New in Bible and Interpretation: Jesus the Jew

Jesus the Jew and Christianity’s Indebtedness to Judaism

Thus, even decades into the Third Quest with its overall agreement about Jesus’ core belonging to Second Temple Judaism, assessments of his Jewishness as “marginal” continue. Depicting Jesus as a “marginal Jew” allows for distance from and criticism of “common Judaism.” Inadvertently, Jesus becomes somewhat “less” Jewish, enabling identification for today’s Christians.

Etc.

John: The Mundane Gospel and its Archaeology-Related Features

A new essay in Bible and Interpretation is worth a look-

However, in addition to its theological features, the Fourth Gospel is also the most mundane of the gospels. John has more empirical (sensorily attributed) references, topographical details, and archaeologically attested features than all the other gospels combined—canonical and otherwise. This is an empirical fact, which creates upheaval among scholarly theories regarding John’s character, origin, and implications, as it must also be seen as the Mundane Gospel.

New in Bible and Interpretation

Greek Literature and the Primary History

In recent years, however, a number of scholars have dated the biblical books in the Primary History (Genesis through 2 Kings) very late. Thus, they have raised the possibility that the authors of these books might have been very familiar with Classical Greek texts down to 300 BCE and Hellenistic Greek texts after 300 BCE, and perhaps they even used some Greek texts to craft plot-line and imagery in the books of the Primary History.

Enjoy!

New in Bible and Interpretation

Middle Groups in Jewish Roman Galilee and Jesus and his Disciples’ Social Location: New Insights

Like many revolutionaries, Jesus saw the attachment of the upper-middle class to money as responsible for their passiveness in spiritual commitment. Jesus’ philosophy developed from the perspective of the middle class, not from that of the poor. He was able to attract followers because he came from a solid background. “The poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard” (Eccl. 9:16, ASV). Had Jesus come from a poor background, it would have been difficult for him to become a leader.

New In Bible and Interpretation: “Coming Home: Biblical Hiraeth at the Ark Encounter”

Many visitors are not overly concerned that what AiG [Answers in Genesis] presents at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter is not strictly biblical. For instance, just to name a couple of examples, there is no biblical justification for the complex feeding and cleaning systems proposed at the Ark Encounter, nor is there any biblical justification for the lavish presentation of Noah’s living quarters.

Read the whole.

How Old is the Hebrew Bible

Oh boy!

Many scholars, largely disregarding linguistic data, insist that most or all of the Hebrew Bible was written in the second half of the first millennium BCE, during the Persian and/or Hellenistic periods, and draw the inference that there is little or no historical content that predates this era….The ages of the books of the Hebrew Bible span a vast chronological range, from the early Iron Age to the Greek age, which we can discern at different degrees of focus. There is much that we can know about these topics, more than most scholars are willing to grant.

Hendel and Joosten are on fire.

Did the Fortified Jerusalem of the Middle Bronze Just Vanish, and What Does This Say About King David?

New in Bible and Interpretation

New Carbon-14 tests show that massive Middle Bronze fortifications near the Gihon Spring in Jerusalem shall not be regarded to this period anymore. The archaeological community is in a rage. If the Canaanite fortifications did not exist, how credible would be the biblical account of the United Monarchy?\

It’s a good one. And very fair.

Something New in Bible and Interpretation

What Do Old, Dirty, Broken Pieces Of Pottery Have To Do With The Bible?

Robbing tombs is illegal. Most of the “museum pieces” found in Israel are rather homely and plain. Yes, you will dig up hundreds of potsherds if you do an excavation (along with bones, metal objects, and perhaps glass, among other things). And if you find “anything good,” you will not get to take it home.

Etc.

On Myths and Their Contexts: An Issue of Contemporary Theology? A Response to Jeffrey Morrow

New in Bible and Interpretation from Thomas Thompson.

This essay is written in direct response to Jeffrey Morrow’s article and should be read with Morrow’s paper in hand. The first section of my response, in its attempt to deal with such ringing echoes of Peter Abelard’s sic et Non is such that the charge of prejudicial bias fundamental to the methods and principles of biblical criticism has brought back memories of my early student examinations at Blackfriars! I hope the reader will have patience and forgive the logical stiltedness of my prose in this opening section.

Etc.

Posted in Bible and Interpretation | Comments Off on On Myths and Their Contexts: An Issue of Contemporary Theology? A Response to Jeffrey Morrow

Josephus

New in Bible and Interpretation

A History of the Hasmonean State: Josephus and Beyond

Josephus cautiously avoided messianism in his history of the Has- monean period. He appears to have been reluctant to document any Hasmonean history that involved the violent messianism of the type that had contributed to the outbreak of the First Jewish War. Instead, he stresses that the Hasmonean family’s rule had gone well until they had established a monarchy and allowed sectarian factions to influence politics. Josephus wrote his books partly to support the aristocracy, namely the rule of the Pharisees and their leaders. For Josephus, these groups represented caution and Roman aristocratic values. They were opposed to the religious zeal of the Zealots and related Jewish groups that had caused the rebellion against Rome. For Josephus, the priests and the aristocrats were the only legitimate Jewish leaders.

The Deuteronomistic History and Israel’s Kings

New in B&I

The perspective of Dtr [Deuteronomistic Historian] is clear: Israelite worship should be centralized. As such, he uses Jeroboam as a literary tool to construct the portraits of and pass judgment on northern kings. As rivals to the Davidic throne, northern kings, are almost always judged negatively. The bad kings are like Jeroboam. The standard by which they are measured has little to do with their comprehensive behavior as kings, but instead is concerned with their actions for and against uncentralized worship and (in)fidelity to the deuteronomistic covenant. This issue becomes of the utmost importance in the eyes of the historian. Despite other kings’ wrongdoing—emptying the temple treasury (Jehoash, 2 Kgs 11:15), warring against the other kingdom (Asa, 1 Kgs 15:16), even idolatry (Omri, 1 Kgs 16:25-26) — for Dtr, Jeroboam remains the evil king par excellence.

New in the Bible and Interpretation

Here:

But setting aside the means through which Nehemiah sought to deal with opposition and to assert himself, the heart of the imperial mission seems to have been the establishment of a birta (citadel) in Jerusalem which is likely to have been a response to problems in the region. These problems concerned the aggrandisement of indigenous elites who seem to have extended their rule beyond what the Persian government permitted.