Past Renewals

Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity


How did ancient Jewish authors claim authority for their interpretations? How, after the “end of prophecy”, could they claim the authority of revelation? Whom did one have to be, or aspire to be, in order to merit authority? Hindy Najman addresses these questions through close readings of ancient Jewish texts, e.g., Ezra-Nehemiah, Philo of Alexandria, 4Ezra, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Jubilees. In Seconding Sinai (Brill, 2003), Najman reconceived pseudepigraphy, developing the idea of a Mosaic discourse that comprised a series of ancient texts attributed to Moses. Here she develops the broader notion of a discourse tied to a founder, situating practices of pseudepigraphy and authoritative interpretation within a variety of ways of seeking perfection in ancient Judaism.
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Biographical Note

Hindy Najman, PhD. (Harvard University, 1998) is the Director of the Centre for Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Ancient Judaism in the Department and Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Najman has published on Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo of Alexandria, Ezra-Nehemiah, 4Ezra and the Book of Jubilees. She is the author of Seconding Sinai (Brill, 2003).

Table of contents


Chapter One: The Symbolic Significance of Writing in Ancient Judaism
Chapter Two: Interpretation as Primordial Writing: Jubilees and its Authority Conferring Strategies
Chapter Three: Torah of Moses: Pseudonymous Attribution in Second Temple Writings
Chapter Four: The Law of Nature and the Authority of Mosaic Law
Chapter Five: A Written Copy of the Law of Nature: An Unthinkable Paradox?


Chapter Six: Angels at Sinai: Exegesis, Theology and Interpretive Authority
Chapter Seven: Towards a Study of the Uses of the Concept of Wilderness in Ancient Judaism
Chapter Eight: Between Heaven and Earth: Liminal Visions in 4 Ezra
Chapter Nine: Philosophical Contemplation and Revelatory Inspiration in Ancient Judean Traditions
Chapter Ten: Reconsidering Jubilees: Prophecy and Exemplarity


Chapter Eleven: Cain and Abel as Character Traits: A Study in the Allegorical Typology of Philo of Alexandria
Chapter Twelve: The Quest for Perfection in Ancient Judaism
Chapter Thirteen: How Should We Contextualize Pseudepigrapha? Imitation and Emulation in 4 Ezra
Chapter Fourteen: Text and Figure in Ancient Jewish Paideia


All those interested in ancient biblical interpretation, Dead Sea Scrolls, Pseudepigrapha, Second Temple Literature, Philo of Alexandria, Hebrew Bible and the history and development of concepts in Jewish Antiquity.


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