In The Jewish Bible: A Material History, David Stern explores the Jewish Bible as a material object—the Bibles that Jews have actually held in their hands—from its beginnings in the Ancient Near Eastern world through to the Middle Ages to the present moment. Drawing on the most recent scholarship on the history of the book, Stern shows how the Bible has been not only a medium for transmitting its text—the word of God—but a physical object with a meaning of its own. That meaning has changed, as the material shape of the Bible has changed, from scroll to codex, and from manuscript to printed book. By tracing the material form of the Torah, Stern demonstrates how the process of these transformations echo the cultural, political, intellectual, religious, and geographic changes of the Jewish community. With tremendous historical range and breadth, this book offers a fresh approach to understanding the Bible’s place and significance in Jewish culture.
Archaeology and Bible--two simple terms, often used together, understood by everybody. But are they understood properly? If so, why are both subject to such controversy? And what can archaeology contribute to our understanding of the Bible? These are the problems addressed by Professor Dever in this book. Dever first looks at the nature and recent development of both archaeology and Biblical studies, and then lays the groundwork for a new a productive relationship between these two disciplines. His �case studies� are three eras in Israelite history: the period of settlement in Canaan, the period of the United Monarchy, and the period of religious development, chiefly during the Divided Monarchy. In each case Dever explores by means of recent discoveries what archaeology, couples with textual study, can contribute to the illumination of the life and times of ancient Israel. Given the flood of new information that has come from recent archaeological discoveries, Dever has chosen to draw evidence largely from excavations and surveys done in Israel in the last ten years--many still unpublished--concerning archaeology and the Old Testament. Dever�s work not only brings the reader up to date on recent archaeological discoveries as they pertain to the Hebrew Bible, but indeed goes further in offering an original interpretation of the relationship between the study of the Bible and the uncovering of the material culture of the ancient Near East. Extensive notes, plus the use of much new and/or unpublished data, will make the volume useful to graduate students and professors in the fields of Biblical studies and Syro-Palestinian archaeology, and the seminarians, pastors, rabbis, and others. This book provides stimulating, provocative, and often controversial reading as well as a compendium of valuable insights and marginalia that symbolizes the state of the art of Biblical archaeology today.
This original and sweeping review of Jewish culture and history examines how and why various rites and customs celebrating stages of the life cycle have evolved through the ages and persisted to this day.
This volume is intended to introduce university and seminary students and scholars to the neglected field of ritual studies, particularly within the larger context of biblical and theological studies. At the same time, the author hopes to further the discussion by interacting with numerous scholars in the field, providing an extensive bibliography of relevant works. Klingbeil defines the basic terms used in ritual studies and explains the concepts involved in interpreting biblical ritual. He offers a broad history of the study of biblical ritual, beginning with the critiques of ritual found in the Old Testament prophetic books and surveying attitudes toward ritual down to modern times. Drawing on the fields of anthropology and sociology, as well as his decade of work in the field, Klingbeil presents a comprehensive reading strategy for biblical ritual texts. In addition, he explores connections between ritual studies and theological research. This ground-breaking study promises to generate discussion about biblical ritual and provides an excellent introduction to this growing field of study for students and scholars.
Generations of scholars have debated the influence of Greco-Roman culture on Jewish society and the degree of its impact on Jewish material culture and religious practice in Palestine and the Diaspora of antiquity. Judaism and Hellenism in Antiquity examines this phenomenon from the aftermath of Alexander�s conquest to the Byzantine era, offering a balanced view of the literary, epigraphical, and archeological evidence attesting to the process of Hellenization in Jewish life and its impact on several aspects of Judaism as we know it today. Lee Levine approaches this broad subject in three essays, each focusing on diverse issues in Jewish culture: Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period, rabbinic tradition, and the ancient synagogue. With his comprehensive and thorough knowledge of the intricate dynamics of the Jewish and Greco-Roman societies, the author demonstrates the complexities of Hellenization and its role in shaping many aspects of Jewish life�economic, social, political, cultural, and religious. He argues against oversimplification and encourages a more nuanced view, whereby the Jews of antiquity survived and prospered, despite the social and political upheavals of this era, emerging as perpetuators of their own Jewish traditions while open to change from the outside world.