Studies on Scriptures in the Shadow of Internal and External Controversies
Author: Isaac Kalimi
Series: Jewish and Christian Heritage Series, 2

Early Jewish Exegesis and Theological Controversy is an important collection of essays on aspects of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament theology, the reception of biblical texts in Judaism and Christianity; the Aqedah, and related topics.

The book comprises three main parts: a) the Aqedah and the Temple, b) Biblical Texts in Polemical Contexts, and c) Biblical Theology, Judaism and Christianity. Although each part deals with a specifically defined topic, all are linked by some common themes: all the sections discuss early Jewish exegesis, namely the early scriptures’ interpretation in late Biblical literature, in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, in Jewish-Hellenistic writings, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a variety of Rabbinic sources, essentially the Targumim and midrashim. Each chapter of the book covers theological controversies, either among the Jewish groups themselves, and/or between Judaism and other religious denominations, especially Christianity.

Jewish Interpretation, Sectarianism and Polemic from Temple to Talmud and Beyond
Author: Isaac Kalimi
Fighting over the Bible explores the bitter conflicts between main stream Jews and their internal and external opponents, especially between particular Jewish groups such as Pharisees, Sadducees, Qumranites, Samaritans, Rabbanites and Karaites, as well as with Christians and Muslims regarding their interpretations of Jewish Scripture. The Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is an important sacred text for all branches of the Abrahamic faiths, but it has more often divided than unified them. This volume explores and exemplifies the roots of these interpretive conflicts and controversies and traces the rich exegetical and theological approaches that grew out of them. Focusing on the Jewish sources from the late Second Temple period through the high Middle-Ages, it illustrates how the study of the Bible filled the vacuum left by the Temple’s destruction, and became the foundation of Jewish life throughout its long conflicted history.

"This is a rich and engaging volume, one of impressive erudition and sound scholarship. It demonstrates a deep understanding of the history that it seeks to unravel and document. I especially appreciate the attention given to primary sources in their original languages (usually accompanied by English translation) and the balanced and fair-minded handling of controversial issues." - Richard A. Taylor, DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary), in: Voice (2017)
"Overall, this is a useful volume that provides a concise starting point for inquiry." - Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont, in: Biblical Notes 183 (2019)
Studies of Jewish and Christian Scriptures Offered in Honor of Prof. John T. Townsend
Editor: Isaac Kalimi
This volume is a collection of fresh essays in honor of Professor John T. Townsend. It focuses on the interpretation of the common Jewish and Christian Scripture (the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament) and on its two off-shoots (Rabbinic Judaism and the New Testament), as well as on Jewish-Christian relations. The contributors, who are prominent scholars in their fields, include James L. Crenshaw, Göran Eidevall, Anne E. Gardner, Lawrence M. Wills, Cecilia Wassen, Robert L. Brawley, Joseph B. Tyson, Eldon J. Epp, Yaakov Elman, Rivka Ulmer, Andreas Lehnardt, Reuven Kimelman, Bruce Chilton, and Michael W. Duggan.

“an engaging and impressive scholarly work.” - Zev Garber, Los Angeles Valley College, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 81.3 (2019)
Studies in the Chronicler, His Time, Place and Writing
Author: Isaac Kalimi
Author: Isaac Kalimi

The birth story of Solomon is unique in the ancient Israelite historiography from the monarchic period. Though the birth name of the newborn child was “Solomon,” he received an additional name “Yedidyah.” The purpose of this name should be understood within three contexts: the immediate passage in 2 Samuel 12; the wider story regarding Solomon’s rise to power in 1 King 1–2; and comparable ancient Near Eastern texts that recount the claims of usurpers outside the royal line to a throne. The latter attempted to legitimize their kingship by introducing themselves as beloved or chosen by patron deities, occasionally taking a new throne-name to reflect their status vis-à-vis the god or gods. This historical and literary phenomenon is clearly reflected from Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Persian, and Egyptian writings of different periods. The discussion here reveals that in ancient Israel and in the surrounding cultures, both Semitic and non-Semitic, the method of self-legitimation by usurpers was to claim that they had divine legitimization.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
In: Vetus Testamentum
In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
Author: Isaac Kalimi


Although for some reasons the book of Esther is missing from among the biblical manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it has a unique place in Judaism and Jewish theology and thought. A large number of exegetes, ballads, poems, essays, arts, etc. have been composed on it, in all times and places, alongside the Jewish history and culture. Esther expresses one of the worst fears of the Jewish people: fear for complete annihilation, which is also well documented in the Hebrew Bible as well as in some extra-biblical sources (e.g., "Israel Stele", Moabite Stone). Esther replies to that fear, and forwards the theological message that God never leaves Israel. He is the faithful God "who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments". Yet, the historical reality of the Jewish Diaspora shows differently. The article discusses, therefore, also this theology, history and us, as post-Sho'ah readers of Esther.

In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte