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Archaeology and the Old Testament

James B. Pritchard

Archaeology is a science in which progress can be measured by the advances made backward into the past. The last one hundred years of archaeology have added a score of centuries to the story of the growth of our cultural and religious heritage, as the ancient world has been recovered from the sands and caves of the modern Near East-Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Measured by the number of centuries which have been annexed to man's history in a relatively few years, progress has been truly phenomenal. This book deals with the recent advance and with those pioneers to the past who made it possible. Interest in biblical history has played an important part in this recovery. Names such as Babylon, Nineveh, Jericho, Jerusalem, and others prominent on the pages of the Bible, have gripped the popular imagination and worked like magic to gain support for excavations.

This book is written from the widely shared conviction that the discovery of the ancient Near East has shed significant light on the Bible. Indeed, the newly-discovered ancient world has effected a revolution in the understanding of the Bible, its people, and their history. My purpose is to assess, in non-technical language which the layman can understand, the kind of change in viewing the biblical past which archaeology has brought about in the last century. Since the text of the Bible has remained constant over this period, it is obvious that any new light on its meaning must provide a better perspective for seeing the events which it describes. In short, I am concerned with the question, How has history as written in the Bible been changed, enlarged, or substantiated by the past century of the archaeological work?--from the Preface

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Ascent into Heaven in Luke-Acts

New Explorations of Luke's Narrative Hinge

edited by David K. Bryan and David W. Pao

In comparison with other aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry, his ascent into heaven has often been overlooked within the history of the church. However, considering its placement at the end of the Gospel and the beginning of Acts—the only narrative depictions of the event in the New Testament—the importance of Jesus’ ascent into heaven is undeniable for Luke’s two-volume work. While select studies have focused on particular aspects of these accounts for Luke’s story, the importance of the ascension calls for renewed attention to the narratological and theological significance of these accounts within their historical and literary contexts. In this volume, leading scholars discuss the ascension narratives within the ancient contexts of biblical, Second Temple Jewish, and Greco-Roman literature; the literary contours of Luke-Acts; and questions of historical and theological significance in the wider milieu of New Testament theology and early Christian historiography. The volume sets out new positions and directions for the next generations of interpreters regarding one of the most important and unique elements of the Lukan writings.

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Atlas of Christian History

by Tim Dowley

A new atlas of Christian history has been needed for many years. Now, Fortress Press is pleased to offer the Atlas of Christian History from acclaimed author and editor Tim Dowley.

The Atlas of Christian History is built new from the ground up. Featuring more than fifty new maps, graphics, and timelines, the atlas is a necessary companion to any study of Christian history. Concise, helpful text, written by acknowledged authorities, guide the experience and interpret the visuals. Consciously written for students at any level, the volume is perfect for independent students, as well as those in structured courses.

The atlas is broken into five primary parts that correspond well to most major introductions to the topic. The final section on the modern era pays significant attention to the growth of Christianity as a global religion. Extensive maps are provided that illuminate Christianity in Asian, African, and Latin American contexts.

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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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Berit Olam: 2 Samuel

Craig E. Morrison, OCarm

King David ranks among the most intriguing persons in the Hebrew Bible. The Second Book of Samuel tells the story of David's kingship-his public successes and his private foibles. The narrator's rehearsal of this story, as questioning as it is vivid, glimpses the secrets of David's heart. In this commentary, Craig E. Morrison focuses on the aesthetics of the "art of the telling": how does the narrator succeed in breathing life into his portrait of David? How does he draw the reader into his story? This commentary is intended to accompany the reader's encounter with this ancient masterpiece so that one might cheer with David as he dances before the ark of God and weep with him as he grieves the death of his rebel son Absalom. Morrison's careful reading of 2 Samuel brings the reader face-to-face with David, whose multifaceted character eludes facile labels.

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Berit Olam: Isaiah 56-66

Paul V. Niskanen
Chris Franke, Editor

The last chapters of the book of Isaiah offer a vision of new hope at the dawn of the postexilic period. The dense and complex imagery of light, espousal, and victory gives expression to the joyful reality of a return to Jerusalem and to the as-yet-unrealized dreams of rebuilding and repopulating what has been laid to waste. Trito-Isaiah's proclamation of God's salvation or victory appears both as a brilliant light and a terrible darkness in these chapters. For while Yahweh's triumph means rejoicing for his righteous servants, it portends unspeakable horror for those who rebel against him. Far from a remotely related appendix tacked on to the prophetic text, Niskanen examines Isaiah 56–66 within the broader context of the entire book of Isaiah, revealing the stylistic and thematic connections between these and earlier chapters and the significance of the poetical structures and imagery employed in Isaiah 56–66.

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Berit Olam: The Twelve Prophets

Volume 1: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah

Marvin A. Sweeney

There is generally no common material that binds together the works of the individual prophets that comprise the Twelve, but through Sweeney's commentary they stand together as a single, clearly defined book among the other prophetic books of the Bible.The Book of the Twelve Prophets is a multifaceted literary composition that functions simultaneously in al Jewish and Christian versions of the Bible as a single prophetic book and as a collection of twelve individual prophetic books. Each of the twelve individual books - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi - begins with its own narrative introduction that identifies the prophet and provides details concerning the historical setting and literary characteristics. In this manner each book is clearly distinguished from the others within the overall framework of the Twelve.By employing a combination of literary methodologies, such as reader response criticism, canonical criticism, and structural form criticism, Sweeney establishes the literary structure of the Book of the Twelve as a whole, and of each book with their respective ideological or theological perspectives. An introductory chapter orients readers to questions posed by reading the Book of the Twelve as a coherent piece of literature and to a literary overview of the Twelve. Sweeney then treats each of the twelve individual prophetic books in the order of the Masoretic canon, providing a discussion of each one's structure, theme, and outlook. This is followed by a detailed literary discussion of the textual units that comprise the book.Marvin A. Sweeney is professor of Hebrew Bible at the school of theology at Claremont and professor of religion at the Claremont Graduate School.

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Berit Olam: The Twelve Prophets

Volume 2: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Marvin A. Sweeney

There is generally no common material that binds together the works of the individual prophets that comprise the Twelve, but through Sweeney's commentary they stand together as a single, clearly defined book among the other prophetic books of the Bible.The Book of the Twelve Prophets is a multifaceted literary composition that functions simultaneously in al Jewish and Christian versions of the Bible as a single prophetic book and as a collection of twelve individual prophetic books. Each of the twelve individual books - Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi - begins with its own narrative introduction that identifies the prophet and provides details concerning the historical setting and literary characteristics. In this manner each book is clearly distinguished from the others within the overall framework of the Twelve.By employing a combination of literary methodologies, such as reader response criticism, canonical criticism, and structural form criticism, Sweeney establishes the literary structure of the Book of the Twelve as a whole, and of each book with their respective ideological or theological perspectives. An introductory chapter orients readers to questions posed by reading the Book of the Twelve as a coherent piece of literature and to a literary overview of the Twelve. Sweeney then treats each of the twelve individual prophetic books in the order of the Masoretic canon, providing a discussion of each one's structure, theme, and outlook. This is followed by a detailed literary discussion of the textual units that comprise the book.Marvin A. Sweeney is professor of Hebrew Bible at the school of theology at Claremont and professor of religion at the Claremont Graduate School.

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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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