individual monographs as well as collected volumes. Examples could include studies analyzing individual textual witnesses in their social context and in the reading they provide to a given biblical book but also studies dedicated to broader implications of textual history and the sociology of the text as well as the history of the scholarship.
The series is peer reviewed and will, initially, solicit proposals from contributors to the reference work Textual History of the Bible . However, the series is also open to proposals from any qualified scholars of the text of the Bible. Volumes will be published in the major scholarly languages in the field.
In addition, it includes articles on the history of research, the editorial histories of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other aspects of text-critical research and its auxiliary fields, such as papyrology, codicology, and linguistics.
The Textual History of the Bible will consist of:
Volumes 1A, 1B and 1C: The Hebrew Bible (2016-2017)
Volumes 2A, 2B, 2C: Deuterocanonical Scriptures (2019)
Volumes 3 A, 3B, 3C, 3D and 3E: A Companion to Textual Criticism (2019-2020)
The Textual History of the Bible is also available online.
Preview of the Textual History of the Bible.
The volumes in thiis series provide assistance to scholars and students in Biblical Studies. Typical titles are introductions to the New and Old Testaments, reading the Bible as literature, anthologies, bibliographies and works on method.
The project of Saint Paul occupies Pasolini’s imagination between 1966 and 1974. It originated with and connects to Pasolini’s previous Franciscan project on the subversive hagiography, Bestemmia (“Blasphemy”), another (unshot) screenplay in verse about a rascal of twelfth-century Rome, transformed into a saint after a vision of the Passion in the midst of an orgy. Pasolini worked on Blasphemy from 1962 to 1967, and still later was referring to the project of Saint Paul with the same title of Blasphemy. The continuity, as well as the difference, between the two projects is relevant. I will investigate the roots of Pasolini’s Pauline turn, after his Franciscan stage, and contextualize the project of Saint Paul within Pasolini’s production and within the rise of European queer cinema. I will also put it into dialogue with contemporary political theology, for instance with the Franciscan turn of Agamben, or the emergence of new, multi-stable subjectivities within the Kippbilder model proposed by Luca Di Blasi in his interpretation of Pasolini’s Saint Paul.
Joseph A. Marchal and Robert Seesengood
Victor H. Matthews
Because Pier Paolo Pasolini never completed his movie Saint Paul, any discussion of it must be speculative. However, insofar as the film appears in Pasolini’s screenplay outline and plan, it depicts Paul, in relation to the Pauline writings of the Bible, as a seriously fragmented person. This Paul struggles with multiple personalities that are continually fragmenting and at war with one another. In this way the film fuses together in a single cinematic narrative the many “Pauls” who appear in the Pauline letters and the Acts of the Apostles. The “remixed” quality that then appears in the screenplay contrasts sharply to Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew. The resulting story echoes some of the writings of Italo Calvino, as well as Spike Jonze’s movie Adaptation.
Theodore W. Jennings Jr.
This essay explores the remarkable radicalities as well as ironies of the Paul featured in both Pasolini’s screenplay and other receptions of Paul’s letters. Pasolini’s depiction stages a series of potential historical correspondences by setting the words written or attributed to the apostle (in those letters and the Acts of the Apostles) into the times of Pasolini’s own life. This juxtaposition allows for a more complex view of the radical, passionate, but manipulative saint and more recent politics of revolution, corruption, and accommodation. The tension between two different views of Paul, organizing militant cells and struggling with bodily weakness, then, provide entry points for identification with and interrogation of notions of sexual liberation and political transformation. These political investments are brought into further relief throughout by situating both Pasolini and Paul in a genealogy of Marxist thinkers and organizers, from Engels and Lenin, through Benjamin, to Agamben and Badiou, surfacing important new insights about the Paul of history and of reception in the West.
Elizabeth A. Castelli
The legacy of Pasolini’s work persists beyond the recent English translation of his screenplay for Saint Paul. This concluding essay then provides a brief reflective extension into three additional genres: painting, poetry, and public art. These artistic adaptations reflect the open-ended impacts of Pasolini’s work, its provocations and excesses in particular evoke a notion of saintliness.
In several of his writings on the relation between film and language, Pasolini discusses the possibility of a moment in which a screenplay can be considered an autonomous object, “a work complete and finished in itself.” In the first part of this essay, I will reflect on the concept of the screenplay in a larger context and more specifically, Pasolini’s writings on the ontological status of the screenplay as a “structure that wants to be another structure.” The case of Saint Paul is thought-provoking, precisely because this original screenplay was never turned into an actual film. Despite this, Pasolini argues that the screenplay invites – or perhaps even forces – its reader to imagine, to visualize, the film it describes. Pasolini’s ideas on the function of language as a means to conjure up images are central to this act of visualization. In the second part of this essay, I will attempt an act of visualization. This endeavor to visualize Saint Paul as a possible film is hinged upon a careful reading of the screenplay. I analyze the opening and closing sequences outlined in the screenplay to visualize the possible filmic expression of its protagonist Paul.
After situating Pasolini’s sketch for a screenplay about the apostle within a broad context of Pauline retellings, this essay goes on to explore the uneasy tension Pasolini develops between Paul as representative of an oppressive religious authority, and Paul as frail, entrancing, humbled mystic. The tension is uneasy because it represents something of a false dichotomy. The real choice offered in the screenplay, the paper argues, is between Paul the New Testament personality, and Paul the ordinary, and mostly unknown, individual. While Pasolini may barely hint at the possibilities of so understated a treatment, his example sets the stage (so to speak) for an intriguingly contemporary response to more typical examples of Pauline reception (especially among critics inspired by the Paul of Badiou, Agamben, et al.).
Anders Klostergaard Petersen
The first section describes the major progress in the study of Second Temple Judaism during the past fifty years, since A.S. van der Woude founded the Journal for the Study of Judaism. This part—the whence—comprises the main bulk of the argument. It also paves the way for the conclusion—the wither. There, I present some ideas potentially leading to new advances in the field. I call for an engagement with the social and natural sciences based on a gene-culture coevolutionary paradigm. In particular, adopting a biocultural evolutionary perspective makes it possible to situate the field and its empirical focus in a much larger context. Thereby, we shall be able to tackle some of the pivotal questions with which our scholarly predecessors wrestled. Finally, I discuss emotional studies that may help us to get a better grasp on a traditionally moot question in the texts we study.
John J. Collins
There has been an explosion of interest in Second Temple Judaism over the last fifty years. In the first half of the period under review, the Pseudepigrapha were at the cutting edge. This period culminated in the publication of the new enlarged edition of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Beginning in the 1980s, interest shifted to the Dead Sea Scrolls, culminating in the rapid publication of the corpus under the editorship of Emanuel Tov. At the same time, new discoveries shed light on the encounter of Judaism with Hellenism, both in Judea in the Maccabean period and in the Egyptian diaspora. Few scholars would now defend an idea of “normative Judaism” in this period, but that idea still casts a shadow on the ongoing debates.
Hindy Najman and Tobias Reinhardt
This article sets up a dialogue between two bodies of ancient texts, i.e. Jewish wisdom literature and Greco-Roman didactic of the Hellenistic period, with an awareness of the scholarly and interpretive communities that have studied, taught and transformed these bodies of texts from antiquity until the present. The article does not claim direct influence or cross-pollination across intellectual, religious or social communities in the Hellenistic period. Instead, the article suggests four discrete frameworks for thinking about comparative antiquity: creation, the law, the sage and literary form. The comparative model proposed here intends to create the conditions for noticing parallels and kindred concepts. However, the article resists the temptation to repeat earlier scholarly arguments for dependency or priority of influence. Instead, the essay demonstrates remarkable alignments, suggestively similar developments, and synergies. Perhaps, the ideal first reader for this article is none other than Philo of Alexandria.
In Ag. Ap. 1.41, after stressing that the Jewish holy books are rightly trusted because only prophets wrote them, Josephus remarks that Judaeans do not trust later writings in the same way. The reason he gives is usually translated as “the failure of the exact succession of the prophets.” Whereas older scholarship played down this reason to insist on the absence of prophecy in post-biblical Judaism, the prevailing view today holds that Josephus meant only to qualify later prophecy, not to exclude it. This essay broaches the more basic question of what an ἀκριβὴς διαδοχή means. Arguing that an exact diachronic succession of prophets makes little sense, it offers two proposals that better suit Josephus’ argument. It further contends that Josephus is talking about the ancient Judaean past, the subject of this work, not about the work of later historians including himself. He distinguishes sharply between prophecy and historical inquiry.
Benjamin G. Wright
As a response to the tradition of scholarship that focused on questions of LXX origins, translation techniques and textual criticism, this article looks at how the LXX translations in antiquity were already in certain respects marked as Greek texts at their production, constructed as Greek literary texts in their origins, and subsequently employed in the same ways as compositional Greek texts by those who engaged them. It shows how the author of Aristeas constructs the LXX as a Greek text, how it functioned as such for Aristobulos and Philo. Already the translators demonstrate in their use of poetic language that they could produce literary Greek. Subsequently, Jewish Hellenistic authors employed the LXX alongside other Greek texts, and treated it with the methods of Hellenistic scholarship.
This article reviews recent research on emotions in the field of early Judaism, mostly in literature. The article starts with an example from the biblical story of Joseph, to illustrate the need for a culturally sensitive understanding of emotions. Various approaches to emotions are then examined: philology and the history of the self, the construction of identity, structures of power (including gender), experiences with the divine, and emotions as adaptive practices. Each section starts with a brief outline of the scholarship conducted in other fields and serving as a background for research on early Judaism. The conclusion considers several facets of emotions, as they are highlighted by various disciplines; cultural manipulations of emotions often harness the tensions that may result from these multiple facets. The article closes with a brief assessment of the contribution of emotion research to the broader study of early Judaism and with perspectives for further research.
Laura Carlson Hasler
Determining the authenticity of Ezra-Nehemiah’s sources was a central question among scholars more than a century ago and remains so today. In this article, I explore why posing questions of authenticity about the source documents endures as a mainstay of Ezra-Nehemiah scholarship and argue that the implications of the authenticity question are frequently overstated. This overstatement reveals a prevailing scholarly instinct to separate “the real” from “the ideological,” a dichotomy traceable since C.C. Torrey’s Ezra Studies. Using Ezra 4 as an example, I argue that determining the authenticity of Ezra-Nehemiah’s source documents is not a worthy litmus test of historical-critical scholarship. Instead, considering how Ezra 4 resembles a space of collection rather than a linear story collapses methodological boundaries, calling into question the usefulness of categories like authenticity and fabrication in our understanding of Ezra-Nehemiah and beyond.
Narratives, Allegories, and Arguments
Edited by Francesca Alesse and Ludovica De Luca
Saul M. Olyan
Much has been written about animal rights in the four decades since the appearance of Peter Singer’s classic monograph Animal Liberation (1975) and not a few studies consider – often in passing – what biblical texts have to contribute to debates about animal rights. These studies are, however, almost exclusively the work of non-specialists. I begin to address this dearth of professional scholarship on this topic by exploring what four biblical laws – Exod. 23:10-11, 12; Lev. 25:2-7 and Deut. 5:12-15 – might suggest about the legal standing of animals. As legal scholar Gary L. Francione states, “[W]e normally use [the term “rights”] to describe a type of protection that does not evaporate in the face of consequential considerations.” In this article, I consider whether the four biblical laws in question meet this standard.
Daniel J. D. Stulac
Following the work of Ellen Davis in her 2009 volume Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, this essay identifies an “agrarian hermeneutic” as an important resource for addressing current impasses in modern-critical exegesis. A close examination of Isaiah 5 demonstrates how such a hermeneutic provides fresh insight into a well-worn text. Modern scholars have tended to see this passage as a chronological sequence of prophetic indictment (5:1-7), grievance (5:8-24), and military sentence (5:25-30); such interpretations typically exchange the chapter’s actual language for the sociopolitical realities that are thought to stand behind it, and moreover, cannot adequately account for the text’s redactional expansions. By contrast, an agrarian-rhetorical perspective on this passage identifies a theological sequence that communicates to the reader a paradigmatic vision of land-destruction and loss.
The use of cosmetic oils by the heroines of the books of Esther and Ruth is frequently interpreted as a means to enhance their beauty and allurement. Cosmetic use in the Hebrew Bible is routinely condemned, and yet Esther and Ruth receive no censure for their actions. By utilising a sociological approach to the function of cosmetics and body adornment alongside archaeological and textual evidence from ancient Palestine, in this article I consider the use of cosmetics akin to a speech act, able to communicate the social status and sexual intentions of the wearer to those around them. This perspective provides a new access to understanding the characterisation of Esther and Ruth, showing that their intentions in utilising cosmetic oils fundamentally differs in the two books. This has implications for understanding some of the narrative elements within the tales, as well as their reception at the hands of later interpreters.
Sébastien Doane and Nathan Robert Mastnjak
The image of Rachel’s inconsolable weeping for her lost children in Jer. 31:15 presents a specific kind of response to a cultural trauma. As this paper argues, understanding this response is enriched both by analyzing the extra-textual literary strategy of the passage itself and by engaging in an intertextual reading of the ancient text with a contemporary artistic response to trauma. By means of an allusion to Genesis 37, Jer. 31:15 makes a case both for the continued existence of the people of Israel and for the legitimacy of experiencing the exile as a metaphorical death. What Jer. 31:15 accomplishes textually for a sixth century BCE Judean audience, the Witness Blanket accomplishes in a visual medium for threatened Canadian native cultures. Both texts stage a protest against the threat to the continued existence of culture by asserting the persistent potency of its cultural symbols.
Emily O. Gravett
Milton Steinberg’s posthumously published novel The Prophet’s Wife retells the story of the prophet Hosea and his “wife of whoredom,” Gomer. To analyze the novel’s interpretation of the biblical text, the article first reviews the book of Hosea and outlines the concept of “retrieval” in biblical retellings (that is, the restoration of characters overlooked in the Bible). Because Steinberg retrieves Gomer by drawing upon language of sight, body, and beauty, the article turns to the concept of the “male gaze” from film studies. Using this concept, the article examines several key moments of retrieval from the novel, in which Gomer is framed as a beautiful object for male eyes to appraise. What becomes clear is that Gomer’s retrieval in The Prophet’s Wife paradoxically results in her increased exposure to the male gaze. The article culminates in an exploration of this risk, possibly inherent in biblical retellings that retrieve female figures.
Biblical scholars need to pay more attention to violent women as feminist subjects, and violence as a means of enabling women, rather than the disabling that has occurred through a politically and conceptually strategic commitment to their victimization. This paper explores the feminist erasure of Jael’s violence in Judges 4, and asks whether this violence might be appreciated as a vehicle of feminist empowerment. This erasure does biblical women a disservice by not taking their violence seriously as a signifier of their identity as women. How might violent biblical women model a kind of radical agency that feminists have typically shied away from? Dismissing these female characters as patriarchal patsies robs them of what might be their last recourse to self-expression. Rather than requiring justification, their violence might better be heralded as a fundamental qualifier of their femininity.
Between Bible and Liturgy
Edited by Claudia D. Bergmann and Benedikt Kranemann
Narrationsstrategien und Funktionsweisen lateinischer Pilgertexte (4.-15. Jahrhundert)
The first part of the book is devoted to theoretical reflections and a systematic analysis of characteristic elements of pilgrimage narratives. Interpreting the texts from a narrative perspective, she focuses not only on formal characteristics but also on narrative structures and thus takes a closer look at the poetics of pilgrimage narratives. Through the detailed analysis of fourteen Latin texts about pilgrimage to the Holy Land from the 4th to the 15th century, she illustrates the development of a literary tradition with specific structural, stylistic and narrative characteristics.
Digital Writing, Digital Scriptures
A Study of Determinism and Early Christian Philosophy of Ethics
Valentinians have often been associated with determinism, which has been presented as “Gnostic” and then not taken seriously, or been disregarded as an invention of ancient intra-Christian polemics. Linjamaa challenges this conception and presents insights into how early Christian determinism actually worked, and how it effectively sustained viable and functioning ethics.
Visualisation, Data Mining, Communication
Edited by David Hamidović, Claire Clivaz and Sarah Bowen Savant
The understanding of trauma in sociology as the group’s creation of meaning for horrific events has been highly influential in the study of the Hebrew Bible. This sociological approach is very different than that of literary criticism, where trauma is understood through the lens of psychoanalytical analysis as that which has not been fully experienced by victims and is not truly known by them, as “unclaimed experience,” in other words. The sociological understanding of trauma has helped scholars understand potential social benefits of biblical texts, but scholarship often fails to clearly distinguish this approach from that of psychoanalysis and literary criticism, and this has led to problematic claims that texts which create meaning for traumatic events will prove to be therapeutic for individual trauma sufferers. The use of texts to create meaning and explanation actually forces trauma victims to repress the speech about their trauma that they need to engage in therapy.
Ericka S. Dunbar
Paul K.-K. Cho
Job compares himself time and again to defeated and trapped animals in the poetic core of the Book of Job. God, in responding to Job, describes in loving detail, as would a proud parent her children, the animals that populate creation. This paper argues that the Joban Poet uses animal imagery to allow Job to express an evolving sense of his traumatized self and the world and God to affirm the beauty and vitality of creation and, indirectly, also of Job who has come to think of himself as a trapped and hunted animal.
Nina E. Livesey
In much of the Christian exegetical tradition, freedom, ἐλευθερία, is considered an existential state. Hans Dieter Betz, for instance, assessed freedom as the “central theological concept which sums up the Christian’s situation before God as well as in this world” (1979: 255). Yet in his 2001 monograph, Constructing Autocracy, the classicist Matthew Roller explains that ancient authors only employed the terms libertas (“freedom”) and its complementary term servitus (“slavery”) together as metaphors to characterize another situation. Unless they were defining what it meant to be a free person or a slave (e.g., Dio Chrysostom, Or. 14, 15), ancient authors did not employ the terms “freedom” or “slavery” to designate a political or religious state of being. When employed paradigmatically, as commentary on another situation, the terms “freedom” and “slavery” carried important social and ethical implications. This article applies Roller’s insights to Paul’s use of freedom in Galatians.
Robert J. Myles
Employing the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan, this article peels back the various layers of Jesus to reveal … nothing.
In the wake of Milman Parry’s and Alfred Lord’s groundbreaking discovery of oral composition in Homeric epics, biblical scholars analyzed the formulaic language of the biblical Psalms with a view toward establishing a similar compositional function. This approach met with little success. Among the many recent refinements to the Oral-Formulaic theory is the distinction between oral composition and oral conception, a distinction which allows for identifying oral features of a “text” which do not necessarily reflect composition in performance. The goal of this article is two-fold. First this article proposes a new model for identifying oral formulas based on the theory of prototypical categorization developed within the field of cognitive sciences, particularly cognitive linguistics. Second, this article argues that the psalmic oral formulas are best understood as linguistic registers which evoke a performance arena, a feature of orally derived literature described most extensively by John Miles Foley.
Daniel L. Smith-Christopher
Louise J. Lawrence*
John 5:1-18 is here interpreted ‘crip-tically’ (through a crip hermeneutic) which seeks to pay due attention to the man at the pool and his ‘enactments’. In order to subvert notions of what Alison Kafer has termed ‘curative time’, here this sign is seen to afford something other than a normalisation or physical healing of a body. Inspiration is drawn from two recent disability arts exhibits – Liz Crow’s Bedding Out (2012-2013) and Noëmi Lakmaier’s One Morning in May (2012) – and their respective illustrations of crip time and movement to highlight how the man in John 5:1-18 too has the potential to subversively refigure ‘normative’ understandings of time, space and embodiment within the Gospel.
This article argues that, instead of the nature of the crime or its punishment, the underlying problem that needs oracular law in the account of the blasphemer in Lev 24:10-23 is the ambiguity of the criminal’s identity. This ambiguity is employed in the narrative as a literary device by which the redactor of the narrative introduces the universal applicability of the blasphemy law that includes both natives and foreigners. By so doing, the redactor of Lev 24 serves the Holiness Code’s theological agenda, namely, the extension of holiness to all inhabitants of the land since pollution of the land by any of its inhabitants may eventually cause the expulsion of the whole people from the land. To this end, the redactor rewrites the Covenant Code and frames it with the narrative of the mixed-pedigree blasphemer.
Steve A. Wiggins
Francisco Lozada Jr.
While partition theorists question the integrity of 1 Corinthians based on the observation that Paul addresses a variety of subjects in distinctive ways through this missive, a consistent theme does unite letter. Paul encourages the strong and privileged to renounce their status, rights, and freedom for the sake of the weak. Thus, this article explores Paul’s ecclesiology of the strong and the weak particularly in 8:1-14:40 by examining his address in each section (8:1-11:1; 11:2-11:16; 11:17-34; 12:1-14:40). In so doing, it seeks to demonstrate Paul’s theology of weakness as the underpinning theme of the letter.
Patricia L. Vesely
In this article, I argue that Job 29 provides an eudaimonic depiction of human happiness whereby virtue, combined with a number of “external goods” is held up as the best possible life for human beings. I compare Job’s vision of the “good life” with an Aristotelian conception of εὐδαιμονία and conclude that there are numerous parallels between Job and Aristotle with respect to their understanding of the “good life.” While the intimate presence of God distinguishes Job’s expectation of happiness with that of Aristotle, Job is unique among other eudaimonic texts in the Hebrew Bible in that expectations of living well are expressed in terms of virtue, rather than Torah piety. In the second portion of the article, I assess Job’s conception of human flourishing from the perspective of the divine speeches, which enlarge Job’s vision of the “good life” by bringing Job face-to-face with the “wild inhabitants” of the cosmos.
Daniel J. D. Stulac
This essay examines the story of Solomon and the two prostitutes (1 Kgs 3:16-28) in relation to David’s judgment concerning Mephibosheth (2 Sam 19:25-31) and in relation to four “resurrection”-type stories in the book of Kings. Readers have traditionally interpreted Solomon’s judgment favorably, though recently some have argued that Solomon’s wisdom is ironic. This essay argues that the Solomon of Kings presents as an irreducible paradox, as both an ideal and an anti-ideal. Read in light of 2 Sam 19:25-31, 1 Kgs 3:16-28 suggests that ideal Solomon surpasses his father in judgment through his restoration of a conceptually “dead” child to its mother. When viewed in this way, Solomon’s wisdom can be understood to launch a life-preservation typology central to the book’s theological hope. Reconsideration of Solomon’s character from this vantage point helps to illumine New Testament references to Solomon in both Matthew and Luke.
Reconstitution à partir des fragments conservés dans les reliures d'incunables European Genizah Texts and Studies, Volume 3
The Colmar Public Library preserves more than 330 Hebrew fragments glued to the bindings of incunabula. Each of them a priori can be considered as a witness to a book that disappeared, probably fallen into the hands of bookbinders as a result of tragic historical circumstances. After describing and identifying them, Judith Kogel was able to partially reconstruct and present in this book, the collection of texts studied and used by Jews in Colmar and the surrounding area in the Middle Ages. Although we cannot know to whom these books belonged and where they were kept, the collection covers all areas essential to Jewish daily life and reflects a structured community committed to the transmission of knowledge.
This essay seeks to contribute to the growing scholarship on children in biblical studies, and while studies of children in the Gospels have begun to emerge, no one has examined the hypothetical Sayings Source Q material specifically with children in mind. Are there children in Q? What can we learn of Q’s disposition toward children? This essay adapts K.S. Han’s method of “allegiance types” (2002) for determining Q’s attitude toward the Jerusalem Temple to a childist reading of Q 11:19-20; 12:53; 14:26; and 17:1-2. In short, these four passages evidence only adult or adolescent children, and despite much household imagery, Q language often suggests an “imperiled” family unit so central to the lives of children. The findings may aid studies seeking to further define Q’s relationship to apocalypticism, “renewal” ideology, asceticism, or the endurance of the family unit.
Helen C. John
This article considers how biblical scholarship might break out of its western-dominated, largely historical-critical mould. I argue that we might challenge the hegemony of ‘western worldview’ scholarship by capitalising on the interpretative insights of alternative worldviews; in that regard, I advance a cross-cultural methodology. Additionally, I advocate engaging with grassroots interpreters, thereby contributing to the decentring of scholarly biblical criticism. Finally, this article focuses on the value of interpretation through dialogue, which functions here on two levels: the researcher dialoguing with grassroots interpretation groups in cross-cultural settings, and the resulting grassroots interpretations dialoguing with western professional biblical interpretations. The potential of this approach is demonstrated using a case study: Mark 4:35-41 interpreted with Cross-Cultural Biblical Interpretation Groups in northern Namibia. The interpretative insights of grassroots groups in non-western contexts, free(r) from the influence of western worldviews and scholarship, function to highlight the equally contextual nature of mainstream professional biblical interpretation.
This article interprets the story of the outbreak of God against Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6 as an act of “divine violence,” a concept described by Slavoj Žižek in his book Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. In previous interpretations of 2 Samuel 6, the violence against Uzzah has been understood either as a punishment for a transgression, or as a capricious act of God’s power. Slavoj Žižek describes “divine violence” as violence, which is not a means to an end, and which irrupts from a position of vulnerability and impotence. By looking at the details of the Masoretic Text of 2 Samuel 6, it will be argued that the violence of God in this story should also be interpreted as divine violence: it lacks meaning as a punishment for transgression, and it stems from the vulnerability of God’s presence in the ark rather than from God’s transcendent power.
Where does lyric significance happen? With recent interdisciplinary studies from the fields of aesthetics and neuroscience offering support to Emmanuel Levinas’s idea of proximity, I propose that proximity is the maternal body of lyrical meaning. In this paper, I will illustrate the case by unpacking the mental processing of the lyrical imageries in Song 2:10–13, and highlight two aspects of proximity along the way. First, the perception of lyrical imagery is more complex than a representational correspondence between the word and the world. It covers the stages from the verbal cues to multisensory imageries, to evoked synaesthetic experiences, to accompanied feelings and provoked actions. Cognitively it is best described as one’s approximation toward the core semantic sense of the verbal cues, which is diversified by the reader’s embodied minds. Second, at the root of the aesthetic experience is one’s sense of self, which is susceptible to the intrigue of alterity. One’s reception of lyrical imageries in Song 2:10–13 can be characterized as an over-abundant synaesthetic experience. It directs one’s attention to an anterior receptivity embedded in subjectivity by way of the excess of the sensing over the semantic, and the sensed over the sensing. This reduction to the baseline level of function, or the sheer sensation of oneself, beckons the lyrical subject to become aware of one’s a prior proximity to alterity. In brief, while the readers’ individualized approximations preclude a verifiable universal reception, they do not warrant the kind of hermeneutic violence that overrides the text with the readers’ contexts. Rather, by being awakened to one’s susceptibility to the otherness of the poem, the lyrical subject realizes that proximity is the ethical precondition in making sense of the poem and oneself.
From a narrative approach, and through the lens of masculinity studies, this article examines a particular group in the genealogy of Jesus: the men associated with a woman in their “begetting”: Judah with Tamar, Salmon with Rahab, Boaz with Ruth, and David with the wife of Uriah. What traits characterize this specific group of biblical men put forth as Jesus’s ancestors? What kind of husbands and fathers are they? What is the effect on readers as they peruse this list of masculine prototypes? These male figures are then compared to Joseph and to Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew does not present the masculinities of Joseph and Jesus in the same way as it portrays those of others in the genealogy. Basically, the genealogy supports and subverts ancient hegemonic constructions of masculinity, by proposing a reversal of the values associated with masculinity.
O’neil Van Horn
If the Book of Revelation is anti-imperial resistance literature of the first order, hip-hop music is its contemporary equivalent – with Kendrick Lamar as one of its most politically sensitized “prophets.” I will explore the intersections, commonalities, and divergences between Revelation 17-18 and rapper Kendrick’s “For Sale? (Interlude),” especially regarding notions of empire, gender, and sexuality. I will draw connections between the characters of “For Sale” – Kendrick and Lucy – and those of Revelation 17-18 – John of Patmos and Babylon. This analysis will reveal the relationship between anti-imperial rhetoric and the troubling “effemination” of empire. I contend that Babylon and Lucy are both figures “in drag,” dis/closing the prevailing imperial and misogynistic forces of their respective cultures. This queer interpretation, playing off Catherine Keller’s and Stephen D. Moore’s reading of the text and J. Jack Halberstam’s study of drag kings, seeks to unveil the hypermasculine performances in both Revelation and contemporary hip-hop culture.
The Apocalypse of John is filled with monsters who threaten both spatial and cultural boundaries. They are generally understood as ciphers for the Roman Empire and its rulers. Rather than seeking the ancient Near Eastern origins of the monstrous imagery, the intent of this paper is to use monster theory to better understand why John employs monsters throughout the apocalypse. I argue that the author’s portrayal of the threat and punishment of hybrid monsters reveals his own insecurities and fears concerning his communities’ assimilation with Roman culture. John uses monsters specifically to target rival prophets in his communities that espouse a different vision of living under Rome rule.
Edited by Tom Holmén and Stanley E. Porter
Engaging the Hebrew Bible in Early Judaism and Christianity
Edited by Garrick Allen and John Anthony Dunne
The article discusses the date and cultural background of the Elisha and Naaman story (2 Kings 5). It first analyses the story and emphasizes the difference in its presentation of the prophet and the way he operates vis-à-vis all other stories in the Elisha story-cycle. It then analyses Naaman’s request to carry soil from the Land of Israel in order to erect an altar for Yhwh in Damascus (5:17) and brings evidence that the transportation of earth from one sacred place to another was known in Mesopotamia from the late second millennium BCE onward. In light of all the available evidence, it suggests that the story is not part of Elisha’s original story-cycle; rather, it illuminates the shift of ideas about the prophet, his prophecy, and the land of Israel in the transition from the monarchical to the early post-exilic period.
Jacques van der Vliet
A reedition and analysis of a late (ca. 10th–11th cent.) Coptic magical charm found at Saqqara. The commentary links the charm to pre-Christian models and discusses the possible modes of transmission of traditional ritual knowledge in Christian Egypt.
In spite of renewed scholarly interest in the religion of Judeans living on the island of Elephantine during the Persian period, only one recent study has addressed the religious significance of the fired clay female figurines discovered there. The present article seeks to place these objects back on the research agenda. After summarizing the history of research, it also makes a new appraisal of the role of these objects in the religious life of Elephantine Judeans. Two factors prompt this reevaluation: first, newly found examples of the same figurine types; and second, Bob Becking’s recent research on Elephantine Aramaic texts attesting the phenomenon of “lending deities.”
M. Victoria Almansa-Villatoro
This article sets out to address questions concerning local religious traditions in ancient Nubia. Data concerning Egyptian gods in the Sudan are introduced, then the existence of unattested local pre-Meroitic gods is reconstructed using mainly external literary sources and an analysis of divine names. A review of other archaeological evidence from an iconographic point of view is also attempted, concluding with the presentation of Meroitic gods and their relation with earlier traditions. This study proposes that Egyptian religious beliefs were well integrated in both official and popular cults in Nubia. The Egyptian and the Sudanese cultures were constantly in contact in the border area and this nexus eased the transmission of traditions and iconographical elements in a bidirectional way. The Meroitic gods are directly reminiscent of the reconstructed indigenous Kushite pantheon in many aspects, and this fact attests to an attempt by the Meroitic rulers to recover their Nubian cultural identity.
Tchavdar S. Hadjiev
This article offers a reading of the beginning of the Exodus narrative that recognises the affinity between contemporary western readers and the villains of the story, the Egyptians. Both groups live in prosperous places where migrants wish to come in and settle, and both have to deal with minorities living in their midst and posing apparent threat to their security. Against such a background the modern reader can choose to read against the grain of the text and construe the otherness of the Hebrews as the main reason behind the devastation that engulfs Egypt. However, a more fruitful and attractive approach is to embrace the ideological stance of the narrative and place oneself in the role of the villain. This allows us to hear through the story the voice of the one who has become a stranger in a foreign land.