Wednesday 8 March 2017

Currents in Biblical Research 15, 2 (February 2017)

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

Andrew M. Mbuvi
African Biblical Studies: An Introduction to an Emerging Discipline
African Biblical Studies (ABS) can be characterized both as innovative and reactionary: Innovative, because it refuses to be confined by the methodologies, ancient concerns, and principles that govern biblical studies in the ‘west’ (used throughout this article to refer to the majority Euro-American scholars while recognizing the presence of other groups), and instead charts a course that is more interested in making biblical interpretation relevant to present realities. Reactionary, because its driving force is partly a critique of the inadequacy of western biblical studies in providing meaningful responses to concerns that are pertinent to African communities. A genuine ABS is therefore an amalgamation of multiple interpretive methods, approaches and foci that reflect a creative engagement of the African cosmological reality and the Bible.

Kelly J. Murphy
Judges in Recent Research
The book of Judges continues to inspire research and interpretation, from an ongoing focus on traditional research methods such as historical criticism and redaction criticism, to newer approaches like cultural criticism and postcolonial readings. This article surveys recent research on the book of Judges since 2003 by separating the discussion into two sections: the first section traces current research on the overall book of Judges as well as specific characters and/or passages, while the second section notes two growing areas of research; namely, reception history and gender studies.

Nicholas G. Piotrowski
The Concept of Exile in Late Second Temple Judaism: A Review of Recent Scholarship
Before Wright published the first two volumes of his Christian Origins and the Question of God series (1992; 1996) the discussion concerning late Second Temple Jewish concepts of exile was a quiet one. Since then, however, more and more scholars have begun to weigh in. Champions of the theory contend that Second Temple texts convey a matrix of concerns that together demonstrate a Jewish consciousness of being in a state of ongoing exile, notwithstanding the residency in the land of a significant population and a functioning temple. Dissenters argue that these scholars are illegitimately privileging one motif within a highly complex ancient religion, and assigning it a metanarrative role it never truly had. Others contend that ‘ongoing’ exile is too narrow of a description to account for the diversity of attitudes across several sects. Only recently, though, have major works been produced that thoroughly examine the primary texts in question. In the process, a growing chorus of voices is supporting, with various levels of enthusiasm, the thesis that a significant number of late Second Temple Jewish groups indeed understood themselves to be languishing in some form of exile: ongoing exile since the sixth century bce, in the throes of recurring cycles of exile, or a set of historic realities characterized with exilic metaphors.

Joshua Coutts
‘My Father’s Name’: A Survey of Research on the Use of Onoma with Respect to the Father in the Fourth Gospel
This essay provides a survey of research for one distinctive feature of the Fourth Gospel, namely, the striking emphasis on ‘name’ (onoma) language used with reference to the Father. The small existing body of research on John’s divine name concept may be situated in the context of a resurgent interest in the question of ‘God’ in the Fourth Gospel, and alongside broader New Testament research focused on the application of ‘kyrios’ to Jesus or on the divine functions attributed to Jesus’ own name. The research that has focused on John’s use of the divine name may be divided into two groups: there are attempts to identify the background to John’s name concept, including proposals for a Jewish hypostatic name concept, targumic tradition or the text of Isaiah; and studies which analyse John’s name language have sought to locate its meaning within the context of the Gospel itself.

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