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Re-interpretations of Genesis I in the Context of Judaism, Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics
This volume discusses the narrative of the creation of heaven, earth and light in the first chapter of Genesis and focuses extensively on its later interpretations in different cultural and religious contexts.
After an introductory paper on the text of Genesis itself, the authors deal with receptions of this theme in the Prophet Jeremiah, Early Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. They comment on creation accounts in the Ancient Near East, Ancient Greece and ancient philosophy, reconstructing the earliest known receptions of Genesis 1 in ancient philosophers like Numenius and Galen. They trace its influence in the Johannine, Petrine and Pauline traditions of Early Christianity, and follow it right through the Middle Ages up till the present-day discussion of design in Nature.
Perspectives from Judaism, the Pagan Graeco-Roman World, and Early Christianity
The revelation of YHWH’s name to Moses is a momentous event according to the Old Testament. The name ‘Yahweh’ is of central importance in Judaism, and ‘Yahwism’ became tantamount to Jewish monotheism. As such, this designation of God also attracted the attention of pagan writers in the Graeco-Roman period. And early Christians had to deal with this divine name as well. These three perspectives on YHWH constitute the framework for this volume. It appears that the Name of God and its revelation to Moses constitute a major theme which runs from the book of Exodus through the Old Testament, early Judaism, and early Christianity. It also attracted pagan philosophical interest, both positive and negative. The Name of God was not only perceived from an insider’s perspective, but also provoked a reaction from outsiders. The combined perspectives show the fundamental importance of the divine Name for the formation of Jewish and Christian identities.
In: Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World


This paper explores the consensus and disagreements between the contributors to this first interdisciplinary conference on the Star of Bethlehem. It takes as its starting point the agreement that astrological models that included Syria-Judea only arose in the Greco-Roman period, and that it is likely that Matthew’s magi were Persians of the Parthian era. The questions it addresses concern how embassies of Parthian Magi could be conceived of, how they should be understood in the context of Parthian-Roman-Judean politics, whether the image of the magi as kingmakers of the Parthian kings excludes any acquaintance with astrological knowledge, how Greco-Roman and Babylonian-Chaldean culture relate and interact in Parthia, how Judea fits into the larger Syrian context, and whether the magi could indeed have had a motive, at that time, for paying attention to developments in Syria-Judea. To answer these questions, all available evidence concerning the magi and the Parthians is chronologically stratified and applied to Matthew’s narrative. Is his story of the magi’s visit to Jesus best explained at the level of the Flavian era, in which Matthew wrote? Or does it resonate with the Augustan era, in which this visit is said to have taken place? Or does it (also) reflect occurrences from the era between Augustus and the Flavians? On the basis of the available evidence, it is suggested that Matthew’s narrative best fits the Augustan era, which was an era of unprecedented and unparalleled Roman-Parthian peace. Against this background, Matthew’s message seems to be that people from the East (magi) and the West (Romans) constitute a new, non-political community around Jesus, who laid down the constitution of a different kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.

In: The Star of Bethlehem and the Magi
In: Abraham, the Nations, and the Hagarites
In: Abraham, the Nations, and the Hagarites
In: The Jewish Revolt against Rome
In: Myths, Martyrs, and Modernity
In: Authoritative Scriptures in Ancient Judaism