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Jewish and Christian apocalypses have captivated theologians, writers, artists, and the general public for centuries, and have had a profound influence on world history from their initial production by persecuted Jews during the second century BCE, to the birth of Christianity—through the demise of the Western Roman Empire and the medieval period, and continuing into modernity. Far from being an outlier concern, or an academic one that may be relegated to the dustbin of history, apocalyptic thinking is ubiquitous and continues to inform nearly all aspects of modern-day life. It addresses universal human concerns: the search for identity and belonging, speculation about the future, and (for some) a blueprint that provides meaning and structure to a seemingly chaotic world. The Cambridge Companion to Apocalyptic Literature brings together a field of leading experts to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject.
As the earliest narrative source for the origins of Christianity, Acts is of unrivalled importance for understanding early Christianity and the mission that originally brought it from Judea and Galilee to gentiles, and even the heart of the Roman Empire. This volume is an abridged version of Keener's monumental, four-volume commentary on Acts, the longest and one of the most thorough engagements with Acts in its ancient setting. Sensitive to the work's narrative unity, Keener's commentary is especially known for its direct engagement with the wide range of ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman sources. The original commentary cited some 45,000 references from ancient extrabiblical sources to shed light on the Book of Acts. This accessible edition, aimed at students, scholars, and pastors, makes more widely available the decades of research that Keener has devoted to one of the key texts of Early Christianity.
Empire-critical and postcolonial readings of Revelation are now commonplace, but scholars have not yet put these views into conversation with Jewish trauma and cultural survival strategies. In this book, Sarah Emanuel positions Revelation within its ancient Jewish context. Proposing a new reading of Revelation, she demonstrates how the text's author, a first century CE Jewish Christ-follower, used humor as a means of resisting Roman power. Emanuel uses multiple critical lenses, including humor, trauma, and postcolonial theory, together with historical-critical methods. These approaches enable a deeper understanding of the Jewishness of the early Christ-centered movement, and how Jews in antiquity related to their cultural and religious identity. Emanuel's volume offers new insights and fills a gap in contemporary scholarship on Revelation and biblical scholarship more broadly.
The Gospel of John is renowned for the challenges it presents to interpreters: its historical complexity, theological and literary unity, and its consistently critical stance toward characters known as 'the Jews'. There is abundant scholarly literature on each of these challenges, and yet there are very few studies that consider the Gospel as a whole in light of these pressing issues. Mark Blumhofer offers a fresh approach to understanding the Fourth Gospel, one that draws together the insights of scholarship in all of these areas. He shows that a historically sensitive, ethically attuned, and theologically and literarily compelling reading of the Fourth Gospel lies before us in the synthesis of the approaches that have long been separated. Unlike studies that consider only a narrow portion of the Gospel, Blumhofer's unique approach draws on most of it and shows how common themes and interests run throughout the narrative of John.
Jesus the Jew is the primary signifier of Christianity's indebtedness to Judaism. This connection is both historical and continuous. In this book, Barbara Meyer shows how Christian memory, as largely intertwined with Jewish memory, provides a framework to examine the theological dimensions of historical Jesus research. She explores the topics that are central to the Jewishness of Jesus, such as the Christian relationship to law, and otherness as a Christological category. Through the lenses of the otherness of the Jewish Jesus for contemporary Christians, she also discusses circumcision, natality, vulnerability, and suffering in dialogue with thinkers seldom drawn into Jewish-Christian discourse, notably Hannah Arendt, Julia Kristeva, Martha Nussbaum and Adi Ophir. Meyer demonstrates how the memory of Jesus' Jewishness is a key to reconfiguring contemporary challenges to Christian thought, such as particularity and otherness, law and ethics after the Shoah, human responsibility, and divine vulnerability.
This book focuses on the 'Gospel of Mary' in the context of a broader analysis of early Christian dialogue gospels - a popular literary genre used to present Jesus as conversing with select disciples and answering a series of questions on life, death and the cosmos at the conclusion of his earthly career. Jesus' teachings in these texts can vary greatly, from affirming the resurrection of the flesh to denying it completely. This book highlights the diversity of perspective within this genre, bringing together New Testament, 'gnostic' and (proto-)orthodox texts. Yet each text is based on the premise that it contains new or clarified teaching from the risen or glorified Lord, often in the form of a final revelation concerned with the disciples' eschatological salvation. This book offers a fresh and in-depth analysis of the 'Gospel of Mary' in the context of the dialogue gospel genre, concentrating on the narrative frame, the eschatological teachings, and the relationship between the two.
The Book of Revelation is one of the most cryptic books of the Bible and one that raises many scholarly questions. What is its literary genre? Why is it considered to be both a narrative and a drama? Why does John disregard time-space coordinates? Why does the audience have such an important role in the text? What literary guidelines has the author designed to facilitate the reading of the book? Applying the methods of literary theory to her study, Lourdes Garcia-Urena argues that John wrote Revelation as a book to be read aloud in a liturgical context. In her reading, John chose a literary form, similar to the short story, that allows him to use time-space coordinates flexibly, to dramatize the text, and to take his time in describing his visions. Through these techniques the audience re-lives and is made part of the visual and auditory experience every time the book is read.
In this book, Sabine R. Huebner explores the world of the protagonists of the New Testament and the early Christians using the rich papyrological evidence from Roman Egypt. This gives us unparalleled insights into the everyday lives of the non-elite population in an area quite similar to neighboring Judaea-Palestine. What were the daily concerns and difficulties experienced by a carpenter's family or by a shepherd looking after his flocks? How did the average man or woman experience a Roman census? What obstacles did women living in a patriarchal society face in private, in public, and in the early Church? Given the flight of Jesus' family into Egypt, how mobile were the lower classes, what was their understanding of geography, and what costs and dangers were associated with travel? This volume gives a better understanding of the structural, social, and cultural conditions under which figures from the New Testament lived.
In Biblical Theology, Ben Witherington, III, examines the theology of the Old and New Testaments as a totality. Going beyond an account of carefully crafted Old and New Testament theologies, he demonstrates the ideas that make the Bible a sacred book with a unified theology. Witherington brings a distinctive methodology to this study. Taking a constructive approach, he first examines the foundations of the writers' symbolic universe - what they thought and presupposed about God - and how they revealed those thoughts through the narratives of the Old and New Testaments. He also shows how the historical contexts and intellectual worlds of the Old and New Testaments conditioned their narratives, and, in the process, created a large coherent Biblical world view, one that progressively reveals the character and action of God. Thus, the Yahweh of the Old Testament, the Son in the Gospels, and the Father, Son, and Spirit in the New Testament writings are viewed as persons who are part of the singular divine identity. Witherington's progressive revelation approach allows each part of the canon to be read in its original context and with its original meaning.
This study contributes to the debate over the function of Davidic sonship in the Gospel of Mark. In contrast to William Wrede's paradigm, Max Botner argues that Mark's position on Jesus's ancestry cannot be assessed properly though isolated study of the name David (or the patronym son of David). Rather, the totality of Markan messiah language is relevant to the question at hand. Justification for this paradigm shift is rooted in observations about the ways in which ancient authors spoke of their messiahs. Botner shows that Mark was participant to a linguistic community whose members shared multiple conventions for stylizing their messiahs, Davidic or otherwise. He then traces how the evangelist narratively constructed his portrait of Christ via creative use of the Jewish scriptures. When the Davidssohnfrage is approached from within this sociolinguistic framework, it becomes clear that Mark's Christ is indeed David's son.
This book breaks new ground in New Testament reception history by bringing together early Pauline interpretation and the study of early Christian institutions. Benjamin Edsall traces the close association between Paul and the catechumenate through important texts and readers from the late second century to the fourth century to show how the early Church arrived at a wide-spread image of Paul as the apostle of Christian initiation. While exploring what this image of Paul means for understanding early Christian interpretation, Edsall also examines the significance of this aspect of Pauline reception in relation to interpretive possibilities of Paul's letters. Building on the analysis of early interpretations and rhetorical images of the Apostle, Edsall brings these together with contemporary scholarly discourse. The juxtaposition highlights longstanding continuity and conflict in exegetical discussions and dominant Pauline images. Edsall concludes with broader hermeneutical reflections on the value of historical reception for New Testament Studies.
In this book, Katherine M. Hockey explores the function of emotions in the New Testament by examining the role of emotions in 1 Peter. Moving beyond outdated, modern rationalistic views of emotions as irrational, bodily feelings, she presents a theoretically and historically informed cognitive approach to emotions in the New Testament. Informed by Greco-Roman philosophical and rhetorical views of emotions along with modern emotion theory, she shows how the author of 1 Peter uses the logic of each emotion to value and position objects within the audience's worldview, including the self and the other. She also demonstrates how, cumulatively, the emotions of joy, distress, fear, hope, and shame are deployed to build an alternative view of reality. This new view of reality aims to shape the believers' understanding of the structure of their world, encourages a reassessment of their personal goals, and ultimately seeks to affect their identity and behaviour.
Theological interpretation of the Bible is one of the most significant debates within theology today. Yet what exactly is theological reading? Darren Sarisky proposes that it requires identification of the reader via a theological anthropology; an understanding of the text as a collection of signs; and reading the text with a view toward engaging with what it says of transcendence. Accounts of theological reading do not often give explicit focus to the place of the reader, but this work seeks to redress this neglect. Sarisky examines Augustine's approach to the Bible and how his theological insights into the reader and the text generate an aim for interpretation, which is fulfilled by fitting reading strategies. He also engages with Spinoza, showing that theological exegesis contrasts not with approaches that take history seriously, but with naturalistic approaches to reading.
First published in 2002, this book offers an authoritative and accessible introduction to the New Testament and early Christian literature for all students of the Bible and the origins of Christianity. Delbert Burkett focuses on the New Testament, but also looks at a wealth of non-biblical writing to examine the history, religion and literature of Christianity in the years from 30 CE to 150 CE. The book is organized systematically with questions for in-class discussion and written assignments, step-by-step reading guides on individual works, special box features, charts, maps and numerous illustrations designed to facilitate student use. An appendix containing translations of primary texts allows instant access to the writings outside the canon. For this new edition, Burkett has reorganized and rewritten many chapters, and has also incorporated revisions throughout the text, bringing it up to date with current scholarship. This volume is designed for use as the primary textbook for one and two-semester courses on the New Testament and Early Christianity.
This book addresses two crucial, related questions in current research on the Epistle to the Hebrews: when and where did Jesus offer himself? And what role does Jesus' death play both in Hebrews' soteriology as a whole, and specifically in Jesus' high-priestly self-offering? The work argues that the cross is not when and where Jesus offers himself, but it is what he offers. After his resurrection, appointment to high priesthood, and ascent to heaven, Jesus offers himself to God in the inner sanctum of the heavenly tabernacle, and what he offers to God is the soteriological achievement enacted in his death. Hebrews figures blood, in both the Levitical cult and the Christ-event, as a medium of exchange, a life given for life owed. Represented as blood, Christ's death is both means of access and material offered: what he achieved in his death is what he offered to God in heaven.
In this book, Caryn A. Reeder examines the gendered language and imagery of war and peace in the Gospel of Luke. Peace is represented with the blessing of fertility, pregnancy, and newborn infants. Pregnant and nursing women, women and children in general, and feminized Jerusalem also represent the horrors of war in the Gospel - abandoned, crushed to the ground, subject to woe and distress, to the point that barren wombs and dry breasts become a blessing. Reeder argues that the representation of peace with pregnant women and newborn infants, the most vulnerable in the population, indicates that victory belongs to God. This message is clarified by the encouragement of surrender and flight from besieged Jerusalem, rather than an active defense. Notably, there are no men to defend Jerusalem in Luke's warnings of war. The Gospel undermines the masculinization of war commonly found in Greco-Roman texts by redirecting the means of making peace from the violence of victory to the unmanly act of surrender.
Inventing Hebrews examines a perennial topic in the study of the Letter to the Hebrews, its structure and purpose. Michael Wade Martin and Jason A. Whitlark undertake at thorough synthesis of the ancient theory of invention and arrangement, providing a new account of Hebrews' design. The key to the speech's outline, the authors argue, is in its use of 'disjointed' arrangement, a template ubiquitous in antiquity but little discussed in modern biblical studies. This method of arrangement accounts for the long-observed pattern of alternating epideictic and deliberative units in Hebrews as blocks of narratio and argumentatiorespectively. Thus the 'letter' may be seen as a conventional speech arranged according to the expectations of ancient rhetoric (exordium, narratio, argumentatio, peroratio), with epideictic comparisons of old and new covenant representatives (narratio) repeatedly enlisted in amplification of what may be viewed as the central argument of the speech (argumentatio), the recurring deliberative summons for perseverance. Resolving a long-standing conundrum, this volume offers a hermeneutical tool necessary for interpreting Hebrews, as well as countless other speeches from Greco-Roman antiquity.
The Bible was everywhere in Shakespeare's England. Through sermons, catechisms, treatises, artwork, literature and, of course, biblical reading itself, the stories and language of the Bible pervaded popular and elite culture. In recent years, scholars have demonstrated how thoroughly biblical allusions saturate Shakespearean plays. But Shakespeare's audiences were not simply well versed in the Bible's content - they were also steeped in the practices and methods of biblical interpretation. Reformation and counter-reformation debate focused not just on the biblical text, but - crucially - on how to read the text. The Bible on the Shakespearean Stage is the first volume to integrate the study of Shakespeare's plays with the vital history of Reformation practices of biblical interpretation. Bringing together the foremost international scholars in the field of 'Shakespeare and the Bible', these essays explore Shakespeare's engagement with scriptural interpretation in the tragedies, histories, comedies, and romances.
This commentary offers a concise, incisive view of Galatians, Paul's most polemical letter. Here, Paul is fighting for the spiritual life and loyalty of some of his hard-won converts. Taking advantage of a range of persuasive rhetorical approaches, his letter appears to bristle with anger at the interlopers and the anguish of spurned affection. In this commentary, Craig S. Keener mines insights from the ancient world to highlight Paul's persuasive tactics and how the Galatian Christians would have heard his intense yet profound message. In so doing, Keener also helps readers to confront Galatians afresh today, so they can hear more closely what Paul is and is not saying for the church universal. Drawing on a wide range of ancient Mediterranean sources to reconstruct the context of Galatians, Keener helps us to grasp the issues that Paul was addressing, the reasons that Paul wrote the letter, and its continuing relevance for contemporary audiences.
In this book, Will N. Timmins provides a close rereading of Romans 7 within its literary-argumentative context and offers a fresh and compelling solution to the identity of the 'I' in this text. Challenging existing paradigms, which fail to provide both literary coherence and theological plausibility, he develops his own positive theory about the device. Along the way he also re-examines a number of key texts within the letter, which have hitherto not been given due weight within the scholarly discussion. This study offers a fresh and satisfying solution to one of the Bible's most notorious cruxes, and contributes to our understanding of the apostle Paul's thought. It will be of interest to all scholars and students within the fields of biblical studies and Christian theology.