WINNER > Best Popular Book on Archaeology --Biblical Archaeology Society
Apocalypse. Judgment Day. The End Time. Armageddon. Students of the Bible know it as the place where the cataclysmic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil will unfold. Many believe that this battle will take place in the very near future. But few know that Armageddon is a real place--one that has seen more fighting and bloodshed than any other spot on earth.
The name Armageddon is a corruption of the Hebrew phrase Har Megiddo, and it means "Mount of Megiddo." More than thirty bloody conflicts have been fought at the ancient site of Megiddo and adjacent areas of the Jezreel Valley during the past four thousand years. Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Muslims, Crusaders, Mongols, British, Germans, Arabs, and Israelis have all fought and died here. The names of the warring leaders reverberate throughout history: Thutmose III, Deborah, Gideon, Saul and Jonathan, Jezebel, Saladin, Napoleon, and Allenby, to name but the most famous. Throughout history Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have been ground zero for battles that determined the very course of civilization. No wonder that the author of Revelation believed Armageddon, the penultimate battle between good and evil, would also take place here!
The Battles of Armageddon introduces readers to a rich cast of ancient and modern warriors, while bringing together for the first time the wide range of conflicts that have been fought at Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age.
Eric H. Cline has participated in more than seventeen seasons of excavation and survey in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Greece, and the United States. He is currently a Senior Staff Archaeologist at the ongoing excavations of Megiddo.
As ardent debates over creationism fill the front pages of newspapers, Genesis has never been more timely. And as Leon R. Kass shows in The Beginning of Wisdom, it’s also timeless.
Examining Genesis in a philosophical light, Kass presents it not as a story of what happened long ago, but as the enduring story of humanity itself. He asserts that the first half of Genesis contains insights about human nature that “rival anything produced by the great philosophers.” Kass here reads these first stories—from Adam and Eve to the tower of Babel—as a mirror for self-discovery that reveals truths about human reason, speech, freedom, sexual desire, pride, shame, anger, and death. Taking a step further in the second half of his book, Kass explores the struggles in Genesis to launch a new way of life that addresses mankind’s morally ambiguous nature by promoting righteousness and holiness.
Even readers who don’t agree with Kass’s interpretations will find The Beginning of Wisdom acompelling book—a masterful philosophical take on one of the world’s seminal religious texts.
“Extraordinary. . . . Its analyses and hypotheses will leave no reader’s understanding of Genesis unchanged.” —New York Times
“A learned and fluent, delightfully overstuffed stroll through the Gates of Eden. . . . Mix Harold Bloom with Stephen Jay Gould and you’ll get something like Kass. A wonderfully intelligent reading of Genesis.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Throughout his book, Kass uses fruitful, fascinating techniques for getting at the heart of Genesis. . . . Innumerable times [he] makes a reader sit back and rethink what has previously been tediously familiar or baffling.”—WashingtonPost
“It is important to state that this is a book not merely rich, but prodigiously rich with insight. Kass is a marvelous reader, sensitive and careful. His interpretations surprise again and again with their cogency and poignancy.”—JerusalemPost
A distinguished group of authors here illuminate a broad spectrum of themes in the history of biblical interpretation. Originally published in 1990, these essays take as their common ground the thesis that the intellectual and religious life of the sixteenth century cannot be understood without attention to the preoccupation of sixteenth-century humanists and theologians with the interpretation of the Bible. Topics explored include Jewish exegesis and problems of Old Testament interpretation and the relationship between the Bible and social, political, and institutional history.
Contributors. Irena Backus, Guy Bedouelle, Kalman P. Bland, Kenneth G. Hagen, Scott H. Hagen, Scott H. Hendrix, R. Gerald Hobbs, Jean-Claude Margolin, H. C. Erik Midelfort, Richard A. Muller, John B. Payne, David C. Steinmetz
Distinguished legal scholar and Presbyterian minister Milner S. Ball examines great sagas and tales from the Bible for the light they shed on the practice of law and on the meaning of a life lived in the legal profession. Scholars and laypersons alike typically think of the law as a discipline dominated by reason and empirical methods. Ball shows that many of the dilemmas and decisions that legal professionals confront are more usefully approached through an experience of narrative in which we come to know ourselves and our actions through stories. He begins with the story of Moses, who is obliged both to speak for God to the Hebrews and to advocate for the Hebrews before God. What, asks Ball, does Moses’s predicament say to lawyers professionally bound to zealous representation of only one client? In the story of Rachel, Ball finds insights that comprehend the role of tears and emotion in the judicial process. He relates these insights to specific contemporary situations, such as a plant closing and the subsequent movement of jobs to Mexico and legal disputes over the sovereignty of native Hawaiians. In a discussion of “The Gospel According to John,” Ball points out that the writer of this gospel is free simultaneously to be critical of law and to rely extensively on it. Ball uses this narrative to explore the boundaries of free will and independence in lawyering. By venturing into the world of powerful events and biblical characters, Ball enables readers to contest their own expectations and fundamental assumptions. Employing legal theory, theology, and literary criticism, Called by Stories distills a wisdom in biblical texts that speaks specifically to the working life of legal professionals. As such, it will enrich lovers of narrative and poetry, ethicists, literary and biblical scholars, theologians, lawyers, law students, judges, and others who seek to discern deeper meanings in the texts that have shaped their lives.
Are Milton’s Paradise Lost, Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program, our culture’s fascination with UFOs and alien abductions, and Louis Farrakhan’s views on racial Armageddon somehow linked? In Children of Ezekiel Michael Lieb reveals the connections between these phenomena and the way culture has persistently related the divine to the technological. In a work of special interest at the approach of the millennium, Lieb traces these and other diverse cultural moments—all descended from the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of a fiery divine chariot in the sky—from antiquity to the present, across high and low culture, to reveal the pervasive impact of this visionary experience on the modern world. Beginning with the merkabah chariot literature of Hebrew and Gnostic mysticism, Lieb shows how religiously inspired people concerned with annihilating their heretical enemies seized on Ezekiel’s vision as revealing the technologically superior instrument of God’s righteous anger. He describes how many who seek to know the unknowable that is the power of God conceive it in technological terms—and how that power is associated with political aims and a heralding of the end of time. For Milton, Ezekiel’s chariot becomes the vehicle in which the Son of God does battle with the rebellious angels. In the modern age, it may take the form of a locomotive, tank, airplane, missile, or UFO. Technology itself is seen as a divine gift and an embodiment of God in the temporal world. As Lieb demonstrates, the impetus to produce modern technology arises not merely from the desire for profit or military might but also from religious-spiritual motives. Including discussions of conservative evangelical Christian movements, Reagan’s ballistic shooting gallery in the sky, and the Nation of Islam’s vision of the “mother plane” as the vehicle of retribution in the war against racial oppression, Children of Ezekiel will enthrall readers who have been captivated, either through religious belief or intellectual interests, by a common thread uniting millennial religious beliefs, racial conflict, and political and militaristic aspirations.
Commentary on Zechariah
Robert C. Didymus the Blind Catholic University of America Press, 2006 Library of Congress BR60.F3D53 2006 | Dewey Decimal 270
A disciple of Origen, whose work on Zechariah reached only to chapter five and is no longer extant, Didymus's commentary on this apocalyptic book illustrates the typically allegorical approach to the biblical text that we associate with Alexandria
While the history of Israel during the period from ca. 1200 to 586 B.C.E. has been in the forefront of biblical research, little attention has been given to questions of daily life. Where did the Israelites live? What did people do for a living? What did they eat and what affected their health? How did the family function? These and similar questions form the basis for this book.
The book introduces different aspects of daily life. It describes the natural setting and the people who occupied the land. It deals with the economy, both rural and urban, emphasizing the main sources of livelihood such as agriculture, herding, and trade. These topics are discussed in relation to the family in particular and the social structure in general. Other topics include urban society, the bureaucracy and the military. Beyond material culture, the book delves into daily and seasonal cultural, social and religious activities, art, music, and the place of writing in Israelite society.
Drawing on textual and archaeological evidence, and written with nontechnical language, the book will be especially helpful for undergraduates, seminarians, pastors, rabbis, and other interested nonspecialist readers as well as graduate students and faculty in Hebrew Bible.
Combining literary criticism and feminist analysis, Death and Dissymmetry radically reinterprets not only the Book of Judges but also the tradition of its reception and understanding in the West. In Mieke Bal's account, Judges documents the Israelite culture learning to articulate itself in a decisive period of transition.
Counter to standard readings of Judges, Bal's interpretation demonstrates that the book has a political and ideological coherence in which the treatment of women plays a pivotal role. Bal concentrates here not on the assassinations and battles that rage through Judges but on the violence in the domestic lives of individual characters, particularly sexual violence directed at women. Her skillful reading reveals that murder, in this text, relates to gender and reflects a social structure that is inherently contradictory. By foregrounding the stories of women and subjecting them to subtle narrative analysis, she is able to expose a set of preoccupations that are essential to the sense of these stories but are not articulated in them. Bal thereby develops a "countercoherence" in conflict with the apparent emphases of Judges—the politics, wars, and historiography that have been the constant focus of commentators on the book.
Death and Dissymmetry makes an important contribution to the development of a feminist method of interpreting ancient texts, with consequences for religious studies, ancient history, literary theory, and gender studies.
Faithful Renderings reads translation history through the lens of Jewish–Christian difference and, conversely, views Jewish–Christian difference as an effect of translation. Subjecting translation to a theological-political analysis, Seidman asks how the charged Jewish–Christian relationship—and more particularly the dependence of Christianity on the texts and translations of a rival religion—has haunted the theory and practice of translation in the West.
Bringing together central issues in translation studies with episodes in Jewish–Christian history, Naomi Seidman considers a range of texts, from the Bible to Elie Wiesel’s Night, delving into such controversies as the accuracy of various Bible translations, the medieval use of converts from Judaism to Christianity as translators, the censorship of anti-Christian references in Jewish texts, and the translation of Holocaust testimony. Faithful Renderings ultimately reveals that translation is not a marginal phenomenon but rather a crucial issue for understanding the relations between Jews and Christians and indeed the development of each religious community.
Gregory of Nyssa’s fifteen Homilies on the Song of Songs offer an important resource for the history of Christian biblical exegesis, as well as for the history of Christian ascetical and spiritual teaching, and stand alongside Origen’s commentary on the Song as a source for the later interpretative tradition. In addition to offering the original text and an English translation of all fifteen homilies, Norris provides an analysis of the characteristic themes of Gregory’s ascetical teaching, emphasizes its connection in his mind with the institution of baptism, and stresses the degree to which Gregory sees the teaching of the Song as addressed not to a special class of believers but to any and all Christians.
This study pioneers the use of philosophy of religion in the study of the Hebrew Bible. After identifying the need for a legitimate philosophical approach to Israelite religion, the volume traces the history of interdisciplinary relations and shows how descriptive varieties of philosophy of religion can aid the clarification of the Hebrew Bible’s own metaphysical, epistemological, and moral assumptions. Two new interpretative methodologies are developed and subsequently applied through an introduction to what the biblical texts took for granted about the nature of religious language, the concept of deity, the properties of Yhwh, the existence of gods, religious epistemology, and the relation between religion and morality.
Presented in this volume are the remains of twenty-two homilies and a collection of fragments delivered by Origen around A.D. 240. The original texts of the homilies on Jeremiah have not come down to us completely; two of the homilies survive only in a Latin translation of St. Jerome. The homily on I Kings 28, while not a part of the homilies on Jeremiah, deals with the Witch of Endor and has been added to this volume in virtue of its own inherent interest.
The Jewish religion owns a virtually uninterrupted record of scripture and commentary dating back to 1,000 B.C.E. (B.C.), portions of which allow the new book Judaism and Disability: Portrayals in Ancient Texts from the Tanach through the Bavli to document attitudes toward disabled people in the earliest centuries of this ancient culture. Abrams examines the Tanach, the Hebrew acronym for the Jewish Bible, including passages from the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, and subsequent commentaries up to and through the Bavli, the Talmud of Babylonia written between the 5th and 7th centuries C.E. (A.D.).
In Judaism and Disability, the archaic portrayals of mentally ill, mentally retarded, physically affected, deaf, blind, and other disabled people reflect the sharp contrast they presented compared to the unchanging Judaic ideal of the “perfect priest.” All of these sources describe this perfection as embodied in a person who is male, free, unblemished, with da’at (cognition that can be communicated), preferably learned, and a priest. The failure to have da’at stigmatized disabled individuals, who were also compromised by the treatment they received from nondisabled people, who were directing and constraining.
As the Judaic ideal transformed from the bodily perfection of the priest in the cult to intellectual prowess in the Diaspora, a parallel change of attitudes toward disabled persons gradually occurred. The reduced emphasis upon physical perfection as a prerequisite for a relationship with God eventually enabled the enfranchisement of some disabled people and other minorities. Scholars, students, and other readers will find the engrossing process disclosed in Judaism and Disability one that they can apply to a variety of other disciplines.
Distinguished historian of Judaism Jacob Neusner here ventures for the first time into constructive theology. Taking the everyday life of contemporary Judaism as his beginning, Neusner asks when in the life of the living faith of the Torah does Israel, the holy community, meet God? Where does the meeting take place? What is the medium of the encounter?
In his attempt to answer these questions, Neusner sets forth the character and the form of the Torah as sung theology. Israel, the holy community, meets God in the synagogue, while at prayer, and in the yeshiva, when studying the Torah—at the moment in each setting when the Torah is received. In both circumstances people do not read but sing out its words. With the written part of the Torah sung in the synagogue, and the oral part declaimed in centers of sacred learning, music provides the medium for Judaism's theological voice.
Neusner identifies a reciprocal exchange between the holy community Israel and God: Israel sings to God when the Torah is studied, and God sings to Israel when the Torah is declaimed. Through the metaphor of music, Neusner offers an account of how he believes those faithful to the Torah meet God in the Torah, and how they should listen to the melody of God's self-revelation. The result is an original theological reflection that will interest all students of Judaism.
The King David Report
Stefan Heym Northwestern University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PT2617.E948K65 1997 | Dewey Decimal 833.914
In this retelling of the biblical story, King Solomon commissions Ethan the Scribe to write the official history of King David. In return for the finest cooking in the land and the wages of a minor prophet, Ethan must write a proper record, full of glory and battles, statecraft and honor--a tribute to David and, of course, to Solomon, his heir. But as Ethan explores the story, he finds another life hidden behind the iron curtain dividing past from present: the story of a David who seduced, lied, bragged, and plundered his way to power. Ethan wonders: which life should be reported in the King David Report?
Written by one of Germany's most acclaimed dissident authors, The King David Report is both an analysis of the writer's obligations to truth, and an astute satire on the workings of history and politics in a totalitarian state.
In The Labor of Job, the renowned Marxist political philosopher Antonio Negri develops an unorthodox interpretation of the Old Testament book of Job, a canonical text of Judeo-Christian thought. In the biblical narrative, the pious Job is made to suffer for no apparent reason. The story revolves around his quest to understand why he must bear, and why God would allow, such misery. Conventional readings explain the tale as an affirmation of divine transcendence. When God finally speaks to Job, it is to assert his sovereignty and establish that it is not Job’s place to question what God allows. In Negri’s materialist reading, Job does not recognize God’s transcendence. He denies it, and in so doing becomes a co-creator of himself and the world.
The Labor of Job was first published in Italy in 1990. Negri began writing it in the early 1980s, while he was a political prisoner in Italy, and it was the first book he completed during his exile in France (1983–97). As he writes in the preface, understanding suffering was for him in the early 1980s “an essential element of resistance. . . . It was the problem of liberation, in prison and in exile, from within the absoluteness of Power.” Negri presents a Marxist interpretation of Job’s story. He describes it as a parable of human labor, one that illustrates the impossibility of systems of measure, whether of divine justice (in Job’s case) or the value of labor (in the case of late-twentieth-century Marxism). In the foreword, Michael Hardt elaborates on this interpretation. In his commentary, Roland Boer considers Negri’s reading of the book of Job in relation to the Bible and biblical exegesis. The Labor of Job provides an intriguing and accessible entry into the thought of one of today’s most important political philosophers.
Doak explores how the giants of the Hebrew Bible—which represent a connection to primeval chaos—offer insight into central aspects of Israel’s symbolic universe. By placing biblical traditions within a broader Mediterranean context regarding giants and the end of the heroic age, Doak sheds new light on monotheism and monarchy in ancient Israel.
"That over forty years after they were delivered these famous but unavailable Gifford Lectures should be published is occasion for celebration. Once again we hear Daube’s voice, patient and probing, as he turns over, tests, pushes fresh inquiries, and finds new insights. No man has had such a subtle sense of scriptural texts matched by such a supple sense of the practices and peculiarities of human beings engaged in the legal process. Law and Wisdom in the Bible is classic Daube." mdash;John T. Noonan Jr., United States Circuit Judge
David Daube (1909–99) was known for his unique and sophisticated research on Roman law, biblical law, Jewish Law, and medical ethics. In Law and Wisdom in the Bible, the first published collection of his 1964 Gifford Lectures, Daube derives from his complex understanding of biblical texts both ancient and contemporary notions about wisdom, justice, and education.
In addressing these and other profound issues, Daube crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and bridges the
gap between humanism and religion, especially with regard to Christianity and Judaism. With his sophisticated understanding of Talmudic law and literature, his thinking, which is on full display in these lectures, revolutionized prevailing perceptions about the New Testament.
What is the status of visual evidence in history? Can we actually see the past through images? Where are the traces of previous lives deposited? Michael Camille addresses these important questions in Mirror in Parchment, a lively, searching study of one medieval manuscript, its patron, producers, and historical progeny.
The richly illuminated Luttrell Psalter was created for the English nobleman Sir Geoffrey Luttrell (1276-1345). Inexpensive mechanical illustration has since disseminated the book's images to a much wider audience; hence the Psalter's representations of manorial life have come to profoundly shape our modern idea of what medieval English people, high and low, looked like at work and at play. Alongside such supposedly truthful representations, the Psalter presents myriad images of fantastic monsters and beasts. These patently false images have largely been disparaged or ignored by modern historians and art historians alike, for they challenge the credibility of those pictures in the Luttrell Psalter that we wish to see as real.
In the conviction that medieval images were not generally intended to reflect daily life but rather to shape a new reality, Michael Camille analyzes the Psalter's famous pictures as representations of the world, imagined and real, of its original patron. Addressed are late medieval chivalric ideals, physical sites of power, and the boundaries of Sir Geoffrey's imagined community, wherein agricultural laborers and fabulous monsters play a similar ideological role. The Luttrell Psalter thus emerges as a complex social document of the world as its patron hoped and feared it might be.
In this examination of Hilary's treatise, Paul C. Burns discusses the intended audience of Hilary's text and the use of the Psalms by Christians in the fourth century. He identifies Hilary's distinctive perspectives; his dependence on Origen; his Latin theological and exegetical tradition; and the creative directions of Hilary's thought.
An engaging anthology that deals with both theory and practice
The emerging discipline of biblical spirituality considers how faith finds expression within the biblical texts and how modern expressions of faith interact with those texts. This volume represents Christo Lombaard’s reflective, analytical, and exegetical contributions to the field in order to explore how biblical texts mediate faith, both ancient and contemporary. It reflects on aspects of the interaction of faith and Scripture, critically approaching both dimensions.
Seven previously published papers drawn predominately from South African journals
Explorations of how biblical texts mediate faith
Close examination of the discipline of biblical spirituality as part of spirituality studies
People of the Book
Moshe HALBERTAL Harvard University Press, 1997 Library of Congress BS1186.H23 1997 | Dewey Decimal 296.1
Halbertal provides a panoramic survey of Jewish attitudes toward Scripture, provocatively organized around problems of normative and formative authority, with an emphasis on the changing status and functions of Mishnah, Talmud, and Kabbalah.
Scholars attempt to resolve the problem of the book of Ecclesiastes’ heterodox character in one of two ways, either explaining away the book’s disturbing qualities or radicalizing and championing it as a precursor of modern existentialism. This volume offers an interpretation of Ecclesiastes that both acknowledges the unorthodox nature of Qoheleth’s words and accounts for its acceptance among the canonical books of the Hebrew Bible. It argues that, instead of being the most secular and modern of biblical books, Ecclesiastes is perhaps one of the most religious and primitive. Bringing a Weberian approach to Ecclesiastes, it represents a paradigm of the application of a social-science methodology.
This work provides an in-depth investigation of after-the-fact predictions in ancient Near Eastern texts from roughly 1200 B.C.E.–70 C.E. It argues that the Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek works discussed are all part of a developing scribal discourse of “mantic historiography” by which scribes blend their local traditions of history writing and predictive texts to produce a new mode of historiographic expression. This in turn calls into question the use and usefulness of traditional literary categories such as “apocalypse” to analyze such works.
Three decades of dialogue, discussion, and debate within the interrelated disciplines of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, ancient Israelite history, and Hebrew Bible over the question of the relevance of the biblical account for reconstructing early Israel’s history have created the need for a balanced articulation of the issues and their prospective resolutions. This book brings together for the first time and under one cover, a currently emerging “centrist” paradigm as articulated by two leading figures in the fields of early Israelite archaeology and history. Although Finkelstein and Mazar advocate distinct views of early Israel’s history, they nevertheless share the position that the material cultural data, the biblical traditions, and the ancient Near Eastern written sources are all significantly relevant to the historical quest for Iron Age Israel. The results of their research are featured in accessible, parallel syntheses of the historical reconstruction of early Israel that facilitate comparison and contrast of their respective interpretations. The historical essays presented here are based on invited lectures delivered in October of 2005 at the Sixth Biennial Colloquium of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in Detroit, Michigan.
The only source in which Sarah is mentioned is the Book of Genesis, which contains very few highly selective and rather enigmatic stories dealing with her. On the surface, these stories tell us very little about Sarah, and what they do tell is complicated and confused by the probability that it represents residue surviving from two different written sources based on two independent oral traditions. Nevertheless, the role which Sarah plays, in the Genesis narratives, apears to be a highly energetic one, a role so active, in fact, that it repeatedly overshadows that of her husband.
In a patriarchal environment such as the Canaan of Genesis, the situation is discordant and problematic. Dr. Teubal suggests that the difficulty is eliminated, however, if we understand that Sarah and the other matriarchs mentioned in the narratives acted within the established, traditional Mesopotamian role of priestess, of a class of women who retained a highly privileged position vis-a-vis their husbands.
Dr. Teubal shows that the “Sarah tradition” represents a nonpatriarchal system struggling for survival in isolation, in the patriarchal environment of what was for Sarah a foreign society. She further indicates that the insistence of Sarah and Rebekah that their sons and heirs marry wives from the old homeland had to do not so much with preference for endogamy and cousin marriage as with their intention of ensuring the continuation of their old kahina-tradition against the overwhelming odds represented by patriarchal Canaan.
The first major theological work of the Swedish scientist-turned-seer Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven is in one sense a traveler's account. It reveals the unseen realms that await beyond death--the light, the warmth, and harmony of the angelic heavens and the varied darkness of the multitudinous hells. But in addition, the work offers a detailed examination of Genesis and Exodus, providing a model for a new way to understand the entire Bible. Prized for both the simplicity of its explanation and the breadth and depth of its vision, Swedenborg's reading of Scripture discloses layer upon layer of inner meaning, all without undermining the power and import of the literal word.
The New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg is a modern-language, scholarly translation of Swedenborg’s theological works. The series’ easy-to-read style retains the dignity, variety, clarity, and gender-inclusive language of Swedenborg’s original Latin, bringing his thought to life.
This portable edition of Secrets of Heaven vol. 1 includes the text of the New Century Edition without the introduction, annotations, and other supplementary of the deluxe hardcover and paperback editions.
This volume presents for the first time in the Fathers of the Church series the work of an early Christian writer who did not write in either Greek or Latin. It offers new English translations of selected prose works by St. Ephrem the Syrian (c. A.D. 309-373).
This volume assesses past, theoretically engaged work on Israelite religion and presents new approaches to particular problems and larger interpretive and methodological questions. It gathers previously unpublished research by senior and mid-career scholars well known for their contributions in the area of social theory and the study of Israelite religion and by junior scholars whose writing is just beginning to have a serious impact on the field. The volume begins with a critical introduction by the editor. Topics of interest to the contributors include gender, violence, social change, the festivals, the dynamics of shame and honor, and the relationship of text to ritual. The contributors engage theory from social and cultural anthropology, sociology, postcolonial studies, and ritual studies. Theoretical models are evaluated in light of the primary data, and some authors modify or adapt theory to increase its utility for biblical studies. The contributors are Susan Ackerman, Stephen L. Cook, Ronald Hendel, T. M. Lemos, Nathaniel B. Levtow, Carol Meyers, Saul M. Olyan, Rüdiger Schmitt, Robert R. Wilson, and David P. Wright.
Some of the best-known biblical episodes are found in the story of David’s rise to kingship in First and Second Samuel. Why was this series of stories included in the Bible? An answer that has become increasingly popular is that this narrative should be interpreted as the “apology of David,” that is, the personal justification of King David against charges that he illegitimately usurped Saul’s throne. Comparisons between “the History of David’s Rise” and the Hittite “Apology of Hattušili,” in particular, appear to support this view that the biblical account belongs to the genre of ancient Near Eastern royal apology. Having presented this approach, Randall Short argues that the biblical account has less in common with the Hittite apology than scholars have asserted, and he demonstrates how interpretive assumptions about the historical reality behind the text inform the meaning that these scholars discern in the text. His central contention is that this story should not be interpreted as the personal exoneration of David composed to win over suspicious readers. Rather, composed for faithful readers represented by David, the story depicts the dramatic confirmation of David’s surprising election through his gradual emergence as the beloved son of Jesse, Saul, all Israel, and YHWH Himself.
Most contemporary interpretations of the biblical book of Lamentations focus on the figure of the "suffering man" as a role model for submission in the face of God's punishment for sin. Yet such a model offers small consolation to survivors of the Holocaust or other mass atrocities and also ignores chapters 1 and 2 of Lamentations, in which the personification of Zion laments her sufferings and demands a response on behalf of her dying children.
In Surviving Lamentations, Tod Linafelt offers an alternative reading of Lamentations in light of the "literature of survival" (works written by survivors of catastrophe) as well as literary and philosophical reflections on "the survival of literature." He refocuses attention on the figure of Zion as a manifestation of a basic need to give voice to suffering, and traces the afterlife of Lamentations in Jewish literature, in which text after text attempts to provide the response to Zion's lament that is lacking in Lamentations itself.
Seen through Linafelt's eyes, Lamentations emerges as uncannily relevant to contemporary discourse on survival.
Unparalled in its poetry, richness, and religious and historical significance, the Hebrew Bible has been the site and center of countless commentaries, perhaps none as unique as Thinking Biblically. This remarkable collaboration sets the words of a distinguished biblical scholar, André LaCocque, and those of a leading philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, in dialogue around six crucial passages from the Old Testament: the story of Adam and Eve; the commandment "thou shalt not kill"; the valley of dry bones passage from Ezekiel; Psalm 22; the Song of Songs; and the naming of God in Exodus 3:14. Commenting on these texts, LaCocque and Ricoeur provide a wealth of new insights into the meaning of the different genres of the Old Testament as these made their way into and were transformed by the New Testament.
LaCocque's commentaries employ a historical-critical method that takes into account archaeological, philological, and historical research. LaCocque includes in his essays historical information about the dynamic tradition of reading scripture, opening his exegesis to developments and enrichments subsequent to the production of the original literary text. Ricoeur also takes into account the relation between the texts and the historical communities that read and interpreted them, but he broadens his scope to include philosophical speculation. His commentaries highlight the metaphorical structure of the passages and how they have served as catalysts for philosophical thinking from the Greeks to the modern age.
This extraordinary literary and historical venture reads the Bible through two different but complementary lenses, revealing the familiar texts as vibrant, philosophically consequential, and unceasingly absorbing.
Traditions of the Bible
James L. KUGEL Harvard University Press, 1998 Library of Congress BS1225.2.K85 1998 | Dewey Decimal 222.10609
James Kugel's The Bible As It Was (1997) has been welcomed with universal praise. Here now is the full scholarly edition of this wonderfully rich and illuminating work, expanding the author's findings into an incomparable reference work.
Focusing on two dozen core stories in the Pentateuch--from the Creation and Tree of Knowledge through the Exodus from Egypt and journey to the Promised Land--James Kugel shows us how the earliest interpreters of the scriptures radically transformed the Bible and made it into the book that has come down to us today. Kugel explains how and why the writers of this formative age of interpretation--roughly 200 B.C.E. to 150 C.E.--assumed such a significant role. Mining their writings--including the Dead Sea Scrolls, works of Philo and Josephus and letters of the Apostle Paul, and writings of the Apostolic Fathers and the rabbinic Sages--he quotes for us the seminal passages that uncover this crucial interpretive process.
For this full-scale reference work Kugel has added a substantial treasury of sources and passages for each of the 24 Bible stories. It will serve as a unique guide and sourcebook for biblical interpretation.
This book reexamines the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative in Genesis 18–19, an ethically charged text that has significantly influenced views about homosexuality, stereotyping the other, the rewards and risks of hospitality, and the justice owed to outsiders. Its twelve essays, reflecting their authors’ considerable geographical, religious, methodological, and academic diversity, explore this troubling text through the lens of universalism and particularism. Biblical Sodom is read as the site of multiple borders—fluid, porous, and bi-directional—between similar and different, men and angels, men and women, fathers and daughters, insiders and outsiders, hosts and guests, residents and aliens, chosen and nonchosen, and people and God. Readers of these exegetically and theologically attentive essays published in memory of Ron Pirson will experience a rare sense of an ancient text being read in and for the modern world. The contributors are Calum Carmichael, Diana Lipton, William John Lyons, Nathan MacDonald, Amira Meir, Yitzhak (Itzik) Peleg, T. A. Perry, Ron Pirson, Jonathan D. Safren, Megan Warner, Harlan J. Wechsler, and Ellen J. van Wolde.
Voices of Torah
Hara E. Person Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2011 Library of Congress BS1225.53.V65 2011 | Dewey Decimal 222.107
A new Torah study resource! Discover multiple perspectives on every parashah in this rich collection of commentary written by CCAR members. Includes holiday portions as well. Makes a great gift for students, teachers, and congregational leaders. Will also be available as an e-book and for your Kindle.
The debate about evolution and creationism is striking evidence of the tensions between biblical and philosophical-scientific explanations of the origins of the universe. For most of the past twenty centuries, important historical context for the debate has been supplied by the relation (or "counterpoint") between two monumental texts: Plato's Timaeus and the Book of Genesis.
In What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem?, Jaroslav Pelikan examines the origins of this counterpoint. He reviews the central philosophical issues of origins as posed in classical Rome by Lucretius, and he then proceeds to an examination of Timaeus and Genesis, with Timaeus' Plato representing Athens and Genesis' Moses representing Jerusalem. He then follows the three most important case studies of the counterpoint--in the Jewish philosophical theology of Alexandria, in the Christian thought of Constantinople, and in the intellectual foundations of the Western Middles Ages represented by Catholic Rome, where Timaeus would be the only Platonic dialogue in general circulation.
Whatever Plato may have intended originally in writing Timaeus, it has for most of the intervening period been read in the light of Genesis. Conversely, Genesis has been known, not in the original Hebrew, but in Greek and Latin translations that were seen to bear a distinct resemblance to one another and to the Latin version of Timaeus. Pelikan's study leads to original findings that deal with Christian doctrine in the period of the church fathers, including the Three Cappadocians (Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa) in the East, and in the West, Ambrose, Augustine, and Boethius. All of these vitally important authors addressed the problem of the "counterpoint," and neither they nor these primary texts can become fully intelligible without attention to the central issues being explored here.
What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem? will be of interest to historians, theologians, and philosophers and to anyone with interest in any of the religious traditions addressed herein.
Through countless retellings, from the Talmud to Archibald MacLeish and since, the story of Job has become a fixture in the cultural imagination of the West. In this study, Susan E. Schreiner analyzes interpretations of the Book of Job by Gregory the Great, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, and particularly John Calvin. Reading Calvin's interpretation of Job against the background of his most important medieval predecessors, Schreiner shows how central Job is to Calvin's struggles with issues of creation, the problem of evil, the meaning of history, and the doctrine of providence.
For Calvin and his predecessors, Schreiner argues, the concept of intellectual perception is the key to an understanding of Job. The texts she examines constantly raise questions about the human capacity for knowledge: What can the sufferer who stands within history perceive about the self, God, and reality? Can humans truly perceive the workings of providence in their personal lives or in the tumult of history? Are evil and injustice a reality that we must confront before finding wisdom?
In her final chapter, Schreiner turns to the wide array of twentieth-century interpretations of Job, including modern biblical commentaries, the work of Carl Jung, and literary transfigurations by Wells, MacLeish, Wiesel, and Kafka. The result is a compelling demonstration of how the history of exegesis can yield vital insights for contemporary culture.
A thorough study of the socio-economic and literary contexts of women in the Deuteronomistic History
Mercedes L. García Bachmann examines the key texts in the Deuteronomistic History that mention women in service occupations: slaves and dependents, cooks, wet nurses, childcare givers, prostitutes, and scribes. The mostly anonymous women who performed this work for others are sometimes mentioned only in a single verse. Consequently, they often are as unrecognized in modern scholarship as they seem in the biblical text. García Bachmann shows that these women were honored not in relation to matters such as sexual purity or marital faithfulness but on account of the valuable service that they provided.
A close examination of unnamed women
A review of previous work in feminist, ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and social-scientific studies
Extensive coverage of Hebrew terms used for women workers
This volume represents the current state of Septuagint studies as reflected in papers presented at the triennial meeting of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS). It is rich with contributions from distinguished senior scholars as well as from promising younger scholars whose research testifies to the bright future and diversity of the field. The volume is remarkable in terms of the number, scholarly interests, and geographical distribution of its contributors; it is by far the largest congress volume to date. More than fifty papers represent viewpoints and scholarship from Belgium, Canada, Cameroon, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Korea, The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.