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Author: Atar Livneh

This paper focuses on the Jubilean portrayal of Shem, Isaac, and Jacob as beloved sons. In all three cases, their parents’ affection for their scions is modeled on Jacob’s favoring of Joseph, thus indicating that Shem, Isaac, and Jacob were loved more than their brothers. The themes of human parental love, divine election, birthright, and inheritance being interwoven in all three cases, human parental love functions primarily to signal the status of those sons who form the heirs through whom the Israelite line will be maintained. Their characterization as “beloved” also highlights Israel’s prominence amongst the nations – their siblings, in contrast, being destined to become the fathers of the gentile nations. On basis of the fact that the biblical texts relate the image of God as father to His love for and election of His children, Jubilees also presents human parental love as following (upon) God’s election of a favored son. The combination of the motif of God as a loving father with the verse that “Because He loved your fathers, He chose their heirs after them” (Deut 4:37) appears to have led the Jubilean author to assume that the Israelites’ ancestors were the object of divine parental love. He then takes this idea one step further, presenting patriarchal parental love as paralleling God’s love/election.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Atar Livneh

Abstract

This paper analyses Jub. 34:1-9, an extra-biblical account of Jacob and his sons warring against the Amorites. Herein, the Jubilean author portrays Joseph as an exemplary family man who assists his brothers in fighting for and occupying the allotment of Ephraim and Manasseh. While Joseph’s portrayal corresponds to the favorable presentation of the patriarchs in Jubilees, it also highlights Israelite solidarity in the face of an enemy attack. Enhancing Jacob-Israel’s military prowess, this unity leads the Israelites to victory and thus to inheritance of the land. While these themes appear apposite to the Maccabean period in general, the pericope does not reflect a historical military campaign.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Atar Livneh

Abstract

Leviticus 19:17-18 has long been noted as possessing a significant role within the book of Jubilees. This paper examines the references to these verses, both explicit and via phrases alluding to the ordinance. Two specific aspects of the law are alluded to in Jubilees: “You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart” (Lev 19:17a) and “Love your fellow as yourself” (Lev 19:18b). The author of Jubilees understands the first as relating to peaceful coexistence, the second to malicious intent, specifically the intent to murder. This exegesis is consistent throughout Jubilees, as attested by the usage of fixed terms and idioms depicting the observance/violation of the law across various literary units.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Author: Atar Livneh

An extra-biblical historical résumé, Deborah’s “new” song in lab 32:1-11 demonstrates both the continued use of the conventions of its biblical antecedents and the development of this literary form during the Second Temple period. It commences its review with Abraham, draws a number of devices from biblical résumés to unite the various episodes, alludes to various biblical reviews, and exhibits various thematic affinities with biblical literary models. While its incorporation of episodes into its retelling of Israelite history that do not appear in any of the biblical summaries and use of the scenaric style of the biblical story rather than the third-person brief report typical of biblical historical summaries are typical of Second Temple résumés, the full sequence of lab 32:1-11 has no parallel in Second Temple Jewish or Christian writings, thereby revealing the author’s guiding tenet—namely, that God fulfils the covenant by aiding His people throughout history.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Atar Livneh

Abstract

Josephus’ rewriting of the account of Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16) consists of a lengthy juridical prayer/speech not attested in the biblical source in which a list of historical episodes is embedded. Moses’ representation as standing in court before God and the people and defending his leadership by recalling past events appears to derive from 1 Samuel 12. At the same time, however, the catalogue of historical incidents in A.J. 4.43–45 elaborates the “works” in Num 16:28, demonstrating that everything happens according to God’s will – including the granting of the priesthood to Aaron. An analysis of A.J. 4.43–45 evinces that it combines conventions from both biblical historical summaries and Hellenistic catalogues, the individual episodes (e.g., the Exodus) constituting a sophisticated reworking of Pentateuchal narratives and passages from Deutero-Isaiah and the Psalms.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Atar Livneh

Abstract

Does the infinitive לזנות in Num 25:1 suggest that the foreign women were prostitutes? Analyzing four Roman-period Jewish sources—Biblical Antiquities 18:13–14; Philo, Moses 1.294–304 and Virtues 34–50; and Sifre Numbers 131—this article demonstrates that the public exposure of naked bodies in LAB reflects Roman norms relating to prostitutes. Philo even more explicitly depicts the women as brothel prostitutes, projecting the Roman repugnance towards upper-class men openly entering such establishments onto the Israelites and presenting them as immoral by dressing them in the elaborate costume typically worn by courtesans in Greek sources. Sifre Numbers 131 is a satirical variation on the theme, the Israelites being tricked into entering the prostitute’s cubicle due to their ignorance of the (male elite Roman) stereotyping of female vendor markets as prostitutes and old women as bawds.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: 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.

In: Vetus Testamentum