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Master Bible scholar and teacher Marc Brettler argues that today's contemporary readers can only understand the ancient Hebrew Scripture by knowing more about the culture that produced it. And so Brettler unpacks the literary conventions, ideological assumptions, and historical conditions that inform the biblical text and demonstrates how modern critical scholarship and archaeological discoveries shed light on this fascinating and complex literature. Brettler surveys representative biblical texts from different genres to illustrate how modern scholars have taught us to "read" these texts. Using the "historical-critical method" long popular in academia, he guides us in reading the Bible as it was read in the biblical period, independent of later religious norms and interpretive traditions. Understanding the Bible this way lets us appreciate it as an interesting text that speaks in multiple voices on profound issues. This book is the first "Jewishly sensitive" introduction to the historical-critical method. Unlike other introductory texts, the Bible that this book speaks about is the Jewish one -- with the three-part TaNaKH arrangement, the sequence of books found in modern printed Hebrew editions, and the chapter and verse enumerations used in most modern Jewish versions of the Bible. In an afterword, the author discusses how the historical-critical method can help contemporary Jews relate to the Bible as a religious text in a more meaningful way.
Biblical Myth at the Origins of Capitalism
Wealth of Nations from Isaiah (61:6, 66:12)—they show that early theories of capitalism were shaped by particular assumptions that these theorists brought to their readings of the story of Eden in particular. They examine those assumptions and evaluate what has changed in subsequent centuries. Idols of Nations shows that the Bible was central to the theorization and economic thought of these key thinkers as it explores the distinct problems each sought to overcome.
The Early Christian Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God
What does it mean for Jesus to be “deified” in early Christian literature? Although the divinity of Jesus was a topic of profound and contested discussion in Christianity’s early centuries, believers did not simply assert that Jesus was divine; in their literature, they depicted Jesus with the specific and widely-recognized traits of Mediterranean deities. Relying on the methods of the history of religions school and ranging judiciously across Hellenistic literature, M. David Litwa shows that at each stage in their depiction of Jesus’ life and ministry, early Christian writings from the beginning relied on categories drawn not from Judaism alone, but on a wide, pan-Mediterranean understanding of deity: how gods were born, how they acted to manifest power, even how they died----and, after death, how they were taken up into heaven and pronounced divine. Litwa’s samples take us beyond the realm of abstract theology to dwell in the second- and third-century imagination of what it meant to be a god and shows that the Christian depiction of Christ was quite at home there.
This work sketches the many portraits of the Pharisees that emerge from ancient sources. Based upon the Gospels, the writings of Paul, Josephus, the Mishnah, the Tosefta, and archeology, the volume profiles the Pharisees and explores the relationship between the Pharisees and the Judaic religious system foreshadowed by the library of Qumran. A great virtue of this study is that no attempt is made to homogenize the distinct pictures or reconstruct a singular account of the Pharisees; instead, by carefully considering the sources, the chapters allow different pictures of the Pharisees to stand side by side.
Essays on Jesus Christ in the Early Church in Honor of Brian E. Daley, S.J.
The early centuries of the Christian church are widely regarded as the most decisive and influential for the formation of the church’s convictions about Jesus Christ. The essays in this volume offer readers a fresh orientation, and ground-breaking analyses, of the figure of Jesus in late antiquity. Written by historians and theologians who examine the thought of leading theologians, Latin and Greek, from the second through the seventh centuries, these essays honor and complement the scholarship of Brian E. Daley, Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. While most discussions still confine patristic Christology to its conciliar trajectory, this volume broadens our horizons. The essays gathered here explore aspects of early Christology that cannot be narrowly confined to the path marked by the ecumenical councils. The contributors locate Jesus within a rich matrix of relationships: they explore how early Christian theologians connected Jesus Christ to their other doctrinal concerns about God, the gift of salvation, and the eschaton, and they articulate how convictions about Jesus Christ informed numerous practices, including discipleship, martyrdom, scriptural interpretation, and even the practice of thinking well about Christ.
Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann
"This volume contains the most recent collection of Walter Brueggemann's sermons and prayers. That would be notable in itself: another dazzling set of words from a man whose sheer energy and creativity make us wonder if he is climbing Sinai every morning, for dictation.
"Students and readers of Brueggemann will hear cadences of familiar themes: in the scribe, we hear poet and prophet, testimony and resistance, truth and power, exile and captivity....
"The sermons and prayers of this particular scribe...will linger to re-text and re-ignite another generation of preachers." — from the Foreword by Anna Carter Florence.
Resourcing New Testament Theology
Interpretation and the Claims of the Text combines the writings of more than a dozen prominent biblical scholars to elucidate the theological building blocks for the New Testament. Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Mikeal C. Parsons, Jason A. Whitlark, Loveday Alexander, Warren Carter, Sharyn Dowd, Amy-Jill Levine, Bruce W. Longenecker, Frank J. Matera, David P. Moessner, Alicia D. Myers, Lidija Novakovic, Todd D. Still, C. Clifton Black, and R. Alan Culpepper chart the waters of creation and humanity, the problems of sin, Christ’s redemptive power, and God’s overarching plan for humankind. Students and scholars alike will benefit from their exegetical groundwork, perceptive discussion, and enlightening conclusions. Interpretations and the Claims of the Text illuminates multiple points of departure for further exploration of the depths of New Testament texts.
Journeys to Moriah
The story of Abraham and Isaac is a story of near universal importance. Sitting near the core of three of the world’s great religious traditions, this nineteen verse story opens a world of interpretive possibilities, raising questions of family, loyalty, faith, and choices that are common to all.
This collection of essays takes up the question of how our interpretation of this pivotal text has changed over time, and how, even in unlikely intellectual places, the story influences our thought.
It begins by exploring various readings of Abraham and the Akedah story throughout the traditional lenses of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. From there, it moves into modern and postmodern readings, including how such varied thinkers as Kant and Kierkegaard, Kafka and Derrida have enaged the text.
The book demonstrates the diversity of interpretations, and the dramatic impact of the story on the western intellectual tradition.