A group for scholars of or interested in ancient Judaism.
This essay explores the persistent scholarly desires and motivations that structure the historical study of conversion in religious studies. Most “conversion studies” take a phenomenological approach, which acknowledges the diverse processes, contexts, and meanings of conversion but nonetheless sees the phenomenon as a way to access the con…[Read more]
Kingship has been a political mainstay in human history, even when peoples have lacked monarchic rulers. This essay examines the book of Samuel as a source for the cultural history of ancient Judah, focusing on the question of how Samuel’s representations of monarchy would function for its readers in the early Second Temple era. In this era, w…[Read more]
This chapter focuses on Ezekiel as a text, i.e., a collection of writings meant to be read again and again. As a text, it presents a range of ideas in dialogue with one another—and sometimes in tension—thus providing ample space for continual discussion and reinterpretation of its ideas among its original communities of readers in antiquity. Eze…[Read more]
Pamela Barmash deposited Blood Feud and State Control: Differing Legal Institutions for the Remedy of Homicide During the Second and First Millennia B.C.E. in the group Ancient Jew Review on Humanities Commons 5 months, 3 weeks ago
Since the discovery of the Laws of Hammurapi in December 1901–January 1902,1
the dependence of biblical law upon Mesopotamian law has been hotly debated. Among
the most contentious issues is the abjudication of homicide, and the discussion has focused
on particular odd cases in biblical law, such as an ox that gored or assault on a p…[Read more]
Ancient Near Eastern Law. The oldest documented law comes from the ancient Near East. The earliest legal texts come from about 2600 B.C.E., a few hundred years after the invention of writing, and they predate by millennia the documentation for law from the other early civilizations of China and India.
Amnesty and Reform Texts. Edicts of amnesty and reform decreed by a king intervened in economy and society, invalidating loans, pledges and sales, cancelling debts, and issuing behavioral instructions to government officials. They were dated to a specific time at which their provisions would come into effect.
The seventh-century apocalyptic dialogue text Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati (“Teaching of Jacob, Newly Baptized”) depicts forcibly baptized Jews coming to terms with their new situation in hidden meetings led by Jacob. At a key moment in the text, the last voices of Jewish resistance belong to the wife and mother-in-law of one of the dialogue…[Read more]
This study is a fresh analysis of a collection of scrolls and fragments grouped under the rubric, The Community Rule or Serekh ha-Yaḥad. As part of the manuscripts discovered in the Judean Desert, the Community Rule manuscripts are all fragmentary to various degrees, yet attest to important issues of legal dispute and community formation in the S…[Read more]
This article examines the Costobar Affair, a narrative aside in Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities and a moment in the history of Idumeans, to revisit the parting of the ways and the relationship of early Judaism and early Chistianity to their next-door neighbors in other Hellenistic Levantine traditions (such as “Idumaism”).
This study argues that there is a tradition, arising from a ‘Jewish milieu’, based around the exegesis of select biblical passages, indicating that the messiah bears the Divine Name. This tradition appears to predate the Christian movement, and is referenced also in rabbinic literature. In the first section we highlight a tradition regarding the…[Read more]
Andrew Jacobs deposited Revisiting Reconsidering “Jewish-Christian Relations”: Some Thoughts on Theory, History, and Antiquity in the group Ancient Jew Review on Humanities Commons 11 months, 1 week ago
Paper delivered at Cornell University, March 7, 2013 to the Department of Near Eastern Studies.
A review of Karel van der Toorn’s Becoming Diaspora Jews: Behind the Story of Elephantine (Anchor Bible Reference Library). New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019. Pp xi, 270. Hardcover: $65. ISBN: 9780300243512.
This article asks the question how post-exilic readers would have read 1-2 Samuel in Yehud. It answers the question by looking at ancient Mediterranean models of textual authority and education.
This essay explores how and why three early Christian figures–Epiphanius, Romanos the Melode, and Ambrosiaster–have, at various times, been imagined as former Jews. By applying a hermeneutics of conversion, this essay argues that the significance of these three Christians’ ex-Jewishness lies not in its historicity (or falsity) but in the way…[Read more]
Andrew Jacobs deposited “This Piece of Parchment Will Shake the World”: The Mystery of Mar Saba and the Evangelical Prototype of a Secular Fiction Genre in the group Ancient Jew Review on Humanities Commons 1 year, 5 months ago
The 1940 evangelical novel The Mystery of Mar Saba by James H. Hunter shares with a later, secular genre of novels I call gospel thrillers a common plot (the discovery of a new gospel from the first century and a race to prove or disprove its authenticity) but also common anxieties about biblical authority mapped onto geopolitical, theological,…[Read more]
Philip J. Lowe deposited The Premise and Paraenesis: Rhetorical Studies and the Connection of the Christ Hymn with the Corresponding Paraenesis of Colossians in the group Ancient Jew Review on Humanities Commons 1 year, 9 months ago
Much has been written on the epistle to the Colossians. Much less has been written on Colossians and rhetoric. Even less has been written on the connection of praise and paraenesis found in the epistle. If the book of Colossians can be understood as epideictic rhetoric, then a connection between its paraenesis and the encomium to Christ…[Read more]
This essay examines the issue of David’s (lack of) clothing in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 15. It asks: what potential meanings would be at play for ancient readers of these texts? Drawing on research into social memory and “forgetting,” it argues that Judean readers would partially warrant Michal’s distaste for David’s dressing-down, while still…[Read more]
The Q hypothesis has long dominated the study of the Synoptics. It is often heralded as the key to Synoptic interpretation, yet it is simultaneously challenged at nearly every juncture. Regarding parable study, the Q hypothesis offers much by way of identifying redaction, but the impact of identifiable redaction is often overvalued. Those choosing…[Read more]
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