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Seconding Sinai

The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism

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Hindy Najman

What is meant by attributing texts to Moses in Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism? The answer depends not only on the history of texts but also on the history of concepts of textuality. This book criticizes the terms “Pseudepigraphy” and “Rewritten Bible”, which presuppose conceptions of authentic attribution and textual fidelity foreign to ancient Judaism.
Instead, this book develops the concept of a discourse whose creativity and authority depend on repeated returns to the exemplary figure and experience of a founder. Attribution to Moses is a central example, whose function is to re-present the experience of revelation at Sinai. Distinctive features of Mosaic discourse are studied in Deuteronomy, Jubilees, the Temple Scroll, and the works of Philo of Alexandria.

Simon the High Priest in Sirach 50

An Exegetical Study of the Significance of Simon the High Priest as Climax to the Praise of the Fathers in Ben Sira's Concept of the History of Israel

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Otto Mulder

The present exegetical study in the Hebrew and Greek versions of Sirach 50 deals with the wisdom tradition, personified in Simon the High Priest, who is called "the Just" in the rabbinical tradition. As a genuine eyewitness Ben Sira offers proof of Simons significance in the re-building of Jerusalem as climax of the Praise of the Fathers on Rosh Hashanah. His re-writing of Israels history ends with a polemic against the legality of the Samaritan temple and a direct allusion to the author's name.
The volume examines three new pictures of the original Geniza-fragments found in 1896. The comparison of both versions provides an impressive picture of the development of Israels religion in the Second Temple period from 200-132 BCE.

George W.E. Nickelsburg in Perspective (2 vols)

An Ongoing Dialogue of Learning

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Edited by Jacob Neusner and Alan Avery-Peck

Here we reread George W.E. Nickelsburg’s more important articles and encounter afresh some of his books, to criticize them and to attend to his response to the criticism.
This set of Auseinandersetzungen thus carries forward the life of learning and debate that yields a rich harvest of scholarship. It pays tribute to a scholar through acts of engaged, critical scholarship, in which specialists reread articles reproduced in these pages and respond to them, with Nickelsburg then joining issue—a protracted engagement, spanning an entire intellectual career and many of its more important moments.
Nickelsburg’s work not only deserves such rigorous analysis, it also sustains it. On any list of scholars who over the past forty years have defined and cultivated the field of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, George Nickelsburg is included at or near the top. Here we present the natural outcome of such a life in the academy: scholars in contention over truth.

Flavius Josephus: Against Apion

Translation and Commentary

John M.G. Barclay

This volume contains a fresh English translation of Josephus’ apologetic treatise Against Apion, based on the new textual research conducted by the Münster Josephus project. It also provides the first English commentary on this treatise, with comprehensive treatment of the historical, literary, and rhetorical features of Josephus’ most engaging literary product.
Against Apion contains the most important evidence for hostility to Judeans in antiquity, as Josephus responds to both Egyptian and Hellenistic slurs on the Judean people, their origins and character. Josephus’ robust defense of his people, with his striking account of the Judean constitution (“theocracy”), also constitutes the finest example of Judean apologetics from antiquity.
The commentary will provide a richly-documented resource for the many readers of this treatise – those who study and teach early Judaism, early Christianity, and the cultural politics of antiquity. It also offers the first “postcolonial” reading of Josephus, in his attempt to present his Judean tradition under the cultural hegemony of the Greek intellectual tradition and the political power of Rome.

Anders Runesson, Donald D. Binder and Birger Olsson

Despite the recent explosion of research on ancient synagogues, investigators in the field have hitherto been forced to cull relevant evidence from a vast assortment of scholarly publications. This volume gathers for the first time all of the primary source material on the early synagogues up through the Second Century C. E. In the case of literary, epigraphic and papyrological evidence, catalog entries contain the texts in their original language and in English translation. For archaeological remains, entries provide technical descriptions along with plans and photographs. All listings are accompanied by bibliographic citations and interpretative comments. An Introduction frames the current state of synagogue research, while extensive indices and cross-references allow for easy location of specific allusions. An appendix to the catalog contains source materials on Jewish temples outside of Jerusalem.

Rachels Klage im antiken Judentum und frühen Christentum

Eine auslegungsgeschichtliche Studie

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Christine Ritter

Study of the exegesis of the Old Testament tradition on the matriarch Rachel. The centre of the study is Rachel’s complaint in Jeremiah 31.15-17. After an analysis of the Old Testament texts, the reception of these traditions in ancient translations in the Pseudepigrapha, in Philo of Alexandria, in Flavius Josephus as well as in the New Testament is investigated. The main part of the study is represented by source material in the Rabbinic literature. The study is concluded by an overview of the interpretation of the Rachel figure in patristic literature. The sources containing the Rachel traditions are, in part, hard to access. The source material on Rachel is presented and analyzed, in order to make the plethora of interpretations accessible to a wider audience, especially the Rabbinic interpretations.

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Amram Tropper

In Simeon the Righteous in Rabbinic Literature: A Legend Reinvented, Amram Tropper investigates the rabbinic traditions about Simeon the Righteous, a renowned Jewish leader of Second Temple times. Tropper not only interprets these traditions from a literary perspective but also deploys a relatively new critical approach towards rabbinic literature with which he explores the formation history of the traditions. With the help of this approach, Tropper seeks to uncover the literary and cultural matrices, both rabbinic and Graeco-Roman, which supplied the raw materials and literary inspiration to the rabbinic authors and editors of the traditions. Tropper’s analysis reveals that in reinventing the legend of Simeon the Righteous, the rabbis constructed the Second Temple past in the image of their own present.

Empsychoi Logoi — Religious Innovations in Antiquity

Studies in Honour of Pieter Willem van der Horst

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Edited by Alberdina Houtman, Albert de Jong and Magda Misset-Van de Weg

The fact that religions show internal variation and develop over time is not only a problem for believers, but has also long engaged scholars. This is especially true for the religions of the ancient world, where the mere idea of innovation in religious matters evoked notions of revolution and destruction. With the emergence of new religious identities from the first century onwards, we begin to find traces of an entirely new vision of religion. The question was not whether a particular belief was new, but whether it was true and the two were no longer felt to be mutually exclusive. The present volume brings together articles that study this transformation, ranging from broad overviews to detailed case-studies.

Nuggets of Wisdom from Great Jewish Thinkers

From Biblical Times to the Present

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William Gerber

This book offers a copious selection of insights about the world and life, crafted in engaging language by Jewish sages, scholars, rabbis, and literary luminaries, from ancient to modern times. These remarkable explanations, queries, and proposals are connected by expository comments and comparisons by the author. The passionate care for human values which underlies much of Jewish thinking is made accessible in this comprehensive work. In it the reader may find counsel on how to achieve a good and satisfying life while responding to the joys and sorrows that touch us all.

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Louis Feldman

The present volume, consisting of 35 studies of various portions of Josephus' Jewish Antiquities, is an attempt to examine the oldest systematic commentary on the historical books of the Bible that has come down to us.
It considers how Josephus resolves apparent contradictions, obscurities, and theological and other questions, as well as the historicity of biblical events, which have puzzled classical commentators on the Bible. It attempts to explain cases, notably Ahab, Hezekiah, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, where Josephus seems to change the biblical text radically. Included are Josephus' interpretations of several phrophets, women and non-Jewish leaders.
All of these studies have previously appeared in print over a period of almost three decades in 34 different publications. However, they have been edited, corrected, and updated in many ways.