Browse results

Robert Jones

Abstract

This paper evaluates the attitudes toward the contemporary Jerusalem priesthood and cult on evidence in the Visions of Amram. To the extent that this issue has been treated, scholars have generally argued that the Visions of Amram originated among groups that were hostile to the Aaronid priesthood. Such treatments, however, have left some of the most germane fragments unexamined, several of which deal directly with matters pertaining to the cult, Aaron, and his offspring (4Q547 5 1–3; 8 2–4; 9 5–7; 4Q545 4 16–19). My study incorporates these fragments into the larger discussion, and in so doing demonstrates that many of the views expressed in the secondary literature require revision. My analysis shows that, though the social location of the Visions of Amram is difficult to determine, we should not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that the writer was a supporter of the contemporary status quo in the temple, given the elevated status afforded to both Aaron and his eternal posterity throughout the text.

Series:

Edited by Frank Feder and Matthias Henze

The Textual History of the Bible (THB) brings together for the first time all available information regarding the manuscripts, textual history and character of each book of the Hebrew Bible and its translations as well as the deuterocanonical scriptures. In addition, THB covers the history of research, the editorial history of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other aspects of text-critical research and its subsidiary fields, such as papyrology, codicology, and the related discipline of linguistics. The THB will consist of 4 volumes.

Volume 2: Deuterocanonical Scriptures. Editors Matthias Henze and Frank Feder
Vol. 2A: overview articles
Vol. 2B: to Ezra
Vol. 2C: Jubilees to 16 Appendix

Series:

Edited by Najeeba Syeed and Heidi Hadsell

The editors of Experiments in Empathy: Critical Reflections on Interreligious Education have assembled a volume that spans multiple religious traditions and offers innovative methods for teaching and designing interreligious learning. This groundbreaking text includes established interreligious educators and emerging scholars who expand the vision of this field to include critical studies, decolonial approaches and exciting pedagogical developments.

The book includes voices that are often left out of other comparative theology or interreligious education texts. Scholars from evangelical, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, religiously hybrid and other background enrich the existing models for interreligious classrooms. The book is particularly relevant at a time when religion is so often harnessed for division and hatred. By examining the roots of racism, xenophobia, sexism and their interaction with religion that contribute to inequity the volume offers real world educational interventions. The content is in high demand as are the authors who contributed to the volume.

Contributors are: Scott Alexander, Judith A. Berling, Monica A. Coleman, Reuven Firestone, Christine Hong, Jennifer Howe Peace, Munir Jiwa, Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Tony Ritchie, Rachel Mikva, John Thatanamil, Timur Yuskaev.

Nationalism before the Nation State

Literary Constructions of Inclusion, Exclusion, and Self-Definition (1756–1871)

Series:

Edited by Dagmar Paulus and Ellen Pilsworth

Though the German Nation State was only founded in 1871, the German nation had been imagined long before it ever took political shape. Covering the period from the Seven Years’ War to the foundation of the German nation, Nationalism before the Nation State: Literary Constructions of Inclusion, Exclusion, and Self-Definition (1756–1871) explores how the nation was imagined by different groups, at different times, and in connection with other ideologies. Between them the eight chapters in this volume explore the connections between religion, nationalism and patriotism, and individual chapters show how marginalised voices such as women and Jews contributed to discourses on national identity. Finally, the chapters also consider the role of memory in constructing ideas of nationhood.

Contributors are: Johannes Birgfeld, Anita Bunyan, Dirk Göttsche, Caroline Mannweiler, Alex Marshall, Dagmar Paulus, Ellen Pilsworth, and Ernest Schonfield.

Series:

Leeor Gottlieb

Targum Chronicles and Its Place Among the Late Targums heralds a paradigm shift in the understanding of many of the Jewish-Aramaic translations of individual biblical books and their origins. Leeor Gottlieb provides the most extensive study of Targum Chronicles to date, leading to conclusions that challenge long-accepted truisms with regard to the origin of Targums. This book’s trail of evidence convincingly points to the composition of Targums in a time and place that was heretofore not expected to be the provenance of these Aramaic gems of biblical interpretation. This study also offers detailed comparisons to other Targums and fascinating new explanations for dozens of aggadic expansions in Targum Chronicles, tying them to their rabbinic sources.

Pillars of Salt

Israelis in Berlin and Toronto

Series:

Lianne Merkur

In Pillars of Salt, Lianne Merkur offers an account of early 21st century immigration as experienced by Israelis in Berlin and Toronto. Commonly portrayed as contrary to the territorial emphasis of national integrity, these individuals and communities appear to explore a sense of belonging that evaluates and incorporates both foreign and familiar elements. Social media allows for an alternative space to balance between new home and homeland, studied here as developing simultaneously in multiple sites. The author makes use of innovative methodologies to document the participants’ own perspectives expressed online, at events or on paper. She thereby challenges established norms of interpretation to prove that personal decisions, primarily regarding preferred language or simply self-identification, are the cornerstones of collective character.

Ari Mermelstein

Abstract

This paper considers the sectarian construction of masculinity as it pertains to the emotion of anger. The hegemonic masculinity in antiquity reserves legitimate expressions of anger for men. Sectarian anger, which is a hierarchical emotion bound up in power relations, likewise reflects the sectarian conception of masculinity.

The sect’s view of anger approximates Aristotle’s insistence that anger should be limited to certain circumstances and in relation to certain people. Intra-sectarian anger is inappropriate because it endangers the spirit of love or respect for high-status members that should characterize sectarian relations. Anger toward outsiders, however, is not only permitted but expected. The sect’s awareness of the coming “day of vengeance” demands that they align themselves with God by passing judgment on the sinner. By properly calibrating their manliness through the emotion of anger, the sect navigates a fine line between assertions of power and an acknowledgement that their power ultimately is attributable to God.

Philip F. Esler

Abstract

The Babatha archive contains thirty-five legal papyri dating from 94 to 132 CE. They belonged to a Judean woman Babatha, from Maoza on the south-eastern shore of the Dead Sea, where date cultivation was a valuable cash crop. The Salome Komaïse archive, also concerning a family of date farmers from Maoza, consists of six papyri dated from 29 January 125 to 7 August 131. Both archives were deposited by their owners in the same cave in Wadi Ḥever at the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt. Maoza formed part of Nabatea until the kingdom became the Roman province of Arabia in 106. These papyri provide a rich array of evidence relating to the life of Babatha, Salome Komaïse and her mother Salome Grapte, and of other women, Judean and Nabatean, in this context. Particularly noteworthy is that women possessed considerable wealth, in cash and real property, and regularly acted as business-women, including by loans to their husbands. The papyri also reveal seizure of assets and frequent recourse to litigation by these women in defence of their rights. Although this was a patrilineal and patrilocal culture, the papyri provide striking examples of potent female agency, as women deployed and protected their wealth by every legal means.

Katie Edwards and Johanna Stiebert

Abstract

This article provides background and context for the ensuing contributions in this special journal edition, the focus of which is gender studies and the Dead Sea Scrolls. While the discovery and study of the Scrolls has certainly revolutionized Biblical Studies, the study of the Scrolls is nevertheless often perceived and treated as a subsidiary, even marginalized, field of Biblical Studies, rather than as either an integral part thereof, or as a discipline in its own right. This article aims to highlight how gender has been studied with reference to the Bible. Subsequent contributions demonstrate how gender is shaping interpretations of the Scrolls.

Jessica M. Keady

Abstract

To understand purity from both the male and the female perspective within the Qumran ‎communities, this article will be using 4QTohorot A (4Q274) as a case study to: review the formation and function of gender within the manuscript; permit a broadening of the critique of purity to include a range of gender ‎issues; enable a discussion of the position of women in relation to ‎female purification laws; and permit exploration of the male perspective and ‎experience from a masculinist perspective. ‎By concentrating on the ‎functionality of this particular scroll, further insights will be gained to understand the gendered ‎and identity politics at play behind such strict purity regulations in order to discern—and to ‎imagine—what it actually meant to be a constant threat of potential pollution within ‎communities where purity ruled all aspects of everyday life, and how such regulations worked on a gendered ‎level.

Jutta Jokiranta and Jessica M. Keady

Eileen M. Schuller and Cecilia Wassén

Maxine L. Grossman

Abstract

Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship has historically emphasized a binary between the celibate yaḥad of the Community Rule and the marrying edah of the Damascus Document and Rule of the Congregation. An early focus on celibacy has given way in recent years to arguments for the near ubiquity of marriage in the scrolls movement. In place of dichotomies of marriage and celibacy, the complexities of sexuality in the scrolls are best understood in terms of a sexually-limiting sectarian marital practice. This marital practice is grounded in a theology of perfection and is best understood in light of sociological approaches to the evidence in the scrolls. In addition to better explaining the evidence for sexuality in the scrolls, a reading from this perspective may, potentially, shed light on the perennial question of whether the movement began with marriage or celibacy as its prevailing social norm.

Anders Klostergaard Petersen

Abstract

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

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Steve Mason

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Françoise Mirguet

Abstract

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.

Jelle Verburg

Abstract

The “libations of blood” in Ps. 16:4 have been interpreted as a reference to Canaanite cultic practice. This short note suggests it is better understood against the background of Greek literature on necromancy.

Series:

Edited by Frank Feder and Matthias Henze

The Textual History of the Bible (THB) brings together for the first time all available information regarding the manuscripts, textual history and character of each book of the Hebrew Bible and its translations as well as the deuterocanonical scriptures. In addition, THB covers the history of research, the editorial history of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other aspects of text-critical research and its subsidiary fields, such as papyrology, codicology, and the related discipline of linguistics. The THB will consist of 4 volumes.

Volume 2: Deuterocanonical Scriptures. Editors Matthias Henze and Frank Feder
Vol. 2A: overview articles
Vol. 2B: to Ezra
Vol. 2C: Jubilees to Appendix

Series:

Edited by Matthias Henze and Frank Feder

The Textual History of the Bible (THB) brings together for the first time all available information regarding the manuscripts, textual history and character of each book of the Hebrew Bible and its translations as well as the deuterocanonical scriptures. In addition, THB covers the history of research, the editorial history of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other aspects of text-critical research and its subsidiary fields, such as papyrology, codicology, and the related discipline of linguistics. The THB will consist of 4 volumes.

Volume 2: Deuterocanonical Scriptures. Editors Matthias Henze and Frank Feder
Vol. 2A: overview articles
Vol. 2B: to Ezra
Vol. 2C: Jubilees to 16 Appendix

Abram’s Journey as Nexus

Literarkritik and Literary Criticism

Ronald Hendel

Abstract

A plea for the complementarity of Literarkritik and literary criticism in biblical scholarship, with a partial genealogy of recent developments, followed by a detailed study of Abram’s journey in Gen 11:27-12:9 in the non-P and P texts. Particular attention is paid to stylistic repetitions and implicit links to other texts, yielding a nexus of foreshadowings and backshadowings in each of the component texts. Conclusions include the viability of this non-P text (formerly known as J) and the P text as continuous sources in the Pentateuch, each with a distinctive poetics.

Moshe Bar-Asher

Abstract

In the phrase yom haqqahal, used three times in Deuteronomy, qahal functions as a verbal noun. The correct translation is “the day of assembling.”

Christine Mitchell

Abstract

This note examines the use of the term “daric” in 1 Chr 29:7 for its ideological purposes, concluding that the anachronism was deployed purposely to signal resistance to imperial rule.

Niek Arentsen

Abstract

Poetry complicates the diachronic study of Second Isaiah. However, the possibility of such a study is demonstrated through a diachronic explanation of the distribution of the prepositions את and עם in the Hebrew Bible. On the other hand, the Aramaisms in Second Isaiah are shown to be conscious and for poetic purposes and therefore labeled as single-word switches that do not prove the lateness of Second Isaiah.

Ken Brown

Abstract

Job 18 depicts the destruction of the wicked as a kind of ambush by “the firstborn of death.” Much of the discussion of this passage has centered on this figure’s identification, and whether one should look primarily to Ugaritic or Mesopotamian mythological traditions for its background. Yet the passage as a whole concludes with a reference to a single “God,” knowledge of whom is determinative for human fate. This raises a basic question concerning the relation between “God” and the “firstborn of death.” Through a close comparison with the Ugaritic Baal Cycle and the Neo-Assyrian Underworld Vision on the one hand, and Job 5 and Deuteronomy 32 on the other, this paper argues that “the firstborn of death” most likely does represent a chthonic deity, but that such powers have been subordinated to the one God whom Bildad presumes to bear sole authority over life and death.

Atar Livneh

Abstract

Two poetic passages in 1 Maccabees depict historical circumstances via the use of apparel. 14:9 portrays the young men as wearing “glories and garments of war” as a marker of the peace and prosperity characterizing Simon’s reign. These contrast with the “shame” that shrouds the people following Antiochus Epiphanes’ desecration of the temple in 1:28. This paper explores the biblical background of the dress imagery, suggesting that the Maccabean author transformed the “robe of righteousness” in Isa 61:10 into “garments of war” on the basis of a gezerah shava with Isa 59:17. The biblical metaphor of “being clothed with shame” in 1 Macc 1:28, on the other hand, refers to the “putting on of mourning dress”—a practice also alluded to in v. 26.

Robert D. Holmstedt

Abstract

Michael O’Connor (whose 1980 opus, Hebrew Verse Structure, provides a compelling linguistically grounded description of the poetic line) has called the endurance of Lowthian parallelism a “horror” that wreaks havoc on lexical semantics and “is beyond the comprehension of any sensitive student of language.” Why does a model known to be a descriptive failure for a century persist in teaching resources and commentaries? It is because nothing compelling has risen to replace it. O’Connor’s linguistic analysis of the line offered the first piece to replacing the traditional model, but O’Connor’s model was more compelling for the structure of the poetic line than for the relationship of lines. In this study I take up interlineal syntax and offer an analysis that compliments and completes O’Connor’s approach, allowing us to provide a proper burial for the admirable but ultimately unworkable Lowthian parallelism.

Peter C. W. Ho

Abstract

With the emergence of the canonical approach to the Psalter, individual psalms are no longer studied as standalone compositions, but viewed along a continuum of psalms to provide meaning. While scholars have analysed alphabetic poems and how they add to meaning, the study of such poems has rarely gone beyond the individual psalm. This paper seeks to understand alphabetic poems within the horizon of the Psalter and whether they function together to provide meaning at the macrostructural level. The paper begins with analyses of eight generally accepted alphabetical acrostics in the Psalter. From their characteristics, a total of forty-six alphabetic poems are suggested. It is observed that these poems mark leitmotifs at prominent locations and develop the motif of David across the entire Psalter. The macrostructural logic of alphabetical poems, as a whole, is subservient to the overarching theological thrust of the Psalter.

Josef Sykora

Abstract

The biblical portrayal of the Philistines is largely negative. Their military exploits, depicted extensively in the books of Judges and 1 Samuel—coupled with their religion, unaccustomed to the Israelite cult—have led several commentators to label them a prototypical “other.” To put it memorably, the Philistines are what Israel should not be. I attempt to nuance somewhat this overtly negative characterization of the Philistines by focusing on one incident in 1 Sam 6: the Philistines’ returning of the ark, accompanied with a peculiar offering of objects made of gold. I compare this ritual to the sacrificial actions of Eli’s sons in 1 Sam 2-4 to argue that, at least in 1 Sam 6, and with respect to what lies at the heart of Israel’s cult—the approach of the inscrutable and holy deity—the Israelites should be more like the Philistines.

Sheree Lear

Abstract

It is general consensus that Malachi 3:23-24 is a redactional insertion to the book of Malachi. Scholars have argued that the insertion creates a closure either to the book of Malachi or to a larger corpus in the Hebrew Bible (e.g. the Law and the Prophets). In this article, I will present evidence that draws this consensus into question. I will examine a pattern of scriptural reuse found throughout the book of Malachi that is also found in Malachi 3:24. I will demonstrate that throughout Malachi and in Malachi 3:24, elements of Genesis 31-33 are reused. Based on this observation, I will compare the scribal mechanics and hermeneutic employed in the incorporation of the reused texts into the Malachi corpus with those used in Malachi 3.24. I will argue that there are enough similarities in the employed mechanics and hermeneutic to conclude that Malachi 3:24 is not a redactional insertion.

Anat Mendel-Geberovich, Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin, Arie Shaus, Barak Sober, Michael Cordonsky, Eli Piasetzky, Israel Finkelstein and Ianir Milevski

Abstract

Three Hebrew ostraca, found near Khirbet Zanu’ (Ḥorvat Zanoaḥ) and published by Milevski and Naveh in 2005, were re-imaged using a high-end multispectral imaging technique. The re-imaging yielded dozens of changed or added characters and resulted in renewed, larger and improved readings, hereby published. In addition, we interpret the texts of the ostraca and place them in the context of the economy and administration of Judah in the seventh century BCE.

Stuart A. Irvine

Abstract

Several points tell against the usual translation of צור in Ps. 89:44a as the “edge” of the king’s sword. The Hebrew noun should be rendered as a divine epithet and vocative: “O Rock.” Verse 44 asserts that, far from being the Davidic king’s “Rock of salvation” (v. 27), Yahweh as Rock “turns back” the king’s sword.

Ellen van Wolde

Abstract

The question implied in the title of this article “A stairway to heaven?” in reference to Genesis 28:10-22 can be answered negatively. The word סלם does not designate a ladder or a stairway, since it has no steps. It is not even set up to heaven. It is, first of all, the gradient access road of a city, envisioned here as a descent road built from the top downwards, leading from the city of gods to the earth.

Heath D. Dewrell

Abstract

Zephaniah 1:5b, which refers to “swearing to Yahweh, and/but swearing by mlkm,” represents an interpretative crux. Scholars have offered a variety of suggestions concerning who or what this “mlkm” is. After surveying previous proposals, this essay suggests that “mlkm” should be understood as “mōlek-sacrifices.” This meaning fits the context well, as rites with the same name were bound up with vows in the Punic colonies of the central Mediterranean. In addition to clarifying the meaning of Zeph 1:5b, understanding “mlkm” as “mōlek-sacrifices” is also significant in that it would provide our first piece of native corroborating evidence that mōlek-sacrifices were bound up with vows in Israel, just as they were in the Punic colonies.

Tzvi Novick

Abstract

This paper identifies a link between two biblical syntagms involving חסד and a rabbinic syntagm involving חסד. The additional information in the rabbinic syntagm allows us to appreciate that the biblical syntagms figure חסד as a measuring line.

M.L. Case

Abstract

Rather than the commonly understood chaotic ending to Judges which illustrates the need for a king, the exchange of women in Judg 21 mediates the conflict between the Israelite tribes, creating a peaceful resolution to their civil war through the reestablishment of kinship loyalties. By applying anthropological concepts of gift exchange and alternative marriage practices to the final story of Judges (chs. 19-21), especially to the resolution of that story in ch. 21, we can see the rapprochement achieved through the gift of virgin brides which strengthens relations between the tribes. In light of this assessment, the monarchic refrain (Judg 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; and 21:25) was likely added during the latest stages of development to frame the final two stories to emphasize the need for a strong central government—kingship. Only with this refrain does the reconciliation of the warring tribes realized through the traffic of women appear insufficient.

Bradley John Marsh Jr.

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between the Samaritan Greek translation of the Pentateuch, i.e., the Samareitikon, and an obscure 5th cent. fragmentary papyrus of Exodus, Carl 49. The latter has been recognized previously as transmitting a text of the Septuagint which was obviously revised towards some kind of Semitic source. It is argued here that the Semitic base upon which Carl 49 was revised was not Jewish but Samaritan. This is based on a textual analysis of the fragment which reveals important connections with the Samaritan textual tradition, specifically the Samaritan Targum. Further, this analysis may possibly be confirmed by external evidence, namely an obscure marginal reading designated κατὰ Σαµαρειτῶν found in codex M, the heavily annotated 7th cent. Octateuch MS.

Bronson Brown-deVost

Abstract

In an odd turn of phrase, the Masoretic tradition of 2 Kings 21:13b likens Jerusalem’s destruction to the wiping of a bowl or dish. This reading has almost universally been accepted in modern scholarship, with virtually no attention given to the significant variants in the other biblical versions. An analysis of these variants suggests a complex transmission history of this passage that has been profoundly shaped by a rich culture of interpretation within a dynamic sociolinguistic context.

Corinna Körting

Abstract

Ancient Near Eastern Sources offer various kinds of descriptions of gemstones and their use, either for healing or for sanctification rituals. Several myths explain their place in the Ancient Near Eastern cosmology. One of these myths is the Gilgamesh Epic, which tells about a garden of gemstones lying behind the way of the sun—out of reach for humankind. The placement of the garden, e.g. the gemstones in Gilgamesh, also demands further investigation of the placement of gemstones in the Old Testament. The article offers a thorough reading of Gilg. IX 170-196; Gen 2:10-14; Ezek 28:11-19; Is 54:11-17a and, briefly, Job 28. The author shows that gemstones are not just to be regarded colorful and precious. They are deeply connected with a realm outside human reach and with primeval times. They function as a marker in this respect when placed at the robe of the king of Tyre. And they transform Zion according to Is 54 at the other end, to an eschatological future.

“A Fall of Snow Maintains the Warmth of the Earth”

Léon Brunschvicg in the Eyes of Emmanuel Levinas and the Search for Universalism in Judaism

Hanoch Ben-Pazi

Abstract

This essay attempts to shed light upon the European Jewish partnership in the second half of the twentieth century, through an analysis of the persona of the philosopher Léon Brunschvicg, one of the major teachers of Emmanuel Levinas. Beyond the inherent interest in his intellectual stature and prominence as a philosopher, our study will reveal an additional aspect of the French-Jewish partnership at the turn of the century, and will reconsider the import of assimilation—as an enabler of Jewish involvement in Western civilization. The moral and intellectual appreciation that Emmanuel Levinas had for his teacher, Léon Brunschvicg, motivated him to call for a return to Jewish cultural discourse, and to honor the role models whose Judaism found expression not through their national or religious commitments, but rather through their universal concerns.

James K. Aitken

Abstract

It has been recognized in recent scholarship that the Greek translation of Sirach is subtle in its use of word-play and inner-Greek allusion. One such case, the story of the wandering man in Sir (31)34:9-13, can be shown to be a narration of two types of person, the one who wanders for positive learning and the one who errs and is in danger of death. It is thus not the personal experience of the author who has the freedom to travel in the new Hellenistic empires, but a moral tale modelled upon the two types of Odysseus that developed in the Greek tradition. This demonstrates the crafting of the source by the translator on the discourse level and hints at his educational background. It also has consequences for the larger structure of the unit in Sirach and further undermines the idea of a personal biography of Ben Sira.

Menahem Kister

Abstract

An integrative study of the two prayers—Ps 20 and the Aramaic hymn in papyrus Amherst 63—reciprocally illuminates their inherent complexity and enables us to trace the intricate paths of their evolution.

Theo A. W. van der Louw

Abstract

Attempts to advocate multiple authorship for the Greek Pentateuch depend principally on statistics and are tenuous methodologically. Research methods from Translation Studies, applied to Genesis and Exodus, bring out their continuity. A sounding of the translational approach in Gen 2-3, Gen 27-28, Gen 48/50 and Exod 1-2 suggests that the Gen translator’s approach is shifting and flows seamlessly into that of the initial Exod chapters. Lexical and syntactic examples, too, illustrate that Exod continues or builds on or further develops the renderings found in the latter part of Gen. A natural explanation for this state of affairs is that the translator of Gen, whose approach had become increasingly idiomatic, completed Gen 50 and continued with Exod in the same vein. Our findings call for a verification of the multiple authorship hypothesis for the rest of the Pentateuch. They imply a less monolithic evaluation of LXX text-critical evidence.

Amir Mashiach

Abstract

R. Ẓvi Yehudah ha-Kohen Kook (RẒiYah, 1891–1982), the head of the yeshivah at “Merkaz ha-Rav” in Jerusalem, was one of the most prominent religious Zionist leaders of the twentieth century. He was also the son of R. Abraham Isaac ha-Kohen Kook, a relationship that had a decisive impact on his thought and work throughout his life. The purpose of the present study is to shed light on RẒiYah’s attitude toward work. Did he see work as a basic human obligation spelled out by the physical need for survival? Did he associate an ideological value with work, as part of a worldview integrating religious values with extra-religious ones, similar to socialism? Or did he see work as a religious value, one that stemmed from his theology?

Einat Davidi

Abstract

This article identifies a set of plays written in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by ‘new Jews’ in the Western Sephardi Diaspora, as autos sacramentales. It discusses essential characteristics of this genre, such as the dual—theomachic and psychomachic—level, the triangle constellation of allegorical characters with human nature in its center and the representatives of good and evil on both sides, and the parallelism created in the play between the cosmic story, the story of humanity, and the story of the individual human soul. It is argued that these characteristics are to be found in plays written by Jews in the Early Modern Era. The article maintains that the appearance of this corpus of plays in the history of Jewish writing indicates that an underlying structure of the psychic and historical consciousness of Western culture had not skipped the Jewish cultural world.

Batsheva Ben-Amos

Abstract

Chaim Kaplan (1880–1942), principal and owner of a private elementary Hebrew school in Warsaw, wrote a personal diary from 1933 to 1942. So far, only the WWII years have drawn scholarly attention. However, the interpretation of the diary also requires reading his available unpublished entries. An internal dialogical structure dominates his diary where he engages “the other” that interacts with his own inner voice. His pre-war identity is constructed of different and contradicting facets of Zionist ideology, traditional Jewish value system and way of life, and Polish citizenship. When the war broke out, the diary’s range of voices decreased with Kaplan’s position. His rhetoric displays a clear split between “we” and “them” following the ‘dichotomy’ of congregation and segregation. He expresses a greater empathy toward the Jewish “other” as a fellow sufferer, yet his concern with representing truth remains. To maintain this duality, Kaplan developed a literary ‘alter ego.’

Meir Seidler

Abstract

This article focuses on one of the central issues in Moses Maimonides’ Jewish philosophy: the quest for the rationale of the commandments. Maimonides regards this quest as religiously obligatory. However, on two occasions he points to diverging scriptural evidence to underline his claim. By juxtaposing the two different scriptural proofs adduced by Maimonides, his use of hermeneutics in the service of philosophy is exposed in the inner precincts of Judaism: in regard to Judaism’s particularistic law. In terms of spiritual leadership, Maimonides’ dual scriptural approach enables him to bring his philosophical message home to different audiences.

David Rothstein

Abstract

Second Temple, rabbinic, and Samaritan sources preserve a variety of interpretations and (re)formulations of Leviticus 21:9. The pivotal issue informing the various approaches to this verse is the identity of the person “profaned” by the conduct of the priest’s daughter; specifically, is it the daughter, herself, or her father who is (directly) affected? The present essay examines various rabbinic and Samaritan interpretations of this verse, noting the exegetical (i.e., morphological and syntactic) similarities and differences obtaining among these positions. Especial attention is devoted to the formulation of Targum Onqelos, for which two explanations are proposed, and the similar exegetical features reflected in Samaritan renderings of this passage. It is demonstrated that, like Targum Onqelos and additional rabbinic/Jewish targumic sources, Samaritan sources indicate that some Samaritan students of Leviticus understood Lev 21:9 to mean that it is the daughter, herself, who is profaned by her conduct.

Alexander van der Haven

Abstract

A record from 1 November 1655 of a donation to a certain Sarah from Poland is probably the first documented historical appearance of Sarah the Ashkenazi, future wife of messiah Shabbetai Tzevi. Individually recorded donations by the Sephardic community to Polish refugees were quite unusual in these years, but, according to later biographical sources, the future messianic bride Sarah displayed a great talent for persuading others, and this explains why Amsterdam’s Portuguese Mahamad would give her money. Arriving as a Polish refugee around the time of this record, Sarah the Ashkenazi told a fantastic autobiographical tale that made her stand out among the other refugees and forged a bond of kinship with an earlier refugee. Moreover, she might have claimed clairvoyant abilities.

Bryan R. Dyer

Abstract

This article examines 3 Maccabees’ use of the sixth-century BCE tyrant Phalaris in its portrayal of its antagonist, King Ptolemy IV Philopator. Twice in the narrative (3 Macc 5:20, 42) the author explicitly compares Philopator to Phalaris. The author does not describe the earlier figure but assumes that the audience shares knowledge of his reputation and legendary deeds. After tracing the ancient literary evidence of Phalaris’ legacy, the article then argues that 3 Maccabees incorporates that legacy in more implicit ways in the narrative. This contributes to the author’s overall portrait of Philopator’s tyranny. It also helps explain some of the features of the text—specifically, the choice of Philopator’s execution device and the peril of newborn infants found in the narrative.

James M. Scott

Abstract

When Paul states in 1 Cor 15:8, “Last of all, as to the abortion, he [Christ] appeared also to me” (ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώµατι ὤφθη κἀµοί), the article τῷ indicates that Paul is referring to the well-known “abortion”/giant, ʾOhyah, the one giant—uniquely in all of extant early Jewish literature—to whom God appeared in a dream-vision signifying theophanic judgment. This casts Paul in the role of a violent giant who, on trial before Christ, acknowledged his past crimes and pled for forgiveness. This understanding of 1 Cor 15:8 has important implications not only for the interpretation of Paul and his letters, but also for understanding the relationship between the Qumran Book of Giants and the Manichaean Book of Giants.

Ken M. Penner

Abstract

Although first-century writings in the New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, and the pseudepigrapha are widely recognized for their descriptions of the ultimate destiny of individuals and the world, the views of Philo of Alexandria do not get the same attention. To situate the apocalyptic eschatologies of Jesus, the Qumran sectarians, and Enoch in their context, we must compare them to the eschatology of this contemporary Hellenistic Jew. I demonstrate that Philo’s eschatology is shaped by two convictions: (1) that God is good and can do no evil, and (2) virtue must be developed within people in this life. These convictions entail that the purpose of punishment must be solely for correction, and that God provides unlimited opportunity for souls to improve. Philo held that reincarnation provides just such an ever-improving spiral in which souls finally become wise by honoring God and consequently the world becomes a peaceful, prosperous paradise.

Anthony I. Lipscomb

Abstract

The Aramaic text from Qumran known to scholars as the Genesis Apocryphon (1Q20) stands out as one the earliest and most innovative examples of the retelling of Abram and Sarai’s sojourn in Egypt (Gen 12:10-20). To be sure, the terse nature of the Genesis account invited creative storytellers to fill in the gaps, but brevity yielded only half the impetus. Ancient storytellers were no less bothered by the inglorious portrayal of Abram and Sarai, for which there is no shortage of attempts to rescue their reputations. The Apocryphon shares several of the same recharacterization strategies as other ancient retellings, but it is nevertheless unique in its engagement with the tradition of personified wisdom. This article imagines the composer of the Apocryphon’s sojourn account in dialogue with ancient Jewish wisdom traditions and discerns an effort to redeem Sarai’s reputation from Genesis 12 by recasting her as an embodiment of Lady Wisdom.

Ari Finkelstein

Abstract

For nearly three decades scholars of the first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, have debated this author’s methodologies and goals in writing his Jewish Antiquities. While source-critics view Josephus as a compiler, new historians have chosen to read Antiquities as primarily a literary work which reveals social, political, and intellectual history. A series of recent publications place these methodologies side by side but rarely coordinate them, which leaves out important insights of each group. At stake is how we moderns read Jewish history of the first century CE. I explore how parallel accounts of Herod’s trial while he was Tetrarch of the Galilee in Jewish War and in Antiquities can be justified by employing source-critical analysis as a first step to explain the changes made to the text of Antiquities before turning to new historians’ methodologies. We can better understand the function of Herod’s trial in Antiquities through this process.

Shem Miller

Abstract

This article explores the type and function of historiography in the pesharim, a group of biblical commentaries in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Although the unabashedly subjective viewpoint of history in the pesharim strongly contrasts modern notions of historiography, they nevertheless present a kind of history writing. In particular, historiography in the pesharim is analogous to traditional history, a type of history writing found in oral epics from around the world. Like traditional history, the pesharim owe their primary allegiance to a special register of language that is both traditional and adaptable. Rather than a factual record, the pesharim are formative cultural texts that use history to create and transmit cultural memory. More specifically, traditional history in the pesharim constructs a common descent of membership and “instrumentalizes” the past for identity formation in the present.

Tova Ganzel

Abstract

The names of Mesopotamian cities and the cuneiform signs used to write them can shed light on the phrase “YHWH is There” (Ezek. 48:35) in its biblical context.

Harald Samuel

Abstract

In his recent article “From Persepolis to Jerusalem: A Reevaluation of Old Persian-Hebrew Contact in the Achaemenid Period”, Aren Wilson-Wright reexamines the list of proposed Persian loans in Biblical Hebrew as well as their distribution, specifically in relation to the distinction between Classical and Late Biblical Hebrew. He seeks to demonstrate direct contact between speakers of Old Persian and Hebrew and proposes two further Old Persian calques.

This paper reevaluates Wilson-Wright’s proposals on both methodological and philological levels, and offers a fuller dataset for several phenomena. While allowing the principal distinction between Classical and Late Biblical Hebrew, questions of textual genesis and transmission are combined with sociolinguistic considerations to explore the possible ramifications of the proposed linguistic interaction: What do we know about the use of Old Persian apart from royal inscriptions? What do we know about Iranians, locals and their use of language in the Achaemenid administration? The result is a much more complex picture of multiple linguistic interference with many unknowns.

Shimon Gesundheit

Abstract

Using Exod 12:21-27 as a case study, this paper shows how literary analysis can find itself subordinated to historical-critical theory. It will be argued that this practice is ill advised. An established reading of a text should never be dismissed when it is found to challenge accepted paradigms. It is, rather, the presumed historical and social settings that must be problematized.

A Prayer for Purification

Psalm 51:12-14, a Pure Heart and the Verb ברא

Ellen van Wolde

Abstract

This article focuses on the pivotal role of verses 12-14 in Psalm 51. In v. 13 the speaker expresses the fear that due to his transgressions God’s spirit of holiness will be taken away, because God does not tolerate impurity of any kind. For the impurity generated by the transgressions will be projected onto the sanctuary, which in this way will be defiled. Therefore, aligned with רוח קדשך in v. 13 is טהור לב in v. 12: purity is the sine qua non for God’s holy spirit to stay and keep active in the midst of the Israelites. In this view, the impure world of words and deeds is the total from which the pure ones are to be separated. It is not the purity of the heart itself, but the process of purification that is expressed here, so that the pure heart remains, cleared of sins.

Dong-Hyuk Kim

Abstract

The one-word negative response lō’ means “no” in Zech 4:5 and “yes” in Gen 18:15. This ambiguity is syntactic in nature and is handled and removed also by BH syntax.

Erez Ben-Yosef

Abstract

This paper aims at highlighting a methodological flaw in current biblical archaeology, which became apparent as a result of recent research in the Aravah’s Iron Age copper production centers. In essence, this flaw, which cuts across all schools of biblical archaeology, is the prevailing, overly simplistic approach applied to the identification and interpretation of nomadic elements in biblical-era societies. These elements have typically been described as representing only one form of social organization, which is simple and almost negligible in historical reconstructions. However, the unique case of the Aravah demonstrates that the role of nomads in shaping the history of the southern Levant has been underestimated and downplayed in the research of the region, and that the total reliance on stone-built archaeological features in the identification of social complexity in the vast majority of recent studies has resulted in skewed historical reconstructions. Recognizing this “architectural bias” and understanding its sources have important implications on core issues in biblical archaeology today, as both “minimalists” and “maximalists” have been using stone-built architectural remains as the key to solving debated issues related to the geneses of Ancient Israel and neighboring polities (e.g., “high” vs. “low” Iron Age chronologies), in which— according to both biblical accounts and external sources—nomadic elements played a major role.

Series:

Edited by Claudia D. Bergmann and Benedikt Kranemann

Ritual Dynamics in Jewish and Christian Contexts investigates questions that arise in modern ritual studies concerning Jewish and Christian religious communities: How did their religious rituals develop? Where did different ritual communities and their ritual texts interact? How did religious communities and their authoritative texts respond to change, and how did change influence religious rituals? The volume is a product of the interdisciplinary and international research efforts taken by the Research Centre “Dynamics of Jewish Ritual Practices in Pluralistic Contexts from Antiquity to the Present” at the Universität Erfurt (Germany) and unites the voices of important senior and emerging scholars in the field. It focuses on antiquity and the medieval period but also considers examples from the early modern and modern period in Europe

Yitzhaq Feder

Abstract

This article investigates the conceptual background of the notion of corpse pollution as represented by the Priestly expression ṭāmēˀ la-nepeš. Contrary to the growing tendency to view it as a late introduction to Israelite religion, the analysis will situate corpse impurity in relation to broader biblical and West Semitic conceptions of the afterlife. This discussion will serve as the basis for the further question whether this type of pollution was related to a fear of ghosts.

Katharine Dell and Tova Forti

Abstract

Qoheleth’s experiential method and inner-dialogue creates tensions on the levels of language, style, content and theological ideas. In this paper we seek to explore this tension in relation to a short section (Qoh 2:24-26) that is placed at the end of chapter 2. In the process we question the section division itself and the usual emendation of the translation of v. 25 to fit into the thought of these three verses and that of their neighbouring verses. We engage in a detailed analysis of the versions and of scholarly opinion on the translation, key terms and structure of these verses. We argue that this is just one example of where literary structure has dictated translational options and we prefer instead to ‘enjoy the tension’ of the more convincing and less accepted translation of verse 25 as “For who can eat or even sense, apart from me.”

Itzhak Amar

Abstract

In contrast to the brief and positive Deuteronomistic description of Asa’s reign (1 Kgs 15:9-24), the Chronicler provides us with a complex, lengthy account (2 Chr 13:23b-16:14). The first part of his rule is depicted as good, the second as bad. This formulation creating various thematic, chronological, linguistic, and theological problems. Analyzing these both diachronically and synchronically, the complementary approach adopted herein reveals the unit’s constitutive components, together with the central themes shaping it. Hereby, we gain a broader and deeper picture of the way in which Asa is portrayed, particularly in comparison with of his predecessors, Rehoboam and Abijah on the one hand and Jehoshaphat on the other.

Cat Quine

Abstract

With the exception of Nahum 3:16, in the Hebrew Bible Yahweh alone has the power to multiply humans so that they will be as innumerable as the stars. Nineveh’s multiplication of her merchants “more than the stars of the heavens” (Nah 3:16) was, therefore, tantamount to a challenge to Yahweh’s divine power. The destruction of Nineveh demonstrated that Yahweh answered this challenge.

Daewook Kim

Abstract

This paper seeks to determine the author(s)’s rhetorical purpose in 1 Kgs 12:25-13:34 by exploring the similarities and differences between the characters, and examining related passages. After this examination, the following conclusions are arrived at: first, because of the old prophet’s deceit and the disobedience of the man of God, the true and false prophets are not clearly distinguished in the narrative; second, the comparison between Jeroboam and the old prophet reveals that disobedience, which is equated with idolatry, is more evil than false prophecy; and third, Yhwh’s prohibitions, which are associated with Jeroboam and the man of God, serve the rhetorical purpose of denunciating Jeroboam’s innovations and stressing obedience to Yhwh, that is, an adherence to Mosaic law. Consequently, the Mosaic law, which condemns idolatry, is seen to be more important than prophecy.

Thomas Renz

Abstract

The final clause of Hab 2:2 which originally may have referred to the confident proclamation of the message by those who read it was rendered in the LXX and Vulgate in ways which to interpreters in antiquity suggested quick understanding. But the Vulgate could also be read as a reference to being able to scan the text quickly or easily and this has become a prominent understanding of the clause. It is found in many modern translations across a variety of languages. Luther imagined a scenario in which the text was written in such large letters that even someone running past could read it. This novel understanding has persisted in some corners and is reflected in a number of translations. It is an indefensible variant of the view that the text refers to fluent reading, a view which is itself questionable but possible.

David Toshio Tsumura

Abstract

In Hebrew poetry, a vertical grammatical relation between two parallel lines can be noted in bicolons such as Ps 18:42. One can also recognize the vertical grammar between the first and the last lines of a tetracolon, in such passages as Amos 1:5, Job 12:24-25, 2 Sam 3:33b-34c, Ps 89:36-37, and 2 Sam 7:22. In this pattern, the AXX’B pattern, the middle two lines are a bicolon (XX’) inserted into another bicolon (AB). In this article I focus on the vertical grammatical relationship between line A and line B, which constitute either a simple sentence or a complex sentence in the Hebrew text.

Wie Samaria so auch Jerusalem

Umfang und Pragmatik einer frühen Micha-Komposition

Kristin Weingart

Abstract

By naming Micah and citing Mi 3:12 the book of Jeremiah (Jer 26:18) provides an explicit example of the reception of older prophetic texts and traditions in later compositions. In addition, Jer 26:18f. also offer a historical setting for Micah’s activity—the time of Hezekiah and most probably the events of 701 BCE. The paper argues that the literary history of the book of Micah substantiates the assumption of an early Micah composition originating from the late 8th century BCE and discusses the extent, structure, and pragmatics of the composition which comprises Mi *1:5-3:12. Focussing on the situation of the eminent Assyrian threat, Micah uses the the fate of Samaria as a rhetorical device in order to persuade his Judean addressees of his message. In doing so, Micah not only displays a familiarity with North Israelite prophetic traditions, the composition also adopts compositional elements and rhetorical strategies found in Hosea and Amos.

Anna E. de Wilde

Abstract

As a first step towards more research in the field of Jewish private libraries and Hebrew auction catalogues, this zuta focuses on the understudied corpus of 18th-century Hebrew book sales catalogues printed in the Dutch Republic. It is not always clear if these 18th-century catalogues contain collections from private libraries or retail stocks of publishers, printers, or booksellers. In this article I will analyse and compare the title pages of several catalogues, in order to understand the meaning of the phrase ʿal yede in relation to ownership of the catalogued collections.

Rebekah Haigh

Abstract

As the product of a textual community imbedded in an oral culture, the War Scroll can be rewardingly approached as a composition intended for a community of hearers. Indeed, this article demonstrates that 1QM retained an orally fluid textuality and preserves a variety of textual indicators of performativity: hints of oral engagement, accumulation of imitable practices, and reliance on rhetorical techniques suited to the ear. In examining the performative potentials in the War Scroll’s prescriptive (cols. 1–9), prayer (cols. 10–14), and dramatic (cols. 15–19) material, I argue that 1QM can be understood as a spoken text, one which lends itself to performance and embodiment.

Ayhan Aksu

Abstract

A consideration of both the palaeographic and material features of a scroll provides scholars the opportunity to investigate the scribal culture in which a particular manuscript emerged. This article examines the papyrus opisthograph from Qumran containing 4QpapHodayot-like Text B, 4Q433a, and 4QpapSerekh ha-Yaḥada, 4Q255, on either side. There has been scholarly disagreement about this opisthograph with regard to a number of questions: (1) which of the two compositions was inscribed on the recto, (2) how the two compositions should be dated, and (3) which of the two texts was written first. This article looks at both compositions by means of palaeography and codicology. From this combined approach I deduce that 4Q433a was written first, on the recto of this papyrus manuscript. 4Q255 was added later, on the verso. Both compositions can be dated to the early first century BCE. This reconstruction makes it plausible that 4Q255 was a personal copy.