There is a new article uploaded to the most recent Journal of Hebrew Scriptures:
Aron Pinker, “Nahum and the Greek Tradition on Ninevehâ€™s Fall,” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 6 (2006) Article 8. Abstract: Greek tradition does not provide consistent and reliable evidence that an unusual inundation contributed to the fall of Nineveh. The Babylonian chronicles do not mention such an extraordinary event nor have archaeological excavations at Nineveh produced any evidence in support of such notion. Ninevehâ€™s topography precludes the possibility of significant flooding by the Khosr canal. The various verses in Nahum that have been construed as supporting flooding in Nineveh find a reasonable figurative interpretation within a contextual scheme that does not involve flooding. The notion that Nineveh was captured through flooding should be discarded.
There are also a number of new book reviews uploaded:
I have not been posting the weekly Review of Biblical Literature publications lately, but I did want to note a rather thorough and positive review of a recent book by one of my colleagues from the University of Alberta in the 18 July edition:
Over the centuries, the task of making sense of the book of Hosea has not only been difficult but has also has sparked much controversy in the interpretive communities. Ben Zvi has made an enormous contribution to Hosea studies and the understanding of this enigmatic prophetic book. His readings of Hosea are arguably cutting edge and deserve the careful attention of those who wish to keep current in Hosea studies and recent methods of interpretation. I found here much to employ in my future work. Likewise, as the methods Ben Zvi advocates are further refined by the academy, his work will undoubtedly be viewed as an enduring contribution to this endeavor.
There are a number of resources for learning Biblical Hebrew about to be published. Whlie I have not had the chance to look at any of these works, the first two books certainly fill a need for students of intermediate Hebrew — especially if they want to work on their own.
A Workbook for Intermediate Hebrew Robert B. Chisholm
Kregel, August 2006.
Designed to engage the Hebrew text and reinforce patterns and principles of Hebrew grammar and syntax, this resource expertly guides intermediate Hebrew students. Answers to all questions are provided, and both a useful parsing guide and glossary are also included.
Graded Reader of Biblical Hebrew: A Guide to Reading the Hebrew Bible Miles V. Van Pelt, Gary D. Pratico
Zondervan, August 2006.
Designed for the student who has completed a year of elementary Hebrew, or the pastor or scholar whose language skills have diminished due to lack of use. A structured introduction to the reading of biblical Hebrew texts. Through these readings, you will be able to review basic Hebrew grammar, become familiar with issues of intermediate grammar, and gain confidence in handling the Hebrew text. The readings chosen for inclusion, which are arranged generally in order of increasing difficulty, span the whole of the Old Testament and represent some of the most important Old Testament texts from the standpoint of biblical history, theology, and exegesis. The many notes that accompany the text include information on grammar, exegetically significant constructions, vocabulary words, idioms, bibliographic information, and more. Parsing exercises are included with each reading, and there is room to write your own English translation.
Invitation to Biblical Hebrew: A Beginning Grammar Russell T. Fuller and Kyoungwon Choi
Kregel, August 2006.
A tested approach to learning biblical Hebrew in an ideal package for the first-year Hebrew student. This clear, accurate, and pedagogically sound textbook emphasizes the basics: Hebrew phonology (sounds) and morphology (forms). This grammar does not use jargon or technical language, but uses terms easily understood and remembered so biblical Hebrew can be used with regularity and authority.
Wieland Willker on the Text Criticism list has alerted us to a revised edition of RahlfsSeptuagina to be published later this summer by the German Bible Society. The revision was done by Robert Hanhart and includes over a thousand minor corrrections and supplements to Rahlfs’ edition.
Here is the information from the German Bible Society:
Septuaginta (Das Alte Testament Griechisch)
Edited by Alfred Rahlfs
Editio altera (= 2., durchgesehene und verbesserte Auflage),
Edited by Robert Hanhart
12 x 18.4 cm
LXXIV + 2127 pages
In an article published by Robert Hanhart last year (“Rechenschaftsbericht zur editio altera der Handausgabe der Septuaginta von Alfred Rahlfs” Vetus Testamentum 55  450-60), it was made clear that this would only be a minor revision that will leave Rahlfs’ base text substantially intact.
This new “Rahlfs-Hanhart” edition will be out in July 2006.
Dr. Eileen Schuller is Professor of Religious Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a long-time member and former President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies and one of the leaders in translating, editing, and publishing the Dead Sea Scrolls. She has published a number of excellent works and was an associate editor of The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford University Press, 2000; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com). Most importantly, Schuller is a careful, balanced, scholar.
The blurb from the publisher has this to say about the work:
Beginning with the question, What have we learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls after 50 years of study, this book does not intend to present brand new discoveries, but rather presents a discovery made 50 years ago that everyone has heard at least something about already, and so takes the reader through the past 50 years decade by decade, highlighting key evenets and accomplishments in scrolls scholarship. The core chapters concentrate on a specific area where the scrolls have made a distinctive contribution in how we think about key questions in the development of early Judaism and early Christianity. In each chapter a few specific passages are discussed, so that the reader can become familiar with the actual text of the scrolls themselves.
The only thing I don’t get about the blurb is that it talks about the discovery made 50 years ago; the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 — doesn’t that make it almost 60 years ago?
There is a new book on the Septuagint that focuses on the legends surrounding its origins (the Letter of Aristeas), as well as its reception history:
The Legend of the Septuagint: From Classical Antiquity to Today, Abraham Wasserstein and David J. Wasserstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com).
Here is the blurb from the Cambridge site:
The Septuagint is the most influential of the Greek versions of the Torah. The exact circumstances of its creation are uncertain, but different versions of a legend about the translation have existed since antiquity. Begun with the Letter of Aristeas, the legend describes how Ptolemy Philadelphus (285 247 BCE) commissioned 72 Jewish scribes to translate the sacred Hebrew scriptures for his library in Alexandria. The Letter and subsequent variations on the story recount how the scribes, working independently, produced word-for-word, identical Greek versions. The story has been adapted and changed for many reasons: to tell a story, to explain historical events, and – most frequently – to lend authority to the Greek text for the institutions that used it. This book offers the first account of all of these versions over the last two millennia, providing a history of the uses and abuses of the legend in various cultures around the Mediterranean.
Here is the table of contents for the volume. As you can see, it covers an impressive amount of material.
The Letter of Aristeas
The Hellenistic Jewish tradition
The Rabbis and the Greek Bible
The Ptolemaic changes
The church fathers and the translation of the Septuagint
Among the Christians in the Orient
The Muslims and the Septuagint
Yosippon and the story of the seventy
Karaites, Samaritans and Rabbanite Jews in the Middle Ages
The Septuagint in the Renaissance and the modern world
It looks quite interesting; I just may have to order it. (via the b-greek list).
When I was in Toronto for CSBS, I went to the annual Pietersma picnic and caught up with the likes of Claude Cox, Tony Michael, Cameron Boyd-Taylor, Paul McLean, Wade White, and, of course, Al Pietersma. We talked briefly about a recent volume on the Septuagint in which Pietersma, Boyd-Taylor, and White contributed:
Septuagint Research: Issues And Challenges in the Study of the Greek Jewish Scriptures, Wolfgang Kraus and R. Glenn Wooden, eds. (Septuagint and Cognate Studies Series 53; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com).
Here is the table of contents for the volume. As you can see, it covers a fair range of topics.
“Concerning the LXX as Translation and/or Interpretation Contemporary ‘Septuagint’ Research: Issues and Challenges in the Study of the Greek Jewish Scriptures” by Wolfgang Kraus and R. Glenn Wooden
“In a Mirror, Dimly- Reading the Septuagint as a Document of Its Times” by Cameron Boyd-Taylor
“Exegesis in the Septuagint: Possibilities and Limits (The Psalter as a Case in Point)” by Albert Pietersma
“Translation as Scripture: The Septuagint in Aristeas and Philo” by Benjamin G. Wright III
“Contemporary Translations of the Septuagint: Problems and Perspectives ” by Wolfgang Kraus
Issues Concerning Individual LXX Books
“The Hermeneutics of Translation in the Septuagint of Genesis” by Robert J. V. Hiebert
“Reconstructing the OG of Joshua” by Kristin de Troyer
“Interlinearity in 2 Esdras: A Test Case” by R. Glenn Wooden
“A Devil in the Making: Isomorphism and Exegesis in OG Job 1:8b” by Wade Albert White
“The Jewish and the Christian Greek Versions of Amos” by Aaron Schart
“LXX/OG Zechariah 1-6 and the Portrayal of Joshua Centuries after the Restoration of the Temple” by Patricia Ahearne-Kroll
Comprehensive Issues and Problems Concerning Several LXX Books
“Messianism in the Septuagint” by Heinz-Josef Fabry
“Idol Worship in Bel and the Dragon and Other Jewish Literature from the Second Temple Period” by Claudia Bergmann
“From ‘Old Greek’ to the Recensions: Who and What Caused the Change of the Hebrew Reference Text of the Septuagint?” by Siegfried Kreuzer
“Towards a Theology of the Septuagint” by Martin Roesel
Reception History of the LXX in Early Judaism and Christianity
“The Letters of Paul as Witnesses to and for the Septuagint Text” by Florian Wilk
“Flourishing Bones — The Minor Prophets in the New Testament” by Helmut Utzschneider
“Abandonment and Suffering” by Stephen Ahearne-Kroll
“The Septuagint Textual Tradition in 1 Peter” by Karen H. Jobes
“The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Septuagint” by Martin Karrer
“Observations on the Wirkungsgeschichte of the Septuagint Psalms in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity” by Ralph Brucker
“Textual Variants as a Result of Enculturation: The Banishment of the Demon in Tobit” by Beate Ego
UPDATE: I just noticed the Evangelical Text Criticism blog has a notice of this work as well (without the table of contents, but with a blurb).
This article began at a session of the Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah section of last year’s SBL devoted to Isaac Kalimi, An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler, His Time, Place, and Writing (Studia Semitica Neerlandica, 46; Assen: Royal Van Gorcum, 2005). After an introduction by Knoppers, each author presents an expanded review of Kalimi’s book, and then Kalimi responds.
While I am not going to repeat the contents of the article here, one criticism that a number of the authors noted was Kalimi’s characterization of the Chronicler as an ancient historian and the book of Chronicles as historiography. While most of the authors appear to be fine with classifying Chronicles as ancient historiography, they don’t like some of the implications that Kalimi draws from this assertion. First, when Kalimi calls the Chronicler a “historian” he means by implication that he isn’t a “midrashist” or a “theologian.” While I would agree that the Chronicler is a historian, I would characterize him as a theological historian who at times employs midrashic techniques.
Second, Kalimi appears to imply that because the Chronicler is a historian, this should influence our assessment of the reliability of the information contained within Chronicles and the book’s usefulness as a historical source for the history of monarchic Israel. Again, while I would agree with Kalimi’s characterization that the genre of Chronicles is ancient historiography, that does not mean that the book is necessarily reliable as a modern historical source. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that Chronicles can’t be used to reconstruct this history of monarchic Israel or Persian Yehud. What I am saying is that Chronicles is an ancient history book and that the Chronicler has very different standards for writing history and very different literary and historiographic techniques than modern historians — and these differences have to be taken into consideration when evaluating the reliability of his accounts. In this regard, I quite liked Mark Throntveit’s comments:
Three of the designations (Exegete, Theologian, and Historian), at least in Kalimiâ€™s critique of those who have proposed them as characterizing the Chronicler, are rather modern ideological constructs. The Chronicler was neither what we understand a modern exegete, theologian, or historian to be any more than he was a Democrat, Republican, or Green Party member. Proposing modern vocational conceptions as characteristic of the Chroniclerâ€™s work or activity seems to me to be akin to asking the question, â€œWhat would Jesus drive?â€? interesting, thought-provoking, edifying, perhaps, but essentially conjectural.
In his very thorough response, Kalimi further nuances his understanding of Chronicles as historiography in a way that I think would satisfy most scholars. At any rate, I encourage you to take a gander at this article — it’ll be well worth your time. In addition, I encourage you to pick up Kalimi’s work. He is one of the major scholars studying the book of Chronicles today.
Kevin Wilson over at Karamat has a good review of David Carr‘s book, Reading the Fractures of Genesis: Historical and Literary Approaches (Westminster John Knox Press, 1996; Buy from Amazon.ca or Buy from Amazon.com).
While it has been a few years since I read Carr, I can say that this is an excellent work on contemporary source criticism of the book of Genesis. Carr takes an approach that tries to balance traditional source criticism and synchronic approaches (or at least take them into consideration). At any rate, if you are interested in source criticism of the book of Genesis, take a look at Kevin’s review and then take a look at Carr for your self.
This week’s Review of Biblical Literatureincludes a few interesting reviews. Of particular interest to me is the review of Kofoed’s Text and History, which is quite positive (perhaps too positive; it would be interesting to read a review by someone more skeptical of reconstructing Israel’s history from biblical texts). There are also a couple of good reviews of Dever’s Did God Have a Wife? (see here for a previous post on Dever’s book).