Tuesday 14 November 2017

Currents in Biblical Research 16, 1 (October 2017)

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

Michael Avioz
The Literary Structure of the Books of Samuel: Setting the Stage for a Coherent Reading
The attempt to identify the structure of the books of Samuel is one of the most vexing topics in past and present research. The problem is common to both synchronic and diachronic methods. Diachronic methods usually divide the books into smaller blocks assuming different levels of redaction. Synchronic methods assume that the books of Samuel is a work of art, unified in its content, messages and characterization. Common to these methods is the great diversity of opinions with regard to its structure. This article provides both a survey and a critique of modern commentaries on Samuel, as well as specific studies dealing with the structure of Samuel. It surveys the matter from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

Brandon R. Grafius
Text and Terror: Monster Theory and the Hebrew Bible
While biblical scholars have long been interested in the monsters of the Hebrew Bible, it is only in the last several decades that theoretical approaches to monsters have made their way into biblical studies. Originating in the fields of psychoanalysis and anthropology, monster theory looks at the construction of various monsters, arguing that the way a culture creates its monsters reveals the anxieties held by that culture. This article will explore the uses of monster theory in recent works of biblical scholarship, demonstrating that monster theory has been used to read the figure of the monster as a representation of chaos, identify monstrous imagery as a rhetoric of trauma, and explore how the boundaries between the monster and the self are shifting and unstable.

Max Botner
What Has Mark’s Christ to Do with David’s Son? A History of Interpretation
It has become something of a commonplace within recent scholarship on the Gospels to hear that Mark the evangelist is ambivalent about Davidic sonship. Yet, rarely have scholars explored the rationale underlying this ambivalence. This article probes the status quaestionis on Jesus’ Davidic status in Mark’s Gospel via a history-of-interpretation survey of the Davidssohnfrage (Mk 12.35-37). It demonstrates that, despite their varying approaches and ideological commitments, all participants in the Son-of-David debate have assumed a foundational methodological principle: one assesses Mark’s position on Davidic messiahship by isolating pericopes with the name ‘David’. This explains why the healing of blind Bartimaeus (Mk 10.46-52) has long been fixed as the de facto crux interpretum for Davidic sonship in Mark.

Mira Balberg
Ritual Studies and the Study of Rabbinic Literature
In the last two decades several important studies have been published that focus on ritual in rabbinic literature, and consider ritual to be a critically important conceptual and analytical category in approaching rabbinic texts and rabbinic culture. This article provides an account of the intersection of Ritual Studies with the study of rabbinic literature, surveys key works and significant developments and shifts in the field, and identifies the central challenges in and benefits of examining rabbinic texts through ritual lenses. The article pays special attention to the complex relations between texts about rituals and ritual performances, as well as to the blurry boundaries between law and ritual in the realm of rabbinic halakhah.

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