Andrew Tobolowsky, "Reading Genesis Through Chronicles: The Creation of the Sons of Jacob," 138-168
Scholars are increasingly aware of the dynamic nature of the interaction between the nine-chapter- long genealogy that begins the book of Chronicles and its source material. However, little attention has been paid to the role this interaction might have played in the creation of some key biblical ideas, particularly in the “eponymous imagination” of the tribes as literally the sons of Jacob. Through comparison with scholarly approaches to the pseudo-Hesiodic Catalogue of Women and an investigation into the ramifications for biblical studies of ethnic theory and historical memory on the fluidity of ethnicity and memory over time, this article seeks to reassess the dynamic power of the Chronicles genealogy as an ethnic charter for the elites of Persian Yehud. Focus on the distinctive imagination of Israel in the crucial narratives in the book of Genesis, as compared with narratives elsewhere in the primary history, and the contributions of the Chronicles genealogy to their redefinition, allows us to address the Bible’s dependence upon the lens the Chronicles genealogy imposes upon it.
Lawrence M. Wills, "Jew, Judean, Judaism in the Ancient Period: An Alternative Argument," 169-193
Applying the terms “Jew” and “Judaism” in the ancient period has recently been challenged by a number of scholars. First, the terms translated as Jew and Judaism are rare in the ancient period, and second, it is argued that these terms retroject later understandings of Judaism as a religion back into a period when Israelites and Yehudim/Ioudaioi are rather understood as an ethnic group. “Judeans” is preferable as a designation to “Jews.” Two challenges have arisen. Some argue that the ethnic meaning of Yehudim/Ioudaioi changed to a more religious meaning in about 100 B. C. E.. Others insist that “Jew” and “Judaism” have always communicated both an ethnic and religious meaning – and still do – and so to insist on an ethnic-only meaning (“Judeans”) in the ancient period is misleading. Here I take up a number of the previous arguments and modify them to form an alternative proposal: Yehudi (feminine Yehudiyah) and related terms arose as assertive, emotive identity terms to reflect a strong affirmation of identity in an international situation. Much as “Quaker” or “American” can be assertive, emotive identity terms relative to the default Society of Friends or United States respectively, so Yehudi/Yehudiyah was used occasionally, then more often, as a strong identity term relative to the default Israel/Israelite.
Michael Flowers, "The Two Messiahs and Melchizedek in 11QMelchizedek," 194-227
11QMelch identifies several eschatological figures in Isa 52:7: prophets, a first and second herald, the community, and (probably) Melchizedek. The heralds are differentiated from one another, something that has been largely overlooked in discussions of 11QMelch. They are also differentiated from the “mountains”/“prophets,” another significant point that is rarely emphasized. That the first herald is a Davidic Messiah is suggested by the author’s apparent quote from the “seventy weeks” prophecy in Dan 9:24–27, a passage that was often used to calculate the advent of the Davidic Messiah. If the lacuna in line 18 contained a clause from Dan 9:25 this would provide further support for interpreting the first herald as the Davidic Messiah since this verse refers to “the prince Messiah.” Moreover, in the history of interpretation, Isa 52:7 was understood, at least by some Christians and Jews, as referring to the Davidic Messiah. Hence, there are grounds for seeing the first herald not as an angel or a Prophet-Messiah but as a royal Messiah. Melchizedek – who goes by the aliases “the Prince of lights” and “Michael” in other works – is distinguished from the two heralds. He is not a Messiah but a chief patron angel who fights on behalf of the sons of light against Belial in the great eschatological war. The second herald is described as a teacher and may therefore be the “Messiah of Aaron”/“Interpreter of the Law” found in other sectarian works. The interpretation proposed in this article allows for parallels to be drawn between 11QMelch and other sectarian works. Against what is commonly supposed, 11QMelch does not seem to reflect a form of messianism that is notably distinctive but one that conforms to the diarchic messianism found in other sectarian writings.
Yonatan Adler, "Between Priestly Cult and Common Culture: The Material Evidence of Ritual Purity Observance in Early Roman Jerusalem Reassessed," 228-248
Although miqwa’ot and chalkstone vessels have been found throughout Israel, the unparalleled number of such finds at Jerusalem has conventionally been explained in terms of the special demands of the Temple cult and of the city’s priestly residents. In light of a growing number of archaeological discoveries from the past number of years, however, the conception that Jerusalem and its Temple served as focal points of ritual purity observance deserves to be significantly reevaluated. The new data indicate that regular, widespread use of ritual baths and chalkstone vessels was not at all unique to Jerusalem or the priesthood, but rather was commonplace to a comparable degree in Jewish society throughout early Roman Judea. Jews everywhere throughout the country strove on a regular basis to maintain the purity of their bodies, clothing, utensils, food, and drink, and there is no reason to suppose that in doing so they somehow had the Temple in mind. Most Jews living at this time would probably have understood the pentateuchal purity regulations as prescribing that ritual purity be maintained on a regular basis in ordinary, everyday life – without specific regard to the Temple or its cult. This new understanding encourages us to reinterpret the archaeological finds from Jerusalem as reflecting an important facet of prevailing common culture rather than as stemming from the unique sanctity of Jerusalem, the Temple, or its priests.
Laura S. Lieber, "Forever Let it Be Said: Issues of Authorial Multivocality in a Samaritan Hymn," 249-268
In this article, an exploration of the performative phenomenon labeled here as “multiauthorial vocality” will serve to highlight both the richness of the Samaritan poetic tradition on its own terms and to suggest significant future directions for comparative study that can integrate Samaritan hymnography and the Samaritan liturgy into their works. This analysis primarily underscores how scholars need to address the essential complexity of liturgical poetry as a performed genre. “Multi-authorial vocality” refers to the process by which multiple authors shape the received experience and significance of the composition as a whole. A single Samaritan hymn by Marqa, “This is His Great Writing,” provides a subject for the analysis, and a translation of the hymn is provided as an appendix. The rhetorical-performative dynamic examined here is not in any way unique to this poem, nor is it distinctive to Samaritans; it is precisely this more “universal” element of liturgical poetry that enables comparative (beyond noting parallel or divergent motifs, themes, and intertextual allusions) to be done. In Marqa’s poem, some figures are explicitly identified as authors or tradents, while others assume that role implicitly. The approach to liturgical texts modeled here does not deny the importance of the author to our text but raises our awareness of how complicated his role is. The poet is, to use an analogy, as much a conductor as a composer; he orchestrates the liturgical experience, but relies on other participants to complete it. Subsequent performers create their own arrangements of the existing words on the page but likewise need the involvement – physical, conceptual, and psychological – of the other participants for the liturgy to “work.” At the same time, it also argues for the importance of integrating Samaritan liturgical traditions into the larger comparative hymnography discussions now underway.