Tag Archives: Tradition transmission

Workshop with Prof. Judith H. Newman (14 Oct, Helsinki)

You are warmly invited to attend a workshop with Prof. Judith H. Newman on “Scribal Bodies as Liturgical Bodies: The Formation of Scriptures in Early Judaism”, to be held Friday, 14 October from 9:30-11:30 in Porthania Building lecture room P724 (7th floor of Yliopistonkatu 3). The workshop is open to all scholars and students interested in Second Temple Judaism and transmission of literary traditions.

Judith H. Newman is Associate Pjudy-newmanrofessor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Emmanuel College and holds a joint appointment with the Department for the Study of Religion in the area of early Judaism and a cross-appointment to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She is also a faculty member of the Centre for Jewish Studies.

Prof. Newman specializes in the Hebrew Bible as well as Jewish literature of the Second Temple period. Her current research interests are in the ritual performance of texts particularly as this intersects with the formation of communities in early Judaism and Christianity. She is also interested in the development of scripture, early biblical interpretation, as well as method in the study of the Bible and early Judaism and Christianity. Emerging projects include work on literature of the Hasmonean period, particularly the book of Judith; and a study of time, temporality, and liturgy.

Understanding Rhetoric and Hyberbole in the Hebrew Bible

by Jason Silverman

Biblical scholars often treat idealistic expectations – for kings or eras – as “eschatological” or “messianic” expectations. Yet this sort of analysis often elides the rhetorical nature of the source texts. Messianism and eschatology are complex and important ideas, but they need to be carefully understood within the ways in which humans communicate with each other. Only when a broader rhetorical context is understood can particular concepts such as these be analyzed effectively, and thus appreciated on their own terms – why an author or a community found them appealing at a particular moment in time. I analyze the rhetoric of Obama’s first presidential campaign as a recent comparator, using Bormann’s Symbolic Convergence Theory and recent work on hyperbole. The results of this discussion are then applied to four sample passages from the context of Hebrew Bible to argue that idealistic or “utopian” language need not necessarily imply any of the ideas associated with messianism or millenarianism. In the final analysis this will mean that scholars must be more careful in delineating the diachronic development of ideas in ancient texts.  Continue reading Understanding Rhetoric and Hyberbole in the Hebrew Bible