Going against the present consensus, Izaak J. de Hulster proves in this work that there were figurines in Achaemenid (Persian) period Jerusalem. Some scholars have linked the purported absence of figurines with monotheism; his thesis therefore has implications for Israel’s history of religion after the exile.
Were there figurines in Yehud during the Achaemenid period, and in particular in Jerusalem? A positive answer to this question disproves the general consensus about the absence of figurines in Yehud, which is built on the assumption that the figurines excavated in Judah/Yehud are chronologically indicative for Iron Age II in this area (aside from a few typological exceptions). Ephraim Stern and others have taken this alleged absence of figurines as indicative of Jewish monotheism’s rise. Izaak J. de Hulster refutes this ‘no figurines → monotheism’ paradigm by detailed study of the figurines from Yigal Shiloh’s excavation in the ‘City of David’ (especially their contexts in Stratum 9), providing ample evidence for the presence of figurines in post-587/586 Jerusalem. The author further reflects on the paradigm’s premises in archaeology, history, the history of religion, theology, and biblical studies, and particularly in coroplastics (figurine studies).
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Ancient Prophecy: Near Eastern, Biblical, and Greek Perspectives is the first monograph-length comparative study on prophetic divination in ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and Greek sources. Prophecy is one of the ways humans have believed to become conversant with what is believed to be superhuman knowledge. The prophetic process of communication involves the prophet, her/his audience, and the deity from whom the message allegedly comes from. Martti Nissinen introduces a wealth of ancient sources documenting the prophetic phenomenon around the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, whether cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia, the Hebrew Bible, Greek inscriptions, or ancient historians.
Nissinen provides an up-to-date presentation of textual sources, the number of which has increased substantially in recent times. In addition, the study includes four analytical comparative chapters. The first demonstrates the altered state of consciousness to be one of the central characteristics of the prophets’ public behavior. The second discusses the prophets’ affiliation with temples, which are the typical venues of the prophetic performance. The third delves into the relationship between prophets and kings, which can be both critical and supportive. The fourth shows gender-inclusiveness to be one of the peculiar features of the prophetic agency, which could be executed by women, men, and genderless persons as well. The ways prophetic divination manifests itself in ancient sources depend not only on the socio-religious position of the prophets in a given society, but also on the genre and purpose of the sources. Nissinen contends that, even though the view of the ancient prophetic landscape is restricted by the fragmentary and secondary nature of the sources, it is possible to reconstruct essential features of prophetic divination at the socio-religious roots of the Western civilization.
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Women’s Writing of Ancient Mesopotamia presents fresh and engaging translations of works that were composed or edited by female scribes and elite women of the ancient Near East. These texts provide insight into the social status, struggles, and achievements of women during the earliest periods of recorded human history (c.2300–540 BCE). In three introductory chapters and a concluding chapter, Charles Halton and Saana Svärd provide an overview of the civilization of ancient Mesopotamia and examine gender by analyzing these different kinds of texts. The translations cover a range of genres, including hymns, poems, prayers, letters, inscriptions, and oracles. Each text is accompanied by a short introduction that situates the composition within its ancient environment and explores what it reveals about the lives of women within the ancient world. This anthology will serve as an essential reference book for scholars and students of ancient history, gender studies, and world literature.
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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.
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Elina Perttilä’s study considers the Sahidic version of 1 Samuel as a translation and how it may best be used in Greek textual criticism. The first aim is to examine the translation technique of the Sahidic translator. The second aim is to analyze the affiliations between the Sahidic manuscripts and the affiliations between the Sahidic version and Greek traditions. This translation-technical study will allow a more careful and accurate citation of the Sahidic version within the critical apparatus of the Greek text.
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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”. Textual scholars of today continue in the footsteps of Barthélemy and work on the same questions that were raised in Devanciers: How extensive was the influence of the kaige revision and how can it be recognized? What is the nature of the Lucianic text: when does it represent the Old Greek and when does it give a stylistically revised text? What is the relationship between the kaige revision and Theodotion’s revision of the Septuagint? The present volume mainly consists of papers presented at the 50th anniversary symposium of Les Devanciers d’Aquila that was held in connection with the SBL International Meeting in St Andrews, Scotland, in 2013. The papers focus on history of research, case studies on the text of Samuel-Kings (1–4 Kingdoms), and studies on the text-historical position of specific witnesses.
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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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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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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.
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.
To order the book, please visit the bookstore of the Federation of the Finnish Learned Societies (tiedekirja.fi).
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.
For ordering the book, please visit the website of Bloomsbury T&T Clark.
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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