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The Authors of the Deuteronomistic History

Locating a Tradition in Ancient Israel

by Brian Neil Peterson

Peterson engages one of the most enduring controversies in current critical scholarship on the Hebrew Bible, the identities and provenances of the authors of the various “editions” of the Deuteronomistic History. Critically reviewing the presuppositions of scholars reaching back to Martin Noth, and using careful analysis of motif and characterization at each redactional level in each book of the Deuteronomistic History, Peterson asks where we might locate a figure with both motive and opportunity to draw up a proto-narrative including elements of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the first part of 1 Kings.

Posing his questions in the form of a “Whodunit?” Peterson identifies a particular candidate in the time of David who had both knowledge and a theological and political agenda, qualified to write the first edition. He then extends the method to identify the particular circle who became the custodians of the Deuteronomistic narrative and supplies successive redactions, informed by the original formative vision, down to the time of Jeremiah. Careful argumentation yields surprising results at each stage.

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Belonging in Genesis

Biblical Israel and the Politics of Identity Formation

Genesis calls its readers into a vision of human community unconstrained by the categories that dominate modern thinking about identity. Genesis situates humanity within a network of nurture that encompasses the entire cosmos—only then introducing Israel not as a people, but as a promise. Genesis prioritizes a human identity that originates in the divine word and depends on ongoing relationship with God. Those called into this new mode of belonging must forsake the social definition that had structured their former life, trading it for an alternative that will only gradually take shape. In contrast to the rigidity that typifies modern notions, Genesis depicts identity as fundamentally fluid. Encounter with God leads to a new social self, not a “spiritual” self that operates only within parameters established in the body at birth. In Belonging in Genesis, Amanda Mbuvi highlights the ways narrative and the act of storytelling function to define and create a community. Building on the emphasis on family in Genesis, she focuses on the way family storytelling is a means of holding together the interpretation of the text and the constitution of the reading community. Explicitly engaging the way in which readers regard the biblical text as a point of reference for their own (collective) identities leads to an understanding of Genesis as inviting its readers into a radically transformative vision of their place in the world.

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The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Volume 1, Scripture and the Scrolls

James H. Charlesworth, editor

The recovery of 800 documents in the eleven caves on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea is one of the most sensational archeological discoveries in the Holy Land to date. These three volumes, the very best of critical scholarship, demonstrate in detail how the scrolls have revolutionized our knowledge of the text of the Bible, the character of Second Temple Judaism, and the Jewish beginnings of Christianity.

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The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Volume 2, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Qumran Community

James H. Charlesworth, editor

The recovery of 800 documents in the eleven caves on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea is one of the most sensational archeological discoveries in the Holy Land to date. These three volumes, the very best of critical scholarship, demonstrate in detail how the scrolls have revolutionized our knowledge of the text of the Bible, the character of Second Temple Judaism, and the Jewish beginnings of Christianity.

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The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Volume 3, The Scrolls and Christian Origins

James H. Charlesworth, editor

The recovery of 800 documents in the eleven caves on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea is one of the most sensational archeological discoveries in the Holy Land to date. These three volumes, the very best of critical scholarship, demonstrate in detail how the scrolls have revolutionized our knowledge of the text of the Bible, the character of Second Temple Judaism, and the Jewish beginnings of Christianity.

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The Bible in Human Transformation

Toward a New Paradigm in Bible Studies

By Walter Wink

"Historical biblical criticism is bankrupt." That startling affirmation began The Bible in Human Transformation when it first appeared in 1975. Wink asserts that despite the valuable contributions of the historical-critical method, we have reached the point where this method is incapable of allowing Scripture to evoke personal and social transformation today. More than thirty years later, Wink now looks back in a new preface over the more and less humanizing developments in New Testament studies of the last few decades and renews his call for a transforming approach to biblical interpretation.

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The Bible on Location

Off the Beaten Path in Ancient and Modern Israel

Julie Baretz

In this innovative guidebook Julie Baretz takes readers to twenty-one off-the-beaten-path locations in Israel where Bible stories are said to have happened. At each site she sets the scene by relating the historical context of the event, then follows with the biblical text itself and her own lively commentary. Captivating and complex Bible characters bring the locations to life as they face social, ethical, and spiritual dilemmas not unlike our own today. Baretz’s narratives draw on history, archaeology, academic scholarship, and rabbinic literature for interpretations that enhance the meaning of the biblical events. Each story is told in the voice of Baretz as the tour guide—knowledgeable yet informal and friendly.
 
The Bible on Location traces the chronology and narrative arc of the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The book begins with the Israelites’ arrival in the land of Israel (following the exodus from Egypt and the forty years of wandering) and continues over more than six hundred years, until the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon to their homeland.
 
Baretz’s descriptions are accompanied by colorful maps and photographs that put actual and armchair visitors in the middle of the action. Each location reveals a new episode in the biblical narrative and provides inspiration and commentary that will enhance visits to the various sites.

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Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode

Robert S. Kawashima

Informed by literary theory and Homeric scholarship as well as biblical studies, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode sheds new light on the Hebrew Bible and, more generally, on the possibilities of narrative form. Robert S. Kawashima compares the narratives of the Hebrew Bible with Homeric and Ugaritic epic in order to account for the "novelty" of biblical prose narrative. Long before Herodotus or Homer, Israelite writers practiced an innovative narrative art, which anticipated the modern novelist's craft. Though their work is undeniably linked to the linguistic tradition of the Ugaritic narrative poems, there are substantive differences between the bodies of work. Kawashima views biblical narrative as the result of a specifically written verbal art that we should counterpose to the oral-traditional art of epic. Beyond this strictly historical thesis, the study has theoretical implications for the study of narrative, literature, and oral tradition.

Indiana Studies in Biblical Literature -- Herbert Marks, General Editor

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Biblical Women Unbound

Counter-Tales

Authored by Norma Rosen

Rosen gives a new voice to more than a dozen women of the Bible. She imagines and writes the missing chapters of these women's lives in a witty and engaging collection of stories. In addition, she introduces the book with a lively essay about classical Midrash, its relationship to fiction and the imagination, and the possibilities for new midrashim written for and about women.

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Body and Character in Luke and Acts

The Subversion of Physiognomy in Early Christianity

Mikeal C. Parsons

Early Christianity developed in a world where moral significance was often judged based upon physical appearance alone. Exploring the manifestations of this ancient “science” of physiognomy, Parsons rightly shows how Greco-Roman society, and by consequence the author of Luke and Acts, was steeped in this tradition. Luke, however, employs these principles in his writings in order to subvert the paradigm. Using as examples the bent woman (Luke 13), Zacchaeus (Luke 18), the lame man (Acts 3-4), and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8), Parsons shows that the Christian community—both early and present-day—is established only in the image of Jesus Christ.

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