Wednesday 12 June 2013

Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 2, 1 (2013)

The latest issue of the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament is freely available online. Articles (listed below with their abstracts) are available from here, with a pdf of the entire issue available here.

Bryan Babcock
Sacred Time in West Semitic Festival Calendars and the Dating of Leviticus 23
The Bible records several versions of the Israelite festival calendar, including accounts in Exod 23; 34; Lev 23; Num 28-9; Deut 16; and Ezek 45. The festivals, as depicted in the various texts, have many commonalities; however, there are also differences. Some of the often cited differences in the festival calendar texts include fixed dates versus dates based upon the harvest, the combination of two named rites into a larger ritual complex, the mention of simultaneous rites in different locations of the same text, and some festivals are named in one text and unnamed in others. Scholars have explored these similarities and differences arguing that the various calendars were written by different sources (authors/redactors) at different times in Israelite history. The current project provides a comparative analysis between Lev 23 and the second-millennium Akkadian multi-month festival calendar from Syria (Emar 446). After a review of each text and the contextual material, this study argues that Lev 23 preserves an early second-millennium West Semitic ritual tradition.

Andrew E. Steinmann
Gazelles, Does, and Flames: (De)Limiting Love in Song of Songs
Some of the most commented upon and enigmatic passages in Song of Songs are the adjuration refrains (Song 2:7; 3:5; 8:4) and the comparison of love to a flame (Song 8:6). This paper proposes that these verses serve to delimit and define love in Song of Songs while also limiting the expression of that love. In each context there is a reference to God – often by clever circumlocution (Song 2:7; 3:5) – thereby defining the legitimate expression of love according to divine intent. This use of circumlocution and its omission at Song 8:4 build suspense for the punch line at Song 8:6 which finally reveals the involvement of God in love and its expression between the Shulammite and her beloved.

John G. Ferch
The Story of Torah: The Role of Narrative in Leviticus’s Legal Discourse
For years, source critics have proposed a broad two-part structure for Leviticus, based on two independent sources that are presumed to underlie the book. This approach, coupled with a popular perception of Leviticus as nothing more than a long list of sundry Israelite laws, has caused the book’s narrative unity within the broader story of the Pentateuch to be neglected. By applying narrative criticism to the often-forgotten stories in Leviticus 10 and 24, crucial literary links are revealed which suggest a three-part outline to the book, supporting a united message that presents the giving of the Law as an act of divine grace designed to prepare Yahweh’s people to live in His presence.

Spencer L. Allen
An Examination of Northwest Semitic Divine Names and the Bet-locative
Four separate inscriptions from Kuntillet ‘Ajrûd (ca. 800 b.c.) invoke the divine names Yahweh-of-Teman (HI KAjr 14, 19A, and 20) and Yahweh-of-Samaria (HI KAjr 18), which reopened the debate about Deut 6:4’s declaration that “Yahweh is One” and the possibility of distinct, localized Yahwehs in the Israelite pantheon. In the biblical texts, the name Yahweh never appears in a construct chain with a geographic name (e.g., there is no Yahweh-of-Jerusalem), so alternative divine name formulas have been sought as additional evidence for an ancient poly-Yahwism. The most commonly suggested alternative involves a divine name followed by a geographic name in a bet-locative phrase: DN-b-GN. Thus, Yahweh-in-Zion (Ps 99:2) and Yahweh-in-Hebron (2 Sam 15:7) have been proposed as two additional localized Israelite deities. Comparable evidence from Ugaritic, Ammonite, Phoenician, and Punic texts containing the formula DN-b-GN has been offered in the past to support this claim (e.g., Tannit-in-Lebanon, KAI 81:1). This paper examines the relationship between divine names and geographic names as they pertain to potentially localized Yahweh deities and other Northwest Semitic deities. The formula DN-b-GN is carefully examined and rejected as a means of identifying any distinct deity in the various Northwest Semitic pantheons, including those of biblical Israel, for syntactical and other methodological reasons.

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