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Both 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees portray the Sabbath law as a central point of contention during the struggle over Judean law and tradition in the second century bce (e.g., 1 Macc 1:41-50; 2 Macc 6:4-6). The Hasmonean family in particular is at times highlighted as holding the Sabbath in high regard (2 Macc 5:27). In every available source, there is no question of the commitment to the inherited traditions concerning the Sabbath. However, in two passages, 1 Macc 2:29-41 and 9:43-53, the Hasmoneans are portrayed as acting in a way supported by few extant writings associated with Judean legal tradition: they engage in battle on the Sabbath. First Maccabees presents this as innovation on the part of the Hasmoneans. Josephus, who summarizes these events based upon 1 Maccabees, even recognizes this decision as the basis for normative practice (Ant. 12.272-277). As several scholars (e.g., Bar Kochva, Weiss, Scolnic) have pointed out, this event could hardly have been the first time in Judean history the issue arose. They argue against this reading of the sources. This paper contends that the plain reading of the texts is correct and 1 Maccabees is being used as the basis for legal practice in Josephus’ writings.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

This study highlights features of the Letter of Aristeas that reveal how that story conceives of the royal translation project. It will apply the concept of ‘auxiliary texts’ developed by Markus Dubischar based on the conversation theory of Paul Grice in order to show that Aristeas understands the Hebrew Pentateuch as a failing text. It will be shown that because Aristeas both respects the traditions and teachings contained within the Pentateuch, and recognizes the failure of the text outside of a particular context, it sees the translation as necessary for the Pentateuch’s survival. The study will compare the statements related in prologues from Graeco-Roman ‘auxiliary texts’ to statements in the Letter of Aristeas to underline the ways how the Greek translation of the Hebrew text is simultaneously conceived of as a correction of the problems inherent in the Hebrew text tradition, and is not attempting to entirely replace that tradition.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

This article investigates the prefatory material in 2 Maccabees (2:19-32; 15:38-39) in order to reveal the motivation and attitude of the epitomator of 2 Maccabees toward the text he is adapting. The article argues that the concept of auxiliary texts, recognized in Graeco-Roman and Hellenistic texts by classicist Markus Dubischar, is the lens through which to properly understand the preface and therefore the scribe’s motivation for textual adaptation. The article further employs these conclusions to question whether other texts from the Judean milieu might also be best understood in this category.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

Abstract

This brief study investigates the desire for a fixed textual form as it pertains to scripture in the Judean tradition. It particularly delves into this phenomenon in three early versions of the Septuagint origin myth. This paper argues that this myth is invaluable for the study of transmission and reception of scripture, as it is one of the earliest testimonies to the desire for a scriptural text to be frozen. By highlighting the ways the author of the Letter of Aristeas, Philo, and Josephus deal with the issue of textual fixity in the origin myth, this study aims to elucidate the range of opinions held by Judeans concerning the process of transmission of their holy books.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism