Monday 27 April 2020

Currents in Biblical Research 18, 2 (February 2020)

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

Joshua T. James
Research Trends in the Study of the Ethics of the Psalms
The study of the ethics of the Psalms is a relative newcomer in the field of Old Testament ethics, having garnered most of its interest following Wenham’s initial essay on the subject in 2005. In hindsight, the neglect of the Psalms is surprising given its overt ethical concerns, but throughout the early phase of the re-emergence of Old Testament ethics (from 1983 to the end of the twentieth century), it was indeed woefully overlooked. The goal of this article is to provide a survey of work on the subject. Because the content and themes of these studies are still somewhat limited, the article is arranged according to the interpretive methodology or hermeneutical framework guiding the various authors’ contributions. In addition to surveying the field, this approach allows for the dominant trends to be observed and set within their proper context.

Tammi J. Schneider
In the Beginning and Still Today: Recent Publications on Genesis
This article reviews the monographs and edited volumes on the book of Genesis published since 2015. As a means of organizing the material, the books reviewed are categorized into groupings that reflect different aspects of the study of Genesis as a book, as well as the field of biblical studies and its placement within the humanities writ large. The organizational process leads to examining who writes about Genesis, the perceived audience, and how publishers consider their task and role in the process of disseminating scholarship on the book. An apparent shift in biblical studies, or at least in research on the book of Genesis, is identified towards situating the material more into world history and contemporary issues than into the historical-critical method.

T.M. Lemos
Order from Chaos: Comparing Approaches to Violence in Anthropology, Assyriology, and the Study of the Hebrew Bible
This article compares the history of scholarship on violence in anthropology in the past one hundred years to major approaches to studying violence in the ancient Near East and ancient Near Eastern sources, including ancient Israel and Israelite literature. The article demonstrates that anthropology and ancient Near Eastern studies have diverged widely in their approaches to violence. In the past two to three decades, the concept of structural violence and new materialist approaches have dominated the study of violence in anthropology, while in Assyriology and the study of ancient Israel/Israelite literature, studies of violence have repeatedly turned to an order and chaos framework. The article ends by suggesting that scholars of ancient West Asia incorporate new materialist approaches more concertedly in studies of violence and either rethink or jettison the simplistic order/chaos dyad.

Matthew W. Bates
The External-Relational Shift in Faith (Pistis) in New Testament Research: Romans 1 as Gospel-Allegiance Test Case
Evidence is marshalled for a recent ‘external-relational shift’ in scholarly understandings of pistis (traditionally translated ‘faith’) among New Testament scholars and historians of early Christianity and its social world. There is a movement away from predominantly personal existential accounts of pistis toward those that are relational and outwardly manifest. ‘Faith’ (pistis) is predominantly a way of life characterized by fidelity or loyalty which is outwardly expressed in relationships. Beyond the New Perspective on Paul, which is an obvious factor, four streams are feeding this shift: (1) the pistis Christou debate, (2) increased appreciation of ancient social and cultural norms, (3) advances in linguistics, and (4) an emphasis on the gospel as a royal proclamation. To show why the external-relational shift matters theologically, Paul’s use of pistis in Romans 1 is explored along external-relational lines.

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