Friday, November 16, 2007

BAR Highlights: 11/16/07

More recent archaeological news from Biblical Archaeology Review:

The Shadow of Your Smile
New York Times science writer John Noble Wilford, prompted by the first public viewing of King Tut’s face, reflects on our need to see the faces of the ancients.

Gender Issues
A conference in memory of scholar Tikva Frymer-Kensky focused on women in the Bible.

Spot the Pot
Researchers at Idaho State University are developing ways of utilizing artificial intelligence techniques to help identify artifacts.

Another Endangered Site in Iraq
Archaeologists warn that a proposed police barracks in the ancient city of Samarra will endanger antiquities in the area.

Cargo DNA
Researchers have been able to analyze bits of DNA scraped off containers salvaged from a 2,400-year-old shipwreck to reveal the cargo’s contents.

Stone Age Artifacts Returned
About 100 Neolithic items, stolen from a private collection in Greece in 1985, have been returned to their owner, who has donated them to the state.

RBL Highlights: 11/16/07

A few highlights from this week's Review of Biblical Literature:

Hermann Gunkel; trans. by K. William Whitney Jr.
Creation and Chaos in the Primeval Era and the Eschaton: A Religio-Historical Study of Genesis 1 and Revelation 12
Reviewed by Pieter G. R. de Villiers

Stanley Hauerwas
Reviewed by John Nolland

Josep Rius-Camps and Jenny Read-Heimerdinger
The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae: A Comparison with the Alexandrian Tradition; Volume 2: Acts 6:1-12:25: From Judea and Samaria to the Church in Antioch
Reviewed by Jacob M. Caldwell

D. H. Williams, ed.
Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Baruch Schwartz Lectures on Ezekiel 17

Yet another august visitor is coming to campus... at this rate, I'm going to spend so much time attending these lectures that I'll never get all my work done. I wonder if Dean Attridge would accept that as an excuse. ;-)

Baruch Schwartz, Hebrew University
"The Riddle of the Ungrateful Vine (Ezekiel 17): A New Solution"
Nov. 27, 4:30 pm
RSV Room

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New: SBL Releases and Reprints

A recent announcement from the SBL:


Most new, recent, and backlist titles are available to SBL members at a 40 percent discount during the Annual Meeting Sale. This discount applies to SBL and Brown Judaic Studies titles. It does not apply to titles from Sheffield Phoenix Press. Click here to download an order form. Mail or fax your order by December 15. You can also place your order at the SBL Store, making sure to use the promo code FL2007 at checkout to receive your discount.

Six New Titles from the Society of Biblical Literature

Teaching the Bible through Popular Culture and the Arts
Mark Roncace and Patrick Gray, editors
This resource enables biblical studies instructors to facilitate engaging classroom experiences by drawing on the arts and popular culture. It offers brief overviews of hundreds of easily accessible examples of art, film, literature, music, and other media and outlines strategies for incorporating them effectively and concisely in the classroom.

Paper $37.95 — ISBN 9781589832442— 402 pages — Resources for Biblical Study 53 — Hardback edition

The Hittites and Their World
Billie Jean Collins
Lost to history for millennia, the Hittites have regained their position among the great civilizations of the Late Bronze Age Near East, thanks to a century of archaeological discovery and philological investigation. The Hittites and Their World provides a concise, current, and engaging introduction to the history, society, and religion of this Anatolian empire, taking the reader from its beginnings in the period of the Assyrian Colonies in the nineteenth century B.C.E. to the eclipse of the Neo-Hittite cities at the end of the eighth century B.C.E. The numerous analogues with the biblical world featured throughout the volume together represent a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the varied and significant contributions of Hittite studies to biblical interpretation.

Paper $29.95 — ISBN 9781589832961— 272 pages — Archaeology and Biblical Studies 7 — Hardback edition

Bakhtin and Genre Theory in Biblical Studies
Roland Boer, editor
This volume offers a meeting between genre theory in biblical studies and the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, who continues to be immensely influential in literary criticism. Here Bakhtin comes face to face with a central area of biblical studies: the question of genre. The essays range from general discussions of genre through the reading of specific biblical texts to an engagement with Toni Morrison and the Bible.

Paper $25.95 — ISBN 9781589832763 — 248 pages — Semeia Studies 63 — Hardback edition

Approaching Yehud: New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period
Jon L. Berquist, editor
The long-held view that the Persian period in Israel (known as Yehud) was a historically derivative era that engendered little theological or literary innovation has been replaced in recent decades by an appreciation for the importance of the Persian period for understanding Israel’s literature, religion, and sense of identity. A new image of Yehud is emerging that has shifted the focus from viewing the postexilic period as a staging ground for early Judaism or Christianity to dealing with Yehud on its own terms, as a Persian colony with a diverse population. Taken together, the thirteen chapters in this volume represent a range of studies that touch on a variety of textual and historical problems to advance the conversation about the significance of the Persian period and especially its formative influence on biblical literature.

Paper $29.95 — ISBN 9781589831452— 260 pages — Semeia Studies 50 — Hardback edition

This Abled Body: Rethinking Disabilities in Biblical Studies
Hector Avalos, Sarah J. Melcher, and Jeremy Schipper, editors
The burgeoning field of disability studies has recently emerged within the humanities and social sciences and, as a result, disability is no longer seen as the biological condition of an individual body but as a complex product of social, political, environmental, and biological discourses. The groundbreaking essays of This Abled Body engage biblical studies in conversation with the wider field of disability studies. They explore the use of the conceptual category “disability” in biblical and Near Eastern texts and examine how conceptions of disability become a means of narrating, interpreting, and organizing human life. Employing diverse approaches to biblical criticism, scholars explore methodological issues and specific texts related to physical and cognitive disabilities. Responses to the essays by established disability activists and academics working in the social sciences and humanities conclude the volume.

Paper $29.95 — ISBN 9781589831865— 256 pages — Semeia Studies 55 — Hardback edition

The Halakhah of Jesus of Nazareth according to the Gospel of Matthew
Phillip Sigal
This is a republished edition of Sigal’s pioneering work with a new preface by Eugene Fisher of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and an updating epilogue by Thomas Kazen of the Stockholm School of Theology. Sigal argues that, from a halakhic perspective, Jesus’ teachings on Sabbath and divorce in the Gospel of Matthew use the same methods of interpretation as those of his proto-rabbinic contemporaries. The Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew should thus be seen as a charismatic prophetic first-century proto-rabbi— independent in his halakhah and frequently anticipating later rabbinic positions—rather than as transcending proto-rabbinic halakhah or as an adherent of a particular school. Sigal concludes that, had it not been for the expulsion of Christian Jews from the synagogues after 90 C.E., Jesus could have been remembered as one of the rabbis of the Mishnah and that neither Christology nor halakhah were decisive for the break.

Paper $29.95 — ISBN 9781589832824 — 292 pages — Studies in Biblical Literature 18 — Hardback edition

Brown Judaic Studies

On the Scales of Righteousness: Neo-Babylonian Trial Law and the Book of Job

F. Rachel Magdalene

Many commentators have argued that the book of Job contains a trial between God and Job, the nature of which is the subject of lively scholarly debate. In On the Scales of Righteousness, the author brings together her training in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, biblical interpretation, and law to examine the book’s legal language. She maintains that comparative study of the biblical text and the Neo-Babylonian trial system that was in existence at the time the text was most likely written reveals a wealth of information about the trial, and allows the reader to solve several of the literary and theological puzzles in Job. Approximately 340 Neo-Babylonian litigation records were used in this research.

Cloth $59.95 — ISBN 9781930675445 — 384 pages — Brown Judaic Studies 48

The Commentary of Rabbi David Kimhi to Chronicles: A Translation with Introduction and Supercommentary
Ytzhak Berger

Rabbi David Kimhi is among the most important medieval Jewish exegetes on the Prophets and Writings, and this volume provides a translation of his commentary to the biblical book of Chronicles, widely considered to be among his earliest works. In his introduction, the author traces the development of Kimhi’s exegetical methods, and discusses his contribution to the interpretation of Chronicles as well as his attitude toward text-critical methods that had already begun to develop in response to this problematic biblical book. Extensive notes provide elucidation of Kimhi’s comments, comparison to those of his predecessors, and references.

Cloth $44.95 — ISBN 9781930675476 — 300 pages — Brown Judaic Studies 45

Brill Reprints

The Book of Haggai: Prophecy and Society in Early Persian Yehud
John Kessler

This monograph is a study of the perceptions reflected in the book of Haggai regarding the primary social, political, and religious institutions in early Persian Yehud. Special attention is given to the form and function of prophecy, and to the role of the prophet in society. The study includes a history of the criticism of Haggai, a study of the book’s redactional history and socio-political context, and an exegesis and literary analysis of the text. It concludes with an examination of the distinctive perspectives found in the book and the sociological and religious milieu that produced them. The work is particularly useful for its detailed analysis of the biblical text, its attention to recent literature on the early Persian period, and its multidisciplinary and integrative approach.

To learn more about this book or to purchase it at the SBL online store, click here.

The Concept of the Covenant in the Second Temple Period
Edited by Stanley E. Porter and Jacqueline C. R. de Roo

During the reign of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. This Second Temple period is characterized by a changing mode of thinking. This volume traces the development of the concept of the covenant during this important era, by discussing relevant texts among the Apocrypha, such as Wisdom of Solomon; the Pseudepigrapha, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jubilees; and the New Testament, such as the Pauline Letters. The authors deal with interesting concepts related to the idea of the covenant, such as law, wisdom, election, grace, the kingdom of God, and even the role of food. This is an important piece of work for understanding the notion of the covenant in Judaism and Christianity, useful for theologians and historians, as well as students of the respective disciplines.

To learn more about this book or to purchase it at the SBL online store, click here.

Genesis 49 in Its Literary and Historical Context
Raymond de Hoop

This book deals with the so-called "Blessing of Jacob" (Genesis 49) in all its aspects, discussing philological, literary, and historical problems. After an introductory chapter a thoroughly discussed translation of Genesis 49 and an analysis of its poetical structure are presented, followed by the discussion of the genre-definition "tribal saying" (Stammesspruch), and a synchronic and diachronic analysis of Genesis 49 in its literary context (Gen. 47:29-49:33). The remarkable results of this analysis are finally discussed in relation to Israel's history. It is suggested that only part of the "Blessing" functioned within the (originally much shorter) deathbed account (Gen. 47:29-49:33), reflecting the historical situation of the time of origin. Afterwards it was thoroughly worked up into its present shape to meet the conditions of later political development.

To learn more about this book or to purchase it at the SBL online store, click here.

Social Scientific Models for Interpreting the Bible: Essays by the Context Group in Honor of Bruce J. Malina
John J. Pilch

Fourteen members of The Context Group honor Bruce J. Malina and his scholarship in this volume by following his consistent example of developing or using explicit social scientific models to interpret documents from the ancient Mediterranean world. Ordinary features of that cultural world such as gossip, reciprocity, a pervasive military presence, the power of women, and becoming a follower of Jesus stand out with greater clarity in the Bible when a reader understands the cultural matrix in which such social dynamics function. These essays reflect The Context Group’s more than twenty years of collaborative experience in researching the cultural context of the Bible.

New insights are built on the solidly established foundations of their earlier cross-cultural studies. Readers will find the individual essays enlightening and challenging. Taken as a whole they form a valuable resource and a stimulating and helpful aid to further study.

To learn more about this book or to purchase it at the SBL online store, click here.

The Fate of the Dead: Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses
Richard Bauckham

These studies focus on personal eschatology in the Jewish and early Christian apocalypses. The apocalyptic tradition from its Jewish origins until the early middle ages is studied as a continuous literary tradition, in which both continuity of motifs and important changes in understanding of life after death can be charted. As well as better known apocalypses, major and often pioneering attention is given to those neglected apocalypses that portray human destiny after death in detail, such as the Apocalypse of Peter, the Apocalypse of the Seven Heavens, the later apocalypses of Ezra, and the four apocalypses of the Virgin Mary. Relationships with Greco-Roman eschatology are explored. Several chapters show how specific New Testament texts are illuminated by close knowledge of this tradition of ideas and images of the hereafter.

To learn more about this book or to purchase it at the SBL online store, click here.

The Self as Symbolic Space: Constructing Identity and Community at Qumran
Carol A. Newsom

This volume investigates critical practices by which the Qumran community constituted itself as a sectarian society. Key to the formation of the community was the reconstruction of the identity of individual members. In this way the “self” became an important symbolic space for the development of the ideology of the sect. Persons who came to experience themselves in light of the narratives and symbolic structures embedded in the community practices would have developed the dispositions of affinity and estrangement necessary for the constitution of a sectarian society. Drawing on various theories of discourse and practice in rhetoric, philosophy, and anthropology, the book examines the construction of the self in two central documents: the Serek ha-Yahad and the Hodayot.

To learn more about this book or to purchase it at the SBL online store, click here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yet Another Fabulous Visitor: Christopher Tyerman

I'm sorry to miss this one... I'll already be winging my way towards San Diego. In my (practically nonexistent) free time, I've been working through Prof. Tyerman's recent magisterial book on the Crusades... thus far it's been nothing but excellent!

Professor Christopher Tyerman (University of Oxford)
"The Medieval Crusades and the Modern World: A Case of Mistaken Identity?
Thursday, November 15th 12:00 PM
ISPS 77 Prospect, Room A001
Professor Tyerman's paper is attached