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In: Political Theologies in the Hebrew Bible


This article examines the instruction regarding the wood offering and the festival of new oil in fragment 23 of 4QReworked Pentateuch C (4Q365), and in particular its setting at a future temple (בית) in the land. It argues that while 4Q365 23 represents a departure from earlier versions of Leviticus, it should be considered nonetheless as part of an authoritative version of this book. In introducing the new temple and its rituals, the addition develops notions already present within priestly ritual legislation concerned with the community’s obligations towards the wilderness sanctuary. 4Q365 23 therefore has the potential to progress the present debate concerning the priestly traditions of the Pentateuch and cult centralization. In projecting the ritual obligations established at the wilderness shrine onto a future temple, the fragment throws new light on the way in which ritual legislation was used to promote a centralized cult in ancient Israel.

In: Dead Sea Discoveries


Early Jewish writings are replete with narratives of warfare and collective violence. Yet relatively little scholarly attention has been paid to how these accounts of violence affected the way Jews structured their festal calendar. This essay examines the festivals described in 1 and 2 Maccabees that serve to commemorate the most impressive military victories of the Maccabean revolt in the second century BCE—namely, Hanukkah, Nicanor’s Day, and Simon’s Day. Paying attention to the similarities and differences between the festal texts of 1 and 2 Maccabees, I argue that the two books employ a common commemorative strategy to foster a positive collective memory of the violence of the Maccabean revolt that could both legitimize the founding figures of the Hasmonean dynasty and compete with the commemorative cultures of other Hellenistic communities. This evidence of commemorative creativity and cultural adaptation by the authors of 1 and 2 Maccabees sheds valuable light on how the memorialization of violence in the ancient Mediterranean was shaped not simply by the ideologies and institutions of discrete societies but also by their intersections and cross-cultural borrowings.

Open Access
In: Collective Violence and Memory in the Ancient Mediterranean


The temple vision of Ezek 40–48 devotes considerable attention to measuring and describing the various gates and entrances of the temple compound. Previous studies have tended to focus on the defensive function of the gates. However, these structures not only bar entry but also facilitate access to the temple under certain ritualized conditions. Offering a close reading of the references to the gates in Ezek 40–48, in which particular roles and activities are associated with specific entrances, this article shows how these architectural features of the temple map a differential system in which social hierarchies are organized according to the level, direction, and timing of access ascribed to different groups and individuals within the temple compound. The article concludes by exploring the significance of the gates for how we understand the literary genre of the temple vision of Ezek 40–48, and in particular its nature as a social utopia.

In: Vetus Testamentum
This book reveals how violent pasts were constructed by ancient Mediterranean societies, the ideologies they served, and the socio-political processes and institutions they facilitated. Combining case studies from Anatolia, Egypt, Greece, Israel/Judah, and Rome, it moves beyond essentialist dichotomies such as “victors” and “vanquished” to offer a new paradigm for studying representations of past violence across diverse media, from funerary texts to literary works, chronicles, monumental reliefs, and other material artefacts such as ruins. It thus paves the way for a new comparative approach to the study of collective violence in the ancient world.
In the broadest sense, political theology refers to “God talk” in the context of multiple and often competing perspectives on social life. While political history is firmly established within biblical studies, it is frequently separated from the study of theology and religion. And if political theology has found a place in scholarly conversations within biblical studies, it has often been reduced to specific comparisons with political genres in the ancient world, such as treaty/covenant, or kingship. This volume is an edited collection of 17 essays that seek to broaden the scope of what might count as political theology, throwing new light on older studies and demonstrating the diversity of political theologies in the Hebrew Bible. Each essay demonstrates the integration of political theology with other strands of innovative research in current biblical studies. The essays cover a range of topics such as sovereignty, nation, migration, cultural politics, land holding, and gender.