Author: Tzvi Abusch
In this volume, Tzvi Abusch presents studies written over a span of forty years that were completed prior to his retirement from Brandeis University in 2019. They reflect several themes that he has pursued in addition to his work on witchcraft literature and the Epic of Gilgamesh. The volume begins with general articles on Mesopotamian magic, religion, and mythology; these are followed by a set of articles on Akkadian prayers, especially šuillas, focusing, first of all, on exegetical and linguistic (synchronic) studies and, then, on diachronic analyses; part two contains a series of literary studies of Mesopotamian and biblical classics; part three is devoted to comparative studies of terms and phenomena; finally, the fourth part takes up texts that are of legal interest.

The Harvard Semitic Studies series publishes volumes from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant and Harvard Semitic Monographs, https://hmane.harvard.edu/publications.
Author: Justin Allison
In Saving One Another: Philodemus and Paul on Moral Formation in Community Justin Reid Allison compares how the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus and the Christian apostle Paul envisioned the members of their communities helping one another to grow into moral maturity. Allison establishes that Philodemus and Paul are more similar than previously noticed in their conception and practice of moral formation in community, and that these similarities offer a critical opportunity to consider important differences between the two as well. By deepening the comparison to include differences alongside similarities, and to include theological and socio-economic facets of communal moral formation, Allison shows that Philodemus and Paul uniquely shed fresh light on one another’s texts when understood in comparative perspective.
Author: Jason Ripley

Abstract

Does the Gospel of John portray Jesus’ death as an atoning sacrifice? This paper offers a new approach to the revelation vs. sacrifice impasse in scholarship, arguing that Jesus’ atoning death in John should be understood with reference to the non-cultic atoning deaths of the Jewish martyrdom traditions. After critically engaging scholarship, I contextualize John within post-biblical debates regarding sacrificial martyrdom, focusing on the competing reconfigurations of non-cultic atonement in the Maccabean literature. I subsequently show how Jesus’ atoning martyrdom reveals his anti-violent way of the cross as the true martyrdom and atoning sacrifice accepted by God, thereby resolving key tensions within Johannine scholarship. I then demonstrate how this vision of atonement addresses John’s understanding of sin as ignorance and addresses an audience itself facing threats of martyrdom (John 16:2). I conclude with some reflections on how John’s vision of atonement critically differs from later theological theories, particularly penal substitution.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology

Abstract

This essay utilizes Foucault’s concept of the “technology of the self” to argue the ethical content of Ruth’s actions. In this way, my essay challenges reading the book of Ruth in a way that supports the Western and Christian technology of self and moral principle of self-sacrifice. Paying careful attention to the three episodes of contract-making in the book of Ruth (1:16-17, 3:9-13, 4:1-12), it is evident that Ruth’s actions demonstrate profound resourcefulness and care of oneself rather than self-sacrifice. This hermeneutical lens of “care of oneself” is constituted in the three elements of immanence, vigilant introspection and distance. The character of Ruth possesses the virtue of חֶ֔סֶד, repeatedly and secretly transgresses norms and expectations and creates an ethic that benefits and transforms her self and others.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology
Author: Steven J. Duby

Abstract

In modern descriptions of biblical theology, attempts to distinguish it from dogmatic or systematic theology have often focused on the latter’s use of extrabiblical or “philosophical” concepts and categories in expounding Christian doctrine. In his recent volume entitled Biblical Theology: The God of the Christian Scriptures, John Goldingay initially affirms this method of distinguishing between the disciplines, but his subsequent treatment of the Bible’s teaching about God affords an excellent opportunity to discuss whether this approach to the distinction is in fact practicable. Through an appreciative engagement of Goldingay’s work, this essay will discuss (1) the need for an alternative way of distinguishing biblical theology from dogmatic theology and (2) how Goldingay’s treatment of scriptural teaching on God in particular might help to address perceived tensions between the Bible’s portrayal of God and classical accounts of God that are frequently viewed with suspicion in modern biblical scholarship.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology

Abstract

The Christian views on the significance of Mary have developed over a long time. This article studies what Mariological developments can be detected in the canonical New Testament and what they might tell us concerning the significance of Mary in early Christian theology.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology
Author: Eric Smith

Abstract

Paul had a clear understanding of how his calling and his work mapped onto geography. In contexts where he felt that others were encroaching on his territory, as in Galatians and 2 Corinthians, Paul could be very angry and defensive. Likewise, when Paul was writing to people in territories that he did not consider part of his purview, such as in Romans, he was deferential and submissive. In all three cases—in Galatians and 2 Corinthians when Paul was being defensive about his territory, and in Romans when he was being deferential—Paul used a particular word, κλίµα, to designate geography—a word he never used in any other context. This article puts this observation in conversation with ancient mapping, which relied on “process descriptions” of space and place rather than “state descriptions.” That is, ancient cartography privileged the process of movement or travel, and in contrast to most modern mapping, ancient maps didn’t usually make use of any external system of reference. One particular map, the Peutinger Map, helps illustrate this phenomenon. Understanding how ancient maps organized space, we can begin to understand Paul’s notions of territory and the way they determined which places he felt compelled to visit. By knowing something about Paul’s maps and geographies, we can make sense of his language in Romans 15, where territory played a pivotal role in his self-understanding as an apostle and in his trajectory across the Roman world, “from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum,” but also onward to Spain and to the end of the world.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology

Abstract

This article explores what it might look like to read the biblical story of Rahab alongside literature from the African American literary canon. Specifically, the article examines the biblical account of Rahab found in Joshua 2 through the lens of identity and argues that, like characters in Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen’s novels Quicksand and Passing, Rahab is passing in Joshua 2. The characters Helga Crane from the novel Quicksand and Clare Kendry from the novel Passing serve as exemplars for passing (the act of presenting as of a different racial group than one’s own), and the markers of passing are mapped on to Rahab. This article is a womanist work, as it seeks to center the experiences of Black women.

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology