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St. Jerome (347–420) was undoubtedly one of the most learned of the Latin Church Fathers. He mastered nearly the entirety of the antecedent Christian exegetical and theological tradition, both Greek and Latin, and he knew Hebrew and Aramaic. We have the fruit of that knowledge in his most famous editorial achievement, the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. Declared “the greatest doctor in explaining the Scriptures” by the Council of Trent, Jerome has been regarded by the Latin Church as its preeminent scriptural commentator. Much of Jerome’s prodigious exegetical output, however, has never been translated into English. In this volume, Thomas P. Scheck presents the first English translation of St. Jerome’s commentaries on Galatians, Titus, and Philemon. Jerome followed the Greek exegesis of Origen of Alexandria, proceeding step by step and producing the most valuable of all of the patristic commentaries on these three epistles of St. Paul. Jerome’s exegesis is characterized by extensive learning, acute historical and theological criticism, lively and vigorous exposition, and homiletical exhortation. Scheck’s translation is supplemented with thorough annotations and a detailed critical introduction that sets the context for reading Jerome’s commentaries. It is an invaluable reference for patristics scholars, historical theologians, Church historians, and New Testament scholars.
How to Read the Weekly Torah Portion
Diamond, a consummate teacher of the Bible, provides a clear and simple (but not simplistic) method for reading and understanding the weekly Torah portions. This is a how-to book, not an interpretive one. It is not a commentary on each week's reading, but rather an "instruction manual" on how each of us can read and interpret for ourselves the 54 Torah portions of the year. Diamond provides a set of structured guidelines to the readings, and then he leads us through one Torah portion from each of the five biblical books to give us examples of how we can continue the "stringing" process on our own. He concludes with a personal guide to recommended Bible commentaries so readers can engage in further study if they choose. Stringing the Pearls is intended for all who would like to reach a greater personal understanding of the Torah, no matter what their biblical knowledge. An invaluable resource for Jewish learners, this book will also be an important tool for rabbis and for Jewish educators.
A Critical Introduction
The value and significance of the targums—translations of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic, the language of Palestinian Jews for centuries following the Babylonian Exile—lie in their approach to translation: within a typically literal rendering of a text, they incorporate extensive exegetical material, additions, and paraphrases. These alterations reveal important information about Second Temple Judaism, its interpretation of its bible, and its beliefs.
This remarkable survey introduces critical knowledge and insights that have emerged over the past forty years, including targum manuscripts discovered this century and targums known in Aramaic but only recently translated into English. Prolific scholars Flesher and Chilton guide readers in understanding the development of the targums, their relationship to the Hebrew Bible, their dates, their language, their place in the history of Christianity and Judaism, and their theologies and methods of interpretation.
Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible
In the Jewish tradition, reading of the Torah follows a calendar cycle, with a specific portion assigned each week. These weekly portions, read aloud in synagogues around the world, have been subject to interpretation and commentary for centuries. Following on this ancient tradition, Torah Queeries brings together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a "bent lens". With commentaries on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and six major Jewish holidays, the concise yet substantive writings collected here open up stimulating new insights and highlight previously neglected perspectives.
This incredibly rich collection unites the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight-allied writers, including some of the most central figures in contemporary American Judaism. All bring to the table unique methods of reading and interpreting that allow the Torah to speak to modern concerns of sexuality, identity, gender, and LGBT life. Torah Queeries offers cultural critique, social commentary, and a vision of community transformation, all done through biblical interpretation. Written to engage readers, draw them in, and, at times, provoke them, Torah Queeries examines topics as divergent as the Levitical sexual prohibitions, the experience of the Exodus, the rape of Dinah, the life of Joseph, and the ritual practices of the ancient Israelites. Most powerfully, the commentaries here chart a future of inclusion and social justice deeply rooted in the Jewish textual tradition.
A labor of intellectual rigor, social justice, and personal passions, Torah Queeries is an exciting and important contribution to the project of democratizing Jewish communities, and an essential guide to understanding the intersection of queerness and Jewishness.
Understanding Bible Commentary from the Rabbinic Period to Modern Times
"This book provides a highly readable, engaging introduction to Jewish biblical interpretation."
- Jewish Book World
"Cherry has analyzed the biblical commentary of some of the renowned Jewish scholars of the last 2,000 years. The result is a work of excellent scholarship and imagination."
Cherry shows how the Torah functions as literature that is fluid, compelling, and persistently generative of new meanings.
Every commentator, from the classical rabbi to the modern-day scholar, has brought his or her own worldview, with all of its assumptions, to bear on the reading of holy text. This relationship between the text itself and the reader's interpretation is the subject of Torah Through Time. Shai Cherry traces the development of Jewish Bible commentary through three pivotal periods in Jewish history: the rabbinic, medieval, and modern periods. The result is a fascinating and accessible guide to how some of the world's leading Jewish commentators read the Bible. Torah Through Time focuses on specific narrative sections of the Torah: the creation of humanity, the rivalry between Cain and Abel, Korah's rebellion, the claim of the daughters of Zelophechad, and legal matters concerning Hebrew slavery. Cherry closely examines several different commentaries for each of these source texts, and in so doing he analyzes how each commentator resolves questions raised by the texts and asks if and how the commentator's own historical frame of reference -- his own time and place -- contributes to the resolution. A chart at the end of each chapter provides a visual summary that helps the reader understand the many different elements at play.
The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity
The Song of Songs, eight chapters of love lyrics found in the collection of wisdom literature attributed to Solomon, is the most enigmatic book of the Bible. For thousands of years Jews and Christians alike have preserved it in the canon of scripture and used it in liturgy. Exegetes saw it as a central text for allegorical interpretations, and so the Song of Songs has exerted an enormous influence on spirituality and mysticism in the Western tradition.
In the Voice of My Beloved, E. Ann Matter focuses on the most fertile moment of Song of Songs interpretation: the Middle Ages. At least eighty Latin commentaries on the text survive from the period. In tracing the evolution of these commentaries, Matter reveals them to be a vehicle for expressing changing medieval ideas about the church, the relationship between body and soul, and human and divine love. She shows that the commentaries constitute a well-defined genre of medieval Latin literature. And in discussing the exegesis of the Song of Songs, she takes into account the modern exegesis of the book and feminist critiques of the theology embodied in the text.
The Past, Present and Future of Johannine Studies
The past fifty years have seen powerful shifts in the methods and objectives of Biblical Studies. The study of the Johannine Literature, in particular, has seen a proliferation of new approaches, as well as innovative exegetical and theological conclusions. This volume surveys the emerging landscape from the perspective of scholars who have shaped the field. Written in a conversational and reflective tone, the articles offer an excellent overview of major issues in the study of the Fourth Gospel and 1-2-3 John.
Rethinking the Socio-Rhetorical Character of the New Testament
Written in clear, and at times colorful, prose, Ben Witherington’s What’s in the Word explains how the recognition of the oral and socio-rhetorical character of the New Testament and its environment necessitates a change in how the New Testament literature is read. Expanding on the work in which he has been fruitfully engaged for over a quarter century, Witherington challenges the previously assured results of historical criticism and demonstrates chapter by chapter how the socio-rhetorical study shifts the paradigm.
Taken together, the chapters in What’s in the Word coalesce around three of Witherington’s ongoing academic concerns: orality and rhetoric; New Testament history, including issues of authenticity and canonicity; and the exegesis of given words in their canonical and socio-cultural contexts. Always unpredictable, this book never fails to pique interest and proffer instruction.
Unveiling the Bible's Aesthetic Secrets