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In: Dead Sea Discoveries
In: James Barr Assessed
Author: David Lambert

Noting that, in the Hebrew Bible, law, but not narrative, is attributed to Moses, this paper argues that the notion of the “Torah of Moses” as revealed literature, word for word dictation to Moses, is to be traced to a late Second Temple construction of the Pentateuch as apocalypse. The move is evident in the Book of Jubilees, who introduces his work with a detailed account of revelation at Sinai that includes his own work, the “Divisions of the Times,” an apocalypse, but not the “Torah of Moses.” However, as Jubilees overlaps with Genesis in great measure and, it is argued, refrains from alluding to the Pentateuch throughout, the claim would seem to be that the “Divisions of the Times” actually preceded the Pentateuch as one of its sources. The implications of this view for understanding Rewritten Bible and interpretation in the late Second Temple period are considered.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

This article considers the legacy of James Barr’s The Semantics of Biblical Language. Ideally, his criticisms of theology’s use of philology would have been assimilated already into the field. But the kinds of abuses that Barr so clearly identified and critiqued are still commonly found. As a way of exploring this state of affairs, the case of μετάνοια (“repentance”) in New Testament studies is taken up in the first part of this article.

The second part of the article considers the ways in which Barr’s thoroughgoing critique of its specious appropriation for theology has left many justifiably skittish about employing it to any significant effect and has contributed, perhaps, to a sense that ongoing engagement with the original languages of biblical literature is not a necessity and, certainly, not an avenue to creative scholarship. Examples will be adduced from biblical Hebrew ידע(“know”), לב(“heart”), and אהב (“love”) for how we might approach language and its deployment as a way of engaging difference, in this case, in and through ancient Israelite thinking about “mind” and “emotions.”

The article concludes with the suggestion that we might move the practice of philology forward in biblical studies by attending more fully to the positionality of its practitioners. In particular, what emerges throughout the study is the dominance of a certain interiorizing language of the self, whereby biblical Hebrew terms are made to conform to a modern dichotomy of mind and body.

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: David Lambert


This paper considers whether biblical narrative was used as part of a technology of the self in Jewish antiquity. Many have seen the assumption that Israel’s ancestors were perfect and, hence, worthy of imitation as essential to the Bible’s identity as Scripture around the turn of the Common Era. Recently several scholars have detailed the specific dynamics of exemplarity among certain readers of the Bible, such as Philo, particularly in light of Hellenistic and Roman models. Such work draws attention to the relative lack of explicit attestation for such a practice in much of ancient Jewish literature. As a next step, we need to further delineate what constitutes a literary practice of exemplarity and explore alternatives or additions to it, such as memorialization. To do so, this paper examines a range of texts, including the Genesis Apocryphon, the Book of Jubilees, Ben Sira, Philo, Josephus, and the rabbinic collection, Genesis Rabbah.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
Bilder sind aus der Vorstellungswelt des Christentums nicht wegzudenken. Die Bilderfrage reicht tief in die historischen, aber auch in die systematischen Wurzeln des christlichen Bekenntnisses hinab. Sie markiert zugleich eine brisante Nahtstelle zwischen christlicher Religion und europäischer Kultur. Die Bildtheologie geht den Valenzen des Bildes im Christentum nach, entwickelt sie als durchgängige theologische Perspektive und bringt sie in den Diskurs mit Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften ein. Das Handbuch der Bildtheologie gibt in vier Bänden eine gründliche Einführung in Phänomene, Begriffe und Geschichte des Bildes unter theologischen Gesichtspunkten. Wissenschaftler aus Theologie, Kunstgeschichte, Philosophischer Ästhetik, Kultur- und Medienwissenschaften entfalten die zentralen Fragestellungen, die das Bild in theologischer Perspektive aufwirft, und umreißen die Schnittstellen zwischen theologischen, kunstwissenschaftlichen und philosophisch-ästhetischen Bild-Diskursen. Der dritte Band versammelt die systematischen Eckpunkte, die eine theologische Theorie der Medialität des Bildes auszeichnen. Im Zentrum steht zunächst der Widerstreit zwischen der Sichtbarkeit als dem wesentlichen Medium der Bildsprache und der grundsätzlichen Unsichtbarkeit Gottes, der mittels der Sichtbarkeit des Bildes zur Sprache gebracht werden soll. Zudem findet sich das Bild als Medium der Verkündigung, aber auch der Offenbarung, in einer spannungsvollen Wechselbeziehung mit dem Medium des Wortes. Schließlich wird vom Bild mehr als die bloße Repräsentation der christlichen Botschaft, nämlich der gesteigerte Ausdruck wirklicher Präsenz erwartet. Das Spektrum der medialen Beanspruchung des Bildes im Christentum reicht vom zeichenhaften Verweis bis zur realen Vergegenwärtigung.

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