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Volume 3, The Scrolls and Christian Origins
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.
Toward a New Paradigm in Bible Studies
"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.
Off the Beaten Path in Ancient and Modern Israel
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
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.
The Subversion of Physiognomy in Early Christianity
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.
The Spirituality of the Letter to the Hebrews
While all of the New Testament writings offer windows into the personal religious experiences of their authors, says Kevin McCruden, the Letter to the Hebrews affords us a truly exquisite example of a particularly creative interpretation of such religious experience. It also supplies us with something all too rare in many of the documents of the New Testament: a glimpse into the personal experiences of the ancient persons who first heard this text. Partially obscured beneath the author's characteristic emphasis on the superiority of transcendent realities is the indelible imprint of the real-life experiences of early Christians who suffered emotionally and physically for the countercultural commitment that they placed in Jesus. For such persons, Hebrews vividly celebrates the unseen vindication of Jesus and, in this way, provides a hope-filled portrait of the victorious Son of God. At the same time, Hebrews is also very much concerned with what we might call the life of Christian discipleship-that is, what it means to journey this side of the age to come in a manner that is faithful to the countercultural character of God's kingdom embodied by Jesus. This brief study will help illumine for readers something of this creative balance between the transcendent and the concrete that Hebrews illustrates so well.
The Book of Job raises stark questions about the nature and meaning of innocent suffering and the relationship of the human to the divine, yet it is also one of the Bible's most obscure and paradoxical books, one that defies interpretation even today. Mark Larrimore provides a panoramic history of this remarkable book, traversing centuries and traditions to examine how Job's trials and his challenge to God have been used and understood in diverse contexts, from commentary and liturgy to philosophy and art.
Larrimore traces Job's obscure origins and his reception and use in the Midrash, burial liturgies, and folklore, and by figures such as Gregory the Great, Maimonides, John Calvin, Immanuel Kant, William Blake, Margarete Susman, and Elie Wiesel. He chronicles the many ways the Book of Job's interpreters have linked it to other biblical texts; to legends, allegory, and negative and positive theologies; as well as to their own individual and collective experiences. Larrimore revives old questions and provides illuminating new contexts for contemporary ones. Was Job a Jew or a gentile? Was his story history or fable? What is meant by the "patience of Job," and does Job exhibit it? Why does God speak yet not engage Job's questions?
Offering rare insights into this iconic and enduring book, Larrimore reveals how Job has come to be viewed as the Bible's answer to the problem of evil and the perennial question of why a God who supposedly loves justice permits bad things to happen to good people.
A Reader's Edition
Regarded as sacred scripture by millions, the Book of Mormon -- first published in 1830 -- is one of the most significant documents in American religious history. This new reader-friendly version reformats the complete, unchanged 1920 text in the manner of modern translations of the Bible, with paragraphs, quotations marks, poetic forms, topical headings, multichapter headings, indention of quoted documents, italicized reworkings of biblical prophecies, and minimized verse numbers. It also features a hypothetical map based on internal references, an essay on Book of Mormon poetry, a full glossary of names, genealogical charts, a basic bibliography of Mormon and non-Mormon scholarship, a chronology of the translation, eyewitness accounts of the gold plates, and information regarding the lost 116 pages and significant changes in the text._x000B_The Book of Mormon claims to be the product of three historical interactions: the writings of the original ancient American authors, the editing of the fourth-century prophet Mormon, and the translation of Joseph Smith. The editorial aids and footnotes in this edition integrate all three perspectives and provide readers with a clear guide through this complicated text. New readers will find the story accessible and intelligible; Mormons will gain fresh insights from familiar verses seen in a broader narrative context. This is the first time the Book of Mormon has been published with quotation marks, select variant readings, and the testimonies of women involved in the translation process. It is also the first return to a paragraphed format since versification was added in 1879.
Its Purpose and Inner Logic
The Liber Regularum, written by Tyconius in the Fourth Century A.D., was the first system of biblical interpretation proposed by a Latin theologian. Augustine was very interested in this work and included an extraordinary summation of it in his De doctrina christiana. Although this treatment insured the preservation of the work and its lasting fame, Augustine's summary became better known than the original. Pamela Bright's The Book of Rules of Tyconius: Its Purpose and Inner Logic reintroduces this neglected classic of early church literature. Bright asserts that although Augustine was greatly influenced by the Liber Regularum, his philosophical differences caused him to misunderstand its meaning. Bright reexamines the meaning of “prophecy” and “rule” from Tyconius's perspective and reveals that the purpose of the book was not to provide a general guide to scriptural interpretation, but rather a way to interpret apocalyptic texts. She cites Tyconius's intense concern with evil in the church as the genesis of his interest in the apocalypse and subsequently the meaning of the scripture concerning it. Tyconius speaks of the “seven mystical rules” of scripture that with the grace of the Holy Spirit reveal the true meaning of prophecy. If an interpreter follows the “logic” of these rules, the nature of the church as composed by both good and evil membership is revealed. Bright argues that Tyconius was not illogical or incompetent in the work's composition as many critics have claimed but rather that he organized his material in a concentric pattern so that Rule Four, the center of the seven rules, is also the central development of his theory.