Thursday 27 June 2013

Currents in Biblical Research 11, 3 (June 2013)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research has been out for a couple of weeks; abstracts of the main articles are as below.

Serge Frolov
Sleeping with the Enemy: Recent Scholarship on Sexuality in the Book of Judges
Reviewing the publications of the last three decades, this article demonstrates that the period in question has been predictably marked by sharply increased attention to the sexual aspects of the book of Judges, and especially by sustained attempts to discover sexuality in the texts that had been commonly read with little to no reference to it. Refreshing as it is in many respects, this trend suffers from multiple vulnerabilities, including the exegetes’ tendency to stretch semantics of the biblical lexemes, ignore the syntactic layout and context of the discussed fragments, rely on problematic sexual symbolism, and produce interpretations that are less than edifying for contemporary Western audiences. As a result, much, although by no means all, of the recent quest for sexuality in Judges is unsustainable, as far as both the text and the reader are concerned.

Jason B. Hood and Matthew Y. Emerson
Summaries of Israel’s Story: Reviewing a Compositional Category
This article reviews and synthesizes the history of, and current research into, ‘summaries of Israel’s story’ (SIS). Particular attention is paid to work done by E. Stauffer, N.T. Wright, H.C. Kee, M.A. Elliot, and Joachim Jeska. This research, as well as investigations into rewritten Bible and other summaries, clarifies the nature of such summaries as a discrete compositional category. Following the review a synthesis of this scholarship will yield a compilation of canonical and extra-canonical SIS.

Coleman A. Baker
Peter and Paul in Acts and the Construction of Early Christian Identity: A Review of Historical and Literary Approaches
The study of Peter and Paul in the Acts of the Apostles has gone through primarily two methodological phases, a search for the historical Peter and Paul and a search for the literary Peter and Paul. In recent decades, the literary approaches to the Bible have begun to raise questions about the role of the reader in understanding texts and their characters, resulting in a few studies that raise the question of the interaction between the reader and the characters of Peter and Paul. This latter development constitutes an emerging third methodological phase, the search for the identity-forming Peter and Paul. At issue in this search is how those who interact with the Acts narrative, both ancient and modern readers, are affected by the presentation of characters of Peter and Paul.

Bruce Worthington
Alternative Perspectives beyond the Perspectives: A Summary of Pauline Studies that has Nothing to Do with Piper or Wright
Given the overwhelming scholarly attention directed towards the Old and New Perspectives within the Pauline Studies guild, much worthwhile Pauline scholarship continues to float beneath or beyond our interpretive radar. Recent post-colonial, ecotheological and philosophical reappraisals of Paul are changing the way we do business – with some interesting alternative conclusions. As a ‘state of play’ synopsis, this article seeks to summarize ways in which alternative discourses like (1) continental philosophy, (2) ecological hermeneutics, (3) post-colonial/gender reconstructions, and (4) social-scientific theory can shed a necessary, nuanced light on Paul and his continued relevance beyond the duelling perspectives. However, I conclude by suggesting that most alternative ‘reconstructions’ significantly rely on the notion of early Christian egalitarian purity, and thus only confirm a modern liberal inclination to establish original, untainted, pure, Christian origins.

F.S. Naiden
Recent Study of Greek Religion in the Archaic through Hellenistic Periods
This article reviews recent literature in the field of Greek religion from approximately 800 to 150 BCE. It notes the long-standing connections between the study of Greek religion and the religions of the Near East, sets forth several common features of these religions, and tells how the study of Greek religion came to embody the ideas of Robertson Smith, among others, and how three themes, the centrality of ritual, of animal sacrifice, and of the religion of the polis came to dominate the field in the last half-century. In the last twenty years, some scholars have questioned these dominant themes. This article concludes by describing the relation between Greek and Near Eastern religion today, and by offering two examples of unstudied parallels between the two fields.

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