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Archive for the 'Ancient Historiography Seminar' Category

2011 Ancient Historiography Seminar Schedule Now Online

28th April 2011

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).


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Call for Papers: History, Historiography, and the Hebrew Bible

8th November 2010

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).

Previous years’ schedule and papers may be found at the Seminar website.

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2010 Ancient Historiography Seminar: Chronicles and Early Second Temple Historiography

6th May 2010

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)

10:15-10:30 Break

  • 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)

15:00-15:15 Break

  • 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[12]” 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.


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Calling All Chronicles Scholars – 2010 Ancient Historiography Seminar

18th October 2009

CSBSThe 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) by December 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.


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2009 CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar

11th May 2009

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.

Function of Ancient Historiography

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


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CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar: 2009 Call for Papers

24th October 2008

CSBSThe 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).


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Ancient Historiography Seminar – CSBS Program (28 May 2007)

10th April 2007

As a member of the Steering Committee of the Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne in the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, I am pleased to report that the program for this year’s sessions is now available.

Here is a the schedule for this year’s seminar; as you can see, it’s a pretty impressive line-up.

Saskatoon 2007

Identity Formation and Ethnicity

Monday 28 May 2007 – 8:45 am – 12:00 (THORV 205A)

Chair / Président: Patricia Kirkpatrick (McGill University)

8:45-9:05 am – Israel and the Nomads of Ancient Palestine
Kent Sparks (Eastern University)

ksparks [at] eastern [dot] edu

Two views of Israel’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 Israel’s ethnogenesis will then be considered.

9:05–9:15 – 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.

9:35-9:45 – Questions
9:45-10:15 – Discussion
10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 10:50 – David the Mercenary
John Van Seters (Waterloo, ON)

john [dot] vanseters [at] sympatico [dot] ca

At the heart of Dtr’s conception of Israelite identity is the Davidic monarchy, with its divine election of the “house of David� 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 David’s election and idealization is set another presentation of David’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 – 11:00 – Questions

11:00 – 11:20 – Identity and Empire, Reality and Hope in the Chronicler’s Perspective
Mark Boda (McMaster)

mjboda [at] mcmaster [dot] ca

It has often been noted that one of the purposes which energizes the Chronicler’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 Josiah’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 God’s representatives and it is this that provides ideological justification for Yehud’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 Yehud’s final destiny. The Chronicler’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 Chronicler’s vision of the community’s identity contains hope for kingdom’s reestablishment. The Chronicler’s presentation of genealogy and story constructs an identity that emphasizes present reality without extinguishing future hope.

11:20 – 11:30 – Questions
11:30 – 12:00 – Discussion

Identity Formation and Ethnicity (Session 2)

Monday 28 May 2007 – 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm (THORV 205A)

Chair / Président: Lissa Wray Beal (Providence Theological Seminary)

1:30 – 1:50 – Are There Any Bridges Out There? How Wide Was the Conceptual Gap Between the ‘Deuteronomistic Historical Collection’ 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 ‘Deuteronomistic History’ (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 ‘classical’ 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 continuity—as well as partial discontinuity—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 – 2:00 – Questions

2:00 – 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 “exilic gap� in the biblical literature. Various factors will be explored including the possibility that the gap is a case of “structural amnesia� 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 – 2:30 – Questions

2:30 – 2:50 – Textual Identities in the Books of Chronicles: The Case of Jehoram’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 “identity.� Further, the complexity of the matter is often neglected when scholars work with a too limited definition of “identity.� In this paper I will pursue two aims: Firstly, I will explore the potential of “textual identities� (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 – 22:1a)—in synoptic comparison to the Vorlage in 2 Kings 8—in order to test the hypothesis that “textual identities� could help us achieve a more adequate understanding of the dynamics of identity formation in the Book of Chronicles.

2:50 – 3:00 – Questions
3:00 – 3:15 – Break

3:15 – 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 “Ahuramazda 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 – 3:45 – Questions

3:45 – 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 “king of kings,� (Ezra 7:11-26) pertaining to “Ezra the scribe-priest� 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, Grätz) have devoted considerable attention to the form, structure, and compositional history of this curious and complicated passage. My paper will address the emperor’s charge to Ezra in the broader context of “the Province Beyond the River� (7:25-26). Is this mandate, despite appearances to the contrary, merely an amplification of the earlier charge given to Ezra in “Judah and Jerusalem� (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?

4:05 – 4:15 – Questions
4:15 – 4:45 – Discussion

4:45 – 5:00 – Open Planning Session for Vancouver 2008

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). For more information, please see our website.


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CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar: Call for Papers

10th November 2006

CSBSLogo.gif 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.

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). For more information, please see our website.


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CSBS Ancient Historiography Seminar Papers Uploaded

22nd May 2006

I have just uploaded the final papers for this year’s Ancient Historiography Seminar, which meets in a week at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS) at York University in Toronto, Ontario (May 28-30, 2006).

This will be the inaugural year for the Seminar and it looks like it will be a great meeting with a lot of interesting discussion.

The papers are all available in PDF format, though you must be a member of the CSBS to download them. If you are not a member of the CSBS, then you will have to contact the paper’s author for permission and then contact me for the username and password.

As I did last year, I will be summarizing the Hebrew Bible sessions of this year’s conference, so stay tuned!


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Ancient Historiography Seminar / Groupe de Travail sur l’Historiographie Ancienne – CSBS Programme (30 May 2006)

17th April 2006

As a member of the Steering Committee of the Ancient Historiography Seminar in the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, I am pleased to report that the programme for our inaugural sessions is now available. Here is a the schedule for this year’s seminar:

Function of Historiography – Hebrew Bible /
La Fonctionne de l’Historiographie – Bible Hébraïque

Tuesday 30 May 2006 – 8:45-12:00 (ACE 002)

Chair / Président: Tyler Williams (Taylor University College)

8:45-9:05 am – Is the Book of Kings Deuteronomistic? And is it a History?
Kurt Noll (Brandon University)

The consensus among biblical scholars is that Kings is a work of history, probably the final instalment of Martin Noth’s Deuteronomistic History. To date, the best two attempts to defend that genre designation are those of John Van Seters and Baruch Halpern. Van Seters compares the Former Prophets to ANE literature, while Halpern stresses rhetorical structures indicating what Halpern calls “antiquarianism” in the text. However, recent researchers on Kings have raised issues that perhaps require a reassessment of the question about genre. On textual grounds, one can argue that Deuteronomy did not influence the earlier stages of composition and that later stages were no longer concerned with “antiquarianism.” This paper will review the debate between Halpern and Van Seters in light of the more recent research, revisit both the comparative argument and the argument based on rhetorical structures in the text, and offer a possible solution to the question of genre in the book of Kings.

9:05-9:15 am – Discussion

9:15-9:35 am – Uses of the Past: The Stories of David and Solomon as Test Cases
John Van Seters (Waterloo, ON)

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.

9:35-9:45 Discussion

9:45-10:05 am – Sennacherib’s Campaign Against Judah: What Saith the Scriptures?
Paul Evans (Wycliffe College)

This paper won the Founders’ Prize and will be read on Sunday afternoon. It will be summarized at this session.

This paper provides a close reading of the Hezekiah-Sennacherib narrative of 2 Kings 18-19 which, with the aid of a Rhetorical analysis, will: 1) reassess putative sources found in the text (questioning the traditional A and B source delineations); and 2) reveal common misreadings of the biblical text (e.g., that a siege of Jerusalem is referred to and that Sennacherib’s army is said to be defeated outside the walls of Jerusalem). This study will then analyze the implications of these results for the use of this biblical text in historical reconstruction.

10:05-10:15 am – Discussion

10:15-10:30 – Break

10:30-10:50 am – The Chronicler as Elite
Tim Goltz (McGill University)

Noam Chomsky is credited with the observation, “The Internet is an elite organization; most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call.” If the “eliteness” of communities is, in part, measured by their ability to effectively communicate their message, the model of the Internet elite demonstrates a truism of human societies; that the majority of recorded communication is representative of relatively few individuals who tend to wield a disproportionate amount of power. In Western societies which communicate so freely and cheaply, it is sometimes difficult to imagine ancient societies where significant literary agency was limited to so very few people. As a member of the Yehudite elite, the Chronicler was one of those few. Most likely supported by the Jerusalem Temple, he wrote a revisionist account of the history of “Israel” which has been retained as the book(s) of Chronicles. Employing a unique comparative theory from the emerging discipline of elite studies within the humanities, this paper seeks to address the issue of what the term “elite” means in terms of the ancient Yehudite literati. Widely used but rarely dissected, the paper is also an appeal for biblical scholars to more critically engage the implications of term “elite” as applied to socio-historical reconstructions of ancient Israel, and, indeed, to related ANE cultures.

10:50-11:00 – Discussion

11:00-11:20 am – Tyler Williams (Taylor University College)
The Function of Historiography: A Synthesis and Response to Kurt Noll, John Van Seters, Paul Evans, and Tim Goltz

11:20-12:00 am – Discussion

Function of Historiography – Classics, Intertestamental Literature, and the Gospels / La Fonctionne de l’Historiographie – Les Littératures Classiques et Intertestamentaire, et les Évangiles

Tuesday 30 May 2006 – 1:30-14:30 pm (ACE 002)

Chair / Président: Todd Penner (Austin College)

1:30-1:50 pm – Dilys Patterson (Concordia University)
Once Upon a Time: Women as Leaders in Historiography and the Ancient Novel

In antiquity it was rare for a woman to be in a leadership role. Leadership typically meant having authority over men and participating in the male dominated public sphere, which, according to the cultural values of the day, was not the proper place for women. Nevertheless, women do figure sporadically in historiography and are central characters in Jewish novels. The Book of Judith, for instance, not only situates itself in Israel’s past but also demonstrates a solid appreciation of Israel’s history. Both historiography and the ancient novel therefore draw on the past to create meaning. This paper examines the anomalous position of female leadership and the use of this type of leadership to create meaning in three historiographies, The Histories by Herodotus, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities by Flavius Josephus, and the Jewish novel, Judith.

1:50-2:00 pm – Discussion

2:00-2:20 pm – Craig A. Evans (Acadia Divinity College)
Gospel Historiography and Biblical Epic

The four New Testament evangelists present the “history of Jesus” in distinctive ways. Their writing strategies place them in the general context of other Jewish writers of late antiquity, such as Josephus who writes an apologetical historical treatise, or Philo the epic poet, Orphica, Ezekiel the Tragedian, or a variety of other Jewish poets who imitated Greek style in their respective efforts to retell various parts of Israel’s sacred story or what we might regard in a certain sense “Biblical Epic.” The New Testament Gospels represent examples of the creative ways that Jews and persons caught up in the story of Israel attempted to retell sacred history in the genres and forms current in their day, including the forms found in Scripture itself. Although the strategies of the respective evangelists vary, their gospels are rooted in and linked to Scripture in important ways and so represent efforts to tell Israel’s story, centered on the figure of Jesus the Messiah.

2:20-2:30 pm – Discussion

2:30-2:50 pm – Sean Adams (McMaster Divinity College)
Ancient Greek Historiography and its Methodology: How Does Luke Relate?

2:50-3:00 pm – Discussion

3:00-3:15 pm – Break

3:15-3:35 pm – Eve-Marie Becker (Oberassistentin Institut für Neues Testament)
The Gospel of Mark in context of ancient historiography

My paper will expound on the approach of my “Habilitationsschrift” which will be published in Tübingen (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament) in 2006: Das Markus-Evangelium im Rahmen antiker Historiographie. This approach is firstly historical and secondly methodological: ad 1: The Gospel of Mark seems to be the first record of early Christian writing, which has put the story of Jesus in a chronological and narrative order. Which specific historical circumstances have made the narrativization of the Jesus-story necessary? Reasons for that could probably be found in the events of the first Jewish revolt and the destruction of the Second Temple (70 A.D.). Is there any textual evidence within Mark’s Gospel for these historical events? and 2: The way Mark uses traditions and sources can be compared to the techniques of ancient historiographical writers. In this perspective, historiography can be defined as a narrativization of at least partially historical traditions. The discussion about the Gospel’s genre (biographical literature?) is – in that sense – has to be resumed once again.

3:35-3:45 pm – Discussion

3:45-4:30 – Discussion

This looks like an exciting session. I will be updating the Ancient Historiography Seminar Website in the next few days. I will let you know when everything is uploaded.


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