Category Archives: Publications

Trading in the Babylonian Exile

by Tero Alstola

This blog post is a summary of Tero Alstola’s recent article “Judean Merchants in Babylonia and Their Participation in Long-Distance Trade” in Die Welt des Orients 47 (2017), pp. 25–51. https://doi.org/10.13109/wdor.2017.47.1.25.

The Babylonian exile of Judeans does not equal to enslavement and miserable conditions in a foreign land. The available sources attest to remarkable diversity within the deported population: although the majority of Judeans worked as small farmers, some of them lived in cities, enjoyed a good socio-economic status, and were integrated into Babylonian society. Judean merchants are an example of exiles who did relatively well in Babylonia. Continue reading Trading in the Babylonian Exile

Eläimellistä menoa Mesopotamiassa: Gilgamesh-eepos muinaisen eläinsuhteen ilmentäjänä

Kirjoittanut Timo Tekoniemi

Eläimet muodostivat olennaisen osan ihmisten elämää ja elinpiiriä jo vuosituhansia sitten, ja usein ihmiset jopa asuivat samoissa tiloissa kotieläinten kanssa. Kulttuurintutkimuksessa on kuitenkin perinteisesti oltu kiinnostuneempia ihmisen toiminnasta, joten eläimet ovat monessa mielessä jääneet tutkimuksessa paitsioon. Muinaisia tekstejä lukiessa kuitenkin nopeasti huomaa, miten täynnä erilaista eläinkuvastoa teokset ovatkaan. Pelkkien kuvainnollisten ”koristeiden” sijaan eläimet saavat esimerkiksi muinaisessa Gilgamesh-eepoksessa hyvinkin monisyisiä ja jopa juonenkuljetuksellisesti tärkeitä merkityksiä ja rooleja. Continue reading Eläimellistä menoa Mesopotamiassa: Gilgamesh-eepos muinaisen eläinsuhteen ilmentäjänä

Isaiah’s Benevolent Creator as the earliest Persian ‘Influence’ on Judaism

by Jason M. Silverman

This post is a summary of the recently published article, Jason M. Silverman, “Achaemenid Creation and Second Isaiah” Journal of Persianate Studies 10.1 (2017): 26–48. In two years, it will also be available on my academia.edu-profile. Continue reading Isaiah’s Benevolent Creator as the earliest Persian ‘Influence’ on Judaism

“Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls Communities” (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017)

Jessica M. Keady (2017) Vulnerability and Valour: A Gendered Analysis of Everyday Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls Communities. Library of Second Temple Studies 91. London/New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark.

Jessica M. Keady uses insights from social science and gender theory to shed light on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran communities. Through her analysis, Keady shows that it was not only women who could be viewed as an impure problem, but also that men shared these characteristics as well.

The first framework adopted by Keady is masculinity studies, specifically Raewyn Connell’s hegemonic masculinities, which Keady applies to the Rule of the Community (in its 1QS form) and the War Scroll (in its 1QM form), to demonstrate the vulnerable and uncontrollable aspects of ordinary male impurities. Secondly, the embodied and empowered aspects of impure women are revealed through an application of embodiment theories to selected passages from 4QD (4Q266 and 4Q272) and 4QTohorot A (4Q274). Thirdly, sociological insights from Susie Scott’s understanding of the everyday – through the mundane, the routing and the breaking of rules – reveal how impurity disrupts the constructions of daily life. Keady applies Scott’s three conceptual features for understanding the everyday to the Temple Scroll (11QTa) and the Rule of the Congregation (1QSa) to demonstrate the changing dynamics between ordinary impurity males and impure females.

Underling each of these three points is the premise that gender and purity in the Dead Sea Scrolls communities are performative, dynamic and constantly changing.

To order this book please visit Bloomsbury Publishing.

New book “Insights into Editing in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East” (Peeters, 2017)

Reinhard Müller and Juha Pakkala, eds (2017) Insights into Editing in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East. What Does the Documented Evidence Tell Us about the Transmission of Authoritative Texts? Contributions to Biblical Exegesis & Theology 84. Leuven: Peeters.

Documented evidence has shown that the Hebrew Bible was edited by successive scribes for centuries, and the impact of editing on the resulting text has proven to be crucial. A better understanding of any issue in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel requires a deep understanding of the editorial processes. As a consequence, the editorial processes of the Hebrew Bible have come to the fore in the most recent scholarly debates.

Nevertheless, editorial processes in the Hebrew Bible are still poorly understood and a methodological overview is lacking. It is apparent that collaboration between scholars of different fields is needed, and a methodological discussion that takes into account all the editorial techniques witnessed by documented evidence in the Hebrew scriptures and the rest of the ancient Near East is required. This book is a step in this direction. Contributions in this volume by leading scholars approach the issue from various perspectives, including methodology, textual criticism, redaction criticism, Dead Sea Scrolls, Assyriology, and Egyptology.

For more information and to order the book, please visit Peeters Publishers.

New Book “The Legacy of Barthélemy” (V&R, 2017)

Anneli Aejmelaeus and Tuukka Kauhanen, eds (2017) The Legacy of Barthélemy: 50 Years after Les Devanciers d’Aquilla. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Les Devanciers d’Aquila by Dominique Barthélemy (1963) is an epoch-making work on the textual history of the Septuagint. On the basis of his analysis of the Nahal Hever Minor Prophets Scroll, Barthélemy developed his theory of an early Hebraizing revision (so-called kaige revision), designed to bring the traditional text of the Septuagint closer to the Hebrew text, and recognized examples of it in the B-text of books such as Joshua, Judges, and Samuel-Kings. The work of these early Hebraizing revisers resembled the later very literal translation by Aquila; hence the name of the book, “the predecessors of Aquila”. Continue reading New Book “The Legacy of Barthélemy” (V&R, 2017)

New Book “Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity” (V&R, 2016)

Samuel Byrskog, Raimo Hakola, and Jutta Jokiranta, eds (2016) Social Memory and Social Identity in the Study of Early Judaism and Early Christianity. Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 116. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

The concepts o9783525593752f social memory and social identity have been increasingly used in the study of ancient Jewish and Christian sources. In this collection of articles, international specialists apply interdisciplinary methodology related to these concepts to early Jewish and Christian sources. The volume offers an up-to-date presentation of how social memory studies and socio-psychological identity approach have been used in the study of Biblical and related literature. The articles examine how Jewish and Christian sources participate in the processes of collective recollection and in this way contribute to the construction of distinctive social identities. The writers demonstrate the benefits of the use of interdisciplinary methodologies in the study of early Judaism and Christianity but also discuss potential problems that have emerged when modern theories have been applied to ancient material.

CONTENTS

RAIMO HAKOLA, SAMUEL BYRSKOG, AND JUTTA JOKIRANTA
Introduction

I Social Memory

SAMUEL BYRSKOG Lund University
Philosophical Aspects on Memory: Aristotle, Augustine and Bultmann

ALAN KIRK, James Madison University, USA
The Formation of the Synoptic Tradition: Cognitive and Cultural Memory Approaches to an Old Problem

SANDRA HÜBENTHAL, Universität Passau
Reading the Gospel of Mark as Collective Memory

KARI SYREENI, Åbo Akademi University
Eyewitness Testimony, First-Person Narration and Authorial Presence as Means of Legitimation in Early Gospel Literature

DAN NÄSSELQVIST, Lund University
Dual Conventions: The Oral Delivery of New Testament Writings in Light of First-Century Delivery Practices

II Social Identity

CECILIA WASSÉN, Uppsala University
The Importance of Marriage in the Construction of a Sectarian Identity in the Dead Sea Scrolls

JUTTA JOKIRANTA, University of Helsinki
Black Sheep, Outsiders, and the Qumran Movement: Social-Psychological Perspectives on Norm-Deviant Behaviour

ELISA UUSIMÄKI, University of Helsinki
Wisdom, Scripture and Identity Formation in 4QBeatitudes

RIKARD ROITTO, Stockholm School of Theology
Forgiveness, Rituals, and Social Identity in Matthew: Obliging Forgiveness

RAIMO HAKOLA, University of Helsinki,
The Johannine Community as a Constructed, Imagined Community

NINA NIKKI, University of Helsinki
Contesting the Past, Competing over the Future: Why is Paul Past-Oriented in Galatians and Romans, but Future-Oriented in Philippians?

MARTIN WESSBRANDT, Lund University
Covenant, Conflict & Collective Identity: The Relationship between Hebrews and 1 Clement

New Book “Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature” (V&R, 2016)

Hann9783525551059a Tervanotko (2016) Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature. Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplements 23. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  Continue reading New Book “Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature” (V&R, 2016)

Scriptural Interpretation and Research Cooperation within Helsinki’s Centres of Excellence

By Anna-Liisa Tolonen & Elisa Uusimäki

The two Centres of Excellence at the Faculty of Theology – Changes in Sacred Texts and Traditions and Reason and Religious Recognition – are characteristically interdisciplinary. Thus, the research conducted should not only be of high quality within specific disciplines, but also reflective of cooperation that breaks down boundaries between fields. Having both of these goals as our aims, we should strive to deepen and broaden our notions of, for example, historical phenomena, philosophical concepts, or the meanings of “holy scriptures” within ever-changing religious traditions. Continue reading Scriptural Interpretation and Research Cooperation within Helsinki’s Centres of Excellence

New Book “Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Constructs of Masculinity” (Routledge, 2016)

Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Constructs of Masculinity (London: Routledge, 2016) is the first-ever collection of essays on masculinity in the ancient Near Eastern textual and iconographical sources. It is a formative work which reveals the myriad and complex negotiations for constructionsBeing a Man_cover 1 of masculine identities in the greater ancient Near East and beyond. Through a juxtaposition of studies into Neo-Assyrian artistic representations and omens, biblical hymns and narrative, Hittite, Akkadian, and Indian epic, as well as detailed linguistic studies on gender and sex in the Sumerian and Hebrew languages, the book challenges traditional understandings and assumed homogeneity for what it meant “to be a man” in antiquity. Being a Man is an indispensable resource for students of the ancient Near East, and a fascinating study for anyone with an interest in gender and sexuality throughout history. Continue reading New Book “Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Constructs of Masculinity” (Routledge, 2016)