The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36; = BW) features Asael as the culprit who illicitly distributed forbidden knowledge to the mortals. In retaliation, God rendered multiple punishments, one of which was the targeting of Asael’s sight (10:5). However, the text itself does not explain why God chose to inflict this form of penalty. This article aims to fill in this literary lacuna in light of the triadic association between sight, light, and knowledge – an association that was widely known in antiquity. This undertaking suggests that the particular offense of the Watchers, including Asael, described in 16:3 (i.e., misusing sight and light in knowledge acquisition) is critical to understanding Asael’s optical sentence. Ultimately, BW demonstrates a talionic correspondence between Asael’s sin and sentence.
This article is an experimental exploration of how gender shapes the conceptualization of knowledge, both among ancient Jews and among modern scholars of ancient Judaism. It focuses on the Sibylline Oracles, putting recent specialist research on their earliest strata into conversation with theoretical discussions of positionality. Attention to the anachronism of modern scholarly assumptions about embodiment and knowledge opens the way for analyzing the different meanings made by the female positioning of the Sibyl in antiquity. This article argues that her gender functions differently even in the Hellenistic-era and the Roman-era strata of the Third Sibylline Oracle. To read its Hellenistic-era strata with an eye to the gendering of knowledge, moreover, adds much to our analysis of Jewish responses to Greek paideia, while also enriching our understanding of the transformation of biblical prophecy in other Hellenistic-era Jewish writings, like the Enochic Book of the Watchers.
Philo draws on the Wisdom of Solomon in his tripartite critique against idols found in On the Decalogue and On the Contemplative Life. As he fashions these critiques in the pursuit of upholding Mosaic law, Philo not only criticizes Greek and Egyptian forms of worship, he also integrates the notion of moderation evident in Hellenism and Hellenistic-Egyptian Isis worship. This essay demonstrates ways in which the pursuit of moderation and Isis as lawgiver are integrated into Philo’s concepts of Moses as lawgiver and pursuit of law in opposition to Roman forms of excess. The essay considers various texts, including excerpts from Greek philosophers and Hellenistic Egyptian hymns to Isis, in addition to considerations of contemporary Roman excesses vis-à-vis Philo’s Decalogue, Contempl. Life, and his uses of Wis. Philo’s Hellenistic Judaism emerges from a simultaneous criticism yet also integration of both Hellenistic and Hellenistic-Egyptian concepts and traditions.
Gibt es das „Corpus Johanneum“ oder gibt es gar mehrere Verfasser? Und ist die Johannesapokalypse dem sogenannten Corpus Johanneum zuzurechnen oder ist ihr theologischer Ansatz derart anders, dass sie als Fremdkörper nicht nur gegenüber den anderen johanneischen Schriften, sondern sogar als Sonderling im ganzen Neuen Testament zu gelten hat?
Auch in ihrem dritten Band des Frankfurter Neuen Testaments bleiben Stefan Alkier und Thomas Paulsen ihrer Übersetzungsmethodik treu, welche die neutestamentlichen Texte wörtlich aus dem Koine-Griechisch übersetzt. Das hat erhebliche Folgen für den Wortlaut und das Verständnis dieser Texte – so ist z.B. nicht von „Sünde“ oder „Teufel“, sondern von „Verfehlung“ und vom „Zerwerfer“ die Rede.
„Kaum einen Text glauben heutige Leserinnen und Leser so gut zu kennen wie das Johannesevangelium. Die neue Übersetzung von Stefan Alkier und Thomas Paulsen zeigt, wie falsch wir mit dieser Einschätzung liegen. Philologisch genau, erfrischend sperrig und fern von eingefahrenen Pfaden zeigt sie, wie aufregend und ungewöhnlich dieser Text wirklich ist; damit lädt sie uns dazu ein, ihn in seinem Anspruch ernst zu nehmen und uns auf seine Herausforderung einzulassen.“ Dr. Thomas Schmitz (Professor für Gräzistik an der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn)
Informed by the political power of the image of Cleopatra VII Philopator in late ancient southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, this study investigates the Babylonian Talmud’s portrait of the Egyptian queen. I argue that depictions of the queen in classical rabbinic literature may not be as negative as previously thought and that the figure of Cleopatra acts as a potent character for the rabbis of the Babylonian Talmud to assert rabbinic authority because of the depth of her knowledge about the human body and her fight against Rome. The portrait of Cleopatra serves a variety of purposes, first to support certain rabbinic concepts, like resurrection and menstrual impurity, through references to Cleopatra’s knowledge of embryology and the human body, and second, to elevate and include the rabbis themselves in the famous struggle of Cleopatra versus Rome, East versus West, with the goal of further authorizing the rabbinic project itself.
In the book of Daniel, Daniel and his friends all adopt foreign dress to succeed in a foreign setting. We might understand this as a kind of colonization, wrought upon bodies. But this raises questions about their ethnic identity: can one remain Jewish if adopting and adapting to foreign embodied practices, including dress, adornment, and diet? By exploring embodied practices as an issue of ethnicity and identity formation in Daniel 1–6, we will argue that these stories make a bold claim about the embodied colonization of the foreign court: underneath their Persian garb, Daniel and his friends remain thoroughly Jewish after all.