Wednesday 6 March 2013

Currents in Biblical Research 11, 2 (February 2013)

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

Joel Edmund Anderson
The Rise, Fall, and Renovation of the House of Gesenius: Diachronic Methods, Synchronic Readings, and the Debate over Isaiah 36–39 and 2 Kings 18–20
The parallel Sennacherib narratives in Isaiah 36–39 and 2 Kings 18–20 have long intrigued scholars. Although for the better part of the past two hundred years the diachronic methods of historical criticism have defined the exegetical landscape, the recent rise of narrative criticism and its emphasis on the synchronic reading of the text have called many of the previously held views into question. This article will provide a brief overview and critique of both the exegetical issues stemming from the traditional historical-critical methods and of the more recent proposals put forth by scholars like Smelik and Seitz, who argue for a more synchronic understanding of these two texts. This overview reveals a gradual evolution in biblical scholarship, in which the recent synchronic narrative methods are being recognized as aids and correctives to, and not opponents of, the traditional diachronic methods of historical criticism.

Judy Diehl
‘Babylon’: Then, Now and ‘Not Yet’: Anti-Roman Rhetoric in the Book of Revelation
This article is the third and final essay in a three-part series concerned with an analysis of current scholarship and anti-imperial rhetoric in the writings of the New Testament. The focus of this article is on the challenges and the inspiration of the book of Revelation. While Revelation may be considered to be the most unambiguous and blatant example of confrontation between the early Christians and the Roman Empire in the New Testament, a diversity of opinions survives as to how modern readers should understand and apply John’s apocalyptic literature. Does this book have something to say to readers today about the concepts of ‘empire’, colonialism and imperialism? We begin with a reflection on ancient interpretations of the text of Revelation, which are foundational to today’s interpretations, and lend support to the existence of anti-imperial rhetoric found in this cryptic document. Consideration is given to numerous current scholarly approaches, historical, theoretical and literary, with select examples from the book of Revelation for a greater understanding of the text.

Nijay Gupta
What is in a Name? The Hermeneutics of Authorship Analysis Concerning Colossians
Pauline scholars, especially in the last century, have been almost evenly divided on whether they consider Colossians to be genuinely written by Paul or by someone else in his name. Through an exploration of the commentaries of eight key scholars on Colossians, this study examines the hermeneutics of authorship analysis in order to determine the key factors involved and how they are weighed. For the study of the authorship of Colossians to move forward in a productive way, a number of yet-understudied issues must be addressed and closely researched. In the meantime, tentativeness in conclusions is the most reliable stance.

James A. Kelhoffer
New Testament Exegesis as an Academic Discipline with Relevance for Other Disciplines
This English translation of a lecture delivered in November 2011 on the occasion of the author’s installation as Professor of New Testament at Uppsala University (Kelhoffer 2012) addresses several conceptual and methodological questions about New Testament Exegesis, including: ‘What is New Testament Exegesis?’, ‘What does it mean to call New Testament Exegesis an academic discipline?’ and ‘How can this discipline be relevant for other disciplines?’ A central argument is that the current balkanization of biblical studies is undesirable and that scholars who use more traditional or newer methods should engage, rather than talk past, each other. It could help to foster that process if we attend to a misconception of the ‘historical-critical method’ as a single method. Additionally, ‘the linguistic turn’ holds promise for future discussions.

David A. Shaw
Converted Imaginations? The Reception of Richard Hays’s Intertextual Method
Richard Hays’s 1989 work Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul defined the terms and established a method for the study of Pauline intertextuality. Neither the method (Hays’s well-known sevenfold criteria for identifying intertextual allusions) nor the terms (‘echo’ and ‘allusion’) have proved uncontroversial, however, and so this article surveys their reception, outlining and critiquing the major attempts to amend, replace or overthrow them. Concerns relating to the stability of the criteria themselves or to the theoretical framework in which they operate do not nullify their usefulness. Criticisms of Hays’s terms, and the inconsistency with which they are deployed, are, on the other hand, more easily sustained, and so rival taxonomies are reviewed and recommended.

David Hendin
Current Viewpoints on Ancient Jewish Coinage: A Bibliographic Essay
This article presents a survey of recent research in pre-coinage currency of Judaea, coins of the Persian period (Philistia, Edom, Samaria, and Judaea), the Hasmonean dynasty, the Herodian dynasty, the Jewish War against Rome and the Bar Kokhba revolt. Books, articles, presentations and dissertations have added significantly to the literature; it is the author’s goal to assist the non-specialist in keeping up with the latest information and opinions.

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