Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Currents in Biblical Research 10, 1 (2011)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research is now out; abstracts of the main articles are as follows:

Judy Diehl

Anti-Imperial Rhetoric in the New Testament

The first of a series of three articles, this essay introduces current scholarship concerned with the use of anti-imperial rhetoric in the New Testament Gospels and the book of Acts. In the first century of the Common Era, if the powerful Roman Emperor was considered a god, what did that mean for the earliest Christians who committed loyalty to ‘another’ God? Was it necessary for the NT authors to employ subversive language, words and symbols, to conceal their true meanings from the imperial authorities in their communications to the first Christian communities? The answers to such key questions can give us a clearer picture of the culture, society and setting in which the NT was written. The purpose of this complex study is to observe how current biblical scholarship views anti-imperial rhetoric and anti-emperor implications found in the NT, assuming such rhetoric exists at all. This initial article reviews recent scholarship with respect to the background of the Roman Empire, current interpretive methods and research concerning anti-imperial rhetoric found in the NT Gospels and Acts.

John W. Olley

Trajectories of Ezekiel (Part 2): Beyond the Book

An earlier article by Olley, ‘Trajectories of Ezekiel: Part 1’ (CBR 9.2), explored resources and studies relating to the text of the book of Ezekiel, both Hebrew and Greek, and the significance of their differences. Here, the review widens to resources and studies concerning ways in which the book and its imagery have influenced other works, from the Judaean Desert scrolls through the New Testament, and into the patristic period. For example, the influence of the vision of chapter 1 is widespread, leading in particular to Merkabah (‘chariot’) spirituality. The influence of the vision of the dry bones in ch. 37 is also widespread, with debates on the nature of resurrection. The book of Ezekiel is used extensively in the book of Revelation, as well as in other portions of the New Testament.

B.J. Oropeza

The Warning Passages in Hebrews: Revised Theologies and New Methods of Interpretation

The interpretation of the warning passages in Hebrews has long been disputed, especially 6.4-6. Discussions on the issue over the last several decades frequently remain in dialogue with the theologies of Calvinist-Reformed and Arminian traditions, and intrigue about the passages often centers on whether or not the recipients of the message are ‘genuine’ believers and able to abandon their salvation because of apostasy. Recent methods of interpretation have opened up new ways of looking at the warnings and bring them into sharper relief. Such methods include historical-critical, socio-rhetorical, social-scientific, intertextual, and oral-critical methods. This article addresses studies of the warnings in Hebrews relevant to such approaches, and it also surveys recent interpretations that integrate Calvinist or Arminian viewpoints.

Robert R. Cargill

The State of the Archaeological Debate at Qumran

This article surveys the present state of archaeological research at Qumran. The article first examines those explorers who came to Qumran prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and interpreted the site without the influence of the scrolls. It then examines how the interpretation of the site changed following the discovery of the scrolls and the excavation of the site by Roland de Vaux. The article then offers a survey of recent contributions by those who excavated the site after de Vaux, as well as contributions made by those whose scholarship has influenced the interpretation of Qumran despite not having excavated there. The article concludes with a discussion of why the interpretation of Qumran weighs so heavily on our understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Eileen M. Schuller

Recent Scholarship on the Hodayot 1993-2010

The Hodayot are a collection of poetic compositions of praise and thanksgiving that first became known with the discovery of the manuscripts in the caves of Qumran. These texts are preserved in eight copies, two found in cave l (1QHa, 1QHb) and six found in cave 4 (4QHa-e, 4QpapHf, 4Q427-432). This collection is reckoned, along with compositions such as the Rule of the Community, the War Scroll and the Pesharim, as one of the core sectarian documents of the specific type of Judaism reflected in the scrolls. The first part of this article describes the manuscripts, 1QHa, 1QHb, and 4QHa-f, with a specific focus on the distinctive features of each that contribute to our understanding of the nature and formation of the collection; the second part discusses specific topics that have been important in Hodayot research since the publication of the manuscripts from cave 4.

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