Gegenwart der Tradition

Studien zur jüdischen Literatur und Kulturgeschichte

Series:

Giuseppe Veltri

The book contains a collection of 15 articles on Jewish literature and cultural history of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages which are mainly focused on different aspects of Jewish hermeneutics. Without doubt, the "art of interpretation" is the most characteristic feature of Jewish intellectual activity from Antiquity to the Haskalah period, when the Torah was gradually losing its central position and hermeneutics therefore its attraction. Not only the old translations of the Bible, but also the Jewish approach to philosophy or magic reveal the endeavour to conciliate the requirements of the present with the tradition and to give a new meaning to the revered texts and concepts of the past.
The book is concerned with questions inherent in the formation of the canon and the evaluation of Bible translations (the conception of a holy language, the question of the evaluation of the Septuagint and Aquila in the Middle Ages) and with studies in Jewish Literature, magic and cultural history (Platonic myths and rabbinic exegetical developments; concepts of felicity in Jewish-Hellenistic and rabbinic Judaism); the conjuration of the womb; the rite of Sota in the Middle Ages; Jewish and Christian attitudes towards the Haggadah; Azaria de' Rossis critique of Philo of Alexandria).

Jacob Neusner

Understanding the religious perspectives of the Mishnah starts with asking three questions. First, what is the relationship of the Mishnah to Scripture, or “oral torah” to “written torah,” for understanding the religion of Judaism? Second, what is the relationship between religious ideas and the world in which those ideas emerged? Third, what is the formal religious significance of the language of the Mishnah? These questions are posed with regard to a Judaism that existed from just prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. until around 200 C.E. and assumes as well the groundwork of Neusner’s earlier volume The Mishnah: Social Perspectives. In the present volume, Neusner condenses years of research on these questions and offers a clear and thorough analysis through a single lens. He looks closely at how the Halakhah of the Mishnah relates to the events prior to the Mishnah’s writing (e.g., the destruction of the Temple, ca. 70 C.E., and the Bar Kokhba War, ca. 135 C.E.), through the reconstruction following Bar Kokhba until the close of the Mishnah (ca. 200 C.E.). Readers also profit from a thorough sociolinguistic explication of the rhetorical forms of the Mishnah in the light of the social context of that time. The religious perspectives of the Mishnah do not simply record the rules and regulations of bygone times; rather, they mirror the way of life and the social and religious history of Judaism.

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Jewish Studies Between the Disciplines / Judaistik zwischen den Disziplinen

Papers in Honor of Peter Schäfer on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday

Edited by Klaus Herrmann, Margarete Schlüter and Giuseppe Veltri

Peter Schäfer who celebrated his 60th birthday on 29 June 2003 has left a decidedly firm imprint on the young discipline "Jewish Studies" in Germany, which could only be set up at a German university after the Shoah. For someone directing a “small” academic institution he has managed during his academic career to guide and influence a strikingly large number of students in their scholarly pursuits in the field.
The collected essays of this volume encompass quite a variety of topics, whereby the focal points in Peter Schäfer’s own research are not difficult to recognize in the themes chosen by his former students: mysticism and magic are most conspicuous, followed by Rabbinic Judaism and the studies on the Middle Ages and the Early Modern and Modern Periods. Of note is also the fact that the methodological approaches of these contributions are no less manifold than their themes. Part of the contributions of this book were submitted in English, and all the German-language texts have an English summary or abstract.

Series:

Rainer Metzner

The high priest Caiaphas is one of the important figures in biblical history who received little attention or sympathy in the judgement of posterity. Since the time of the old church the highest representative of the Jewish society in the time of Jesus was assessed as a wicked enemy of Jesus and the leading apostles in Jerusalem. This image obscures the religious and political efficiency of a man, who worked with great success in his office for a long period of eighteen years. What do we know about the historical Caiaphas? And what is the image of this man in the New Testament and afterwards? The present study tries to answer these questions in view of the history, the exegesis and the reception history.

Der Hohepriester Kaiphas gehört zu den bedeutenden Figuren der biblischen Geschichte, denen im Urteil der Nachwelt eine geringe Aufmerksamkeit oder Sympathie entgegengebracht wurde. Seit der alten Kirche wurde der höchste Repräsentant des jüdischen Tempelstaates zur Zeit Jesu als bösartiger Feind Jesu und der führenden Apostel in Jerusalem betrachtet. Dieses Bild verdeckt die religiösen und politischen Leistungen eines Mannes, der achtzehn Jahre lang mit Erfolg amtiert hat. Was wissen wir über den historischen Kaiphas? Und welches Bild hat sich von ihm im Neuen Testament und in der Zeit danach ausgeprägt? Die vorliegende Studie versucht, diese Fragen historisch, exegetisch und wirkungsgeschichtlich zu beantworten.

Solomon the Esoteric King

From King to Magus, Development of a Tradition

Series:

Pablo Torijano Morales

The aim of the present work is to study the esoteric characterization of King Solomon that became popular in certain currents of Judaism and Christianity of Late Antiquity and to establish a typology of it.
Representative texts are analyzed, first to establish precisely the development of the different esoteric traditions linked to King Solomon, and then to show how these texts and traditions are placed in relation within the broad context of Magic and Religion in Late Antiquity.
The book provides data for a better understanding of magic and its role in the Mediterranean Oikumene, suggests the necessity for a better categorization of the magical discipline, and furthers the discussion on the transmission and importance of esoteric traditions withing Judaism and Christianity .

Seeking the Favor of God

Volume 2: The Development of Penitential Prayer in Second Temple Judaism

Series:

Mark Boda, Richard Falk and Rodney Werline

The essays collected in this volume investigate the development of prayers of penitence within Jewish literature of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The book provides a critical overview of the present state of research on these prayers, and leading experts in the field use a variety of methodologies to investigate afresh various texts from the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal (deuterocanonical) and pseudepigraphical works, and the Qumran corpus in order to provide new insights into this prayer tradition. Contributors include Russell C. D. Arnold, Esther G. Chazon, Daniel K. Falk, LeAnn Snow Flesher, Michael H. Floyd, Judith H. Newman, Bilhah Nitzan, Eileen Schuller, Pieter M. Venter, and Rodney A. Werline.

Seeking the Favor of God includes three volumes covering the origins, development, and impact of penitential prayer in Second Temple Judaism.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

The Jews in Genoa, Volume 1: 507-1681

Documentary History of the Jews in Italy

Series:

Rosanna Urbani and Guido Zazzu

These volumes of the "Documentary History of the Jews in Italy", illustrate the history of the Jews in Genoa and surroundings from Antiquity to the French Revolution. The earliest documentary evidence takes the form of letters from King Theodoric. For the Middle Ages the documentation is relatively fragmentary and sporadic. Later there is greater abundance of historical evidence, which portrays chiefly the destinies of the Jews in the Republic from the sixteenth century on, when the presence of the Jews became permanent and a regular community was established also in the capital.
The historical records presented illustrate mainly the relationship between the government of the Genoese Republic and the Jews, the latter's economic activities and their communal and social life. Some of the detailed descriptions of the Jewish population in Genoa, their living conditions and occupations, allow for a close examination of the social conditions of this Northern Italian community. For a while Genoa became a haven of refuge for some of the exiles from Spain, including the historian Joseph Hacohen and members of the Abarbanel family. The volumes are provided with an extensive introduction, bibliography, glossary and indexes.

The Jews in Genoa, Volume 2: 1682-1799

Documentary History of the Jews in Italy

Series:

Rosanna Urbani and Guido Zazzu

These volumes of the "Documentary History of the Jews in Italy", illustrate the history of the Jews in Genoa and surroundings from Antiquity to the French Revolution. The earliest documentary evidence takes the form of letters from King Theodoric. For the Middle Ages the documentation is relatively fragmentary and sporadic. Later there is greater abundance of historical evidence, which portrays chiefly the destinies of the Jews in the Republic from the sixteenth century on, when the presence of the Jews became permanent and a regular community was established also in the capital.
The historical records presented illustrate mainly the relationship between the government of the Genoese Republic and the Jews, the latter's economic activities and their communal and social life. Some of the detailed descriptions of the Jewish population in Genoa, their living conditions and occupations, allow for a close examination of the social conditions of this Northern Italian community. For a while Genoa became a haven of refuge for some of the exiles from Spain, including the historian Joseph Hacohen and members of the Abarbanel family. The volumes are provided with an extensive introduction, bibliography, glossary and indexes.

Die Assumptio Mosis

Studien zur Rezeption massgültiger Überlieferung

Series:

Norbert Johannes Hofmann

This study places the Assumptio Mosis ( AM) in its literary context of traditions of the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. It examines how in AM the biblical traditions have been adopted and adjusted (Deut 31 - Josh 1) to the actual circumstances.
After presenting the current state of affairs in research and analysing the structure of the AM, the investigation focuses on a detailed account on how Deut 31 - Josh 1 has been incorporated in the AM and how this process affected the theological content.
Furthermore the AM is put in a comparative perspective with other apocryphal traditions of the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD (1-Enoch, T.12 Patr., Jub., 1-2-4 Macc, Ps Sal, Qumran texts, 4 Ezra, 2 Bar, Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum) to try and characterise the place of the AM within this contemporary literature. This process of reception is clarified against the background of the so-called Rewritten-Bible-phenomena. A pattern can be discerned within this process, whereby actualising and adjusting to the historical circumstances are major objectives.

Holy Lives, Holy Deaths

A Close Hearing of Early Jewish Storytellers

Series:

Antoinette Clark Wire

This volume guides the reader in listening to Early Jewish stories about holy figures which appear to have first been told between 150 B.C.E. and 150 C.E. Following new translations, the book provides a close hearing of the oral storytelling that generated these narratives now surviving only in literary form. Historical folklore must reconstruct storytelling performance from literary remains. Making use of contemporary folklore methods, the author examines the text, texture, and context of over one hundred stories, including birth prophecies, provision legends, prophetic stories of destruction or deliverance, and tales of martyrdom. A broad range of stories of these four types is presented in a way that reveals and illumines the oral patterns and characteristics of the storytellers. The stories are drawn from apocryphal and pseudepigraphical literature, Early Jewish historians, first-century Christian texts, and the Mishnah and early Talmudic writings. The Christian tradition is included here because it was generated within sectarian Judaism, and the first reports about Jesus appeared from Jewish storytellers. This work aims to shift the attention of biblical scholars and historians of religion away from an exclusive focus on the thought and art of writers or authors, and toward a wider recognition of the work of the storytellers, men and women alike, who generated the traditions that ultimately came to be preserved in written form.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)