Scripture in Its Historical Contexts

Mohr sent review copies of these two volumes a while back.

Veröffentlicht auf Englisch: Vol 1- Diese wichtige Sammlung von Aufsätzen von James A. Sanders enthält seine bedeutsamsten Arbeiten zum Text und Kanon der hebräischen Bibel, zusammen mit bahnbrechenden Studien zu den Schriftrollen von Qumran. Er ist einer der führenden Forscher zur Entstehung des Kanons, der Geschichte seiner Deutung und Textkritik, und spezialisiert auf die Schriftrollen vom Toten Meer und der Verwendung des Alten Testaments im Neuen. Diese Studien dokumentieren die Vielfalt der Texttraditionen sowie ihre Verschiedenheit und den ungeklärten Zustand der Sammlung heiliger Literatur, die in der späten Zeit des Zweiten Tempels als maßgeblich oder kanonisch galt. Damit legten sie den Grundstein für die heutige Forschungsdebatte.

Vol 2- James A. Sanders ist ein Pionier in der Forschung zur Entstehung des Kanons, der Geschichte seiner Interpretation, Textkritik und Exegese im Kontext, speziell der Schriftrollen vom Toten Meer und der Verwendung des Alten Testaments im Neuen. Viele seiner Untersuchungen, die in diesem Band versammelt sind, werden als wegweisend angesehen und waren äußerst einflussreich.

Potential readers will want to click on the ‘contents’ (Inhaltsverzeichnis & Leseprobe) link on both volume web pages.  There, the front matter and the full table of contents are available.  The first volume contains 30 essays, all published by Prof. Sanders, one of the most important scholars of his generation.  The second volume is comprised of another 21 essays by the same scholar.  The two volumes, then, consist of 51 essays written over decades by James Sanders and here collected and edited by Craig Evans.

The only new material herein is the prologue, written by Prof. Sanders himself.  In it, Sanders provides an overview of his life and work, describing his various academic interests and positions.  For example, Sanders writes

Interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls (also known as the Judean Desert Scrolls) was piqued for the writer upon the first publication of them in the spring of 1950 when Vanderbilt University School of Religion (now Divinity School) Prof. James Philip Hyatt brought to our advanced Hebrew class Vol. 1 of The Dead Sea Scrolls of St. Mark’s Monastery, edited by Prof. Millar Burrows of Yale University Divinity School, under whom Hyatt had studied. Though Burrows had transcribed the text column by column into modern printed Hebrew, Hyatt opened the volume to the Plate XXXII photograph of the ancient scroll itself, set it in front of the three of us, pointed to the bottom line of the ancient column where Isaiah ch. 40 began, and said, “Read!” I was hooked!

His prologue is very engaging and shows him to be a scholar of wide interests and pursuits.  The essays themselves have been available in other places – some for decades, some more recently.  The benefit of having them all here, ‘under one roof’ (as it were) is that now the great range and profound knowledge of Prof Sanders is easily accessible to any and all who wish to access it.  All of the essays include full bibliographies and some of them also include updated bibliographic material in a second bibliography.  There are indices of modern authors and of ancient sources.

I had read several of the chapters in Grad school and several others since and am exceptionally happy to have the chance to see them again; as the experience is rather like walking into the study of an old friend and sitting down and having a chat about a subject we have chatted about before.  It’s a delight to be reminded of things we had known before and it’s also a delight to be introduced to new ideas from an old and trusted thinker.

I am, accordingly, grateful for Craig’s work and for James’s thoughts.  I think you will be too when you have the opportunity to give these two books a read through.  You will be stimulated, informed, and enlightened.