I submitted my last grades for the semester and can now move on to some research and writing projects. I just updated the website for the 2011 CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar. The focus on this year’s Seminar is “History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible” and we have a number of interesting papers, including some from John Van Seters, Ehud Ben Zvi, Keith Bodner, among others. Feel free to take a look…
The 2011 Ancient Historiography Seminar will meet on Sunday 30 May 2010 as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies at the University of New Brunswick & St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, May 29-Tuesday May 31, 2011. The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne is a professional, academic working group of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies / Société canadienne des Études bibliques (CSBS/SCÉB).
Call for Papers for Fredericton 2011: History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible
The Ancient Historiography Seminar of the CSBS invites papers evaluating the state of historiographic research on the Hebrew Bible, including papers exploring the nature, function, and aesthetics of biblical historiography. Such studies may focus on, but are not limited to, the so-called Deuteronomistic History or the Chronicler’s History. As this is the last year of the Ancient Historiography Seminar, papers of a more summative nature evaluating the past contributions of the Seminar are also welcome.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler [dot] williams [at] kingsu.ca) by December 15, 2010.
The seminar meets as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, held Sunday May 29-Tuesday May 31 at University of New Brunswick & St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, as part of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities (further information at http://www.fedcan.ca).
If you have any questions concerning this year’s program, please contact the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler [dot] williams [at] kingsu [dot] ca).
World class Septuagintal scholar John William Wevers passed away last week. Here is a notice that was sent to the members of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies:
On July 23, Professor Emeritus John William Wevers, of the University of Toronto, passed away at the age of 91. Prof. Wevers was struck by a cerebral hemorrhage in the Toronto nursing home where he had lived since July 2008. A memorial service will be held in Toronto on Sept. 11.
During his long tenure at the University of Toronto, Prof. Wevers had brought the Department of Near Eastern Studies (now merged into the Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations) to unprecedented complement and quality; he himself became an undisputed master of Septuagint Studies during the last decades of the 20th century, having produced the critical edition of the whole Greek Pentateuch for the Göttingen Septuaginta Unternehmen, and added further text-critical studies, translations, and commentaries to each of the five main volumes of this edition. Prof. Wevers’s knowledge and contribution extended to several other languages; he had, in particular, made significant contributions to Classical Hebrew scholarship, as well as vigorously promoting its study at the University of Toronto.
He was one of the few scholars I know who had the mastery of the languages and texts necessary to do true textual criticism.
May his name be a blessing for future generations. R.I.P.
As chair of the CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne, I am pleased to present the schedule for this year’s meeting.
The theme for the 2010 Ancient Historiography Seminar is “The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography.” We have an impressive collection of presenters this year, including Mark Boda, Louis Jonker, Isaac Kalimi, Gary Knoppers, John Wright, Ehud Ben Zvi, among others.
The schedule is as follows:
The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography (Session 1) Sunday 30 May 2010 – 8:45-12:00 (CL 215) Chair / Président: Patricia Kirkpatrick (McGill University)
8:45-9:15 – “Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography: State of the Question” by Tyler F. Williams (The King’s University College, Edmonton)
9:15-9:45 – “To be, or not to be (King Saul), that is the question: Conjuring up the old problem of the Saul Narrative in Chronicles” by Peter Sabo (University of Alberta)
9:45-10:15 – “Peering through the Cloud of Incense: Davidic Dynasty and Community in the Chronicler’s Perspective” by Mark J. Boda (McMaster Divinity College)
10:30-11:00 – “Of Jebus, Jerusalem and Benjamin: The Chronicler’s Sondergut in 1 Chronicles 21 against the background of the late Persian Era in Yehud” by Louis Jonker (Stellenbosch University)
11:00-11:30 – “The Rise and Fall of King Solomon: Deuteronomistic versus Chronistic History” by Isaac Kalimi (East Carolina University)
11:30-12:00 – “Divine Retribution in Herodotus and the Chronicler” by John Wright (Point Loma Nazarene University)
12:00-13:30 Lunch Break
The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography (Session 2)
Sunday 30 May 2010 – 13:30-17:45 (CL 215) Chair / Président: Tyler F. Williams (The King’s University College)
13:30-14:00 – “‘Yhwh will raise up for you a prophet like me’: Prophecy and Prophetic Succession in Chronicles” by Gary N. Knoppers (The Pennsylvania State University)
14:00-14:30 – “Capital Punishment: The Configuration of Ahaziah’s Last Hours in 2 Chronicles 22” by Keith Bodner (Atlantic Baptist University)
14:30-15:00 – “To Besiege or Not to Besiege: The Chronicler’s Presentation of the Invasion of Sennacherib” by Paul Evans (McMaster Divinity School)
15:15-15:45 – “Implicit and Explicit Rhetoric in 2 Chronicles 35-36” by Mark Leuchter (Temple University Department of Religion)
15:45-16:15 – “Exile in Chronicles” by Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta)
16:15-16:45 – “Historiography in Lament: A Case Study of Isaiah 63:7-64:11” by Sonya Kostamo (University of Alberta)
16:45-17:15 – “Hearing Darius in Ezra: A Bakhtinian Analysis of the Voice of Darius in Ezra 6” by James Bowick (McMaster Divinity College)
17:15-17:45 – “Reflections on the Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography” by Christine Mitchell (St. Andrew’s College)
The full schedule, including abstracts and download links for the papers, for this year’s session may be found at the seminar website. The Ancient Historiography Seminar meets as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, held at Concordia University, Montréal, PQ, May 29-31, 2010.
The call for papers for the 2010 sessions of the Ancient Historiography Seminar of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies has been released. The theme for 2010 is “The Book of Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography.”
The last quarter-century has seen a remarkable resurgence in scholarship on the book of Chronicles. The Ancient Historiography Seminar of the CSBS invites papers evaluating the state of Chronicles research, including papers exploring the text, context, or subtext of the Chronicler’s work and Yehudite Historiography in the late Persian/Early Hellenistic Period. While the focus of the session will be on Chronicles, papers on other examples of early Second Temple historiography, especially as they contribute to our understanding of the Chronicler, are welcome.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler [dot] williams [at] kingsu [dot] ca) byDecember 1, 2009.
The seminar will meet as part of the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, held at Concordia University, Montréal, PQ, May 29-31, 2010.
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne is a professional, academic working group of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies / Société canadienne des Études bibliques (CSBS/SCÉB). Last year’s schedule and papers may be found here, while the papers from the 2006, 2007, and 2008 meetings may be found here.
This year’s Ancient Historiography Seminar will be meeting in a couple weeks at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies annual meeting in Ottawa (25 May 2009). The theme for this year is “Historiography and Prophecy” and there is a full program planned. Feel free to check out the full schedule on the Ancient Historiography Seminar website.
In addition, the latest Review of Biblical Literature contained a fairly positive review of the first publication from the Ancient Historiography Seminar. Based on the York 2006 meeting, The Function of Ancient Historiography in Biblical and Cognate Studies(Patricia G. Kirkpatrick and Timothy D. Goltz, eds.; Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies, T & T Clark International, 2008), contains essays by John Van Seters, Kurt Noll, Eve-Marie Becker, among others.
This book provides fresh perspectives from new scholars while engaging lingering questions from seasoned ones, and the function of historiography in biblical literature continues to be an issue of wide disagreement among biblical scholars but an emerging consensus considers it to serve primarily an interpretive function. Such a function(s) are discussed vis-à-vis J. Huizinga’s broad, theoretical definition of historiography as “the intellectual form in which a civilization renders account to itself of its past.” Based on the latter, issues of historicity tend to be downplayed as the central focus; given the assumption that these are modern scholarly concerns. Thus, socio-historical intent (ideology) tends to be given priority, seeking to understand these writings on their own terms. This shift in focus is a key feature of the volume. Purchase from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Eisenbrauns.com
The Seminar’s second volume, from the Saskatoon 2007 meetings, is expected to be published in June 2009. The volume, Community Identity in Judean Historiography: Biblical and Comparative Perspectives(Gary N. Knoppers and Kenneth Ristau, eds.; Eisenbrauns, Forthcoming, June 2009), contains essays by Gary Knoppers, Ehud Ben Zvi, Mark Boda, Kenton Sparks, John Van Seters, among others.
The volume deals with issues of self-identification, community identity, and ethnicity in Judahite and Yehudite historiography. The scholars present addressed a range of issues, such as the understanding, presentation, and delimitation of “Israel” in various biblical texts, the relationship of Israelites to Judahites in Judean historical writings, the definition of Israel over against other peoples, and the possible reasons why the ethnoreligious community (“Israel”) was the focus of Judahite/Yehudite historiography. Papers approached these matters from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary vantage points. For example, some pursued an inner-biblical perspective (pentateuchal sources/writings, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah), while others pursued a cross-cultural comparative perspective (ancient Near Eastern, ancient Greek, Hellenistic historiographies, Western and non-Western historiographic traditions). Still others attempted to relate the material remains to the question of community identity in northern Israel, monarchic Judah, and postmonarchic Yehud. Order from Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Eisenbrauns.com
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies invites papers related to the theme for the 2009 seminar: “Prophets and Prophecy in Ancient Israelite Historiography.”
Papers are invited that seek to advance the study of ancient Near Eastern historiography as it intersects with the phenomenon of prophecy, and the role and message of the prophets within the Former and Latter Prophets as well as other historiographic books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Diverse methodological perspectives such as literary, historical, archaeological, epigraphical, and otherwise are invited, as are proposals from junior and senior scholars. Papers dealing with prophets and prophecy in non-biblical ancient historiography (such as Josephus, etc.) will also be considered.
The seminar will meet during the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, to be held at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, May 24-26, 2009. Contributors must be or become members of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to the seminar chair, Tyler Williams (tyler.williams [at] taylor-edu [dot] ca) by December 15, 2008. For more information please see the Ancient Historiography Seminar website: http://biblical-studies.ca/historiography.
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne is a professional, academic working group of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies / Société canadienne des Études bibliques (CSBS/SCÉB).
I am heading off to the 2007 annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS) today. This year it is being held at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and runs for three days (May 27-29).
A glance at the programme reveals many interesting papers related to the Hebrew Bible, including papers in the Ancient Historiography Seminar (For those interested more in New Testament/Christian Origins or the history of interpretation there are many papers that would interest you, so check out the full programme).
If I have the time and an internet connection, I will post some reflections from the meetings like previous years. If an internet connection is not available, I will post some thoughts when I get back next Wednesday.
UPDATE: It doesn’t look like I will be able to do any reflections from here, so I will post some thoughts when I am back home.
8:45-9:05 am – Israel and the Nomads of Ancient Palestine Kent Sparks (Eastern University)
ksparks [at] eastern [dot] edu
Two views of Israelâ€™s ethnogenesis now predominate among scholars. One holds that early Israel originated in the city-state society of Canaan, the other that its core identity was provided by nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists. In this paper I will explore the ancient Israelite portrait of the nomadic groups in Palestine, seeking to understand how Israel construed its historical and ethnic relationship with those peoples. The implications of this portrait for the debate about Israelâ€™s ethnogenesis will then be considered.
9:05â€“9:15 – Questions
9:15-9:35 am – The Construction of Text and Ethnicity in Judges 5 Mark Smith (New York University)
mss11 [at] nyu [dot] edu
For the accounts of the reigns of David and Solomon scholars have suggested various layers in the books of Samuel and Kings, some regarded as near-contemporary pieces of historiography and have proposed various functions for the stories: propagandistic, apologetic, antimonarchic, etcetera. In this study I will look at some of these proposals in the light of comparative models and make some suggestions of my own.
10:30 â€“ 10:50 – David the Mercenary John Van Seters (Waterloo, ON)
john [dot] vanseters [at] sympatico [dot] ca
At the heart of Dtrâ€™s conception of Israelite identity is the Davidic monarchy, with its divine election of the â€œhouse of Davidâ€? and Jerusalem, wedded to the exodus/Horeb tradition of the covenant people. The crisis of the Babylonian destruction of monarchy and temple did not destroy this mode of identity but gave rise to a future messianic hope of a restored Davidic rule. Against this conception of Davidâ€™s election and idealization is set another presentation of Davidâ€™s rise to power as a mercenary leader employed by the Philistine king of Gath. As such, David used this role of mercenary to gain a power base in Judah and eventual control of the whole of Israel. David is also presented as maintaining his power as king entirely on the foundation of mercenaries, primarily foreigners. Since this portrayal is a complete anachronistic fiction, it must represent a deliberate ideological polemic against the Davidic monarchy and any form of identity that is based upon a messianic hope of monarchic restoration.
10:50 â€“ 11:00 – Questions
11:00 â€“ 11:20 – Identity and Empire, Reality and Hope in the Chroniclerâ€™s Perspective Mark Boda (McMaster)
mjboda [at] mcmaster [dot] ca
It has often been noted that one of the purposes which energizes the Chroniclerâ€™s work is the reformulation of the identity of the Yehudite community in its new imperial context. Past proposals have focused, for example, on the importance of key past traditions (recapitulative historiography), incorporation of new traditions (priestly and levitical services), and delineation of the limits of the restoration community (all Israel). This paper will highlight evidence in the genealogical introduction and the narrative conclusion to the book of Chronicles that the Chronicler is revisioning identity for the community in Yehud. For the Chronicler, Judah became an imperial province with Josiahâ€™s death as the state lost its independence and authority was transferred by Yahweh to imperial figures. Necho, Nebuchadnezzar, and Cyrus all act and/or speak as Godâ€™s representatives and it is this that provides ideological justification for Yehudâ€™s identity as a province within an empire. However, this does not mean that these imperial figures will always speak or act for Yahweh or that provincial status is Yehudâ€™s final destiny. The Chroniclerâ€™s presentation of Hezekiah highlights an emperor, Sennacherib, who meets his demise when challenging Yahweh and his Davidic king. In addition, the fate of the final four Davidic vassals as well as the shape of the conclusion to the Davidic genealogy in 1 Chronicles 3 suggest that the Chroniclerâ€™s vision of the communityâ€™s identity contains hope for kingdomâ€™s reestablishment. The Chroniclerâ€™s presentation of genealogy and story constructs an identity that emphasizes present reality without extinguishing future hope.
1:30 â€“ 1:50 – Are There Any Bridges Out There? How Wide Was the Conceptual Gap Between the â€˜Deuteronomistic Historical Collectionâ€™ and Chronicles? Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta)
ehud.ben.zvi [at] ualberta [dot] ca
There cannot be any doubt that Chronicles and the books included in the so-called â€˜Deuteronomistic Historyâ€™ (Dtr) construe the past differently. At least one of the main intentions of Chronicles was to reflect and shape a different and, in my opinion, complementary image of the past for literati who were aware of the â€˜classicalâ€™ version in books such as Samuel and Kings. But how wide was the conceptual gap behind these two historiographies? Against the background of a traditional tendency in research to highlight the differences between the two corpora, this paper shows a substantial number of similarities in worldview and basic concepts between some voices within the so-called Dtr and Chronicles. It further suggests that Chronicles picks up and develops these existing voices and accordingly sets itself and actually stands in partial continuityâ€”as well as partial discontinuityâ€”with the so-called Dtr. The paper concludes with a discussion of the significance of these observations with respect to social settings of the final compositional form of the books in Dtr and Chronicles in the Persian period.
1:50 â€“ 2:00 – Questions
2:00 â€“ 2:20 – A Comparative Study of the Exilic Gap in Ancient Israelite, Messenian, and Zionist Collective Memory Katherine Stott (University of Alberta)
katiestott [at] optushome [dot] com [dot] au
I propose to examine the commonly noted gap in biblical historiography that marks the exile. An attempt will be made to explain the absence of narrative pertaining to this period by comparing the biblical concept of exile to the treatment of exile within ancient Messenian and Zionist thought. While these communities, like the Israelites, remember a time spent living in a state of exile outside the homeland, and acknowledge this period as a distinct phase within their history, the experience of exile is similarly marginalized in their social memory. By comparing and contrasting the construction of exile in Israelite, Messenian, and Zionist memory, insight will be gained into the possible reasons for the â€œexilic gapâ€? in the biblical literature. Various factors will be explored including the possibility that the gap is a case of â€œstructural amnesiaâ€? reflecting cultural trauma brought about by the exile; however, it will be argued that the most likely reason has to do with matters of group identity.
2:20 â€“ 2:30 – Questions
2:30 â€“ 2:50 – Textual Identities in the Books of Chronicles: The Case of Jehoramâ€™s History Louis Jonker (Stellenbosch University)
lcj [at] sun [dot] ac [dot] za
In recent years an increasing number of publications have discussed the issue of identity formation in Persian period Yehud in general, and in the Book of Chronicles in particular. As Berquist (2006) has indicated in his distinction of five different modes of scholarship on this issue, scholars, however, proceed with different and diverging assumptions about â€œidentity.â€? Further, the complexity of the matter is often neglected when scholars work with a too limited definition of â€œidentity.â€? In this paper I will pursue two aims: Firstly, I will explore the potential of â€œtextual identitiesâ€? (which is used in social psychology) as a description of the identity formation processes witnessed in the Books of Chronicles. Secondly, I will analyze the Jehoram narrative in Chronicles (2 Chron 21:2 â€“ 22:1a)â€”in synoptic comparison to the Vorlage in 2 Kings 8â€”in order to test the hypothesis that â€œtextual identitiesâ€? could help us achieve a more adequate understanding of the dynamics of identity formation in the Book of Chronicles.
2:50 â€“ 3:00 – Questions
3:00 â€“ 3:15 – Break
3:15 â€“ 3:35 – Characters in Stone: The Behistun Inscription and Yehudite Identity James Bowick (McMaster Divinity College)
In 522 BCE, Darius ascended the Persian throne and shortly thereafter, he recorded the story of how he became king and solidified his reign in the trilingual Behistun inscription, which he also had translated and distributed throughout the empire. While much work has been done in comparing the history it records with Greek sources to understand what transpired, little work has been done on the literary and narratival characteristics of the inscription, as it is widely held that it is devoid of such artistic properties. However, a close reading shows that the text is artfully crafted, using several distinctive techniques to develop its theme. This paper will review how the Old Persian text of the Behistun inscription uses literary features to create an ascension myth, known throughout the empire. Stock phrases such as â€œAhuramazda bore me aid,â€? different episodes described using almost identical language, the geographical breadth of the rebellions and the short time in which they are all dealt with, have a cumulative effect on the reader and suggest a quasi-miraculous element to the ascension. While the literary features of the text are quite different from those of the Hebrew Bible, the themes of the ascension myth would have been familiar to the Yehudite community. This paper will compare the historiography of the Behistun inscription with the historiography of the Yehudite community, contrasting Darius’s self description with how he is viewed in Hebrew literature, and how the Yehudite relationship to Darius affected their identity as a community.
3:35 â€“ 3:45 – Questions
3:45 â€“ 4:05 – Community Identities in the Rescript of Artaxerxes: The Mandate(s) of Ezra in Jerusalem, Judah, and the Province Beyond the River Gary Knoppers (The Pennsylvania State University)
gxk7 [at] psu [dot] edu
The edict of Artaxerxes, the â€œking of kings,â€? (Ezra 7:11-26) pertaining to â€œEzra the scribe-priestâ€? has been the subject of intensive study during recent decades. The focus of this paper will not be on the rescript as a whole, since two recent monographs (Pakkala, GrÃ¤tz) have devoted considerable attention to the form, structure, and compositional history of this curious and complicated passage. My paper will address the emperorâ€™s charge to Ezra in the broader context of â€œthe Province Beyond the Riverâ€? (7:25-26). Is this mandate, despite appearances to the contrary, merely an amplification of the earlier charge given to Ezra in â€œJudah and Jerusalemâ€? (7:14)? Is the mandate given to Ezra in 7:25-26 a utopian recollection of the glories of the united monarchy or something more closely connected to late Persian and Hellenistic times? Moreover, what are the relationships among the communities mentioned in the letter: the people of Israel, Judah, Jerusalem, and the people in the Province Beyond the River?
The Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies invites papers on self-identification, community identity, and ethnicity in Judahite/Yehudite historiography for the 2007 Annual Meeting at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon (May 27-29).
Papers are invited to address a range of related questions, such as the understanding, presentation, and delimitation of “Israel” in various biblical texts, the relationship of Israelites to Judahites in Judean historical writings, the definition of Israel over against other peoples, the possible reasons why the ethno-religious community (“Israel”) was the focus of Judahite/Yehudite historiography, and the potential relationship of these issues to the Jewish-Samaritan controversy (at its earliest stages through the early part of the common era). Papers may approach the question from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary vantage points. For example, some may wish to pursue an inner-biblical perspective (Pentateuchal sources/writings, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah), while others may wish to pursue a cross-cultural comparative perspective (e.g., Ancient Near Eastern, Greek, Hellenistic and early Roman historiographies: Herodotus, Berossus, Manetho, Josephus; or be informed by non-Western historiographic traditions). Yet others may want to relate (or unrelate) the material remains to the question of community identity in northern Israel, monarchic Judah, and/or postmonarchic Yehud.
To be considered for our program, please submit a 250 word abstract to Ken Ristau (kar340 [at] psu [dot] edu) by December 1, 2006.