Using a narratological synchronic reading, this article argues that Reuben and Judah are contrastively juxtaposed in their rhetoric and intentions in Genesis 37. Reuben considers the brothers’ plot a criminal act and bans both their internal intentions and their external evildoings against Joseph, whereas Judah repeatedly forbids them from killing Joseph, their own brother, posing a moral argument against fratricide. Problematically, however, he permits another evildoing, the sale of their own brother. The contrastive parallel of the two brothers in Genesis 37 does not support the classic documentary hypothesis, nor the supplementary expansion in favour of Judah. Rather, Judah’s problematic dealings with his own brother harkens to the practice of selling of own “flesh” and “kindred” into slavery in the post-exilic period. Genesis 37 in its present position provides a natural link to Genesis 38, as both chapters are identical in their negative depiction of Judah.
This article assumes that the so called misery that Midian brought to Israel (Jdg 6:1–6) refers to the activities of deported Arabs who were settled in Samaria by the Assyrian king Sargon II in 715 BCE, in order to pacify the Arabs. Assyrian texts show that the Assyrian empire had to struggle both with raids by Arabs against cities and their inhabitants and with difficulties caused by deported people. A probably multilayered pre-deuteronomistic redaction (ca. 700) that formed a cycle of narratives (Ehud, Deborah and Baraq, Gideon) transfered a local problem to the whole country of Israel and called the Arabs Midianites because of their common origin in Northern Arabia. It is possible that the Assyrians tolerated the raids by the Arabs in order to suppress the defeated Samarian population and to garner some profit from the Arabs.
Did early Christian church leaders and political rulers share common characteristics? By reading the First Epistle to Timothy through the lens of Greek and Roman “mirrors for princes” (specula principum) written in the first and early second centuries AD, this article intends to make a new contribution to this issue. The study’s interpretative focus lies on the idealized depiction of Timothy as a role model for early Christian officeholders as well as on the qualifications for bishops and deacons (1 Tim 3:1–13). The comparison of the features of the ideal ruler with those of ideal church leaders shows that central elements of the ecclesiology of First Timothy tap into the Greco-Roman discourse concerning ideal rulership. Yet not only that, it also helps to understand that the power that is undeniably attributed to officeholders is ultimately meant to be a soft power that serves the cause of “preservation” and “salvation” (σωτηρία).
The reform at the time of Antiochus IV. Epiphanes was a serious intervention in the religious system of the Jews. Though being judged as anachronistic and archaic from the outside, the Jewish identity markers could not be given up at that time since they were theologically loaded. Paul and the emerging Christian communities took over the Seleucid-Maccabean challenge and sustainably reformed the Jewish identity markers. Circumcision was good for Jews, but irrelevant for Gentile believers. The abomination of swine was no longer useful since purity had to be understood in an ethical sense. Last but not least, the Sabbath commandment was accepted because this rule was explained by creation theology and, thus, had social implications. The requirements of the failed reform at the time of Antiochus worked about 200 years later, in a different context (Syria) and in an eschatological setting (imminent parousia).
Es gibt im alttestamentlichen Hebräisch kein Äquivalent für den Begriff „Anerkennung“, aber zahlreiche Verben und Nomina, die dem mit diesem Begriff gemeinten Sachverhalt nahekommen. Nach einer Analyse von Ps 1,6 (Anerkennung durch Gott) und Ps 41,2 (Anerkennung durch den anderen) wendet sich der Beitrag zum einen der alttestamentlichen Semantik der Anerkennung (kognitive, ethische, rechtliche Aspekte) und zum anderen den Formen der Missachtung (Entrechtung, Entehrung, Beschämung) zu. Exkurse zur „Aufmerksamkeit Gottes in ägyptischen Texten“ und zur „Missachtung in mesopotamischen Texten“ vervollständigen das Bild.