Wednesday 24 February 2016

Currents in Biblical Research 14, 2 (February 2016)

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

Barry A. Jones
The Seventh-Century Prophets in Twenty-first Century Research
This article surveys major issues addressed in scholarship on Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah since 2000. Researchers have continued attempts to locate these books more precisely within the historical context of the late seventh century BCE. Efforts to trace the literary growth of the books have increased following a decrease in diachronic approaches in the 1990s. Redactional analyses have sought new methodological strategies to supplement the limited historical evidence available for tracking literary growth. Several redactional studies overlap with efforts to describe the editorial history of the Book of the Twelve, although resistance to reading the prophets in this context has also emerged in recent studies. Studies employing literary theory and ideological criticism have sought to balance historically oriented interpretation with attention to more existential concerns. A growing pluralism of methods, aims, and results characterizes the study of the seventh-century prophets in the early twenty-first century.

Susan E. Haddox
Masculinity Studies of the Hebrew Bible: The First Two Decades
Masculinity studies of the Hebrew Bible has emerged in the past two decades as a complement to feminist criticism, focusing on the ways men and masculinity in the biblical texts are social constructs. Masculist interpretation has utilized materials and methods taken from the field of masculinity studies, especially psychoanalytic and anthropological cross-cultural approaches. In the early development of the field, the emphasis has been on gathering data and examining the constructs of particular men in specific books. From these studies, several common traits have emerged as representative of biblical masculinity. As the field matures, scholars are broaching broader theoretical and structural concerns and questioning some of the assumptions of earlier studies, while still valuing the insights they provide. Additional methods are also being brought into conversation with masculist interpretation.

Daniel Lynwood Smith
The Uses of ‘New Exodus’ in New Testament Scholarship: Preparing a Way through the Wilderness
Nineteenth-century Isaiah scholarship appears to be responsible for popularizing the term ‘new exodus’, a phrase that underscores how Isaiah’s prophecies of a return from exile link this new saving act of God with the Israelite exodus from Egypt. In the twentieth century, New Testament scholars adopted the term, and in recent years, ‘new exodus’ has been applied to a wide array of biblical and extra-biblical texts. The burgeoning popularity of the phrase ‘new exodus’ has not been matched with equal interest in reflecting on its diverse applications to a variety of ancient texts. This free-wheeling usage has diluted the value of the phrase, and a descriptive term runs the risk of becoming a simple buzzword.

Chris Kugler
ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ: The Current State of Play and the Key Arguments
The pistis Christou debate involves numerous debate partners and a shockingly voluminous amount of secondary literature. At this point, I thought it necessary to provide a survey of the current state of the debate, not least so as to summarize in one place the main arguments for both sides of the debate. At the beginning of the article I gather together and present the main arguments for those advocating an objective reading of the phrase, while the second half of the essay mainly involves a presentation of the arguments for the subjective camp. Having provided this summary, with many comments of my own alongside, I conclude by emphasizing the two pieces of evidence that seem still to push in the direction of the subjective construal. When the survey comes to a close, I arrive at the conclusion that, while debate is certainly not over, those advocating a subjective reading of the expression have the momentum of the scholarly guild.

Matthew R. Malcolm
The Structure and Theme of First Corinthians in Recent Scholarship
There is currently no consensus on the arrangement or central theme of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. However, numerous suggestions have been put forward in the last three decades, including a number of very recent contributions. The approaches taken include regarding the letter primarily as compilation, Hellenistic epistle, rhetorical speech-letter, theological critique, Jewish argumentation, ring composition, gospel exhortation, and topical discourse. A number of these perspectives overlap. This article surveys these approaches, provides tabulated summaries of their analyses, and indicates areas of broad agreement in current research.

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