The first- Juha Pakkala, God’s Word Omitted: Omissions in the Transmission of the Hebrew Bible.
The book investigates omissions in the textual transmission of the Hebrew scriptures. Literary criticism (Literarkritik) commonly assumes that later editors only expanded the older text; omissions would not have taken place. This axiom is implied in analyses and introductions to the methodology. The book investigates the validity of the axiom. After a review of literature, books of methodology, and past research, texts from different parts of the Hebrew Bible are discussed with this aim in view. The investigated texts consist of examples which preserve documented evidence about editorial changes. Passages with variant editions are compared in order to understand omissions as an editorial technique. The comparison of variant witnesses includes, for example, passages where the Greek and Hebrew versions differ and cases where parallel passages differ (e.g., Chronicles in relation to Kings, the Temple Scroll in relation the Pentateuch). Example texts have been taken from the Pentateuch, Samuel, Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther, Jubilees, etc.
The investigation shows that omissions took place in part of the transmission of the Hebrew scriptures. Although omissions were clearly less common than additions, the conclusion challenges the axiom of literary criticism. Rejecting the conventional implementation of the methodology, the book provides a new model for understanding the transmission of the Hebrew scriptures that integrates omissions as a possible editorial technique.
Stephen L. Herring, Ph.D., Divine Substitution: Humanity as the Manifestation of Deity in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East.
Divine Substitution is an investigation of ancient conceptualizations of divine presence. Specifically, this thesis investigates the possibility that the ancient Mesopotamian conceptualization of cultic and royal statues, thought to actually manifest the presence of gods and kings, can likewise be found in ancient Israel. Despite the overly pessimistic view of the later biblical authors, material objects were almost certainly believed to extend and manifest the presence of God in pre-exilic Israel (e.g., standing stones). Likewise, the later polemics against such cultic concepts demonstrate Israel’s familiarity with this type of conceptualization. These polemics engaged in the rhetoric of mutilation and destruction of cultic representations, the erasure and re-inscription of divine names, and the rhetorical deconstruction of the specific Mesopotamian rituals thought to transform the dead statue into a living god. Though the biblical reflection of these concepts is more often found in the negative commentary regarding “foreign” cultic practices, S. Herring demonstrates that these opinions were not universally held. At least three biblical texts (Gen 1:26f.; Ex 34:29-34; and Ezek 36-37) portray the conceptualization that material images could manifest the divine presence in positive terms. Yet, these positive attestations were limited to a certain type of material image – humans.
Both look to be brilliant fun.