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Converts in the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Gēr and Mutable Ethnicity

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Carmen Palmer

Converts in the Dead Sea Scrolls examines the meaning of the term gēr in the Dead Sea Scrolls. While often interpreted as a resident alien, this study of the term as it is employed within scriptural rewriting in the Dead Sea Scrolls concludes that the gēr is a Gentile convert to Judaism. Contrasting the gēr in the Dead Sea Scrolls against scriptural predecessors, Carmen Palmer finds that a conversion is possible by means of mutable ethnicity. Furthermore, mutable features of ethnicity in the sectarian movement affiliated with the Dead Sea Scrolls include shared kinship, connection to land, and common culture in the practice of circumcision. The sectarian movement is not as closed toward Gentiles as has been commonly considered.
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The essays in Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism: Royal, Prophetic, and Divine Messiahs seek to interpret John’s Jesus as part of Second Temple Jewish messianic expectations. The Fourth Gospel is rarely considered part of the world of early Judaism. While many have noted John’s Jewishness, most have not understood John’s Messiah as a Jewish messiah.
The Johannine Jesus, who descends from heaven, is declared the Word made flesh, and claims oneness with the Father, is no less Jewish than other messiahs depicted in early Judaism. John’s Jesus is at home on the spectrum of early Judaism’s royal, prophetic, and divine messiahs
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The Book of Jeremiah

Composition, Reception, and Interpretation

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Written by leading experts in the field, The Book of Jeremiah: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation offers a wide-ranging treatment of the main aspects of Jeremiah. Its twenty-four essays fall under four main sections. The first section contains studies of a more general nature, and helps situate Jeremiah in the scribal culture of the ancient world, as well as in relation to the Torah and the Hebrew Prophets. The second section contains commentary on and interpretation of specific passages (or sections) of Jeremiah, as well as essays on its genres and themes. The third section contains essays on the textual history and reception of Jeremiah in Judaism and Christianity. The final section explores various theological aspects of the book of Jeremiah.
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Lindsey A. Askin

In Scribal Culture in Ben Sira Lindsey A. Askin examines scribal culture as a framework for analysing features of textual referencing throughout the Book of Ben Sira (c.198-175 BCE), revealing new insights into how Ben Sira wrote his book of wisdom. Although the title of “scribe” is regularly applied to Ben Sira, this designation presents certain interpretive challenges. Through comparative analysis, Askin contextualizes the sage’s compositional style across historical, literary, and socio-cultural spheres of operation. New light is shed on Ben Sira’s text and early Jewish textual reuse. Drawing upon physical and material evidence of reading and writing, Askin reveals the dexterity and complexity of Ben Sira’s sustained textual reuse. Ben Sira’s achievement thus demonstrates exemplary, “excellent” writing to a receptive audience.
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In Portuguese Jews, New Christians and ‘New Jews’ Claude B. Stuczynski and Bruno Feitler gather some of the leading scholars of the history of the Portuguese Jews and conversos in a tribute to their common friend and a renowned figure in Luso-Judaica, Roberto Bachmann, on the occasion of his 85th birthday. The texts are divided into five sections dealing with medieval Portuguese Jewish culture, the impact of the inquisitorial persecution, the wide range of converso identities on one side, and of the Sephardi Western Portuguese Jewish communities on the other, and the role of Portugal and Brazil as lands of refuge for Jews during the Second World War. This book is introduced by a comprehensive survey on the historiography on Portuguese Jews, New Christians and 'New Jews' and offers a contribution to Luso-Judaica studies
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Benjamin Wold

In 4QInstruction: Divisions and Hierarchies, Benjamin Wold challenges the interpretation of 4QInstruction as a deterministic and dualistic composition. In a re-examination of key fragments he offers new reconstructions and translations that indicate 4QInstruction envisaged wisdom available to all humanity, divisions among humankind and communities as the result of individual adherence to wisdom, and a hierarchy of authorities in terms of types of revelation and individual merit.

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This volume discusses crucial aspects of the period between the two revolts against Rome in Judaea that saw the rise of rabbinic Judaism and of the separation between Judaism and Christianity. Most contributors no longer support the ‘maximalist’ claim that around 100 CE, a powerful rabbinic regime was already in place. Rather, the evidence points to the appearance of the rabbinic movement as a group with a regional power base and with limited influence. The period is best seen as one of transition from the multiform Judaism revolving around the Second Temple in Jerusalem to a Judaism that was organized around synagogue, Tora, and sages and that parted ways with Christianity.