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In: Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife in Jewish and Christian Antiquity


From canonical and extra-canonical gospels to the modern phenomenon of the ‘Jesus novel’, people have been fictionalizing Jesus by filling in gaps in the historical and narrative record. This essay inaugurates a field of inquiry by contrasting two recent novels, Norman Mailer’s The Gospel According to the Son (1997) and Nino Ricci’s Testament (2002). In particular it examines how each of the novels depicts the role and character of Judas Iscariot, the question of Jesus’ performance of miracles, as well as how each novel depicts Jesus. In all, the remarkable historical plausibility of these novels, or parts of them, raises the very interesting issue of the relationship between story and history, between fiction and history.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

Memory theory is being used, if not explicitly to buttress the reliability of the Gospel portraits of Jesus, to do so implicitly by shifting the search away from the ipsissima verba Jesu towards the memory of Jesus. Rather than argue about what Jesus did or did not say—the reliability wars—some scholars now sidestep the issue by arguing that memory is inherently reliable in a broad or general way. Thus, the Gospels are reliable not at the level of detail, but at the level of broad memory, impact, or gist. In this article I argue that such optimism can only come by selectively quoting the troubling work of memory theorists, and by ignoring the full implications of memory theory.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

This short response to Le Donne’s rebuttal attempts to return the conversation to the more relevant and troubling evidence of manufactured memory, by drawing attention to examples from the New Testament. It raises the serious question: if manufactured memories and historical memories are not qualitatively different, then how are we to distinguish between them? And, by extension, what does this say about the reliability of memory and the gospels as memory?

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Das lukanische Doppelwerk im Kontext paganer Bildungsdiskurse
Der Verfasser des lukanischen Doppelwerks zählt unangefochten zu den gebildetsten neutestamentlichen Autoren. Doch inwiefern lassen sich seine Texte auch in die paganen Gebildetendiskurse seiner Zeit einordnen?
Matthias Becker geht dieser Frage auf breiter Quellenbasis nach, indem er erstmals das Lukasevangelium und die Apostelgeschichte zu den Schriften des Redners und philosophischen Wanderpredigers Dion von Prusa in Beziehung setzt. Mittels vergleichender Begriffs - und Motivanalysen, verschränkter Lektüren und eines heuristischen Leserkonstrukts arbeitet die Studie diskursive Überschneidungen hinsichtlich rhetorischer, ethischer und theologischer Themen heraus. So wird nicht nur ein neuer Blick auf die Inkulturation des lukanischen Christentums möglich. Die Partizipation an zeitgenössischen Bildungsdiskursen lässt vielmehr auch die Konturen einer Bildungsreligion erkennen, die sich im Doppelwerk ein frühes Denkmal setzt.
Research into the cultural contexts of the Bible has opened new ways of reading and understanding biblical texts as cultural artefacts and witnesses to particular locations, times, and circumstances. The series aims to publish latest research from the areas of cultural - including the: social sciences, scientific, economic, legal, and literary studies as well as hermeneutical approaches dealing with the production and reception of the Bible as a cultural text.
The series focusses predominantly on monographs but is also open to inter- and transdisciplinary scholarly edited volumes about the texts and contexts of individual biblical books, including work drawing from aesthetic, art, and poetry. The series accepts contributions in English, French, and German. All manuscripts are evaluated by a peer reviewing process.

Die Erforschung der kulturellen Kontexte der Bibel hat neue Wege eröffnet, biblische Texte als kulturelle Artefakte und Zeugnisse für bestimmte Orte, Zeiten und Umstände zu lesen und zu verstehen. Ziel der Reihe ist es, neueste Forschungsergebnisse aus den Bereichen Kultur – einschließlich Sozialwissenschaften, Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft, Recht und Literatur – sowie hermeneutische Ansätze zur Produktion und Rezeption der Bibel als Kulturtext zu veröffentlichen.
Die Reihe konzentriert sich überwiegend auf Monographien, ist aber auch offen für inter- und transdisziplinäre wissenschaftliche Sammelbände über die Texte und Zusammenhänge einzelner biblischer Bücher, darunter Werke aus Ästhetik, Kunst und Poesie. Akzeptiert werden Beiträge in Englisch, Französisch und Deutsch. Alle Manuskripte werden in einem Peer-Review-Verfahren bewertet.
Why are conceptions of afterlife so diverse in both Jewish and Christian antiquity? This collection of essays offers explanations for this diversity through the lens of social memory theory. The contributors attempt to understand how and why received traditions about the afterlife needed to be altered, invented and even forgotten if they were to have relevance in the present. Select ancient texts conveying the hopes and fears of the afterlife are viewed as products of transmission processes that appropriated the past in conformity with identity constructs of each community. The range of literature in this collection spans from the earliest receptions of Israelite traditions within early Judaism to the Patristic/Rabbinic period.