Thursday, 5 March 2015

Currents in Biblical Research 13, 2 (February 2015)

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

Ronald Troxel
The Fate of Joel in the Redaction of the Twelve
In the twenty years since James Nogalski introduced the topic... the book of Joel has received renewed redactional analysis, within the context of the discussion of the redaction of the Book of the Twelve. This article provides both a survey of how numerous monographs on the Twelve have portrayed Joel’s place within the collection, as well as a critique of the application of redaction criticism to chapters 1–2 of the book. The problems besetting such proposals suggest that the choice of this approach for the study of Joel within the context of the Book of the Twelve constitutes a problem of coordinating analysis with genre, rather than a weakness of the tool itself.

Amanda M. Davis Bledsoe
The Relationship of the Different Editions of Daniel: A History of Scholarship
The book of Daniel has one of the more complicated textual histories of any biblical book. It is written in two languages (Hebrew and Aramaic), and the content drastically differs in the two halves of the book (stories in chs. 1–6 and visions in chs. 7–12). Perhaps the most difficult attribute to explain, however, is that it is preserved in several distinct editions, which at times vastly diverge from one another. These are the Masoretic edition in Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Old Greek and Theodotionic editions in Greek. The relationship of these three editions of the book of Daniel has been disputed for more than two hundred years, and a scholarly consensus has not yet been reached. This overview surveys the history of scholarship on the different editions in hopes that future studies on the book of Daniel will give the OG edition equal status with the MT edition of the book, which it has hitherto not received.

Gregory P. Fewster
The Philippians ‘Christ Hymn’: Trends in Critical Scholarship
The so-called ‘Christ hymn’ of Phil. 2.5-11 has maintained great scholarly interest for over a century, with monographs and articles continuing to appear that seek to address important critical issues. Questions including the pre-existence of Christ and ‘kenotic theology’ have digressed and been revived with the invocation of numerous methodologies and the influence of major philosophical trends external to New Testament studies proper. This article tracks the major trends in research of Phil. 2.5-11, with a view to three central topics of interest: the authorship and origin of the passage, its plausible hymnic structure and form, and its function and theology within the letter itself, including its ancient audience.

Richard S. Ascough
What Are They Now Saying about Christ Groups and Associations?
Over the past decade and a half a considerable number of scholarly books and articles have addressed directly the relationship between associations and early Christ groups. Some, albeit not all, of the Pauline communities have been subjected to thorough investigation, while preliminary studies have been undertaken with the Gospels, Acts, and other early Christian writings. The majority of scholarly works leave little doubt regarding the relevance of the associations for understanding the organizational and ideological predilections of the early Christ groups. In their structure and organization Christ groups look and sound like associations. Thus, it no longer makes sense to construe the investigation, as has so often been the case in past scholarship, as focusing on three separate and distinct categories such as ‘synagogues, churches, and associations’. A review of the data available and the trends in recent scholarship is suggestive for new and fruitful avenues of exploration that dismantle such falsely constructed categorical boundaries.

Maxine L. Grossman
Is Ancient Jewish Studies (Still) Postmodern (Yet)?
Postmodern theory, with its concerns about textual meaning, identity formation, and dynamics of power, has had an impact on the study of ancient Judaism in a variety of ways over the last several decades. Theories of reader-response and intertextuality have particularly shaped recent work in biblical studies, while these and other philosophical concerns have contributed to postmodern understandings of midrash. The impact of postmodern theory on the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls is more subtle but nonetheless provides an interesting model for the use of theory in the study of ancient Judaism. Attention to the work of a particular scholar (D. Boyarin) or the possibilities for a particular theoretical approach (postcolonial theory) provides further evidence for postmodern treatments of ancient Jewish texts and history. Although the heyday of critical theory is now long past, the field of ancient Jewish studies has been shaped by theory-driven concerns about discourse, power, and the world.

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