Volumes

Author Title Volume Article Year
Berman, Joshua Double Meaning in the Parable of the Poor Man's Ewe (2 Sam 12:1–4)
The parable of the poor man's ewe (2 Sam 12:1–4) is best interpreted along two separate axes as a commentary upon the David and Bathsheba narrative in 2 Samuel 11. In one, the parable is an allegory for the sin of adultery with Bathsheba. In the other, the parable is an allegory for the sin of the murder of Uriah. This double interpretation of the parable matches Nathan's censure of David in 12:9–12. In this pericope the prophet twice uses the formulaic opening, “thus says the Lord,” introducing two separate censures, one that focuses exclusively on the sin of adultery, and one on the sin of murder.
13 14 2013
Frisch, Amos Malbim's Approach to the Sins of Biblical Personages
This article examines one component of the exegetical method of Malbim (1809–1879), an Orthodox rabbi of a strongly conventional bent, and questions the scholarly assumption that he invariably defends outstanding biblical figures. After surveying the accepted scholarly view, I discuss three examples of Malbim’s advocative interpretations, and then seven examples of his critical attitude towards biblical figures (also taken from his commentary on the book of Genesis) as well as two additional examples from his commentary on the Former Prophets. An analysis of the findings reveals five characteristics of his exegetical approach on this question (which at times is comprised of two phases), and suggests that he occupies a middle ground between two of his contemporaries, R. Jacob Zvi Meklenburg and R. Samson Raphael Hirsch.
13 13 2013
Farber, Zev Jerubaal, Jacob and the Battle for Shechem: A Tradition History
The Bible alludes to three different versions of the conquest/destruction of Shechem. The Jerubaal-Abimelech cycle, the conquest of Shechem by Jacob, and the Dinah story. The (later) Jacob story overtook the (earlier) Jerubaal story, a phenomenon I dub tradition cannibalism, as Jerubaal became identified with Gideon and shed his own story. When the idea of a conquering patriarch fell out of favor, the account reemerged as the Dinah story, with Simeon and Levi as the conquerors of Shechem.
13 12 2013
Renz, Thomas An Emendation of Hab. 2:4a in the light of Hab 1:5
The first half of Hab 2:4 has long been a crux; numerous emendations have been proposed over the years. This essay returns to an earlier proposal that the letter sequence עפלה is the result of a metathesis and argues that פעל refers back to Hab 1:5 with the grapheme ה originally functioning as an interrogative pronoun with לא . The result is a reading of the vision which makes reference to the divine as well as human protagonists.
13 11 2013
Gadot, Yuval, Yuval Goren and Oded Lipschits A 7th Century BCE Bulla Fragment From Area D3 in The ‘City Of David’/Silwan
A bulla fragment was found in the excavations of Tel Aviv University at the City of David/Silwan. It is made out of local terra rossa soil, and the reading is: קם // ---לך --- The names אחיקם and אליקם are the best candidates for the name in the upper register. The title “עבד המלך” is the best candidate for the title in the lower register. The seal's quality and the reconstructed title of its bearer indicate that it was used by a high official in the royal Judahite administration.
13 10 2013
Gonzalez, Hervé Zechariah 9–14 and the Continuation of Zechariah during the Ptolemaic Period
Despite its significance, the question of why the book of Zechariah was expanded with chs. 9–14 has largely been overlooked. By combining literary and sociohistorical insights, this article demonstrates that Zech 9–14 was composed as the continuation of Zechariah in order to bring the prophetic corpus up to date in light of the sociopolitical changes of the Ptolemaic period. As such, Zech 9-14 serves to enhance the authority of the prophetic revelation and to criticize these changes by means of a utopian/dystopian perspective.
13 9 2013
Nilsen, Tina Dykesteen Creation in Collision? Isaiah 40–48 and Zoroastrianism, Babylonian Religion and Genesis 1
Isaiah 40‒48 emphasizes that Yahweh is a unique creator-god. Did the author(s) arrive at this idea by adopting, adapting or refuting other texts and traditions, and, if so, which? This article offers fresh arguments and re-examines the potential relations between Isaiah 40‒48, Zoroastrianism, Babylonian religion and the creation account in Genesis 1.
13 8 2013
Tyson, Craig W. Josephus, Antiquities 10.180-82, Jeremiah, and Nebuchadnezzar
Scholars have long pointed to Josephus, Ant. 10.180–182 as evidence that Nebuchadnezzar campaigned in the Levant in his twenty-third year (582 B.C.E.), but have not determined the viability of this passage as a historical source. Extant Greek sources do not provide the details visible in Josephus’ text and it is thus unlikely that they were his source. The details of the campaign are, however, available from Jeremiah or by inference from it. As such, the study argues that Ant. 10.180–182 is not an independent historical source of information for a campaign of Nebuchadnezzar in 582 B.C.E.
13 7 2013
Watts, James W. Scripturalization and the Aaronide Dynasties
Priests claiming descent from Aaron controlled the high priesthood of temples in Jerusalem and on Mount Gerizim in the Second Temple period. These Aaronides were in a position to influence religious developments in this period, especially the scripturalization of the Torah. The priests’ dynastic claims were probably a significant factor in the elevation of the Pentateuch to scriptural status. This claim can be tested by correlating what little we know about the Aaronide dynasties with what little we know about the scripturalization of two different portions of the Hebrew Bible, the Pentateuch and Ezra–Nehemiah.
13 6 2013
Nir, Rivka “It Is Not Right For a Man Who Worships God to Repay His Neighbor Evil For Evil”: Christian Ethics in Joseph and Aseneth (Chapters 22–29)
This article argues for the Christian provenance of chapters 22–29 of Joseph and Aseneth. In particular, the article interprets these chapters as promoting the adoption of Christian ethics toward enemies as a means for obtaining salvation in the Church, which is personified by Aseneth. Framing this notion is the recurring formula, “It is not right for a man who worships God to . . .” This repetitive pattern draws the whole book into a coherent literary and ideological unit, and highlights the key principles of Christian ethics that it intends to convey.
13 5 2013
Andrason, Alex An Optative Indicative? A Real Factual Past? Toward A Cognitive-Typological Approach to the Precative Qatal
This article approaches the problem of the precative qatal in Biblical Hebrew from a cognitive and typological perspective. In keeping with the cognitive understanding of “meaning,” the article (re-)construes a plausible chaining procedure that relates the precative qatal to the prevailing indicative (perfect, perfective and past) domain of the gram. This chaining represents a typologically plausible scenario for rationalizing, on both conceptual and diachronic levels, the “spread” that can be observed from the central point of the network (the Proto-Semitic resultative proper sense) to the different values available in Biblical Hebrew. In this way, the article relates the two, superficially contradictory, semantic spheres (i.e., the perfect-perfective-past indicative and the precative), and advances a holistic-synchronic definition of the total semantic potential of the gram.
13 4 2013
Harrington, Hannah K. The Use of Leviticus in Ezra-Nehemiah
In light of the current disparity of views regarding the dating of Leviticus and Ezra-Nehemiah, this study revisits similar traditions found in these books in order to gain a sense of logical progression. The author calls attention to elements from Leviticus which are present in Ezra-Nehemiah but not found elsewhere in the Torah. She argues for the chronological priority of significant cultic traditions from Leviticus over their counterparts in Ezra-Nehemiah.
13 3 2013
Rezetko, Robert The Qumran Scrolls of the Book of Judges: Literary Formation, Textual Criticism, and Historical Linguistics
This is a pilot attempt to combine literary-critical, text-critical, and historical linguistic approaches in an analysis of selected linguistic variants between the MT and DSS with an application to the book of Judges. The result of this interdisciplinary exercise is that future research on the history of BH will have to contend more earnestly with the “fluidity” (or “changeability”) of language and the “non-directionality” (or “patternlessness”) of linguistic variants in biblical texts.
13 2 2013
Cataldo, Jeremiah W. Yahweh’s Breast: Interpreting Haggai’s Temple through Melanie Klein’s Projective Identification Theory
Haggai’s emphasis on the temple is driven more by a concern for a defensive preservation of social-political identity than it is for the institutional restoration of the cult. As a heuristic device, Melanie Klein's theory on projective identification helps identify constructivist elements in Haggai that highlight postures of defensive preservation as legitimations of the Jerusalem temple as a shared object. Haggai’s vision of a “restored” society is based on his belief that the symbolic value of the temple is a necessary, constructive element in the creation or manifestation of that society and its corresponding identity.
13 1 2013
Cornell, Collin R. God and the Sea in Job 38
This article argues that Job 38:8–11 emphasizes God’s control over the Sea while also reframing their relationship. The stanza affirms God’s power over the Sea by fronting a verb of constraint, looping into the previous stanza, and ending with the Sea’s limitation. The stanza reframes God’s relation to the Sea by casting the Sea as a newborn, contrasting its expulsion with its containment, depicting God swaddling it, addressing it personally, and anticipating aspects of the second divine speech.
12 18 2012
Winther-Nielsen, Nicolai Stones on Display in Joshua 6: The Linguistic Tree Constructor as a “PLOT” Tool
This article explores the usage and relevance of new persuasive technology for display and interpretation of complex linguistic data in Hebrew Bible texts. In discussion with recent studies, such as den Braber (2010), the article resorts to the Werkgroep Informatica database (WIVU) in the Linguistic Tree Constructor (LTC) in order to show how interpreters can display analyses based on the new “Connectivity Model” recently developed by Renkema (2009). This approach is exemplified through an analysis of the discourse structure of Joshua 6:5 and 6:15-20.
12 17 2012
Charney, Davida Keeping the Faithful: Persuasive Strategies in Psalms 4 and 62
Two pieces of rhetorical theory support reading Pss 4 and 62 as arguments to strayers to return to faithfulness. First, amplitude is devoted to direct address of strayers and directives for returning. Second, with positive identification, speakers connect to hearers with shared experiences and values; with negative identification, speakers repel hearers away from rivals by painting them as radical extremists. Modern rhetorical theory proves useful for addressing contested elements of the psalms.
12 16 2012
Knohl, Israel Psalm 68: Structure, Composition and Geography
This article discusses the composition, structure, and geography of Ps 68. An earlier form of the psalm is preserved in verses 5-34; the framing verses were added by the scribes responsible for the “Elohistic” Psalter. Ps 68:5-34 is characterized by a numerical pattern of 70 cola arranged concentrically. Contrary to the prevalent view, the psalm is not about the rivalry between mountains. “Sinai,” in this psalm, is not the name of a mountain but a divine name, and the battle referred to takes place in the area between Mt Bashan-Hermon and Mt Zalmon, i.e., in the Golan Heights.
12 15 2012
Gottlieb, Isaac B. Medieval Jewish Exegesis on Dual Incipits
This article examines the treatment of dual incipits in the Pentateuch by various representatives of medieval Jewish exegesis. Were dual openings identified as such? What explanations did those exegetes offer for dual formulae? The article contrasts the approach of medieval exegetes with contemporary scholarship, focusing on four instances of dual incipit in the Pentateuch: Exod 19:1–2; 35:1–5; Lev 16:1–2 and 23:1–4.
12 14 2012
Avioz, Michael The “Spring of the Year” (2 Chronicles 36:10) and the Chronicler's Sources
This article offers a detailed discussion of 2 Chronicles 36:10 and the differences with the parallel account in 2 Kings 24, focusing on the expression “the spring of the year,” which is present in Chronicles but absent from Kings. It argues that the differences between Chronicles and Kings cannot be explained either as representing exegetical changes or as reflecting a different Vorlage. Rather, as in this instance, such differences point to the fact that the Chronicler had access to sources that were not available to the authors of Kings.
12 13 2012
Assis, Elie The Structure of Zechariah 8 and its Meaning
This article claims that the collection of ten short oracles in Zechariah 8 is ordered in a well planned structure, and is meant to be read a meaningful sequence, even though each one is an independent entity. The article demonstrates a sophisticated structure of these oracles, and reveals the meaning of the structure.
12 12 2012
Cox, Benjamin D. and Susan Ackerman Micah's Teraphim
In publications in the 1990’s, K. van der Toorn and T.J. Lewis revived and argued persuasively for a reconstruction identifying the biblical תרפים as representations of a family’s deceased ancestors. In this paper, we look at the story of Micah’s תרפים in Judges 17-18 to suggest that this identification of the תרפים as ancestor figurines is well supported by and, indeed, clarifies certain details of the Micah account. Our interpretation also illuminates other תרפים accounts, for example, Rachel’s theft of her father Laban’s תרפים in Gen 31:19-35.
12 11 2012
de Jong, Matthijs J. The Fallacy of ‘True and False’ in Prophecy Illustrated by Jer 28:8–9
The understanding of biblical prophetic literature has been hindered by a presumed dichotomy between prophecy of salvation and prophecy of judgement. This can be illustrated by Jer 28:8-9. That text has always been interpreted on the basis of this dichotomy, but the result is a forced reading. This article proposes an alternative reading that suits better the text, the inner logic of ch. 28, and the traditions contained in chs. 27-29. The article further argues that the mentioned dichotomy has no base in historical prophecy.
12 10 2012
Hutton, Jeremy M. and Safwat Marzouk The Morphology of the tG-Stem in Hebrew and tirgaltî in Hos 11:3
This article examines the morphology of the BH word tirgaltî (Hos 11:3) in light of a study of the tG/Gt-stem in Semitic. We explain the word’s odd morphology as the result of its phonological environment in which the preceding word ended in a (long) vowel. Moreover, this study suggests that there was no tipʿel stem in BH; instead, the origin of the so-called tipʿel stem can be traced to the Semitic tG-stem, which remained semi-productive in some varieties of Hebrew (i.e., Israelian Hebrew).
12 9 2012
Andrason, Alexander Making It Sound—The Performative Qatal and its Explanation
The performative sense of the qatal is compatible with the remaining components of the semantic load offered by the gram. Employing a chaining procedure built on the framework of universal paths and adopting a cognitive perspective whereby the verbal meaning is a network of conceptually and diachronically related senses, the author demonstrates that since the qatal is defined as a manifestation of an anterior cline and since it is possible to posit a performative stage on this trajectory, the anterior cline may also accommodate the performative sense.
12 8 2012
Chapman, Cynthia R. “Oh that you were like a brother to me, one who had nursed at my mother’s breasts” Breast Milk as a Kinship-Forging Substance
This article builds on the work of anthropologists who focus milk kinship to demonstrate that biblical Hebrew narrative understands breast milk as a kinship-forging substance. The Bible presents breastfeeding as a process through which a mother or wet nurse confers upon an infant her own tribal identity and royal or priestly status. Breastfeeding narratives in the Bible bolster the hero’s royal or priestly credentials and establish his insider ethnicity.
12 7 2012
Oswald, Wolfgang Foreign Marriages and Citizenship in Persian Period Judah
The prohibition of foreign marriages in the HB disqualifies both, wives and their offspring. Similar laws from Greek cities suggest that membership in the popular assembly was the problem behind, since sons of citizens gained citizenship rights when of age. Wealthy people were able to enhance their stance by marrying several wives. The parallel development suggests that Persian period Israel was organized like Greek cities: as an association of persons. Such polities need to control membership.
12 6 2012
Evans, Paul S. History in the Eye of the Beholder? Social Location and Allegations of Racial/Colonial Biases in Reconstructions of Sennacherib’s Invasion of Judah
Studies by A.O. Bellis and H.T. Aubin have criticized scholars for failing to acknowledge the role of Africans in the ‘deliverance’ of Jerusalem from the Assyrian threat in 701 BCE due to racial bias and the continuing influence of 19th century colonial scholarship. This article examines their arguments in detail and demonstrates that the evidence does not support their hypothesis. Furthermore, this article considers to what extent social location as well as racial and political bias affect biblical scholarship, and particularly reconstructions of history.
12 5 2012
Lipschits, Oded Archaeological Facts, Historical Speculations and the Date of the LMLK Storage Jars: A Rejoinder to David Ussishkin
Two substantially different approaches concerning the phenomenon of the Judahite stamped jars, as well as about underlying methodologies for their study, have been advanced in recent research. This article documents the points of dispute and discusses their implications for critical assessments of the connections between archaeological facts and their interpretation along with their general significance regarding our understanding of the history of Judah in the late 8th and 7th centuries BCE.
12 4 2012
Berge, Kåre Literacy, Utopia and Memory: Is There a Public Teaching in Deuteronomy?
The “teaching program” in Deuteronomy presupposes a degree of general literacy that goes beyond what was possible at the time of its production. This article investigates the possibility of seeing this program as a utopia meant for the reading elite rather than for the public. This is a desire in which “historically situated actors seek to reimagine their present and transform it into a plausible future”. It is a vision of a reading community based on the explication of the Book of the Torah of Moses.
12 3 2012
Bridge, Edward J. Female Slave vs Female Slave: אָמָה and שִׁפְחָה in the HB
This study of אָמָה and שִׁפְחָה shows that there is no inherent distinction in meaning between the two terms, due to the intertwining of context of use and text genre. Both are used for slave wives in Genesis, in legislation contexts, in deferential language by women, in property lists, and in relation to the master or mistress. Yet patterns of use occur. אָמָה predominates in legislation and marriage contexts; and שִׁפְחָה predominates in Genesis and when generally designating female slaves.
12 2 2012
Wolters, Al The Meaning of ṢANTĔRÔT (Zech 4:12)
This article reviews the main suggestions that have been made for the term. Against a common view, it argues that it refers not to ‘ pipes’ but to ‘oil-pressers.’
12 1 2012
Stackert, Jeffrey Compositional Strata in the Priestly Sabbath: Exodus 31:12-17 and 35:1-3
This article challenges the conclusions of recent studies that have attributed the entirety of Exodus 31:12–17 and 35:1–3 either to a Holiness (H) author or another post-Priestly author. It offers a new redactional analysis of these Sabbath texts, arguing that each contains an earlier Priestly (P) stratum that was subsequently expanded by H. It identifies a P stratum by giving close attention to the narrative features in these pericopes and their participation in the larger historical claims of P. Attention to such narrative qualities is then usefully combined with stylistic and theological elements to identify the secondary stratum in these units as an H composition.
11 15 2011
Holmstedt, Robert D. The Typological Classification of the Hebrew of Genesis: Subject-Verb or Verb-Subject?
Biblical Hebrew allows a great deal of variation in the order of words within a clause: the Verb can precede the Subject and vice-versa, the Object can precede or follow both the Subject and the Verb, and adverbs and prepositional phrases can be thrown into a variety of positions. To the reader word order often seems to be random, but grammarians have long agreed that it is not random or ‘free’. Describing precisely what determines the order of words, though, remains an elusive task. Yet, it is universally understood that determining a rhyme and reason for the variation exhibited in the biblical texts would provide access to subtle linguistic cues the ancient authors used to get their message across. And so many Hebraists have attempted to identify the patterns. As with all investigations, though, the initial assumptions strongly influence the conclusions and for Hebrew word order studies the almost universal starting point has been to assume a basic Verb-Subject order. In this essay I challenge this assumption, thereby potentially undercutting the methodologies and conclusions of the vast majority of existing word order studies. I introduce, describe, and illustrate the typological linguistic criteria for determining basic word order and conclude, contrary to near-consensus position, that Biblical Hebrew is better classified as a Subject-Verb language.
11 14 2011
Sutskover, Talia Lot and His Daughters (Gen 19:30–38). Further Literary and Stylistic Examinations
Although the biblical text contains no explicit condemnation of the sexual act that takes place between Lot and his daughters in Gen 19:30-38, this article suggest that analysis of micro-structures and stylistic patterns may reveal that a negative impression of this sexual act lurks sotto voce in the text. A literary analysis shows that repetitions of terms from the semantic fields of kinship and sexual intercourse provide special emphasis to the theme of a sexual act occurring between father and daughters. Instead of the expected relations in which fathers own their daughters, the daughters depicted here possess and manipulate their father. Moreover, taking into account that the general initiative and focalization are assigned to the elder sister, the constructed narrative pattern departs from the more common biblical pattern in which the younger siblings are more dominant and theologically prominent. While some scholars have suggested that the daughters had no choice, and even acted heroically, the analysis suggested here may lead to a reading that considers the reported sexual acts as negative and uncommon among Israelites.
11 13 2011
Finkelstein, Israel, Ido Koch and Oded Lipschits The Mound on the Mount: A Possible Solution to the “Problem with Jerusalem”
Following Knauf's suggestion (2000), the article raises the possibility that in most periods in the second and first millennia BCE the main built-up area of Jerusalem was limited to a mound on the Temple Mount. This mound, which may have covered an area of five hectares and more, was boxed-in under the Herodian platform. At these periods activity in the City of David ridge was restricted to the area near the Gihon spring. In the Iron IIB and late Hellenistic Periods the fortified settlement expanded simultaneously to both the City of David ridge and the southwestern hill. In these two periods there was no need to fortify the western side of the City of David, as this line ran in the middle of the city.
11 12 2011
Shalom-Guy, Hava The Call Narratives of Gideon and Moses: Literary Convention or More?
Comparison of the Gideon (Judg 6:11–24) and Moses (Exod 3:1–15) call narratives raises the question of whether they are different manifestations of the same literary convention—a biblical “type-scene” of appointment and investiture—or display literary dependence. I suggest that their affinity goes beyond the shared features of the call-narrative convention and argue that the author of the Gideon narrative deliberately created direct literary links between the protagonist’s investiture and that of Moses—the archetypical biblical leader—as a means of elevating Gideon’s stature.
11 11 2011
Wallace, Robert E. The Narrative Effect of Psalms 84–89
As the reader encounters Book III of the Psalter, the disorientation of exile challenges the psalmists’ attempts to find hope in traditional elements of faith. Within a canonical context of exile, the hymns of celebration found in Pss 84–89 become ironic expressions of a grieving Israel looking to reorient their theology by appealing to Temple, land, and Davidic covenant. Those traditional elements, however, are no longer capable of providing hope. This prepares the reader for return to Moses and Mosaic covenant in Book IV. Davidic kingship and Zion gives way to Yahweh as king, enthroned forever.
11 10 2011
van Wolde, Ellen and Robert Rezetko Semantics and the Semantics of ברא: A Rejoinder to the Arguments Advanced by B. Becking and M. Korpel
Becking and Korpel argued that ברא should be construed as “to construct.” Van Wolde and Rezetko respond to their arguments with a critical review of earlier biblical studies, reflections on biblical and extra-biblical semantics including studies of verbs expressing “separation-events,” etymological studies including evidence from Samaritan texts, and a more complete analysis of various Biblical Hebrew verbs and proper names. These studies lead to the conclusion that Van Wolde's proposal that ברא should be construed as “to spatially separate” remains a viable explanation for the semantics of this verb.
11 9 2011
Andrason, Alexander Biblical Hebrew Wayyiqtol: A Dynamic Definition
A concise, non-reductionist and non-taxonomist synchronically valid definition of the Biblical Hebrew wayyiqtol is based on findings of evolutionary linguistics and panchronic methodology. The author demonstrates the following: all semantic and functional properties (such as taxis, aspectual, temporal, modal and discourse-pragmatic values) of the wayyiqtol may be unified and rationalized as a single dynamic category: advanced portions of the anterior and simultaneous trajectories developed within the three temporal spheres and, additionally, contextualized by the incorporation of an originally independent lexeme with a coordinative-consecutive force.
11 8 2011
Frisch, Amos Comparison With David as a Means of Evaluating Character in the Book of Kings
Comparison with David is a literary device employed throughout the book of Kings as a way to assess the kings whose deeds are recounted in the book (both kings of Judah and at least Jehu of Israel). Explicit comparisons to David are linked to literary allusions to him and understood as a single basic phenomenon. The comparisons also include a sophisticated system of inverted analogies (among David, Solomon and Jeroboam).
11 7 2011
Ganzel, Tova The Shattered Dream. The Prophecies of Joel: A Bridge between Ezekiel and Haggai?
Using a linguistic-topical examination, this article suggests that Joel’s prophecies reflect the historical reality in the land of Israel immediately following Cyrus’ Declaration (538 BCE); namely, the early days of the restoration period, preceding the building of the Temple, and perhaps even of the altar. From this perspective Joel fills the lacuna in prophetic literature between Ezekiel, whose latest prophecies date to c. 570 BCE, and Haggai and Zechariah, whose earliest prophecies date to the second year of Darius’ reign, 520 BCE.
11 6 2011
Garsiel, Moshe David’s Elite Warriors and Their Exploits in the Books of Samuel and Chronicles
This article examines various descriptions of David and his warriors. Whereas the early pro-monarchic author of David’s story glorifies his military activity, the later anti-monarchic author of Samuel diminishes the admiration by revealing that Abishai saved his King’s life, and the king was banned from fighting activity. The warriors’ anecdotes disclose that David’s killing of Goliath was far from being unmatched; other warriors killed the Rephaim giants as well. In Chronicles, however, the rosters of David’s heroes demonstrate the comprehensive support of his accession, while his heroes’ exploits are part of his warfare against the Philistines. The booty of war was instrumental in building the temple.
11 5 2011
Bachmann, Veronika The Book of The Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36): An Anti-Mosaic, Non-Mosaic, or Even Pro-Mosaic Writing?
The Book of the Watchers (BW) is generally considered a non-Mosaic if not an anti-Mosaic writing. In more recent research, discussions on the meaning of such labels are ever so prevalent. Nevertheless, the positions do not move far beyond the common patterns of interpretation. The present paper explores the different presuppositions and arguments supporting the assumption of the non- or even anti-Mosaic character of the BW and proposes a reading beyond the antagonism “Enochic” versus “Mosaic.”
11 4 2011
Campos, Martha E. Structure and Meaning in the Third Vision of Amos (7:7–17)
This article argues that meaning in Amos’s third vision is encoded in its structure and poetics. The dynamic of a chiasm in vv 11c–17 simulates the vision’s object and metaphor: the tin wall. Built on concepts from Kings and Jeremiah, the whole text is deuteronomistic. A variety of known difficulties in Amos 7:7–17 are addressed (e.g., the solution to the wordplay, Amos’s denial, the anomaly of the Amaziah narrative, the lack of reference to Assyria, and Jeroboam’s relationship to the sword).
11 3 2011
Doak, Brian R. “Some Worthless and Reckless Fellows”: Landlessness and Parasocial Leadership in Judges
In this essay, I argue that the narratives in Judges 9, 11, and 18 should be read as examples of “parasocial” leadership in the Iron Age Levant. Specific characters such as Abimelek and Jephthah are parasocial leaders whose existence fits within known categories of regional social change. By extension, Judges may be read as the most sustained literary product in the ancient Near East depicting a world of habiru-like actors generating political transformation.
11 2 2011
Assis, Elie Zechariah 8 and its Allusions to Jeremiah 30–33 and Deutero-Isaiah
This article argues that the first eight oracles in Zechariah 8:2–19 are based on the ideas and vocabulary of Jeremiah 30–33, while the last two oracles, vv 20–23, have no parallel in Jeremiah, but correspond to oracles of the anonymous prophet in Isaiah 40–66. Zechariah selectively used and adapted the material of his predecessors, in order to address the specific social and political reality of his generation. The ways in which this process was carried out are assessed in this article.
11 1 2011
Finkelstein, Israel Archaeology as a High Court in Ancient Israelite History: A Reply to Nadav Na’aman
This is a rejoinder to N. Na'aman, "Does Archaeology Really Deserve the Status of A ‘High Court’ in Biblical and Historical Research?," B. Becking and L.L. Grabbe (eds.) Between Evidence and Ideology (OtSt, 59; Leiden: Brill, 165–183) that claims that although archaeological evidence can be fragmentary and may be misinterpreted, when solid data from well-excavated sites is compared to assumptions regarding the nature of biblical texts and their date of compilation, the former should prevail, at least until tested by new archaeological evidence or extra-biblical texts.
10 19 2010
Samet, Nili “The Tallest Man Cannot Reach Heaven; the Broadest Man Cannot Cover Earth” – Reconsidering the Proverb and its Biblical Parallels
An ancient Mesopotamian proverb states: "even the tallest man cannot reach heaven; even the broadest man cannot cover earth". This proverb, occurring in different contexts, periods and versions, expresses the limitedness of the human ability, physically as well as mentally. The proverb seems to stand at the background of several biblical passages, especially Deut 30:11–13; Amos 9:2–3; Job 11:8–9; Job 28:12–22; and Ps 139:8–10. This article seeks to re-examine the different manifestations of the proverb, and to trace the development of the topoi reflected in it, with a focus on their adaptation in the Hebrew Bible.
10 18 2010
Melvin, David P. Divine Mediation and the Rise of Civilization in Mesopotamian Literature and in Genesis 1–11
An analysis of the portrayal of the origins of human civilization in Mesopotamian literature, in comparison with that of Genesis 1–11, reveals discontinuity with regard to the divine mediation of civilization. In Mesopotamian texts, civilization is of divine origin and is mediated to humans from the divine sphere, whereas in Genesis 1–11 civilization is of human origin and is associated with the downward spiral of humanity, resulting from the human acquisition of illicit divine “knowledge” in Genesis 3.
10 17 2010
Frankel, David El as the Speaking Voice in Psalm 82:6–8
YHWH is usually understood to play two roles in Psalm 82: that of prosecutor of the gods (vv 2–5) and that of high judge who convicts the gods to death (vv 6–7). This article suggests that the role of the high judge is played not by YHWH but by El. YHWH serves as prosecutor of the gods in El's court. In this reading YHWH speaks only in vv 2–5. In vv 6–8 El offers his verdict, after hearing the testimony of YHWH against the gods. After sentencing the gods of his council to death (vv 6–7), El appoints YHWH to rule the world in their place (v 8).
10 16 2010
Assis, Elie Zechariah 8 As Revision and Digest of Zechariah 1–7
It is generally accepted that Zech 1–8 consists of two distinct sections: Zech 1–6 and Zech 7–8. This article argues that the main divide is between chapters 1–7 and ch. 8. Zech 8 is a collection of oracles that offers a revision and digest of sections of the previous chapters in Zech 1–7. These oracles re-quote key phrases of units in Zech 1–7, re-word similar ideas, or use different wordings for similar ideas. Texts in Zech 8, at times, modify those they parallel or complete them. In addition, this article shows that a characteristic feature of many of the literary units in chapter 8, in comparison with chapters 1–7, is that they emphasize greater hope and comfort.
10 15 2010
Vermeulen, Karolien Eeny Meeny Miny Moe. Who Is The Craftiest To Go?
Previous research on Gen 3:15b, known as part of God’s curse to the snake, has highlighted the interpretation difficulties with regard to the verb שוף. However, the ambiguity involves more words as well as the grammar of the verse. This article revisits the curse proposing an ambiguous reading as the Hebrew text offers it. First, the lexical ambiguity of the words שוף, ראש, and עקב enters multiple ideas of hurting, guarding, threatening and blowing; head and poison; heel and crafty trickster. Secondly, the grammatical structure of the verse adds to the indefinite nature. The words ראש and עקב can function as relative accusatives as in the traditional rendering or as vocatives or appositions to subject or object. Thirdly, the deliberate confusion allows connecting small and larger narratological units. It reveals a play between two characters, the snake and God, trying to outclass each other in terms of craftiness. Thus, the ambiguous language in Gen 3:15b is not a problem; it is the key to interpretation.
10 14 2010
Miller, Marvin Lloyd Nehemiah 5: A Response to Philippe Guillaume
This a response to Philippe Guillaume’s recent article (“Nehemiah 5: No Economic Crisis,” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 10 [2010], article 8). With Guillaume, I hold the position that the crisis was episodic rather than structural, temporary rather than systemic. We differ, however, on which sociological model best illuminates the text and therefore, we reach different conclusions about the socio-economic circumstances of the time.
10 13 2010
Hutzli, Jürg Tradition and Interpretation in Gen 1:1–2:4a
In the beginning of the 20th century several scholars (B. Stade, F. Schwally, J. Morgenstern) argued that Gen 1:1–2:4a consists of two different layers: one containing a “Tatbericht” (account of the divine act) and the other consisting of a “Wortbericht” (account of the creative divine word). This view became dominant in scholarship. However, the detailed study of O.H. Steck (1975) arguing for the literary unity of the story marked an important turning-point, the impact of which continues to be felt strongly today. This article critically examines the arguments of Steck, especially his interpretation of the “ ויהי כן -formula” ("and it was so"). This is followed by observations of important differences of specific motifs and particularities of language between the "divine-word"-statements and "divine-act"-statements. For example, in the "word-account" God collaborates with other entities such as the firmament, sea, earth, but the "act-account" attributes creative activity to God alone. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the "word-account" represents the older “skeleton” of Gen 1, while the "act-layer" consists of later additions that refine the earlier account with their own theological accents. Since the vocabulary and the theological view of the later "act-statements" can be associated with the priestly document (Pg), the early "divine word account" should be taken as another sign (in addition to, for instance, Gen 5)that P is based on – at least to some extent – identifiable sources.
10 12 2010
Landy, Francis Three Sides of a Coin: In Conversation with Ben Zvi And Nogalski, Two Sides of a Coin
This is a response to E. Ben Zvi and J. D. Nogalski, Two Sides of a Coin: Juxtaposing Views on Interpreting the Book of the Twelve/The Twelve Prophetic Books (Gorgias Press, 2009). Nogalski is a major proponent of the thesis that the Twelve Minor Prophets are a redactional unity, while Ben Zvi is its most forthright sceptic. After summarizing the views of both scholars, the author introduces some considerations from his perspective as a literary critic. In particular, he contends that: i) the question of literary unity is an extremely fraught one; ii)arguments for the unity of the Twelve tend to ignore contrast; and iii) the hypothesis that the Twelve were redacted as a book raises acutely not only the methodological difference between redaction-critical and reader-oriented approaches, but also the question of whether prophets were poets, characterized by literary daring. The article concludes with reflections on models of reading in antiquity, and the opposition between metanarratives and marginality.
10 11 2010
Andrason, Alexander The Panchronic Yiqtol: Functionally Consistent and Cognitively Plausible
This article demonstrates that applying the panchronic methodology (based on the grammaticalization and path theories as well as on principles of cognitive linguistics) all apparently heterogeneous meanings provided by the BH yiqtol can be explained as manifestations of a consistent phenomenon. The yiqtol may be defined as portions of the imperfective and modal ability paths which jointly derive from a single lexically transparent and cognitively plausible input, a reduplicated participle as reconstructed for the PS *yaqattal. The author shows that the BH construction is a direct functional descendent of the PS *yaqattal which, after having suffered several analogical processes, was superficially modified to a shape based on the *yaqtul-u finally yielding the BH yiqtol.
10 10 2010
Olyan, Saul M. (ed.) In Conversation With Joshua A. Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke With Ancient Political Thought (Oxford University Press, 2008).
This contribution emerges out of a session devoted to a critical assessment of the book that took place at the 2009 SBL Annual Meeting. It includes Joshua Berman, “Created Equal: Main Claims and Methodological Assumptions,” Susan Ackerman, “Only Men are Created Equal, ”Norman Gottwald, “Between Diachronic and Synchronic Approaches,” Saul M. Olyan, “Equality and Inequality in the Socio-Political Visions of the Pentateuch’s Sources,” and Joshua Berman, “A Response: Three Points of Methodology”
10 9 2010
Guillaume, Philippe Nehemiah 5: No Economic Crisis
The crisis described in Nehemiah 5 serves as the literary backdrop for the presentation of Nehemiah as the paradigmatic generous patron. Current social-scientific exegesis of the HB tends to use Nehemiah 5 to support the notion of a structural economic crisis in Yehud. This article argues that Nehemiah 5 and these social-scientific readings make excellent theology but poor economic history.
10 8 2010
Hobson, Russell Jeremiah 41 and the Ammonite Alliance
This article explores the possibility that a polemic between disempowered Davidic and emerging Saulide groups motivated the murder of Gedaliah and the 70 pilgrims in Jeremiah 41. The discussion is informed by evidence from the Judean/Aramean settlements at Elephantine and Syene, and an analysis of the role of Ammon as presented here and in the Deuteronomistic History.
10 7 2010
Shemesh, Yael “And Many Beasts” (Jonah 4:11): The Function and Status of Animals in the Book of Jonah
This article examines the special role and function of animals in the book of Jonah. Throughout the book, all elements of creation (natural forces, flora and fauna) serve as emissaries of the Lord. Among animals, this applies specifically to the “great fish” and the worm. Their subjection to God’s will contrasts with the behavior of His human messenger, Jonah, who runs away and tries to evade his mission. At the end of the book animals are viewed as part of the penitent community and an object for divine forgiveness, alongside the human citizens of Nineveh. In fact, the book’s concluding words are “many beasts,” who also merit God’s mercy. I believe there may be a link between the role of animals in the story as divine emissaries and their special status as members of the community and as worthy of divine compassion.
10 6 2010
Garsiel, Moshe The Book of Samuel: Its Composition, Structure and Significance as a Historiographical Source
The book of Samuel contains ancient and original materials and both main versions were composed as early as the tenth century BCE. But the earlier of the two versions was edited and integrated within the latter enlarged one, and eventually lost its separate existence. Despite some late additions, minor changes, and even copyists’ errors; despite the slight and limited interventions of the Deuteronomistic editorial work; and despite the difference in the theological and social agenda of its two earlier authors, the book of Samuel in its last version still remains the earliest comprehensive source which integrates various original documents and testimonies of ancient time and especially of the transition from the period of the Judges to the period of the united monarchy.
10 5 2010
Kletter, Raz and Gideon Solimani Archaeology and Professional Ethical Codes in Israel in the mid 80s: The Case of the Association of Archaeologists in Israel and Its Code of Ethics
This article deals with the (relatively) short-lived Association of Archaeologists in Israel and its Code of Ethics. By doing so, it sheds light on an episode in the history of Israeli archaeology that has not received much attention in research.
10 4 2010
Becking, Bob and Marjo C.A. Korpel To Create, to Separate or to Construct: An Alternative for a Recent Proposal as to the Interpretation of ברא in Gen 1:1–2:4a
Recently, Ellen van Wolde has proposed that the Hebrew verb ברא in Genesis 1 should be understood as ‘(to) separate.’ She also suggests that this is a new proposal. In this article, we maintain: (1) The idea has roots in nineteenth century scholarship; (2) the proposal is week from an etymological perspective; (3) an understanding of ברא as ‘(to) separate’ does not take into account that ברא is not used with prepositions; (4) as far as we can see— and contrary to Van Wolde’s statement— an active participle of the verb ברא meaning ‘creator’ does occur in Biblical Hebrew; (5) the ‘sea-monsters’ are not separated from the other marine animals; (6) a survey of parallelisms and word-pairs yields that the verb ברא was part of a semantic field characterized by ‘building; constructing; making;’ (7) there is no phrase or sentence in the HB in which ברא must be translated as ‘(to) separate’. Finally we offer the alternative to render ברא with ‘(to) construct’ as means to indicate that Genesis 1 praised the divine construction of cosmos and life, while at the same time avoided an anthropomorphism that the use of the verb בנה might have raised.
10 3 2010
Broida, Marian Closure in Samson
In recent decades several scholars have argued for the coherence of Judges 13–16 based on its multiple internal thematic and structural parallels. Yet previous generations of scholars considered Judges 13–16 to be a loose cycle of stories. Exploration of the narrative’s closural mechanisms suggests two primary reasons that the episodes strike readers as disconnected: powerful closural devices at the ends of some individual units, particularly evident in 15:17–20, and a relative lack of cohesive ties between units, especially with regard to consistently-portrayed supporting characters and references to Samson’s hair. Samson’s redactors chose to build elaborate webs of thematic and structural connections rather than make a few simple changes that would enhance readers’ perception of a continuous plot. One plausible reason is that the redactors prioritized structural unity—specifically, a large-scale if atypical ring composition—over a coherent plot, with verse 15:20 enhancing, not hindering, the reader’s sense of coherence.
10 2 2010
Amar Zohar, Ram Bouchnick and Guy Bar-Oz The Contribution of Archaeozoology to the Identification of the Ritually Clean Ungulates Mentioned in The Hebrew Bible
This article shows the contribution that archaeozoological studies may bring to the identification of animals mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, by focusing on the ten clean ungulate species whose flesh is permitted to be eaten according to Deut 14:4–5.
10 1 2010
Van Seters, John A Response to G. Aichelle, P. Miscall and R. Walsh, “An Elephant in the Room: Historical-Critical and the Postmodern Interpretations of the Bible”
Van Seters's personal response to the recent article by G. Aichele, P. Miscall and R. Walsh, “An Elephant in the Room: Historical-Critical and Postmodern Interpretations of the Bible” (JBL 128 [2009], pp. 383–404) and to the authors's invitation for a conversation among historical-critical and postmodern biblical scholars. hypertext version
9 26 2009
Savran, George Multivocality in Group Speech in Biblical Narrative
While group speech in biblical narrative is generally expressed as a single voice, in certain cases the plain sense of the text is improved by discerning a number of different voices at work. While these voices are unmarked, they are clearly sensed in the cases discussed here, and their presence adds significantly to the dramatic force of the text. In addition to the well known case of Saul and the young women at the well in 2 Sam 9:11–13, there are a number of instances in the Joseph story in Genesis 37 and 42 in which the brothers' speeches reflect multiple voices, providing a fuller picture of their disagreements. In Jonah 1:8 the sailors interrogate Jonah in what appears to be a cacophony of voices, and David's return to Jerusalem in 1 Sam 19 is punctuated by verbal disagreements among the Israelites, most noticeably in 2 Sam 19:10–11. hypertext version
9 25 2009
Finkelstein, Israel Persian Period Jerusalem and Yehud: A Rejoinder
This is a rejoinder to several recently published articles which take issue with my views on Persian period Jerusalem and Yehud. The article deals with methodological issues such as inconsistencies between archaeology and text and the meaning of negative evidence in archaeology. On the factual level, with the available data at hand, I see no reason to change my views : Persian period Jerusalem covered ca. 2–2.5 hectares, and both the description of the construction of the city-wall in Nehemiah 3 and the List of Returnees in Ezra and Nehemiah probably reflect late Hellenistic (Hasmonean) period realities. hypertext version
9 24 2009
Renz, Thomas A Perfectly Broken Acrostic in Nahum 1?
Responding to recent scholarship which discounts apparent traces of an alphabetic acrostic in Nahum 1 as purely coincidental, this essay argues that earlier scholarship was right to detect a tendency towards an alphabetic acrostic in Nahum 1. But while previously the disruptions to the alphabetic sequence were considered an imperfection caused by lack of concern on the part of the poet or a later redactor or as the result of copying mistakes in the transmission of the text, I suggest that the tendency towards an acrostic and the irregularities belong to a single purposeful design. This design communicates a message of disrupted order and fits well with the remainder of the book of Nahum. hypertext version
9 23 2009
Vermeulen, Karolien To See or Not To See. The Polysemy of the Word עין in the Isaac Narratives (Gen 17–35)
This article discusses the polysemy of the word עין in the Isaac narratives (Gen 17–35). The word's given ambivalent nature is exploited on every level. It fits the major themes in the Isaac story as well as the small nuances in individual sentences. As such it illustrates the potential power of polysemy and its multiple, so to say polysemous, role in biblical narrative. hypertext version
9 22 2009
Pinker, Aron Intrusion of Ptolemaic Reality on Cultic Practices in Qoh 4:17
A new interpretation is offered for Qoh 4:17 that highlights the Sitz im Leben of the Ptolemaic regime. Qoh 4:17, though couched in cultic terms and with a Temple setting, contains allusions to the Ptolemaic reality of spies and informers who helped the Ptolemaic administration exact heavy taxes. It is shown that this dual level (cultic and non-cultic) meaning persists in the unit Qoh 4:17–5:6. hypertext version
9 21 2009
Lipschits, Oded Persian Period Finds from Jerusalem: Facts and Interpretations
The Babylonian, Persian and early Hellenistic periods are unique in the history of Judah. They represent a kind of "interlude" between two periods of greatness and political independence. This article discusses the archaeological finds from Jerusalem in the Persian and Early Hellenistic periods. It includes an assessment of the scope of the built-up area of the city, and an estimate of the city's population, on the basis of the archaeological data. This article's emphasis on the importance of the Ophel hill as the main built-up area in the Persian and Early Hellenistic period is unique in present archaeological and historical research of ancient Jerusalem. hypertext version
9 20 2009
Holmstedt, Robert D. אני ולבי-The Syntactic Encoding of the Collaborative Nature of Qohelet's Experiment
The language of the book of Qohelet has both intrigued and frustrated generations of scholars due to its abundant orthographic, morphological, syntactic, and lexical peculiarities. One linguistic feature that has not received proper attention, however, is the presence and syntactic position of the first-person subject pronoun אני, e.g., 1:16 דברתי אני עם־לבי. The independent subject pronoun is variously described as pleonastic, a strategy for emphasizing the subject, and a strategy for marking an important narrative point. However, none of these descriptions accurately describe its use in the book, and so in this essay I will address the syntax and function of Qohelet's use of the first-person subject pronouns. hypertext version
9 19 2009
Knauf, Ernst Axel Observations on Judah's Social and Economic History and the Dating of the Laws in Deuteronomy
Nadav Na'aman's recent dating of the Deuteronomic Law by social history is methodologically seminal, even if I disagree with the substance of his argument. In this article, I advance the case that the care of Deuteronomy for the “displaced Judahite” (גר) fits the 6th century much better than the 7th, as Na'aman argues. hypertext version
9 18 2009
Person Jr., Raymond F. (ed.) In Conversation With Thomas Römer, The So-Called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical And Literary Introduction (London: T. & T. Clark, 2005).
This conversation with Thomas Römer, The So-Called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical and Literary Introduction (London: T. & T. Clark, 2005) began in a special session of the Deuteronomistic History section of the Society of Biblical Literature at the SBL annual meeting held in November 2008, in Boston, MA. It includes an introduction by the editor and contributions by Richard Nelson, Steven McKenzie, Eckart Otto, and Yairah Amit. It concludes with a response by Thomas Römer. hypertext version
9 17 2009
Guillaume, Philippe Lamentations 5: The Seventh Acrostic
Six complete alphabetic acrostics structure the first chapters of the book of Lamentations. Midrash Eikhah Rabbah suggests that there are seven acrostics. In the footsteps of Siegfried Bergler and of Azriel Rosenfeld, this article identified another four letters of the puzzle. hypertext version
9 16 2009
Becking, Bob God-Talk for a Disillusioned Pilgrim in Psalm 121
In Psalm 121, a post-exilic Psalm of Ascent, a shift is observable from “I”-forms to “you”-forms that refer to the pilgrim. This transition is best explained by (1) interpreting the ‘mountains’; in verse 1 as symbols of threat, (2) construing verse 2 as an expression of traditional faith that has became obsolete, and (3) reading verses 3–8 as Gold-talk by someone else to help the disillusioned pilgrim to cope with the fragility of human life. hypertext version
9 15 2009
Olyan, Saul M. The Ascription of Physical Disability as a Stigmatizing Strategy in Biblical Iconic Polemics
Physical disabilities such as blindness, lameness, muteness and deafness are sometimes ascribed to “idols” in biblical polemic as a means to devalue them. This paper explores the ascription of physical disability as one of a number of stigmatizing strategies used by biblical writers to denigrate iconic worship. I am particularly interested in what the attribution of physical disability contributes to iconic polemic that might be lacking in other stigmatizing strategies such as emphasizing the material or manufactured nature of “idols.” hypertext version
9 14 2003
Gow, Andrew C. The Contested History of a Book: The German Bible of the Later Middle Ages and Reformation in Legend, Ideology, and Scholarship
The wide distribution and availability of German and other vernacular Bible translations in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with 22 printed full Bible translations into German/Low German/Netherlandish appearing before Luther's famous Bible translation, has been known to scholars since at least the early eighteenth century, when various works on German Bibles before the Reformation began to appear. However, the existence of such translations did not guarantee that scholars, especially church historians and historians of the Reformation took such Bible translations seriously. Luther himself had claimed (polemically) that the Bible had been entirely unknown and unavailable when he was a young man. The rather dispassionate scholarship of the eighteenth century, which included important works on pre-Reformation German Bibles by orthodox Lutheran divines, gave way in the second half of the nineteenth century to a rather bitter polemical discourse in the context of the Kulturkampf in Germany. Luther the linguistic genius and Luther the theological hero were the protagonists on one side; the late medieval Bible, on which Luther drew heavily for his own translation, was on the other. Not so much a Catholic-Lutheran debate as an ideological one about the place, value and influence of medieval piety and culture (and their relation to German national culture) was played out by prominent church historians. By the eve of WWII, German Bible scholarship had become a more clear-eyed exercise in historical evaluation--yet immediately after the war, in the context of the Cold War and the construction of a lineage of democratic and liberty-oriented values for Christian western Europe, the Luther Bible began to loom ever larger, especially in textbooks and general surveys, as a turning point in the history of western culture. Since the 1990s, more specialized and careful assessments of the importance of pre-Reformation German Bibles have prevailed, perhaps as part of a general re-evaluation of medieval culture and piety from perspectives informed more by anthropology and literary theory than by ideological polemic. These findings might shed light on the modes of history-writing in the contexts of both myth-making and source analysis. hypertext version
9 13 2009
Kennedy, James M. Psalm 29 as Semiotic System: A Linguistic Reading
This study is an attempt to read Psalm 29 through the interpretive lens of insights taken from Czech structuralist and Russian Formalist literary theory. These two perspectives on literature share the theoretical perspective that a poetic work may be analyzed on the analogy of a structuralist approach to the study of a natural language. The article advocates a reading of Psalm 29 in which its own internal structure—its own set (Einstellung)—expresses not so much what it means but how it means. hypertext version
9 12 2009
Boda, Mark J. (ed.) In Conversation with Steven Schweitzer, Reading Utopia in Chronicles (LHBOTS, 442; London: T. & T. Clark International, 2007)
This conversation with Steven Schweitzer, Reading Utopia in Chronicles (LHBOTS, 442; London: T. & T. Clark International, 2008) began in a special session of the Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah Section of the Society of Biblical Literature held at the SBL annual meeting in November 2007 in San Diego, California. It includes an introduction by the editor and two contributions, one by the editor and Matthew Forrest Lowe and another by Roland Boer, and concludes with a response by Steven Schweitzer. hypertext version
9 11 2009
Gilmour, Rachelle Suspense and Anticipation in 1 Samuel 9:1–14
1 Sam 9:1–10:16 has been the subject of intense literary critical interest as scholars have grappled with the sudden appearance of the prophet Samuel in a folk tale of Saul searching for his lost donkeys. Literary approaches to the text have proposed that Samuel's entry into the story is a literary device designed to surprise the reader. This paper demonstrates that Samuel's entrance into the narrative is not in isolation but is the culmination of suspense and anticipation built up throughout 1 Sam 9:1–14. This suspense is generated through a series of episodes which each consist of a pattern of anticipation, delay and resolution. The recognition of this structure of suspense allows for a reinterpretation of two anomalous verses within the narrative: the list of place names in 9:4 and the editorial insertion of 9:9. hypertext version
9 10 2009
Timmer, Daniel The Intertextual Israelite Jonah Face À L'empire: The Post-Colonial Significance of The Book's Cotexts and Purported Neo-Assyrian Context
Jonah's use of various antecedent HB texts and its purported Neo-Assyrian setting are prominent hermeneutical signposts that are integral to the book. Until now, however, the former question has not received sustained attention and the latter has been obscured by disagreement over the book's historical veracity. This paper broadens the scope of postcolonialist discussion by considering empire through the Israelite perspective that Jonah affords and through the Neo-Assyrian literature dealing with its conquest of nation-states in the first half of the first millennium BCE. Special attention is given to how Jonah the prophet and Jonah the book attribute different identities to the different groups that appear in the book and to the book's intertextual connections to other parts of the Hebrew Bible. The paper closes by reflecting on ways that different means of identification entail different responses to power.
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 3 in this volume.
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9 9 2009
Spronk, Klaas Jonah, Nahum, and the Book of the Twelve: A Response to Jakob Wöhrle
In discussion with Wöhrle's analysis in the previous article of this set, it is maintained that both the book of Jonah and the book of Nahum should be read as a unit. The book of Jonah was probably written as a reaction to the negative view on foreign peoples found in Joel 4:2. The writer of the book of Jonah builds his case upon the authoritative text from Exodus 34. Both in terms of form and content, he is also inspired by the book of Nahum. Therefore, the repeated use of Exodus 34:6–7 in these texts needs not be ascribed to a separate layer, but is probably part of a process of one book reacting to the other.
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 3 in this volume.
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9 8 2009
Wöhrle, Jakob A Prophetic Reflection on Divine Forgiveness: The Integration of the Book of Jonah into the Book of the Twelve
It has often been recognized that the book of Jonah as well as several other passages in the Book of the Twelve are influenced by the so called “grace formula” (“Gnadenformel”) from Exod 34:6–7 (Joel 2:12–14; Jon 3:9; 4:2; Mic 7:18–20; Nah 1:2b, 3a; Mal 1:9a). But up to now the redactional relationship of these passages and their intention in the context of the book of the Twelve have only been defined inadequately. The article shows that the redaction responsible for the final redactional stage of the book of Jonah and for the integration of this book into the book of the Twelve, is also responsible for Joel 2:12–14; Mic 7:18–20; Nah 1:2b, 3a; Mal 1:9a. Because of this redaction the Book of the Twelve can be read as a reflection on the conditions, the theological reasons and the limits of divine forgiveness.
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 3 in this volume.
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9 7 2009
Guillaume, Philippe Rhetorical Reading Redundant: A Response to Ehud Ben Zvi
Ehud Ben Zvi's claim, in the preceding article, that the final verse of Jonah must be read both as a question and an affirmation is welcomed. Yet, it is argued here that reading a rhetorical question contributes little to the metaprophetic character of Jonah. In fact, a final rhetorical question destroys the open-endedness of the book while YHWH's unambiguous affirmation that he will show no pity for Nineveh faces readers with a deeper meaning of prophecy. Like the Elohim in chapter 3, Jonah in chapter 4 is invited to come out of the circle of anger. Destructions and reversals of fortune occur, but humans are not privy to the divine council.
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 3 in this volume.
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9 6 2009
Ben Zvi, Ehud Jonah 4:11 and the Metaprophetic Character of the Book of Jonah
The present study reaffirms the double ending, and above all, double reading of the book of Jonah. This double reading contributed much to the metaprophetic character of the book of Jonah, by which I mean, a book that—within the discourse of the relevant historical literati—provided a key for, and reflected an understanding of prophetic literature.
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 3 in this volume.
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9 5 2009
Bolin, Thomas M. Eternal Delight and Deliciousness: The Book of Jonah After Ten Years
The first part of this article reviews significant scholarly contributions on the Book of Jonah for the last ten years. Looking specifically at the work of Serge Frolov, Yvonne Sherwood, Ehud Ben Zvi, Lowell Handy and T.A. Perry demonstrates that exegesis of Jonah has entered a very fruitful period, free of the anti-Jewish biases characteristic of earlier readings and armed with more information about post-exilic Judah than ever before. Next, the article looks at God's reference to the animals in Jon 4:11 and reads it as an expression of God's desire for the newly submissive Ninevites to offer sacrifice to him, as the sailors do in 1:16 and Jonah vows in 2:10. Thus God is portrayed, like many ancient Near Eastern potentates, as extending his rule over peoples and exacting tribute.
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 3 in this volume.
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9 4 2009
Guillaume, Philippe Arguing under the Qiqayon: An Introduction to a Set of Articles on Jonah
As per title, an introduction to the following six articles that deal with the Book of Jonah. All but the final essay in the series reflect issues hotly debated at the conference of the European Association of Biblical Studies at Lisbon in August 2008. The final essay (article 9 in this volume of JHS) is based on a paper presented at the Society of Biblical Literature conference at Boston in November 2008. hypertext version
9 3 2009
Athas, George In Search of the Seventy ‘Weeks’ of Daniel 9
A new suggestion for interpreting the seventy ‘weeks’ in Daniel 9 is offered here. By dismissing unwarranted assumptions that are often smuggled into interpretation, an alternative is pursued which sees the three periods within the seventy ‘weeks’ as not entirely sequential. Rather, the first seven ‘weeks’ are seen to overlap with the sixty-two ‘weeks’. Through this technique, the author of Daniel manages to fit a schema of seventy ‘weeks’ (490 years) into an actual period of 441 years. This schema fits accurately with the overall narrative of Daniel, and its theological concern to re-evaluate the meaning of ‘exile.’ It also provides a window onto the transmission history of the book. hypertext version
9 2 2009
Christian, Mark A. Priestly Power that Empowers: Michel Foucault, Middle-tier Levites, and the Sociology of “Popular Religious Groups” in Israel
The task of reconstructing the religious history of Israel can only be accomplished incrementally. Regarding methodology, if one chooses to engage the complexities of, say, the Israelite priesthood, synchronic analysis alone does not reveal its stages of development. Meticulous redactional analysis moreover exposes only aspects or phases of the sophisticated historiographies of the major writers in the preexilic, exilic, and postexilic periods and their grand schemas. One method of penetrating the pretense of uniformity is to approach the material through the use of analogy. Michel Foucault's work on power and knowledge informs the present study, in particular his concept of the distribution of power by “specialists.” The Levites' conflicted story needs no introduction, and its comprehensive transcription is not attempted here. Rather, drawing from biblical and wider ancient Near Eastern evidence, their activities as middle-tier “specialists” are outlined. The Levite in many instances locates professionally and socially between elite priests (living in larger cities) and populace (living in residential towns and villages). It is the itinerant, often times prophetically-infused Levite who, while maintaining the most contact with the general population, must at the same time maintain a viable connection with central authorities. Because his situation often necessitates collaboration with laity of dubious lineage, the Levite's priestly power turns out to be one that empowers. hypertext version
9 1 2009
Young, Ian Late Biblical Hebrew And The Qumran Pesher Habakkuk
The most widely held scholarly view argues that Early Biblical Hebrew (EBH) developed into Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) during the sixth-fifth centuries BCE. It is claimed that on this basis scholars are able to date the composition of biblical books by analysis of their language. In contrast, we argue that EBH and LBH represent not successive chronological periods, but rather co-existing styles of Hebrew. This is demonstrated by the language of the Qumran Pesher-commentary on the biblical book of Habakkuk. Despite dating to the first century BCE and thus long after the period when LBH is said to dominate, Pesher Habakkuk is in EBH. It does not share the accumulation of LBH forms which characterises the core LBH books like Ezra, and exhibits a large number of cases where it prefers EBH linguistic forms against their LBH equivalents. hypertext version
8 25 2008
Na'aman, Nadav Shaaraim - The Gateway To The Kingdom Of Judah
The article discusses the location of the city of Shaaraim mentioned in Josh 15:36 and 1 Sam 17:52. It first argues that its proposed identification with Khirbet Qeiyafa, north of the Elah Valley is mistaken. Then it argues that Shaaraim is located on the main road that led from the Valley of Elah to the city of Gath. This article proposes that the place-name Shaaraim means “gate” and that the city was named so because it was located on the western border of Judah with Philistia, a place that was seen as the gateway to the kingdom of Judah. hypertext version
8 24 2008
Steinmann, Andrew E. Letters of Kings about Votive Offerings, The God of Israel and the Aramaic Document in Ezra 4:8–6:18
Building on Bill's Arnold's thesis that the presence of Aramaic in Ezra presents a shift in perspective to an external point of view, Joshua Berman has theorized that Ezra 4:8—6:18 presents a narrator who is speaking from a gentile point of view as opposed to a Judean voice for the Hebrew that precedes and follows this Aramaic section. However, Berman's thesis does not account for all of the narration in this Aramaic text. The narrative verses that link the individual letters in this section indicate that the controlling voice for the overall narration is pro-Judean. These verses employ the Judeo-centric language and demonstrate that the author had a Judean source for much of the information he presents. Moreover, the narrative that connects the letters demonstrates the narrator's knowledge of the Judean prophets, their names, patronymics and office as prophets (5:1; 6:14), revealing his Judean perspective. Ultimately, this narrator reveals his viewpoint by placing the command of God next to the decrees of Persian kings (6:14). Thus, Ezra 4:8—6:18 is a single literary creation, a document that is the result of an archival search and is designed to persuade the reader that the Judeans ought to be allowed to build in Jerusalem. The inclusion of this Aramaic document in Ezra is the author/editor's way of demonstrating that even under foreign dominance, the Judeans will ultimately prosper because their God controls the events of the narrative and speaks through pro-Judean narrators even in a foreign tongue. hypertext version
8 23 2008
Garfinkel, Yosef and Saar Ganor Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha`arayim
Khirbet Qeiyafa is a 2.3 hectare fortified early 10th century BCE site, located in the Judean Shephelah, atop a hill that bordered the Elah Valley from the north. This is a key strategic location in the biblical kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country. It is the only site in the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel with two gates. This unique feature provides a clear indication of the site's identity as biblical Sha`arayim, a place name that means “two gates” in Hebrew. Sha`arayim is mentioned three times in the Bible (Jos 15:36; 1 Sam 17:52 and 1 Ch 4:31-32). It is located near the Elah valley, associated with King David twice, and not mentioned in conjunction with any other later First Temple period tradition. This accords with the archaeological and radiometric data that indicate a single-phase settlement in the early 10th century BCE at Khirbet Qeiyafa. hypertext version
8 22 2008
Na'aman, Nadav In Search of the Ancient Name of Khirbet Qeiyafa
This article discusses the identity of the recently excavated stronghold of Khirbet Qeiyafa, a tenth century BCE site located near the Valley of Elah, in the area where the story of the battle between David and Goliath takes place. There is also the story of a battle between Elhanan the Bethlehemite and Goliath of Gath that takes place at Gob (2 Sam 21:19). In light of a comparison of the two episodes I suggest identifying Khirbet Qeiyafa with biblical Gob. A close reading of the four anecdotes related in 2 Sam 21:15–22 clarifies the message of the early biblical tradition of four battles fought between Israelite and Philistine elite warriors that culminated in the advance of the Israelite troops to the gates of Philistine Gath. hypertext version
8 21 2008
Dobbs-Allsopp, F. W. Psalm 133: A (Close) Reading
A close reading of Psalm 133, with special attention paid both to the words out of which the poem is literally made and to what happens in between and beyond those words, as well as what emerges because of them. hypertext version
8 20 2008
Assis, Elie The Temple in the Book of Haggai
This article explores the Temple ideology that characterizes the book of Haggai and its innovative features. It explains Haggai's new approach in terms of the particular situation of the period, including its geo-political circumstances and its implications for theological thinking in ancient Israel. hypertext version
8 19 2008
Avioz, Michael Saul as a Just Judge in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews
This essay reconsiders Louis Feldman's assertion that Josephus characterized Saul as a king who administered justice. This assertion is examined against the narratives in 1 Samuel 14 and 22. My conclusion is that Josephus did not praise Saul for being a just king. In this regard, his characterization of Saul is consistent with the biblical narratives in 1 Samuel 14 and 22, which denounce Saul for being a negative model of the king as supreme judge. hypertext version
8 18 2008
Kline, Moshe “The Editor was Nodding” A Reading of Leviticus 19 in Memory of Mary Douglas
Leviticus 19 was constructed as a true table consisting of two columns and five rows. The columns are inverted parallels; one is ordered from positive to negative and the other from negative to positive. The rows are ordered according to the degree of God's connection to the specific laws. The five by two table is based on the author's reading of the Exodus 20 Decalogue as five consecutive pairs according to the division into ten Words that appears in the MT. This arrangement of the Decalogue is “quoted” in Leviticus 19. hypertext version
8 17 2008
Jacobs, Jonathan Characterizing Esther from the Outset: The Contribution of the Story in Esther 2:1–20
This article approaches the characterization of the heroine in Esther 2:1–20 from three perspectives: her status prior to her meeting with the king; her status after meeting with the king; and a literary analogy between her and Ahasuerus. hypertext version
8 16 2008
Römer, Thomas Moses Outside the Torah and the Construction of a Diaspora Identity
This article deals with how, in texts inside and outside the Torah, Moses became a figure of identification for the different Jewish Diasporas during the Persian Period The following themes are investigated: 1. The Shared Figure of Moses and the Pentateuch; 2. The death of Moses outside the land; 3. Moses, the magician; 4. Moses, the leprous; 5. Moses and the foreign women; 6. Moses, the warrior. hypertext version
8 15 2008
Basser, Herb Did Rashi Notice a Janus Parallelism in Ezek 20:37?
Rashi seems to have combined two understandings of māsōret (Ezek. 20:37): “restraining fetter (mōsēr)” and “divine promises God had handed down (māsar).” “Fetter” looks backwards in the verse to God's yoke of obligations and forwards in the verse to the rewards of “the inherited covenantal promise”. Rashi's co-ordination of dual roots in his brief paraphrase seems to anticipate what modern scholars call “Janus parallelism”. hypertext version
8 14 2008
Scatolini Apóstolo, Silvio Sergio Imagining Ezekiel
This contribution highlights some of the dimensions of the biblical book called “Ezekiel.” Its point of departure is that biblical books are “books” in a special way, not only because they ask their readers to approach them as means of God's revelations, but also because their compositional history most often deconstructs our usual notions of book, author and writer. “Imagining Ezekiel” is a proposal to re-imagine Ezekiel as literature and to let it do its literary magic. The book has its truth to tell, the truth of its metaphors and viewpoint. hypertext version
8 13 2008
Wright, David P. Deciphering a Definition: The Syntagmatic Structural Analysis of Ritual in the Hebrew Bible
This article argues that any action performed by an individual or group can only be properly understood in the context of the larger range of similar activity performed by the individual or group. It builds on Mary Douglas's syntagmatic structural analysis of action within such a broad context and moves to Catherine Bell's similar contextualization of ritualization within a larger framework of action. This type of analysis allows for formulating a clearer definition of ritual and a more precise identification of the strategies employed to create ritual. It also provides a method for the study of ritual, in which any given performance may be evaluated by its relationship to other similar actions, including non-ritual actions. As an example, the paper looks at the story of the feast held by Joseph for his brothers in Genesis 43 and suggests how this may be used for elucidating the understanding of biblical sacrifice. hypertext version
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 7 in this volume.
8 12 2008
Schmitt, Rüdiger The Problem of Magic and Monotheism in the Book of Leviticus
The article deals with some of the theses advanced in Mary Douglas's later works (In the Wilderness, Leviticus as Literature, and Jacob's Tears), and in particular with her claim that magic and divination were outlawed in the priestly conceptions of the reformed religion of Israel. Her position here relates to her basic thesis that the priestly writings promoted a renewed religion more abstract, more orderly, and more fully theorized than the religions in the Israelite ancient Near Eastern environment. I show that the transformation of Israelite religion in the exilic-post-exilic period was less radical and that the concept of monotheism had no effect on certain ritual practices that could be considered magic, because their concept was in essence theistic. hypertext version
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 7 in this volume.
8 11 2008
Olyan, Saul M. Mary Douglas's Holiness/Wholeness Paradigm: Its Potential for Insight and its Limitations
The strengths and weaknesses of Mary Douglas's hohypertext versionliness/wholeness paradigm, in which she links the idea of holiness directly to physical wholeness, are critically assessed in this article. Several examples of fruitful elaboration of the paradigm by biblical scholars are considered in some detail. In addition, the author suggests some ways in which the paradigm might be modified in order to explain better the biblical data concerning physical wholeness. hypertext version
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 7 in this volume.
8 10 2008
Marx, Alfred The Relationship between the Sacrificial Laws and the Other Laws in Leviticus 19
The present paper addresses the question of the surprising presence in Leviticus 19 of two sacrificial regulations among mainly moral commandments. It attempts to show that far from being out of place these laws sum up the ethic imposed on Israelites in two main principles: the principle of restraint when dealing with fellow countrymen and the principle of absence of all contact with spiritual beings other than God. hypertext version
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 7 in this volume.
8 9 2008
Hendel, Ronald Mary Douglas and Anthropological Modernism
Mary Douglas's scholarship has been described as “a classic expression of British anthropological modernism.” In this essay I explore the significance of her work within the larger intellectual horizons of modernism and within the Durkheimian tradition in anthropology. I then situate her work on the Hebrew Bible within this larger perspective, using her analysis of the abominable pig as an exemplary instance. hypertext version
Note: Readers of this article are encouraged to read first article 7 in this volume.
8 8 2008
Hendel, Ronald and Saul M. Olyan Beyond Purity and Danger: Mary Douglas and The Hebrew Bible
An introduction to the following five articles that engage Douglas's studies of the Hebrew Bible from a variety of perspectives and on a variety of topics.
8 7 2008
Pinker, Aron The Doings of the Wicked in Qohelet 8:10

Minor and reasonable emendations produce the following reading:

 וּבְכֵן רָאִיתִי רְשָׁעִים קְבָרִים וְאבמְקוֹם קָדוֹשׁ יְהַלֵּכוּ וְיִשְׁתַּכְּחוּ בָעִיר אֲשֶׁר כֵּן־עָשׂוּ גַּם־זֶה הָבֶל

and also I saw wicked frequenting graves, and necromancer, and place of a holy. And they were forgotten in the city in which they did so (correctly?). This too is absurd.” The verse is an observation regarding repenting evil-doers. Their acts of piety are forgotten in their own city, though they could have served as actual examples for justifying God’s being ‘slow to anger.’


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8 6 2008
Shemesh, Yael Elisha Stories as Saints' Legends
The present article seeks to define the literary genre of the Elisha cycle of stories. Various possibilities raised in current research are examined and rejected. They are not polemic stories directed against Baal Worship, narratives designed to glorify the institution of prophecy, social religious satire against the royal house, polemics against the House of Omri, or didactic salvation stories. Neither do they contain criticism towards Elisha. Rather, the Elisha cycle in toto constitutes the oldest example in Jewish literature of hagiographic stories. All the stories (including the longer ones, in some of which modern scholarship tends to find a vein of criticism directed against Elisha) express adoration for the holy man of God–Elisha, the miracle worker. hypertext version
8 5 2008
Shemesh, Yael Elisha and The Miraculous Jug of Oil(2 Kgs 4:1–7)
In this essay I approach the story of Elisha and the miraculous jar of oil (2 Kgs 4:1–7) through a close reading and attention to its literary genre – hagiography. The widow's attitude toward Elisha, the miracle that Elisha performs for her, the contrast built up between Elisha and Elijah, and the parallels between Elisha and the Lord all emphasize what makes Elisha a unique figure in the Bible. Unlike other prophets, he is not described as a messenger-prophet. Instead, he is a holy man of God, endowed with supernatural powers that he uses to work miraculous deliverances for individuals and the community. hypertext version
8 4 2008
Cook, John A. The Vav-Prefixed Verb Forms in Elementary Hebrew Grammar
The application of linguistics to Biblical Hebrew grammar, particularly its verbal system, has continued in recent decades, while at the same time there has been an marked increase in the number of elementary Hebrew grammars. Sadly, few of these grammars appear to take into account the advances of the last century in the understanding of the Hebrew verbal system. In this article I examine the disconnect between scholarly discussions and elementary grammars with respect to the Hebrew vav-prefixed forms and illustrate how these forms might be explained to beginning Biblical Hebrew students in a way that takes into account recent linguistic insights. hypertext version
8 3 2008
Kletter, Raz The Friends of Antiquities (in Heb. נאמני עתיקות): The Story of an Israeli Volunteer Group and Comparative Remarks
The ‘Friends of Antiquities” were members of a unique body of volunteers, which was active in Israel for forty years, since its creation in 1948. They were nominated by the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM), serving as its “eyes and ears” - reporting damage, safekeeping sites, assisting in excavations and maintaining the connection between IDAM and the general public. The present article is the first ever written on this body. It offers a detailed review and analysis of the creation, development and decline of the “Friends”, as well as notes about their status in relation to other amateur and professional bodies in the field of archaeology. (Version with images) hypertext version
8 2 2008
Stein, David E. S. The Noun אִישׁ ('îš) in Biblical Hebrew: A Term of Affiliation
This article investigates one of the most frequent nouns in the Hebrew Bible, אִישׁ ('îš). Using paradigmatic (comparative) and syntagmatic (contextual) linguistic analysis, it finds that איש is a term that intrinsically conveys relationship. That is, איש serves to relate two referents to each other: one that it points to directly (the individual), and one that it points to indirectly (the group or party with which that individual is affiliated). Specifically, this noun variously signals three related nuances: membership or participation; representation as exemplar; and representation on behalf of others. At least 87% of biblical instances of איש can thus be accounted for, and some usages are best explained in this way. The article also cites evidence to suggest that the feminine counterpart noun, אשה ('îššâ), should likewise be construed as a term of affiliation. After noting that the primary sense of איש is probably not "adult male” as many lexicons state, it sketches some implications for glossing, translating, and interpreting איש. hypertext version
8 1 2008
Guillaume, Philippe A Reconsideration of Manuscripts Classified as Scrolls of the Twelve Minor Prophets (XII)
There are substantially fewer mss. of “The Twelve” in Qumran than usually assumed. Moreover, none of the mss. transmitting the complete collection of the XII is earlier than the first century BCE. The formation of a single collection including the twelve prophetic books is later than often claimed, and the question of whether the anthology of the XII originated in Jerusalem or Alexandria remains open. hypertext version
7 16 2007
Guillaume, Philippe The Unlikely Malachi-Jonah Sequence (4QXIIa)
Many studies on the formation of the collection of the Twelve Minor Prophets take for granted that the 4QXIIa manuscript provides evidence that the Book of Jonah stood at the end of a scroll of the Twelve and that this sequence could have been the original one. Examination of the reconstruction of the scroll published in the DJD XV volume reveals that the Malachi-Jonah sequence is highly hypothetical and should not be considered as firm evidence. hypertext version
7 15 2007
Ben Zvi, Ehud (ed.) Rereading Oracles of God: Twenty Years After John Barton, Oracles of God: Perceptions of Prophecy in Israel after the Exile (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1986)
This conversation with John Barton, Oracles of God: Perceptions of Prophecy in Israel after the Exile (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1986) began in a special session of the research program “Israel and the Production and Reception of Authoritative Books in the Persian and Hellenistic Periods” that was held at the annual meeting of the European Association of Biblical Studies (Vienna, 2007). It includes an introduction by the editor and contributions by Philip R. Davies, James Kugel, Hindy Najman and a response by John Barton. hypertext version
7 14 2007
Bodner, Keith Crime Scene Investigation: A Text-Critical Mystery and the Strange Death of Ishbosheth
The troublesome reign of Ishbosheth comes to a graphic conclusion when he is assassinated – audaciously, at midday while reclining on a couch in his own house – by two of his own captains, the brothers Rechab and Baanah. That Ishbosheth is assassinated (while sleeping in his house at high noon) there is no doubt: the guilty confess, are charged, and duly executed. But the puzzle is how exactly the murder takes place – and this is subject of my analysis – as there are significant discrepancies between the Hebrew and Greek texts. This article surveys a number of “solutions” posited by scholars and evaluate various attempts that have been made to resolve this text-critical mystery. I then move toward a conclusion by summarizing the key differences between the MT and LXX in this passage and discussing some of the literary implications that emerge when these textual trajectories are compared. As a witness to the murder, the LXX provides an exciting and compelling testimony, but the MT account features several important details that cannot be ignored in light of the larger storyline. hypertext version
7 13 2007
Knoppers, Gary N. (ed.) Revisiting the Composition of Ezra-Nehemiah: In Conversation with Jacob Wright's Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and its Earliest Readers (BZAW, 348; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004)
This conversation with Jacob L. Wright, Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and its Earliest Readers (BZAW, 348; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2004) began in a special session of the Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah section that was held at the national meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November 2006 (Washington, DC). It includes an introduction by the editor and contributions by Deirdre N. Fulton, David M. Carr, Ralph W. Klein and a response by Jacob L. Wright. hypertext version
7 12 2007
Assis, Elie Composition, Rhetoric and Theology in Haggai 1:1–11
The present analysis of Haggai 1:4–11 points at a sophisticated structure that differs at some points from those widely accepted. In addition, while some scholars explain the complexity of the passage as a composite process of formation, this paper has shown a well structured sermon designed to influence an adversary audience. The first part of the prophet's words (1: 4–6) is meant to demonstrate to the people their erroneous approach. The second part (1:7–9) intends to show the people the right way. The last part of Haggai's words (1:10–11) construes the economic stress in terms of the covenantal relationship between God and Yehud that continues to play a central role, as in the pre-destruction period. hypertext version
7 11 2007
Leuchter, Mark (ed.) Scribes Before and After 587 BCE: A Conversation
The conversation represented here originated in a special session at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Association for Jewish Studies that dealt with the issue of the shifting role of scribes leading up to and following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. The essays situate all scribal groups in relation to the nation's priestly tradition and circles, address diverse matters of socio-political agenda, and identify trends in the development of literary methodology. This conversation includes an introduction by the editor, and contributions by M. Leuchter, Jacob L. Wright, Jeffrey C. Geoghegan, and Lauren A. S. Monroe. hypertext version
7 10 2007
Van Seters, John Author or Redactor?
In two recent articles and in his book, The Edited Bible, Van Seters challenged the existence of a redactor in antiquity and the subsequent development of redaction criticism as a viable method in biblical literary criticism. This debate between whether a source of the Pentateuch, such as J, or the writer of the Deuteronomistic History should be understood as author or editor is reflected in the responses to Van Seters by Jean-Louis Ska, Eckart Otto and Christoph Levin. In this essay Van Seters seeks to answer the various points raised by these scholars and to clarify what is meant by an ancient author as well as the view that the concept of editor is anachronistic before the modern period. He also defends his view that both von Rad and Noth, in the case of J, and Noth, in the case of Dtr, believed that the Yahwist and Dtr were authors and historians and not merely editors. hypertext version
7 9 2007
Pinker, Aron A Goat to Go to Azazel
Significant evidence suggests that biblical עזאזל was originally the homophone עזזאל “Powerful God,” whose abode on earth was in the desert. The ritual described in Lev 16:5–26 was to the same God, potentially being at two locations -- the Temple or the desert, and identified as יהוה and עזזאל respectively. On the unique Day of Atonement God (as יהוה and עזזאל) was approached at both locations. In later times, God's abode in the Temple or Jerusalem completely displaced God's desert abode, relegating it to evil forces as was the belief in Near-Eastern cultures. In this process עזזאל, or a derivative of this name, became a satanic figure. hypertext version
7 8 2007
Knoppers, Gary N. (ed.) Expatriates, Repatriates, and the Question of Zion's Status – In Conversation with Melody D. Knowles, Centrality Practiced: Jerusalem in the Religious Practices of Yehud and the Diaspora in the Persian Period (Atlanta, SBL, 2006).
This conversation with Melody D. Knowles, Centrality Practiced: Jerusalem in the Religious Practices of Yehud and the Diaspora in the Persian Period (Atlanta, SBL, 2006) began in a special session of the Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah section that was held at the national meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November 2006 (Washington, DC). It includes an introduction by the editor and contributions by Deirdre N. Fulton, David Janzen, Ralph W. Klein and a response by Melody D. Knowles. hypertext version
7 7 2007
Boer, Roland Keeping It Literal: The Economy of the Song of Songs
This essay seeks the underlying worldview of the Song of Songs. It does so in three steps. Firstly, over against the widespread assumption that the metaphors of the Song of Songs refer to human erotic love, or indeed the older assumption that they are allegories for the relations between God and Israel, or God and the Church, this article asks what happens when we break such metaphoric connections. In other words, what happens if we take the metaphors at face value? Secondly, once the metaphors are freed from their links with human erotic love, they take on a life of their own, one of fecund and fertile nature. The third step involves an exploration of what the worldview of such a fecund nature might be. My suggestion is that it may be understood as a utopian element – nature producing freely and of its own accord – of what I call the sacred economy. hypertext version
7 6 2007
Sneed, Mark "White Trash” Wisdom: Proverbs 9 Deconstructed
Though Woman Wisdom has often been viewed as a positive figure for feminism, I will show that the picture is much grimmer. The article has two parts. First, I will demonstrate that the personification of wisdom reinscribes the typical ideology of the time along gender, social class, and racial lines. The eroticization of wisdom as female actually excludes the woman from the search for truth and knowledge because it assumes its adherents are male. Woman Wisdom is shown to be upper class, while Folly is poor. And Woman Wisdom is shown to be xenophobic in her preference for Jewish boys. Second, wisdom/folly, the dominant dichotomy of these chapters, will be shown to deconstruct, showing how both Woman Wisdom and Folly are inextricably connected and partake of each other's identity. The boundary between the two begins to blur. hypertext version
7 5 2007
Noegel, Scott B. “Word Play” in Qoheleth
This study offers a comprehensive treatment of the subject of “word play” in the book of Qoheleth. After discussing the problematic nature of the term “word play,” and explaining my preference for the word “punning,” I examine six different types of punning found in Qoheleth. The first, focuses on alliteration, or the repeated use of consonants. The second section collects examples of assonance, or the repeated use of vowel patterns. The third section focuses on illustrations of polysemy; cases in which words bear more than one meaning in a single context. The fourth section, which is related to polysemy, details cases of antanaclasis. Antanaclasis occurs when a word is used multiple times, but with different meanings. In the fifth section, I provide examples of allusive punning, i.e., the use of words or forms that imply by way of similarity of sound another word that does not occur in the text. The sixth section is devoted to instances of numerical punning. After providing the data for each of these devices, I offer some general observations on punning in Qoheleth. hypertext version
7 4 2007
Fried, Lisbeth S. Did Second Temple High Priests Possess the Urim and Thummim?
According to TB Yoma 21b, the urim and the thummim and the spirit of prophecy were among the things missing from the Second Temple. According to Ezra 2:61–63 (Neh.7:63–65), they were missing from the time of the return. Josephus suggests, however, that the urim and thummim stopped shining, that is they ceased to function, only around 104 BCE, about the time of John Hyrcanus' death. According to Josephus, then, second temple high priests consulted urim and thummim. To decide between these two claims, we examine second temple texts dated to the period before Hyrcanus' death. These texts confirm Josephus and suggest that the contemporary high priest may have used urim and thummim as an oracular device. hypertext version
7 3 2007
Vanderhooft, David (ed.) In Conversation with Oded Lipschits, The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005)
This conversation with O. Lipschits, The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005) began at a session of the “Literature and History of the Persian Period” group at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Philadelphia. It includes an introduction by the editor and contributions by Rainer Albertz, Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, Daniel Master, Gary N. Knoppers, Hugh G.M. Williamson and a response by Oded Lipschits. hypertext version
7 2 2007
Henige, David Found But Not Lost: A Skeptical Note on the Document Discovered in the Temple Under Josiah
In this paper I look at the famous story of the finding of the “book of the law” in the temple during the reign of Josiah. Adopting a pragmatic/plausible approach and keeping in mind the biblical testimony about earlier circumstances in Judah, I argue that the story as we have it lacks inherent plausibility and should be rejected as an etiological invention, whether or not of the time. None of the various scenarios that could explain its disappearance can also serve to explain why it remained hidden for so long, only to be discovered at just the right moment to provide a willing Josiah with the justification to begin a cultic reform program. hypertext version
7 1 2007
Holmstedt, Robert D. Issues in the Linguistic Analysis of a Dead Language, with Particular Reference to Ancient Hebrew
With the increasing maturation of the linguistic analysis of ancient Hebrew, it becomes increasingly important that we keep in mind the inherent challenges of analyzing no-longer-spoken languages, like ancient Hebrew. In this article I address a number of such issues in the hopes of provoking some fruitful discussion. First, I address the distinction between linguistic analysis and philological analysis. Then I address some of the major methodological and theoretical challenges facing those who bring modern linguistic theories to bear upon a ‘dead’ language such as ancient Hebrew, including the lack of native speakers, the limited corpus, and the relationship of ancient Hebrew to modern Israeli Hebrew. hypertext version
6 11 2006
Wöhrle, Jakob The Formation and Intention of the Haggai-Zechariah Corpus
Because of the similar dating system in the books of Haggai and Zechariah, since the end of the 19th century it has been proposed that these two books once formed an independent collection: the Haggai-Zechariah corpus. But neither the formation nor the intention of this corpus has been adequately explained. This article shows that only the book of Zechariah underwent redaction in the course of the composition of this “Book of the Two.” This position stands in contrast with the common assumption that both books underwent redaction in the process. Then the article shows that the Haggai-Zechariah corpus can be understood as a reaction to the decreasing hope for divine salvation in the fifth century. In the light of, and despite the negative experiences that characterize this period, the Haggai-Zechariah corpus adheres to the promises of the early pre-exilic prophecy. But in order to adhere to these promises, the conditions for their fulfillment had to be (re)defined. hypertext version
6 10 2006
Gilders, William K. Why Does Eleazar Sprinkle the Red Cow Blood? Making Sense of a Biblical Ritual
Numbers 19:1–10 is a prescriptive ritual text concerned with the preparation of the ashes of a burnt “red cow” to be used to counteract the impurity caused by exposure to a human corpse. Like many other biblical ritual texts, this one is relatively rich in details on ritual practice, but offers little that might be termed “interpretation” of the various ritual actions. In response to this conceptual gap, various attempts have been made to specify the “meaning(s)” of the actions and objects. Giving special attention to the blood manipulation component of the ritual complex (Num 19:4), this paper explores a variety of theoretical questions about the interpretation of ritual activity represented in biblical ritual texts. It highlights the significance of the textuality of our access to biblical ritual, the need to fill gaps while interpreting biblical ritual texts, and points to the value of considering the indexical qualities of ritual actions. hypertext version
6 9 2006
Pinker, Aron Nahum and the Greek Tradition on Nineveh's Fall
Greek tradition does not provide consistent and reliable evidence that an unusual inundation contributed to the fall of Nineveh. The Babylonian chronicles do not mention such an extraordinary event nor have archaeological excavations at Nineveh produced any evidence in support of such notion. Nineveh's topography precludes the possibility of significant flooding by the Khosr canal. The various verses in Nahum that have been construed as supporting flooding in Nineveh find a reasonable figurative interpretation within a contextual scheme that does not involve flooding. The notion that Nineveh was captured through flooding should be discarded. hypertext version
6 8 2006
Scatolini Apóstolo, Silvio Sergio On The Elusiveness and Malleability of “Israel”
Words not only reproduce reality, they produce it to us. Wittgenstein has suggested that the meaning (“Bedeutung”) of words is established in and through use. Moreover, he compared language (as parole) to a game that can be fully understood only by those who know its rules (language as langue). These rules are radically linked to the actual practice of the game. This article focuses on the term “Israel” in the Hebrew Bible, because it offers us an excellent example of the broad range of references that a term may develop overtime. The article concludes with a reminder to exegetes and theologians that they should refrain from assuming beforehand that if a term is repeatedly read in, read (out) or recited in a text, it must always mean the same within the text itself or, for that matter, in the plane of interaction between text and the exegete or theologian. hypertext version
6 7 2006
Tebes, Juan Manuel “You Shall Not Abhor an Edomite, for He is Your Brother”: The Tradition of Esau and the Edomite Genealogies from an Anthropological Perspective
Words not only reproduce reality, they produce it to us. Wittgenstein has suggested that the meaning (“Bedeutung”) of words is established in and through use. Moreover, he compared language (as parole) to a game that can be fully understood only by those who know its rules (language as langue). These rules are radically linked to the actual practice of the game. This article focuses on the term “Israel” in the Hebrew Bible, because it offers us an excellent example of the broad range of references that a term may develop overtime. The article concludes with a reminder to exegetes and theologians that they should refrain from assuming beforehand that if a term is repeatedly read in, read (out) or recited in a text, it must always mean the same within the text itself or, for that matter, in the plane of interaction between text and the exegete or theologian. hypertext version
6 6 2006
Benun, Ronald Evil and the Disruption of Order: A Structural Analysis of the Acrostics in the First Book of Psalms
The four alphabetic acrostics in the first book of psalms (9/10, 25, 34, and 37) are all missing verses beginning with certain letters of the alphabet and have other anomalies as well. Most scholars attribute these problems to errors in transmission and try to solve them through textual emendation. We argue that these disruptions are an original feature of these psalms and are placed purposefully as part of a sophisticated literary structure. hypertext version
6 5 2006
Carr, David M. (ed.) The State of the Field of Hebrew Bible Study: In Conversation with John J. Collins, The Bible After Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age (Eerdmans, 2005)
Reviews and responses to John J. Collins, The Bible After Babel: Historical Criticism in a Postmodern Age (Eerdmans, 2005). The respondents were asked to offer “a few comments building on the book, aimed at spurring a broader discussion among colleagues about where things are going in our field.” hypertext version
6 4 2006
Kim, Yung Suk Lex Talionis in Exod 21:22–25: Its Origin and Context
Was the biblical lex talionis to be applied by equal retribution or in a figurative sense? What was its origin? How or for what purpose was the lex talionis practiced in ancient Israelite life? This article argues that lex talionis in Exod 21:22–25 should be understood figuratively in the ancient village life context and that the development of the lex talionis should be understood as a complex process, depending on the corresponding social, economic structure of the time. Comparative considerations between the lex talionis in Exod 21:22–25 and other relevant ANE texts are advanced. hypertext version
6 3 2006
Knoppers, Gary N. (ed.) Chronicles and the Chronicler: A Response to I. Kalimi, An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler, his Time, Place and Writing
Was the biblical lex talionis to be applied by equal retribution or in a figurative sense? What was its origin? How or for what purpose was the lex talionis practiced in ancient Israelite life? This article argues that lex talionis in Exod 21:22–25 should be understood figuratively in the ancient village life context and that the development of the lex talionis should be understood as a complex process, depending on the corresponding social, economic structure of the time. Comparative considerations between the lex talionis in Exod 21:22–25 and other relevant ANE texts are advanced. hypertext version
6 2 2006
Pinker, Aron The Core Story in the Prologue-Epilogue of the Book of Job
Textual and thematic evidence indicates that the Prologue and Epilogue in Job are an elaboration of an ancient core story of hope. The elaboration and expansion of the core story are intended to provide a setting for presenting a range of positions on personal retribution. An attempt is made to glean the ancient core story from the MT. hypertext version
6 1 2006
Knowles, Melody D. (ed.) New Studies in Chronicles: A Discussion of Two Recently-Published Commentaries
Long considered derivative and hopelessly ideological, the book of Chronicles is re-engaging the scholarly community, as noted by a recent spate of articles and commentaries. This article presents a panel discussion on two of these commentaries written by Steven L. McKenzie and Gary N. Knoppers. The original discussion was held in Philadelphia (Nov. 20, 2005), during a session of the Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah Section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Included are the presentations of Ehud Ben Zvi, John Wright, Steven James Schweitzer and Klaus Baltzer, as well as the responses from McKenzie and Knoppers. In addition, this article includes a review of Knoppers' commentary by Christine Mitchell. hypertext version
5 20 2005
Assis, Elie “The Hand of a Woman”: Deborah and Yael (Judges 4)
This article focuses on the role of Yael in Judges 4. It argues that Yael's central position in the narrative is meant to shed light on Deborah's prophetic image. Yael is thus Deborah's “hand” – an extension of Deborah who carries out her prophecy: “for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hand of a woman” (v. 9). Yael overshadows both Sisera and Barak. She controls both men; she decides who will be defeated and who will be victorious. Deborah's prophecy does not refer merely to the identity of the killer but also to the way in which the woman achieves her victory. Yael confronts a strong warrior, a general; physically she is inferior to him; she uses her femininity to defeat him. “While sexuality is a featured element of the Deborah narrative, it is so exclusively with reference to the actions of Yael. Deborah, the focus of the story, is, to be sure, a womanly figure. But her role in the story is purely that of a woman of God. It is she who reveals the hand of God in “the hand of a woman”. hypertext version
5 19 2005
Knoppers, Gary N. (ed.) In Conversation with W. M. Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel (Cambridge, 2003)
This conversation with W. M. Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel includes the following contributions:
  1. David M. Carr, “Response to W. M. Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel.”
  2. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, “Implications for and from Ezra-Nehemiah.”
  3. Christine Mitchell, “Implications for and from Chronicles.”
  4. William M. Schniedewind, “Adrift: How the Bible Became a Book.”
The conversation began at an SBL session devoted to the book. The contributors developed and revised their oral comments. W. M. Schniedewind responds to them. hypertext version
5 18 2005
Davies, Philip. R. The Origin of Biblical Israel
This article outlines my answer to the problem of the origin of ‘biblical Israel’. I look for a period when ‘Israel’ was dominant and ‘Judah’ subordinate, and a period of time in which an identity ‘Israel’ could be absorbed by a population that also saw itself as ‘Judah’ in such a way that it was irreversible. However, we do not need to look specifically for a political definition of ‘Israel’, since when it is defined so as to include Judah (especially the Pentateuch) rather than when referring to the kingdom that bore the name (especially Samuel and Kings), ‘Israel’ is used in a primarily religious (including ethnic) sense, not a political one. This accords well with its usage in the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods. For over a century, a province called ‘Judah’ was in fact governed from a territory that, as the Bible and biblical historians themselves would describe it, was ‘Benjamin’. During this period the identity ‘Israel’ could very easily permeate the population of ‘Benjamin-Judah’ in such a way that the later restoration of political and cultic supremacy to Jerusalem could not challenge it, let alone remove it. But with the reestablishment of Jerusalem, Bethel was defamed and destroyed; ‘Israelite’ stories were revised and overlaid with Judean ones, and (if Blenkinsopp's reconstruction of the Judean Priesthood during the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Periods is correct) its Aaronite priesthood was transferred to Jerusalem, thus relocating the religious centre of Jacob/Israel to the ‘city of David’. The name ‘Israel’ was thus retained and redefined: ‘biblical Israel’ was invented, with Judah at its head. The implications of the answer for the history of biblical traditions are considerable. hypertext version
5 17 2005
Avioz, Michael Could Saul Rule Forever? A New Look at 1 Samuel 13:13–14
This article reconsiders the pericope in 1 Samuel 13:13–14, in which Samuel told Saul that had he been obedient to him, he and his dynasty would have ruled forever. These words are traditionally considered by scholars and interpreters as a later addition or as Samuel's own interpretation of God's oracles. I contest these views on the basis of historical and exegetical arguments. hypertext version
5 16 2005
Britt, Brian Death, Social Conflict, and the Barley Harvest in the Hebrew Bible
Some recent scholarship characterizes violent biblical narratives, such as the killing of Saul's descendents in 2 Sam. 21, as evidence of ancient ritual sacrifice. Yet 2 Sam. 21 has more in common with Ruth 1 and Judith than with stories of sacrifice. By their common reference to the barley harvest, untimely deaths, famine, and social conflict, these texts represent reality through literary means. Drawing on René Girard's theory of religion, I suggest how the narratives of 2 Sam. 21, Ruth 1, and Judith, as well as a set of narratives about sheepshearing, address social conflict as literary texts rather than as transparent windows onto ancient practice. hypertext version
5 15 2005
Kummerow, David Job, Hopeful or Hopeless? The Significance of גם in Job 16:19 and Job's Changing Conceptions of Death
Failing to take into account the use of the particle גם in Job 16:19 and Job's changing conception of death has leaded many to argue that Job abandons his hope in God. However, attention to these two issues leads to the conclusion that Job remains confident in God. Firstly, גם is used in 16:19–21 by Job to highlight his supplementation of his previous characterisation of God as his violent enemy (16:7–18), viz. that God is his witness, advocate, and friend. Secondly, it is unclear what leads Job to change his conception of death in his speeches from initial positivity to later negativity if not for his hope in God. Collaborative support is thus adduced for the contention that Job's hope continues to centre upon God. hypertext version
5 14 2005
Guillaume, Philippe Tracing the Origin of the Sabbatical Calendar in the Priestly Narrative (Genesis 1 to Joshua 5)
This comprehensive study of the chronology of the Priestly Document demonstrates that the Sabbatical calendar (364-day year) is not a Qumran invention but was devised at the beginning of the Persian period (ca. 520 bce). The Priestly Document (Genesis 1 to Joshua 5) is divided into 7 eras: creation, antediluvian, re-creation, exiles, Exodus, wandering, and rest in the Promised Land. The large amount of chronological data contained in the narrative describes each element of the Sabbatical calendar, the sacredness of which is later upheld by the apocryphal books of Jubilees and Enoch and in Qumran texts. In spite of subsequent additions of other calendars upon the original Priestly Document, its narrative remains coherent enough to reveal the use of intercalation. hypertext version
5 13 2005
Pinker, Aron On the meaning of קשת נחושה
Iconographic evidence and textual analysis is used to support the notion that קשת נחושה in 2 Sam 22:35 = Ps 18:35 and Job 20:24 is a double-convex bow. hypertext version
5 12 2005
Landy, Francis A Rejoinder to A. Brenner, “Regulating ‘Sons’ and ‘Daughters’ in the Torah and in Proverbs: Some Preliminary Insights”
Some comments on A. Brenner, “Regulating ‘Sons’ and ‘Daughters’ in the Torah and in Proverbs: Some Preliminary Insights.” hypertext version
5 11 2005
Brenner, Athalya Regulating ‘Sons’ and ‘Daughters’ in the Torah and in Proverbs: Some Preliminary Insights
This essay traces, in general lines, how the regulations a society presents as normative may reveal its deepest uncertainties, more so than its implied praxis. The case study chosen will be a vertical (chronologically and textually intersecting) as well as horizontal enquiry (from the Torah to Proverbs) into gendered regulations concerning second-generation members of the community. hypertext version
5 10 2005
Guillaume, Philippe New Light on the Nebiim from Alexandria: A Chronography to Replace the Deuteronomistic History
If the periodization of Israel's past was worked out by the composer of the Deuteronomistic History already in the sixth century BCE, is it not strange that we have to wait until Ben Sira to find the earliest mention of the Joshua—Kings succession? The four-century gap between the work of DtrH and Ben Sira begs for an explanation. In the wake of the present trend of challenging the validity of the Deuteronomistic History hypothesis, this article reviews the evidence offered by Ben Sira. Identifying the scope of the gloss at the end of Sira 49 leads to understand the Praise of the fathers (Sira 44—49) as a theological commentary of the books of the Nebiim, a collection recently put together when Sira wrote his Wisdom. The Nebiim constituted a rival collection to the first ever Jewish Chronography crafted barely a century earlier for the Alexandria library to provide Hellenistic historians with sources pertaining to Jewish past. On the basis of Nina Collins' ground-breaking study of the Letter of Aristeas, the opposition between the Chronography and the Nebiim is understood as a reflection of the tensions between the Library and the Jews at the time of the translation of the Torah. The point is that the initiative for translation and canonization Hebrew literature always originated from Hellenistic scholars, and that the Jews were reacting to it. The Alexandrian Canon hypothesis thus needs to be revived, albeit in a modified form, despite the conclusions reached 40 years ago by Albert Sundberg. Even Josephus, who had a low opinion of the LXX, based his list of thirteen prophetic books on the Alexandrian Chronography, transmitted by the LXX's Historica (Joshua—Esther). In reaction to the Chronography, Alexandrian Judaism created the Nebiim, retaining the first part of the Alexandrian Chronography (minus Ruth) while adding the Prophetic books proper. Whereas Demetrius the Chronographer or the school to which he belonged is likely to have produced the Chronography, Ben Sira, who migrated to Egypt with the Ptolemaic elite of Jerusalem after the battle of Panion could have been involved in the formation of the Nebiim. His grandson translated his grandfather's Wisdom once the Nebiim were officially canonized by the Hasmonaeans. A three-century shift is therefore required for the organization of the Joshua—Kings succession, which means that the periodization of Israel's past belongs to the last stage of the formation of the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, and not to the onset of their growth. Alexandria is restored in its position as the leading centre for canonizing ANE literature. hypertext version
5 9 2004
Noegel, Scott Geminate Ballast and Clustering: An Unrecognized Literary Feature in Ancient Semitic Poetry
The device examined here appears to be employed in all strata of biblical Hebrew poetry, and its widespread usage in other Semitic texts shows that it was acquired in scribal circles along with other sophisticated compositional techniques. Its appearance in Akkadian suggests that the device may have originated in Mesopotamia and moved westward with cuneiform culture at an early date. However, regardless of its provenance, the evidence suggests that geminate ballast and clustering was yet another technique available to the ancient Semitic poet. hypertext version
5 8 2004
Pinker, Aron The Hard "Sell” in Nah 3:4
The standard meaning of מכר is incongruous in the context of Nah 3:4. It is suggested that the problematic המכרת in Nah 3:4 is the consequence of a מ/נ scribal confusion mitigated by similarity between מכר and נכר, as well as the מ in preceding כשפים. הנכרת has the sense of “she that acquires,” in accord with Hos 3:2. Such an approach would also help with understanding of 1Sam 23:7. It is also possible to construe הנכרת in the sense of “she that alienates,” though this grammatical form of נכר is not attested in the Hebrew Bible. hypertext version
5 7 2004
Schniedewind, William M. Prolegomena for the Sociolinguistics of Classical Hebrew
The study of Classical Hebrew has largely proceeded from the assumptions of 19th century neogrammarians as well as formalist approaches. Their linguistic assumptions are based on the study of contemporary spoken languages that and particularly ill-suited to deal with all the facets of an ancient written language like Classical Hebrew. Language, and particularly written language, is part of a cultural system. As such, the approaches in sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics need to integrated into the study of Classical Hebrew. hypertext version
5 6 2004
Doudna, Greg Ostraca KhQ1 and KhQ2 from the Cemetary of Qumran: A New Edition
The ostraca KhQ1 and KhQ2 found outside the east wall at Qumran in 1996 represent the most extensive writing found at the actual site of Qumran to date, as distinguished from the texts in the nearby caves. KhQ1 has been controversial from the beginning. The editors, Frank Cross and Esther Eshel, identified KhQ1 as a deed of gift of property from a new member to a religious community at Qumran in a manner enjoined by the Community Rule (1QS). It was claimed that KhQ1 provided the first direct evidence that the Community Rule was practiced at Qumran . However a key reading of Cross/Eshel in line 8 claimed in support of this interpretation was in error. An improved edition of KhQ1 was published by Ada Yardeni in 1997, giving the correct solution for line 8. This article undertakes new readings of KhQ1 and KhQ2 (including a slight improvement in Yardeni's reading of KhQ1 line 8) and takes up anew the question of whether the community-gift interpretation of KhQ1 can be confirmed or excluded on the basis of an accurate reading of the text. hypertext version
5 5 2004
Grayson, A. Kirk Shalmaneser III and the Levantine States: The Damascus Coalition Rebellion"
This article serves to promote the interaction between biblical scholars and archaeologists as well as other specialists in ancient Near Eastern Studies. It discusses the Western policy begun by Shalmaneser III and its impact in the Levant in general and Israel and Judah in particular. The Assyrians had great knowledge of, and interest in, foreign lands, their cultures, economies, and languages. It is hard to believe that they did not, with their disciplined structure and extensive knowledge of the world around them, have long-range plans to which the aims of the annual campaigns, barring emergencies, adhered. hypertext version
5 4 2004
Haase, Ingrid M. Uzzah's Rebellion
After David had freed Israelite soil from the Philistine menace, he was able to move the Ark to a more appropriate place from Abinadab's dwelling. He wanted it in Jerusalem, his new capital, where he needed a focal point for the Yahwistic portion of his subjects in order to counterbalance the Jebusite symbols of the city. Some of the priests who had been associated with the Ark throughout the generations had misgivings. Not that the Ark had to go back to Shiloh but neither did they want it sequestered in Jerusalem and become part of the local cult there. So during David's triumphal progress, when they came to a place, which was acceptable according to Israelite theology of the time, the guardians of the Ark tried to retain it there. It is not certain what happened next, because each sentence of the various passages is obscure in its structure and wording, but the chief of the priestly contingent dies. Eventually this occurrence gets to be interpreted as divine intervention in favour of David's scheme. Initially though, the incident does upset David enough for him to abandon his plans. He deposits the sacred object in the first house that he comes to, and it is only after he receives assurances from the remainder of the population, that he resumes his first ambition and he brings the Ark into Jerusalem . The name of the place though, Perez-uzzah, remains a constant reminder to David that a break had been made in his strength, his, David's, power. David was never able to overcome this breach, and neither was his son Solomon. hypertext test reference
5 3 2004
Linville, James R. Letting the “Bi-word” “Rule” in Joel 2:17
This paper addresses the word משׁל in Joel 2:17 which is usually taken as משׁל II “to rule” or משׁל I, the latter being either a verb “to use a proverb” or a noun “byword”. A review of the scholarly discussions demonstrates that the plausibility of both roots, although only the nominal form of root I should be recognized. A close look at Jer. 24:9 and other roughly comparable constructions reaffirms this. The impasse between the two roots in Joel 2:17 can be solved by recognizing a double entendre or even identifying משׁל as a “pivot” word. This polysemy has a role in the rhetoric of the passage and in the overall complexity and richness of Joel's imagery. hypertext version
5 2 2004
Najm, S. & Ph. Guillaume Jubilee Calendar Rescued from The Flood Narrative
The origin of the 364-day calendar attested in Dead Sea scrolls and in the books of Jubilees and Enoch is disputed. While it is often considered as a sectarian invention during the 3rd or 2nd centuries bce, Jaubert, VanderKam and Gardner claim that it is already used in the Torah and may be as old as Pg. Using the number seven and the notion that the actual Flood period marks the interruption of time and calendar, this article shows that the 364-day calendar is used by the Priestly writer both in Genesis 1 and in the Flood Narrative, thus suggesting that one of the aims of the Priestly writing was to establish a new calendar to mark the end of the Babylonian rule. hypertext version
5 1 2004
Malul, Meir Ledabbēr baššelî (2 Sam. 3:27) "to Talk Peace”
Ledabbēr baššelî in 2 Sam 3:27 seems to be equivalent in its underlying meaning to such a technical expression from the vocabulary of treaty-making as ledabbēr šālôm, and thus it too is to be identified as such a technical expression denoting “to talk peace” in the sense “to negotiate and seal a peace treaty”. These two expressions may then be either synonyms, in which case the hapaxelî would be another word in biblical Hebrew denoting peace; or the word šelî should be emended to šālôm. Since there is in biblical Hebrew the root šlh with its various derivatives, all denoting meanings from the semantic field of peace, quietude and the like, no emendation of the word šelî is needed. It seems then that the common derivation of this word by most commentators from the root šlh is eminently possible. hypertext version
4 8 2002
Pinker, Aron Upon an Attack in Nahum 2:2
Two options for emending the first prosaic colon of Nah 2:2 into two poetic cola are suggested. If accepted they give all the cola the same poetic structure and perhaps bring out some military nuances of the attack on Nineveh. hypertext version
4 7 2002
Leuchter, Mark Something Old, Something Older: Reconsidering 1 Sam. 2:27–36
Recently scholarly discourse has offered two different readings of 1 Sam. 2:27–36. One perspective is that the passage is primarily a late Deuteronomistic composition geared to account for the rise of Davidic and Zadokite circles, while the other perspective argues for its early and distinctively northern linguistic features, pointing to an origin at Shiloh independent of any Jerusalemite considerations. A third understanding of the passage, though, is possible: the text originated in an early Ephraimite setting and was later redacted to incorporate a more historically comprehensive concern. The crux of this understanding is based on the presence of distinctively Mosaic language and ideas which pertain to Shilonite circles and traditions. The original form of the passage therefore points to the replacement of the corrupt Elide line at Shiloh with a more suitable Mosaic tradent, and likely relates to the rise of Samuel as the central bearer of the Shiloh tradition in the ensuing narratives. hypertext version
4 6 2002
Kletter, Raz A Very General Archaeologist - Moshe Dayan and Israeli Archaeology
This article is a preliminary investigation of three decades of robbery, collection and trade in antiquities by General Moshe Dayan, perhaps Israel's most famous commander and politician. In trying to separate facts from the many rumors that follow his name, this contribution is mainly based on written sources, some never published before. They prove that, since 1951, Dayan was involved in large-scale robbery of antiquities in dozens of sites in Israel and the occupied territories. Dayan used army equipment and personnel for robbery and transfer of antiquities; established a vast collection of stolen and bought antiquities, and exchanged and sold antiquities in Israel and abroad. He became a negative model for others and damaged the cause of Israeli archaeology as a whole. Although Dayan was caught in person at least four times during robbery, he was never brought to justice. After his death, his collection was sold by his widow to the Israel Museum for 1 million US$. Though Dayan's activities are a sort of a known secret in Israel, they were never investigated from an archaeological perspective. Many facts remain unknown since they appear in remote Hebrew sources, hence writers about Dayan, including some of his biographers, often follow the wrong, romantic view of him as the ‘good guy’- a sort of an Israeli Robin Hood that fights stupid bureaucracy and social rules. This article brings a representative sample of Dayan's deeds and tries to evaluate them and to ask how they were possible, and what has changed since those “good old days”. hypertext version
4 5 2002
Liss, Hanna Undisclosed Speech: Patterns of Communication in the Book of Isaiah
This article deals with the lacking communicational equivalence between the prophet and his contemporaries created by the ‘command not to comprehend’ (Isaiah 6). The structure of non-comprehension is regarded as a necessary result of the prophetic word and describes the impossibility of comprehending what Isaiah himself could only understand after the event of his purification (Isa 6:6–7). Prophetic message and its rejection are thus complementary elements.
This structure of a lacking communicative equivalence is to be illustrated in Isaiah's prophetic activity. Isaianic prophecy consists of several different modes of language that bear relevance regarding the topic of non-comprehension:
  1. The use and function of metaphoric language: Isaiah uses the metaphors as an instrument of defamiliarization. At the same time, metaphorical language encloses a destructive element, since it destroys fundamental ideas and beliefs Isaiah's contemporaries still adhere to.
  2. The quotations: The quotations fulfill a very important task within prophetic language. Not only is the prophet's theo-political view of history handed down by means of these quotations, but also the confrontation with the prophetic word and thereby the people's status of non-comprehension. The process of the literary tradition of the prophetic heritage includes the confrontation and preserves it for later generations.
  3. Fictitious realms: By means of fictitious elements, the prophet creates a “theo-political” sphere over against the “geo-political appearance”, thereby giving his God the possibility of escaping the previous patterns of expectation. In view of the political and military circumstances at the end of the 8th century, the prophetic fiction represents a kind of Judean “counterpropaganda” for later generations.
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4 4 2002
Mitchell, Christine Accession in Chronicles: Transformations in Meaning: Solomon's Accession in Chronicles
This paper is in part a response to John Van Seters' “Creative imitation in the Hebrew Bible” (SR 29 [2000]: 395–409). In this paper, I discuss the development of a model of intertextuality sensitive to the context of the texts. Then I turn to a discussion of the accession of Solomon in 1 Chron. 28–2 Chron. 1; I show that Solomon's accession is a transformation of the selection of Saul in 1 Sam. 9–11. I conclude that Chronicles goes beyond “plagiarism” in its relationship with Samuel-Kings, and that the Chronicler was a sophisticated literary artist working in a literate tradition. hypertext version
4 3 2002
Heard, R. Christopher Echoes of Genesis in 1 Chronicles 4:9–10: An Intertextual and Contextual Reading of Jabez's Prayer
First Chronicles 4:9–10 has not received much sustained scholarly attention, but Bruce Wilkinson's The Prayer of Jabez has made those two verses both well-known and newly popular in mass-market Christianity. Leaving aside the furor over Wilkinson's popular treatment, this article elucidates the sense (including overlooked ambiguities in the lexical sense) and structure of this brief passage internal to Chronicles, explores certain intertextual connections between 1 Chron 4:9–10 and selected passages in the book of Genesis, and suggests some possible functions for 1 Chron 4:9–10 and related passages in 1 Chron 4–5 within the socio-historical context of Achaemenid Yehud. hypertext version
4 2 2002
Lipschits, Oded “Jehoiakim Slept with His Fathers…” - Did He?
This study of the different accounts concerning the circumstances of the death of Jehoiakim and of his burial place leads to the conclusion that he died after an eleven-year reign and was buried in Jerusalem, exactly on the eve of Nebuchadrezzar's campaign. His death saved the city from destruction and enabled the small kingdom an additional eleven years of rule. Insofar as the writer in Kings knew of the events in Judah in the last years of the kingdom, the king's death was not attended by any unusual circumstances. Did secret events take place in the royal palace that were unknown to the residents of the city? Was Jehoiakim's death the result of a sophisticated conspiracy whose perpetrators or circumstances were unknown to his contemporaries? This may be the case, but it is better to remember that there is no contemporary information of that kind, and later accounts of it are filling in the gaps and try to create harmony between the lacunae in the Book of Kings and the curses concerning the fate of the sinner king that were proclaimed by the prophet Jeremiah. hypertext version
4 1 2002
Boda, Mark J. Oil, Crowns and Thrones: Prophet, Priest and Kingin Zechariah 1:7–6:15
In this paper attention to literary-lexical and traditio-historical aspects of Zech 3:1–10; 4:1–14 and 6:9–15, challenges the common interpretation of these pericopae. It is argued that rather than advocating priestly intrusions into prophetic or royal arenas, these passages interpret the arrival and instatement of the Zadokite priestly house as heralding the imminent arrival of the royal house while sustaining an enduring role for prophecy. hypertext version
3 10 2001
Cohn Eskenazi, Tamara Nehemiah 9–10: Structure and Significance
As some have recognized long ago, Nehemiah 9 is the theological centerpiece of Ezra-Nehemiah. Yet, until recently the long prayer has not received the attention that it deserves. The excellent essays about Nehemiah 9 by Rolf Rentdorff and Hugh Williamson stand out as exceptions to the general neglect of the prayer. Fortunately, the neglect has been remedied with some new and important studies that greatly enrich our ability to appreciate Nehemiah 9. This paper has two goals: first it reviews some central contributions to the discussion about Nehemiah 9 made by new studies of Nehemiah 9. Second, it builds upon these studies in order to shed more light on the function and meaning of the prayer. In particular, the paper shows how the three-part structure of Nehemiah 9 discloses a specific response to the challenge of continuity and new beginnings in the postexilic era. The implications of such response are also addressed. hypertext version
3 9 2001
Scatolini, Silvio Sergio Delimiting the Countours of Israel in Ezek 12:21–15 and 12:26–28
Even though the concept of Israel would appear to many to be one of the most straightforward ones in the Hebrew Scriptures; it is not always clear what it actually refers to. Yet, delimiting or eliciting the implied [physical, social and ideological] contours of Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures in their totality is way beyond the scope of any single article. Here we shall concentrate on Ezek 12:21–25, 26–28. It is my hypothesis that in these two short disputation speeches more than one view of Israel are implicitly presented. hypertext version
3 8 2001
Huddlestun, John R. Unveiling the Versions: The Tactics of Tamar in Genesis 38:15
Modern interpretations of Tamar's actions in Genesis 38:15 fall into two groups: those who maintain that the veil indicated her prostitute status and those who counter that it only concealed her identity. I argue that the expansion to and subsequent interpretive history of this verse, coupled with the lack of correlation between veil and prostitution historically, suggest that the first mentioned interpretation - Judah believed her to be a prostitute because of the veil - should be reconsidered. Rather, the separation of shroud from profession, both exegetically and historically, provides a compelling historical precedent for the second view, namely, that Tamar's veil concealed more than it revealed. hypertext version
3 7 2001
de Caën, Vincent Hebrew Linguistics and Biblical Criticism: A Minimalist Programme
This paper introduces a programme in historical linguistics with important implications for biblical criticism. Traditionally, grammatical variation in the Bible has been interpreted in light of nineteenth-century historical-literary criticism. In this light, such variation appears erratic and random. To date we have developed a somewhat vague distinction between “early” and “late Biblical Hebrew” (EBH vs LBH). The programme outlined here proposes to let the Hebrew language speak for itself, to let natural diachronic processes explain the distributions independent of the literary paradigm. The results should suggest a new alignment of texts and sources. The paper has two parts. The first, polemical part situates the programme within recent, indeed controversial, departures in biblical studies. The second part works through a problem that has hitherto resisted explanation to showcase the methodology and to indicate the anticipated results. As a first approximation a fivefold stratification is proposed, considerably refining the traditional taxon “early Biblical Hebrew” (EBH). The most interesting conclusion is the priority of Deuteronomy within the five books of Moses. Another result is the sorting of composite books like Psalms by linguistic criteria. The programme is expected to yield a three-volume study: morphology, syntax, lexicon (in that order). hypertext version
3 6 2001
Bauer, Uwe F. W. A Metaphorical Etiology in Judges 18:12
At first glance, the names of the localities in Judg 18:12 do not seem to fit the framework of chapter 18. Traditionally, v.12 (in particular 12ba) is therefore labelled as an etiological note which was added later. P. J. van Dijk has made it clear, however, that texts viewed as etiological often do not explain or legitimize any phenomena, but -as rhetorical devices -lend credibility to stories. However, the fact that a place named Mahaneh-dan is unknown to us argues against both the classical-etiological understanding of v.12 and that of van Dijk. A solution to the problem begins with the geographical location and the theological meaning of the city of Kiriath-jearim. Geographically, Kiriath-jearim is in Judah, on the boundary of the Northern Kingdom; theologically the city may be associated with the ark of the covenant, and thereby with the Torah of YHWH. That the Danites are encamped at or beyond of Kiriath-jearim, shows from a Judean perspective that they distance themselves from Judah and the Torah of YHWH. Their way -leading diagonally from the Southwest to the Northeast through the Northern Kingdom, and therefore representing pars pro toto the conduct of life for all of the Northern tribes -is a way of brutal force and uninhibited serving of idols. Because the location of the encampment of the Danites is called Mahaneh-dan, “Dan's Camp”, the Danites are characterized as anti-Yahwist desperados. Judg 18:12 is neither a classical etiology nor a rhetorical device, but a metaphorical etiology, i.e. a verse governed by its context in such a way, that it signifies something other than what it appears to signify. hypertext version
3 5 2001
Knoppers, Gary N. “Great Among His Brothers,” but Who is He? Heterogeneity in the Composition of Judah?
To a large extent past scholarship has been absorbed with textual, source-critical, and redactional issues. Each of the major approaches surveyed attempts to deal with the formidable problems presented by the text. Inasmuch as an effort has been made to understand the genealogy historically, most of that effort has been expended on recovering the early history of Judah and its growth during the monarchy. Because genealogies are essentially histories of generations, it is only natural for scholars to want to plumb the depths of these records as one means to reconstruct the past. But whatever traditions may have been available to the authors, one should inquire further about what functions the genealogy may have fulfilled in the late Persian or early Hellenistic period, the time in which the authors wrote. Genealogies in the ancient Mediterranean world were caught up with fundamental issues of self-definition, identity, territory, and relationships. They were composed mainly to address claims about social status, kinship ties, and territorial affiliations and not to satisfy idle curiosities about the distant past. In most, albeit not all, cases lineages “establish and validate living relationships.” Given that the postexilic Judah constructed by modern scholarship is not known for having a diverse social and ethnic makeup, pursuing the heterogeneity within the Judahite genealogy holds much promise. hypertext version
3 4 2000
Jenkins, Allan K. Erasmus' Commentary on Psalm 2
Erasmus' failure to master Hebrew raises the question of how his ad fontes approach to biblical interpretation applied to the Old Testament. His 76-page ‘commentary’ on Psalm 2 shows that he does make use of Hebrew, though his insights are derivative, mostly from Jerome or Augustine. In some places, however, he bases his exposition on the LXX and, where this differs from the Hebrew, on both. Erasmus reads the psalm as applying to Christ rather than David, and his philological scholarship is used to serve his interpretative aim of contemporary application in accordance with his ‘philosophy of Christ’. hypertext version
3 3 2000
Wesselius, Jan-Wim Towards a New History of Israel
The status and use of Primary History (the books Genesis – 2 Kings) as a historical source is highly dependent on its literary nature as a unitary work written after 440 BCE, most probably between 440 and 420, the structure of which apparently derives from and refers to the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus. Another important literary feature is the peculiar use of alternative versions to indicate uncertainty and doubt about the narrative itself, the result of which used to be regarded as proof for the Documentary Hypothesis. The contrasting absence of such alternatives for much of the history of the ninth-sixth centuries BCE as found in the Books of Kings provides a formal indication that it was meant to give a more or less accurate picture of the period. hypertext version
3 2 2000
Lemche, Niels Peter On the Problems of Reconstructing Pre-Hellenistic Israelite (Palestinian) History
The biblical picture of ancient Israel does not fit in, but is contrary to any image of ancient Palestinian society that can be established on the basis of ancient sources from Palestine or referring to Palestine. There is no way this image in the Bible can be reconciled with the historical past of the region. And if this is the case, we should give up the hope that we can reconstruct pre-Hellenistic history on the basis of the Old Testament. It is simply an invented history with only a few referents to things that really happened or existed. From an historian's point of view, ancient Israel is a monstrous creature. It is something sprung out of the fantasy of biblical historiographers and their modern paraphrasers, i.e., the historical-critical scholars of the last two hundred years. hypertext version
3 1 2000
Rendsburg, Gary A. Confused Language as a Deliberate Literary Device in Biblical Hebrew Narrative
This article presents a paradigm example of confused language in an ancient Near Eastern literary text, the Egyptian tale of “The Shipwrecked Sailor.” It explains the pertinent passage as a clever literary device in which confused and irregular syntax is utilized to portray the confusion that characterized the moment of the shipwreck. It then proceeds to treat seven biblical passages where similarly confused language is invoked to portray confusion, excitement, or bewilderment. Two of these passages have been treated previously in the secondary literature: 1 Sam 9:12–13 and Ruth 2:7. The five new treatments concern Gen 37:28, Gen 37:30, Judg 18:14–20, 1 Sam 14:21, and 1 Sam 17:38. hypertext version
2 6 1999
Landy, Francis Leviticus, Deconstruction and the Body
This paper is a contribution to a discussion of feminism, deconstruction and embodiment at the Canadian Society for Biblical Studies Meeting in June, 1999. I briefly align and contrast deconstruction, as a practice of resistance to totalizing discourses, with feminism, as a practice of resistance to totalizing hierarchies. I then engage with three student responses to a course I taught on Leviticus, as part of the dialogic of biblical studies (and certainly deconstructive/feminist ones). In one, I discuss Leviticus as pornography, in the context of the nexus between prohibition and desire, and pay especial attention to the points where Leviticus changes subject position. A second concerns land, imagined in anticipation and retrospectively from exile, as the object of memory and frustration, and speculates on the sexual imagery of sacrifice. A third turns to narrative in Leviticus, in particular that of 24.10–23, as potentially destructive of the whole rhetorical enterprise of the book, which posits a static society. In my conclusion, I express distrust of pure deconstructive or feminist programs, and turn to the paradox that Leviticus is both a text preeminently about the body, and profoundly phallocentric. hypertext version
2 5 1999
Bergen, David A. Bakhtin Revisits Deuteronomy: Narrative Theory and the Dialogical Event of Deut 31:2 and 34:7
In 1980 Robert Polzin engaged the narrative structure of Deuteronomy and introduced Mikhail Bakhtin's literary theory to biblical studies. Few however have carried forward the implications of this pioneering work, leaving Bakhtin and the narrator sidelined in critical Deuteronomic discussions. This paper demonstrates the unrealized potential inherent in Bakhtin's dialogic theory for the interpretation of biblical narrative. Reading with sensitivity the voice structure of Deuteronomy, it is possible to discern not only a dialogic angle between Moses and the narrator, but also a subtle polemical nuance in the narrator's superlative evaluation of Israel's first prophet. hypertext version
2 4 1999
Linville, James R. On the Nature of Rethinking Prophetic Literature: Stirring a Neglected Stew (A Response to David L. Petersen)
David L. Petersen's 1997 paper, “Rethinking the Nature of Prophetic Literature” posits a five-fold typology of prophetic literature and prophetic roles: (1) divinatory chronicles about seers; (2) vision reports concerning seer/visionaries; (3) prophetic speech from prophets; (4) legends about men of God; (5) prophetic histories, attributed to intermediaries with no formal title. Petersen critiques other scholars for stereotyping prophets as formal speakers or poets, viewing prophetic literature too often as the actual words of prophets, and reducing its diversity to a single message. Petersen makes a number of valid points, especially his call for an interdisciplinary dialogue. Yet, he himself is dismissive of many approaches in the “methodological stew” that he considers “uninformed”. His typology is supported by ambiguous evidence, and he works with an uncritically studied premise that the Hebrew Bible reflects accurate data about prophets. Similar objections can be raised concerning his complaints about the prejudgments.

My critique is based on a fundamentally different historical paradigm than that of Petersen. Cross-cultural comparisons cannot reliably describe the social institution of prophecy, although other types of social scientific research may provide heuristic tools for study in different directions. The biblical portrait of ‘classical’ prophecy needs analysis as the construction of a later era. The literary qualities of the texts also deserve attention. Perceptual role theory, as opposed to the role theory employed by Petersen, may provide a link between literary and historical research into the manufacturers of the biblical portrait. The required dialogue is much more eclectic than Petersen's paper would allow.

hypertext version
2 3 1999
Bauer, Uwe F. W. Anti-Jewish Interpretations of Psalm 1 in Luther and in Modern German Protestantism
This article presents a detailed analysis of the different forms of anti-Jewish interpretations of Psalm 1 by M. Luther and in Modern German Protestantism (as exemplified by W.M.L de Wette, E.W. Hengstenberg, H. Hupfeld, B. Duhm, R. Kittel, H. Gunkel, A. Weiser, and H. -J. Kraus). These commentaries reviewed fall into three models of interpretation. The first model is marked by positive interpretation and Christian appropriation. In this model the Jews are deemed incapable of attaining the theological level of the Psalm, because—and reducing what these interpreters say to its essence—the Jews in their strict adherence to nomism cut themselves off from the Christian truth. The second model is that of religio-historical degeneration. The distinguishing feature of this model is that the Psalm is seen as the product of a “decayed post-prophetic Judaism.” The third model is that of religio-historical progression. In contrast with the Hebrew-Jewish level of religious development, which is characterized as external and superficial, Christian religiousness is seen as more spiritual, more inward, and thus it is considered higher on the religious scale. If one were to look for a common basis of the anti-Jewish statements of these exegetes, a decisive factor, in my opinion, is Christology, more specifically, the Reformation's justification-Christology with its exclusivist, anti-Jewish configuration. hypertext version
2 2 1998
Sweeney, Marvin A. A Form-Critical Rereading of Hosea
This paper proposes a form-critical rereading of Hosea based upon synchronic literary criteria. Past scholarship generally argues that the book of Hosea articulates a message of judgment against Israel in three basic parts, Hosea 1–3; Hosea 4–11; and Hosea 12–14. Each component begins with material pertaining to Israel's judgment, but concludes with material pertaining to restoration. This view is based upon redactional-critical criteria, and posits an original core of judgmental material against Israel that has been supplement and “softened” by later texts concerned Israel's restoration. A rereading of the book in relation to its formal syntactical and semantic features indicates a very different structure in which an anonymous narrator presents Hosea's prophecy are parenetic appeal to Israel to return to YHWH by abandoning its alliances with foreign powers, specifically Assyria and Egypt. Although Hosea's oracles were originally delivered in the north, the present form of the book is directed to a Judean audience, and may be read in relation to the reigns of either Hezekiah or Josiah. hypertext version
2 1 1998
Lee, Bernon A Specific Application of the Proverb in Ecclesiastes 1:15
The article seeks to apply the interpretative content of Ecclesiastes 1:15 within a specific situation. The quest to do so uncovers a surrounding literary structure (1:13–18) that describes two parallel tasks. With specific reference to one of the tasks (1:16–17 + 18) and its thematic expansion in 2:12–17, the article understands the proverb of 1:15 to describe a crooked world which is without any permanent reward for the wise. The article also proposes that the proverb depicts the strong presence of a subjective idealism in the evaluation of the world's events. hypertext version
1 6 1997
Davies, Philip R Loose Canons. Reflections on the Formation of the Hebrew Bible
Canonizing begins and continues as an open-ended process. To canonize a work is not an entirely conscious process at all stages and does not entail that other works have to be barred from being canonized, or definitely excluded from such a status. Only when definitive canonical lists emerge does the canonizing process stop. While canonizing does entail listing, organizing and labelling, a single definitive list is not, indeed, the purpose of the canonizing process, any more than death is the purpose of life: just its end. hypertext version
1 5 1997
Fox, Michael V. What Happens in Qohelet 4:13–16?
A reexamination of the anecdote in Qoh 4:13–16 supports the following understanding: There was a succession of four protagonists: an old but foolish king; youth1, who came forth from prison; youth2, a poor man born in the latter' reign; and youth3, who is not an individual but whichever young man may come next in line. Wisdom is effective but its accomplishments undermined by the fickleness of public favor and memory. hypertext version
1 4 1997
de Tillesse, Caetano Minette The Conquest of Power: Analysis of David and Solomon's Accession Histories
The apology of David (David's Accession Story) was written during David's reign and utilized for Solomon's Accession Story, which integrated it and duplicated it with satiric plagiarizing. So David's Accession History (without the satiric plagiarizing) was written during David's reign (eleventh century BC), and Solomon's Accession History resumed David's, duplicated it (satiric plagiarizing) and brought it to its final triumph with the transport of the Ark to the Temple of Solomon. This was done during Solomon's reign, which seems to have been even more controversial than that of David. The final form of the Story must have been completed in the tenth century BC. hypertext version
1 3 1997
Miller, Cynthia L., Kenneth M. Craig Jr. and Raymond F. Person Jr. Conversation Analysis and the Book of Jonah:A Conversation
In 1996 Raymond F. Person, Jr. published the first monograph on Jonah in which the text is approached primarily from the perspective of Conversation Analysis (i.e., R.F. Person, In Conversation with Jonah: Conversation Analysis, Literary Criticism, and the Book of Jonah [JSOTSup 220, Sheffield, 1996]). The volume already warranted a formal discussion at the (November) 1996 meeting of Socio-Linguistics Group of the Society of Biblical Literature. The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (JHS) is glad to provide its readers a (revised) version of the papers that were presented at that meeting. hypertext version
1 2 1997
Utzschneider, Helmut Text - Reader - Author. Towards a Theory of Exegesis: Some European Views
The starting point of the article is a triple crisis of the traditional historical exegesis of the OT. Proposed is a “theory of exegesis” which offers a basis for transformations of traditional questions and methods and which offers “interfaces” for both, the integration of recent trends of literary sciences and the dialog with non-academic, contextual approaches. The (biblical) text is basically understood as an “aesthetic subject” in order to stress that the interrelation between the text and its readers proceeds from the productive encounter between both. As “co-ordinates” of the theory function U. Eco's three “intentions of interpretation” and their relations: the “intentio operis” which opens the perspective on descriptive text theories, the intentio lectoris which integrates “aesthetics of reception” and the intentio auctoris which offers the link to the traditional historical-critical exegesis. hypertext version
1 1 1996