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Recent titles include:
Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution:
Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity
Edited by Ann W. Astell and Sandor Goodhart
This collection of essays focuses on sacrifice in the context of Jewish and Christian scripture and is inspired by the thought and writings of René Girard. The contributors engage in a dialogue with Girard in their search for answers to key questions about the relation between religion and violence.
The book is divided into two parts. The first opens with a conversation in which René Girard and Sandor Goodhart explore the relation between imitation and violence throughout human history, especially in religious culture. It is followed by essays on the subject of sacrifice contributed by some of the most distinguished scholars in the field, including Bruce Chilton, Robert Daly, Louis Feldman, Michael Fishbane, Erich Gruen, and Alan Segal. The second part contains essays on specific scriptural texts (Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 and the book of Job in the Jewish tradition, the Gospel and Epistles in the Christian tradition). The authors explore new ways of applying Girardian analysis to episodes of sacrifice and scapegoating, demonstrating that fertile ground remains to further our understanding of violence in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Theological Hermeneutics and the Book of Numbers as Christian Scripture
by Richard S. Briggs
How should Christian readers of scripture hold appropriate and constructive tensions between exegetical, critical, hermeneutical, and theological concerns? This book seeks to develop the current lively discussion of theological hermeneutics by taking an extended test case, the book of Numbers, and seeing what it means in practice to hold all these concerns together. In the process the book attempts to reconceive the genre of “commentary” by combining focused attention to the details of the text with particular engagement with theological and hermeneutical concerns arising in and through the interpretive work. The book focuses on the main narrative elements of Numbers 11–25, although other passages are included (Numbers 5, 6, 33). With its mix of genres and its challenging theological perspectives, Numbers offers a range of difficult cases for traditional Christian hermeneutics. Briggs argues that the Christian practice of reading scripture requires engagement with broad theological concerns, and brings into his discussion Frei, Auerbach, Barth, Ricoeur, Volf, and many other biblical scholars. The book highlights several key formational theological questions to which Numbers provides illuminating answers: What is the significance and nature of trust in God? How does holiness (mediated in Numbers through the priesthood) challenge and redefine our sense of what is right, or “fair”? To what extent is it helpful to conceptualize life with God as a journey through a wilderness, of whatever sort? Finally, short of whatever promised land we may be, what is the context and role of blessing?
Moses the Egyptian in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch (London, British Library Cotton MS Claudius B.iv)
by Herbert R. Broderick
In Moses the Egyptian, Herbert Broderick analyzes the iconography of Moses in the famous illuminated eleventh-century manuscript known as the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch. A translation into Old English of the first six books of the Bible, the manuscript contains over 390 images, of which 127 depict Moses with a variety of distinctive visual attributes.
Broderick presents a compelling thesis that these motifs, in particular the image of the horned Moses, have a Hellenistic Egyptian origin. He argues that the visual construct of Moses in the Old English Hexateuch may have been based on a Late Antique, no longer extant, prototype influenced by works of Hellenistic Egyptian Jewish exegetes, who ascribed to Moses the characteristics of an Egyptian-Hellenistic king, military commander, priest, prophet, and scribe. These Jewish writings were utilized in turn by early Christian apologists such as Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius of Caesarea. Broderick’s analysis of this Moses imagery ranges widely across religious divides, art-historical religious themes, and classical and early Jewish and Christian sources.
“Israel Served the Lord”:
The Book of Joshua as Paradoxical Portrait of Faithful Israel
by Rachel M. Billings
Two themes have dominated scholarly interpretation of the book of Joshua within the past century: the literary “discovery” of the Deuteronomistic History and the archaeological detection of evidence related to Israel’s occupation of Canaan. In this newest volume in the series Reading the Scriptures, Rachel M. Billings addresses the fragmentation often brought about by these developments and offers a more holistic reading of Joshua, which joins theological sophistication with an emphasis on its meaning and purpose as a literary work.
Through a hermeneutical and literary lens, Billings analyzes the story of Rahab and Achan, the stories of the Gibeonites and the Transjordanian altar, and the theme of the completeness of Israel’s taking of the land of Canaan. She argues that the way in which the book of Joshua presents these materials reminds Israel of the dynamic nature of its identity as YHWH’s people—an identity that demands a continued response of obedience parallel to YHWH’s ever-unfolding work on Israel’s behalf. The book of Joshua portrays Israel’s obedience as not merely an unattainable ideal or a thing of the past, but a living reality that unfolds when YHWH’s people acknowledge His claim upon them and strive to serve Him.
Divine Scripture in Human Understanding:
A Systematic Theology of the Christian Bible
by Joseph K. Gordon
Divine Scripture in Human Understanding addresses the confusing plurality of contemporary approaches to Christian Scripture—both within and outside the academy—by articulating a traditionally grounded, constructive systematic theology of Christian Scripture. Utilizing primarily the methodological resources of Bernard Lonergan and traditional Christian doctrines of Scripture recovered by Henri de Lubac, it draws upon achievements in historical-critical study of Scripture, studies of the material history of Christian Scripture, reflection on philosophical hermeneutics and philosophical and theological anthropology, and other resources to articulate a unified but open horizon for understanding Christian Scripture today.
Following an overview of the contemporary situation of Christian Scripture, Joseph Gordon identifies intellectual precedents for the work in the writings of Irenaeus, Origen, and Augustine, who all locate Scripture in the economic work of the God to whom it bears witness by interpreting it through the Rule of Faith. Subsequent chapters draw on Scripture itself; classical sources such as Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, and Aquinas; the fruit of recent studies on the history of Scripture; and the work of recent scholars and theologians to provide a contemporary Christian articulation of the divine and human locations of Christian Scripture and the material history and intelligibility and purpose of Scripture in those locations. The resulting constructive position can serve as a heuristic for affirming the achievements of traditional, historical-critical, and contextual readings of Scripture and provides a basis for addressing issues relatively underemphasized by those respective approaches.
Liturgy and Biblical Interpretation:
The Sanctus and the Qedushah
by Sebastian Selvén
What happens to the Bible when it is used in worship? What does music, choreography, the stringing together of texts, and the architectural setting itself, do to our sense of what the Bible means—and how does that influence our reading of it outside of worship? In Liturgy and Biblical Interpretation, Sebastian Selvén answers questions concerning how the Hebrew Bible is used in Jewish and Christian liturgical traditions and the impact this then has on biblical studies. This work addresses the neglect of liturgy and ritual in reception studies and makes the case that liturgy is one of the major influential forms of biblical reception. The case text is Isaiah 6:3 and its journey through the history of worship.
By looking at the Qedushah liturgies in Ashkenazi Judaism and the Sanctus in three church traditions—(pre-1969) Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism (the Church of England), and Lutheranism (Martin Luther, and the Church of Sweden)—influential lines of reception are followed through history. Because the focus is on lived liturgy, not only are worship manuals and prayer books investigated but also architecture, music, and choreography. With an eye to modern-day uses, Selvén traces the historical developments of liturgical traditions. To do this, he has used methodological frameworks from the realm of anthropology. Liturgy, this study argues, plays a significant role in how scholars, clergy, and lay people receive the Bible, and how we understand the way it is to be read and sometimes even edited.
The Bible and the Liturgy
by Jean Daniélou, S.J.
To a deplorable extent, Christians accept Church rituals as sacred but baffling heirlooms from the Church’s past. It is to remedy this situation that Father Daniélou has written this book. The Bible and the Liturgy illuminates, better than has ever before been done, the vital and meaningful bond between Bible and liturgy. Father Daniélou aims at bringing clearly before his reader’s minds the fact that the Church’s liturgical rites and feasts are intended, not only to transmit the grace of the sacraments, but to instruct the faithful in their meaning as well as the meaning of the whole Christian life. It is through the sacraments in their role as signs that we learn. So that their value will be appreciated, Daniélou attempts to help us rediscover the significance of these rites so that the sacraments may once again be thought of as the prolongation of the great works of God in the Old Testament and the New.