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This article examines Paul’s enigmatic statement that “the rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:4) from the perspective of ancient understandings and habits of allegorical interpretation. Paul’s use of the exodus story can be addressed as an exemplum type of allegory, as described by Quintilian and applied for exegetical purposes by Heraclitus and Philo. In contrast to previous scholarship, it is shown that the employment of different tenses in allegorical formulas is a matter of style rather than of content so that Paul’s use of ἦν instead ἐστίν does not contradict the fact that it is meant to designate the allegorical sense of the term “rock”.

In: Biblische Zeitschrift

The note in 1 Maccabees 9:54 that the high priest Alcimus ordered the destruction of the wall of the inner temple court is taken by most scholars as a description of a historical event. This paper, however, suggests that the note should rather be read as part of a pro-Maccabean propaganda which serves to defame Alcimus. It is argued that, from a historical perspective, it was not Alcimus but Judas who was responsible for serious damage at the temple precinct as a result of his unsuccessful military operation against the Seleucid Acra (6:18-54). The author of 1 Maccabees tries to downplay this event and to villainise Alcimus by calling destruction what was actually restoration. The paper ends with a comparison to two other passages in 1 Maccabees (4:44-46 and 5:55-62) which shows that the suggested understanding of 9:54 fits well the strategies of legitimisation and delegitimisation that can be found throughout the book.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
In: Biblische Zeitschrift
In: Biblische Zeitschrift


This article takes Gamaliel’s speech in Acts 5:34-39 as a test case for Luke’s use of dramatic irony, which is defined as a difference in either knowledge or comprehension between an intradiegetic narrator and the extradiegetic recipients. It is argued that the author applies this narrative tool in a very complex way to elaborate his theology of providence: Even though Gamaliel proposes the distinction between divine and human plans and activities, he does not fully grasp the meaning of his words. This encourages the readers to evaluate Gamaliel’s statement on the basis of Luke’s narrative. Hence, they are able to conclude that from a divine point of view a human action opposing God’s plan cannot actually exist because God has already foreseen this action.

In: Novum Testamentum