Saturday, 28 June 2014

Currents in Biblical Research 12, 3 (June 2014)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research recently arrived; abstracts of the main articles are as below.

Brad E. Kelle
The Phenomenon of Israelite Prophecy in Contemporary Scholarship
In the mid-twentieth century, the classic historical-critical approach to the Hebrew Bible’s prophetic books gave way to the study of Israelite prophecy as part of a social phenomenon known throughout the ancient Near East. Since the 1980s, research on the phenomenon of Israelite prophecy has been marked by two main paradigms. The first extends the basic phenomenological approach and identifies Israelite prophecy as a socio-historical phenomenon shared across various ancient cultures. Prophecy was a form of intermediation between the divine and human, and a sub-type of the larger religious practice of (non-technical) divination. The second paradigm questions the usefulness of the biblical texts for reconstructing the ancient realities of prophecy and suggests that Israelite prophecy was a literary phenomenon that emerged among scribes in postexilic Yehud. Within these paradigms, present research offers new insights on lines of inquiry, such as the relationship between prophecy and psychology, prophets in the Second Temple period, and female prophets and prophecy. Overall, scholarship reflects a sharpening distinction between ‘ancient Hebrew prophecy’ as a socio-historical phenomenon and ‘biblical prophecy’ as a literary/scribal phenomenon, and generally approaches Israelite prophecy not as a single phenomenon but as a set of related phenomena.

Graham H. Twelftree
The Miraculous in the New Testament: Current Research and Issues
Defining the miraculous, the adequacy of the Western mindset to comprehend human experience, and the ability of the historian to establish the occurrence of a miracle, are issues threaded through study of the miraculous. Current work draws attention to our lack of understanding of the miraculous in the period. So far, research on Jesus has not explained his interest in miracles, their meaning, or how they relate to his other work and self-perception. Also, the nature miracles remain a problem, and a critical study of Jesus remains to be written that takes full account of the evidence of his miracles. More work needs to be done on Paul’s understanding of the miraculous. Further, despite studies on individual stories, insufficient work has been done on the miraculous from the perspective of the Gospel writers. Finally, how far early Christianity can be understood without due regard for the miraculous is open to question.

Angela Standhartinger
Recent Scholarship on Joseph and Aseneth (1988-2013)

This article provides a survey of the last 25 years of research on Joseph and Aseneth, a Jewish Greek novel probably written between the first century BCE and the second century CE. This romance expands on Gen. 41.45 to narrate how Joseph and Aseneth met and later married under the auspices of Pharaoh, after Aseneth had turned away from her Egyptian gods to the God of Israel and was visited by an angel with whom she shares a honeycomb. Later in the story she is introduced to Jacob and Levi, repels the attack of a rival lover, the son of Pharaoh, who then dies, so that Joseph inherits his throne and rules in Egypt for 48 years. The principle [sic] topics covered in this review are recent textual editions of this writing preserved in 91 manuscripts in seven languages, the no-less disputed purpose and provenance of the romance, its date and place of origin, and its genre. Gender issues and other major themes of research and an extended pre-modern history of interpretation will also be discussed.

No comments: