Author: Samuel L. Boyd

Abstract

As recent research in the study of manuscripts has demonstrated, variations in the phrasing of a text not only reveal scribal error or play but also indicate how changes to a given passage in different manuscripts convey important interpretive traditions. In this article, I explore one such case in TgJon to Isa. 10:32. First, I examine how key features (or the lack thereof) in the biblical text of Isa. 10:32 led to certain lines of rabbinic interpretation as found in b. Sanh. 95b, which contains a midrashic story based on the biblical text. Second, I analyse a parallel account of this story as found in TgJon to Isa. 10:32, and I argue that a particular manuscript of this Targum (B. M. 2211) contains added layers of anti-Roman rhetoric through an allusion to Abraham and Nimrod. In this fashion, the variation in wording in this manuscript is indicative of a distinct interpretation from that found in the Talmud.

In: Aramaic Studies
Author: Samuel L. Boyd

Abstract

The passive participles from ידע in Deut 1:13 and 1:15 are part of a list of characteristics for being a judge. The translational value of these participles, however, is unclear. This article reviews the main options proposed for understanding וידעים in Deut 1:13 and 1:15 and argues that a syntactic feature in the verses is grounds for understanding them as passive in both form and sense (“known”). Finally, and perhaps more significantly, locating this qualification for being a judge in the larger ideology of revelation and authority in D buttresses this thesis.

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Samuel L. Boyd

Abstract

This article examines the ways in which the law of the rebellious and stubborn son in Deut. 21:18-21 supports the agenda of the D source to subordinate any basis of authority in ancient Israel to its own legal vision of centralization. In particular, I explore theories regarding the origin of Deut. 21:18-21 as pre-deuteronomic and argue that, whatever its pre-history, the law of the rebellious and stubborn son functions well in the legal and religious rhetoric of D. I further support this analysis of Deut. 21:18-21 by recourse to and comparison with similar family laws in the Covenant Code and Holiness Legislation. Finally, I offer thoughts on the manner in which the severity of Deut. 21:18-21 explains two facets of the reception history of this passage.

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Samuel L. Boyd

Abstract

Overt statements regarding a remnant are strikingly absent in the book of Amos, leading many scholars to find sentiments therein that might lend credence to Amos’ vision for an Israel that survives judgment. In this paper, I analyze the manner in which Amos 3:12 has functioned in this endeavor to find a remnant of Israel in the book. I argue that no such remnant is in view in Amos 3:12 specifically, nor in the book generally. I examine the rhetorical context of Amos 3:12, as well as the syntactical properties of the verse, which help to underscore the role of divine judgment. I place the verse in the setting of ancient Near Eastern legal culture to show how Amos 3:12 functions in terms of Israelite guilt and punishment relative to divine innocence. Finally, I explore how the reading herein is consistent with the rest of the book of Amos.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Samuel L. Boyd

Source critical analyses of the Pentateuch in recent scholarship have focused primarily on literary means for detecting distinct literary voices, and, in some recent publications, historical aspects of, particularly, the P source. In this article, I formulate a distinct approach to source criticism that supports this resurgence of documentary analysis, examining in particular the ritual of blood and oil daubing on bodies in Exod. 19–24, Lev. 8 and 14. After summarizing the main point at issue (namely, access to the divine), I offer a documentary approach using ritual theory in the study of these texts. Finally, I highlight the manner in which the ritual study of Exod.19–24, Lev. 8 and 14 is consistent with both key historical and recent arguments in the documentary approach to the composition of the Pentateuch.

In: Biblical Interpretation
Author: Samuel L. Boyd
In Language Contact, Colonial Administration, and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Israel, Boyd addresses a long-standing critical issue in biblical scholarship: how does the production of the Bible relate to its larger historical, linguistic, and cultural settings in the ancient Near East? Using theoretical advances in the study of language contact, he examines in detail the sociolinguistic landscape during the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Achaemenid periods. Boyd then places the language and literature of Ezekiel and Isaiah in this sociolinguistic landscape. Language Contact, Colonial Administration, and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Israel offers the first book-length incorporation of language contact theory with data from the Bible. As a result, it allows for a reexamination of the nature of contact between biblical authors and a series of Mesopotamian empires beginning with Assyria.

The Harvard Semitic Monographs series publishes volumes from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Harvard Semitic Studies and Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant, https://hmane.harvard.edu/publications.