Friday, 24 July 2015

Currents in Biblical Research 13, 3 (June 2015)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research recently arrived, with titles and abstracts of the main articles as below.

Dermot Nestor
Merneptah’s ‘Israel’ and the Absence of Origins in Biblical Scholarship
This article examines the Merneptah Stele and its role in recent efforts to reconstruct Israelite history and identity. Though necessarily concerned with the issues of translation and location as they relate to the entity named in the stele, this review is dominated by an assessment of the various ways in which biblical scholarship has related to this singular reference. To that end, issues of theory and method, both archaeological and anthropological, are prioritized as the review appraises the various attempts to isolate this entity as the Archimedean point of Israelite historical and ethnic development. Though certainly critical of what it perceives as the sterile reproduction of long-held beliefs, it is a review that, in its appeal to the work of Pierre Bourdieu, looks to identify prospects for further study of the stele, rather than foreclose the very questions that it raises.

Hughson T. Ong
Ancient Palestine Is Multilingual and Diglossic: Introducing Multilingualism Theories to New Testament Studies
This article surveys some key works that address in one way or another the linguistic situation of ancient Palestine. It also examines that linguistic situation by way of introducing several multilingualism theories from the field of sociolinguistics, specifically explaining and demonstrating how they are pertinent to the investigation of the available linguistic evidence. The objectives are to show that previous studies that have utilized multilingualism theories have not yet been able to apply them either adequately or appropriately to the linguistic evidence, that use of multilingualism theories is the way forward to assess the available linguistic evidence, and that the linguistic situation of ancient Palestine must have been ‘multilingual and diglossic’.

Arie W. Zwiep
Jairus, His Daughter and the Haemorrhaging Woman (Mk 5.21-43; Mt. 9.18-26; Lk. 8.40-56): Research Survey of a Gospel Story about People in Distress
This article examines the history of interpretation of the pericope of the healing of the haemorrhaging woman and the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mk 5.21-43; Mt. 9.18-26; Lk. 8.40-56). It starts with the earliest attempts to harmonize the synoptic accounts, and reviews medieval allegorical interpretations, historical-critical theories, including the apparent death (coma) theory, D.F. Strauss and mythical interpretation, form-criticism, the question of sources, literary and narrative approaches, socio-critical (feminist) interpretation, psychoanalytical criticism, and contextual (poststructural) readings.

Daniel Ullucci
Sacrifice in the Ancient Mediterranean: Recent and Current Research
This essay provides a summary and critical assessment of scholarship on sacrifice in the ancient Mediterranean over the last two decades. It focuses on Greek, Roman, Judean and Christian evidence from approximately the eighth century BCE to the fifth century CE. Significant attention is paid to theoretical models, which have deeply affected the study of sacrifice. Archeological evidence for sacrifice is considered. The following areas of current scholarly debate are addressed and assessed: (1) the reach and role of religious experts; (2) sacrifice as communication and failed sacrifice; (3) the notion of spiritualization; (4) metaphorical and symbolic uses of sacrifice; and (5) sacrifice and identity. Sacrifice is theorized not as a static category or ontological thing, but a nexus of competitive ritualizations and/or discursive claims, the boundaries of which were actively contested by ancient practitioners and cultural producers.

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