Ancient Judaism; new visions and views.
Stone (emeritus, comparative religion and Armenian studies, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem) challenges scholars to venture beyond orthodox thinking on ancient religious documents and histories relating to Second Temple Judaism and the origins of Christianity. Emphasizing the complexity of issues involved in such historiography, he draws on multiple sources to shed light on the authorship, transmission, and interpretations of the Hebrew Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, apocryphal, and pseudepigraphic literature. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Apocalypse against empire; theologies of resistance in early Judaism.
In 167 BCE, Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes issued an edict against Judean religious practices. Portier-Young (Old Testament, Duke Divinity School) focuses on the consequent emergence of a new literary genre, the historical apocalypse, offering a subversive theological basis for hope. Noting that this apocalyptic consciousness influenced Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, she presents a theoretical framework for understanding resistance, history of Hellenistic rule in Judea, and multilayered analyses of extant apocalypses written in this period: Daniel, the Apocalypse of Weeks and Book of Dreams. Topics for future study, including the implications of her work for modern and postmodern theology, are outlined. The CiP mistakenly lists the book as a paperback. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Biblical history and Israel's past; the changing study of the Bible and history.
Moore (Wake Forest U.) and Kelle (Old Testament, Point Loma Nazarene U.) explore how the relationship between the study of the Bible and the study of history has changed since the 1970s. Their arrangement is chronological, covering the patriarchs and matriarchs, Israel's emergence, the monarchical period, the exilic or neo-Babylonian period, and the post-exilic or Persian period. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Early Judaism and modern culture; literature and theology.
Oegema (biblical studies, McGill U., Montreal) explores the place and relevance of early Judaism for modern cultures, and especially the relevance of non-canonical writings for biblical theology today. She considers how early Judaism has shaped the Bible, philosophy, the politics of identity, the literary world, gender, ethics, interreligious dialogue, tradition and politics, rabbinic Judaism, and the early church. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Flights of the soul; visions, heavenly journeys, and peak experiences in the biblical world.
Pilch (biblical literature, Georgetown U.) presents a study examining alternate states of consciousness in biblical and extrabiblical literature. While many past scholars have viewed these phenomena simply as literary devices, the author here approaches them as significant religious and cultural experiences. The investigation draws from several fields of scholarship, both scientific and theological, as well as from prophetic and visionary accounts from the bible. This book appeals to those studying biblical literature and anthropology. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Justice in love.
Christian philosopher Wolterstorff, author of Justice: Rights and Wrongs, builds on the discussion of justice in his previous book to argue that we need a way of understanding the relationship between justice and love that allows for the possibility that the two can exist together. He describes a framework for understanding such a relationship and uses this framework to analyze cases of perceived conflict between just and unjust love and the justice of God's love. He asks whether forgiveness and generosity can be unjust, and investigates the injustice of benevolent paternalism and the justice of God's generosity in the Book of Romans. Wolterstorff is professor emeritus of philosophical theology at Yale University; he is also a senior fellow at the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
More than matter?; is there more to life than molecules?
Arguing that humans are more than "accidental mistakes" or "assemblies of nerve-cells" British philosopher and Anglican priest, Ward, presents a defense of idealism. He points to areas of scientific study which show the limitations of the philosophy of materialism and refutes the ideas of his former professor Gilbert Ryle, known for his critique of Cartesian dualism. Ward presents views on different theories of the relationship between body and mind, ultimately concluding "The argument for idealism stands on its own, and it offers a view of human life that stands in stark opposition to the materialism that characterizes many popularizations of modern scientific thought." A glossary and short bibliography are included. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Religious liberty; v.2: The free exercise clause.
The second in a comprehensive four-volume collection of writing on religious liberty by Laycock (law and religious studies, U. of Virginia and emeritus, law, U. of Texas, Austin), this volume is the first of two that focuses on the free exercise of religion, featuring a selection of Laycock's articles, briefs, and court documents. The material is grouped into sections, such as constitutional exemptions before and after Smith, the rights of religious employers, religious schools, and non-mainstream religions. He includes an abstract introducing each entry. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Stone and dung, oil and spit; Jewish daily life in the time of Jesus.
Magness (early Judaism, U. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) explores what the archaeological record reveals about Jewish daily life in late Second Temple period Palestine, with an emphasis on correlations between literary and archaeological evidence for the purity practices of the major Jewish groups. Her topics include purifying the body and hands, dining customs and communal meals, Sabbath observance and fasting, clothing and tsitzit, toilets and toilet habits, and tombs and burial customs. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)