Wednesday 15 October 2014

Currents in Biblical Research 13, 1 (October 2014)

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

Laura Quick
Recent Research on Ancient Israelite Education: A Bibliographic Essay
This article presents a survey of the recent research which has been making significant progress in examining scribal schools and education in ancient Israel. It specifically treats scholarly recourse to the extra-biblical data provided by epigraphic remains, and discusses the comparative potentials of the wider ancient world itself. Several monograph-length treatments have added substantially to the literature. A brief critical examination of all these works is provided, in order to facilitate the reader’s keeping up with the latest views and opinions concerning such studies. The literature will be treated chronologically, and the most substantial recent contribution by Carr (2011) will be subject to an extensive review, testing Carr’s conclusions against the cumulative weight of earlier findings. Finally, ways of moving forward in treating this subject will be suggested.

Philip R. Davies
Biblical Studies: Fifty Years of a Multi-Discipline
The creation of an autonomous and secular discipline of biblical studies can be traced back through several stages, in particular to cultural changes brought about by the Reformation and the Enlightenment. But it is only in the last 50 years or so that this discipline (more accurately, a multi-discipline) can be truly said to have emerged as distinct from Scripture, which now ought to be treated as a separate discipline belonging to theology rather than the human sciences. This review traces some of the principal themes of this discipline, specifically secularization, colonization and fictionalization. These themes are traced through a number of developments, beginning with the fundamental issue of what constitutes the ‘meaning’ of a text. Finally, it is suggested that the relationship between humanistic biblical studies and theological Scripture is becoming, and will continue to be, more explicitly addressed, but that no clear resolution can be foreseen.

Andrew M. Bowden
An Overview of the Interpretive Approaches to James 5.13-18
James 5.13-18 is a notoriously difficult passage, evidenced by the wide ranging viewpoints and interpretations related to the nature of the sickness and healing in the paragraph. In this article an attempt is made to summarize these various interpretations and to cite the major scholars who hold to these views. A clear, thorough overview of these positions will greatly facilitate discussions on this topic in future investigations.

Andrew J. Kelley
Miracles, Jesus, and Identity: A History of Research regarding Jesus and Miracles with Special Attention to the Gospel of Mark
To write a comprehensive history of research regarding miracle narratives and the Gospels that is also reasonably sized would itself be miraculous. This article attempts to present a history of literature that is faithful to the wealth of research about miracles and Jesus, but at the same time focuses directly on studies most relevant to the narrative of the Gospel of Mark in its final form. The development of miracle studies has multiple facets and has been approached in a variety of disparate ways. In order to facilitate the clearest history of research, the article has placed relevant works into five major categories: history of religions and the theios anēr debate; historical Jesus studies; the miracle, medicine, and magic discussion; comparative, literary, and other studies; and miracles in Mark and the identity of Jesus. Each of these categories are designed to review the history of secondary scholarship regarding Jesus, miracles, and the identity of Jesus as a miracle-worker with special attention to the Gospel of Mark.

Andrew B. Perrin
An Almanac of Tobit Studies: 2000-2014
Arguably the most influential moments in the entire history of Tobit studies were the acquisition of the Qumran cave four Aramaic and Hebrew Tobit fragments in 1952 and their eventual publication in 1995. In light of these events, this article surveys the major advancements in resources and research on the book of Tobit since the turn of the millennium. The present survey establishes the status quaestionis on matters of Tobit’s compositional origins (i.e., language, date, and provenance) as it has emerged in several recent articles, monographs, and commentaries. Following the treatment of background issues, three thematic sections capture the major trends in recent Tobit studies. These include: (1) theories of Tobit’s scribal transmission and related text-critical issues, (2) questions of source material and intertextuality in Tobit’s composition and reception, and (3) a reappraisal of central narrative-theological features in Tobit (i.e., marriage and family, perspectives on burial, and the functions of food) and their potential insight into the book’s socio-historical contexts in ancient Judaism. The study concludes with some brief recommendations and open-ended questions for future research on the book of Tobit.

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