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 of 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.
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Hanna Tervanotko (2016) Denying Her Voice: The Figure of Miriam in Ancient Jewish Literature. Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplements 23. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Hanna Tervanotko first analyzes the treatment and development of Miriam as a literary character in ancient Jewish texts, taking into account all the references to this figure preserved in ancient Jewish literature from the exilic period to the early second century C.E. These texts demonstrate that the picture of Miriam preserved in the ancient Jewish texts is richer than the Hebrew Bible suggests. The results provide a contradictory image of Miriam. On the one hand she becomes a tool of Levitical politics, whereas on the other she continues to enjoy a freer role. People continued to interpret earlier literary traditions in light of new situations, and interpretations varied in different contexts. Second, in light of poststructuralist literary studies that treat texts as reflections of specific social situations, Tervanotko argues that the treatment of Miriam in ancient Jewish literature reflects mostly a reality in which women had little space as active agents. Despite the general tendency to allow women only little room, the references to Miriam suggest that at least some prominent women may have enjoyed occasional freedom.
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In Turning Proverbs towards Torah, Elisa Uusimäki offers the first monograph on the early Jewish wisdom text 4Q525 from Qumran. Following the reconstruction of the fragmentary manuscript, Uusimäki analyses the text with a focus on the reception and renewal of the Proverbs tradition and the ways in which 4Q525 illustrates aspects of Jewish pedagogy in the late Second Temple period. She argues that the author was inspired by Proverbs 1-9 but sought to demonstrate that true wisdom is found in the concept of torah. He also weaved dualistic elements and eschatological ideas into the wisdom frame. The author’s intention, Uusimäki argues, is to form the audience spiritually, encouraging it to trust in divine protection and blessings that are bestowed upon the pious.
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Places and spaces are key factors in how individuals and groups construct their identities. Identity theories have emphasised that the construction of an identity does not follow abstract and universal processes but is also deeply rooted in specific historical, cultural, social and material environments. The essays in this volume explore how various groups in Late Antiquity rooted their identity in special places that were imbued with meanings derived from history and tradition. In Part I, essays explore the tension between the Classical heritage in public, especially urban spaces, in the form of ancient artwork and civic celebrations and the Church’s appropriation of that space through doctrinal disputes and rival public performances. Parts II and III investigate how particular locations expressed, and formed, the theological and social identities of Christian and Jewish groups by bringing together fresh insights from the archaeological and textual evidence. Together the essays here demonstrate how the use and interpretation of shared spaces contributed to the self-identity of specific groups in Late Antiquity and in so doing issued challenges, and caused conflict, with other social and religious groups.
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Mitä on magia? Onko Raamatussa magiaa? Entä harjoittivatko muinaiset israelilaiset tai ensimmäiset kristityt magiaa? Näihin kysymyksiin ei ole yksiselitteisiä vastauksia, sillä magialle ei ole olemassa yhtä, kaikkien hyväksymää määritelmää. Kirjassa kyseenalaistetaan magian ja uskonnon välinen kahtiajako ja ymmärretään magia yhtenä uskonnollisen toiminnan muotona. Magia on ennen kaikkea tutkijoiden käyttämä ja määrittelemä käsite, joka auttaa ymmärtämään tietynlaisia uskonnollisia ilmiöitä ja ajattelutapoja. Se on käyttökelpoinen käsitteenä, sillä maagisten uskomusten katsotaan kuuluvan ihmismielen luonnollisiin rakenteisiin.
Tässä teoksessa magian käsitettä lähestytään esimerkiksi raamatuntutkimuksen, kognitiivisen uskontotieteen, rituaalitutkimuksen ja arkeologian näkökulmista. Teoksessa käsiteltyjä teemoja ovat magian ilmeneminen Raamatussa, siunaukset ja kiroukset, ihmeet ja parantaminen, henkiolennot ja niitä vastaan suojautuminen sekä suojaavat amuletit ja figuriinit.
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Sami Yli-Karjanmaa (2015). Reincarnation in Philo of Alexandria. Studia Philonica Monograhps 7. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.
Philo of Alexandria is the most important representative of Hellenistic diaspora Judaism. His writings, devoted to a large extent to the allegorical exegesis of the Books of Moses, profoundly influenced Christian theology during its formative centuries. The strong element of Greek philosophy in Philo’s thought has been recognized since antiquity, but his relation to the Pythagorean-Platonic tenet of reincarnation has been a neglected, even avoided, topic in research. This book tackles the issue head on and with thorough, detailed research confirms the view—common in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries—that Philo accepted the doctrine even though he preferred not to speak openly about it. The book shows how allegorization enabled Philo to give an interpretation involving reincarnation to very different scriptural passages.
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This volume results from an international symposium of the same name held in Leiden, the Netherlands, on 18–20 June 2014. The symposium grew out of a recognition that the various disciplines which deal with Achaemenid hegemony over starkly different assessments of Persian kingship. While Assyriologists treat Cyrus’s heirs as legitimate successors of the Babylonian kings, biblical scholars often speak of a “kingless era” in which the priesthood took over the function of the Davidic monarch. Egyptologists see their land as uniquely independently minded despite conquests, while Hellenistic scholarship tends to evaluate the interface between Hellenism and native traditions without reference to the previous two centuries of Persian rule. This discrepancy prompted us to seek a broader context for assessing interactions with the experience of Persian kingship, and to discover how much these differing assessments were due to diversity within the empire and how much they were due to disciplinary assumptions.
Anneli Aejmelaeus, Jutta Jokiranta, Juha Pakkala & Kirsi Valkama (2015) Ihan Täyttä Heprea. Raamatun Heprean Oppikirja. Helsinki: Kirjapaja.
Ihan täyttä hepreaa on uusi Raamatun heprean perusoppikirja, joka tarjoaa opiskelijalle sellaisen kielen osaamisen perustason, jolla hän voi lukea Heprealaista Raamattua sanakirjan avulla.
Ihan täyttä hepreaa johdattaa lukijan Raamatun heprean perusteisiin. Kirjassa käsitellään keskeiset kielioppiasiat, joiden oppimista harjoitukset tukevat. Tärkein sanasto kertautuu tehtävissä, niin että se on helppo omaksua. Harjoitukset on testattu opetustilanteissa Helsingin yliopistossa. Raamatun teksteistä poimitut esimerkit on valikoitu tukemaan perusteiden oppimista. Perustaitojen myötä karttuu kyky käyttää myös muita heprean apuneuvoja kuten kielioppeja ja sanakirjoja.
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Izaak J. de Hulster, Brent A. Strawn & Ryan P. Bonfiglio (eds) (2015) Iconographic Exegesis of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: An Introduction to Its Method and Practice. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Studying ancient visual art that is contemporary with the documents of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible affords remarkable insight on the meaning and historical context of the biblical text, and also facilitates greater understanding of how the ancient authors and audiences saw, thought, and made sense of the world. Each chapter of this book provides an exegesis of a particular biblical text or theme in light of ancient Near Eastern iconography. The approach on display here enables beginners as well as advanced readers to integrate iconography into their toolbox of exegetical skills and thereby gain a more comprehensive understanding of the biblical text.
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Reconsidering Johannine Christianity presents a full-scale application of social identity approach to the Johannine writings. This book reconsiders a widely held scholarly assumption that the writings commonly taken to represent Johannine Christianity – the Gospel of John and the First, Second and Third Epistles of John – reflect the situation of an introverted early Christian group. It claims that dualistic polarities appearing in these texts should be taken as attempts to construct a secure social identity, not as evidence of social isolation. While some scholars (most notably, Richard Bauckham) have argued that the New Testament gospels were not addressed to specific early Christian communities but to all Christians, this book proposes that we should take different branches of early Christianity, not as localized and closed groups, but as imagined communities that envision distinct early Christian identities. It also reassesses the scholarly consensus according to which the Johannine Epistles presuppose and build upon the finished version of the Fourth Gospel and argues that the Johannine tradition, already in its initial stages, was diverse.
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Finnish scholars have been involved in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in ever growing numbers since the 1950s. This volume pays tribute to this Helsinki school of Qumran studies, which is presently one of the largest in the world, by presenting the work of the Finnish scholars currently active in this field of study. The contributions of Crossing Imaginary Boundaries explore the Dead Sea Scrolls within the broader context of Second Temple Judaism. The volume challenges the reader to rethink critically the categories and interdisciplinary borders currently used in the study of ancient Jewish texts. In particular, Qumran research has frequently been seen as a limited esoteric area closed off from other areas of Biblical studies. This collection is an attempt to question and bridge some of these imaginary boundaries between scholarly disciplines and to demonstrate the importance of crossing them in order to get a fuller understanding of all these ancient texts and their underlying social phenomena.
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Mika S. Pajunen & Hanna Tervanotko (Eds.) (2015). Crossing Imaginary Boundaries. The Dead Sea Scrolls in the Context of Second Temple Judaism. Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Society 108. Helsinki: Nord Print.
Power in general and women’s power in particular has been understood mostly in a hierarchical way in earlier research on Mesopotamian women. Hierarchical power structures were important in Mesopotamia, but other kinds of power structures existed as well. This study, which focuses on women in the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 930–610 BCE), draws attention to heterarchical power relations in which women were engaged in the Neo-Assyrian palace milieu. Heterarchical power relations include power relations such as reciprocal power, resistance, and persuasion. Although earlier research has certainly been aware of women’s influence in the palaces, this study makes explicit the power concepts employed in previous research and further develops them using the concept of heterarchy. The study is based on primary cuneiform sources and presents a detailed description of women in Neo-Assyrian palaces. However, it additionally shows that by applying modern theories of power to the study of ancient texts, one can gain important new insights into the dynamics of ancient society.
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Izaak J. de Hulster & Joel M. LeMon (Eds.) (2014). Image, Text, Exegesis: Iconographic Interpretation and the Hebrew Bible. The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 588 . London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark.
Images from the ancient Near East are an important though generally underutilized source of data for interpreting the Hebrew Bible and the cultural context from which it emerged. The essays in this volume highlight the ways that ancient Near Eastern iconography can inform exegesis. This aim is accomplished through case studies in iconographic exegesis that exhibit sound methodologies for relating images and texts. Since the 1970s, biblical scholars have been turning increasingly to iconography as a source for understanding the religion, history and literature of the ancient Near East. The essays in this volume tackle two thorny issues: 1) how images reflect the cultures that produce them and 2) the nature of the relationship between images and texts, both within discrete cultures and among different cultures. Until now, there have been relatively few methodologically self-conscious treatments of ancient iconography and its relationship to the biblical text. So this volume addresses a clear need for demonstrating transparent and consistent methods for iconographic work among biblical scholars.
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Juha Pakkala, Reinhard Müller & Bas ter Haar Romeny (2014). Evidence of Editing: Growth and Change of Texts in the Hebrew Bible. Resources for Biblical Study 75. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.
A new perspective on editorial activity in the Hebrew Bible for research and teaching. Evidence of Editing lays out the case for substantial and frequent editorial activity within the Hebrew Bible. The authors show how editors omitted, expanded, rewrote, and compiled both smaller and larger phrases and passages to address religious and political change. The book refines the exegetical method of literary and redaction criticism, and its results have important consequences for the future use of the Hebrew Bible in historical and theological studies.
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The book investigates omissions in the textual transmission of the Hebrew scriptures. Literary criticism (Literarkritik) commonly assumes that later editors only expanded the older text; omissions would not have taken place. This axiom is implied in analyses and introductions to the methodology. The book investigates the validity of the axiom. After a review of literature, books of methodology, and past research, texts from different parts of the Hebrew Bible are discussed with this aim in view. The investigated texts consist of examples which preserve documented evidence about editorial changes. Passages with variant editions are compared in order to understand omissions as an editorial technique. The comparison of variant witnesses includes, for example, passages where the Greek and Hebrew versions differ and cases where parallel passages differ (e.g., Chronicles in relation to Kings, the Temple Scroll in relation the Pentateuch). Example texts have been taken from the Pentateuch, Samuel, Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther, Jubilees, etc. The investigation shows that omissions took place in part of the transmission of the Hebrew scriptures. Although omissions were clearly less common than additions, the conclusion challenges the axiom of literary criticism. Rejecting the conventional implementation of the methodology, the book provides a new model for understanding the transmission of the Hebrew scriptures that integrates omissions as a possible editorial technique.
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