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AutorIn: Dennis Mizzi

Despite numerous attempts at elucidating the significance of the animal bone deposits, the phenomenon remains one of the elusive aspects of Qumran archaeology. Among the many proposed hypotheses, there are those that see the deposits as the remains of sacrifices carried out at Qumran, a line of interpretation that has been picked up afresh by Jodi Magness. In the present paper I argue that, while Magness makes a compelling case for seeing the bone deposits as the remains of sacrifices, the totality of the evidence does not seem to support her notion that sacrifices were offered at Qumran. Nonetheless, Magness’ hypothesis provides important foundations for further explorations of the significance of the deposits. Two alternatives are suggested, namely that the animal bones could represent sacrificial remains from animals offered in the Jerusalem temple but consumed at Qumran or that they could be evidence for the ritualization of ordinary meals involving meat partaken there. In the end, it must be acknowledged that this phenomenon may very much present us with an unsolvable riddle – the bone deposits may be identified as the remains of ritual activity, but its meaning may well be unrecoverable.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism
AutorIn: Yonatan Adler

Although miqwa’ot and chalkstone vessels have been found throughout Israel, the unparalleled number of such finds at Jerusalem has conventionally been explained in terms of the special demands of the Temple cult and of the city’s priestly residents. In light of a growing number of archaeological discoveries from the past number of years, however, the conception that Jerusalem and its Temple served as focal points of ritual purity observance deserves to be significantly reevaluated. The new data indicate that regular, widespread use of ritual baths and chalkstone vessels was not at all unique to Jerusalem or the priesthood, but rather was commonplace to a comparable degree in Jewish society throughout early Roman Judea. Jews everywhere throughout the country strove on a regular basis to maintain the purity of their bodies, clothing, utensils, food, and drink, and there is no reason to suppose that in doing so they somehow had the Temple in mind. Most Jews living at this time would probably have understood the pentateuchal purity regulations as prescribing that ritual purity be maintained on a regular basis in ordinary, everyday life – without specific regard to the Temple or its cult. This new understanding encourages us to reinterpret the archaeological finds from Jerusalem as reflecting an important facet of prevailing common culture rather than as stemming from the unique sanctity of Jerusalem, the Temple, or its priests.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism
in Journal of Ancient Judaism
in Journal of Ancient Judaism
AutorIn: Mika S. Pajunen

The article primarily deals with a textual connection between two admonitory texts 4QSapiential Admonitions B (4Q185) and 4QAdmonition on the Flood (4Q370). Beside the existence of this connection very little has been done to explore it and even the direction of the influence is still open to question. This connection will be thoroughly analyzed here, in order to appreciate fully its importance for understanding the purpose of the fragmentary individual texts and the applied editing practices. It will be shown that 4QAdmonition on the Flood was one of the main sources used in the composition of 4QSapiential Admonitions B that was radically edited (e. g., additions, omissions and recontextualizing) and combined with Proverbial wisdom traditions. The purpose of this editorial activity was to create a synthesis out of the more traditional wisdom thinking and the Torah-oriented deuteronomic parenesis, as was also done by, for example, Ben Sira in his own wisdom composition around the same time period.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism
AutorIn: Laura S. Lieber

Abstract: In this article, an exploration of the performative phenomenon labeled here as “multi-authorial vocality” will serve to highlight both the richness of the Samaritan poetic tradition on its own terms and to suggest significant future directions for comparative study that can integrate Samaritan hymnography and the Samaritan liturgy into their works. This analysis primarily underscores how scholars need to address the essential complexity of liturgical poetry as a performed genre. “Multi-authorial vocality” refers to the process by which multiple authors shape the received experience and significance of the composition as a whole. A single Samaritan hymn by Marqa, “This is His Great Writing,” provides a subject for the analysis, and a translation of the hymn is provided as an appendix. The rhetorical-performative dynamic examined here is not in any way unique to this poem, nor is it distinctive to Samaritans; it is precisely this more “universal” element of liturgical poetry that enables comparative (beyond noting parallel or divergent motifs, themes, and intertextual allusions) to be done. In Marqa’s poem, some figures are explicitly identified as authors or tradents, while others assume that role implicitly. The approach to liturgical texts modeled here does not deny the importance of the author to our text but raises our awareness of how complicated his role is. The poet is, to use an analogy, as much a conductor as a composer; he orchestrates the liturgical experience, but relies on other participants to complete it. Subsequent performers create their own arrangements of the existing words on the page but likewise need the involvement – physical, conceptual, and psychological – of the other participants for the liturgy to “work.” At the same time, it also argues for the importance of integrating Samaritan liturgical traditions into the larger comparative hymnography discussions now underway.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism
AutorIn: Benjamin Scolnic

The impetus for the assassination of Seleucus IV in 175 B. C. E. is commonly associated with his robbing the temples and oppressing the peoples of the Seleucid kingdom in order to pay tribute to Rome according to the Treaty of Apamea. Reconsideration of the relevant evidence – especially Dan 11:20 and 2 Macc 3, with attention to a passage from Appian, inscriptions from Delos, the Heliodorus stele and the Ptolemaios dossier – suggests another explanation for these events. If Seleucus robbed the temples to finance his “royal splendor,” it is possible that Heliodorus and others tasked with taxing the kingdom may have objected to his controversial policies and taken action against him because of them.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism
AutorIn: Cecilia Wassén

Scholars usually take for granted that the sectarian members of the Qumran movement ate their common meals in full purity at a level that is often compared to that of the priests serving in the temple. This assumption rests on the interpretation of hatohorah, “the purity,” as pertaining to common meals. But a careful study of a range of texts, including the important Tohorot A, leads to a more nuanced picture. Accordingly, it is important to distinguish between the common, everyday meals of the movement and the special meals. Whereas a mild level of impurity of the participants was accepted at the ordinary type of communal meals, special meals required purity. Even at these pure meals, there were variations concerning the required level of purity depending on the occasion.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism

Applying the terms “Jew” and “Judaism” in the ancient period has recently been challenged by a number of scholars. First, the terms translated as Jew and Judaism are rare in the ancient period, and second, it is argued that these terms retroject later understandings of Judaism as a religion back into a period when Israelites and Yehudim/Ioudaioi are rather understood as an ethnic group. “Judeans” is preferable as a designation to “Jews.” Two challenges have arisen. Some argue that the ethnic meaning of Yehudim/Ioudaioi changed to a more religious meaning in about 100 B. C. E.. Others insist that “Jew” and “Judaism” have always communicated both an ethnic and religious meaning – and still do – and so to insist on an ethnic-only meaning (“Judeans”) in the ancient period is misleading. Here I take up a number of the previous arguments and modify them to form an alternative proposal: Yehudi (feminine Yehudiyah) and related terms arose as assertive, emotive identity terms to reflect a strong affirmation of identity in an international situation. Much as “Quaker” or “American” can be assertive, emotive identity terms relative to the default Society of Friends or United States respectively, so Yehudi/Yehudiyah was used occasionally, then more often, as a strong identity term relative to the default Israel/Israelite.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism
AutorIn: David Lincicum

In the midst of the recent resurgence of interest in ancient Jewish and Christian perceptions of the body, Josephus has not yet received sustained attention. This brief article redresses that lack, and argues that Josephus evinces a certain consciousness of the body as cultural signifier. While physiognomics per se are not a keen interest of Josephus, he does portray the bodily in such a way that he signifies to the audience the nobility or otherwise of the actor in his narrative. The topoi and strategies he employs work alongside his more explicit rhetorical strategies to saturate his history with evaluative language and lend eloquence to the corporeal.

in Journal of Ancient Judaism