In this collection of thematically arranged essays on the Gospel according to Mark, the first part highlights its reception in early Christianity, its text form as an episodic narrative and its relation to contemporary genres. It recognizes Mark’s dependence on traditions from and about Jesus of Nazareth and the presupposed knowledge about the narrated locations in Galilee. The second part focuses on the discourse itself, presenting studies on style, use of metaphor, intertextuality, and strategies of persuasion. The third part treats the Christology, ethics and eschatology and the way in which the narrator gives meaning to Jesus’s death. The fourth part returns to the burning issue of what lies behind Mark and how we can study it, ending with a proposal to discuss the composition of the narrative within the framework of performance theory.
Author: Eldon Jay Epp
Eldon Jay Epp’s second volume of collected essays consists of articles previously published during 2006-2017. All treat aspects of the New Testament textual criticism, but focus on historical and methodological issues relevant to constructing the earliest attainable text of the New Testament writings.

More specific emphasis falls upon the nature of textual transmission and the text-critical process, and heavily on the criteria employed in establishing that earliest available text. Moreover, textual grouping is examined at length, and prominent is the current approach to textual variants not approved for the constructed text, for they have stories tell regarding theological, ethical, and real-life issues as the early Christian churches sought to work out their own status, practices, and destiny.
Author: Tzvi Abusch
In this volume, Tzvi Abusch presents studies written over a span of forty years that were completed prior to his retirement from Brandeis University in 2019. They reflect several themes that he has pursued in addition to his work on witchcraft literature and the Epic of Gilgamesh. The volume begins with general articles on Mesopotamian magic, religion, and mythology; these are followed by a set of articles on Akkadian prayers, especially šuillas, focusing, first of all, on exegetical and linguistic (synchronic) studies and, then, on diachronic analyses; part two contains a series of literary studies of Mesopotamian and biblical classics; part three is devoted to comparative studies of terms and phenomena; finally, the fourth part takes up texts that are of legal interest.

The Harvard Semitic Studies series publishes volumes from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant and Harvard Semitic Monographs, https://hmane.harvard.edu/publications.
Author: Justin Allison
In Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community Justin Reid Allison compares how the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus and the Christian apostle Paul envisioned the members of their communities helping one another to grow into moral maturity. Allison establishes that Philodemus and Paul are more similar than previously noticed in their conception and practice of moral formation in community, and that these similarities offer a critical opportunity to consider important differences between the two as well. By deepening the comparison to include differences alongside similarities, and to include theological and socio-economic facets of communal moral formation, Allison shows that Philodemus and Paul uniquely shed fresh light on one another’s texts when understood in comparative perspective.

Abstract

This article examines Judith’s prayer in chapter 9 of the book of Judith from the perspective of the guidelines on speech-in-character found in Aelius Theon’s Progymnasmata (mid/end of the first century CE). According to the guidelines, it is important for an author of prose to achieve correspondence between the literary persona and the actual speech-in-character. This article examines the extent to which Judith’s prayer in chapter 9 observes Theon’s guidelines, as well as the theological implications of this.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

Abstract

Josephus offers one of our most extensive sources for the study of ancient Judaism, and his treatment of the Samaritans is no exception. In this article, I synchronize attention to Josephus’ representations of Samaritans with the turn in Biblical Studies and Jewish Studies towards the contestation of ancient “Israel” throughout antiquity. First, I argue that we see more clearly how Josephus actively constructs Samaritan identity by comparison to shared contestation of Israelite genealogy and geography in the Martyrdom of Isaiah, 4 Baruch, Pseudo-Philo, and Megillat Taʿanit. Second, I suggest that such an approach develops an alternative way to write ancient Jewish history with Josephus, incorporating his work into discussions of ancient Jewish self-representation beyond the choice between historical reality check or self-sustaining rhetoric.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Authors: Alice Mouton and Yiğit Erbil

Abstract

Through the combined study of Hittite cuneiform texts and the iconography of Hittite relief vases (Anatolia of the second half of the second millennium BCE), this paper addresses the ceremonial garments of key participants in cultic ceremonies, namely the royal couple, priests and priestesses, as well as festival entertainers. The paper also discusses a particular gesture which is frequently mentioned in Hittite religious texts: the act consisting of seizing someone else’s šeknu-garment. We argue that such a gesture might be related to the purity rules regarding the Great King’s body. Throughout this paper, several correspondences between the iconography and the textual evidence are also suggested.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author: Adam Kryszeń

Abstract

The study proposes a revaluation of the sources dealing with the first days of the great Hittite spring AN.TAḫ.ŠUM-festival. It offers a close comparison of the so-called outline-tablets, which present a brief but essential overview of the entire festival, with the tablets that provide detailed descriptions of individuals days. Through an in-depth analysis of all the key elements of the celebrations, it is argued that the texts previously thought to represent the second day of the AN.TAḫ.ŠUM are misattributed and in fact depict the initial day of the festival.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author: Alhena Gadotti

Abstract

This paper considers the mythological tale Nergal and Ereškigal in an attempt to investigate the nature of Ereškigal’s dominion over the Mesopotamian Realm of the Dead. By using other Mesopotamian literary composition as well as Near Eastern law, the paper demonstrates that Ereškigal never relinquished her power over the Netherworld to Nergal because such a power was never hers to lose.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Abstract

The statuettes commonly referred to as “Ram Caught in a Thicket” (2500 BC) may well be associated with what is known from later texts (2nd millennium BC) as the (daily) determining-of-the-fates ritual that occurred at sunrise. Symbolic elements (tree, rosette, leaf, possible mountain), and motifs (quadruped facing a tree) occur in other media—glyptic, musical instruments—and their meaning informs the unique combination of elements found in these two statuettes. It is proposed that the statuettes are offering stands. The composition as a whole represents a sacred landscape rather than a charming genre scene. It is likely that the statuettes were associated with the daily ritual of the determining of the fates, which would push the later attestations of that ritual and the cosmological view behind it back to the mid-third millennium BC.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions