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Stefania Benini

Abstract

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.

George Aichele

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Laura Copier

Abstract

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.

Jay Twomey

Abstract

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.).

Laura Carlson Hasler

Abstract

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.

Jerry M. Ireland

Most contemporary Pentecostal missiologies advocate a move away from classical Pentecostalism’s historic emphasis on the priority of evangelization (commonly described as the narrow sense of missions). In many ways this move parallels similar missiological perspectives among Evangelicals through the influence of the Lausanne Congresses between 1974 and 2010. In this essay the author argues that Scripture does not emphasize the church’s call to transform the world but the church’s need to be transformed itself within the world as a testimony of God’s abiding presence. Building especially on the work of Paul Pomerville, Johannes Blauw, and Harry Boer, the author offers a fresh take on an old missiology, one in which the church in the age of the Spirit must especially be understood in light of God’s concern for the nations.

Cleansing Instead of Combat?

E. Janet Warren’s Temple-Cosmos Model of Counteracting Evil, and its Implications for Charismatic Missiology

Christian J. Anderson

As the Church participates in God’s Mission, how is it called to oppose evil forces in the world? In the last fifty years, spiritual warfare approaches have come to the attention of evangelicals through missionary encounters with spirit cosmologies of the global South and the rise of Pentecostalism within World Christianity. But Janet Warren’s book, Cleansing the Cosmos (Wipf and Stock, 2012), offers a theological and practical alternative to spiritual warfare, one that emphasizes God’s cleansing of space in his creation, with evil not so much a strategic enemy but chaos that seeks to intrude over God-given boundaries and contaminate what God has made holy. This article analyzes Warren’s proposal and explores how it may help in some areas of mission where spiritual warfare approaches have been problematic – namely in relation to exaggerated God–Satan dualism, discontinuity of local religious forms, and controversies over space.

Discerning God in 1 Kings 3

Wisdom in High Places and Pentecostal Praxis

Rick Wadholm Jr.

This paper discusses the literary textures of 1 Kings 3 in light of ambiguity and discernment for readers engaging the characters of Yahweh and Solomon (who may themselves be ambiguous) and suggests a textual call for discernment. The ambiguities and discernment of the text finds resonance within Pentecostal praxis as the Pentecostal community moves toward discerning what God is doing and saying within their midst as interplay of Word and Spirit. This movement functions both descriptively and prescriptively for Pentecostal praxis in the experience of wisdom as Word and Spirit.

Paul Ladouceur

This article explores the sense of John the Evangelist’s expression God is Light (1 Jn 1.5) in the Orthodox tradition, both in the experience of mystics and its theological ramifications. The article reviews the scriptural basis for the experience of God as Light and presents first-hand accounts in Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022), Seraphim of Sarov (1759–1833), Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) (1896–1993), and Nicolae Steinhardt (1912–1989), and in Orthodox liturgical services. Beyond a metaphorical expression or a psychological experience, God as Light, often called the ‘Uncreated Light’, in Orthodox theology is considered an experience of the divine energies, as distinct from the divine essence, a theology elaborated notably by Gregory Palamas (1296–1359), and is a foretaste of union with God, ‘deification’ or theosis.

Hearing and Speaking

Exploring the Dialogue between Author and Reader in a Pentecostal Hermeneutic

Scott A. Ellington

Pentecostal hermeneuts continue to debate whether the locus of meaning in a biblical text should be found principally with the author’s intended meaning, the reader, the revealing Spirit, or some combination of these. This article argues that meaning cannot be isolated to the writer or the reader alone, but requires an ongoing dialogue facilitated by the Spirit. Luke’s interpretive use of the Old Testament in Acts demonstrates the diversity of the ongoing dialogue between author, reader, and Spirit in the interpretive process.

Nomatter Sande

This article presents a history of the Apostolic Faith Mission in the United Kingdom from an academic perspective. More specifically, the article discusses the emergence of the Apostolic Faith International Ministries UK (afmimuk). Arguably, the afmimuk is regarded as a missionary field of the Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe. So, the article discusses the early 20 years of the Apostolic Faith Mission in the United Kingdom. The lack of previous documentation presents a challenge to the writing of the denomination’s history. The article uses historiography by objective (hbo) as a theoretical framework and concludes that the afmimuk is an example of the spread of Pentecostal Christianity in Europe.

Pentecostalism and Experience

History, Theology, and Practice

Lisa P. Stephenson

For a tradition whose identity is founded on the outpouring of the Spirit that is witnessed to in Acts 2, the emphasis Pentecostalism places on divine-human encounter should come as no surprise. The Day of Pentecost is a quintessential ‘experiential’ event that, for the Pentecostal tradition, paradigmatically creates a routine expectation of encounter with God. The following article further explores some reasons and ways in which religious experience serves as the lifeblood of the movement. The author begins by explaining why experience plays such a prominent role in Pentecostalism by surveying two descriptors of the movement employed among early North American Pentecostals. She then turns to explaining how their emphasis on religious experience takes shape, especially within the confines of their weekly worship service.

A. K. M. Adam

Abstract

A significant body of literature rests on the premise that the most propitious way of characterizing the way we interpret linguistic signs corresponds to the practices of encoding and decoding. A sender conceives a message, encodes it in linguistic signs, transmits the message (by voice, or in handwriting, or print, or digital media) and the recipient of the message decodes it. This model itself impedes progress in textual interpretation. An approach to hermeneutics that takes its cue from broader phenomena of perception, apprehension, and inference can provide a more illuminating theoretical discourse for evaluating contested interpretations, with the additional benefit that by changing the way that we view linguistic hermeneutics, we stand to integrate our endeavors more fully with the interpretation of art, music, ethics, and gestural action.

John M. G. Barclay

Abstract

This response to Willis, Sumney, and MacDonald highlights and develops their key points. Reinforcing Willis’ reading of gift-reciprocity in Philippians, seen even in the self-giving (non-“taking”) of Christ (Phil 2.6-11), it is argued that Paul views gifts in Christ as operative simultaneously at two levels—gifts circulate among believers, but also come from God and are offered to God. Sumney’s reading of 2 Thessalonians is nuanced by connecting the language of “worth” to 1 Thess 2.12: the congruity between believers and the Kingdom of God is based on the agency of God and the prior gift of new life. Further reflection is offered on the perfection of “efficacy” and its possible range of meanings. Finally, MacDonald’s reading of Ephesians is affirmed with emphasis on the Christ-gift as the key to the cosmos; the Psalm-interpretation in Ephesians 4.7-10 clarifies how this gift permeates (“fills”) all reality, as manifested first in gifts within Christ’s body.

Margaret Y. MacDonald

Abstract

With a focus on Eph 4:7-16, the article highlights the significance of the concept of “gift” in Ephesians. John Barclay’s work helps to situate the Paul of Ephesians among Jewish theologians of grace, especially the perspective of the Qumran Hodayot with respect to the incongruity of divine mercy. Moreover, the results of recent analyses of Ephesians within the Roman Imperial context, including civic and familial concepts, are pushed to a new level of understanding. The study includes an examination of the link between ancient ideologies and practices related to gift giving and the delineation of social bonds and communal obligations where the depiction of the role of Christ as the giver of ministerial gifts plays a crucial role. Ultimately, the essay goes some way to close the perceived gap between the undisputed letters and Ephesians in term of a theology of grace.

Gail P. Streete and Christopher R. Hutson

Abstract

This orientation essay provides an overview of the four other articles in this special section on J. M. G. Barclay’s, Paul and the Gift (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015). After introducing key ideas from Barclay’s work, which focuses on Paul’s letters to the Galatians and Romans, we summarize three studies in which scholars employ Barclay’s method to examine some of the shorter Pauline letters. Wendell L. Willis discusses Philippians; Jerry L. Sumney discusses 2 Thessalonians; and Margaret Y. MacDonald discusses Ephesians. This special section also includes Barclay’s responses to all three. In addition, we explain how this collection of essays originated in the work of the Disputed Paulines Section of the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Wendell L. Willis

Abstract

This paper employs a basic insight from John M. G. Barclay’s book, Paul and the Gift, that the word χάρις in first-century Greek very often referred to a gift, especially his “perfection” of the word as “conditional.” In Paul’s lifetime the common cultural expectation was that the recipient of a gift accepted that a return gift was normative and expected—whether physical or not. This understanding is thoroughly discussed in Seneca, De Beneficiis which describes how the obligation to reciprocity in giving and receiving is expected of all civil persons, apart from civic position and status. This is because the function of a gift is the building or maintaining of relationships. This purpose is shown to be the case also in Philippians with reference to the passage employing the lexeme (Phil 1:7, 29; 2:6-11) and in 4:10-20 where Paul discusses the gift he received from the Philippian church.

Jerry L. Sumney

Abstract

Drawing on the aspects of grace that John M. G. Barclay identifies, this essay examines the understandings of grace found in 2 Thessalonians. We find that 2 Thessalonians “perfects” (pushes to the extreme) the superabundance and emphasizes the priority of God’s gift of grace. Unlike what Barclay finds in Romans and Galatians, 2 Thessalonians does not perfect the incongruity of grace. It allows that there is a sense in which God has chosen the appropriate people to give grace. Because it does not perfect the incongruity between the worthiness of the recipient and the offer of grace, its view of grace is similar to that of the Wisdom of Solomon. Seeing that 2 Thessalonians does not perfect incongruity as Paul does in Romans and Galatians may offer a new perspective from which to think about its authorship.

Saul M. Olyan

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Laura Quick

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Carleen Mandolfo

Abstract

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.

Chelcent Fuad

Abstract

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.

Kei Hiramatsu

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

The Religious Worldviews Reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 28–30 May, 2013

Series:

Edited by Ruth A. Clements, Menahem Kister and Michael Segal

The Dead Sea Scrolls offer a window onto the rich theological landscape of Judaism in the Second Temple period. Through careful textual analysis, the authors of these twelve studies explore such topics as dualism and determinism, esoteric knowledge, eschatology and covenant, the nature of heaven and / or the divine, moral agency, and more; as well as connections between concepts expressed in the Qumran corpus and in later Jewish and Christian literature. The religious worldviews reflected in the Scrolls constitute part of the ideological environment of Second Temple Judaism; the analysis of these texts is essential for the reconstruction of that milieu. Taken together, these studies indicate the breadth and depth of theological reflection in the Second Temple period.

Waters of the Exodus

Jewish Experiences with Water in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

Series:

Nathalie LaCoste

In Waters of the Exodus, Nathalie LaCoste examines the Diasporic Jewish community in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and their relationship to the hydric environment. By focusing on four retellings of the exodus narrative composed by Egyptian Jews—Artapanus, Ezekiel the Tragedian, Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria—she lays out how the hydric environment of Egypt, and specifically the Nile river, shaped the transmission of the exodus story. Mapping these observations onto the physical landscape of Egypt provides a new perspective on the formation of Jewish communities in Egypt.

Nicoletta Gatti and George Ossom-Batsa

Abstract

In most cultures in Ghana, both male and female infertility are believed to be a curse and a sign of an unfruitful life. The ability to procreate thus defines the identity of the person and his/her existential value in relation to others. Furthermore, childlessness becomes an overwhelming drama as it is perceived to depict an inferior state of being or a life of incompleteness. This type of social identity construction raises serious hermeneutical issues in its engagement with the Judeo-Christian message of inclusiveness. Against this backdrop, this study reads the drama surrounding infertility within the Krobo worldview from the horizon of Isa 56:1-8, using the Communicative hermeneutic approach. Our findings are that an engagement between the Krobo worldview and the Isaian text creates both tension and transformation. The tension comes about because of the contrast of views; and the transformation resides in the change of perspective. The text provides a rich and an alternative understanding of infertility: another way of being and not a curse.

Christopher William Skinner

Abstract

It is often said that the Johannine Jesus never utters a narrative parable like those that are so ubiquitous throughout the Synoptics. However, in John 10, we have the closest parallel in the so-called “Good Shepherd” discourse, where Jesus uses a “figure of speech” (παροιµία) to compare himself to a benevolent or noble shepherd. The present article will explore this παροιµία in light of the unfolding narrative Christology over the first nine chapters. Against that backdrop, we will examine the questions: “What historical information can reasonably be inferred as part of the literary construct known as the implied audience?”, and “How has the implied audience been prepared by the narrator to receive this metaphorical speech?”

David Andrew Smith

Abstract

This article examines the reconfiguration of socially poignant Pentateuchal texts in Luke-Acts. Beginning with a critical examination of the Jubilee background of Jesus’ Nazareth sermon, the article moves to elucidate Luke’s interweaving of scriptural traditions of the Jubilee and Sabbath years and related economically rich scriptural texts into the story of Jesus and the early church. This study explores how the author of Luke and Acts has integrated the life and teachings of Jesus with the kerygma and social existence of the early church by way of sustained, subtle reference to idealized visions of communal life in Israel’s foundational scriptures.

Ryan Cook

Abstract

In 1 Sam 3:18b, Eli responds to a prophetic judgment with the phrase “it is the Lord, may he do what is good in his eyes.” Most commentators understand this response as an example of pious acceptance of divine judgment. The claim of this article is that a plausible case can be made for reading Eli’s response as culpably passive. This case will be made following two lines of evidence. First, I will examine an oracle of judgment against an individual and the response as a type-scene in Samuel-Kings. Second, I will examine how this culpable passivity fits with the characterization of Eli in 1 Samuel 1-3.

Series:

Matthew S. Goldstone

In The Dangerous Duty of Rebuke Matthew Goldstone explores the ways in which religious leaders within early Jewish and Christian communities conceived of the obligation to rebuke their fellows based upon the biblical verse: “Rebuke your fellow but do not incur sin” (Leviticus 19:17). Analyzing texts from the Bible through the Talmud and late Midrashim as well as early Christian monastic writings, he exposes a shift from asking how to rebuke in the Second Temple and early Christian period, to whether one can rebuke in early rabbinic texts, to whether one should rebuke in later rabbinic and monastic sources. Mapping these observations onto shifting sociological concerns, this work offers a new perspective on the nature of interpersonal responsibility in antiquity.

Ian D. Wilson

Abstract

This essay offers an introduction to select disciplinary developments in the study of history and in historical study of the Hebrew Bible. It focuses first and foremost on “cultural history,” a broad category defined by nineteenth- and twentieth-century developments in anthropology and sociology, literary theory and linguistics, and other fields of study. The first part of the essay comments on developments since the so-called “linguistic turn,” highlighting some key works on culture, narrative, and memory, in order to establish a contemporary historical approach to biblical studies. It then turns to questions of the Hebrew Bible’s usefulness for historical study, and highlights studies of King David and the Davidic polity in ancient Israel/Judah, to show how scholars of the Bible have done historical work in recent years. And finally, it provides a case study of the book of Joshua, demonstrating how historians can utilize biblical texts as sources for cultural history.

Harvey E. Goldberg

Abstract

Interaction between anthropology and biblical scholarship began because of perceived similarities between “simpler” societies and the practices and ideas seen in the Bible. After some disengagement in the first half of the twentieth century, new cross-disciplinary possibilities were envisioned as the structuralist approach emerged in anthropology. Ritual and mythology were major topics that received attention and structuralist methods were partially adopted by some biblical scholars. Anthropological research itself extended to complex societies and also affected historical studies, yielding models of inquiry that engaged a range of disciplines. Among the issues explored in this essay are ritual and notions of purity in the Bible, and the place of literacy in Israelite society and culture. These discussions are followed by three examples of structuralist-inspired analysis that partially take into account historical and literacy-based facets of the Bible.