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Meeting Abstracts

2015 International Meeting

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Meeting Begins: 7/20/2015
Meeting Ends: 7/24/2015

Note that the deadline for paper proposals is 11:59 PM (23:59) Eastern Standard Time (UTC -5) on the day PREVIOUS to the deadline below.


Call For Papers Opens: 10/29/2014
Call For Papers Closes: 2/26/2015
Requirements for Participation

  Meeting Abstracts


Ketef Hinnom and Numbers 6:24-26: The Direction and Reasons for Reworking
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Bartosz Adamczewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

The discovery of the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls raised the problem of their relationship to the scriptural text of the Aaronic blessing (Num 6:24-26). Most scholars assume that the longer biblical text was the source for the shorter text which is contained on the scrolls (esp. KH2). However, an intertextual analysis of the Book of Numbers in its sequentially organized literary relationship to Deuteronomy reveals that the tripartite Aaronic blessing (Num 6:24-26), together with its context (Num 6:23.27), stresses the importance of the name of Yahweh, as Yahweh said to Aaron, thus illustrating the main idea of the structurally corresponding text concerning the importance of the name of Yahweh for the Levites (Deut 18:2). Accordingly, it seems that the shorter traditional apotropaic text, which was witnessed at Ketef Hinnom, was reworked into the elaborate Levitical blessing in Num 6:24-26 under the influence of Deut 18:2. This inference has important consequences for the sources and the dating of the Book of Numbers.


Pauline Ideas Explaining the Census under Quirinius in Luke 1–2
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Bartosz Adamczewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

The Lucan Infancy Narrative (Lk 1-2) contains material which evidently does not originate from the Gospel of Mark. Scholars therefore wonder what the origin of this material could be: oral traditions, some written sources, or simply the evangelist’s literary creativity. A close intertextual analysis of this section against the background of Paul’s letters reveals that it in fact contains a number of Pauline ideas and motifs, which were creatively reworked and sequentially used by the evangelist. This intertextual approach provides explanations for several surprising features of the Lucan text, such as the presentation of Nazareth as a city (Lk 1:26). Moreover, it offers an adequate literary solution to the well-known exegetical problem of the Lucan dating of the census under Quirinius (Lk 2:2) to the time of Herod, the king of Judaea (Lk 1:5).


The Allusive Use of Romans in Luke 3:7-11
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
Bartosz Adamczewski, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw

Lk 3:7d-9 is usually regarded as one of the least controversially identified fragments of the so-called Q Source. The level of verbal agreement between Mt 3:7d-10 and Lk 3:7d-9 is extremely high. Consequently, this text seems to be one of the best candidates for the reconstructed, purportedly Galilean ‘Q material’, which was allegedly almost verbatim copied in this fragment by both Matthew and Luke. However, a close intertextual analysis of Lk 3:7d-11 reveals that it contains a number of typically Pauline ideas, which were in an almost consistently sequential way borrowed from the Letter to the Romans. In fact, this letter presented Paul’s Gentile gospel in Jewish terms in the prospect of his travel to Jerusalem. Therefore, Luke sequentially used its main ideas in Lk 3:7d-11 to present narratively Paul’s Gentile gospel as it was referred by the Apostle in Jewish terms to the Jerusalem community. In this way, Luke illustrated the main thought of Gal 2:2bc in his more general allusive reworking thereof in Lk 3:3-11. This observation seriously undermines the hypothesis of the existence of the Q Source. On the other hand, it points to great literary, albeit allusive dependence of the Gospel of Luke upon Paul’s most important letters, especially Galatians and Romans.


An Exegesis of Prov 1:1-7 and Its Implications for the Successful Living of Yoruba Youths in South Western Nigeria
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East
Ebenezer Adeogun, LIFE Theological Seminary

In this highly technological age there is the tendency of youths to ignore the biblical Wisdom Literature. Our youths belong to the highly favored generation. They utilize Information Communication Technology (ICT) with ease and this flawlessly. Just with a click on the internet facilities, the globe is before them to search for whatever knowledge they want to acquire. The education and knowledge gained become “wisdom” to them. This could make them to see biblical wisdom as too religious, outdated and irrelevant. The Christians’ Holy Writ speaks of the wisdom from above and the wisdom from below. The Yoruba mainly located in South Western Nigeria, have a great culture of wisdom through the utilization of proverbs which empowers them to philosophize on many issues of life such as a successful youth life. The Yoruba culture is very close to the Semitic culture within which the book of Proverbs was written. This paper therefore attempts to interpret the Masoretic Text of Proverbs 1:1-7 and contextualize it for the needed successful living of Yoruba Youths of the 21st Century. The methodology is a combination of library and field works. The library work will be the utilization of tools of exegesis, books, journal articles and the internet. The field work will be done through the social media to get feelers from Yoruba Youths on the topic of the research. Despite the scope being considered, the findings of the research should have value for every age group of any race.


La Medicina Griega en los Escritos de Nag Hammadi
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Juan Carlos Alby, Universidad Católica de Santa Fe

GREEK MEDICINE IN NAG HAMMADI TEXTS The Gnostics were not only distinguished connoisseurs of the philosophy of their time, but also of the myths that nurtured Jewish esotericism as well as of the main medical theories about the nature and function of the feminine, especially in what refers to procreation. Heresiologists described the fall of Sophia with sexual vocabulary which permeates the contents of the myth, including terms such as "deficiency" (hystérema), 'matrix' or (hystéra), "uterus". It is about the emanation of a lesser being. In order to explanain this, the Gnostics appeal to current embryological theories of their time, ranging from Hippocrates to Galen, passing through Aristotle. To understand better the plot of the myth which tells the fall of Sophia, it is necessary to take into account the hypothesis on human reproduction sustained by the medicine of the second century. One of the texts of the Nag Hammadi that best reflects the medical knowledge the Gnostics had of the time is that one starting in the Codex VII of the Nag Hammadi collection. This text is known as Paraphrase of Shem (NHC VII, 1). As F. García Bazán has proved, the esoteric language of the book reveals an application of deep knowledge of the methodic school of medicine. This knowledge is related to Embryology and Gynecology at the service of Gnostic Anthropology and Soteriology, framed in a broader horizon of their particular cosmology. Other texts from Nag Hammadi and Pistis Sophia contain generous sexual language typical of Greek Gynecology technical vocabulary, as can be seen in the Exegesis on the Soul (NHC II, 6), The Apocryphon of John (NHC II, 1) and the treatise On the Origin of the World (NHC II, 5) Key words Gnostics, Nag Hammadi, Hippocrates, Galen, Aristotle


Missão religiosa e catolicismo popular através do estudo da trajetória de um peregrino italiano na América Católica do século XIX
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Alexandre de Oliveira Karsburg, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Esta comunicação tem por objetivo fazer uma análise do método empregado por missionários europeus que atuaram em diversos lugares do continente americano no século XIX. Segundo minha hipótese, tal método foi responsável pelo surgimento de manifestações religiosas populares que se desenvolveram à revelia das instituições, provocando reações das autoridades que acreditavam estar ameaçada a ordem política e social. Para debater tal hipótese, apresentarei a trajetória de um peregrino italiano que percorreu vários países da América entre 1838 e 1869


Prisons as Punishment in Late Third and Early Second Millennium Mesopotamia
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Lance Allred, Museum of the Bible

Ancient law codes such as those of Ur-Nammu or Hammurapi rarely mention prison (Sumerian en-nu; Akkadian (bit) kišertu) as a form of punishment for crimes committed. Nevertheless, from legal, administrative, and epistolary records, it seems clear that prisons— physical structures to hold wrong-doers against their will— were part of the criminal justice systems of Sargonic, Ur III, and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia. This paper will discuss reasons why prisons receive little attention in these law codes, as well as examine why prison was used instead of more typical punishments such as fines or reciprocal justice.


Desafíos y Oportunidades en la Traducción de la Biblia a una Lengua Indígena en Argentina, y Asuntos Lingüísticos y de Interpretación Surgidos del Trabajo de Traducción de las Escrituras en Toba (Qom)
Program Unit:
Samuel Almada, Consultor de traducciones en Sociedad Bíblica Argentina

En primer lugar presentaré una breve introducción histórica sobre los pueblos indígenas en la Argentina y los Tobas (Qom) en particular, y sobre la situación actual; una reseña del contacto y relación de las comunidades Tobas (Qom) con la cultura cristiana occidental y su relación con la Biblia; y una pequeña muestra de cómo funciona un proyecto de traducción. En segundo lugar propongo algunos de los principales desafíos que presenta un trabajo de traducción de la Biblia a una lengua indígena. Entre estos destaco el fortalecimiento de la lengua, la identidad, la cultura y la fe de pueblos que están luchando por su vida en un contexto de marginación y discriminación; la oportunidad de un conocimiento y aprendizaje mutuo más profundo de las diferentes historias y realidades implicadas: las comunidades indígenas y sus equipos de traductores, las iglesias y organizaciones de apoyo de la sociedad nacional inmediata, organizaciones internacionales de apoyo como Sociedades Bíblicas; el establecimiento de mejores condiciones para el diálogo y la cooperación que van más allá de la traducción de la Biblia. Todo esto también conlleva la oportunidad de revisión de los paradigmas de misión. En tercer lugar, pondré algunos ejemplos de los diferentes tipos de problemas y cuestiones lingüísticas o de interpretación que surgen del trabajo específico de traducción de la Biblia a la lengua Toba (Qom). Algunos giran alrededor de la necesidad de elaborar e introducir vocabulario nuevo, términos o conceptos que no existen o no existían en la lengua Qom (neologismos), y otros sobre problemas de interpretación y formas de traducir. Introduciré algo del debate acerca de la forma de traducir el nombre de Dios. First, I will present a brief historical introduction on indigenous peoples in Argentina and the Toba (Qom) in particular, and on the current situation; a review of the contact and relationship of Toba (Qom) communities with Western Christian culture and their relationship with the Bible; and a small sample of how to run a translation project. Secondly, I present some of the major challenges of doing translation work of the Bible into an indigenous language. Among these it is worth mentioning strengthening the language, identity, culture and faith of peoples who are fighting for their life in a context of marginalization and discrimination; the opportunity for knowledge and deeper mutual understanding of the different stories and realities involved: indigenous communities and their teams of translators, churches and support organizations from the neighboring national society; international support organizations, such as Bible Societies; the establishment of better conditions for dialogue and cooperation which go beyond the translation of the Bible. All this also entails the opportunity to review the models of mission. Third, I will give some examples of different types of problems and linguistic or interpretation issues arising from the specific work of Bible translation into the Toba (Qom) language. Some of these revolve around the need to develop and introduce new vocabulary, terms or concepts that did not exist, or do not exist in the Qom language (Neologisms), and other examples on problems of interpretation and ways to translate. I will refer to the debate about how to translate the name of God.


Psalm 137 and the "Exilic Gap" in Biblical Historiography
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Sonja Ammann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The Babylonian exile constitutes a central theme in biblical literature, yet biblical accounts do not narrate the history of the Judean people in Babylonia. Only the events leading to the exile and the events related to the return are told. The historical narratives (except for the short glimpse in 2 Kgs 25:27–30) approach the exile from its borders and deal with it in allusion, in prospect, and in retrospect. On a compositional level, the exile is the empty space between Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah. However, other types of literature, such as diaspora novellas, treat the exile as a setting for actions and events. It seems, therefore, that the telling of the exile eludes certain modes of historiography but is possible in other forms nonetheless. With regard to the Psalter, the exile seems to lie beyond the scope of the historical psalms. Only Ps 137 provides a rare example of a depiction of the Judean people in the Babylonian exile. It is noteworthy that this psalm shows compositional links to the preceding historical psalms 135–136. In this paper, I will analyze how Ps 137 relates to its context and, thereby, to a "mode of historiography" present in the historical psalms. In light of the references to the exile in Ezra-Nehemiah and its function in the historiographical composition of Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah, I will discuss similarities and differences to the "mode of historiography" in which the exile is told in Ps 137.


The Song of Songs: Redeeming Gender Constructions in the Age of AIDS
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Cheryl B. Anderson, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

In her groundbreaking work in feminist hermeneutics, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, Phyllis Trible contrasts the gender constructions described in Genesis 2-3 with that in the Song of Songs. She finds that the hierarchical gender construction of Genesis 2-3 presents “love lyrics lost” but the mutuality reported in the Song of Songs represents “love lyrics redeemed.” This distinction is important because it means the Bible offers two different gender constructions—and not just one, as is often believed in Christian faith communities. Traditionally, the emphasis on Genesis 2-3 has meant that women are to be subordinate to men in their homes and in the society at large. In the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, however, that traditional gender construction has proven to be deadly. Since their subordinate status makes them unable to reduce their risk of infection, women are disproportionately impacted by the virus. Using a feminist/womanist hermeneutic, this paper will explore why the Genesis 2-3 gender paradigm is especially harmful in the context of HIV and AIDS generally and in the African American community specifically. This paper will also explain why the gender paradigm seen in the Song of Songs, focusing on 3:1-4, offers an alternative that can indeed “redeem” traditional gender constructions and help to reduce HIV infection rates in the African American community.


The God of the Presence: A Latin American Understanding of God in Our Time
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Pablo Andiñach, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

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Bethsaida and the Early Jesus Movement
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
Mark Appold, Truman State University

A quarter century of archaeological work at the site of biblical Bethsaida has shed new light on the origins of the Jesus movement. Traditions found only in the Fourth Gospel have coupled with a fresh understanding of the cultural, political,and economic setting of the otherwise little known fishing village of Bethsaida to sharpen the identities of the "Bethsaida Five", first disciples of Jesus. These Jesus followers would relocate to Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. In the subsequent two decades of unsettled times in Jerusalem and after the martyrdom of James the brother of John, they and their families would leave Jerusalem and settle in various parts of the Diaspora where they left indelible marks in the formation of the earliest Christian kerygma and were remembered for the pivotal roles they played in the emergence of nascent Christianity.


From Monarchy to Republic: Biblical Readings in the Neogranadian Revolution (1818–1819)
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Viviana Arce Escobar, Museos Colonial y Santa Clara, Bogotá

The Bible was the most important source of truth used by priests in the revolutionary context from New Granada to agree or reject the establishment of the Republic. In this paper, we will analyze biblical quotations used by clerics in their sermons to know how they argued favoritism or rejection of the new regime. We will notice that these references are loaded with eschatological content, which led to the belief that historical events experienced were a consequence of divine designs, so creating a new political system was not due to the experienced social situations, but at the same decision of God. Notably realistic clerics - in favor of the monarchy - and patriotic clerics - in favor of the Republic - fought from their pulpits using Scripture to support your cause and discredit the opposing. The odd thing is that in both cases end up using almost the same biblical passages, which shows that beyond the use of the Bible, what existed was the same cultural matrix that emerged in response to the unprecedented events.


Patterns of Slavery and Freedom in a Changing World: Chrysostom on Paul’s Epistle to Philemon
Program Unit: Bible in Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions
Daniel Alberto Ayuch, University of Balamand

During his Antiochian Period, St John Chrysostom gave three homilies on the Letter to ?Philemon, which reveal the Saint’s standpoint from slavery, a deep-rooted institution in ?Antioch and the Eastern Roman Empire of that period. The political system in the region was ?changing into the Byzantine Era and Christianity was expanding progressively in the city. ?However, it was not easy for Chrysostom to move his audience to foster the liberation of ?slaves and to deal with all humankind with equity. A task that had been already difficult for ?the Apostle Paul was still so for Saint John. Nowadays, several forms of slavery still blight ?our global and local society, a fact that challenges Christians again to engage for freedom ?and equity all over the world. This paper studies the three homilies searching for the Pauline ?fundaments as detected by Chrysostom in order to define modern patterns to fight against ?all forms of slavery, including forced labor and human trafficking.?


The "Teologanda" Movement
Program Unit:
Virginia Azcuy, Universidad Católica Argentina

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Jerusalem in the Songs of ascents
Program Unit:
Marcos Paulo Bailão, Faculdade de Teologia da São Paulo

The Songs of Ascents (Ps 120-134) were composed by peasants during the Persian domination and song at their pilgrimages to Jerusalem. The city exercised a dual role in this context: for one hand, was a way of domination; for another hand, was a meeting place of the farmer groups. This paper will examine the role of Jerusalem in the Ascent Songs.


A Literary Exploration of the Portrayals of the Women of First Samuel: Delegitimizers of Men and Proponents of Empire
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Randall C. Bailey, Interdenominational Theological Center

This paper explores a literary pattern of scenes in 1 Samuel in which there is a one-to-one match between a woman and a man. In these scenes the women are portrayed as doing the man’s job better than the man. Thus, the ideological usage of these women is to show these men to be incompetent BECAUSE they have been outdone by a woman. In essence the construction of gender is that men should be more adept than women and if they are shown to not function in this manner, they are discredited and must be removed from the narrative, generally by death, accredited to YHWH. What is most strange in this reversal pattern is that these women in their speeches are endorsers of the Davidic Empire. In this way, having bested the “feminized” men, they are to be believed by the reader, since these women have been “masculinized” by the narrator. Such reversals serve as a caution to feminist strategies of “lifting up women” in the text to be valorized.


Marital Triangulation: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar in Medieval Jewish Commentary
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Carol Bakhos, University of California-Los Angeles

Marital Triangulation: Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Medieval Jewish Commentaries This paper will explore the ways in which some of the medieval commentators such as Kimchi and Nachmanides discussed Sarah and Abraham's treatment of Hagar. It will do so with an eye toward earlier midrashic interpretations and also with an awareness of the broader medieval cultural context. This paper will attempt to draw out a variety of concerns--literary, religious and cultural--that may have contributed to the various medieval responses to Abraham and Sarah's treatment of Hagar. This paper is one of four papers to be presented as part of a session on Biblical Women in Medieval Jewish Art and Literature. See proposals from Gerhard Langer, Robbie Harris and Katrin Kogman-Appel.


Mary’s Magnificat and the Price of Corn in Mexico
Program Unit: Postcolonial Studies
David L. Balch, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

The conflict between the proud rich and the humble poor that is the political context for Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1.46-55) is strikingly similar to conflict in Mexico after NAFTA (1994) two millennia later. The original conflict in Greco-Roman cities is described by Dionysuis of Halicarnassus with a cluster of Greek terms that is identical to those used by Mary, e.g. humble, slave, mercy, proud. In both conflicts, the rich keep the price of corn high! In Dionysius’ account of the conflict, the term “humble” is identical with the “poor,” and the “proud” are identical with the “rich.” In that conflict, the proud rich who refuse to live in the same city and negotiate with the humble poor working class are dethroned, exiled and removed from power. “The two classes “inhabit two cities, one … ruled by poverty … the other by satiety and insolence …., exacting justice from one another by force … like wild beasts ….” (Dionysius, Rom. ant. 6.36.1) The poor need their debts forgiven, which the rich promise, but rarely deliver (Rom. ant. 6.41.2; 6.63.3; 6.83.3 and Luke 11.3) The rich rather keep the price of corn high (Rom. ant. 7.18.1; 7.20.4; 7.44.3-4) Mexico is the cradle of corn in the Americas; Mayan peoples were the “children of corn.” But in 2007 the price of corn jumped 50%. Transnational corporations including Cargill purchased corn at a low price, hoarded it in enormous storage facilities, then resold it on the Mexican market for twice the price. While masses starve, money changers who trade commodity futures (betting on price fluctuations) made a killing.


The Justification: How the Concept Evolves throughout the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, and the Genizah Documents
Program Unit: Judaica
Elinoar Bareket, Achva Academic College

According to the Bible, a covenant was signed between God and the People of Israel. The People become an active partner in this agreement, which on the one hand obligates them to full surrender and obedience, and on the other hand allows them to demand their rights and even to complain in case they think God fails to grant them these rights. The human psychology produces a variety of dealings with such "breach of contract" by God, and the most common one is the principal of Justification. The concept emerges through stories, insinuations and general references, but no definite formula is ever mentioned – only the general idea, but also its opposite. CHAZAL (sages of blessed memory), as usual, did not like to leave any room for doubt. But they too could not avoid addressing the great moral problem presented to a person: Justification or protest. The tradition of reprobation of God came to a hold during the Middle-Ages, when we enter the age of Responsa. When people try to justify Devine Judgment and the dilemma of "the suffering of the righteous", this is probably the time when the need for a fixed, "automatic" formula has come. The Genizah society, the Jews in Islamic nations during the 10th-14th centuries, was a humane society, where symbol and ceremony functioned as a solid basis for its daily goings. In Genizah letters from the 11th and 12th centuries, a usage in a clear formula of Justification can be found; no more insinuations, no more awkward wordings. Throughout the years, the perception of Justification has become something customary, almost a routine, and therefore a fixed formula was necessary, one that can be used without much deliberation, in any situation that apparently requires Justification.


Altar, Pole, and Pillar: Rejection or Adaptation within the Pentateuch?
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Richard Bautch, St. Edward's University

Through a formulaic reference to an altar, a standing pole and a pillar (Exod 34:13, Deut 7:5, and Deut 12:2-3), the Pentateuch describes certain cultic forms that are associated with other cultures outside Israel. In these cases, the description is polemical and punctuates the call for Israelites to separate from the so-called nations by destroying the cultic elements in question. This study approaches Exod 34:13, Deut 7:5, 12:2-3 diachronically and locates the texts in the period of the Second Temple. The polemic against the nations and their practices is applied consistently during this time to suggest the enduring influence of a Deuteronomistic school. The school comprised Dtr scribes and editors comparable to their forebears, who were responsible for Judg 2:1-5 as well as a number of passages in Deuteronomy itself. To place the later generation of Deuteronomists in some context, a fourth text, Deut 16:22-17:1, is adduced. While the short literary unit makes reference to the cultic forms of an altar, a standing pole and a pillar, it is less restrictive than the versions indicated above and, interestingly, it focuses on Yahwistic worship rather than that of the nations. Because Deut 16:22-17:1 demonstrates an interest in aspects of worship outside the strict parameters typically associated with Deuteronomy, it likely bears the influence of other, non-D sources found in the pentateuchal materials. Deut 16:22-17:1, one may conclude, begins to bridge the rhetorical difference between Israel and the nations by offering some new perspective on another culture and its worship.


Los Gnosticos y el Platonismo Pitagorizante
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
F. García Bazán, Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Buenos Aires

La filosofía griega ha influido de diversas maneras en el pensamiento patrístico cristiano. Las dos formas más conocidas y consagradas por la heresiología han sido la de la filosofía entendida como el tipo del modelo (antitipo) intelectual cristiano (Ignacio de Antioquía, Policarpo de Esmirna, Justino de Roma) y la de la filosofía interpretada como sierva de la teología (Clemente de Alejandría). En el fondo se trata de dos respuestas que rechazan y responden a la forma gnóstica del pensamiento cristiano preexistente a las otras dos y de naturaleza y práctica misteriosófica. Se señalarán sucintamente los ejemplos históricos que confirman la compleja tendencia más antigua y original a partir de los testimonios paulinos (I-II Corintios, Colosenses) y afines (Epístolas católicas y pastorales), a la Biblioteca de Nag Hammadi (Tratado Tripartito -- como remate--), examinando otros escritos asimismo testimoniales como la Exposición valentiniana, Evangelio de Felipe, Testimonio de la Verdad, Paráfrasis de Sem, Exégesis del alma… , documentos directos posteriores (Códice de Bruce, Códice Askewiano…) y la noticia de Hipólito de Roma sobre los valentinianos (Refutatio VI, 21,1-37,1).


Where is the Devourer? The role of text placement and images in ritual efficacy for the Arslan Tash II Plaque
Program Unit: Ritual in the Biblical World
Dan Belnap, Brigham Young University

In 1933, R. Buisson bought two limestone plaques in northern Syria. Since then the so-called Arslan Tash plaques, with their depictions of demonic entities and surrounding text, have been the subject of numerous studies, plaque 1 being the subject of most with its covenantal terminology and mention of a divine assembly. Yet, the second plaque is of great interest as well. Noted by the demonic figure apparently devouring the torso of an individual, the image is surrounded by the incantatory text. The text itself appears to address the presence of the “evil eye,” both in terms of recognizing its presence and providing protection against it. This study will look at the incantation within its ANE context as well as explore the relationship between the image and the inscription itself. Specifically, I suggest that the surrounding of the image with the incantation is not merely in response to available space but sympathetically placed to enhance the incantation itself. In other words, the placement of the text works to entrap the entity similar to other, albeit later, ANE incantation mediums. In so doing, I suggest that the manner that actual placement of text is a significant factor in the understanding of any given text.


The theory of the four Empires in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Laura Bizzarro, Universidad Catolica Argentina

Our presentation will be discuss "the theory of the four Empires in the Dead Sea Scrolls", emanating from the apocalyptic Jewish circles. Our analysis will focus on the texts of Daniel 2 and 7, the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q243-44, 4Q245 Pseudo-Daniel, 4Q552 and 4Q553/4QFour Kingdom) in comparison with the Greek theories of Hesiod and Herodotus. All of these theories on the succession of empires (Assyrian/Babylonian, Medes, Persians, Macedonia, Rome), appear reliably attested in Persian literature, in the Greco-Roman- Hellenistic and in danielic circles. The Roman historians, used the Greek background and added as a fifth empire: Rome, as the more strong and indestructible one. In our research I identify Persian and Greek influences attested in the oldest substratum of Daniel. We will analyse what was the most noticeable difference between the Greco-Roman and Jewish sources and why the Jews never accept a “fifth empire”: Rome. Daniel 7 emphasizes that after the defeat of the fourth empire (Seleucid-Hellenistic) there would be the kingdom of the Saints of the Most High, the "Kingdom of God", timeless, whose king would be a "Son of Man" (Dan 7.13 -14), a direct representative of the God of Israel.


Apocalypticis and Sense of History in Early Apocalypticim
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Laura Bizzarro, Universidad Catolica Argentina

We intend to submit in the Congress of SBL, in Buenos Aires, part of our progress on the research we are conducting on the Sense of History in Early Apocalypticism. Long time ago that we have been investigating and specializing about the sense of history in the apocalyptic Jewish Palestine. On the occasion of this Congress, we will expand the points we have found in common between the cycle of 1Enoch, Daniel, and the concepts specifically Greek, which penetrated slowly in Palestine through the dissemination of Hellenism. In addition, we have identified certain influences of sources Greco-Hellenistic circles on the apocalyptic of which emerged from the cycle of 1Henoc and Daniel, during the time of the Second Temple (centuries III-I BC. We are particularly interested in what ideas were used, as it were, which rejected and finally, as the joined the tradition Prophetic-Messianic, the Jewish authors?


'Dis We Tings': The Bible, Oral Traditional Culture, and Bahamian Postcolonial Identity
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Fiona C. Black, Mount Allison University

This paper attempts to bring the Bible, “the arts,” and the Caribbean into conversation in a productive way. Focusing largely on the Bahamas, part of its function is to begin the work of establishing conversations about the Bible and Bahamian culture in the context of the Caribbean, which have heretofore been unattempted. This omission has probably occurred for two reasons: 1) The Bahamas is frequently left out of critical work on the Caribbean, maybe because of its proximity to the United States and its perceived “american” identity; 2) Perhaps because of its predominantly oral traditional culture, it has few observable “national” discourses which might ordinarily be the subject of postcolonial analysis—an easier task in nations where, for instance, there is a strong body of literature already in existence (e.g. Haiti, Trinidad). But the predominance of an oral traditional culture does not mean, of course, that the Bahamas should not also benefit from postcolonial-biblical reading. It may mean, however, that one has to think differently about how to hear or see—and subsequently engage with—aspects of culture, especially as one thinks about national, post-colonial identities, in light of what Glissant has referred to as the chaotic nature of Caribbeanness. So, the other function of this paper is to explore methodologically how to use contemporary Bahamian visual artists, practitioners of Junkanoo (carnival), and those who “talk ol’ story” in meaningful ways in the conversation about religion and identity in the post-colonial Caribbean.


The Uses of Matt 10:24 in Early Christian Theology
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Craig Blaising, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Matthew 10:24 offered early Christian theologians a pattern that was applied in different theological contexts: "a disciple is not above his master." This paper will explore some of the uses of this pattern for theological purposes, especially in the area of early Christian eschatology.


A Response to Hugh Page, Gerald West, and Pablo Ferrer
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Roland Boer, University of Newcastle, Australia

TBD


The Exodus according to Severino Croatto: A Transatlantic Conversation from the Perspective of Reader-Response Criticism
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Hendrik Bosman, Universiteit van Stellenbosch - University of Stellenbosch

Severino Croatto took the hermeneutical circle as point of departure in his “Exodus: A Hermeneutics or Freedom” (1981). The Exodus narrative was interpreted in the light of the concept of “surplus meaning” as used by Ricoeur and of “effective history” as introduced by Gadamer. Thus the exodus became much more than an archetypal historical event but developed the potential to become a source of appropriating existential meaning for today. According to Croatto Moses first had to make the Israelites aware that they were oppressed and only then pronounced his word of freedom. From the Genesis account about creation it became clear that humankind was created for freedom – created in the image of God formed the bedrock of human freedom. The point of departure of this process of appropriating the exodus as the source for meaning started with reading the Bible with the poor of South America, as manifested in the church base communities; thus his biblical hermeneutics became embedded in the current praxis of faith. Without disregarding Croatto’s impressive scholarly erudition that incorporated Semitic languages and cultures, philosophical hermeneutics and semiotic linguistics, one is still concerned about his synthesis between the praxis of the grass-roots poor and the evolving theory of philosophical and theological hermeneutics. The possibility will therefore be raised that recent hermeneutical theory focusing on the aesthetics of reception and reader-response criticism can contribute to a creative and critical conversation with Croatto’s biblical hermeneutics. The hermeneutical appropriations of the exodus are useful examples for establishing this transatlantic conversation.


What Can We Learn from the Wise David of Psalm 55? The Connections Which the Editors of the Psalter Probably Saw between 1 Samuel 21–31 and Psalm 55?
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Phil J. Botha, University of Pretoria

Psalms 52-55 constitute a cluster of prayers which display conspicuous connections to ?wisdom texts, but also to the history of David during the time he had to flee from Saul. All of ?them are described as “maskils” or wisdom teaching songs. Psalms 52 and 54 have headings ?with extended biographical notes connecting them to David during the time of his flight from ?Saul. Psalms 53 and 55, however, have no fewer links to the same history, proving that the ?headings of Psalms 52 and 54 were meant to apply to Psalms 53 and 55 as well. This paper ?explores the wisdom influence in Psalm 55 as well as the connections the editors of the ?Psalter probably saw between it and 1 Samuel. In this way it seeks to refine the knowledge ?we have of what true piety constituted in the Persian period.?


Jewish Funerary Inscriptions and Wisdom of Solomon: A Conversation
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Nancy R. Bowen, Earlham School of Religion

I am currently writing a commentary on Wisdom of Solomon. In ch. 4 the Sage aims to redefine/reframe two situations that might otherwise be (incorrectly) interpreted as divine punishment. One situation is “childlessness” (ateknia; 4:1). The other is the death of someone young (Wis 4:7-15). One piece of evidence that, to my knowledge, has not been included in considering the Sage’s theological views are the Jewish funerary inscriptions from Greco-Roman Egypt (Horbury and Noy 2009). These inscriptions originated in the eastern necropolis of Alexandria and from the settlement of Leontopolis and are dated generally from mid-2nd century B.C.E. to early 2nd century C.E. Seven inscriptions mention the person died childless (ateknos). The concern over the death of the young is expressed in the inscriptions by the language of “untimely dead” (aoros), which occurs in one-third of the epitaphs. The commentary is part of the Wisdom Commentary Series published by Liturgical Press, which has an explicit feminist hermeneutic, so I am interested in the intersection of the Sage’s world view with those of women in Hellenistic Egypt. We do not know if what is expressed in the epitaphs are conventional views, views of the writer/stone cutter, of the patron, or of the deceased. But in longer epitaphs where the deceased herself speaks, it is as close as we get to actually hearing a woman's voice. This paper will consider the similarities and differences between the Jewish inscriptions and Wisdom of Solomon, particularly concerning the Sage’s concern with theodicy issues. The paper will also explore similarities and differences between the theological expressions associated with women as expressed in the inscriptions and Wisdom of Solomon. This reading of inscriptional evidence with Wisdom of Solomon opens a window to a larger theological conversation among First Century BCE Alexandrean Jews.


The Relationship of Jesus with Sinners (?µa?t????) and Poor (pt????) in the Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Gonzalo Bravo, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

From Mc 2, 1-17 it is clear the closeness that Jesus has with the sinner and, at the same time, the distance with sin (?µa?t?a). Indeed, at the textual level is verified that in verses where it appears the term 'sinners' is also present, even implicitly, the person of Jesus (vv. 15.16.17); we could almost speak of a 'solidarity and releasing company'. In this sense, the noun 'Sin' is always under the action of the verb 'forgive' (vv. 5.7.9.10); note that the word 'forgive' is always in present, both infinitive and indicative. Both aspects reinforce the permanent attitude of Jesus in favor of the sinner and against sin at the beginning of the Gospel. Something different happens to the poor (pt????). Morpheme appears only 5 x in all the Gospel: 10,21; 12.14; 12.43; 14.5; 14.7. Twice in the narration and three at direct speeches of Jesus. They never are we recipients of an action or speech of Jesus; they neither come to Jesus. According to the biblical text, it can be said that, unlike the sinners, women, sick and possessed, Jesus does not share (in the fullest sense of the term: 'break bread') with the poor as soon as people economically needy. In 2.17, Jesus says that came to call sinners; he says nothing similar regarding the poor in any part of the Gospel. This is a statement that can reconsider the goal of the coming of Jesus in the Gospel. Apparently, it has more to do with the ?µa?t???i than with the pt???i. For South America this perspective can be deeply liberating: Jesus not only came by them poor materials, but by all which underlie under the slavery of the sin.


The Relationship of Jesus with Sinners (hamartolois) and the Poor (ptochois) in the Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Gonzalo Bravo, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

Mark 2:1-17 shows the closeness that Jesus has with the sinner and, at the same time, the distance from sin. Indeed, the textual level verifies that in verses where the term 'sinners' appears, even implicitly, the person of Jesus is also present (vv. 15,16,17). We could almost speak of a 'solidarity and releasing company': the noun 'sin' is always under the action of the verb 'forgive' (vv. 5,7,9,10). Note that the word 'forgive' is always in the present tense, both infinitive and indicative. Both aspects reinforce the permanent attitude of Jesus in favor of the sinner and against sin at the beginning of the Gospel. Something different happens to the poor (ptochois). The morpheme appears only five times in the whole Gospel, twice in the narration and three in direct speeches of Jesus (10:21; 12:14; 12:43; 14:5; 14:7). The poor are never recipients of an action or speech of Jesus; neither do they come to Jesus. According to the biblical text, it can be said that, unlike sinners, women, sick and possessed, Jesus does not share (in the fullest sense of the term: 'break bread') with the poor when they become economically needy. In 2.17, Jesus says that he came to call sinners; he says nothing similar regarding the poor in any part of the Gospel. This statement can cause us to reconsider the goal of the coming of Jesus in the Gospel as having more to do with the hamartalois than with the ptochois. In South America this perspective can be deeply liberating: Jesus not only came to care for the poor of this world, but also to save every soul struggling under the bondage of sin.


On the Contextualization of Political Murder, Gender, and the Law: A Response
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Athalya Brenner-Idan, Universiteit van Amsterdam

In this Response to the session, some reflections on the textual assassination of the HB queens and its political intent and religio-legal ramifications, then and now, will be briefly introduced as preliminary to a general discussion.


Biblical Queen Athalia and Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin– Two Political-Religious Assassinations
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Ora Brison, Tel Aviv University

This paper deals with the similarities and differences between the characteristics and outcome of two religious-political assassinations. One took place in the biblical kingdom of Judah and the other in the modern state of Israel. Queen Athalia's murder (2 Kgs 11: 13-16; 2 Chr. 23: 12-15) was committed by the priestly elite of the time, led by the high priest Jehoiada, allegedly motivated by the political objective of restoring Athalia's grandson Jehoash, the legitimate offspring of King David, to power. I argue that the murder was an attempt to fulfill the religious aspirations of the priestly elite. This is made obvious by the religious reform that took place immediately after Athalia's murder. In the State of Israel the assassination of a political leader, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was allegedly a political murder, in fact it was a religiously motivated assassination. The murderer, his supporters, objectives and the murder's "moral" justification, all came from the religious sphere. Rabin was perceived as interfering with the mystical, religious, fundamentalist and fanatic beliefs of a religious group. Since Rabin's murder, there has been a strengthening of these religious powers in Israeli Society.


'You are what you eat': Feeding on Idols and Angels in the Apocalypse of Abraham
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Silviu Bunta, University of Dayton

Digestive imagery abounds in the Slavonic pseudepigraphon. Previous scholarship has already noted that the subtle contrast drawn between the phoenix and the serpent in 3 Baruch extends to their eating habits: the serpents feeds on “earth” (3 Baruch 4:3S), while the phoenix consumes the “manna from heaven” (3 Baruch 3:11). The main argument of this presentation is that there is a similar contrast between Abraham and his father in the Apocalypse of Abraham. In chapters 5-6 Abraham prepares Terah’s meal (of which he does not partake) on one of his wooden idols, while in 12:2 the patriarch himself feeds on the vision of Yahoel. The prohibition of “every food that issues from fire” in 9:7 strengthens this contrast and ties it to dietary regulations. The second argument of this presentation is that the dietary language indicates transformation: Abraham is transformed into an angelic being (a heavenly twin of Yahoel on whose presence he feeds), while his father takes on a demonic identity.


Psalm 17:15 in the Septuagint Version and the Emergence of Theophany—Theophagy Language in Jewish Mysticism
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Silviu Bunta, University of Dayton

Psalm 17 (16 LXX) presents well-known textual difficulties and several studies have been dedicated to them. This presentation will engage the textual issues behind v.15 and will conclude against the common assumption that the predominant Hebrew reading of v.15b is preferable to the Septuagint’s. However, the primary purpose of this presentation is to review the complex reception history of the Septuagint version of v.15 and the role it played in ancient Jewish mysticism, particularly in the depictions of visions of the divine as theophagy.


Place, Movement, and Community: A Critical Reading of Hebrews 11
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Jared C. Calaway, Illinois College

Borrowing insights from spatial theorists, such as Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja, and anthropologists of movement (whether pilgrimage, emigration, or dislocated populations), this paper will explore the relationship between the building of the heavenly city by God and the use of movement among the past faithful in Hebrews 11, drawing attention to how this combination of space and movement rhetorically creates an imagined community in the face of adversity. This paper will further investigate how these related elements of space/place and movement extend throughout the fabric of the homily.


To whom Do Jezebel’s Remains Belong? An "Organic" Contextual Reading of 2 Kings 9:30-37
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Fernando Candido, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

I would like to explore some contextual interpretation to 2 Kings 9:30-37. Such a task is crucial because it presents, to the organic exegete, both limits and challenges. According to Gramsci’s tradition, the intellettuale organico is that one that historically acts in favor of the subaltern classes from which he emerges. By subaltern classes we can understand an enlargement of the oppressed/contextual groups. In his contradictory Italian context, Gramsci facilitated an enlargement of the boundaries of the working-class to project the construction of a new hegemony that took in account the social heterogeneity of the subalterns. If that is the case, the intellettuale organico is never the one who speaks from an exclusive context, but on the contrary, is the one who must articulate and channel the history of the subaltern groups that are, frequently, episodic and disaggregated, but still working toward unification. To fight the current postmodern epistemology that, in its celebration of plurality and multiplicity, keeps the subalterns in disaggregation, the concept of “organic exegete” seems to be indispensable, at least considering biblical studies, for enacting projects that allow the subaltern to overcome, in solidarity, his subordinated situation. Hence, we shall see how each oppressed context tends to illuminate important issues in the interpretation of the scene of Jezebel’s assassination, even if they do not achieve – due to the disaggregation – the production of an emancipatory counter-hegemonic reading. The contextual limitation is presented, at last, as a challenge to hegemony.


Peak Sanctuaries and Elites in Minoan Crete: Interconnections and the Dynamics of Power
Program Unit: Place, Space, and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Jorge Cano Moreno, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

One of the most significant structures in the Minoan religion was the so-called "Peak Sanctuaries". In these spaces, it is possible to observe that several rituals were performed over time. Unfortunately, the essence of these cultic activities remains unsolved as well as the nature of the Minoan religion. At the same time, peak sanctuaries had a long history on the island of Crete: from the Middle Minoan period to classical times and some authors considered that it was a purely Cretan phenomenon. However, this history is not homogeneous given that several changes occurred throughout the centuries. In the Neopalatial Period, for example, the number of peak sanctuaries decreased. In fact, some of them were abandoned. On the other hand, in those where religious activities continued, their survival seems to be linked to certain centres of power. "Palaces" or "Villas" started to control the access to the peak, the circulation of goods and objects that were used and the rituals that were carried out. The intention of this work is to analyze how the elites that lived in "palaces" and "villas" connected themselves with the supernatural world to legitimise their status in the society. In order to study this issue, archaeological, epigraphic and literal evidence will be taken into account. Finally, what will be highlighted is the dynamic relationship between status and the supernatural world.


Martyrdom and the Death of Christ in the Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
César Carbullanca, Catholic University of Maule

New Testament research distinguishes different traditions concerning martyrdom in the Gospel of Mark: a) The Deuteronomist tradition of the violent fate of the prophets. The evangelist sees the death of Jesus as the martyr's death of a prophet in Mark 12:-11 and 9:11; b) The passion of the righteous (persecution-exaltation). From G. Nickelsburg (2006:278), who states that the scheme persecution and exaltation appears in the pre-marcan story of the passion of Jesus; c) Historical salvifica or Exhortatio ad martyrium. In the words of G. Theissen, the righteous sufferer "becomes a model for the suffering of Christians...the very death of Christ does not have salvific character in this context" (1991: 145). Finally, d) some hold a sacrificial sense. This pre-Pauline and pre-synoptic meaning is "notoriously weak", evidenced in Mark 10:45, 14, 24, which has its origin in the Greek paradigm of noble death present in texts like 2 Mac 17: 20-22; so, e.g., J. W. Henten argues that "a beneficiary death of Jesus' death is only expressed in Mark 10:45, 14: 24" (2005, 146). In this context our article explains how the evangelist wanted to understand the meaning of Christ's death, elaborating Jewish and Greek traditions of martyrdom, but moving beyond those paradigms. This is achieved by explaining that the martyrdom of the Son of Man is the destiny of the Son of God. Mark follows neither a Jewish nor a Greek paradigm, but is intent on accounting for the death of the Son of Man from his own material. In other words, Mark is original and does not follow traditions like the death of Socrates, the death of the eschatological prophet or the righteous. The conclusion suggests that the scandal of the cross is to identify the crucified as the Son of God.


Getsemany: Intertextuality on the Theme of Martyrdom
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
César Carbullanca, Catholic University of Maule

The paper is the product of the project FONDECYT 1120029 research deals with the study of various Jewish and Christian paradigms martyrdom. From Dibelius has characterized the story of Luke's passion as a "Mártyriumbericht", but the question What kind of martyrdom? In the Gospels coexist in tension, several models of martyrdom, originating in Jewish and Greek traditions. According to Th. Baumeister in Luke "lack an interpretation of Jesus' death as a representative and substitutionary death". Certainly, he does not deny this meaning but is not central to their theology. The biblical scholarship has argued that Luke's account of Gethsemane is not an elaboration of marcan story but arises from materials from Lucas self, therefore, could be argued that this story respond to other ideas about Jesus' agony. In fact, the death of Jesus in Luke, is rather oriented glorification, differentiating in his account of Gethsemane both Jewish paradigm martyrdom present in Hoyadot and Mark, as the story of the martyrdom of Polycarp. This comparative study wants to see the continuity and unlike the story of Gethsemane lucano based on intertextual study of coexisting paradigms of martyrdom in antiquity as we see in: 1QHa col X-XX; Mc 14.32 to 42; Lk 22.39 to 46 and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. The sufferings of existing martyred prophet in the Qumran texts, evolve and becomes the paradigm of noble death as found in many Christian stories as the Martyrdom of Polycarp.


Orality, Collective Memory, and Identity in Synoptic Gospels: A Study in the Sabbath Issue on Mark 2:23-28, Matt 12:1-8, and Luke 6:1-5
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Marcelo Carneiro, Faculdade Presbiteriana Independente de São Paulo

In this paper, we will study the collective memory as oral tradition formative, as well the orality and textuality relation in Synoptic Gospels narratives and memories. For us, the Gospels narratives are evidenciary of the communities identity that generate them, in the Greek-roman World, that orality and textuality has the same influence. Still nowadays are many indigenous cultures wherein the oral culture is predominant. The our study object is the pericope of the Sabbath in Mk 2.23-28, Mt 12.1-8 and Lk 6.1-5, that read the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees, about Plucking of the Grain on the Sabbath.


The Acts of Thomas and the Idealization of Roman Society
Program Unit:
Marcelo Da Silva Carneiro, Seminário Presbiteriano Independente

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Brazilian Biblical Research: Trends and Prospects
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Marcelo da Silva Carneiro, Universidade Metodista de São Paolo

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Adulthood: The Journey of Pi
Program Unit: Bible and the Moving Image
Victor Carrera, Simpson University

Adulthood could be described as the end to childish ways. For Piscine Patel —Pi, an Indian kid with a magical childhood and protagonist of Life of Pi, this metamorphosis occurred after a shipwreck at the Pacific Ocean, on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a starving Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. Through the movie, the kid does not try the divine; rather, he tries the pagan. However, the divine meets the pagan, as Pi fights to survive for 27 days in a state of renunciation, with nothing except a faith the size of a mustard seed. Human arrival at adulthood means to embrace the knowledge of God, a privilege that demands some sort of a sacrifice. In this coming-of-age adventure, Pi is taken into the supernatural, where after bagging God, He decides to answer Pi with heavenly provision. Then, Pi is driven into the wilderness, to be fit and become clean. Lastly, Pi is left alone over the seashores, and infiltrates to the real world as a tiger. Both Pi and the tiger undoubtedly had matured, the breath of life remains, and a sacred conversion occurs. This humble proposal attempts to examine the journey in the Life of Pi, within a vivid reflection of the movie’s resolution: “Adult Pi: So which story do you prefer? Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story. Adult Pi: Thank you. And so it goes with God.” To deliver an approach on what may be to discover God in the midst of pain and suffering. This paramount conclusion, it is perhaps, the greatest blessing for any creature. 1 Cor. 13:11


Let “Us” In: Reconsidering the Weakest Links in the Textual Base of Revelation
Program Unit: Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)
Jeff Cate, California Baptist University

The textual base for the Apocalypse of John is the thinnest for any New Testament book. Barely 300 Greek manuscripts are available for consideration and few from the first eight centuries. At four points, the textual evidence of early and significant manuscripts is so thin that the critical text (NA28/UBS5) is based on the reading of a single Greek manuscript. In all four cases, Codex Alexandrinus (A/02) is that witness. Normally in textual criticism, singular readings are not given much weight since they are generally considered to be divergent and independent peculiarities, not the last surviving remnant of the initial text. This paper re-examines the textual evidence for these four singular readings from Alexandrinus to see if alternate readings should be preferred. In one prominent situation (5:9), Alexandrinus omits the pronoun HMAC in a location in the majuscule easily exposed to transcriptional error. In another situation (12:10), Alexandrinus exhibits a spelling variation unattested in all of Greek literature. Another case (13:10) is a complex and confusing variation unit involving multiple phrases and at least eight different possible readings. Finally, the concluding words of the Apocalypse (22:21) are found in their briefest form in Alexandrinus. Beyond the specifics of these examples, the question must also be considered if too much weight has been placed on this single, fifth-century majuscule since all four of these singular readings in the critical text originate from it alone. Without surveying all the singular readings known in early manuscripts, one example of a singular reading from P47 (16:18) will be reconsidered as the best possible explanation for the origin of the known readings in that variation unit. If established, P47 could join Alexandrinus as the sole remaining witness in at least one point for the Ausgangstext of the Apocalypse


11QMelquisedec: Messianism in Qumran Literature
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Kenner Terra, Universidade Metodista de São Paulo

Melchizedek, mentioned in Genesis 14, Psalm 110, and then in the book of Hebrews, has always bothered the readers of the Bible. The question becomes even more complex after the discovery of 13 fragments of a text, in 1956, in the Qumran cave 11, called 11QMelquisedec (11Q13), where this character appears again, but now having messianic features and attributes warming further discussion around it. This paper will make an introductory analysis of the messianic images assigned to Melchizedek, taking into account the other works in Qumran in which the messianism theme is present.


A New Heavens and a New Earth: The Interrelationship of Indigenous Cosmic Apocalypse and Christian Apocalyptic Literature in Early Colonial Latin America
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Luis Reyes Ceja, Universidad del Valle de Atemajac

By now it is a commonplace among scholars that apocalyptic literature strongly colored the view of many Christians in early colonial Latin America. Such literature has even been seen as a kind of ideological straightjacket which blinded Christians to the reality of the "New World" and led them to impose European culture upon the indigenous population. Without denying that there is truth in this claim, we propose that Christian apocalyptic literature also possessed a natural connection to indigenous culture which, in turn, influenced its interpretation and actualization in the New World. We will demonstrate this point by relating belief in a cosmic apocalypse, common to many pre-Columbian indigenous religions, to the interpretation and use of apocalyptic literature in the writings of three early figures in colonial Latin America, viz., Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484-1566), indefatigable defender of the indigenous peoples in Central and South America; Francisco de la Cruz (1528?-1578), Dominican rector of the University of Lima who was executed by the Inquisition; and Quautlatas, leader of the Tepehuán revolt against the Spanish in Western Mexico in 1616.


How the Indigenous Read the Bible in 16th-Century Latin America: The Pictorial Biblical Hermeneutic of the Mexican Codex
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
Luis Reyes Ceja, Universidad del Valle de Atemajac

Codices were used by the indigenous peoples of Mexico for centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492. Employed for a variety of purposes (e.g. narrating the history of a people, calculating astronomical events, and recording religious rituals), they were a kind of pictorial art, that is, a series of painted forms that followed stylistic conventions, obeyed a particular aesthetic, and conveyed symbolic meaning. Many European Christians considered the ancient codices to be pagan abominations that merited only destruction. Nonetheless some Christian evangelizers encouraged indigenous artists to continue the composition of codices after the Conquest as a means of preserving the memory of their history and of assisting the work of evangelization. Among the more famous examples from the Sixteenth Century are the Codex Florentinus commissioned by Franciscan Friar Bernardino de Sahagún (1499-1590) from his Aztec students at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco; and the Codex Botturini, which narrates the legendary exodus of the Aztecs from northern Mexico to the seat of their empire in what is now Mexico City. Although not intended primarily as Christian religious artifacts, these post-Conquest codices nonetheless demonstrate the influence of the Christian faith that was brought to, or at times imposed on, the indigenous. In particular, they give considerable attention to figures and stories from the Bible. In our presentation, we will employ slides to argue that these codices were the indigenous' way of interpreting the Bible in the form of pictorial art. We will focus on the Biblical hermeneutic employed by the artists of these codices and on the aesthetic, the stylistic conventions, and the symbols by which these artists carried out and communicated their interpretation of the Bible


The Use of Ps 132:8-10 in Solomon’s Dedication of the Temple in Chronicles
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Ntozakhe Cezula, Stellenbosch University

This paper responds to a challenge posed by Jesse Mugambi to propose a biblical paradigm for the reconstruction process in Africa. It proposes Chronicles as a biblical paradigm for the reconstruction process in Africa vis-à-vis Nehemiah whom Mugambi proposes. To motivate its proposition, the paper examines 2 Chronicles 6:32. However, to justify its conclusion about 2 Chronicles 6:32 the paper needs to establish that this verse purports the Chronistic theology contrary to the theology of the Vorlage. To do this, the paper examines the use of Psalm 132:8-10 in 2 Chronicles 6:40-42.


Coloniality and Martyrdom in the Latin Church from First-Century Rome to Twentieth-Century El Salvador
Program Unit: Postcolonial Studies
Honora Howell Chapman, California State University - Fresno

This paper traces the connections between Christian martyrs in the Roman Empire and those in twentieth-century El Salvador to develop a new, long-term perspective on the global phenomenon of religion with its profound effects on modern politics. Scholarship has shifted recently in this direction: for instance, articles in the latest issue of Latin American Research Review (vol. 49, 2014) show “the undeniable centrality of religion as an inspiration and shaper of subjectivities, personal and public action, and engagement with politics in diverse settings across the Americas.” As a corollary to Anibal Quijano’s contention that the separation of “body” and “nonbody” and the primacy of soul over body marks the long, ambivalent history of Christianity, we propose that martyrdom, the result of rejecting Paul’s advice in Romans 13, works as a crucial and very corporal catalyst for subaltern resistance against state authorities, connecting such diverse historical contexts as first-century Rome and twentieth-century El Salvador. States that colonize their subjects/citizens utilize spectacle as a means of controlling the masses (“bread and circuses,” as Juvenal says), yet martyrs can use these violent venues against the authorities through their displays of bravery and defiance. The spectacle of Christian martyrs being burned alive as human torches in Nero’s garden gave even elite Romans pause, and served as one of many proofs of the emperor’s tyranny, leading to plots against his life and the end of a dynasty. Likewise, Archbishop Oscar Romero’s “spectacular” execution, staged in public during the drama of the Catholic sacrifice of the mass, gave rise to a broad-based Salvadoran resistance movement, leading to even more spectacular mass executions and eventual revolution. This focus on the spectacle of martyrdom through time complements and broadens the work of Anna Peterson and Elizabeth Castelli. By rendering their bodies to Caesar, martyrs help overthrow him.


The Aristotelian Taxonomy of Logic in Psalms: LXX Psalm 58:8-9 as a Test Case
Program Unit: Septuagint Studies
P. Richard Choi, Andrews University

This paper examines a variety of examples from LXX Psalms in an effort to explain the puzzling choice of words the translator makes when rendering the Hebrew into Greek, and concludes that the translator employs the logical taxonomy found in Aristotle’s Prior Analytic in his translations of Hebrew substantives. Thus before one resorts to a different Vorlage or the translator’s theological tendencies, one should first seek to determine if the translation suggests a logical taxonomy. In this paper, I propose four types of taxonomic relations of terms that the translator suggests when he chooses to deviate from the Hebrew: he translates (1) substantives with predicates, (2) predicates with antecedents, (3) species with genus, (4) genus with species, and (5) the species of a genus with another of the same species. This paper argues that the strange translation of LXX Psalm 58:8-9 follows principle #5.


Holding Up the Old Man in Mockery: Reconsideration of Paul’s Theology of the Cross
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
P. Richard Choi, Andrews University

Paul’s theology of the cross is often taken as synonymous with a theology of suffering. This paper examines ancient sources and concludes that the cross was generally not associated with physical suffering in the ancient world. This paper also examines the evidence in the biblical Gospels and demonstrates that the absence of any descriptions of Jesus’ physical suffering in these sources is consistent with what we find in ancient sources. The ancients associated crucifixion with mockery. This important point is often missed by studies that discuss Paul’s theology of the cross. This paper argues that Paul’s intent in employing s?sta???? in Rom 6:6 and Gal 2:19 is not to show that the believers are united in a mystical union with Christ through suffering but that the old self of sin and death is now held to mockery and contempt in Christ.


Acerca de la Exposición sobre el Alma (NHC II,6): comparaciones doctrinales con Orígenes y Plotino
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Patricia Andrea Ciner, Catholic Univversity of Cuyo

Refiriéndose al Tratado sobre Exposición del Alma, ha escrito el destacado especialista Francisco García Bazán que: “estos pasajes reúnen diversos elementos que ilustran con transparencia la doctrina gnóstica del alma como psiquis caída y dormida por la dispersión. No es el deseo el que origina la caída, porque él es connatural a la naturaleza anímica, sino su desvío”. De forma magnífica están condensados en esta cita la esencia y las principales características de este texto, que por otra parte presenta notables coincidencias, pero también profundas diferencias con dos de los grandes pensadores alejandrinos del siglo tercero: Orígenes y Plotino. En lo que se refiere a los paralelismos, nos centraremos, por un lado, en el Comentario al Cantar de los Cantares y en el Comentario al Evangelio de Juan XIII de Orígenes. Por otro, en la Enéada VI,9 de Plotino. Para mostrar las diferencias, será necesario profundizar dos cuestiones: la primera estará referida al tipo de platonismo que subyace en estos tres autores y en segundo lugar al valor del cosmos en la experiencia de la caída del alma y en su posterior liberación. Los diversos artículos escritos por L. Roig Lanzillota clarificarán notablemente las dos cuestiones. En Orígenes, estas diferencias se evidenciarán en la afirmación del cosmos como manifestación de la Sabiduría y de la presencia de Dios. Los textos que se utilizarán para esto, serán el Contra Celso y el De Principiis. Plotino, por su parte, también afirma plenamente la belleza y el orden del cosmos, por ejemplo en los tratados enéadicos III,5 y V,1. La concepción cosmológica de ambos autores, remitiría a una interpretación específica del Timeo de Platón y quizás también a la siempre controvertida cuestión de que ambos fueron discípulos del enigmático Amonio Saccas.


How Corrupt Is the Text of the Hebrew Bible? An Empirical Approach
Program Unit: Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)
David J.A. Clines, University of Sheffield

The textbooks on the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, while discussing all kinds of textual errors, rarely attempt to quantify the number of errors it might be reasonable to suppose exist in our Masoretic Bibles. The heyday of emendation is past, and there are some tendencies today to minimize or disregard alleged textual errors. But the commentator and the classroom teacher are faced every day with problems in the Hebrew text, and often wonder whether they are right to accept amendments to the traditional text. How often might it be appropriate to resort to emendation, how many errors in a chapter of the Hebrew Bible would it be reasonable to expect to find? Surprisingly, there is an empirical method for answering the question in broad terms. It consists of comparing passages in the Hebrew Bible that are located in two different places and counting the number of variants. I have published my results from such a comparison of the psalm of David in 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18 (Studia theologica 56 [2002] 76-95), where I concluded that as many as one word in four may be textually corrupt. In the present paper I will apply the same approach to the parallel passages in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7, less interesting as texts than the psalm of David, but equally rewarding for the empirical data they contain about the likelihood of textual corruption.


The Most High Male: Divine Masculinity in the Bible
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
David J.A. Clines, University of Sheffield

The purpose of the paper is to examine the profile of the Deity, as a literary character in the Bible, from the perspective of gender. Following a set of earlier papers in which I explored the masculinity of various biblical figures, I intend here to consider the figure of God under the major categories that indicate masculinity in biblical texts: strength, violence, honour, holiness, etc. It is no secret that the God of the Bible is represented as a male, but the extent to which characteristically male values and language permeate the depiction of the Deity in the Bible is rarely acknowledged. In the case of honour, for example, the traditional translation of kabod and doxa as “glory” rather than “honour” when used of God obscures the fact that the Deity is represented as engaged in the same competitive quest for honour as the typical Mediterranean male. It the case of holiness, which is the quintessential quality of divinity, it is likewise rarely observed that the term is totally gendered, relating solely to the male sphere, from which women are excluded. The paper aims to exemplify the importance of masculinity studies for feminist criticism.


Aramaic and Greek Book of the Watchers: Clarifying the Relationship
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Kelley Coblentz Bautch, St. Edward's University

This paper discusses the textual history of the Greek version of the Book of the Watchers (BW) and the translation’s relationship to the extant Aramaic of this early Jewish text. Two Greek witnesses serve as the primary basis for the study: excerpted selections of BW preserved by the Byzantine chronographer Synkellos in an early ninth century work and the Akhmim manuscript, also referred to as Panopolitanus. As this study concerns the nature and significance of the Greek versions, I examine the translation character and techniques employed in both extant versions of Greek BW. I also consider examples of variants and tendencies in the translations and the witnesses’ relationships especially to the Aramaic fragments. Three matters are of special concern: 1) whether the translation technique from Aramaic to Greek suggests a translation prior to the turn of the era (a pre-Christian dating); 2) the extent to which Panopolitanus (and to a lesser extent Synkellos) modifies BW for stylistic purposes and for the cultural milieu; and 3) whether (and how) the recently rediscovered P.Gen. inv. 187 relates to Greek BW.


An Encounter with midbar as Liminal Space and the Enigma of Mosaic Leadership
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
David Cohen, Vose Seminary

In both popular and academic realms the character of Moses has been mined, analysed, and evaluated for models of leadership and theological significance, among other things. Despite innumerable endeavours to draw conclusions about the character of Moses, even if one eschews his physical existence, a careful reading of the biblical accounts suggests that the Moses figure does not present in a monolithic form. Rather the Moses character ought to be recognized as truly mosaic. When this mosaic character is placed on the blank canvas of the µ?dßä? readers encounter opportunity after opportunity to walk alongside this complex mosaic character who is presented as the key leader of the nascent community of Israelites. Perhaps in contrast to an anticipated brief sojourn, the biblical text presents a community traversing the µ?dßä? and finding itself in a seemingly intractable liminal space between captivity and liberation which refuses to loosen its grasp. My intention in this paper is to consider four features of this µ?dßä? experience, which I view as a liminal space, under the leadership of Moses. Several contrasting images of Mosaic leadership found in the book of Numbers will be presented. These images, emerging at various junctures in the narrative, bear witness to leader and community in a liminal space offering mimetic, parenetic, mythic and parabolic visions. When viewed together these visions create a montage which highlights the enigma of the person Moses and the value of liminal space. In addition I will argue that they also offer a fresh vision of how leaders and communities develop in liminal spaces such as that symbolized by the µ?dßä?.?The result of such a process can be both challenging and transforming for leaders and followers alike.


A Theology of the Septuagint Version of Proverbs
Program Unit: Septuagint Studies
Johann Cook, Universiteit van Stellenbosch - University of Stellenbosch

Frank Charles Fensham was one of the first South African scholars to do research on the Septuagint. In a MA thesis he analysed the Greek term abussos as it appears in Gen 1 verse 2, as a rendering of TEHOM. He always encouraged research into the Septuagint, and more specifically research addressing “theological” aspects of this version. This paper will follow the cue by Fensham and intends dealing with A theology of LXX Proverbs. One of the prerequisites of a theology of the LXX is that it should be different from that of the Hebrew Bible. This is true since the Septuagint constitutes translational literature, whereas the Hebrew Bible represents compositional literature. Since wisdom plays a decisive role in the final redaction of the book of Proverbs, this paper will focus on the role of wisdom. Three passages will be discussed. Firstly, this topos will be addressed in Chapter 1 verses 1-7, which acts as an introduction to the book as a whole and describes what is understood under the term wisdom. Secondly, wisdom as metaphor for foreign wisdom in Chapter 2 is discussed and, thirdly, the role of wisdom in the classical creational passage in Chapter 8 is analysed.


The Catastrophe Like an Interpellation to Conversion: A Look from the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Lk 13:1-9)
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Javier Enrique Cortés, Universidad Catolica del Norte

This paper analyzes the pericope in Luke 13, 1-9, which is Luke´s material in itself, from an exegetical narrative perspective. The first verses of the account refer to catastrophic events described with a deep historical interest. Where does the author of the third gospel get these data? Is it possible to determine the historicity of the events? This account makes reference to the execution of some Galilean pilgrims in Jerusalem by Pilate, and to the death of some Jerusalemites because of Siloam tower collapse. These events introduced by the literary device of rumor allow Jesus making a strong questioning to any idea connecting his tragic death with the possible guilt of those involved. Instead, Jesus makes a call to conversion and to consider these events as a challenge and invitation to make a deep change expressed in the parable image of fruition. Therefore, the account is intrinsically articulated with the parable of the barren fig tree that Luke narrates below.


The Adam Figure in the Pseudo-Clementines: Angel or Prophet?
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Dominique Cote, Université d'Ottawa - University of Ottawa

The notion of the "true prophet" stands out as a central concept of the Pseudo-Clementine novel. Effectively, in the Recognitions as in the Homilies, Jesus is presented not as the Son of God but as the True Prophet, the divine intercessor whose reincarnated being spans across the ages and who holds exclusive claim upon the truth. This being said, the two versions of the novel do not define the True Prophet in the same way. In the Recognitions, for instance, the True Prophet is Christ exclusively, whereas in the Homilies, he discloses that he is at once Christ and Adam. The True Prophet is viewed by certain scholars in relation to the figure of the Angel of the Lord. This linkage between the mystical Angel of the Lord of the Jewish tradition and the Adam-True Prophet of the Homilies serves as the point of departure for my discussion. I shall elaborate how the True Prophet figure may be seen to incarnate both Adam and Christ. This requires an analysis of the figure from within a system of thought that takes into account the reincarnations—or reappearances—of the Prophet across the ages, beginning with Adam. Furthermore, it requires an analysis that demonstrates a contextually appropriate understanding of syzygy and the notion of double prophecy (male and female). I shall underscore that interpreting the identification of Adam with the True Prophet necessitates taking into account the polemical dimension of the Homilies and Recognitions, whereby these works are seen as pitted against prophecy and philosophy. The Adam-True Prophet identity, I shall demonstrate, does not require positing a possible influence from "angelomorphic" traditions (Gieschen 1998), but rather may be understood as an attestation to the originality of the system of thought elaborated by the authors of the Homilies themselves.


Demystifying Matthew’s Mysteries
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Robert Cousland, University of British Columbia

It is well known that where Mark uses mystêrion in his parable discourse, Matthew uses the plural form mystêria. His modification naturally raises the question about how he conceives of the nature and extent of these mysteries. While the mystêrion in Mark seems to centre on Jesus and the inbreaking of the Kingdom, Matthew’s mysteries are arguably to be equated with the tauta panta of 13:52 (cf. 13:34). They would, therefore, include all the parables of Matthew 13:1-52, and their underlying meanings. While these meanings are necessarily varied, their essential character is similar—they all describe essential features of God’s divine economy, culminating in the final judgment.


Qumran as a Scribal Center in the Late Second Temple Period
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Sidnie White Crawford, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

This paper will discuss the evidence, both archaeological and textual, that Qumran was a center of scribal activity in the late Second Temple period. I will argue that Qumran was founded to collect, copy and house the Essene library in Judah, and that it was staffed by scribes and their assistants, many of whom were most likely priests and Levites.


The Mortality of the King in the Psalms and the Changing View of Monarchy in the Persian Period
Program Unit: Persian Period
Jerome Creach, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

One of the central questions in Psalms scholarship in the past quarter century has been, what understanding of human kingship prevailed in the latest stages of the Psalter’s development? One view frequently espoused is that the literary structure of the Psalter evinces a repudiation of human monarchy. Another, related idea is that kingship was democratized in the latest stages of psalm writing and editing. There are reasons to question both of these views, at least in their most extreme expressions, and to recognize that the Psalter continues to express hope for the Davidic monarchy and the Davidic covenant. Nevertheless, a discernible shift in attitudes toward human rule is evident as the king is presented as a frail human with limited capacity. This paper explores how this subject appears in the Psalter and the implications of the subject for our understanding of the Israelite view of monarchy in the Persian period. Psalm 89, the final Davidic collection (Pss 138-145) and Psalm 146 are the primary passages to be considered.


Michael, Satan, and the Body of Moses
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
David Crookes, Independent Scholar

In Deuteronomy 34. 6 we read that the LORD buried Moses in a valley in the land of Moab. In Jude 9 we read that Michael the archangel disputed about the body of Moses while contending with the devil. What do these verses tell us about the LORD, about Moses, about the archangel Michael, and about Satan? Is St Jude talking about the DEAD body of Moses? If so, why might Satan have wanted to lay claim to a human corpse? David and his men mutilated the corpses of two hundred Philistines (I Samuel 18. 27). For their part the Philistines mutilated the corpse of Saul (I Samuel 31. 9) as David had mutilated the corpse of their champion (I Samuel 17. 51). Did Satan want to mutilate the corpse of Moses? If not, what did he want to do with it? Such questions will occupy us in Buenos Aires.


La Pintura Veterotestamentaria Neogranadina: Inserción de la Historia Local Americana en el Proyecto Imperial Hispánico de los Siglos XVI y XVII
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Juan Pablo Cruz Medina, Museo Colonial - Museo Santa Clara, Bogotá

Tomando como centro de análisis una serie de pinturas del Antiguo Testamento producidas en la Nueva Granada en el siglo XVII y atribuidas a Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos, la ponencia pretende evidenciar que estas pinturas se configuraron como mecanismos de evangelización a partir de los cuales se buscaba insertar a la Nueva Granada y a su sociedad, dentro del proyecto Imperial Hispánico delineado por los monarcas que se sucedieron entre 1516 y 1598. Dentro del proyecto de monarquía católica diseñado por Carlos V y Felipe II, América se sitúa como la manifestación máxima de lo predicho por los profetas veterotestamentarios. En esta medida la lectura tipológica del Antiguo Testamento (utilizada a lo largo del periodo bajomedieval y fortalecida por lecturas milenaristas como la ejecutada por el monje calabrés Joaquín de Fiore en el siglo) sirvió en los siglos XVI y XVII para entender la existencia del Nuevo Mundo, validando de paso la función salvífica y providencial que sobre las tierras habría de cumplir la Corona Española. Lo que pretendo demostrar aquí es la fuerte influencia veterotestamentaria en el proyecto colonial americano, aspecto olvidado por una historiografía que enmarca la evangelización y la organización colonial dispuesta por la Corona española en el Nuevo Mundo, dentro del marco teológico del Nuevo Testamento.


A Borderlands Hermeneutic: Re-reading the Bible as a “Border-Crossed” Reader
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Gregory Lee Cuéllar, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

As a Latino biblical scholar from the U.S. Mexico borderlands I am keenly aware of how the brown body constitutes a border site. This stems from a post-1848 Mexican counter-dictum which states, “we didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us.” In thinking about what it means to be “border-crossed”, there is first the notion of an inflicted racial marking that seizes violently upon the pained Mexican self. In this captive state, deceptive histories/archives work continually to cross up the Mexican self–-rendering us dispossessed and subordinated. Another way I think about being “border-crossed” is to view it as a counter-hermeneutic that endeavors to redress the fragmented and pained state of those "border-crossed" by challenging the authority of master-narratives. There is no better place to deploy this contrapuntal Latino hermeneutic than with a culturally iconic and authoritative text like the Bible. In the U.S. Mexico borderlands, Protestant scripture lies at the center of the authorized master-narrative. By re-reading the Bible as one who is “border crossed”, I aim to decenter normalized dominant-readings, especially those that continue to hold sway over our imagination, by appealing to the cultural productions of ethnic borderlands people as a source of commentary on Exodus 1 and 2. By activating this decentering optic, I aim to harness the liberating potential inherent in my “border-crossed” condition, which always privileges a different repository of truth.


Genesis and the Big Bang: When Scripture Describes Science
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Lesleigh Cushing, Colgate University

In 1925, following the court case widely known as “the Scopes Monkey Trial,” the Tennessee legislature rejected evolution because it “denies the story of the Divine creation of man as taught in the Bible.” Almost a century later, there is still a widespread American antipathy toward evolutionary science (and science more broadly), which is seen as undermining a view of a world created by God. In 2004 in Dover, PA, parents whose children had been learning about evolution sued the school district, demanding that an alternative theory of origins also be taught. This theory, Intelligent Design, is understood by scientists to be creationism in a pseudo-scientific packaging. While certain types of fundamentalist Christians and Jews have sought to develop scientific frameworks that accord with the biblical account of creation (young earth creationism, old earth creationism, Intelligent Design), others have taken a rather different tack, trying to show that biblical descriptions of creation are in fact consonant with contemporary scientific understandings of origins. These are called concordist readings. Physicist Gerald Schroeder, himself an Orthodox Jew, reads Genesis 1 through the lens of rabbinic commentary and surmises that Genesis is in fact describing the Big Bang. Similarly, through his Reasons to Believe ministry, Canadian astrophysicist Hugh Ross seeks to demonstrate that the account of creation in the Bible is compatible with the science that indicates the earth is billions of years old. This paper looks closely at attempts to bridge science and scripture, particularly ones that see the stories in Genesis as describing the same origins stories as those posited by modern scientists. It then situates these readings in a broader political consideration of religious discourse in an ostensibly secular US.


Representations of God as a powerful king
Program Unit:
Valmor Da Silva, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás

This paper analyses the symbolical representations of God presented like a king full in power, and the influences of this symbology over the imaginary of the people. Symbols as palace, throne, crown, diadem and scepter, around the monarch figure, how contribute to create vertical relations with the divine, and socio-religious systems more monarchical and less fraternal?


Poderoso o Defensor de la Justicia? Representaciones Simbólicas del Rey en Israel
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Valmor da Silva, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás

Con el marco teórico del imaginario, establece la comparación entre la representación simbólica del rey poderoso y la representación simbólica del rey defensor de la justicia. Analiza las representaciones simbólicas de Dios, que se presentan como un rey lleno de poder, para comprobar su influencia en la imaginación de la gente. Por el contrario, muestra otra representación del rey, defensor de los pobres, los huérfanos, las viudas y los extranjeros, sobre todo en el libro bíblico de Proverbios. ¿Cuál es la crítica de Proverbios a los símbolos como palacio, trono, corona, cetro y la diadema? ¿Cuál es la propuesta de los Proverbios para el rey defensor de la justicia? ¿Cuál es la contribución de esa crítica para el día de hoy? Como los proverbios traducen todo este simbolismo hoy?


Rhetorical Applications of New Testament Verbs of Communication with Contrasting Secondary Emphasis
Program Unit: Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics
Paul Danove, Villanova University

This paper describes the licensing properties of the four New Testament verbs of communication (a?t??, d?d?s??, e?a??e????, and ???µat???) that may emphasize either the content of communication or its interpreter as object and investigates three significant rhetorical applications of contrasting verbal emphasis in specific contexts. The introductory discussion establishes the criteria for identifying verbs of communication and develops two features that permit the resolution of four distinct usages of communication. The discussion then resolves the occurrences of the four verbs into their various usages. The concluding discussion investigates three rhetorical applications of contrasting emphasis with particular verbs.


Paul and the Empire: Various Readings of Romans 13:1-7
Program Unit:
Eduardo de la Serna, Universidad Católica Argentina

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The Feminine Voices in the Odes of Solomon: The Odes of Solomon from a Gender Perspective
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
María de los Ángeles Roberto, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

This research examines the possibility of the Odes of Solomon being written in the context of a community of women. The relationship between women and writing in the Ancient Near East, the date of composition, location and community of origin is investigated, as is the translation and relationship of the Odes with Jewish, Christian and Gnostic traditions. The drafting has been circumscribed to 2nd Century Syria and considered as an apocryphal piece of literature. Since the Holy Spirit is presented in the Odes through feminine actions as giving birth, feeding and providing care, the investigation on the imagery of the body and its relationship with the feminine hypostases of the Holy Spirit is at the very core of the analysis. Moreover the Messiah and God are referred to as a midwife and are described breastfeeding and cradling. The linguistic and stylistic evidence of the Odes shows that the images of female breasts, breastfeeding and maternity could have only been written by a woman. The historicization of the emergence of the deaconesses in Syria and of their social status in that church during the first three centuries of Christianity, casts some light on the possibility that the female author of the Odes of Solomon could have arisen from that community of female readers, knowledgeable of the Holy Scriptures and possessors of the art of writing. Through various scientific theories it is shown how silenced groups of women are given voice in the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Apocrypha, highlighting the necessity to seek more female authorships in both the biblical and apocryphal texts.


Of Holy Children and Avenging Fire: Textual History and the Interpretation of Isaiah in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Rodrigo Franklin de Sousa, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between the textual history of the Greek Bible (LXX) and the hermeneutics of Hebrews. Using the Isaiah citations as a test case, we seek to demonstrate that the plurality of textual forms available to the author of Hebrews had a decisive influence on his interpretation of the prophetic scroll. The paper starts with a brief survey of the scriptural citations in Hebrews and the major views regarding their sources. We move on to a closer look at the Isaiah citations and propose an explanation for their form in the Epistle. ?An analysis of the citations will indicate that Hebrews is dependent on a variety of text forms. This is important for two primary reasons. From the standpoint of textual criticism, it shows that Hebrews is a witness to the fluidity of the text of the Greek Bible before its major recensions. From the standpoint of the theological outlook of Hebrews, it shows that the material, social and cultural conditions in which his interpretive activity took place had a decisive influence on his reading. We will briefly establish a link between material culture (that is, the actual texts and tools available for interpretation) and the reading of Scripture in Hebrews. This is done within a theoretical standpoint developed in dialogue with the work of sociologists and cultural theorists such as Peter Berger, Peter Burke, Mikhail Bakhtin and Pierre Bourdieu.


The Mystical Nature of the Christophany in Revelation 1
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Pieter G.R. de Villiers, University of the Free State

This paper will focus on mystical features of the Christophany in Revelation 1 as an example of the mystical nature of apocalypses. After a brief overview of recent interpretations of apocalypses as mystical texts, the paper investigates literary features of Revelation 1 that point towards the mystical nature of the Christophany and that projects an extraordinary, exalted nature of the Christophany in Revelation 1. The second part explains the Christophany in terms of recent apocalyptic research on apocalyptic texts as the mystical revelation of hidden knowledge, focussing on the glory of the Son of Man. The paper concludes with an explanation of the function of this mystical picture of Christ in the letter's communication situation and the way in which a mystical Christology illuminates the relationship of believers with the divine.


Psalm 146 in German, English, Dutch, and Arabic Protestant Hymns
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Willem J. de Wit, Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo

This paper, part of a larger project on Psalm 146, will discuss how Psalm 146 is used in a selection of German, English, Dutch, and Arabic Protestant hymns based on Psalm 146, beginning with Paul Gerhardt's "Du meine Seele, singe." For example, how are the “princes” (v. 3) understood, how “the God of Jacob” (v. 5) and “Zion” (v. 10), how the “making” of both “heaven and earth” (v. 6) and of “justice (v. 7), and how “the oppressed,” “the hungry,” etc. in these hymns? Is there any interplay with the Gospel narratives about Jesus’ deeds and with Christian eschatology? In how far do such hymns (or metrical versions of the Psalm) enrich the understanding of the Psalm? And where do they show loss of meaning that future writers of hymns based on Psalm 146 may seek to overcome?


Plantinga, Thompson, and Lundberg's Interaction with Biblical Theology in Their Introduction to Christian Theology
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Willem J. de Wit, Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo

Richard J. Plantinga, Thomas R. Thompson, and Matthew D. Lundberg begin most chapters of their book An Introduction to Christian Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) with an exploration of the “Biblical materials.” This paper will analyze in how far these Biblical sections are conversant with current developments in Biblical theology and in how far they provide a model for the usage and integration of Biblical theology into systematic theology.


Hannahanna Hold the King, the Queen and the Land of Hatti: Hittite Imaginary Landscape in Perspective
Program Unit: Place, Space, and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Romina Della Casa, Universidad Católica Argentina - CONICET

The point of departure for the present analysis is the idea that landscape—understood as an intersection between a given society and the material environment that surrounds it—can be traced from different cultural manifestations, as in the Hattic-Hittite myths and rites. In these instances, specific areas of the Anatolian environment became places for attention and reflection—such as groves, vineyards, rivers, the under waters, the steppes and cities as well—of which different stories were narrated, and where important acts of the gods were believed to have occurred. The texts under analysis are known as the myths of the “vanishing gods” or “angry gods,” which narrate the actions developed by deities who suddenly became angry and left the Hittite world, as well as the practices carried out by other gods to change his/her state. In this regard, special consideration will be given to the myth of ?anna?anna (CTH 334), a text dedicated to this Mother Goddess, a deity of wisdom, one among other deities of magic, who had the ability and the power to arbitrate in conflicts between the gods. For CTH 334 in particular, a comparative approach to the Anatolian texts will be developed, together with the study of grammatical features in the texts—e.g. the use of the Hitt. verb ?ar- / ?ark- and Hitt. pre-verbs like anda or šara linked to different locations—, etymological observations, and the incorporation of theoretical notions from anthropological studies (mainly the concepts of “ritual symbolism,” “embodiment,” and “symbolic redundancy”). All in all, the objective of the present study is to bring light to how the Hittites incorporated symbolic images of their landscape into their narratives.


A Função Didática do tonto no Livro do Eclesiastes
Program Unit:
Cássio Murilo Dias da Silva, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

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A New Agenda for Rethinking Inspiration: How Latin American Hermeneutics Can Help
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Cássio Murilo Dias da Silva, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul

The pursuit of the significant convergence between the biblical context and the current context requires a new way of thinking about inspiration. For Latin American Biblical hermeneutics, the fundamental identity of meaning is more important than the analogy between situations. Thus, the "apologetic" approach, which uses the concept of inspiration to prove that Holy Scripture comes from God, has long proven to be inadequate and insufficient. For the Latin American reading, that the Bible is the "Word of God" is an assumption: the problem is not "if" Scripture is the "Word of God," but "how" it is so. The issues raised by the search for identity of sense refer to how (and why) texts of human authors are received and assumed as Word "of God." So, hermeneutical reflection about inspiration should stop thinking about the causality of Scripture, and instead begin thinking about the "adequacy" of the text: How do different literary and language strategies express theological differences of parallel texts or about the same subject? How does each text intend to convince and persuade the reader, and what praxis does it intend to lead? How and why is a text, written to another people, another culture, other historical and social circumstances, assumed to be valid for us? How and why do we see ourselves in the biblical text? Is the biblical text the only inspired text or are there others? What makes the biblical text unique? To answer these and other questions, biblical hermeneutics needs the help of linguistics, semantics, semiology / semiotics and other sciences of literature and communication. Several texts of Mark's Gospel provide good case studies to demonstrate what it means to read the biblical text with a new concept of "inspiration."


“All those who have sinned will curse me”: The Disobedience of Eve in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve (GLAE) 10.2
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Magdalena Diaz Araujo, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo / Universidad Nacional de La Rioja

This essay proposes a novel analysis on a specific passage of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve (GLAE) that could shed light, firstly, on the composition of this text, through the consideration of similar exegesis to those founded in the Targumim of Genesis, and, secondly, on the particular comprehension of Eve’s sin and its consequences to humankind. In the GLAE 10.2, Eve weeps and says: “Unfortunate that I am; if I come to the day of the Resurrection, all those who have sinned will curse me saying: ‘Eve has not kept the commandment of God’.” This charge of Eve is central to the understanding of the story where it is included and allows us to advance significantly in the discernment of the responsibility assigned to the first woman. In fact, Eve expresses such lament as a consequence of the attack of a beast, which hurts Seth (GLAE [37] 10.1) during their quest of the oil of the tree of life (GLAE 9-14). And in her words, we find not only the explanation of this injury, but also the unique meaning of this attack. This article will focus on the manuscript evidence of two phrases: “the day of the Resurrection” (e?? t?? ?µ??a? t?? ??ast?se??), and “all those who have sinned will curse me” (p??te? ?? ?µa?t?sa?te? ?ata??s??ta? µe), as well as the differences that this passage offers with the parallel variants provided by the Georgian, Armenian, Latin, and Slavonic versions of the Life of Adam and Eve.


The Network "Arraigos para la Vida”
Program Unit:
Graciela Dibo, Instituto Raspanti

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Theology and colonialism: the process of establishment of monotheism in Israel
Program Unit:
Luiz José Dietrich, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná

The relations between Theology and the Colonial project in the process of establishment of monotheism in Israel. The basis of theological conceptions that legitimates of violence against native American people, African and Afrodescendents. In search of a intercultural and liberating rereading of monotheism.


Imperialismo en la Biblia Hebrea: Deconstruyendo Raíces de Teologías Violentas
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Luiz José Dietrich, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná

Perspectivas colonialista e imperialistas, legitimadas por las formas religiosas combinadas con el poder del estado, están no sólo en las mediaciones político-histórico que traen la Biblia y el cristianismo a las Américas, pero también están dentro de la Biblia, y en los ambiente donde ella se desarrolló y en las teologías y espiritualidades que contiene. De hecho, en la Biblia hebrea encontramos muchos versículos que estimulan y legitiman las prácticas de dominación y violencia. Estos versículos no sólo fueron utilizados muchas veces a lo largo de la historia del Occidente, pero por desgracia todavía siguen siendo utilizados hoy día como justificación teológica para actos de discriminación, jerarquización, exclusión, dominación y otros tipos de violencia. Este ensayo tiene como objetivo discutir las raíces contextuales de estos textos bíblicos. Propone que sean interpretados como escritos relacionados a las reformas de los reyes Ezequías y Josías, como partes del largo proceso de institución del monoteísmo en Israel. Ciertamente los contextos y proyectos en que se han movido estos reformadores pueden explicar cómo y porque se elaboraron estos versos y estas teologías violentas. También quiere proponer una relectura descolonizada de los textos bíblicos como un paso importante para la fundamentación de espiritualidades y prácticas, que sin abandonar su identidad Judeo-cristiana monoteísta puedan, sin embargo, superar el carácter intolerante, excluyente y homogeneizadores incrustado en muchas de las formas de entender la divinidad y la experiencia de la fe judeo-cristiana hoy.


The Manna Pericope (Exod 16:14-15): The Terms 'Mehuspas' and 'Man' (in the Phrase man-hu') in light of Medieval Jewish Commentators and in Comparison to Modern Biblical Hebrew Philology
Program Unit: Judaica
Haim Dihi, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

In my lecture, I will discuss the adjective mehuspas and the word man in the phrase man-hu', which both occur in the Manna pericope in Exodus 16:14-15. I will present the different interpretations suggested by medieval commentators and by modern scholars and dictionaries, and I shall try to show which one of the medieval interpretations is the most appropriate in light of modern Biblical Hebrew philology. Medieval Jewish commentators suggested two different interpretations of the word mehuspas: "rounded" and "uncovered". Both suggestions have received support also in modern Biblical Hebrew philology. Thus, for example, the interpretation "rounded", which was suggested by R. Saadya Gaon, R. Yonah ibn Janach, and R. David Qimchi, has been supported by the Ben-Yehuda Dictionary. The interpretation "uncovered", suggested by Rashi (his first interpretation), Menachem ben Saruq and Nachmanides, as based on the translation of Onqelos, is supported by the modern BDB dictionary. Two medieval commentators, Rashbam and Ibn Janach (in one of the three interpretations which he suggested), rightly interpreted the word man in the phrase man–hu' as an interrogatory particle. This is also the commonly accepted interpretation in modern Biblical Hebrew philology. Admittedly, medieval commentators had no access to the ancient Semitic languages (Akkadian, Canaanite, and Ugaritic) which are available to today's scholars and through which this interpretation is considerably strengthened. They therefore relied on support from other languages (Egyptian and Aramaic). Nevertheless, their lack of knowledge of the former languages did not prevent them from ultimately arriving at the right interpretation.


Introduction: Latin American Millenarianism from Christopher Columbus to the 'Mayan Apocalypse'
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Lorenzo DiTommaso, Concordia University - Université Concordia

Research conducted over the past 30 years has illuminated the importance of apocalyptic-millennial literature, art, and social movements to the cultures and nations of South and Central America from the time of the arrival of the Europeans to the present day. ISBL 2015 in Buenos Aires provides an ideal venue for a fresh discussion of the topic in light of this scholarship and in view of new evidence, approaches, and methodologies. the session papers will form the core of an edited volume of essays on the topic that will be composed by scholars from a broad range of disciplines and that will disseminate the results of the investigation to a new audience.


Building a Millenarian Prophet: The Role of Antönio Conselheiro in the Self-definition of Brazil’s First Republic as related to His Writings
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Vicente Dobroruka, Universidade de Brasília

The main theme of this paper is that Antônio Conselheiro, in his theological writings, *never* proposed any escathology at odds with the usual material found in Catholicism of the time (Nineteenth Century); nor did he ascribe a cataclysmic event to the end of the Century or the coming of the Republic. I propose proposes a deeper look at those issues because Euclides da Cunha tells exactly the opposite about them and Canudos - and more importantly, he had, in his own possession, the second of two books known to be written by the Conselheiro. This makes his “apocalyptical view” of Canudos and of Antônio Conselheiro intriguing, to say the least.


The Case of Dalila: Conceptions of the Biblical Seductress in Medieval High German and Early Modern German Literature
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
Maria Elisabeth Dorninger, Universität Salzburg

Reading the book of Judges the role of Dalila seems to be clear as an astute seductress. Samson’s fall by a weak woman always provoked debates about its causes. Her role and even her cunnings had been discussed by Church fathers and Rabbis. As there seems to be no discussion about her negative character in the Bible, different hermeneutic methods present a diverse image of her. As to Gottfried of Admont (12th century), abbot in the monastery of Admont, Austria, the sensus allegoricus and moralis allows to apply a different concept of Dalila. Other amazing concepts of Dalila can be found in profane German Literature, presenting a Dalila that arouses sympathy and understanding as shown in the short-novel-like story in the chronicle of Jans Enikel (or Jans of Wien) in the 13th century. The paper will explore different conceptions of Dalila by presenting reflections of this discussion in bible illustrations.


Moses—Center Stage: A Performance Criticism Analysis of the Use of the Moses-Figure in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Jerome Douglas, Valley Forge Christian College

Products of an oral culture, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch stand in the shadow of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C. E. Both of these texts employ the figure of Moses to convey a message relevant to the contemporary context. Scholarly discussion on the composition and inter-relationship of these two documents has ranged from the fruits of source criticism to arguing for the primacy of one document over the other. More recent scholarship, however, has posited the interdependence of the two in a climate of both oral and textual composition. The discussion concerning the use of the Moses-figure in these two texts has yet to fully explore this Mosaic-figure employment through the lens of the original oral/ aural nature of these two texts. With its emphasis on reading texts as resulting from oral-aural events, performance criticism has emerged in recent decades as a tool to examine Second Temple era texts as performance events. As a “discreet” discipline, performance criticism intersects with historical, genre, rhetorical, orality, and ideological criticisms—to name a few. This paper will utilize performance criticism analysis to examine the use of the Moses figure in the apocalypses of 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch. It will seek to consider the Mosaic-figure engagement, in these texts, from the standpoint of oral/ aural performance events and evaluate the rhetorical impact, thereof.


From Eschatology to Economic Justice: Shifting Emphases in the Reception of Amos
Program Unit: Prophets
Göran Eidevall, Uppsala Universitet

This paper, by a scholar who is writing a commentary on Amos for the Anchor Bible, treats some aspects of the long and rich reception history of the book of Amos. Examples drawn from The Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament, and Talmud are juxtaposed with readings within contextual theology and trends in the contemporary scholarly discussion on Amos. It will be shown that ancient and modern readers have focused on quite different topics and themes within this prophetic book. It is an intriguing fact that two of the earliest textual attestations of Amos reception and interpretation, the Damascus Document and the Acts of the Apostles, quote the same passage, namely 5:25-27, on wilderness wanderings and exile. Furthermore, parts of Amos 9:11-15, the book’s hopeful epilogue, are quoted both in 4Q174 and in Acts (15:15-17). In contemporary commentaries and monographs on Amos, other passages, dealing with social and cultic critique, tend to be regarded as more central to the book’s message. An attempt will be made to explain these shifts in emphasis, as we move from ancient to modern readings, in terms of both continuity (the impact of interpretive traditions) and context-related innovation.


Moses and Monotheism This Morning
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
J. Harold Ellens, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Moses has always been a fascinating figure. Maimonides, Freud, Hoffman, and numerous scholars have made a study of him. Freud thought a problem existed with Moses’ perception of reality. Maimonides treated Moses as a human with flaws and infallibility. Jesus’ problem with Moses was that Moses was a behaviorist and Jesus was a Rogerian. The Mishnah and Talmudim treat him as venerable. Hoffman saw Moses as heroic. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and treat him hagiographically. This paper revisits Freud and Jesus to ask whether the real Moses is available for psychological assessment, and should he be, what he was really up to and what was it he achieved.


Hebrews 11 and the Ecumenical Biblical Theology of ‘Faith’
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Mark W. Elliott, University of St. Andrews

In Heb 10:22 the writer seems to be leaving typology behind when he exhorts: ‘let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings’. That, however, does not define ‘faith’ but rather states its product. Then, as the chapter goes on, it is almost as though the writer goes on for seventeen more verses before he is ‘tripped up’ as it were by Hab 2:3-4, and concludes (39) ‘But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved’. One knows what perseverance is, and the stories to follow after verse 4 of chapter 11 will make that abundantly clear, but perseverance in faith, not in virtue is the issue of Heb 11. So ‘faith’ has to be defined. Or, what is it to have faith? A provisional conclusion from a first reading of Heb 11:1 might be: ‘the existential momentary disposition that allows perception of future as well as present and past’. The future things are there in v.1a, and possible other invisible things in v.1b, depending on how one takes the parallelism. In v.3, past and present things (creation out of nothing perhaps in a ‘continuous sense’, until the (full) vision of non-phenomenal things) seem to be balanced. The ‘right’ exegesis here is of less interest to this paper than how Catholics exegetes (in the light of the fides quae/fides qua and the explicit/implicit faith) have been, thanks to Vatican II, pioneers of a theologically aware commentary. With attention to the work of Kuss and Backhaus, but also of Grässer and Karrer, the paper will examine the extent to which ‘ecumenical’ discussion on Hebrews 11 has been more a distraction than an enlightening benefit.


History, Purpose, and the Loss of a Sense of Both: A Discussion of the Final Two Volumes of M. Saebø's Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Mark W. Elliott, University of St. Andrews

In succession to the four-way panel on the earlier volumes at Vienna (2014), I shall attempt to summarise and consider how the gradual loss of confidence in the historical paradigm for biblical study is reflected even in these two volumes. The second volume has what one reader has called 'rear-view mirror driving'. There is indeed a surprising amount of 'ressourcing', even a nostalgia for better times.


Towards Contextualizing "Contextual Bible Study" among the Bikoom Peoples and Their Neighbors in Ghana
Program Unit: Postcolonial Studies
Nathan Esala, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Given the colonial practice of de-provincializing and universalizing its practices (Chakrabarty 1992), how can Contextual Bible Study (West 2006), developed in South Africa which seeks to affirm expressions of local liberation against dominating discourses involving the Bible, be re-contextualized in a different postcolonial context without operating in neocolonial modes? The Bik??m people groups in the Northern region of Ghana, have strong local traditions that are under external and internal pressure through religious and secular discourses in which local groups perceive that their traditions are viewed as backward. The “public transcript” of dialogue with outside entities follows a script where local groups affirm what the outside entity is proposing while looking for ways to glean from the interaction, and when the transaction is not favorable, they practice modes of dissimulation rather than engaging in direct dialogue (Scott 1990, 2013). While I affirm the wisdom of practices of dissimulation, nevertheless this paper describes my attempt to circumvent the typical scenario by attempting to create safer spaces or “heterotopias” (West 2009). I do this by working with different “organized” subgroups looking for signals in the “infrapolitics” of our dialogues that may point to an articulation of social pain or resistance.


First Enoch and Theodicy
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Annette Evans, University of the Free State

The Hebrew Bible takes it for granted that God created the world, and proclaims (axiomatically) that creation was good, but it does not explain why ‘bad things happen to good people’. In the context of God as both creator and ‘father’, rampant evil and suffering confront us with the problem of theodicy and the dilemma of divine justice. In Jewish Wisdom writing, for instance the book of Job, the implication is that it is not for man to question the ways of God. However, Proverbs 8 describes a Wisdom that understands all things, and is accessible to the human mind. For Jews in the Persian period Moses had been the dominant icon associated with law. The deuteronomic conviction that where there is disorder there is wickedness was taken for granted. However, in the new intellectual climate of Hellenism during which Jewish apocalyptic emerged, the figure of Enoch was focused on science and nature. In I Enoch the secrets of natural phenomenon could now be released for the knowledge and benefit of the just because the days of eschatological fulfilment were close at hand. Certain sections of 1Enoch stress the symmetry and regularity of nature and set out the laws which govern the movement of the great heavenly bodies in Nature. These are referred to in terms of measurement, weight, quantity and proportion. Such meticulous observations, still today, form the foundation of the discipline of science. This article considers the possibility that the fertility of thought and observation in such apocalyptic texts contributed some of the seeds of what culminated more than two thousand years later in the scientific knowledge about evolution as the most feasible explanation of the inevitability of suffering in the natural world.


Living to Give: The Prosperity Gospel in Global and Biblical Perspective
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Janet Everts, Hope College

When Western Christians hear that “one of the fastest growing segments of Pentecostalism is churches that teach the Prosperity Gospel”, they assume that impoverished people are being manipulated and exploited. This is sometimes the case, but local observers in various parts of the world also point out that these preachers give people hope and encourage them to organize their lives and new ways that lead to upward social mobility. (Miller and Yamamori, Global Pentecostalism, pp. 175-176) Although some Western sociologists and missiologists are reevaluating their assumptions about the Prosperity Gospel and its impact on the global poor, Western biblical scholars are practically universal in the condemnation of the prosperity teachers’ interpretation and application of key biblical passages. This paper will look at two key Pauline passages used by nearly every prosperity teacher, Galatians 3:7-14 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, and ask whether the hermeneutic that guides Western biblical interpretation is really adequate for evaluating a teaching that has found its primary cultural home outside Europe and North America. It will also look at some of the sociological examples of upward social mobility found in Pentecostal churches, especially in Latin America.


Is Jonah Also among the Leaders?
Program Unit: Authority and Influence in Ancient Times
Erik Eynikel, Universität Regensburg

The prophet Jonah is sent to Niniveh to announce the inhabitants that God knows their evil deeds. From a prophet we expect leadership, using his rhetorical skills to persuade his audience to change their life, in the case of Jonah to move the Ninivites away from their evil deeds. Jonah doesn't do that. Instead the king of Niniveh is taken the role of the prophet. The paper will investigate the rhetorics used by the king of Niniveh in his language to convince the hearers of his words (Ninivites) but the rhetorics of he book (parable) of Jonah as a whole to convince its readers (the intended Judean readers and we as actual readers) to convince us "to move away from our evil deeds". Because the book of Jonah is a parable, it has a strong persuasive power and therefore can serve also today, especially in our multicultural society, as a rhetorical means to convince people to move towards a common goal.


Where Moses Stood
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Robert Feather, The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining

Biblical scholars have long been trying to establish the authenticity and route of the Exodus. This paper does not claim to define the exact route of the ‘mixed company’ that left Egypt, but describes one that is claimed to be the most accurate suggested to date. It also pinpoints the exact mountain where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments and provides corroborative evidence in the form of a newly identified Sinaitic Hebrew inscription; remains of the Tabernacle built at the base of the mountain; an extant copper snake, said to have been used by Moses to ward off poisonous serpents; the remains of an artefact that was once carried in the Ark of the Covenant.


O Êxodo da Casa de quem não é o Pai: Estudo de Ex 4,19-23
Program Unit:
Leonardo Agostini Fernandes, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

This paper studies a brief episode about the previous experience of the exodus from the Egypt and the difficulties that Moses, the mediator, will meet to realize his mission. This analyses makes use more a synchronic approach, to emphasize and to explore the literary dimension, because in this approach is possible to obtain, with more clearness, the literal sense and the total sense in the text. In this paper avert to fell in the temptation that conduce many scholarships in the past went preoccupied much more with the process and the stages that the final considerations. The reason for this choice stems from the perceptions that the tensions found in the text don’t give only evidence the development the history, but also a strong desire to create a unified narrative, for the message would be more readily for the interlocutor: an experience and expression for the faith in a liberator God. Keywords: Old Testament, Exodus, Liberation, Mediation, Oppression


The Body Image and the Option for the Weak (1 Cor 12, 22-23)
Program Unit: Latino/a and Latin American Biblical Interpretation
Joel Ferreira, Pontifical Catholic University Goias

Abstract: "Even those members of the body which seem less important are in fact indispensable. We honor the members we consider less honorable by clothing them with greater care" (1 Cor 12, 22-23). This quote portrays the backbone that supports the entire text of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, i.e., the preferential option for the "weak". In this metaphor of the human body, Paul was speaking of the Christian community of Corinth. When defining the weak as the "less important" and "indispensable”, we are possibly looking at the poor and the slaves of Corinth and the entire Roman Empire. Given the deeply unjust society, the Apostle shows what side he takes: The weak are the most honorable, and the less worthy of honor we surround with greater care. The existential and pastoral option of Paul for the "weak", those below the imperial pyramid, was crystal clear. In this citation, he was sending a message to the "strong" (1 Cor 1,26) in the church of Corinth and a warning to the powerful inhabitants of the Roman Empire. God has made a clear option for the poor and the slaves. The "arrogant" of the Church of Corinth, that is, those that discriminate against the poor, could not subject themselves to the Roman slave mode of production in the small units of the "ekklesia" because the members who seemed to be insignificant in the body were the most needed. This is the embryo of Liberation Theology.


Mechanisms of Power in the Groups of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Clarisse Ferreira da Silva, Universidade de São Paulo

Any leadership without a clear and a societally accepted source of authority, in the form of institutions such as royal family and its claims for hereditary rights, a sanctuary, a popular or representative election or others, depending on the regime valid in a specific society, needs to replace this lack of more natural legitimacy with other kinds of artificial or violent mechanisms of power to ensure its permanence as head of its community, group or society. In this perspective, we are allowed to ask ourselves how the leaders of the groups which authored the sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls, as we can infer from texts such as the Rule of the Community, who were predominantly priests, supposedly managed to guarantee their position, despite having natural claims for authority by birth, but being far from the only institution that emanated their indisputable source of power: the Temple of Jerusalem. Based on central sectarian documents as the Rule of the Community and the Damascus Document, texts in which these communities found the basis for all their organization, we purpose to recognize, point out and analyse some of these mechanisms of power which apparently kept these close communities alive and united for circa 150 years, although they tried to avert any contact with surrounding world.


The Empire as Deceiver: Revelation 13:11-18 and the Role of the Beast
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Pablo Ferrer, Instituto Superior Evangélico de Estudios Teológicos

Revelation is a prophetic book that uncovers, or 'reveals', many mechanisms of oppression and death at work in society. The core of the book may well be the narrative of the two beasts, where Revelation expresses poignantly how Empire operates. This paper considers the second beast and its strategies, which aim to establish a social construction that allows and facilitates oppression. Specific attention will be given to the beast’s manipulation of the constructions of history, the market, and symbolic religious power. The presentation will conclude by exposing some of the similarities between the Roman Empire and the current one.


Etimologias Bíblicas como Estratégia Literária na Arte Narrativa
Program Unit:
Telmo José Amaral de Figueiredo, Universidade de São Paulo

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The Apocryphal Acts: Genre and Context
Program Unit:
José Adriano Filho, Faculdade Teológica Unida

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Spatial Wars and the Making of a Pagan Roman Empire: Emperor Julian’s Use of Jewish Scriptures, Jewish Practice, and Heroes to Contain the Cult of the Martyrs and Open Space for Pagan Orthopraxy
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Ari Finkelstein, University of Cincinnati

In 363 CE, Julian, nephew of Constantine the Great, set out to return the Roman Empire to his own brand of pagan religion based on theurgic Neoplatonism. Julian believed that only proper worship of the gods would ensure their beneficence and guarantee the success of the empire. Faced with stiff resistance to his program from Christians and pagans alike in Antioch, Julian employed Jewish Scriptures and heroes to structure space, model orthopraxy for pagans, and alter how Christians perceived of the dead and themselves. Controlling and promoting sacred space was essential to the spread of Julian’s pagan orthodoxy and to his authority. The cult of the Christian martyrs was particularly troubling to Julian who believed the dead to be impure. This paper examines how Julian attempted to transform and control sacred space in Antioch using scriptural interpretation and active Jewish worship at the Maccabean martyr tomb in an effort to disrupt Christian memories of the cult of the Christian martyrs. It imagines what it would have been like for an Arian as he journeyed to the Antiochene suburb of Daphne to pray at the Maccabean martyr shrine. We will examine how he might have been affected by Julian’s interpretation of the holy in Isaiah 65:4 as it interacted in his mind with Eusebius of Caesarea’s interpretation of the same verse and how Julian’s re-characterization of the Maccabean martyrs as Jews who died for their food laws might have altered Christian perceptions of these martyrs and their own past. In so doing, he invited Christians to view their Jewish neighbors who kept dietary laws and worshipped the Maccabean martyrs as part of an authentic and an ancient people, the same people as the Hebrews of the Old Testament, thereby undermining the Church Fathers’ claim that Christians were the true Israel.


Pseudo-Aristotle’s Oeconomica: An Analysis
Program Unit: Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy
John T. Fitzgerald, University of Notre Dame

Pseudo-Aristotle’s Oeconomica is one of the most important yet neglected early economic treatises of the Greek-speaking world. It is a composite work that consists of three books, with each book almost certainly composed by a different author. Book 1, which is heavily dependent on both Aristotle’s Politics and Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, distinguishes between politics and economics, and argues that the latter is concerned with both acquisition and usage. Book 2, which contains the first use of the term “political economy,” identifies four kinds of economies (royal, provincial, political, and private) and gives numerous examples of financial and other endeavors, drawing principally upon Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. Book 3 is focused on the relationship of husband and wife within the ancient household and thus has particular relevance for the ancient Haustafeln. This paper will offer a basic analysis and indicate its relevance for the study of early Christianity and the ancient economy.


Otherness and Antagonism in Egypt: The Construction of Differential Identity Processes during the Late Second Intermediate Period/Early New Kingdom
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Roxana Flammini, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

The concept of “otherness” refers to the reinforcement of social identity through the opposition to “others” considered different. During the Second Intermediate Period, the relationships among Egyptians, Nubians and Asiatics offer a special scenario to analyze the perception of “otherness” at the level of elite interaction. The Hyksos, the foreign dynasty which intended to control not only Lower Egypt but also Upper Egypt, built a distinctive and unique identity as rulers made of local and foreign elements. An amalgam of old and new practices can also be detected. In this vein, the adoption of the Egyptian language and script and of part of the Egyptian royal titulary can be explained as elite emulation, while other practices point to reinforce their foreign origin (sacred buildings, palaces, many religious and funerary beliefs). Material culture tends to reflect these parameters. Contemporary and later rejection - and vilification - of these rulers by the Egyptians can be explained as a way to reinforce the Egyptian identity by antagonism.


A Tale of Two Recently Discovered Cities: Bethsaida and Magdala
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
Richard Freund, University of Hartford

In 1987, Rami Arav declared that the site of Et-Tell on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee was the site of the ancient city of Bethsaida. Excavations conducted over the next 28 years have yielded much information on a fishing village and city and its iterations. In 2009 Dina Avshalom Gorni, Arfan Najar and Marcela Zapata announced the re-discovery of a city called Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The site of et-Tell was investigated by scores of excavators in the 19th and early 20th century with varying results and the site of Majdal has been investigated since the 1970s by major excavators with varying results. The two sites are today thought of as two of the most important parts of the missing sacred geography that pilgrims sought over the last millennium. We will examine some of the archaeological evidence found at both sites and compare their rediscoveries.


An Existential Interpretation of Paul’s View of Sin: A Dialogue between the New Perspective and Continental Philosophy
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Peter Frick, University of Waterloo

In one sense, the Apostle Paul was the founder of Christian hermeneutics by virtue of his interpretation of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Today, Pauline interpretation entails the hermeneutical task of making intelligible Paul’s interpretation of Jesus by interpreting Paul’s letters. This task is both complex and complicated in that all Pauline interpretation has underlying hermeneutical and philosophical presuppositions and, therefore, requires a dialogue between exegesis, theology and philosophy. The objective of this essay is to demonstrate that Pauline exegesis by itself is not sufficient in retrieving a comprehensive understanding of Paul. I propose that the disciplinary division between biblical exegesis and theological, philosophical thinking is a false and ultimately unfruitful dichotomy. In order to make my case as concretely as possible, I will limit myself to an engagement with the new perspective on Paul, primarily the work of N.T. Wright, and in particular his understanding of the topic of sin. Wright pays little attention to the question of sin. We may concede that his view of sin is implied in his exegesis and biblical theology, but that begs another more fundamental question: if the new perspective is the “answer” to Paul’s thought as a whole, then it must be asked what in Paul’s thought is the “question” as such? The crux of my argument is that unless we understand Paul’s view of sin in all its exegetical, theological and philosophical dimensions, we will necessarily be weak in our “answers.” Recourse to existential philosophy – in our case the ontological thinking of Tillich, Heidegger, Gadamer and other continental philosophers – will actually lead to a much more nuanced and deeper understanding of sin by working out the decisive distinction between sin and sins.


Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Qumran
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Ida Fröhlich, Pázmány Péter Catholic University

Fragments of three narrative works belonging to the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha were found in the Qumran caves: Tobit (represented by the Septuagint’s Greek text before the discovery of the Qumran Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of the work), 1 Enoch, and Jubilees (both known in shorter Greek and longer Ethiopic translations before the discovery of their Qumran Aramaic and Hebrew texts). The Enochic fragments found in Qumran cover only a part of the work known today as 1 Enoch or Ethiopic Enoch (chs. 37-71 are not represented in Qumran). On the other hand the earliest Aramaic manuscript tradition contains material that is not known from 1 Enoch (the Astronomical Book and the Book of Giants). The narrative on the fall of the Watchers (1 Enoch 6-11) is a seminal part of the early Enochic tradition. The story explains the origin of the evil – which is a recurrent theme in the pericopae of Gen 1-11. The Enochic story shapes the origin of the physical/natural evil in cosmic terms, and attributes evil to the activity of impure demons. Differently from this Genesis 1-11originates evil in human factors. Both traditions are shaped in the terms of Mesopotamian culture that backgrounded exilic Judaism. The authors of Tobit and Jubilees were acknowledged with both Enochic and Genesis traditions. The paper aims at investigating how Enochic themes (intermarriage, demonology) and Genesis tradition were referred to, used and reworked in these works, and how this socio-symbolic construction of traditions served the self-definition of the authors’ communities.


Qumran Spiritual Rituals
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Ida Fröhlich, Pázmány Péter Catholic University

11Q?5 (11QPs/a)? ?xxvii.?4-10 gives a list of yearly liturgical compositions attributed to David. Some of the items can be related to various Qumran texts: the four songs written „for the stricken” can be identified with the four compositions contained in 11Q11 (one of them being Psalm 91), and the Davidic songs written for the Shabbats may be related to the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400–407; 11Q17). 11Q11 containing apotropaic rituals against demonic harms, uttered on the four liminal days (equinoxes and solstices) of a 364 days “ideal” year forms the cornerstones of a new liturgical year. Vernal and autumnal equinoxes coincide in the ideal calendar with the traditional festivals of Pesah and New Year. Song 3 in 11Q11v.4-vi.3 is an incantation written against a frightening demonic apparition on Pesah night. The idea of Pesah being connected with demonic aggression is in line with the concept worded in Jubilees 49, according to which it is the proper observing of the Pesah festival that can assure protection against fatal demonic assaults through the year. The mystical antiphonal liturgies of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice arranged in a quarterly order might have been intended to secure a regular connection between the heavenly sanctuary and an earthly community on the days of Shabbat. The composition called Dibre ha-Meorot „Words of the Luminaries” (4Q504-506) - prayers written for the consecutive days of the week ending with the Sabbath – will also be examined against the above calendrical and liturgical background.


The Concept of “Ta'rif” in the Qur’an
Program Unit: Quran and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective
Abdulla Galadari, Masdar Institute / Al Maktoum College of Higher Education

The interpretation of the term “yu?arrifun” in the Qur’an has caught the attention of past and modern scholars alike. The interpretation of the term ranges from the distortion of text (ta?rif al-laf?) to the distortion of meaning (ta?rif al-ma‘na). It is argued that the Qur’anic use of the term “yu?arrifun” neither describes the distortion of text nor meaning, but simply is defined by the root meaning of “yu?arrifun,” which is to turn away or to bend (in?iraf). The Qur’an accuses the Jews of “yu?arrifun” in Q. 5:41, but two verses later in Q. 5:43, it describes how the Jews already have the Torah with God’s laws in it. If the Qur’anic use of the term “yu?arrifun” is an accusation that the Jews distorted the text in Q. 5:41, then it would not have almost immediately after state that they have the Torah with God’s laws. On the contrary, it is argued that within the same chapter, the Qur’an requires the People of the Book to stand upon their scriptures, using the term “tuqimu” (i.e. Q. 5:66, 5:68). The root of the term “tuqimu” means “istiqamah,” which is to straighten. It is contrasted with the Qur’anic use of the term “yu?arrifun,” which means to bend (in?iraf).


Los Naasenos y sus Relaciones con el Setianismo y la Filosofía
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Juan Bautista García Bazán, Universidad de Cuyo

En primer lugar este trabajo propone repensar las afinidades temáticas y de vocabulario existentes entre la noticia de los naasenos de Hipólito de Roma y el setianismo, en particular el que se desprende del Códice VII, 5 de Nag Hammadi, Las Tres Estelas de Set. En segundo lugar se analizarán las menciones que hacen los sectarios gnósticos de Homero y de los presocráticos, a propósito de la cuestión de este panel: los contactos entre el gnosticismo y la filosofía griega.


On the Possible Relationship of Women and Drinking in the Bible and Some Tango Letters
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Mercedes Garcia-Bachmann, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

Scholarly studies on alcohol consumption and the Bible are not abundant, being restricted mostly to studies of the pericopes where wine or drunkenness is mentioned. Some articles address the debate within certain evangelical churches on this issue. Thus, they are organized in order to prove the Bible’s authorization (or rejection) on alcohol. While I do not find anything wrong with those papers or with their authors’ ethical or ecclessial concern, I bring a different focus. What are the reasons laid out for drinking --if they are made explicit at all-- and its consequences on women? In particular, I will explore any possible blame on women for a man’s drinking abuse. Only four biblical texts directly relate a man’s drinking to women: Lot’s daughters (Genesis 19), Esther’s two banquets (Esth 5:6; 7:2), and Lady Wisdom (Prov 9). In Song of Songs 8:2, the Shulamite dreams of bringing her lover into her mother’s house and there give him “spiced wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranates” (meant to be taken literally or as a reference to her body?). While Lot’s daughters might be blamed for their incest (interpretations vary on that), none of the other texts blames the women involved or is accusatory toward women for drinking. Drunkards may bring unpleasant moments on those around them. The Bible is aware of some of those, including motion sickness, making a fool of oneself, and exposing a woman to a difficult situation. It is part of its wisdom to alert against these disorders. Comparison to some tango letters, in which the man attributes his need to get drunk to lovesickness (which, in traditional tangos, refers always to a heterosexual relationship and therefore, to the woman leaving him) will show different cultural responses to the drive to drink.


The Theology and Gender Forum at ISEDET
Program Unit:
Mercedes Garcia-Bachmann, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

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Biblical Motifs and the Reshaping of a Native Tale from the Pacific: Los Gigantes de Manta in the Crónica del Perú from Pedro Cieza de León (1553)
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Juan Carlos Garzón, Universidad de Buenos Aires

This paper explores the use of biblical motifs in Spanish American Colonial historiography. It studies the chapter of the historiographical text Cronica del Perú (1553) in which its author Pedro Cieza de Leon relates the story of the Gigantes de Manta, a native oral tradition fossil based tale about supersized humans that came through the sea and seized the coast of Manta. In his version, the characters appear depicted through Biblical motifs: the oversized invaders are a group of sodomite giants that are slayed and burned to ashes by a Lord’s angel that descends from heaven with a refulgent sword. In the first place, this paper proceeds to enquire the process of narrative reshaping by noting the elements that were present in the Pre-Hispanic story and their adaptation into Christian topics that appear on the Bible. Following this, it studies the implications of this reshaping in the context of the early colonization of the Andes, particularly in relation with the previous presence of the Devil in the New World, one of the principal Spanish arguments to justify the need of Colonization and Christianization.


Dwelling Metaphors in the Depiction of Old Age, Death, and Love: A Study of Qoh 12:1-7 and Its Reception in Jorge Luis Borges’ Poem “El Amenazado”
Program Unit: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible
Laura Giancarlo, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

This paper’s starting point will be the final poem in Qo 12:1-7. We will study the biblical text and analyze its metaphorical structure which makes use of the source domain of the house to depict - according to one of its interpretations- the human experiences of old age and death. References to this text can be found in “El Amenazado” (“The Threatened One”), a contemporary poem by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986). A metaphorical analysis of this poem shows that, in Borges’ reception, the metaphorical entailment of the house/dwelling source domain maps onto a new target domain: love. Consequently, the perception and emotions associated with old age and death on the one hand and love on the other are poetically matched. In this paper, both poems will be analyzed with the aid of theoretical tools from cognitive linguistics such as conceptual metaphor and blending.


James, Job, and the "Blessed Person"
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Jason Gish, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

"You have heard of the patience of Job." What might have James expected his readers to know concerning the tradition of Job when he presents this exemplar in James 5:11? Recent scholarship answers this question by turning to the Testament of Job, which specifically attributes the characteristic of hypomone to the person of Job. With this beginning point, scholars find other thematic material in the Testament easily identifiable in the letter of James as well. With evidence in hand, they conclude that James and his readers know of the person of Job primarily through the tradition as reflected in the Testament of Job. The problem with this approach, however, is that it neglects examining those themes associated most closely with James in the letter of James, namely, blessedness, endurance, and perfection. Yes, the letter of James and the Testament of Job have several themes in common, themes such as hospitality and the dualism between heaven and earth. But an examination of themes most closely related to Job in the letter of James might serve as a better indicator of the potential source for James's understanding of Job. In this study, I will examine the development of one of these themes in the letter of James, LXX Job, and the Testament of Job. The hope is to illuminate one of the two latter texts as a suitable or preferred text for expression of the traditions of Job as understood during the first century. The expected conclusion of this study may provide hesitancy in embracing the Testament of Job as the ideal source for understanding James's employment of Job as an exemplar and give weight to the idea the LXX Job may be sufficient as a source of tradition for James and his readers.


Crisis, Solution, and Authorial Intention in 4 Ezra
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Lydia Gore-Jones, Macquarie University

Scholarly interpretations of 4 Ezra are largely divided between the psychological approach on the one hand, which understands the work as describing the character Ezra’s religious transformation as a result of his dialogue with Uriel and his visions, and the theological approach on the other, which views it as an intra-Jewish debate, with Uriel and Ezra representing conflicting theological ideas. While the theological perspective often neglects the significance of the visions and the epilogue for the work as a whole, the psychological perspective often fails to give due consideration to authorial intention. An alternative approach is to focus on the general purpose of the work by asking, “what is the critical issue that the author addresses, and what is his solution?” 4 Ezra was written to address a tremendous challenge brought by the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. The nature of the crisis in 4 Ezra, this paper contends, lies specifically with Israel’s covenant and election as God’s people under threat. Traditional beliefs based on covenant, divine justice, sin and atonement are found inadequate in the light of the crisis; yet tradition is not rejected but redefined and complemented with new revelations about the coming age. The pseudepigraphical choice of Ezra as a second Moses, and the portrayal of Ezra as restoring not only the Torah (the twenty-four books mentioned in the epilogue) but also the seventy hidden books that contain esoteric knowledge of equal authority, show the author’s attempt to claim scriptural status for the apocalyptic books – perhaps including his own text - in addition to the Torah. Thus the destruction of the Temple is not the end of God’s covenant with his people. Keeping the Law and looking for the age to come are the author’s response to the crisis of Israel’s election.


Why Such Difference? Questions of Method in the Dating of the Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
T. E. Goud, University of New Brunswick

While fraught with difficulties, the dating of the documents of early Christianity is unavoidable and of critical importance both for exegesis and for any attempt to reconstruct the history of early Christianity. There is, however, a very wide range of dates proposed for both canonical and non-canonical documents, primarily because differing criteria are given significantly different weight. In the case of the Gospel of Mark, two recent books have posed radically different solutions to the question of date: i) James Crossley, in The Date of Mark’s Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity (2004), argues for a date somewhere between the mid-30s and the mid-40s; ii) Markus Vinzent, in Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (2014), argues for a date for all of the synoptic gospels between 138 and 144. Both of these proposals differ not only from one another but from the common view that the synoptic gospels should be dated to the decade or two following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. The implications of the dates proposed by Crossley and Vinzent are profound for all discussions of the formation of the gospels and for the development of early Christianity. I propose to use these two books as a case study of the problems of method that arise in the effort to date the documents of early Christianity. The aim is not to advocate a particular date, but to lay bare the issues at hand. This paper would fit best in the session on “Special Themes in the Synoptic Gospels.”


"And he saw that there was no MAN about" (Exodus 2:12)
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Naomi Graetz, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

A difficult text depicts Moses' first independent action as a grown up: "He turned this way and that, and, seeing no one about (eyn ish), he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand" (Ex. 2:12). This description of Moses as murderer Is problematic and the midrash prefers to depict him as a zealot acting for justice (Yalkut Shim'oni). Rashi also justifies the act by saying that he did not foresee that any of the Egyptians descendants would convert to Judaism, so he had a right to kill him (Rashi on verse 12). No one can understand why Moses had to kill the Egyptian and furthermore where did he learn how to kill. Was it a survival instinct? Does the act of his being hidden in the basket (va-tizpenehu) parallel his hiding (va-yitmenehu) the Egyptian in the sand? Did he not realize that he had sinned until the two fighting Hebrews pointed it out to him? Was Moses' true nature violent? The tradition gives Moses a pass and sees him as one who displays moral passion and is unable to tolerate injustice. This paper argues that his action points to the fact that this is the one time in his life that he does not have the moral compass of women. A close analysis of Exodus 1-2 show a preponderance of supporting female presence and activity and this presence is strikingly absent when Moses "goes out". I argue that the phrase eyn ish means literally there was no MAN to point out there were other ways to deal with injustice; ways that did not involve murdering the perpetrator. This is the only time in his formative years that he does not have women's council, nurture or support and without that he makes the wrong choice, that of violence.


Intertextuality between Judges 4–5 and the Book of Ruth
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Naomi Graetz, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

There is both soft (weak) and hard (strong) intertextuality between the texts of Judges 4-5 and the Book of Ruth whose stories both take place in the "time of the judges". In both texts there are allusions to each other. One soft allusion is the word balat which appears only twice in the bible, in Judges 4:21 and Ruth 3:7. Yael approaches Sisera stealthily (balat) before striking a pin through his head and Ruth went over stealthily (balat) to Boaz before lying down next to him. Another soft allusion is the phrase that Barak utters, "If you will go with me, I will go; if not, I will not go." To which Deborah answers, "Very well, I will go with you" (Jud 4:8-9). This phrase alludes to the famous words of Ruth to Naomi after the latter admonishes her to turn back to her home: "for wherever you go, I will go" (Ruth 1:16). Close readings of both texts reveal that there are many more examples of intertextuality. This paper argues that two foreigners (Yael the Kenite and Ruth the Moabite), who are blessed in the tradition (Jud 5:24 and Ruth 4: 11-14), are agents for Israelite women (Deborah and Naomi) and serve as saviors under threatening circumstances (external war and internal famine). In analyzing how the two texts serve as internal commentary on each other, this paper will examine both the similarities and differences in the actions and situations of the four women who are involved in the two biblical tales.


The Intertextuality of 1 Timothy: A Comparison of the Allusions to the Septuagint and the Jewish Pseudepigrapha in the Epistle
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Brett M. Graham, Moore Theological College and University of Sydney

The Pastoral Epistles extol the Holy Scriptures as being foundational for Christian living (2 Tim 3:15-16; cf. 1 Tim 4:13), but there is only one actual citation of these Scriptures (1 Tim 5:18) in all three of the letters. Even when the handful obvious quotations are considered, there is still not the level of engagement that might be expected from the writings described as ‘useful for every good work’ (2 Tim 3:16). Meanwhile, the quotation from Epimenides in Tit 1:12 suggests that the author of the Epistles may have also had a number of other sources to draw upon. This paper seeks to investigate the way that the first of the Pastoral Epistles, 1 Timothy, engages with external sources. Particular attention will be given to the influence of both the Septuagint and the Jewish (or O.T.) Pseudepigrapha, including a comparison of the manner and extent that these two sets of documents are referenced. In this process, a distinction will be drawn between simple idioms, influences and allusions. In simple idioms, the Epistle will share vocabulary or ideas with a possible source text but there will be no apparent reason, or benefit, of referring to that text. In contrast, the source text for an influence or allusion will provide an answer to unresolved problem in the Epistle. By applying such categories consistently throughout the whole of 1 Timothy, a clear picture of the importance of these extant documents will be evident.


“For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 12:6b): The Psalm in Isaiah 12, Its Redaction and Composition
Program Unit: Prophets
Alphonso Groenewald, University of Pretoria

Isaiah 12 concludes the first main section of the written corpus of the Isaianic oracles and expresses the voice of faithful Israel in the idiom of the Psalter as a song of thanksgiving in the singular. It responds to the great deeds of God’s salvation to his people in Zion that were recorded in the first eleven chapters. What is the function of the text where it stands? What does it try to communicate to the reader or hearer in terms of its final position within the book of Isaiah? There are sound arguments for regarding Isaiah 12 as a postexilic text which was deliberately composed as a colophon to chapters 1-11 and as the transition to chapter 13ff. Allusions and quotations in this chapter allow us to draw conclusions regarding the origin of this passage with more confidence than that of many other texts in this book. It presupposes chapter 11, and most likely all of Isaiah 1-10 close to their final form. But it also presupposes texts from Isaiah 40-55, and even parts of Isaiah 56-56. This redaction portrayed a certain understanding and vision of the prophet as well as role of Isaiah ben Amoz and had particular literary procedures and specific vocabulary at their disposal in order to do so. The final redactors used their scribal expertise to construct a sort of watchtower from which one can survey the whole book of Isaiah. Questions regarding the redaction and composition of this text will be dealt with in this paper.


Economic Justice of Palestinian Landowners in Jesus’ Parables: Synoptic Evidence for an Inconsistent View?
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
John P. Harrison, Oklahoma Christian University

Scholars are divided whether the literary and archeological evidence substantiates a reconstruction of an oppressive economy in first-century Palestine, especially in Herodian Galilee. Some draw attention to evidence for exploitative practices by agrarian elites that lead them to conclude commoners widely felt oppressed. Others point to evidence suggesting a sustained economic growth, particularly in Galilee, that would have impacted positively most villagers. If attention is turned to evidence provided by Jesus’ parables, in which direction does it lead? This paper will make three arguments. First, evidence for the economic agricultural activity in Palestine favors the impression of wide-spread unjust practices by rulers and landowners. However, the evidence does not support the conclusion that villagers would have overwhelmingly felt oppressed and had little to no experience of prosperity. Second, the Synoptics attest that Jesus’ followers had a diverse understanding of how Palestinian landowners treated commoners. The Marcan Jesus does not charge landowners in parables as guilty of any unjust economic practices. The Lucan Jesus much more frequently points to rich farmers and landowners in parables as guilty of economic manipulation and exploitation. The Matthean Jesus offers a less harsh depiction of the agrarian elite than the Lucan Jesus. Some landowners are depicted as quite benevolent while others are known as harsh. Third, the Synoptic evidence points to a historical Jesus who, as an agrarian Galilean commoner himself, was aware of harsh, even exploitive, landowners but Jesus did not engage in consistently characterizing Palestinian landowners as economically unjust. The evidence of the parables in the Synoptics favors that landowners' economic practices in Galilee were not as universally oppressive as some reconstructions suggest.


Jews and Christians in Smyrna: Revelation, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Martyrdom of Pionius
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
Paul Hartog, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary

Commentators have frequently noted the apparent Jewish-Christian tensions in ancient Smyrna reflected in three documents from the early Common Era: Revelation, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and the Martyrdom of Pionius. These three texts have often been used as evidence of a continuing line of Jewish-inspired persecution that traversed three centuries, as if the situations mirrored in them were roughly parallel (cf. Lightfoot, Lane Fox, Hemer). E. Leigh Gibson rejoinders, “The characterization of Smyrnaean Jews as agents in the persecution of Christians, allegedly built upon the reinforcing testimony of three texts, Rev. 2:8-11, MPoly, and MPion needs reconsideration because circular reasoning has long defended it.” This paper answers the call for reconsideration by contrasting rather than paralleling the depiction of Jewish-Christian relationships in the MartPoly and the MartPion. On the one hand, the MartPion sought to remove Jewish worship as a religious option for those Christian lapsi seeking an alternative. The resultant depiction of Jewish views concerning Jesus resembles Talmudic materials, while acknowledging the Jewish worship of the one creator God and the Jewish refusal to participate in pagan sacrifice and even the consumption of sacrificial food (cf. Gibson). On the other hand, the depiction of the Jews and their “customs” in the MartPoly unites the Jews with the pagans in a manner that emphasizes their unified “otherness” and stretches historical plausibility. Like the pagans of Lucian’s Peregrinus, the Jews in the MartPoly falsely assume that Christians could give up the worship of Jesus for a secondary martyr. In sum, both martyr texts reflect concerns for the socio-communal identity formation and conservation of the Smyrnaean Christians, but their distinctive depictions of Jewish-Christian tension should not be merged in simplistic fashion but rather contrasted in historical context, authorial purpose, and literary construction.


Who Killed Ahaziah in the Book of Chronicles?
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Shuichi Hasegawa, Rikkyo University

This paper examines the differences in the descriptions of the death of Ahaziah, king of Judah, in the Book of Kings (2 Kgs 9-10) and in the Book of Chronicles (2 Chr 22:7-9a), which have been regarded as one of the enigmas in the Hebrew Bible. In the story of the Book of Kings Ahaziah was killed by Jehu, whereas in that of the Book of Chronicles, according to the Masoretic text with the Masoretic vocalization, he was killed by Jehu’s command but not by Jehu himself. Two scholarly views have been offered pertaining to these differences: some ascribe the differences to the Chronicler’s creation based on his interpretation of the source material, that is, the Book of Kings, and the others see them as the result of the Chronicler’s use of another version of the text which was different from the Masoretic text that we now possess. By comparing between the descriptions in the Masoretic, Septuagint, and the Antiochian texts of 2 Chr 22:7-9a, which show some inconsistencies in terms of contents of the story, this paper seeks to suggest a possible reconstruction of the Urtext of the Hebrew manuscript of 2 Chr 22:7-9a as well as to identify the person who killed Ahaziah as described in the Urtext.


Synonymous Parallelism as Literary Stereogram in the Royal Psalms
Program Unit: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible
Elizabeth Hayes, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)

Since the days of Robert Lowth a triad of terms has been used to describe and categorize Biblical Hebrew parallelism. While the rationale for the Lowthian 'synonymous, antithetic, synthetic' terminology has been questioned in the recent past (Kugel), a demonstrable difference may be discerned between examples of parallelism described as synonymous as opposed to those described as antithetic. Using the linguistic categories developed by Adele Berlin, this study examines and evaluates examples of so-called synonymous parallelism from the Royal Psalms, proposing that each may be viewed as a literary 'stereogram' that creates a depth of vision in the mind of the reader as a result of cognitive processing.


Communal Obligatory Prayers at Qumran — Fact or Supposition?
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Paul Heger, University of Toronto

Scripture discerns between thanking or blessing God: barek for grace received, and Tefilah for supplication prayers, performed spontaneously ad hoc. Consequently, the first is stipulated for specific occasions, but not the second. The lack of such distinctions in the vocabularies of Greek and English misled scholars to fail to distinguish between the two different types of prayers. 4Q503 a fixed text blessing prayer written for public performance persuaded scholars to assume that petition prayers too were performed at the Qumran community. The performance of fixed text supplication prayers at fixed times are not mandated by Scripture because they are situation specific. The paper challenges the scholarly conjecture that communal obligatory fixed text prayers were performed at Qumran. The utter lack of instructions when and by whom these liturgical style writings must be recited casts serious doubt of the presumed obligatory character of Qumran prayers, and points to the opposite. The paper disputes the scholarly interpretations of Qumran writings in this regard and also suggests the quoted testimonies of rabbinic narratives of Second Temple prayer rituals are unreliable. It contends the presumed recital of the shema at Qumran, unknown in that community, and demonstrates that its recital was not classified as prayer by the rabbis. The paper contests the opinion that communal prayer substituted sacrifices in Qumran theology, and proffers explanations of the motives that initiated this process. Finally, it disputes the conjecture of continuity of prayer traditions between the Qumran community and later rabbinic prayers.


Disability in Christianity: An Ecumenical Issue
Program Unit: Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World
Thomas Hentrich, Independent Scholar

According to biblical tradition, Jesus approaches and heals people with illnesses and disabilities despite their perceived impurity and especially during the Sabbath (Luke 5, 12-26; 6, 6-11; 8, 40-56; 13,10-17; Acts 3,1-10; Mark 1-3), mostly through forgiveness of their alleged sins. In so doing, he broke multiple taboos in Ancient Israel: Socializing with people that were considered impure and therefore outcasts of society and, above all, blasphemy, as only God could forgive sins. However, as revolutionary as these acts of healing may have been, they did not necessarily result in an improved treatment of people with disabilities in early Christianity. The stigma of imperfection and alleged sinfulness remained throughout Christianity and were carried through the various schisms. This paper follows up on an earlier paper (Salzburg, 2008) and tries to examine some of those attitudes from the first few centuries C.E. (Augustine, Galen etc.) that may still be subtly prevalent in modern Christianity and looks ahead to a solution taking into consideration recent developments in Ecumenism. Lit.: T. Hentrich, “The Forgiveness of Sins as Healing Method in the New Testament”, Rupert Breitwieser (ed.), Behinderungen und Beeinträchtigungen / Disability and Impairment in Antiquity, Studies in Early Medicine 2 = British Archaeological Reports S2359, Oxford: Archaeopress, 2012, 111-117.


Social Use(s) of Unity/Unicity in Deuteronomistic History: Exegetical Scenario and Dialogue with Contributions from the Social Sciences
Program Unit:
Andrea Hojman, Instituto Superior de Estudios Teológicos

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The Characterization of Assyria in Gen 2:10–14 and Numbers 24:20–24
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Mary Katherine Y. H. Hom, University of Cambridge

This paper is a rigorous, detailed exploration of the literary representation of Assyria in Genesis 2:10-14 and Numbers 24:20–24. Among various details discussed in the first part of this paper are whether the reference to 'assur; in Gen 2:14 is to the city or the empire; identification of the literary function of 'assur; as conveying the fertility, abundance, and central importance of Eden and its waters as well as contributing a ‘naturalizing’ effect on the narrative; discovery and articulation of the basic formula for introducing the rivers in Gen 2:11–14; discussion of why the presentation of the Euphrates is exceptional in this passage; and consideration of the popular rumor that the etymological origin of the English word ‘paradise’ is Mesopotamian and whether there is a direct connection with Assyria in this. In the second part of this paper, I discuss the two brief mentions of Assyria in Numbers, in Balaam’s last presented oracle in 24:20–24. Again, a more exact reference for 'assur; is sought, and in the case of Balaam’s oracle, it is found to be the nation and not the city-state, though Assyria would be in its up-and-coming stage of development and not yet the aggressively expanding empire of the early first millennium that we see later in the historical books. The narratival function of these occurrences of 'assur; is seen as contributing to the expansion of the scope of God’s sovereignty over not only Israel and her fate, but also the nations now and to come. Lastly, this paper concludes with a few broader observations and comments on the anti-imperialist nature of the depiction of Assyria in Genesis and Numbers.


Towards the “Whole Truth”: Understanding the Test of Tobit
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Sung Soo Hong, University of Texas at Austin

According to the “whole truth” that Raphael reveals in Tob 12:11-20, Tobit has been tested rather than punished for his sins. Despite its literary importance, the nature of his test has remained largely unexplained in scholarly literature. Moreover, the prevalent interpretation of Tobit as a metaphor of the sinful Israel contradicts Raphael’s revelation. Arguing against this view, the present study analyzes the literary functions of Tobit’s test. The first part of this study establishes a distinction between a law-observing minority primarily represented by Tobit, his family, and some of his relatives, and the law-breaking people represented by the tribe of Naphtali in the Northern Kingdom and the Jewish community in Nineveh. I will argue that the story depicts consistently the religious chasm between those two groups. The second and major part examines the test of Tobit as the book’s response to the suffering of the law-observing minority in exile. While previous studies of the book of Tobit have acknowledged its Deuteronomic features, they have neglected how a divine test as part of Deuteronomic theology functions in the story. Only the retributive part of the theology—a partial truth, so to speak—is revealed to the reader until Raphael’s revelation: the reader is informed that the Jewish people are punished for their sins, which may create the impression that Tobit’s blindness also is a punishment (cf. 3:3-5). Yet, the dramatic irony and surprise that the story constructs subvert such an understanding: just as the operation and identity of Raphael as a healer are hidden to the characters until Raphael’s revelation, so too are those of Raphael as a tester to the reader. Thus, the “whole truth” surprises both the characters within the story and the reader on different levels, which invites the reader to rethink the suffering of “Tobit.”


Diachronic and Synchronic Approaches to Biblical Theology in the Esther Book
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Gabriel Hornung, Harvard University

My paper engages the divide between diachronic and synchronic approaches to Biblical Theology, articulated most poignantly by Brevard Childs. What happens, my paper queries, when these two divergent approaches yield identical results? For this is exactly the situation that arises with respect to the theology of the book of Esther, and the point I hope to draw out. A diachronic approach to Esther notes the overwhelming similarities of language, theme, and genre between Esther and the Joseph story. This betrays a meaningful relationship between the two texts, one that was intended by the author of Esther himself. This in turn has large implications for the theology of Esther, where this comparison is still instructive. For just as God was behind the scenes in the Joseph story, controlling the ups and downs of the characters’ most improbable rises and falls and the Israelites’ ultimate deliverance, so is he behind the same series of events in the Esther Scroll. These conclusions are nearly identical to those reached from synchronic analyses, as they also conclude that God’s presence fills the silent gaps. However, from a synchronic perspective, this conclusion is not the result of historical inquiry, but rather the natural outcome of reading Esther in its biblical, canonical context, where Joseph and other texts ring so loudly. How then are we supposed to understand this overlap when these two approaches are so often pitted against each other in such stark terms? This example suggests what Childs himself seemed to understand best: sometimes these approaches are not nearly as antithetical as they are often understood to be. Even though Childs has been taken to task on this point, I think this one example is a strong defense for the sort of intricate reading, one that presses beyond this theoretical impasse, that Childs forwarded.


Grounding the Pneumatic Hermeneutic of Paul in 1 Cor 2:9-16 with the Wisdom of the Cross of 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Cletus L. Hull, III, Regent University

The cross of Christ crucified symbolized the central theme of Paul’s ministry. In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle commenced his correspondence with “the message about the cross” and “power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18, NRSV). The proposal for this paper utilizes the method analogia scripturae. Set within the wisdom motif of the Greco-Roman world, this study is dedicated to the examination of the apostle’s Christology in the context of 1 Cor. 1:18-25 and the Pneumatology in 1 Cor. 2:9-16 as both pericopes are juxtaposed in his epistle. Essentially, the thesis concerns the grounding of the Pneumatology of Paul with his Christology in 1 Corinthians. The Corinthian church required clarification and pastoral wisdom with their pneumatic experiences; thus, Paul recognized that a strong theology of the cross complemented their encounters with the Spirit. The question for biblical studies involves a lively tension of the Pneumatology of the Spirit with a robust Christology. Because the power of God throughout this passage has the cross as its paradigm, the structure of the paper leads to the significance of the apostle’s pneumatological contribution of the cross and Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:18; 2:2). For this reason, a strong Christology must ground the Pneumatology of the Pauline corpus. This study in biblical literature commences a new discussion in ecumenical dialogue between pneumatic experiences in the church and christological issues in scripture.


Ritual and/or Magic: A Comparison of Texts
Program Unit: Ritual in the Biblical World
Michael Hundley, University of Scranton

Religious rituals and magic share much in common. Both often involve specialists who perform ritual activities and make ritual utterances, which are both complex and mysterious. Through a series of mundane words and actions whose effects transcend normal cause-effect relationships, both bring the divine or supernatural to bear on the mundane, achieving what can be accomplished in no other way. The often abstract results of ritual and magic may also be unverifiable. For example, it is difficult to prove that an individual has been forgiven or cursed. Given these and other commonalities, it is difficult to decide whether an activity should be defined as ritual, magic or a combination of both. This presentation will explore this complicated interplay between ritual and magic by comparing select biblical and ancient Near Eastern ritual texts.


The View of the Narrator Reflected in the Book of Ruth
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Sunwoo Hwang, Chongshin University

The narrative of Ruth consists of narration and the speeches of characters. One of the features of Ruth is that direct character speech takes up more than two-thirds of the story. This particular structure makes the narrator of Ruth more hidden than in other biblical narratives. In narration, the voice of the narrator is heard clearly; in the speeches of characters, the voice of narrator is covert. To see how the narrator shapes the book of Ruth, an examination will be conducted of both the narration and the characters’ speeches. To understand the narration more deeply, the paper will focus on its usage within the over-arching story. The narrator of Ruth uses narration to provide background information, to summarize the results, to emphasize (using ‘vehinneh’), to explain or for clarification. Most narrations are brief and essential to plot. This examination shows that the last narration, the genealogy of Ruth 4:18-22, is the starting point to understand this narrative. To understand the characters’ speeches, the reflected view of a covert narrator within their speeches will be discussed. Characters’ speeches reveal that the narrator intends to justify the relationship between Boaz and Naomi (who are forerunners of Davidic kingdom) through the detailed speeches of the characters in the legal assembly. The narrator also describes the prosperity of the house of Boaz and its descendants through the blessings of minor characters surrounding the three main characters: Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi. From the beginning to the last, the three main characters are positively portrayed in characters’ speeches–even in risky moments such as Naomi’s direction to Ruth to approach Boaz or Ruth’s actual approach to Boaz on the threshing floor.


Nephos Martyron: Redefining the Place and Function of Ancestors in Hebrews 12:1
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Jacob Terhemba Igba, North-West University (South Africa)

The author of Hebrews introduces patrasin (ancestors) as either recipients or anticipators of God‘s promise at different times and stages and as models of faithfulness (Heb 1:1; 3:9; 6:13-15; 8:8-13; 11; 12). They were depicted as those to whom God was covenanted to fulfil promises, and as Calvert-Koyzis (1997:37-44) notes, they were also models of the behaviour to emulate or avoid. They occupy an important place as exemplars and therefore play an important role especially in New Testament writings. In Hebrews 11 and 12, the author focuses attention on the ancestors. By placing toigapoun (therefore) along with nephos martyron (cloud of witnesses) at the beginning of 12:1, the author effectively links the discussion in 12:1 to the previous section with the list of names in chapter 11. This establishes the nephos martyron as referring to the listed ancestors in chapter 11. These passages contribute to an understanding of the place and function of ancestors in very important ways especially within interpretative approaches in African theology. Prevalent understandings in the said approaches have shaped the conceptualisation of ancestor Christology. Ancestor Christology is been identified as a widely accepted paradigm in present day efforts towards contextual Christology in Africa. Arguably, scholars view the concept as the most influential in contemporary African Christian Christological discourse (Vähäkangas, 1998; Ezigbo, 2008; Loba-Mkole; 2011). This paper argues for a redefined understanding of the place and function of ancestors by demonstrating that the nephos martyron in chapter 11 designated as ‘the cloud of witnesses’ in 12:1 are presented by the author to inspire only. This view takes into account preceding scholarly views as well as the theological force of the passage as reflected in the authors’ contemplation succinctly captured in the exordium of the epistle. This new understanding challenges the conceptual basis of ancestor Christology.


Elements of Hermeneutics Reflected in the Iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Monasteries in Northern Moldavia (Romania): 'The Last Judgment' Mural Painting of Voronet Monastery
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
Laurentiu Ionescu, Universidad Adventista del Plata

The paper analyses the interpretation of Revelation reflected in the iconographic tradition of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in northern Moldavia. The monastery of Voronet, built in 1488, is one of the painted churches of Romania often known as the “Sistine Chapel of the East”. The church conserves one of the oldest mural painting from medieval period. The external mural painting depicting The Last Judgement is a “visual translation” of the book of Revelation. The scenes reflect the understanding of the apocalyptic eschatology mixed with contemporary social issues (the conflict with Islamic world, Armenian church, etc.). Intertextual elements of OT history and literature complete some parts of the scene. The mural is a synthesis of theological tradition of Eastern Orthodox Church, as can be seen in the central axis of the painting. The heavenly and earthly hierarchy that was frescoed on the wall provide an interesting perspective about the medieval interpretation of the book of Revelation.


Jesus Prayed, But What Did He Say?
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Fontella Irons, Independent Scholar

There is scant evidence in the Synoptic Gospels of what Jesus said in his prayers. What we find instead is that at pivotal moments in his life Jesus goes away to pray alone. The special material on prayer in Luke may provide us with greater insight about what Jesus prayed and how he used prayer to ignite early followers. This paper will explore Luke’s special material on prayer, specifically the parables at 11.5-8 (A Shameless Friend at Midnight) and 18.1-8 (The Widow and The Judge). The special material in Luke begins with attention to prayer. This is the case as we consider 1.5-25 (The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold) and 2.21-38 (Jesus Named, Presented in the Temple). The promise of John’s birth at 1.11 tells us that Zechariah was in the temple as “the people were praying outside.” Then at 1.13 the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah “your prayer has been heard.” In the next chapter, we find that prayer is mentioned in connection with Anna, a widow and prophet. At 2.37, we are told that Anna “did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.” The opening scene in the temple with Zechariah and the next temple scene with Anna help to establish a special interest in positioning prayer as integral to the Gospel of Luke.


Pillars of Resistance: Women, the Bible, and James Baldwin
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Fontella Irons, Independent Scholar

This paper is a study of women in the writings of 20th century African-American writer James Baldwin. I am particularly interested in how Baldwin used biblical texts to convey power to his female characters, moving them from weak, powerless victims of layers of dominance (home, society, culture) to formidable pillars of resistance. My research focus is Baldwin’s first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, a semi-autobiographical work. I probe Baldwin’s use of biblical texts with attention to Baldwin’s own social context and the women who shaped his world. In the novel, the central question is will the protagonist, young John Grimes, “be saved.” I take that central question from within the world of the novel and expand the conversation to discuss the Bible and women in the African Diaspora. Baldwin’s experiences and his expression of that experience through biblical interpretation are considered representative of a broader quest for social self-definition among the descendants of the earliest Africans in the Americas. In other words, I explore Baldwin’s story and the women in his life (pillars of resistance) as a shared story among marginalized groups of the world.


Death, Afterlife, and Ancestors in the Synoptic Gospels and Africa
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
Glenna S. Jackson, Otterbein University

Recognizing that there is no definitive or even developed concept of the afterlife represented in the synoptic gospel stories, I have long been interested in how African understandings of death, afterlife, and ancestors shed light on first-century texts in those early gospel communities. This study makes use of synoptic references to dying and death as well as many stories and customs from the African countries of Cameroon, Burundi, Malawi, Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. I have long argued that Africans know more about religious and spiritual matters than we Westerners do because they experience it differently and, therefore, two of my postulations are that (1) humanity began on the African continent where the evolution of the ideas of the supernatural and afterlife originated, and (2) Africans, especially those still living in the rural areas, have remained in closer contact with the earth and all of its creatures. This study is both academic and experiential.


Multifaceted View of Care for the Disabled in the Law and the Prophets
Program Unit: Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World
Mignon R. Jacobs, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)

As in modern society, the world of the biblical text illustrates contrasting images of disabled persons. The mention of the disabled forms the conceptual frameworks of acceptability, care and restoration. While some laws have the protection of disabled persons in view other laws exclude such persons (e.g., lame, blind) from certain religious practices—e.g., offering food to the Deity. Further illustrating the images, the multifaceted view of the disabled is well attested in the prophets’ depiction of God’s judgment and justification of divine action against the nations. These depictions normalize trauma as part of the corporate and retributive view of divine judgment. Even so, restoring the disabled also constitutes part of the divine action and is a marker of the encompassing nature of the restoration and care for God’s people and as such an indicator of the community’s well-being. Through examination of selected texts this paper presents images of the disabled and thus proposes a reading of those images through the contemporary lenses of acceptability, care and restoration.


Shaping Views of Gender: Judah as Personified Female in Jeremiah 3–4
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Mignon R. Jacobs, Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)

How often do we read the Hebrew Prophets and gloss over the fact that the accused is female? Scholars have been aware of the female Jerusalem and of the female personified nation/city in the Hebrew Bible. Assumptions regarding the metaphor of the female accused and the male accuser may have facilitated reception of the description. Yet to examine the assurer and the accused is but one facet of understanding the female personified nation/city. This paper examines Jeremiah 3-4 as one among many texts that shape and transmit views about gender identity. It examines the relational and behavioral attributes as means of transmitting views about gender roles and proposes that shaping views about identity is achieved through representation of roles, behaviors, and evaluative comments. Accordingly, understanding the dialectical process of identity construction necessitates engaging how the text constructs its views about the male voice, actor, or narrator. The paper also proposes that by using the metaphor of the personified female nation/city, the text perpetuates views about identity and thereby defines interpretative parameters within which the characterization of the female is validated.


A Prophet like Moses: Early Christian Readings of the Moses Tradition
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Gregory C. Jenks, Charles Sturt University

Moses loomed large in Second Temple Jewish literature as the founder of the Jewish people. The first few generations of Christians had to engage with this reality and locate Jesus in a theological landscape dominated by the figure and the legacy of Moses. This paper will map some of the ways in which different Christian authors during the first 100 years after Easter configured Moses to serve their own purposes of promoting Jesus as the eschatological prophet. This study is not concerned with the historicity of either Moses or Jesus, but rather seeks to explore how the early Jesus communities engaged with the legacy of Moses in the first hundred years of Christianity.


Mamluks at Bethsaida: A Preliminary Report on the Mamluk Period at et-Tell
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
Gregory C. Jenks, Charles Sturt University

The past 28 years of excavations at Bethsaida have shown that the medieval Mamluks saw the site as an attractive location for habitation. While substantial built structures at et-Tell are more commonly associated with the Iron Age, Hellenistic and Early Roman periods, it is becoming increasingly clear that there was a significant presence in the Mamluk period. In this presentation the evidence for a Mamluk settlement at et-Tell will be reviewed, and preliminary comparisons made with Mamluk settlements in nearby Jordan. Key evidence for Mamluk occupation of the site includes coins, pottery and distinctive stone houses.


Between the ‘Reeds of the River’ to the ‘Sea of Reeds’: Foreshadowing Parallels in the Account of Pharaoh’s Daughter Saving the Baby Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Joseph E. Jensen, Georgetown University

Pharaoh’s daughter’s rescue of the endangered baby Moses from “among the reeds along the bank of the river” (Exod 2:3) anticipates and is reflected in YHWH’s sending Moses to save the endangered people of Israel (Exod 3:7-10), culminating with the bringing the people through the “sea of reeds” (Exod 15:22). Specific parallels include: the oppressed baby Moses // the oppressed people of Israel, the daughter of Pharaoh’s maid servant sent to bring the basket with the baby// God’s servant Moses sent to bring out the Israelites, Moses, the child of Pharaoh’s daughter // Israel, YHWH’s child, and Pharaoh’s daughter // YHWH directing and accomplishing the salvation.


A Source of P? The Priestly Exodus Account and the Book of Ezekiel
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Jaeyoung Jeon, Université de Lausanne

Studies on the literary relationships between P and Ezekiel have mainly focused on cultic regulations, leaving connections between the Priestly narrative and Ezekiel less attended. Yet, some narrative parts of P, for instance, the Priestly account of Exodus, exhibit noticeable similarities with Ezekiel’s descriptions of the Exodus and Egypt. The Priestly commissioning of Moses (Exod. 6.2ff.) unmistakably resembles the recollection of Exodus in Ezek. 20.5ff. in its motifs and language; furthermore, some of the Priestly wonders in the Plague narratives contain imagery and motifs also found in the prophecies against Pharaoh and Egypt: e.g., Pharaoh in a close relationship with crocodile (????), the Nile and other water sources of Egypt filled with blood, and the darkness in the land of Egypt (Ezek. 28.2ff.; 32.1ff.; Exod. 7; 10.21ff.). Focusing on these literary similarities, as well as differences, this paper will investigate the literary relationships between these two texts, including the possible direction of influence, and such implications for the composition of the Priestly Exodus account in its literary and socio-historical contexts. In addition, the peculiarities of P will be highlightened in comparison with the parallel non-Priestly Commissioning (Exod. 3-4) and Plague narratives (Exod. 7-12). In recent Pentateuch scholarship, the influence of Ezekiel is discussed primarily regarding later literary layers with priestly flavor, such as H(S) or Pentateuch Redaction (PentRed). Against this backdrop, this paper will extend this discussion to the significance and implications of the literary correspondence to Ezekiel in the text classically assigned to PG.


Was There No Pity for the Women in Deuteronomy 25:11-2?
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Dae Jun Jeong, Wycliffe College

In Deut 25:11-2, we come across a horrifying judgment made to a wife who has come to her husband to help in an emergency. She seized the adversary’s genital without hesitation, because there was no other way than that to strike her husband’s adversary with a single blow. Even though she was able to save her husband’s life from the danger, the consequence of her action demanded a high price. Her hand had to be cut off without any pity. We can find a similar law to Deut 25:11-2 in the Middle Assyrian Law. (“If a woman should crush a man’s testicle during a quarrel, they shall cut off one of her fingers.”) However, the judgment made to the women in the Hebrew Bible is more powerful than the judgment of the Assyrian law. With a similar offense or self-defense, the Assyrian women would lose only one finger; but the Israelite women seem to have lost their entire hand. Therefore, I would like to reinterpret this questionable text with a more care. To support my opinion, firstly, I will compare this law to other similar Ancient Near Eastern laws. Secondly, I will discuss the literary structure of Deut 25 in a large and a small literary unit. I believe that there are certain hints hidden in the structure that can be used in interpreting this law to go in the right direction. Thirdly, I will examine the usage of several words of Deut 25:11-2 in the Hebrew Bible, because the words have different meanings in other texts. Also, these various meanings about the words can help us understand the law as not a brutal punishment to the criminal, but as a means of continuing to feel sense of shame to the women.


The Role of the Returnees’ Repeated Lists in the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Dae Jun Jeong, Wycliffe College

One of the literary characteristics of the book of Ezra and Nehemiah (EN) is that a lot of lists appear in this book, the most remarkable of which are the returnees’ lists from the Babylonian Exile, namely “Gola list,” as repeated in Ezra 2 and Neh 7. Why did the author of EN repeat these lists in the single book? What is their function? Although many scholars showed various opinions for the lists’ function on the basis of the social surroundings, that is insufficient as a means of explaining the lists’ own role. The main role of the lists could be politico-religious function because EN’s author described Ezra’s character as a politician. In this presentation, I will mention the literary role of the lists as a basic function composing EN. Also, I will review the various suggestions for the role of the repetition of the returnees’ lists, and argue for the politico-religious function of the lists.


Speeches and the Proximity between God and Humanity in Genesis 2–3
Program Unit: Place, Space, and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Zhenshuai Jiang, Universität Zürich

The change in distance between God and humanity is an important theme of the Eden narrative of Genesis 2-3.When humans were in the garden, the relation between God and them was proximity. However, when the humans were expelled from the garden, the relation between them became less close. That the first man and Eve could speak to God directly is one aspect that reflects the proximity between God and humans.My presentation discusses by what rhetorical means the speeches in Genesis 2-3 can reflect the distance between God and humanity. My focus is on Gen 2:16-17, Gen 3:9-10, two passages engaging God speeches. I shall argue that the verbs “command” (???), “call” (???) and “say” (???), as temporal activities can indicate spatial concepts such as distance. In Gen 2:16-17, God “commanded” the first man not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The literary setting of God’s speech is the garden. I shall argue, after analyzing Gen 6:22, Gen 7:9, Gen 7:16, and Gen 21:4, that the “command” in Gen 2:16 not only shows the short distance between God and the first man, but also reflects the proximity between them. Furthermore, “command” can also imply the social relation. In the case of Gen 2:16-17, “command” implies that the first man was formed by God to keep the garden as a servant.In Gen 3:8-10, the verbs used in God’s speeches are “say” and “call”.Like the verb “command”, the verbs “say” and “call”, as the temporal activities, are also able to reflect the distance between God and humanity.God is usually in the human world when he “calls” someone. At the same time, the physical distance is usually very short between God and the listener.Compared to “call”, the verb “say” may suggest a smaller distance.


Cyrus as the Other in Isaiah 41–48
Program Unit: Prophets
Kristin Joachimsen, MF Norwegian School of Theology

The “Other” as analytical category has often been taken as a negative characterization, denoting some inferior, silenced or excluded. However, in the Book of Isaiah, foreign nations like Assyria, Egypt, Babylon and Persia are characterized by hybridity in their relation to YHWH and Israel. This paper deals with how in Isaiah 41-48, the figure of Cyrus challenges a dichotomized view of power relations as well as the characterization of the other. These poetic texts depict how YHWH calls the figure of Cyrus by name (44:28, 45:1), as well as labelling him shepherd (44:28) and anointed (45:1). Cyrus, who does not know YHWH (45:5), is assigned to a commission by YHWH: As a tool of the God of Israel he shall restore the deity’s people. Against a dichotomized reading of Cyrus as an unequivocally “other”, a more complex reading will be offered, in which the productive potential of difference appears. In Isa. 41-48, the presentation of Cyrus is interwoven in a discursive process in which the other is neither part of a strategy of exclusion within a system of binary opposition, nor portrayed unambiguously outstanding. The paper shows this complexity by a close reading of relevant texts as well as within the broader context of the Achaemenid Empire.


Paul’s Letters Re-Heard: Investigating the Reception and Ongoing Role of Paul’s Correspondence through Performance Critical Questions
Program Unit: Methods in New Testament Studies
Lee A. Johnson, East Carolina University

Performance criticism has inspired questions about the initial delivery of Paul’s letters to his churches. In orally-focused societies, it is not the written text, but the oral message that is primary, precisely the inverse roles that are acknowledged in current Western culture. With this view in mind, more focus needs to be put upon the actions of the couriers who presented the contents of the letters, interpreted ambiguous or troublesome sections, responded to questions from the listening community, and attempted to mollify passionate audience members. This paper focuses upon Paul’s correspondence to two communities—Corinth and Galatia—and examines passages from letters to each church from the perspective of the performer and the audience. These two churches are selected because they stand as examples of a successful letter (2 Corinthians) and an unsuccessful letter (Galatians). This paper explores the role of the courier in the delivery, performance, and aftermath of the performance, and will envision the respective responses of receptive and recalcitrant audiences to various passages in the letters. Following the discussion of the initial performance, a model for the on-going life of the letter is constructed, attending to issues of editing, abridgement, and adaptation for future use for Paul’s successful, and not so successful correspondence. This paper concludes that the model of Paul’s authority vis-à-vis his writings, which has been the long-standing approach in biblical scholarship, is at odds with the model of letter composition, delivery, and performance in largely non-literate societies.


Toward a Theory Concerning the Formation of the NT Pauline Corpus
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Everard Johnston, Seminary of St. John Vianney & Uganda Martyrs / University of the West Indies

While acknowledging that, despite the varying proposals of different scholars, “[t]here is no entirely satisfactory theory as to the origins of the Pauline letter collection” (Evans), this paper proposes the view that that “collection” was the outcome, not simply of a process of “collecting” or bringing together existing letters to form a “corpus”, but rather a deliberate project aimed at producing a letter-collection comprising precisely thirteen letters. Pace those scholars who (like Evans) defend the authenticity of all thirteen of the New Testament epistles that claim authorship by Paul, the present study suggests, with Gamble, that “[t]he mere presence within the collection of inauthentic and editorially revised letters shows that its formation was a CREATIVE endeavour, not merely a conservative one” (emphasis added). The paper suggests that notwithstanding theories (or evidence?) of “lost” letters, the fact that the received, canonical “Pauline Corpus” contains exactly thirteen letters, and moreover that, as Trobisch has argued, “[t]here is no manuscript evidence to prove that the letters of Paul ever existed in an edition containing only some of the thirteen letters”, the proposed “creative endeavor” involved in the production of the “collection” might have been inspired by, on the one hand, the existence of the edition, by Thrasyllus, of “Thirteen Letters of Plato” and, on the other hand, Josephus’s claim in Against Apion that, in addition to the five books of Moses and four books that “comprise hymns to God and advice for living among men”, Judeans (Jews) hold dear thirteen books of “the prophets after Moses who wrote up what happened in their times” (cf. Ag. Ap. 1:36-43).


Distinction of Allusion from Quotation and Reminiscence
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
Chang Wook Jung, Chongshin University

It is difficult to distinguish between allusion and quotation in the New Testament. Definitions of the terms “allusion” and “quotation” vary from scholar to scholar, which results in different statistics of quotations and allusions. For instance, some regard the sentences in Lk 2:22-23, 2:24 as quotations, others as allusions; still others consider vv. 22-23 as an allusion and v.24 as a quotation. (D.W. Pao & E.J. Schnabel) This illustrates the confusion on the delineation of the terms. A more serious question revolves around the distinction between allusion and reminiscence/phraseology/echo. As Beale and Carson note, ‘there is debate about what constitutes an allusion,’ which indicates that it is hardly possible to draw a clear line between allusion and reminiscence. I will attempt to delineate three terms, i.e., ‘allusion’, ‘quotation’, ‘reminiscence’ as precisely as possible by evaluating various scholars’ views. With the definitions, I will scrutinize two instances in Lk 2:22-23 and 24 to demonstrate that such delineations are valid for the further study.


Exodus as a Northern Tradition, Under the Leadership of El and Yahweh in the Form of Young Bull
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
José Ademar Kaefer, Universidade Metodista de São Paulo - UMESP

Abstract Exodus is one of Israel´s and Juda’s foundation traditions. However, if Israel as a people emerged in Canaan, how does one understand the liberation from the Egypt tradition? The paper tries to show that the Exodus tradition was formed within Northern Israel, maybe during the Egyptian domination of Sheshong I (945-925), a campaign that is registered in the temple of Karnak, in Egypt, that defeated the fragile rein of Saul. The paper tries to show also, that in the sanctuaries of Betel, Shechem, Dan and Samaria existed a cult to a deity represented by a bull image, to whom was attributed the liberation from Egypt. At the beginning this deity was the God El, but later, it passed to be the God Yahweh, who absorbed the attributes of El, including the bull cult. The wandering through the desert is an independent tradition, and it was attached to the liberation tradition only later. It’s possible that this tradition was form in Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, a center for tribute collecting, situated in the desert of Sinai and dominated by Northern Israel, during the reign of Jeroboam II, in the first half of the VIII century a.C.


Omri, king of Israel, humiliated Moab for many days
Program Unit:
José Ademar Kaefer, Universidade Metodista de São Paulo

The presentation looks for demonstrate how Yahweh, knew in the Bible as the God who listen the outcry of the oppressed people and liberate them (Ex 3,7-10), in the opinion of others people, as registered in the stelas of Mesha and Dan, is described as a oppressor and conqueror God.


A Prophet Like Moses: A Biblical Figure’s Qur’anic Counterpart
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
John Kaltner, Rhodes College

No individual is mentioned by name in the Qur’an more than Moses. This paper presents an overview of his role in the Islamic text, with particular attention paid to stories that have biblical parallels. A common feature of such shared traditions is that the version in the Qur’an tends to present a portrait of the biblical character that coheres with Islamic beliefs and theology. Examples of the Islamization of Moses/Musa in the Qur’an will be identified and discussed.


The Mark of Cain: or, The Yahwist's Leviathan
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Robert Kawashima, University of Florida

The story of Cain is ultimately an origin story of the city, i.e., a narrative representation of its nature and function. This being the case, there seems to be a constitutive relationship between violence and the city, for Cain builds the first city only after committing the first homocide. Reminiscent of Hobbes, the Yahwist (J) sees the city as originating in the domestication of the violent impulses of its citizens. Hence the mark of Cain: it is the threat of reprisal that enables Cain to overcome his fear of the Other. But vengeance is not enough, as we learn from the example of his descendant, Lamech. It is, rather, hospitality that provides a stable foundation for civilization. This is the lesson of the story of Sodom, in which J juxtaposes the hospitality of Abraham and Lot to the violent barbarism of the men of Sodom.


The Cook (The Eunuch), His Wife, and Her Lover: Embodied Gender in Diaspora Retellings of Genesis 39
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Ian Kinman, Fordham University

The Hebrew Bible does not get much more like an episode of a soap opera than in Genesis 39, the tightly written narrative of Joseph’s temptations by the erotic wiles of Potiphar’s wife. The story had a long and fruitful retelling well into the Middle Ages, but less attention has been paid to earlier retellings of the narrative in the Testament of Joseph and in the works of Philo. This paper explores this narrative of Joseph’s encounter with Potiphar’s wife in Genesis, as well as subsequent versions of the narrative in Second Temple literature, to illuminate notions of gender embodied in the character of eunuchs. It will begin with an exploration of the nature of Potiphar’s character as a saris, arguing that the appropriate interpretation of that word, both in the context of the scriptural version of the story as well as in these later versions, is as a eunuch. It will follow with explorations of the forms of the story in both The Testament of Joseph and in the numerous works of Philo in which the story is mentioned. Finally, it will conclude with a look at the implications of what these retellings of the story have for understanding issues of gender and the body faced by the Hellenized diaspora communities that rewrote them.


The Cult Stands of Yavneh: Typology, Function, Meaning
Program Unit: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible
Raz Kletter, Helsingin Yliopisto - Helsingfors Universitet

Yavneh, a city c. 20 south of Tel Aviv, furnished the richest ever found favissah/genizah from the southern Levant, with thousands of cultic finds originating from an Iron Age (9th-8th centuries BCE) Philistine temple. Among them are more than a hundred complete/restorable ceramic cult stands (so-called ‘architectural models’), carrying rich figurative motifs of a well-known cultic milieu: naked females, lions, bulls, musicians, palm trees, goats, rosettes, and more. While the milieu is well-known, the Yavneh stands betray unique local and Philistine or ‘western’ features. This exceptional discovery raises a host of questions. The present lecture focuses on the typology, functions and meanings of the Yavneh cult stands. Who made them and why were so many found in one place? Were they models of real buildings, supports for images, offerings tables, altars, or perhaps incense burners? Do they relate to biblical sources, such as Ezekiel 8, 7-13? This lecture is based on the two final reports of Yavneh, the second of which is currently in press (it is due to appear in Spring 2015). While we do not claim to have all the answers, we would try to present a balanced archaeological reading of the function and meaning of these highly enigmatic objects.


The Middle Voice in First Thessalonians
Program Unit: Hellenistic Greek Language and Linguistics
Sue Kmetko, Australian Catholic University

In light of the recent move among scholars away from the application of the concept of deponency to explain media tantum verbs in Koine Greek, this paper is presented as part of a broader investigation of the function of middle verbs in the Greek New Testament. In the past, scholars such as A.T. Robertson who were sceptical of the applicability of the term ‘deponent’ to Greek verbs with middle but not active forms, nevertheless conceded that there were many verbs whose middle nuance was difficult to explain. Typically, grammatical descriptions portray the subject as the direct or indirect object of a middle-inflected verb, referring to the self-interest of the subject, while broader linguistic studies refer to the subject being affected in the performance of the verbal action. A description of the middle voice adapted by Philippe Eberhard from the studies of linguist Emile Benveniste sheds new light on traditional explanations of the middle voice that centre on the subject. Although not inconsistent with the notion of subject affectedness, the understanding of middle voice posited by Eberhard refers to a medial process; it places the verb rather than the subject at the conceptual centre in a manner which overcomes the polarity of active and passive. The middle is seen as an internal diathesis, which speaks of the subject acting within a process that encompasses it, as opposed to the active which is external. The potential of this understanding of the middle voice for the interpretation of the New Testament is explored by testing its applicability to a sample of middle verbs in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.


The Faith of Jacob and Literary Synecdoche in Hebrews 11:21
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Raju Daniel Kunjummen, Moody Theological Seminary–Michigan

Jacob (like Isaac and Joseph) receives only a sentence in the catalog of faith in Hebrews 11. Attention to this verse has centered on the text critically and otherwise interesting to akron tes rabdou autou. Besides that this passage has not evoked much interest. Interpreters have noted that Heb 11:21 makes reference to both Gen 47:31 and 48:15-20 but in the reverse order. Although reference to both passages can be recognized, the two have been read in a conflated manner as referring to just the blessing of Joseph’s sons, so much so, that certain more recent English translations render the second of two coordinated aorist indicatives as if it were a participle (eulogesen kai prosekunesen as “blessed … bowing in worship”—NRSV, ESV; “blessed … bowed in reverence—NJB). Such a reading might in fact miss the intent of the author of Hebrews in making the reference to “leaning upon his staff.” This paper makes the following proposals in regard to the interpretation of this verse. First, the author has in mind two distinct actions of Jacob, not one. Second, the reference to leaning upon this staff functions like a literary synecdoche, as in some rabbinic citations and even that of the author of Hebrews himself, and has reference to his request to Joseph that precedes the action of worship (to God). This also parallels the element of faith highlighted in regard to the other patriarchs. Third, the significant element in the reference to Gen 48:15-20 as well as 47:31 is their mention of the divine promise to the patriarchs. Fourth, in regard to the text critical issue of hammittah/hammatteh in Gen 47:31, the masoretic reading is probably influenced by the proximity of the same word in 48:2, and the vocalization/interpretation of the LXX has equal or more merit.


A Critique on Modern Artists’ Renditions of Solomon’s Temple
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
Daniel Lai, Seattle University

Abstract The 1st Temple, commonly known as Solomon’s Temple, is a relatively simple building with precise dimensions given in the Book of 1st Kings Chapter 6. Since there is no direct archaeological evidence for the existence of this Temple as of today, nobody knows exactly how the first Temple looked. This generation is a visual generation, and without the image of the first Temple, many people may find reading 1st Kings 6 difficult and lose interest before reaching the end of the chapter. This paper will present a collection of images on the 1st Temple from various painters, engravers and architects from the last 500 years, including major contributors Conrad Schick, several Freemasons, Leen Rizmeyer and Karbel Multimedia. Most of these images have flaws and are not consistent with the descriptions found in 1st Kings 6. The images will be judged and the flaws identified based on architectural aesthetics, biblical accuracy and originality. A biblically correct model will be proposed at the end. With the appropriate image in mind, visualization may help readers to better understand the chapter of 1st Kings 6 recognize that the building of the temple was not just a construction project but was also meant to demonstrate some important points of Israelite theology.


Judges: Disturbing Families in a Society in Crisis
Program Unit: Families and Children in the Ancient World
Corinne Lanoir, Institut Protestant de Théologie de Paris

In the book of Judges, differents female figures are daughters of a disturbing father and have no mother : Aksa, the daughter of Jephte and the Levite’s concubine. Others figures of mothers are quite unusuals, like Deborah, the Sisera’s mother, of the levite’s mother of Jd 17. The paper will investigate some religious and social hypothesis to explain these strange cases of deseastrous families : Is it a way to discredite some powerful feminine divine figures in a context of a deuteronomistic theology ? Is this a mirror of a social reality and its contradictions during the persian period with a new vision of the family or the expression of a tension between differents ways to think about it? What sort of families for what kind of society does the book of Judges present ?


Ancient Greek Patterns of Knowledge Transmission and Their Continuity in Gnostic Esotericism
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, University of Groningen

Against current views that Gnostic esotericism originate in first-century Judaism, the present paper will claim that when protecting their knowledge and reserving it for a small group of initiates, Gnostics were in fact continuing a long tradition well established in Greco-Roman philosophical schools ever since the Pre-Socratics. Intended to give access to deeper truths underlying ordinary things, Gnostic secret knowledge provided a holistic explanation of the world that helped individuals both to supersede a fragmented reality and, by means of the achieved higher consciousness, to transform their person and life. The tension between secret and revelation tended both to protect this knowledge from outsiders and to endow those possessing it with a higher esteem.


Ahmose-Nefertari and Hatshepsut: A Revision of the role of the “King’s Great Wife” at the Beginning of the 18th Dynasty (1550–1468 BC)
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Virginia Laporta, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

There is not in Egyptian a single word to designate the role of the queen but by the hand of the phrase literally reading as “King’s Wife” (Hm.t-nsw). The queen’s designation is defined by the Hm.t epithet by which she is linked to another entity, and in that way the translation into English or another modern language, i.e. Spanish, for example, varies. In other words, when an individual woman is represented as the counterpart of the king it is translated as his “wife”; however, if evidences show a group of women performing a ritual or extending offerings to a deity, like Hathor, the same word (Hm.t) is translated as “priestesses”. However, there are reference from the Old Kingdom of women linked to Hathor’s cult called as Hm-nTr (usually translated as “God’s Servant”) identically written as the male version of the epithet. Thus, it is possible to consider that the intervention of Modern bias closer to the cultural implications of the reader that may not neccessarily coincide with Ancient Egyptians ones. This is the case, for instance, to consider the most common role of women in temples, which were activities link to dance and music performances, drunken behaviour and sexual intercourse with male deities, as sort of entertainment instead of expressions of symbolic piety. This proposal paper aims to analyze epithets, titles and iconography link to the “King’s Great Wife” at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1468 BC) and its influence in the kingship institution. Particularly, I will focus on the role performed in the royal court by Ahmose-Nefertari and Hatshepsut during their living period and afterwards.


Moses — Adoption and Identity
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
James Lappeman, University of Cape Town

Moses remains one of the history’s most famous adoptions. Israelite slave by birth, Moses spent his formative years as an adopted Egyptian prince whose palace life was far removed from his own people. A further period as a Midianite shepherd added to this physical estrangement from Israel. When God eventually called him to lead the Exodus, Moses became a committed patriarch. At times, however, he demonstrated a reluctant affection for the Hebrew people. From Midian to Mount Nebo, Moses struggled with impatience towards the Israelites and his frustrated attitude eventually cost him the prized entry into Canaan. This paper critically examines the impact of Moses’ adoption on his affections towards Israel. Contemporary analysis on the psychology of adoption (Particularly of secular psychologist David Brodzinsky, 1990, 2010, 2011) sheds new light on the ethnic tension that adoptees experience. While the science of adoption was not formalized in ancient Egypt, Moses would have felt some of the psychological strains experienced by adoptees. Brodzinsky highlights the psychological influences of adoption through different life phases. His focus on self identity ties in well to Moses, whose own wrestle with identity would have profoundly shaped him as a leader. The paper will show that Moses’ was deeply tied to his adopted culture, and that his loyalty in leading the Hebrew people was primarily in service to his God and not out of affection for his struggling people.


Isaiah’s Children Revisited: On the Significance of Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz as Children
Program Unit: Families and Children in the Ancient World
MIkael Larsson, Uppsala University

There have been many efforts to identify the significance of the names of Isaiah’s two children, Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz in Isaiah 7:3 and 8:1 respectively. To a large extent, scholars have concentrated on the political implications of these names, debating for example whether the motif of the remnant in the former name should be considered as a threat or as an attempt at consolation. Jacqueline E. Lapsley has rightfully questioned the reduction of these children to mere vessels of the prophetic message. In my view, however, scholars have not sufficiently explored what specific significance these children as children have for the embodiment of the message. The purpose of this paper is to fill that gap. Drawing from childhood studies, I will investigate the range of nuances that child imagery may evoke, beyond the often assumed dichotomy of blessing or punishment. Furthermore, I will examine the relationship between the child as a person and as a metaphor, and what effects the oscillation between these two categories may have. In short, I am interested not only in what the names signify but also in how they come to carry that significance. Thereby, I intend to present some new perspectives on the naming of Shear-jashub and Maher-shalal-hash-baz in Isaiah 7:1-9 and 8:1-4.


Aniconism, Iconoclasm, and Iconography: Appropriating the Biblical Veto on Images and Idol Politics in China
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Archie C.C. Lee, Shandong University

This paper proposes to look at the issue of the process of religious and cultural accommodation communities of Judaism and Christianity experienced with the Chinese context of polytheism, syncretism and iconography. Two historical communities will be selected for study from each of the two religions: Kaifeng Jews and Taiping Christian Movement. The specific issue of appropriation of the “you shall not make for yourself a graven image” (Exod. 20:3) and “idols are works of human hands” (Psalms 115) is taken as one of the keys in unlocking the challenges and difficulties of encounter with Chinese culture and religion. Both of the communities have preserved the different interpretations of the aniconism and idolatry they inherited from their own traditions and they re-appropriated them in the Chinese context. In the long history of accommodation to the well elaborate polytheistic religious background, the Jews articulated the biblical teaching of an imageless God in terms of the Chinese philosophical and religious tradition, but were not affected by the religious syncretism of China. As a Christian sect of the Protestant tradition, the Taipings too did strictly practice the biblical teaching of prohibition of idols and foreign gods, but developed it into a wholesale iconoclastic movement of destroying divine images, temples and shrines in China. The biblical text of Exodus 20:3-6 and Psalms 115 will be read with the interpretation and appropriation in the inscriptions and tablets of the synagogue in Kaifeng and in the Book of Heavenly Stipulation of the Taiping Movement.


The Iconography of Violence in the Reliefs of Rameses III at Medinet Habu
Program Unit: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible
Joel M. LeMon, Emory University

The depictions of Rameses III’s triumph over the Libyans and Sea Peoples at Medinet Habu present some of the most complex and visually arresting images of violence in the corpus of ancient Egyptian art. Scholars have frequently turned to these images to help understand the history of the New Kingdom and the rise of the Sea Peoples. However, this paper approaches these reliefs from a different perspective by analyzing the various modes of representation in these scenes of violence. In doing so, the paper demonstrates how violence functions within the larger iconographic program at Medinet Habu to reinforce notions of Egyptian kingship and the extension of royal power. The paper concludes by contextualizing the representations of violence at Medinet Habu within the conventions of violent representations in Egyptian art and the ancient Near East more broadly.


‘…Mientras nos hablaba en el camino…’ Some Notes on Biblical Reflection in Argentina
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Constanza Levaggi, Universidad del Salvador (San Miguel)

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Paradise and Empire in the Tropics: Cosmology, Eschatology, and Conspiracy in the Trajectory of a Victim of the Inquisition (Portugal-Brazil, 18th Century)
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Pedro Lima Vasconcellos, Universidade Federal de Alagoas

Based on recently developed researches, this exposition shows the method and results of biblical interpretations which, in the early 18th century, made the Portuguese man Pedro de Rates Henequim conclude, unlike his antecedent Antonio Vieira, that the fifth empire, appointed in Daniel'’s prophecies, would have its head office in the heart of Brazil instead of Lisbon, and to act according to this conviction, which caused him to be sentenced to death.


Belo Monte (Canudos) and the Imposition of a Millenarian Model of Interpretation about the Socio-Religious Experience Lived Over There
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Pedro Lima Vasconcellos, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo

The movement of Belo Monte (Canudos), turned into an internationally renowned theme, into the Academy and outside of It, because of works as the ones written by Euclides da Cunha and Mario Vargas Llosa, was most of the times interpreted like an expression of the millenarianism which is a conception with many cases in Brazil since the beginnings of the Portuguese colonization. Such interpretation does not match the available search sources about the religious worldview that instigated the movement of Belo Monte, such as texts signed by It’s leader, Antonio Vicente Mendes Maciel, known as Antonio Conselheiro. But that interpretation fit very well the theoretical models a priori established. In this presentation we come up with a review of this issue, stressing the main biblical matrices which supported the existence of the village until the day that it came to be destroyed by the Brazilian army, in the late XIX century


Salvation (Redemptive) History and the Connection between the Two Testaments: Assessing Biblical Theology as Redemptive History
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Darian Lockett, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

A salvation (redemptive)-historical approach to Biblical Theology emphasizes a history of redemption progressing chronologically through the various narratives of the Bible. Key for this approach is the historical and progressive nature of history and revelation such that, in short, the Bible’s primary meaning is its reference to one special (or salvation) history with Christ as its center. This paper considers the degree to which a modern notion of historiography implicit within the redemptive-historical approach either clarifies or distorts the goals and methods of Biblical Theology. The investigation will consider the critical perspective of the New Yale School, especially that of Hans Frei, with regard to the redemptive-historical approaches of D. A. Carson, G. K. Beale, and others. The Yale School critique is that a “salvation historical” reading introduces a subtle distinction between viewing “Christ as the subject matter of both testaments” over against “the temporally distinct and ordered stages of the history of salvation” as the subject of both Testaments. This paper considers the cogency of such a critique, especially as it relates to the relationship between the two Testaments, and concludes with a reflection upon whether one can or needs to recover a redemptive-historical approach for Biblical Theology.


Contextual Reading of 2Sm 13, 1-22 by a Group of People Living with HIV
Program Unit: Latino/a and Latin American Biblical Interpretation
Edgar Antonio López, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Contextual Reading of Tamar´s rape narrative in 2Sam 13,1-22 by a group of people living with HIV in Bogotá highlights the importance of stigmatization in modern societies and encourages to fight against sex violence and to promote Human Rights of vulnerable groups.


Invention of Writing in Hebrew and Biblical Wisdom Literature
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East
Graham Lovell, Independent Researcher

The invention of writing in Hebrew script, around the time of the warrior king, David, marks the earliest possible date for Biblical Wisdom Literature. David's successor, Solomon, is the first (and only) king with a reported enduring interest in secular wisdom: we should not ignore that piece of information. Indeed, the Biblical text indicates that Solomon claimed that Yahweh promised him that he would be the wisest man on earth. It can be argued that Solomon worked to fulfill this promise through gathering together the collected "wisdom" from the nations around him. His marriage relationships with Egyptian, Sidonian and Hittite women testifies to his desire to share in the cultures of the surrounding nations. Yet even if we are inclined to accept that Solomon might have had some involvement with these texts, it is unlikely that he wrote much of their content. It is more likely that Solomon funded a team of scholars who were charged with reproducing in Hebrew the wisdom found in Egyptian, Phoenician, Hittite and Akkadian scripts, transforming these works into a form acceptable to the Israelites and delivering these works in the new Hebrew script. Indeed, the brilliant prosperity of the Israelite nation during Solomon's reign, together with its international connections at the time, force us to consider the possibility that scholars within Solomon's kingdom produced each of the wisdom texts, namely, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Job. Even some of the Wisdom Psalms can be placed at that time. This explanation fits the historical context, is relatively untroubled by linguistic arguments, and also serves to provide the basis for a robust explanation of issues like the duplication of content within Proverbs and the emphasis on sexual desire in the Song of Songs.


"Fullness of the Gentiles": Influence on and Impact of Paul’s Statement in Romans 11:25
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Jared Ludlow, Brigham Young University

This paper examines Paul’s use of the phrase “fullness of Gentiles” (pleroma ton ethnon) in Romans 11:25. This phrase is uniquely found in the NT in this one Pauline passage, although similar terms are found in a closely related passage earlier in the chapter (11:12) and in Luke 21:23-24. Besides shedding light on its meaning in this context, this paper will look at LXX parallels to see possible influence on Paul’s use of this phrase. It will then look at the adoption of this phrase among many early Christian writers and how they understood the fullness of the Gentiles applied to their situation. As with most Pauline passages, much work has already been done on Romans 11:25, thus this paper will attempt to further refine these interpretations especially by looking at earlier influences and the later impact of Paul’s statement. Some modern scholars have looked at Romans 11 as evidence of “replacement ecclesiology,” focusing on the eschatological implications of the Gentiles’ role and place in God’s salvation history. Others see “fullness of Gentiles” referring more to a temporal distinction of completion or fulfillment that causes a delay for the salvation of the House of Israel. This paper will explore these interpretations along with the notion that pleroma refers to more than a simple designation for “all” the nations, but to the fullness of presence or spirit, or the full blessings of the gospel, that enable the Gentiles to become God’s instruments to the House of Israel. By so doing, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. What becomes clear is that in Paul’s understanding, the fullness of the Gentiles is a critical turning point in God’s dealings with the House of Israel.


Almsgiving from Righteousness to Pity: Semantic Progression of Elehmosuné from the Beggar’s Perspective
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Guillermo Mac Kenzie, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

The Greek term for almsgiving (e?lehmosu/nh) is found in the LXX translating two different words from the Hebrew Scriptures, besides the many times it appears in the deuterocanonical books. This research evaluates the semantic progression of this Greek term through the Hebrew Scriptures, the Septuagint, Second Temple Judaism, and New Testament writings. This study focuses on the significance of the change of meaning of the concept of almsgiving from the perspective of the alms receiver or beggar.


"Blessed are the Meek…" (Matt 5:5): Counter-cultural Potential of a Rather Unconventional Blessing
Program Unit:
Ángel José Macin, Encarnacion Seminar

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'Will one find “grass” or “a field”?' An Interpretation of John 10:9b
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Yutaka Maekawa, Kwansei Gakuin University

In John 10:9b, nome is usually translated as “pasture” and interpreted as “that which nourishes saved human beings.” However, nome could mean either 1) land or a field (i.e., a place) that provides food and 2) grass or food, e.g., for livestock. Most critics interpret nome as meaning “food” without clearly mentioning the alternative meaning. This raises the questions of which is the correct meaning intended in John 10:9b? Nome occurs twice in the New Testament (NT). In the Septuagint (LXX), it occurs 34 times, and from their contexts, it can be concluded that six of these occurrences refer to food and 17 to a place. However, Philo and Josephus used the word referring to a place. Thus, nome seems to be used mainly to refer to a place rather than to food. Furthermore, another word, botane, which means “grass” in Greek, is used a total of 14 times in the LXX, 5 times in Josephus, and 30 times in the Apostolic Fathers. Botane would therefore seem to be a common word for “grass.” In John 10:9, the verbs associated with the use of nome, such as “enter,” “come in,” and “go out,” would seem to strongly denote a place. From this evidence it is concluded that, in John 10:9b, nome should be interpreted to mean “a place.” Then, this verse tells us that, through the gate of Jesus one can find a field where God will provide food (for life, 10:10) for believers. Here, John says that entering into the realm of God can be done through Jesus. This interpretation also agrees with other passages in John, such as those that refer to the provision of a place for disciples (13:37; 14:2–3). The interpretation of nome is, thus, key to understanding Johannine theology regarding the realm of God.


Moses, the Prophet-Judge: An Action Hero and International Man of Mystery
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Sophia Magallanes, Life Pacific College

There have been recent studies about Moses' masculinity within the Pentateuch, and also studies on the stark contrast between the texts' portrayals of Moses within Deuteronomy and the rest of the Torah. Unfortunately, no study has combined the two to account for how all portrayals of Moses relate to each other to give way for the prophetic office in the rest of the Tanach, especially in the book of Judges and in Samuel. Moses, in Exodus, claims to be very little in the way of a public speaker and yet his primary role as prophet in the book of Deuteronomy is that of lengthy discourse. In contrast to this "prophetic" role as God's mouthpiece, Moses is depicted in Exodus - Numbers as a man of action and intrigue. What this research project aims to do is to combine as well as contrast studies of Moses' masculinity within an honor/shame society with his depiction as the orator of Deuteronomic law in order to show how these portrayals set up the role and office of the Prophet-Judge in the books of the Deuteronomic history.


Nabot Vineyard as a Historiographical Problem: Approaches Across XX Century
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Magdalena Magneres, Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires

The history of the compilation and interpretation of 1 Kings 21 is long and complicated. Since history Israel´s monarchy started to be analized inside the field of history, the problem began: What kind of power had the king Ahab in hebrew society in the IX B. C.? The surveys of scholars developed biblical schools at first and grew up in the agenda of historians worried about kingship power role. The question we made in this proposal was: Why we can considered "Nabot Vineyard" a text as a central episode of monarchical times? During the last 30 years the biblical account has suffered changes coming from "Copenaghe School" , the israeli archaeologist Finkelstein and others like Timm and Cronauer exegetical works. Considering these last interpretations we proposed to integrated these differences with the monumental activities of the omrides at Samaria, Jezreel and Meggido. Activities we know today thanks of archaeological field advances we rebuild the nature of that power during omride times


Were Sacrifices Offered at Qumran? The Animal Bone Deposits Reconsidered
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Most scholars agree that the Qumran sect did not participate in the sacrificial cult in the Jerusalem temple, nor did they offer animal sacrifices at Qumran. In this paper, I challenge scholarly consensus in light of a reconsideration of the animal bone deposits at Qumran. Parallels from ancient sanctuaries indicate that the animal bone deposits at Qumran represent sacrificial refuse and consumption debris. There is also possible evidence of an altar in L130 at Qumran, an open-air space on the northwest side of the site. The possibility that animal sacrifices were offered at Qumran is supported by legislation in sectarian works and in non-sectarian works that were considered authoritative by the sect. This evidence suggests that the sect observed the laws of the desert camp with the tabernacle in its midst


Passionately Re-Reading Borges Re-Writing Mark
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Borges’s short story “The Gospel according to Mark” is not a retelling of the New Testament Gospel of Mark but rather a metaphorical reenactment of a portion of it, its passion story. Although extending a harmonized portrait of Jesus that is somewhat consistent across cultures influenced by Christianity, Borges captures both the power and the mystery of Christ’s passion. And, as a master of paradox himself, Borges manages to tell a story that ends even more abruptly than its namesake, the Gospel of Mark. My reflection will comment first on biblical intertextuality in Borges’s story and second on the questions it raises about its own interpretation, especially as a passion narrative, or as a parody of a passion narrative, or as critique of the church’s reception of a passion narrative, or as . . . .


Working with Figured Masorah: A Case Study
Program Unit: Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)
Elvira Martín-Contreras, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Most of the studies devoted to the Masorah (i. e., the the system of notes and signs used to preserve the text of the Hebrew Bible, and the way it was written) in ornamental or figured patterns are from the field of Jewish Art. Those works don’t use to pay attention to the content but to the form. The biblical Hebrew manuscript 118-2-41 (M1) -kept at the Library of Complutense University of Madrid - has a huge number of masorot in figured patterns. The existence of these masorot has been already mentioned; however, they have not been described and studied in relation to their content. This paper focuses on those masorot, their location, shape and content.


Who or What Calls the Shots in Naomi’s Life? Reading the Naomi-Ruth Story in the African Religio-Cultural Context
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Madipoane Masenya (ngwan'a Mphahlele), University of South Africa

While the whole is religious in the African view of things, in African religiosity, the dead are perceived and believed not only to be alive, but to be participating actively in people’s lives. Such a worldview according to which the dead were apparently believed to form, whether consciously or sub-consciously, an integral part of people’s lives, seems to have been familiar to Naomi, one of the main characters in the book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. In this paper, it is argued that a worldview in which the Sacred Other, the living and the (living) dead formed an integral whole, can be observed at critical points in Naomi’s life: At the point of Naomi's bidding farewell to her daughters-in-law on her return to Judah (Rt1:8-9); at the revelation of Naomi’s conviction about Yahweh’s faithfulness to both the living and the dead (Rt2:20); at the point where Naomi reveals her plan to seek security for Ruth through “levirate” marriage (Rt 3:1) as well as at the point where Naomi acts as the nurse of Mahlon’s son(Rt4:5, 16). Premising one’s argument on the apparent point of resemblance between the worldview of ancient Israel and that of Africa(cf African-South Africa), how may Naomi’s apparent trap between the living and the dead be received in an African-South African context? Who and/or what called the shots in her life?


Married Otherwise or a Nobody? Reading Ruth in a Marriage-Obsessed African Context
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Madipoane Masenya (ngwan'a Mphahlele), University of South Africa

That marriage, and in particular heterosexual marriage, needs to happen to all human beings, seems to be the underlying norm within all cultures, not excluding African cultures. In the latter cultures (cf in particular, the indigenous cultures of South Africa), several types of marriage (including levirate marriage) were put in place to rectify any deviation from the status quo. Many, if not all such marriage types have become almost obsolete particularly among African (Pentecostal) Christians in the face of missionary Christianity and its elevation of the imperial western culture. Notwithstanding the preceding obsession with marriage though, the remarkable spread of Christianity, accompanied mostly by fundamentalist readings of its sacred texts, the phenomenon of single life by many an African Christian woman has become a "harsh" reality, not only in South Africa, but also elsewhere on the African continent. In the book of Ruth, two single women exploit the institution almost akin to levirate marriage to secure a place in a world which did not seem to take kindly to unmarried people (read: women). The main question addressed in this paper is: In a marriage-obsessed context where sex is to happen within the confines of marriage only, a context typified by what may be regarded as “sexual starvation” for the faithful and the self-controlled singles, could some of the "unconventional" types of marriage be found to be viable options for those who choose to deviate from the status quo?


Two Recent Monographs on Faith and Faithfulness in Hebrews
Program Unit: Epistle to the Hebrews
Eric F. Mason, Judson University

This presentation considers the arguments and contributions of two recent monographs on faith and faithfulness in Hebrews. They are Christopher A. Richardson, Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith: Jesus' Faith as the Climax of Israel's History in the Epistle to the Hebrews (WUNT 2/338; Mohr Siebeck, 2012), and Matthew C. Easter, Faith and the Faithfulness of Jesus in Hebrews (SNTSMS 160; Cambridge University Press, 2014).


How to Be a ‘Male’ Goddess: The Competing Gender Logics of Antiquity
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Kathleen McCaffrey, Independent Scholar

The visual traditions of two nude female figures, a figure who cups her breasts with assurance and a child-killing goddess depicted on amulets, offer valuable data sets for tracking gender norms over time in the ancient Near East. New depictions of worship are helping to resolve an old controversy, indicating that the nude female who holds her breasts is a goddess, most probably the goddess Ishtar or her Western counterpart Astarte. The pose and sex of the nude female figure remained stable over millennia at localities ranging from the Levant to Iran, but in Hellenistic Mesopotamia she suddenly changed, maintaining her female shape but acquiring a penis. The body of the lamashtu demoness follows the same progression, female over thousands of years with a partial sex change in the Hellenistic period. The lamashtu and Ishtar have another significant gender irregularity in common. Both are regularly referenced in Mesopotamian texts with masculine pronouns and verbal forms. This paper argues that the hermaphrodic images of the Hellenistic period reflect a sticking point in the transmittal of a non-Western concept of gender variance.


The Book of Esther and the Festival of Purim: A Megillah Provides an Avenue for Social Change
Program Unit: Judaica
Heather McKay, Edge Hill University

The Book of Esther explores the ambiguous, alternate, and liminal in human society, and the celebration of the festival of Purim explores those aspects within modern Jewish life. According to Turner, festivals connect humans with deities and each other and re-order the visible and invisible aspects of life. They communicate the heart of sacred beliefs by returning to basic principles and portray them in sacred dramas. They prompt reconsideration of the group’s ideal standards, and, in situations of rapid social change, can call those ideals into question. The bitter pill of re-assessment is sweetened by the noisy and colourful festival fun. Currently, in Jewish celebrations of Purim, cross-dressing takes place in ‘both’ directions. Men dress as Esther and Vashti and women as Ahasuerus, Mordecai and Haman. The festival acts of mummery allow Jewish communities the opportunity to explore changing attitudes to both authority roles and sexual orientation.


Clothing, Adornment, and Accouterments in the Historical Books
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Heather McKay, Edge Hill University

Goffman’s ‘personal front’ is composed of: facial expressions, body language, attitudinal positions and movements, clothing, cosmetics, hairstyles, adornments and the assumption—or not—of accouterments. Hence, humans assume clothes that mark their gender, status and, often, a particular assumed role. People can also change their mood by a change of clothes; they can disguise their feelings, intentions—even themselves—and for a variety of reasons and purposes, ranging from benign to nefarious. In this paper I plan to show that biblical authors often say more than is immediately apparent when they refer to clothing, adornments and accouterments: first, because the role of these items often indicates more subtle features of the plot and of the characters, and secondly, because by repeatedly referring to these items they show where their deeper interests lie. Those items that touch the skin of human beings, whether for hours on end, such as their clothes, or are briefly held in the hands—ornaments, tools or weapons—become extensions of that person, of their desires, aims and goals. Noticing the role/s played by them helps readers to notice the human characters in a more cognizant and understanding way. Such careful attention also helps readers to see something of the aims and desires of the writers for although the stories are in fact just stories that could be told in different ways—as may be witnessed in the Chronicler’s retelling of stories from the earlier Histories, the meaning for the readers will always be in ‘the way they tell them’.


Did the Bethsaida Herods Inadvertently Promote Christianity?
Program Unit: Bethsaida Excavations Project
Elizabeth McNamer, Rocky Mountain College (Billings)

Three of the descendants of Herod the Great were rulers of Bethsaida. Philip Herod established the Imperial cult there. His successor Agrippa, who continued the cult may have driven the Bethsaida apostles out of the town and forced them to other parts of the world. Bethsaida’s inhabitants heed to Agrippa II advice and did not revolt against the Romans. The city survived the war and a coin of Agrippa II from the year 84/5 CE was recently found there. Had the entire population of Judea heed to Agrippa II and not revolt against the Herodians that were backed by the Romans, the Temple and the kingdom of Judea would have not been destroyed and perhaps Christianity would have taken a totally different turn.


Tarshish and the Isles in the Imperial Vision of Philip II
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Andrew Mein, Westcott House

In September 1585 the first four Japanese Christians to visit Europe were greeted by a choir singing the Epiphany offertory Reges Tharsis et insula offerent (Let the kings of Tarshish and the Isles bring gifts), making them clearly subordinate to the imperial and even messianic claims of Philip II, the Spanish king. This paper will explore the cultural and exegetical context that allowed key biblical texts about distant lands and islands (notably Psalm 72 and Isaiah 60) to play a significant role in the ideological underpinning of Iberian imperialism during the age of exploration.


The Bible in Borges' Literature
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Antonio Magalhães, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba

The Bible interested Borges in many ways, especially as an archive of narratives and themes and as one of the great code of literature. The aim of this paper is to show how Borges uses the Bible in his stories, specially highlight the using the Bible in “La Biblioteca de Babel”, when refers to the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Borges modifies the biblical trope and its traditional interpretation and offers an alternative and deconstructive perspective: instead of concerning of mutually unintelligible language, “La biblioteca de Babel” concerns librarians who are guardians of a library that includes all possible combinations of the letters of alphabet, resulting in a vast number of books and pages and the réunion of languages of humankind as a meeting-point of cultures and lectures. Reflections about the relation between Bible and Literature as well as the influence of the Bible in the latinamerican literature are in the central perspective of this paper.


Bible and Translation in Haroldo de Campos' Work
Program Unit: Latino/a and Latin American Biblical Interpretation
Antonio Magalhães, Universidade Estadual da Paraíba

The Bible interested the brazilian author and translator Haroldo de Campos in many ways, especially as an archive of narratives and themes and as one of the great code of literature. The aim of this paper is to show how Haroldo de Campos offers a very creative and postcolonial perspective of translation of the Bible and others classics of world literature, specially highlight the translation which Haroldo de Campos published of Ecclesiastes Book. The translation of Haroldo de Campos has a continuous critical interpretation of the idea of original and adopts the role of translation as cultural interposition and intervention. Reflections about the role of translation in the intercultural e interreligious dialogue as well as the relation between Bible and Literature and the influence of the Bible in the latinamerican literature are in the central perspective of this paper.


Memories of Women’s Resistance in the Festivities of the Fourth Gospel
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Maricel Mena-López, Universidad Santo Tomás Bogota

Memories of women’s resistance in the festivities of the fourth Gospel In the Gospel of John festivities are a privileged scenery for presenting Jesus’ dialogues as well as his detractors’ controversies. Even though there are many academic works about this Gospel, none of them links the festivities to the theology of women’s resistance rising in the Old Testament tradition. It calls for attention the fact that in the Jewish liturgical ritual the public reading of the five scrolls is performed either by women or presents in the language some rhetoric elements that refer to women’s every day practices: Song of Song (Easter); Ecclesiastes (Tents) Rut (Pentecost); Lamentations (Dedication of Temple); Ester (Purim). The Gospel of John points explicitly to three of these festivities: Easter (Jn 2,13; 6,4; 11,55), Tents (Jn 7-9) and Dedication (Jn 10) and reinterprets them Christologically. The new Easter corresponds to the new creation and the rereading that John accomplishes about the new humanity corresponds to the groom and the bride evoking new relationships founded in human embodiment. The festivity of the Tents is about the subject of light and life, water and spirit, water and thirst, bread of life. In addition, the rereading on Ecclesiastes is based on the communitary shared supper, because real joy comes from living in simplicity, enjoying friends an also enjoying the result of work, bread and wine. During the festivity of Dedication, which was precisely dedicated to celebrate the liberation of oppression and consequently the Dedication of God, Jesus manifests himself as the great liberator from oppression. Hence in this new tradition the memory of the mourners as well their mournful songs of resistance are presented around the body of the Master. All those issues point to a theology of women’s resistance and will be discussed using the tools offered by cultural anthropology.


Malachi 2:1-9: A Contextual Reading in Relation to the Argentine Crisis of 2001
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Claudia Mendoza, Universidad Católica Argentina

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The Magic of Words: Healing and Purifying in the Context of Scale Disease (?ara‘at)
Program Unit: Ritual in the Biblical World
Naphtali Meshel, Princeton University

The case of ?ara‘at was used in a polemical context, already in antiquity, with regard to the question of a priest’s power to effect or remove an unwanted condition, most famously in a particular reading of Lev 14:36. This polemic is related to another polemic involving ?ara‘at, in which a ‘holy man’ has control over the medical condition itself in a way that may be perceived as ‘magical’ (e.g., 2 Kgs 5). A close study of the particular formulations and ritual structures prescribed in the laws of ?ara‘at in Leviticus will be used to identify more clearly P’s understanding of the priests’ power to effect or remove unwanted conditions that ?ara‘at entails.


The Irrational Violence of Gods and Demons
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Maria Metzler, Harvard University

Scholars have often claimed that demons engage in irrational destruction, whereas gods inflict violence on humans for the more rational purposes of discipline or punishment. I challenge this claim by discussing examples of supernatural rage within the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts. I begin by categorizing ways in which destructive anger may be called irrational: It may be irrational in cause (the reasons for agitation are unclear), in effect (its results are contrary to the perpetrator’s expressed interests), in action (strikes indiscriminately), and in abating (stops for reasons that are unclear or by sensory engagement). Both gods and demons perform destructive acts that appear to be irrational in cause, and both may be appeased by non-rational means. I assert that the primary difference between demons and gods lies not in the degree to which they may be said to act rationally, but rather in their social orientation: demons are quintessentially antisocial beings, whereas gods tend to value social relationships. Because gods are concerned with maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with humans, they attempt to control their anger and engage in violence only when it results in benefits for themselves or the ones they love. On the other hand, demons have nothing at stake in relationships and enjoy inflicting suffering. When it comes to destructive behavior, then, demons cannot be charged with acting irrationally against their best interests, since their sole interest is destruction. When suffering extreme agitation, however, gods can channel “demonic” energy and enact indiscriminate destruction. In so doing, these beings may be charged with acting irrationally, since in such a state they are likely to injure persons whom they would otherwise seek to protect. Demons are not less rational than gods in their destruction, then; they simply operate according to different interests.


From Galatians to Romans: From Liberty to Justice
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Nestor Miguez, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

Both Pauline letters, Galatians and Romans, dwell with the issue of the law and the relationship between law and salvations. Both propose the central role of the Messiah Jesus in the fulfillment of the law and the limits of the law for the redemption. Yet, while Galatians puts the stress on the liberty (eleuteria) of the believer in front of the law, the key word in Romans, concerning the same issue, is Justice (dikaiosyne). Why this change in the argument? What is the relationship between liberty from the law and justice apart from the law? The use of the concept of the law as a device (following Agamben’s understanding of what is a device – also translated into English as dispositive or apparatus) will help us to relate both arguments, and also to show its hermeneutical value for the issues of today international politics in front of the Empire.


Economy in the Pauline Legacy
Program Unit: Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy
Nestor Miguez, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

The second generation of the Pauline communities had to confront new challenges. As the first impulse of conversion and the particular leadership of Paul passed, and the communities became more complex, new ways of life had to be found. Among other things, the relationship with the surrounding world had to develop under new standards, including the economy. How to organize the economy of the communities, both in the inside and in the relationships to the Empire? In the so-called “pastoral letters” we find various paragraphs concerning both questions. To what degree do they continue with the Pauline understanding of economy and what changes are products of the new situation? This paper will explore the economy in the pastoral (specially 1 Timothy), its relationship with Paul’s letters, and its hermeneutical value for understanding the economy of today.


The Unexpected Question to Bartimeus
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Nestor Miguez, Instituto Universitario ISEDET

In the Gospel of Mark, the story of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) both concludes the itinerant ministry of Jesus before he enters Jerusalem and presents his last miracle. That puts it at a crucial point within the Gospel narrative. This presentation will consider three aspects of the story: • From the perspective of narrative and performative hermeneutics, I will try to uncover different levels in the message concealed in this episode. This will be done in a narrative mood. • I will consider the dynamics of popular culture and religiosity, the place that miracle stories occupy in them, the ways of transmission, and the value of the titles given to Jesus. • I will consider the gospel message toward handicapped persons, and demonstrate how the story helps us to reflect on the treatment of disabled people in the past and the present. This story may be fruitfully employed in Christian ministry as an orientation towards those who suffer physical or mental imparity.


Christological Mystery in Early Christianity
Program Unit: Apostolic Fathers and Related Early Christian Literature
Richard K. Min, University of Texas at Dallas

The Christological claim and confession by John the Baptist (John 1:15, 30) presents an interesting enigma and challenge in exegesis. The confession in the primitive Christianity is composed of three simple and distinctive prepositional phrases in an intriguing manner, presenting the mystery and supremacy of Jesus Christ who was preexisting even before the creation. By borrowing from "computational studies," this paper explores and presents a new paradigm in exegesis and interpretive framework to understand and analyze various frameworks of "circular rhetoric," Christological mystery, and biblical interpretation in early Christianity. The two proof-methods of the divine “I am” saying in John 8:12–20 are investigated to establish a new exegetical ground and justification of the framework. The allusion of John 8:12–20 to Exodus 3:14–15 is further explored to enhance the exegetical basis of this study. Further we investigate a few landmark-examples including the lordship of Christ over David in Matthew 22:41–46, Melchizedek and Christ in Hebrews 7, and the two-stage coming of the Kingdom of God in Luke 17:20–30 (in the rhetorical framework of “already” and “not yet” in tension). The current study, by using computational literary criticism, provides a promising new paradigm with many groundbreaking results affecting the study of Christological mystery in "circular rhetoric" and Christological paradoxes within early Christian literature.


Grace in John 1:16 in the light of Exodus 33:19
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Richard K. Min, University of Texas at Dallas

Circular rhetoric has been one of the most misunderstood, controversial, or neglected areas in contemporary biblical scholarship for the latter half of the 20th century. Recently there has been a renewed interest due to a new approach by Min with many groundbreaking results in John. This paper presents and extends the approach for the case of grace in John 1:16. Some well-known biblical examples of circular rhetoric and paradoxes are surveyed and analyzed. Two proof-methods in John 8:12-20 are analyzed and discussed to establish the exegetical basis and justification of the new paradigm. Further a few noteworthy features associated with circular rhetoric are explored and discussed. One well-known and parallel example in the contemporary New Testament scholarship in circular rhetoric and logic of paradox is found in the work of Cullmann for the two-stage coming of the Kingdom of God in the framework of the salvation history. The circular rhetoric in John 1:16 for “grace” is explored in the light of Exodus 33:19.


Circular Rhetoric and Exegetical Challenge in Romans
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Richard K. Min, University of Texas at Dallas

This paper explores and presents a new paradigm in exegesis and interpretive framework to understand and analyze circular rhetoric and its exegetical challenges in Romans. The critical method applied in this study is an extension of the exegetical and interpretive framework for circular rhetoric and logic of paradox by Min, applied primarily to the Gospels, 1 John, and Hebrews. Selected passages in Romans are explored and analyzed including “from faith to faith” in Romans 1:17, the Liar paradox in Titus 1:12 with Romans 3:4, “in Christ” and “Christ in you” in Romans 8:10, the tension of “already” and “not yet” in Romans 8:29–30 in the light of the two-stage coming of the Kingdom of God in Luke 17:20–30, and the tautological assertions in Romans 9:15–18 in the light of Matthew 21:22. The two proof-methods of the divine “I am” saying in John 8:12–20 are explored to establish the exegetical ground and justification of the framework. The allusion of John 8:12–20 to Exodus 3:14–15 is further explored to enhance the exegetical basis. The proposed framework provides a promising new prospective and paradigm toward the study in Romans.


Martyrdom Narratives and the Building of Christian Communities
Program Unit:
Valtair Miranda, Seminário Batista do Sul

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Then He Killed the Powerful One: Views of Power in the Gospel of Thomas
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Petru Moldovan, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

This paper evaluates different approaches to the concept of power that gradually develops and widens within the Gospel of Thomas. Sayings like 35 or 98 best illustrate this type of power-related discourse. Are such sayings intended to enhance the reader’s feeling of power? Are they really intended to enact violence towards the other? Or, do they actually express the inner conflict between the spirit and the body? Closer analysis of the aggressive language and images of destruction (both of the world and of one’s enemies) allows the reader to distinguish various circles of power emanating from the individual. However, could such sayings help one, for example, to discover oneself? My approach aims at investigating the multi-layered structure of the concept of power that one can trace within the logia of the Gospel of Thomas as well as placing it within the broader context of Late Antiquity.


The Use of Memory in the Old Testament Quotations of John’s Gospel
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Andrew Montanaro, The Catholic University of America

The Gospel of John, like other ancient documents, was produced in a culture that was predominately oral, wherein the handing on of tradition depended primarily on memorization. Recent research in human memory has shed light on the specific kinds of mistakes that occur in memory recall. These “memory variants” have certain definable characteristics that correspond to observed human memory lapses and have also been observed in homeric and Old Testament studies. They have not been widely studied, if at all, in the New Testament. About half of the quotations of the Old Testament in John’s Gospel differ from their source texts. These variances have often been explained as John’s theological re-appropriation of his sources. However, this paper proposes that the peculiarities of the Old Testament quotations in John’s gospel can more easily be described in terms of memory variants, ultimately showing that John was recalling the Old Testament from memory. Furthermore, the verbatim quotations are usually taken from poetic texts, which inherently contain constraints (e.g., rhyme, meter) that enhance memory recall. These observations reinforce the assertion that the differences noted can be explained as memory variants.


The King of Peace in John and Philo of Alexandria
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Wooil Moon, Seoul Theological University

This paper explores Jesus’ portrayal of a peace-giver in the Gospel according to John in light of Philo of Alexandria’s concept of “Melchizedek.” C. H. Dodd (1968, 298) observed that Philo’s depiction of Melchizedek as the one who “shall bring forth wine instead of water” shows some similarities with the Johannine description of Jesus as a wine-provider in John 2:1-11. Nevertheless, Dodd did not develop this issue into the discussion of the theme of peace in Philo and John, which this paper attempts to discuss. During the Julio-Claudian dynasty of the Pax Romana, Philo was keenly conscious of the limit of the imperial peace. He challenged the Roman peace by allegorizing the “king of Salem” in Gen 14:18-20 as the Platonic “kingly mind” that advocates peace and stands against the “tyrannical mind” in Leg. 3:79-81. The Coming of Melchizedek (11Q13) already associates Melchizedek with peace, although the peace in this text has less to do with Plato than with the passage in Isa 52:7. A similar interpretation of Melchizedek as the king of peace occurs in Heb 7:1-2. The Fourth Gospel does not directly mention Melchizedek, Salem, or kingly mind, but indirectly signifies Jesus as a king of peace by employing many elements which Philo uses in describing Melchizedek.


From Julia Kristeva’s Intertextuality to Dennis MacDonald’s Mimesis Criticism
Program Unit: Allusions in the Gospels and Acts
Wooil Moon, Seoul Theological University

This paper explores how Dennis R. MacDonald’s idea of Mimesis Criticism has evolved from the semiotic concept of intertextuality defined by Julia Kristeva, a Bulgarian-French post-structuralist and semiotician. For this purpose, the paper introduces Kristeva’s definition of intertextuality and some other literary theories that provide responses to her extreme stress on the roles of the text and the reader, rather than the author, in interpreting texts. Those theories encompass Roland Barthes’s Death of the Author, Harold Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence, Gian B. Conte’s non-emulative concept of “poetic langue,” and Stephen Hinds’s hermeneutical demand to interpret suppressed allusions. This brief survey of literary concepts aims to attain basic knowledge to understand the intertextuality theories respectively expounded by Richard Hays and Dennis MacDonald. Both Hays and MacDonald are the most referred biblical critics among those who adapted the secular literary theories regarding intertextuality to the area of New Testament literary criticism. While Hays restricts his intertextual study to biblical allusions, MacDonald shifts the paradigm of the New Testament ante-textuality study to the Greco-Roman mimesis practice.


Desire and Power: Revisiting tešûqah in Genesis and the Song of Songs
Program Unit: Feminist Interpretations
Susannah M. Larry, Vanderbilt University

The word tešûqah appears only three times in the Hebrew Bible, in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 and in Song of Songs 7:10. The paucity of occurrences of tešûqah leaves enough ambiguity of meaning to mire the word in lingering contemporary debates in church communities over gender roles. Following Susan Foh, gender complementarians tend to cast a thirst for power as the basic meaning of tešûqah. In contrast, following feminist scholars such as Phyllis Trible, egalitarians have viewed tešûqah as sexual desire, divorced from any connotations of power. I think that the bifurcation of desire and power in the interpretation of tešûqah is unwarranted, and therefore, that a new scholarly treatment of tešûqah is needed. In my paper, I will show that in Genesis and the Song of Songs, tesûqah connotes power as a medium of sexual desire. In Genesis, tešûqah references desire that is exploitative in its deployment of power. However, the Song’s usage of tešûqah displays possibilities for power’s role in sexuality that are not static and domineering but instead playful and fluid. Neither males nor females permanently command tešûqah. In my effort to produce an original feminist reading of tešûqah that combines the meanings of desire and power suggested above, I will begin by studying the etymological and textual issues surrounding tešûqah. I will then conduct a close reading of each of the contexts where tešûqah occurs, Gen. 3:16 and 4:7 and Song 7:10. Finally, I will perform an intertextual study to construct an understanding of tešûqah that takes into account its appearance in each of its three contexts.


Mind the Working-class People! An African Reading of Lev 25:8-55 with Latino/a Critical Tools
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Ndikho Mtshiselwa, University of South Africa

It is generally accepted by Latino/a biblical scholars, namely, Fernando F. Segovia and Alejandro F. Botta, among others, that both the historical-critical methods and the contextual approaches are equally important in the reading of the Hebrew Bible. First, this paper argues that Leviticus 25:8-55 contains verses (cf. Lev 25:10, 39-40 and 54) which are ascribed to the Deuteronomistic writers (D) but which were re-used by the authors of the Holiness Code (H). Second, because the absolute noun, sakiyr “hired laborer” and the Qal verb, abad “to work” in Leviticus 25:40 refer to the working-class people, the context(s) from which the text of Leviticus 25:8-55 emerged will be investigated in relation to the working-class people. Third, the paper probes the relevance of Leviticus 25:8-55 to Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s discourse of the experiences of the working-class people and Segovia’s reading of the Hebrew Bible in the light of such experiences. It is argued in this paper that H’s concern for social justice for the working-class people can throw light on the reading of the ancient texts, particularly from the perspective of the Latino/a biblical criticism, and more importantly, that such a reading could also have implications for the working class people of South Africa.


Reading Lev 25:8-55 and Ruth 4 in the light of the Landless and Poor Women in South Africa: A Conversation with Fernando Segovia and Ernesto “Che” Guevara
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Ndikho Mtshiselwa, University of South Africa

Recent statistics in South Africa shows that women mostly experience poverty as compared to their male counterpart. In the context of the experience of poverty by women in South Africa, several Old Testament scholars have convincingly explored the theme of poverty in the Hebrew Bible. In her contextual re-reading of the Naomi-Ruth Story, Madipoane Masenya (ngwan’a Mphahlele) links the issue of poverty to the theme of land. Also, from the historical-critical and partly, the contextual approach to ancient texts, Esias E. Meyer argues that Leviticus 25:8-55 holds liberative possibilities for women who are invisible in such a text. Based on the argument made by the preceding scholars, first, this paper argues that in the context from which the texts of Leviticus 25:8-55 and Ruth 4 emerged, some women were both landless and poor. Second, it is argued here in this paper that the context of these texts carries a striking resemblance to the situation of women in post-apartheid South Africa, as many women do not own productive land and are poor. Third, this paper poses the question: What implications do the ideologies of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the hermeneutical approach of Fernando Segovia to ancient texts bear on the reading of Leviticus 25:8-55 and Ruth 4 in South Africa?


Mind the Working-class People! A Latino/a Critic of Leviticus 25:8-55
Program Unit: Latino/a and Latin American Biblical Interpretation
Ndikho Mtshiselwa, University of South Africa

It is generally accepted by the Latino/a biblical scholars, namely, Fernando F. Segovia and Alejandro F. Botta, among others, that both the historical-critical methods and the contextual approaches are equally important in the reading of the Hebrew Bible. First, it is argued here in this paper that Leviticus 25:8-55 contain verses (cf. Lev 25:10, 39-40 and 54) which may be viewed as exhibiting the layers of the Deuteronomistic writers (D) which were re-used by the authors of the Holiness Code (H). Second, based on the argument that the absolute noun, sakiyr “hired laborer”, and the Qal verb, abad “to work”, in Leviticus 25:40 refer to the working-class people, the context(s) from which the text of Leviticus 25:8-55 emerged, particularly with regard to the working-class people, will be investigated. Third, enthused by the Latino/a biblical criticism, the cardinal question addressed by the paper is: What bearing could the methodological approach of Fernando Segovia to ancient texts and the ideologies of Ernesto “Che” Guevara have on the reading of Leviticus 25:8-55?


From Synagogue to a Hierarchical Ekklesia: Issues of Power and Supremacy in the Practice and Life of South American Churches
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Rubén Muñoz-Larrondo, Andrews University

In this paper, I will review the structures of power displayed in the book of Acts of the Apostles, making a brief historical review between the views on charisma and office, to later explain the terms of elders-presbuteros and bishops-episkopos in their social context as foundation for a postcolonial reading of Acts 15 and 21. I argue that both in Acts and the rest of the NT, the hierarchical understanding of bishops-elders-deacons as office is non-existent. Furthermore, structures of power seen in the second century functions as mimicry of their understanding of the Roman Empire. As a South American protestant minister educated and working in the North, I identify issues of empire, supremacy, and mimicry from the historical established religion as consequences of the long lasting effects of the Iberian empires. Throughout our society and congregations, especially in the south, we experience an accentuated Catholicized Protestantism.


Liturgical Poems and Synagogue Mosaics from Byzantine Palestine — A Comparative Approach
Program Unit: Judaica
Ophir Münz-Manor, Open University of Israel

This paper explores the intersections of two major media in late ancient synagogues, namely liturgical poems that were recited throughout the service and mosaic pavements that decorated the buildings. In recent years much attention was given to each of these cultural domains yet very few studies elaborated on the similarities and difference between the two, and more broadly on their shared function in the liturgy. In order to illustrate the importance of the comparative study of liturgical poetry and liturgical art in late antique Judaism, I will focus on poems and mosaics that relate to various biblical scenes, with a special emphasis on the Binding of Isaac. Among the texts and mosaics that will be discussed are poems by Yannai and Elazar birabi Qilir and the findings from the synagogues of Sepphoris and Beit Alpha. Liturgical texts and liturgical spaces offer us a gateway to one of the central places where the self and communal identities of many Jews, especially the lay or unlettered, were shaped in practice; considering liturgical poetry and art will broaden our perspective and give us a better understanding of these processes. 


The Voluptuousness of Discourse: Reading Peter’s Pentecost Sermon through L’Écriture Féminine and Lo Cotidiano
Program Unit: Methods in New Testament Studies
Jacob D. Myers, Columbia Theological Seminary

Traditional approaches (Johnson, Pervo) to Luke’s Pentecost narrative focus upon the fulfillment of the meaning of the Spirit’s outpouring in Peter’s discourse. Even feminist readings (Gaventa, O’Day) focus on Peter’s attempt to isolate the “true meaning” of the Spirit’s work through exegesis of Jesus’ ministry, failing to note the femininity inscribed by the Spirit. Drawing upon literary critical scholarship, and especially upon l’écriture féminine of French feminism and lo cotidiano of mujerista theologians, this paper attends to the ways in which Act 2:1-36 bears witness to a theological signification bursting with semantic difference and producing a superabundance I am labeling voluptuous discourse. The problem with historical-critical modes of interpretation, and even more recent ideological and socio-rhetorical approaches, is their underlying impetus to arrive at textual meaning. Feminist and mujerista hermeneuts reveal the underlying androcentrism at work in such an approach. Unfortunately, the full benefits of feminist/mujerista modes of reading fall short of their potential by cherry-picking those few texts that deal explicitly with women (Women’s Bible Commentary) or attempt to resurrect female marginalization through attention to broader themes and imagery at work in the text in spite of its patriarchal assumptions (Schussler-Fiorenza, Tribble). This paper participates in neither approach. Rather, by attending to the literary contours of the text, this paper exposes a way beyond textual meaning and metaphoricity. This paper unfolds in three sections. First, I introduce l’écriture féminine and lo cotidiano as literary-theological approaches aimed at exploding the sign rather than interpreting the sign, attending more to the manner than the matter of what is written, and to what is expressed and repressed in language. Next, I showcase the fruitfulness of such methods on the Pentecost narrative and Peter’s subsequent speech in Acts 2. Lastly, I discuss the broader implications of these frameworks for New Testament studies.


Making Love With Paul: Agapic Admonitions, Erotic Epistemologies
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Jacob D. Myers, Columbia Theological Seminary

This paper presents an alternative framework for interpreting Paul’s famous encomium on love in 1 Corinthians 13. In particular, this paper critically engages Paul’s theological rationality by drawing Pauline studies into critical conversation with philosophical theology. I argue that Paul participates in an alternative epistemology in 1 Corinthians that is situated within his eschatological hopefulness. Such an epistemology resonates with erotic epistemologies articulated by French feminists, along with some mujerista and womanist theologians. By reading love as an eschatologically structured epistemology, I am thereby enabled to shed fresh light on Paul’s agapic admonitions in 1 Cor 13. This paper takes shape by two moves. First, drawing upon the work of J.E. Joseph on identity formation in language and Michel Foucault’s focus upon power expression through language and practices, I show how Paul is urging his readers to a particular mode of ego-identity through his discourse. Second, I introduce the reader to certain gendered-enculturated ways of knowing through Hélène Cixous’s l’écriture féminine, Audrey Lorde’s erotic ways of knowing, and Ada Maria Isasi-Díaz’s notion of lo cotidiano. Such a philosophico-linguistic analysis of Paul’s discourse structures more radical readings of 1 Cor 13 than are suggested by most commentators. Through such a close literary-theological reading of 1 Cor 13, we see that for Paul love is fundamental to a community’s way of being-in-the-world. It structures ego-formation eschatologically through a being with and for the other presently. I show how Pauline community formation is inextricable from ethical embodiment and how such a way of knowing and being works within and against epistemologies arising out of Greco-Roman cultural assumptions. At base, Paul’s epideictic interlude constitutes not only a “more excellent way” of behaving in community; rather, and more fundamentally, Paul’s parenetic exhortation urges an alternative way of knowing and being in community.


Acrostic Style and Word Order: An Examination of Competing Poetic Strategies in Lamentations
Program Unit: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible
Jacobus A. Naudé, University of the Free State

The acrostics in Lamentations 1-4 exhibit varying degrees of control over the shape of the poems. The acrostic poems in chapters 1, 2, and 4 display a successive letter of the alphabet every fourth verse. The acrostic poem in chapter 3 repeats the acrostic letter for four successive verses, thus exhibiting the most tightly structured acrostic in the Hebrew Bible. Another poetic strategy in Lamentations involves the use of word order within the poetic line and across poetic couplets. Although word order in poetry is more flexible than it is in narrative, it nonetheless plays a role in information structuring within the poem (see e.g. Rosenbaum 1997, Lunn 2006) as well as in poetic ornamentation across couplets (e.g. chiastic order). In this paper, we examine the ways in which these two potentially competing poetic strategies (alphabetic acrostic structuring and word order) serve to structure the poems of Lamentations 1-4. We are interested in determining to what extent the acrostic structure takes precedence in the structuring of the poems.


"As it is on earth, so will it be in heaven": A Post-Apartheid South African Perspective on the Authority to Forgive in the Gospel according to Matthew
Program Unit: Authority and Influence in Ancient Times
Marius J. Nel, University of Stellenbosch

This paper investigate how the authority to forgive others is expressed and justified in the Gospel according to Matthew and how these expressions have themselves been interpreted by various church leaders in the post-apartheid South African debate on forgiveness. In the first part of the paper the manner will be investigated in which Matthew has incorporated various forgiveness-logia from the Jesus tradition contained in Mark, Q and M into various pericopae (6:9-15; 9:1-8; 12:22-32; 18:15-35) that provide a theological justification for the exercise of authority within his community. In these pericopae Matthew explicitly links the conduct of Jesus' followers with God's eschatological judgement. By exploring this bifocal aspect of Matthew's ethics an attempt will be made to determine why forgiveness was of such importance for the Matthean community. In the final part of the paper the use (or non-use) of Matthew's ethic of forgiveness in the post-apartheid South Africa by Christian leaders will be investigated in order to investigate the hermeneutic underlying their understanding of the authority to forgive.


Maintaining the Purity of the Prophecy: The Function and Implications of Revelation 22:18-19
Program Unit: Apocalyptic Literature
Jon K. Newton, Harvest Bible College

In this paper I examine the purpose, function and implications of the twofold warning in Rev.22:18-19. I survey suggestions by critics about the function and purpose of the passage, e.g. preserving the textual integrity of the manuscript, emphasizing its message against idolatry, claiming canonical equality or appealing for integrity in interpretation. In this discussion I refer to other texts often compared to this passage, principally in Deuteronomy and 1 Enoch. I then turn to the theological implications found by commentators in this passage, e.g. about a closed canon, the possibility of forfeiting salvation, ongoing Christian prophecy and rejection of non-Christian religion. Finally I argue that this passage disallows certain readings of Revelation (futurist and historicist) while opening the door to others, especially a spiritual reading.


Infants (nêpioi), Captivity, and Freedom: Games of Power in Galatians 3:23—4:9
Program Unit: Families and Children in the Ancient World
Valérie Nicolet-Anderson, Institut protestant de théologie, Paris

In this section of Galatians, Paul (in)famously mixes metaphors in his effort to make his addressees understand that they should no longer worry about the law and no longer place themselves under various powers. Paul uses language related to early childhood but also to inheritance, slavery and sonship to discuss the various positions his addressees can adopt. In this contribution, I would like to explore the ways in which language related to the experience of childhood, sonship and inheritance frames Paul’s thinking. In particular it seems promising to think of this language along two tracks. First, I would like to explore how the social reality of infancy and slavery influenced Paul’s construction of these topoi. To achieve his rhetorical goal, which is to limit the value of the law, Paul equates the experience of the very young child with the reality of slaves. One can ask whether Paul develops a strictly metaphorical notion of childhood and slavery or if data from the social reality of the first century can help unpack these metaphors. In the light of these data, I orient my analysis towards the effect of Paul’s rhetorical strategies. Paul obviously aims to modify the self-understanding of his addressees. For him, they understood themselves as slaves and should now understand themselves as sons. Yet, this rhetoric of freedom relies on disciplining strategies, particularly in the terms Paul chooses to describe what he perceives as the self-understanding of his addressees. The language of family and childhood works as a disciplining strategy, destined to redress his addressees’s self-conception. Implicitly, in his re-appropriation of this language, Paul reproduces what he reproaches to the law, namely to be a paidagôgos, a controlling guardian.


The Role of the Refrain in Syro-Aramaic Poetry
Program Unit: Bible and Syriac Studies in Context
Rebekka Nieten, Freie Universität Berlin

In Christian poetry, it is only at the end of late antiquity that we have a refrain in works produced in Syria / Palestine and in the wider Greek- and Latin-speaking realm. Its origin seems to go back to the hemistic structure of Psalm 136, which in its second half always offers as a response ‘For his mercy lasts forever.’ Syro-Aramaic poetry knows a range of different forms for the refrain. Qanone offer the Christian interpretation and follow each verse of the psalm. Eniane offer comment on a group of psalm verses. One may observe, however, that in Ephraem’s poetry oniatha serve in particular to integrate the audience into the performance of a given poem. The refrain regulates the dialogic interplay between variable and stable texts, between the soloist and the choir. This paper argues that in Syro-Aramaic poetry the refrain is not merely a response to a verse or strophe, but that it is a means to express various interpretations of a given poem.


Ištar of Arbela
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Martti Nissinen, University of Helsinki

Ištar of Arbela who, together with her alter ego, Mullissu (Ištar of Nineveh), was one of the Great Gods of the Neo-Assyrian pantheon. Neo-Assyrian kings, especially Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, actively promoted her worship, and her temple Egašankalamma in the city of Arbela (modern Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan) was one of the foremost temples of Assyria in the Neo-Assyrian period the temple of Ištar. This paper investigates the roles of Ištar of Arbela in the Assyrian royal ideology and religion and explores the relationship of the Ištars of Arbela and Nineveh. It will be argued that Ištar of Arbela features especially as the patroness of her temple and as the primary goddess of prophecy.


Early Christians on the Borders of the Mediterranean Culture: The case of the Acts of Phillip
Program Unit:
Paulo Augusto Nogueira, Universidade Metodista de São Paulo

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Female Teaching and Apostleship: Pauline Legacy in the Acts of Paul and Thecla
Program Unit:
Sebastiana Nogueira , Universidade Metodista de São Paulo

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Mutual-Mothering as Manifestation of Wisdom/Sophia
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Lilly Nortje-Meyer, University of Johannesburg

Recent studies have demonstrated the influence of wisdom speculation upon Jewish and early Christian traditions. In the 1970’s feminist biblical scholars began to conduct research on the biblical traditions of wisdom and the manifestation of female images of God, named Sophialogy. There are different focus areas within Sophialogy, but the formulation of Wisdom/Sophia goals for liberation and equality were inter alia the focus area of feminist biblical interpretation. According to this approach, Jesus as the prophetic messenger of Wisdom/Sophia activates the Sophia tradition through his works or deeds of compassion for the poor, outcasts and those who are suffering from injustice. Women in Africa interpret these deeds as communal ‘wise living’ and the custodians of justice. This culminates in a motherhood agenda, namely making peace for life; ensure mutual respect, honour and care for life; look for fairness; reciprocity; wholeness and inclusiveness. The aim of this paper is to discuss mutual-mothering in the African context as ethos for living wisely and justly. Having instincts to care and to protect are not exclusive female attributes, but include also males. Therefore as an outcome of the paper the ethos of mutual-mothering as an attribute for masculinity will also be discussed.


Child Abuses in the Writings of the Old Testament and in the Contemporary Nigerian Society
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Stanley N. Nweze, University of Nigeria

The researcher examined Child Abuses in the Writings and in the Contemporary Nigerian Society. The descriptive survey method was used in carrying out this research. The researcher discovered that there were cases of child abuse in the third division of the Old Testament called the Writings which do not include the Law and the Prophets and the Contemporary Nigerian society. These abuses of children in the Old Testament include selling children for slavery, abandonment, denial of freedom of choice and amongst others. In the contemporary Nigerian society the child abuse has increased in different ways which are evidenced in physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect and child exploitation. The researcher also identified the possible causes of child abuse in the present-day Nigerian society. These include gross violation of constitutional right of a child, the death of a parent or both, instability of the economy, high rate of divorce, Boko Haram insurgency and poverty found in Nigeria. The daily increase of reported cases of child abuses could pose serious dangers to the entire society. The morality of children found in this kind of environment is subject to all forms of criminality which could jeopardize the whole system. It was discovered that the church could be of good help in protecting the rights of children in the contemporary Nigerian society. The researcher therefore recommended that the church should ensure strict observation of the law of the land to avoid child abuse. The church could collaborate government agencies to stabilize the economy. The church could also join the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Finally, this would go a long way in reducing the cases of child abuses in Nigeria. Key Words: Child, Abuse, Writings, Old Testament, Boko Haram, Church and Society


Fragments of Memory: Tsalme Zakar and Child Sacrifice in Ezekiel 16:15-22
Program Unit: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Bible
Margaret S. Odell, Saint Olaf College

This paper challenges the consensus that the tsalme zakar in Ezekiel 16:17 are divine images. Not only does such an interpretation rest on problematic assumptions about Judean religious practice, it also generates incoherence in the interpretation of the chapter as a whole, since it remains difficult to explain why the catalog of religious infidelities, including child sacrifice (vv. 21-22), does not figure more prominently in the announcement of judgment (16:34-43). As an alternative, I interpret the reference to tsalme zakar in light of the Assyrian practice of setting up royal images (salmu), which typically represented kingship iconographically with masculine traits (zikru). The expression tsalme zakar suggests that the images persisted in the exilic imagination as visual memories associated with the landscape of Jerusalem. Ezek 16:15-22 creatively appropriates the memory of the Judean veneration of tsalme zakar in order to launch an extended theo-political critique. The roots of Ezekiel’s polemic against idolatry are therefore political, and the vignette of 16:15-22 presents in starkest possible terms the alternatives of service to YHWH on one hand and subjection to the political powers on the other. Where YHWH had invested Jerusalem with abundance, progeny, and renown, the empires would not be satisfied until they had denuded Jerusalem of its riches and exacted sacrifices of the worst kind. Although Ezekiel does speak of the practice of child sacrifice elsewhere, the reference to child sacrifice in vv. 21-22 is better understood as a symbol of Jerusalem’s active participation in its own destruction. In other exilic literature, the trope of mother and children symbolizes Jerusalem and its inhabitants; here it indicates that the city, in its betrayal of its deity and indeed its own identity (16:15), has actively colluded with its overlords to drain its resources and immolate its population.


Scripture and Canon: Biblical Interpretation in 21st-Century African Christianity
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Olugbenga Olagunju, Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary

This paper explores the historical antecedent that gave birth to the Septuagint,that is, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible during the Intertestamental period as its Scripture. The paper examines the processes of the canonization of the twenty-seven documents that make up the New Testament. It concurs with the scholar’s opinion that the documents that make up the canon are church heritage. Thus, it goes on to demonstrates how this collection the church claims to be inspired and authoritative for faith and practices are being interpreted in the 21st century African churches and parachurch organization. It concludes that for African Christians as for early Christian evangelists the Christ event witnessed and attested to in the New Testament happened according to the scriptures as confirmed by Paul in I Cor. 15:3 and that as the canon of Scriptures was interpreted in the early church so do African Christian evangelists and pastors re-read the canonical books of the New Testament with the African lens and make it relevant to the African people. Thus, biblical interpretation in Africa tends toward meeting the need of the people who in their Bible sharing session seek to hear from the Scriptures nourishment for their faith and their life.


Women Saved Moses but Did Moses Save Women? Moses and the Women of Exodus
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Funlola Olojede, Universiteit van Stellenbosch - University of Stellenbosch

Liberation is the major theme in the book of Exodus where Moses emerges as the central human character and the “saviour of Israel” from bondage. However, a number of feminist biblical interpreters have argued that the main female characters in the book such as Jochebed, Miriam, the midwives Shua and Phua, Pharaoh’s daughter, and Zipporah and her six sisters played the critical role of saviours in the life of Moses. The question is, as Israel’s quintessential leader, what was Moses’ attitude towards the women of Exodus? Does he also “save” the women? In other words, does Moses’ own salvation lead to liberation for all the women of Exodus? In this paper, a textual analysis of his stance towards the women of Exodus shows ambivalence on the part of Moses: sensitivity towards women which was often countered by subtle indifference to their presence in “his laws”.


Speaking in My Own Tongue: My Personal Colonial Map and the Book of Ruth
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Noemí Palomares, Abilene Christian University

This paper critically explores Segovia’s postcolonial optic and applies it to a reading of the final form of the book of Ruth. To begin, a description and critique of Segovia’s intercultural criticism is provided. Following this assessment, Segovia's three-fold intercultural reading strategy is used to read Ruth: first, I provide my personal colonial map as a contextual flesh-and-blood reader; second, I focus on the implied author’s position concerning 1) their portrayal of women, 2) their ideology of the foreigner, and 3) their characterization of God; and third, I engage Segovia’s concept of “critical dialogue” by placing my Mexican-American context and the author’s context in conversation. Through engaging my own personal context in reading the book of Ruth, I will demonstrate the fruitfulness of Segovia’s approach.


Jesus as a Moral Exemplar in the Johannine Farewell Discourse
Program Unit: Johannine Literature
Chan Sok Park, College of Wooster

This paper aims to examine how Jesus is presented as a moral exemplar to be imitated in the Johannine Farewell Discourse (John 13-17). At first glance, John’s Jesus does not appear primarily as a moral teacher, compared with his portraits in the Synoptic Gospels. Clearly, John’s Gospel is not written in the literary genre of ethical treaties. Yet, it is noted that in the writings from the Greco-Roman world the representation of exemplars often serve as a literary device to instruct readers for their moral formation, and the notion of “imitation” or “mimesis” addresses how this goal can be achieved and realized. This paper focuses on a direct connection between the construction of moral exemplars and the writing of biographies in antiquity, as seen most vividly in Plutarch’s Moralia and Parallel Lives: the moral virtues that are rendered analytically with many small examples in these essays are displayed narratively in Plutarch’s biographies of eminent figures. This is also the case of the biographical parts in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. This paper presents a comparative study of the Johannine Farewell Discourse, with a particular attention to John 13, in light of selective ancient biographical writings. I argue that, in contrast to common scholarly view that this Gospel does not give concrete examples of what the idea of “love” actually involves, Jesus’s symbolic footwashing activity and his paradigmatic death serve as moral examples to imitate.


A Text Critical Study of Hapax Legomena in MT Isaiah and the Qumran Isaiah Scrolls
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Donald W. Parry, Brigham Young University

Of the approximately 1,300-1,500 hapax legomena in the Hebrew Bible (the number varies according to scholarly approaches), about 900 are decipherable, because they (the hapax legomena) consist of known and established roots. Approximately 400, however, are difficult to interpret. In this paper I will first present an overview of hapax legomena in the Hebrew Bible and the text of Isaiah (see Klar, in Mehkarim ve-Iyyunim [1954], 159–75; Allony, in Goldziher Memorial Volume 2 [1958], 1–48 [Heb. section]; Rabin, in EM 4 [1962], 1066–70; Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [1978]; Daniels, in JAOS 101 [1981], 440–41; Huehnergard, in BASOR 264 [1986], 286–90; Greenspahn, Hapax Legomena in Biblical Hebrew (1984); Greenstein, in JAOS 107 [1987], 538–39). Following the overview, I will examine select textual variants in the Masoretic Text and the various Qumran Isaiah scrolls (e.g., 1QIsa-a, 1Q8, 3Q4, 4Q55, 4Q56, 4Q57, 4Q58, 4Q59, 4Q60, 4Q61, 4Q62, 4Q62a, 4Q63, 4Q64, 4Q65, 4Q66, 4Q67, 4Q68, 4Q69, 4Q69a, 5Q3). In the final part of the study I will present, in a summative manner, several significant main points. A text critical study of hapax legomena in Isaiah’s text, which includes an analysis of the Qumran Isaiah Scrolls, has never been conducted.


Santos and the Santero: Proclaiming the Gospel with Art
Program Unit: Bible and Visual Culture
Michael Patella, Saint John's University School of Theology and Seminary

That art goes hand in hand with Catholicism is widely recognized; churches and museums throughout the world bear witness to the role and place of art within the faith. With the Spanish conquest of Latin America, Christian art turned from encapsulating and reflecting the faith of adherents to bringing and proclaiming the faith to the un-evangelized. The medium for this evangelization was the santo. Literally translated as, saint, the Spanish colonial santo, was a wooden or lacquered statue of Mary, the crucified Christ, or other a saintly personage that was sometimes displayed in churches, homes, convents, or public places, but also often carried by Spanish missionaries as they sought to evangelize the native peoples of Latin America. Questions arise. What parts of the Bible formed the subject matter for the santos? What relationship to the faith did the santeros or makers of the santos have? How did the indigenous peoples, whose own culture and religion the Spanish destroyed, view and receive the santos? This paper will investigate the origins of the santos, their biblical background, their effectiveness in telling the biblical story, and their role today.


The Baptists of Corinth: Paul, the Partisans of Apollos, and the History of Baptism in Nascent Christianity
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Stephen J. Patterson, Willamette University

In 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul states: “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….” It is an odd statement, especially when considered in light of the assumption that baptism was always and from the beginning the rite of passage into nascent Christian communities. The context, of course, is the rival activity of Apollos, who, according to Acts 18:25, was himself a baptizer, indeed, even a baptizer in the tradition of the baptizer, John. This paper will examine the controversy between the partisans of Apollos and Paul in Corinth and ask why it pushed Paul to the point of renouncing baptism, at least rhetorically, temporarily, if not permanently. This episode, in fact, offers us a glimpse into a surprising chapter in the history of baptism that falls somewhere between its origins in John’s baptizing activity and its emergence as an ritual of initiation in nascent Christian communities.


Cognitive Dissonance in Romans 1:18: Exchanging the Truth for a Lie
Program Unit: Paul and Pauline Literature
Joseph Kim Paxton, Claremont School of Theology

In Romans 1:18, Paul avers the unrighteous suppress the truth of God in their unrighteousness. What is this “unrighteousness” that is being discussed. A social scientific evaluation would look to cognitive dissonance theory to offer some suggestions. First, cognitive dissonance is a process by which psychological discomfort is resolved. In the case of discrepant cognitions, one can add consonant cognitions, change dissonant cognitions, or change one’s behavior to resolve the psychological discomfort. In the case of Romans 1:18, cognitive dissonance is an ontological entity in which an unrighteous person is able to self-justify their own behavior to acquit themselves of blame and responsibility. The cognitive process occurs with two conflicting cognitions – a knowledge of what is expected and a knowledge of one’s own desire. The two cognitions are at odds and in order to justify one’s worldview, one must either add consonant cognitions or change dissonant cognitions. The aim of this paper will explore instances throughout the Hebrew bible whereby the Israelites engaged in dissonant reduction processes to self-acquit themselves of blame and “exchange the truth for a lie.” More importantly, this paper will discuss the mental processes by which individuals religious and spiritual individuals engage in behaviors which marginalize oppressed and stigmatized individuals through self-justifying cognitive means.


The Process of Cultivating Positive Spiritual Coping: Anger Toward God, Lament, and Venting in the Psalms
Program Unit: Writings (including Psalms)
Joseph Paxton, Claremont School of Theology

Anger Toward God (ATG) research has become a popular area of study in the psychology of religion. Exline and Grubbs (2011) found that individuals who are unable to express their anger toward God are more likely to engage in "exit" strategies. In the case of venting, however, the very act can actually increase measures of trait anger and fail to decrease the emotion load of anger (Bushman, 2001). What is the point of venting? The wisdom writings in Psalms seem to encourage the use of venting. Is current psychological evidence at odds with the ontology of spiritually-oriented emotional expression? The aim of this paper seeks to explore current literature on anger toward God and spiritual and religious coping with reference to spiritual struggle and coping in the book of Psalms. In particular, there will be a strong focus on 42 and 77 to interpret anger toward God literature and research on venting to express the tension and process of venting and coping in spiritual struggle.


Defensive Attributions in the Story of Job: Retribution Theology and a Belief in a Just World
Program Unit: Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts
Joseph Kim Paxton, Claremont School of Theology

The story of Job is particularly interesting when evaluated from a social psychological lens. Deuteronomy 28 sets the backdrop of a retribution theology through which Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz engage Job in and throughout his suffering. From their perspective, Job must have sinned because their theological schema could not sustain the idea of a righteous man suffering. Looking to the field of social psychology, this is typical of a defensive attribution. A defensive attribution suggests that individuals will engage in meaning-making attributions to avoid vulnerability and mortality. The story of Job directly implicates vulnerability and mortality vicariously through the story of Job. There are two cognitions that are at odds which produce a natural and logical conclusion that produces an unbearable vulnerability – a righteous wo/man can and does suffer! To defend against the psychological discomfort produced by this awareness, Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz engage in a defensive attribution called a belief in a just world – which perfectly mirrors the theology of Deuteronomy 28. A belief in a just world presupposes good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Theologically, defensive attributions are particularly salient because they reveal the way in which individuals who have a religious or spiritual background make sense of theodicy. This knowledge and awareness is particularly useful in cultivating hermeneutics, teaching, and preaching that avoids a blame-the-victim mentality by successfully accounting for defensive attributions.


Moses' Figure according to the Story of His Birth and His Death – A Literary Approach
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Yitzhak Peleg, Beit Berl College

Moses “stars” in the stories of the Exodus from Egypt. His biography extends through four of the Torah's books. The Torah ascribes to Moses a central position in the history of the people of Israel: He is the one who takes his people out of Egypt, he leads them through the desert for 40 years, he is the one to whom God reveals himself face to face, the one to whom the Torah is given. Yet although the Torah mentions Moses 616 times (in the Book of Exodus alone: 271 times), his birth is narrated in only two verses in the Book of Exodus 2-1: "A certain man of the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and she saw how beautiful he was…". This is a short, dry, informative report, although we are told that the mother was impressed by her son's beauty. It is noticeable too that the parents' names are missing; this may be a hidden educational message, according to which one need not be "the son of…" in order to become a great leader. The lack of a miraculous birth is even more curious considering our knowledge of the births of other figures in the Bible. For example, Isaac (Genesis18:6-21); Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19-29); Samson (Judges 13). These stories have in common a pattern wherein a longsuffering, barren woman miraculously gives birth to a son. We can speculate that since Moses had two siblings - Aaron and Miriam – their mother did not have fertility problems. In any case, we are left with two questions: First – how can we explain the meager tale of Moses' birth? Second: is there a connection to the fact that Moses is not mentioned in the Passover Haggadah? [ABSTRACT TRUNCATED]


Ezekiel: The Prophet and the Prophets
Program Unit: Prophets
Sven Petry, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Ezekiel remains a challenge in various respects. Historical person or literary figure? Priest or Prophet or both? Sirach already counts him among the prophets and his position among the canonical prophets is unambiguous. Within the Book of Ezekiel, prophesying is obviously the main occupation of the book’s eponymous character, more than 30 times expressed by use of the verb nb'. At the same time the book calls Ezekiel a nabi only indirectly, the noun primarily being reserved to label false prophets. Ezekiel’s awareness or even dependence on other prophets (especially Jeremiah) is uncontested, but he never refers to any of them by name. What is the significance of this silence given that Ezekiel is portrayed as the faithful prophet? This paper examines Ezekiel’s perception of prophets and prophecy and the book’s strategy to portray Ezekiel as the ideal prophet among Israel.


From the Native's Point of View? On the Ethnographic Uses of Biblical Narrative
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Emanuel Pfoh, National University of La Plata-CONICET

This paper aims at presenting some thoughts of epistemological and methodological character on the ways the social information found in biblical stories is commonly used for social-science interpretations in contemporary Old Testament scholarship. In particular, the uses of biblical narrative as some kind of historical ethnographic record on the society of ‘ancient Israel’ during the first millennium BCE should be challenged on two basic levels: an ethnographic level, dealing with issues of cultural representations, ideological and symbolical constructs, ancient epistemological matrices, etc.; and a historical level, dealing with primary and secondary sources for history writing and how the data from such sources is analysed and used. Such criticism is exemplified by reviewing some recent literature in the field of Old Testament studies, especially those works seeking to describe Israelite society and explain its dynamics. Some alternatives of interpretation are provided as well in order to further a critical understanding of biblical narrative as a historical source.


The Two Textual Forms of the Narrative of Jezebel’s Murder: Second Kings 9:30-37 — MT and LXX
Program Unit: Septuagint Studies
Andrés Piquer-Otero, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

The paper analyzes the two textual forms in which the short narrative on Jezebel’s murder has been transmitted: 2 Kgs 9:30-37 MT and LXX. The analysis focuses on the most meaningful differences between both textual traditions, like Jehu’s question “Who is with me, who?” according to MT or “Who are you?” in LXX. The kaige textual form transmitted by the Greek majority B text is compared with that attested by the Antioquene texts, paying attention to the differences of vocabulary and, especially, to the expression which closes the narrative: “Nobody will be able to say “that was Jezebel” (LXXB following MT) / “nobody will mourn with alas” (?a? ??? esta? ? ?e??? ??µµ?? LXXL.) The final aim of the work is to establish the Old Greek text and to identify its Hebrew Vorlage.


Four Paraphonous Pairs in the Moses Narrative (Exodus 1–34)
Program Unit: Stylistics and the Hebrew Bible
Bezalel Porten, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The word pairs YRa-RaY, AM-IM, RaH-R-ayin-ayin/R-ayin-H, and ŠWV-YŠB/YBŠ interweave in 18 discrete episodes to propel the narrative from the midwives’ SIGHT to the people”s FRIGHT. Along the way, we see at work the conflict between the AM of Pharaoh and the AM of God, and whether it is indeed the AM of God or the AM of Moses. The word pairs engage Jochebed and Jethro, mission and theophany, We also pick up seven IM-AM one-liners and see how the pairs, in whole or in part, link lore and law.


Psalm 56 Read within the Context of the History of David in 1 Samuel 21, 27, and 29–30
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Henk Potgieter, University of Pretoria

Psalm 56 is one of 13 psalms with an extended bibliographical note about the life of David. It implies that the psalm should be read as a prayer of David “when the Philistines seized him in Gath.” This note is generally regarded as being secondary and of little value in interpreting the psalm, especially since David was never really “seized” by the Philistines. In terms of the editing of the Psalter, it nevertheless serves as a witness to the way in which the editors of the Psalter interpreted the history of David and how they understood the psalm. This paper investigates the connections the editors of the Psalter probably saw between Psalm 56 and 1 Samuel 21 as well as 27, 29-31 in order to determine what they thought the theological message of 1st Samuel was and how the psalm reflected the ideology of the Deuteronomistic history.


Bridging the Divide: Hermeneutics at Antioch and Elsewhere
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
Allyson Presswood Nance, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Scholars have often viewed the dichotomy between the “allegorical” Alexandrian School and the “literal-historical” Antiochene School as definite and established. Each Schools’ basic “hermeneutic,” as described by this catch-word, serves as a characterization of the entire system of thought in Alexandria and Antioch and a foundation by which to approach the authors and writings occurring as part of that School. Unfortunately, positing such a dichotomy between the two, while heuristically helpful, can be misleading in light of the actual practices of the representatives of these two settings. This research project focuses on the writings of several fourth and fifth century church fathers by highlighting the hermeneutic of each writer rather than their stated or implied method of interpretation or exegetical result. The term hermeneutic in this paper refers to the discipline located at a generalized level above methodology that deals with questions such as the location of meaning, how people understand, and how communication itself functions. A comparison will be presented of the hermeneutic of Diodore of Tarsus, Theodore of Mopsuestia, John Chrysostom, and Theodoret of Cyrus (Antiochene representatives) with that of Cyril of Jerusalem, Didymus the Blind, Epiphanius of Constantia, Basil the Great, and Cyril of Alexandria (outside representatives). Initial findings will be presented about how these church fathers expected to find meaning in Scripture, thereby highlighting fresh insights into the foundation of their methodologies or actual interpretations.


Doors to Africa: Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch in critical perspective to colonialism
Program Unit:
Paulo Sérgio Proença, Universidade Federal do recôncavo Baiano

Acts 8,26-40 witness the missionary expansion of the primitive church. Africa was not excluded neither subdued; on the contrary, the Ethiopian eunuch expands fraternal bonds between different ethnicities, equaled in faith experience framed in new forms of reading New Testament. The text shows interesting alternatives and significant challenges to critical analyses of colonial process, above all to the African horizon, and suggest alternatives for the overcoming of unjust and cruel relationships resulting from this process.


Paul the Jew, Power of Evil, and Rome
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Jeremy Punt, Stellenbosch University

Neither Paul’s Jewishness nor his life under the Roman Empire is any longer disputed, but the Pauline letters are still often read as theological treatises. Reviewing the connections between Paul’s Jewishness and the Empire (which has not received much attention) reveals not only Paul’s relationship to power, but also how his letters connects religion and justice. Paul’s Jewish identity and life in Empire informed which powers he addressed, how he understood their nature, and how he related to them. This contribution questions the hiatus most often presupposed but at times also argued in the Pauline letters between notions of evil and empire.


Decolonizing Biblical Hermeneutics in the (South) Africa Context
Program Unit: Postcolonial Studies
Hulisani Ramantswana, University of South Africa

The recognition of social location as heuristic device in biblical hermeneutics does not necessarily equate to producing radical and alternative knowledge. Biblical hermeneutics from our own social location (Africa) has to deal with the dynamics of coloniality. (South) Africa as a social location is still burdened by coloniality. African Biblical Hermeneutics has to be decolonial in its orientation in order to overcome the persistence of coloniality by privileging African knowledge systems and African thinkers, and unmasking the structures of coloniality, which continue to destabilise the African imagination. The concept of African biblical hermeneutics does not imply that the colonial systems have been overcome—coloniality is able to survive and thrive even under the tag “African.”


Metaphor, Disability, and Double Erasure
Program Unit: Healthcare and Disability in the Ancient World
Rebecca Raphael, Texas State University

Philosophical and linguistic treatments of metaphor tend to be structural and ahistorical. Although these features are necessary for adequate definition, they do not preclude an historical dimension to metaphor. Since metaphors structurally involve double semantic frames, they afford an opening which interpreters might exploit to evade historical contextualization. This paper will examine these tensions in the way that “metaphor” has been used in biblical scholarship about disability. The analysis involves the following stages. First, in dialogue with Aaron’s _Biblical Ambiguities_, the problem of identifying metaphors with respect to disability will discussed. Second, I shall examine some examples in which scholars have labeled various uses as “metaphors” in order to determine how that identification is functioning in the argument. Assignments of valence (positivity or negativity) and their justifications will also be noted. While there is some variety here, the final portion of the paper will focus on scholarly deployment of the label “metaphor” as a strategy for re-definition or of the terms – that is, for bypassing historical meaning in favor of preferred meaning – or for (re-)assigning valence ahistorically. I will argue that structural definition of metaphor does not actually warrant such moves, and that, in fact, this rhetorical strategy erases both the real metaphors and, in some cases, disability. For general theories of metaphor, I employ the work of Lakoff and Johnson (jointly and separately) and related philosophical literature. In terms of biblical studies, my approach is meta-critical; that is, it treats scholarship as the primary source under examination. Biblical passages will be discussed in reference to their deployments in scholarship, although passages in prophetic eschatology are likely to get most of the attention. My approach to disability is primarily informed by disability studies, with literary critics such as Mitchell, Snyder, Davis, Siebers, and Dolmage providing the main orientation.


Resistance or Compliance: Reading Daniel 1 as a Hellenistic Faux-Hidden Transcript
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Jonathan Redding, Vanderbilt University

This paper examines imperial and economic forces of colonization surrounding post-exilic Israel, specifically the late Persian period (334-330 BCE) transitioning into the Hellenistic era (332-64 BCE), to do a suspicious reading against Daniel 1 as a text of imperial resistance. Using a paradigm constructed from elements of James Scott’s theory of hidden transcripts from Domination and the Arts of Resistance, Daniel 1 becomes a Hellenistic text capable of placating and appeasing as much as (or perhaps more) than it opposes and resists empire. The paper consults previous scholarly work that emphasizes suspicious tensions in order to examine socio-economic class structures in and around Daniel’s composition to interpret Daniel 1 through a hermeneutic of suspicion with a focus toward postcolonial theory. The paper is in two sections. The first expands on the paper’s use of Scott’s hidden transcript theory then examines Israelite and Hellenistic histories through a Marxist economic lens. It then uses a socio-economic problematic to define the boundaries of economics and empire through which Daniel 1 may be read. The second section analyzes and reads Daniel 1 to trace possible threads of compromise and accommodation underlying the tale, which, in turn, offers a renewed reading of Daniel 1 as a faux-hidden transcript. Conclusions present implications for further interpretation.


The Hasmonean Reception History of Psalm 137 and the Problem of Zion
Program Unit: Comparative Studies of Literature from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods
Stephen Breck Reid, George W. Truett Theological Seminary/ Baylor Univ

Psalm 137 describes so vividly the anguish of deportees from Jerusalem that readings of this text easily become fixed on the sixth century setting of the text. This paper will not try to dispute a sixth century origin of the psalm. The wistful depiction of this complaint of a landless people builds a whimsy that masks the politics of space embedded in the Psalm. This paper will explore the reception history of the Psalm in the Hasmonean period is often overlooked. The transformation of the office of High Priest and the politics of John Hyrcanus reframe the lament over the forced migration and the expression to loyalty to Zion and Jerusalem. The juxtaposition of the landless and the Hasmonean readings indicates the polyvalence of the political rhetoric of space.


The Ambivalent Relationship of Moses with Women
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Azila Talit Reisenberger, University of Cape Town

Moses is considered a formidable leader. The most common title adjunct to his name is: Avi Ha’ne’viim, which means the prophet of all prophets. The fact that he was the only human being who saw the Divine “face to face and lived” put him in a league of his own, even amongst people of God. This unique status is a metaphor of his life: the Pentateuchal Moses is depicted as a vessel of God’s message to the people. He punishes Pharaoh on God’s behalf, he leads the people out of slavery on God’s decree, he gives them God’s laws; and dies when God pronounces that his duties are fulfilled. Very rarely, he disagreed with God, and on the occasion that he lost his composure and hit the rock in order to produce water, we have a rare glimpse of the more human side of Moses’ personality. This lack of personal insight into Moses the ‘person’ is particularly critical when we consider his attitude toward women. His life narrative is propped up by strong women-- some of whom were responsible for his survival, while others helped forge the course of his life. Yet, he fails to see women as equals. The paper examines cases where Moses displays particularly androcentric attitudes: not in line with God’s teachings and unbefitting Avi Ha’ne’viim.


The First Christian Community of Acts 2:37-47 in John Chrysostom's Eyes: Homily VII on the Acts
Program Unit: Biblical Interpretation in Early Christianity
André-Louis Rey, Université de Genève

Of the 55 homilies that form the only Ancient commentary of the book of Acts and which John Chrysostom pronounced in Constantinople beginning in the Easter weeks of AD 400, homily VII, on Acts 2:37-47 stands out not only by the importance of the Biblical text commented, but also by the vivid picture it gives of the early days of the Christian community in Jerusalem, as presented by one of the main Greek Fathers of the Church. Despite its apparent initial simplicity and the historical general line of interpretation it takes, well in the Antiochene tradition, Chrysostom’s commentary deals as well with many aspects of the Biblical text as with some contemporary issues that the Bishop of Constantinople was facing et the time of his preaching. The fact that this series of homilies seems not to have been reworked for publication makes it especially interesting for approaching the exegetical and rhetorical method of its author, who expands the moral and theological themes of his predication after a first complete reading and explanation of the periscope. He selects a few verses for his second, and more detailed, set of interpretative comments, and recurs to comparison with the situation of his day, which he parallels with his description of the situation of the first Christian Community, using diverse rhetorical devices. The comparatively short mention he makes of the monastic life, clearly alluding to the eremitic monasticism, is somewhat puzzling and ought to be read considering the then current situation in Constantinople, where Chrysostom was confronting a strong party of urban monks dissatisfied with his reformatory tendencies. Attention will be paid to the text of Homily VII, with special consideration to one of its relatively old (11th. cent.) manuscript sources, cod. Genavensis graecus 36 from the Bibliothèque de Genève.


Byzantium: Christian Empire or Christian Republic?
Program Unit: Bible and Empire
Meredith L.D. Riedel, Duke University

It has recently been argued that ‘Modern reconstructions of the Byzantine political sphere focus on only one of its two legitimizing ideologies, the theocratic one’, and neglect the identity encompassed by the Roman polity (politeia) or republic. This argument asserts that it was ‘in terms of the politeia that the basileia was defined and justified, not the reverse.’ However, the vaunted institutional stability of the Byzantine state (or republic, if one prefers) arose not from an inherited notion of Roman polity, but from the cultural ballast offered by institutional Christianity. It is easy to get these two inverted, especially if one sees patronage and relationships as determinative of political decision-making in the Byzantine polity. However, the idea of the Roman res publica is visible chiefly in Constantinople’s extensive and largely effective bureaucracy. Since the Byzantines were following the OT model of the chosen people, whose politeia was the theocratic community of Israel, it can be shown that the basileia, as the ruling framework of the politeia is not only prior, it forms in the Byzantine example an entirely new idea that combines empire and theocracy. Byzantine Christian polity relies, therefore, on the scriptural and religious model as primary, with the Roman bureaucratic structures providing support, but not leadership. Leo VI’s Taktika provides the most explicit use of biblical models and worldview in the middle Byzantine empire. This paper will assess the biblical language and ideals summarized in the Epilogue to the Taktika to redefine Christian identity, and demonstrate the uniquely Byzantine formulation by which citizens of the [eastern Roman, voire Byzantine] empire were Christians first, and Romans second.


Lament in Film and Film as Lament: Terrence Malick's Tree of Life and To The Wonder
Program Unit: Bible and the Moving Image
Matthew S. Rindge, Gonzaga University

Many films that feature lament typically incorporate it as a relatively minor element, most often to reveal character type or to signal character development. In Terrence Malick’s two most recent films, lament is instead a fundamental part of the films’ fabric, a vital part of their cinematic texture. Lament suffuses The Tree of Life (2011) and To The Wonder (2012), and each film offers a Jobian mediation on lament as a protest to God in the face of loss and grief. This paper examines the role and function of lament in these films, and argues that by appropriating and reconfiguring certain aspects of lament, Malick invites audiences to reimagine both the nature of lament and lament in biblical texts such as Job. The Tree of Life, for example, not only features a woman in the role of Job, but also highlights the feminine and motherly character of the divine in her response to lament. The film also offers new lenses for reinterpreting God’s speech to Job (Job 38). By paralleling the deterioration of romantic and divine love, To the Wonder suggests that each relational dimension can illumine the other. This film also depicts lament as an empowering tool for justice. Drawing on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Walter Brueggemann, the paper concludes with a reflection on the ability of cinema to function as a personal and social lament of unjust systems.


New Testament Apocrypha and Resurrection: A Study of Apocryphal Sources in the Cento ???st?? ??s???
Program Unit: Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Ezequiel Gustavo Rivas, Université de Genève / Universidad de Buenos Aires

As part of the preparation of the doctoral thesis (Université de Genève) on the poetics of cento ???st?? ??s??? (Christus Patiens), attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus, we have found that one of the least studied aspects of this work is the influence of the New Testament Apocrypha and the ways of the intertextual appropriation modes that the author has continued to amalgamate the classic text on which it is based (Euripides, Aeschylus) with the Christian matter about the passion of Christ. While some scholars have put on the table for discussion the question concerning the various sources (Starowieyski: 1994; Swart: 1994), so far there is still no a thorough and systematic analysis that accounts for the use of the Apocrypha and Canonical texts and composition techniques that form the Christian matter. From previous communications (Rivas 2012), where we have already studied the presence and use of the Apocrypha in the cento; our purpose here is to present a progress of research around this problem, and to go deep in the techniques and the use of the New Testament Apocrypha about the Resurrection that the author had utilized in the construction of the third part of the cento.


Moses and the Women
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Thomas Römer, Collège de France - University of Lausanne

This paper analyzes the important role of women in three narratives in the first chapters of the book of Exodus: Exid 1.15-22; Exod 2:1-10; Exod 4:24-26. These narratives emphasize the importance of (foreign) women who protect Moses against the attacks of Pharaoh and Yhwh himself. Whereas Exod 2* may stem form the 7th century, Exod 1.15-22 and 4.24-26 reflect the context of the Persian period and more specifically a Diaspora perspective.


Discovering Where the Bodies are Hidden
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Philip Ruge-Jones, Texas Lutheran University

The end of Mark’s Gospel leaves its hearers with an empty tomb and a promise to see Jesus in Galilee. Eschatology erupts geographically. Resurrection does not reside in the end of the narrative where the women fear that Jesus has become one more of the desaparecidos. Resurrection occupies another terrain, occurring throughout the whole narrative wherever those hidden in the margins erupt into view as agents of God’s reign. This paper brings Brazilian theologian Vítor Westhelle’s “latitudinal eschatological perspective” into conversation with Mark’s narrative construction showing how Mark’s marginal characters (Simon’s mother-in-law, the man with the withered hand, the paralyzed man, the bleeding woman) become the threshold through which God’s reign “takes place” (Westhelle). While these characters may be passed over quickly when the narrative is limited to a printed page, in performance they rise to the center and take on flesh as dramatic exemplars of God’s transforming work. In a critical performance of their “dangerous memory” (Metz), the narrative is raised off of the two-dimensional page and takes up space. In performance, more is discovered than an additional dimension to add to the other two dimensions. Rather, dimensionality itself is restored to the narrative! It occupies space. When storytellers from the margins of our world perform the narrative, their enactment becomes a “rehearsal of revolution” (Augosto Boal) or, as the evangelist might say, a rehearsal of God’s reign. They occupy a place of precarious potentiality, the “margins in which possibilities can be born but where the tragic, the terrible lurks, and annihilation impends (Westhelle).” Raising up these hidden bodies opens up a way for the community to move in new directions. Their telling “takes place” and we find ourselves in Galilee where the risen Jesus promises to be found.


"Remember your Creator…" (Eccl 12:1): God and the Preacher in His Last Poem
Program Unit:
Eleuterio Ruiz, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

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Surveillance, Threat, Scripture: Psalm 139 and the Affective Shaping of Political Subjectivity
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Erin Runions, Pomona College

Psalm 139 is rife with ambivalent feelings about God’s surveillance, yet frequently it is read as positive political affirmation. For instance, religion writer David Van Biema points out in an opinion piece in USA Today, Psalm 139 has been used both by pro-lifers and by gay rights activists to affirm their points of view (March 28, 2012). This paper explores why this might be so. The Psalmist speaks of God’s surveillance from the womb, but why is God’s surveillance so valued by interpreters, rather than dreaded (as the book of Job suggests)? What is the affect that circulates around this Psalm? How is it produced both by the Psalm and in interpretation? These questions are related to another more basic question which is: How do language and text relate to affect, given that many affect theorists consider affect to be a kind of precognitive intensity or motion in the body that is prior to emotion? These questions are explored via a citation of the Psalm 139 by Spinoza, the progenitor of both biblical studies and affect theory. Spinoza offers us a way to think about how bodily intensity relates to language, in this case biblical poetry, and he helps us to see that the power of Psalm 139 comes through the bodily sensations of threat and removal of threat in a way that also creates a particularly shaped sense of political agency.


Doing Biblical Theology Using the Child Metaphor: A Challenge to Inclusivity in Latin America
Program Unit: Biblical Theology
Edesio Sanchez, Sociedades Bíblicas Unidas

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La Traducción de la Biblia en América Latina: Pasado, Presente, y Futuro
Program Unit:
Edesio Sanchez, United Bible Societies

La traducción de la Biblia en América Latina empezó poco tiempo después del establecimiento de asentamientos humanos europeos--principalmente españoles--como parte del proyecto evangelizador entre las naciones originarias. Salmos y textos de los Evangelios fueron los primeros en ser traducidos, por ejemplo, al nautl para la evangelización y catequización de las poblaciones indígenas. La traducción de textos más amplios--Evangelios completos--se empezó a dar a partir de la visita de Thompson, representante de la Sociedad Bíblica Británica. Ya en pleno siglo XX, organizaciones como SIL y UBS se lanzaron a la tarea de hacer traducciones más extensas, sobre del NT. Pues bien, a partir de ese momento, junto con la traducción propiamente hablando, se desarrolló todo un modelo de traducción que llamo "traducción misionera de la Biblia". En ese periodo, el foco o centro de atención fue el texto fuente, trabajado y "traducido" por el experto misionero, cargado de su ideología, doctrina y concepto de evangelización. Los nativos no fueron traductores, sino "informantes". A partir del surgimiento de la lingüística moderna y la participación no de traductores, sino de asesores con doctorados en Biblia, antropología y lingüística, digamos, a partir de la década de los 60´s, se inicia lo que llamo la traducción "posmisionera de la Biblia". El foco de atención se mueve hacia el idioma receptor, hacia el hablante nativo de la lengua. Si al inicio la preocupación era la de tener a un extrajero bien entrenado para realizar un trabajo excelente, ahora se intenta formar al traductor nativo para que sea el principal responsable de la traducción. ¿Cuáles han sido los logros? ¿Cuáles los fracosos y logros a medias? ¿Cómo nos desefió el desarrollo de teologías latinoamericanas de liberación y las relecturas de la Biblia desde grupos traducionalmente marginados y vulnerabilizados? The translation of the Bible in Latin America began shortly after the establishment of European settlements, mainly Spanish, which was a part of the evangelizing project among the original nations. Among the first texts to be translated, for example into Nahuatl, were Psalms and Gospel texts used for the evangelization and catechesis of indigenous peoples. The translation of larger texts—complete Gospels—began with the visit from Thompson, a representative of the British Bible Society. It was not until the twentieth century, however, that organizations like SIL and UBS took to the task of making more extensive translations of the NT. From that moment onward, alongside with the translation, a model of translation was developed that I call "missionary translation of the Bible." In that period, the focus of attention was the source text, worked and "translated" by the missionary expert, full of ideology, doctrine and a concept of evangelization. The Natives were not translators but "informants." From the emergence of modern linguistics and the participation not of translators, but advisers with doctorates in Bible, anthropology and linguistics, around the early 60s begins what I call "post-missionary Bible" translation. The focus of attention has moved to the receiving language and the native speaker of the language. If initially the concern was to have a well-trained foreigner who could do an excellent job, now there’s a concern to train the native translator to be primarily responsible for translation. What have been some of the achievements? What have been some of the failures and half-achievements? How have we been challenged by Latin American liberation theologies and the rereading of the Bible from groups traditionally marginalized and vulnerable?


Not Just Hermeneutics: On Biblical Criticism in the Global South
Program Unit: Political Biblical Criticism
Timothy J. Sandoval, Brite Divinity School (TCU)

The “Global South,” in the form of migrant communities, is now “present” in the “Global North.” Yet the north, through ecclesial and educational institutions, continues to define the meaning and task of biblical criticism for many in the south. In parts of the protestant, Latin American Global South—e.g., within the U.S. and Guatemala—biblical texts have single meanings that serve doctrinal correctness (and strict morality). Critical historical and linguistic study of texts and a certain flexibility of interpretation in proclamation are permitted to the extent that these serve, and do not produce conflict with, doctrinal norms. Right belief takes precedence over, and indeed constrains, hermeneutical innovation (e.g., the introduction of contextual interpretive principles). Biblical criticism in the Global South—whether geographically in the north or south—if it is to be genuinely critical ought to address this situation. To do so it is not sufficient to introduce hermeneutical innovations. These innovations will be rejected to the extent they produce readings that conflict with doctrinal-moral norms, or are perceived as doing so. Rather biblical criticism should: 1. theorize a subjectivity that is distinct from (though perhaps inevitably related to) a Eurocentric, post-Enlightenment, “liberal” subjectivity upon which both historical critical study and fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible are predicated. Such theorizing would “undo” a liberal binary between the modern and pre-modern, the critical and religious, which compels a critic to leave aside religious commitments when engaging religious objects like the Bible. 2. address questions about the theological status of the Bible—the meaning of concepts like Word of God, authority, inspiration, canon, etc.—and relate these questions to hermeneutical issues. Practically this sort of biblical scholarship should engage more fully the theological traditions of the varieties of Christianity that although sometimes originating in Europe have long been firmly Latin Americanized.


Reflecting on Jesus’ Teaching on Humility from a Positive Psychological Perspective
Program Unit: Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts
Eben Scheffler, University of South Africa

In its quest for a non-medical, pro-health approach to psychotherapy, positive psychology focuses on concepts that are also biblical and specifically present in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. In this paper, the concept of “humility” in the teaching of Jesus as represented in the synoptic tradition will be compared to recent positive psychological approaches (e g Tangney). Attention will be given to (1) a definition of humility, (2) empirical psychological research on humility, (3) humility in the Old Testament, Jewish and other religious and philosophical traditions, (4) Jesus of Nazareth’s special focus on humility, (5) the (dis)advantages of humility in the quest for a better world, and (6) interventions to promote humility.


The Role of Refrains in the Recitation of the Qur´an: A Comparison with the Syro-Aramaic Tradition
Program Unit: Bible and Syriac Studies in Context
Stephanie Schewe, Freie Universität Berlin

In Syro-Aramaic hymns and psalms refrains are to be understood as a response of the community. In the recitation of the Qur´an, the refrain is neither a basic element of a given unit, nor does it function as a response between the leader of the prayer and the community. One well known example is surah 55 that refers to Psalm 136. Differences already appear in the use of the refrain as a rhetorical question and in its positioning within the surah. The function of the refrain in surah 55 must be analysed by taking the Syro-Aramaic reading of a part of the surah into consideration. Taking the examination a step further prompts one to ask more broadly what is the role of a refrain in the recitation practice of the Qur´an and what is its meaning for the Islamic community.


Egypt's Apotropaic Bes in the Iron Age Levant: "Marketing Security" in a Reemergent Global Economy
Program Unit: Expressions of Religion in Israel
Brian B. Schmidt, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The Egyptian God Bes makes a notable appearance in the Iron Age southern Levant. Apotropaic Bes is well documented in both image and text and on object and form indicating that more than mere coincidence connected international trade and production with local religious belief and practice. The dissemination of Bes amulets in the southern Levant and the Bes-like drawings at Kuntillet Ajrud in the northern Sinai suggest a special set of developments regarding the “export economics of Bes.” Submitted for the Panel Sessions: Expressions of Religion in Ancient Israel


Interpretação da Bíblia por Lutero: Princípios e Pressupostos
Program Unit:
Flavio Schmitt, Escola Superior de Teologia de São Leopold

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Moses Transfigured for the 21st Century: Paradigms and Complications?
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Richard Sherwin, Bar-Ilan University

Whatever the 21st century present may be, we understand it in terms of our past where we were and are coming from, as a waystation in our progress towards whatever goals, destinations, and destinies we find ourselves working, walking moving towards, or trying to. Both in our individual and collective lives, and their material realities, we justify our actions by the stories we tell ourselves and their place within them. There are at least four stories current about Moses, those recorded in and derived from the Jewish Tanach, the Christian New Testament, the Moslem Koran being the most prominent. All three propose expression in humanly comprehensible terms of aspects of Gd’s revelation of Moses’ life, thoughts, deeds, intents, successes, failures, and ends. The fourth ‘story’ works off some combination of these 3, to secularize, reduce or expand the significations of the three ‘divine revelations’. This talk proposes to examine briefly the depictions of Moses in the revelation books, separately and as they reflect on each other, qualifying adding subtracting elements to achieve their individual textual emphases. The purpose shall not be to choose among them, let alone to examine how each tradition later develops the Moses figure via talmud, patriarchal writings, or hadiths or such subsequent equivalents. But rather to assemble what one might call a minimal ‘paradigmatic’ list of elements the presence of which would make a description recognizably ‘mosaic’, the absence of which might not. As part of this definitional essay, the elements of leader, lawgiver, prophet, and messiah shall be considered in connection with such trial experiences as resistances to oppressions, flights, escapes from slaveries, military activity, revelations, and passage thru tribulations to promised ease, land, condition, freedom. A general estimation will be attempted of the Moses Paradigm attempted, partially achieved, [ABSTRACT TRUNCATED]


Malevolent Influences in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Program Unit: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Tupá Guerra Guimarães da Silva, University of Birmingham

The fear of malevolent influence that can destroy a person’s life or determine fate after death is a frequent topic in texts from different cultures around the world. A concern with evil beings and apotropaic measures to curtail their influence is a widespread topos also in early Jewish literature. The full publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls has uncovered a number of important previously unknown ancient Jewish texts dealing with such concerns, e.g. apotropaic songs such as The Songs of the Maskil (4Q510-4Q511) and 4QExorcism (4Q560). Moreover, long known scrolls such as the Community Rule (1QS; 4QS) include explicit references to evil beings. In this paper I will argue that concerns with malevolent influence are also present in texts that are not explicitly related to evil and demonology. To this end I will identify passages within the corpus of the Scrolls that presuppose such influence in more subtle and implicit ways. I hope to demonstrate that constant malevolent threats are taken for granted even in texts that do not refer to demonic influences.


Ingots, Scrap Metal, and Payments during the Amarna Period
Program Unit: Ancient Near East
Graciela Gestoso Singer, Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina

The use of ingots and scrap metal, as forms of “payments”, was taking place in the Amarna Period (14th century BCE) according to four different contexts: the Tomb Inscriptions, the Amarna Letters, the "hoard" found at Amarna, and the cargo of the Uluburun shipwreck. Throughout the 15-14th centuries BCE in Egypt, ingots are generally listed as "tribute" from foreign countries (peripheries, enclaves, and centers), however they may instead have been commodities used in "trade" or "gift-exchange" networks. Textual and archaeological evidence indicates that the changes underwent by the systems and means of exchange extended to all of the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Late Bronze Age, while evidence provided by maritime archaeology suggests the coexistence of royal imports of metals and prestige goods from palaces and small enterprises by independent merchants. The royal merchants, who exchanged metals in talent-sized bulk, were slowly displaced by independent merchants, who traded small scraps of metal for other goods and increased their profits. Additional discoveries show that the modes of storage and transport by merchants or wealthy individuals of "scrap metals" were in vessels and sacks, indicating a clash between a price-based system and an older, state-run and tribute-based one. The ingot fragments were used as "small change" during metal-weighing transactions. The expansion of the circulation of scrap metal, which was a natural consequence of the widening range of sub-elite consumers, had dangerous consequences for the palace monopolies and their elites. Scrap metal became a reasonable commodity for independent merchants from at least ca. 1350–1300 BCE.


Water and Wisdom
Program Unit: Wisdom Literature in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East
Alice M. Sinnott, University of Auckland

In this paper, I shall explore how the author of Sirach uses water and water forms – mist, cloud, rivers – symbolically, metaphorically, and as a vital element in sustaining life and portraying Wisdom. Water is currently a topic of much research and debate as evidenced in three recent publications: Drinking Water: A History by James Salzman (2013); Parched City: A History of London’s Public and Private Drinking Water by Emma Jones (2013); Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource by David Sedlak (2014). Each of these provides an abundance of fascinating information and raises a multitude of questions about water as a vital resource. In their use of water imagery, biblical poets tapped into one of the most evocative metaphors in all of scripture. Destructive and cleansing, formless yet sustaining, water conveys diametrically opposing nuances. Biblical writers employed and expanded water metaphors and imagery throughout their writings. In addition to its absolute necessity for life in all of creation through the ages, human beings have used water symbolically, ritually and nto infrequently as a bargaining tool. The environmental academic James Salzman notes that ancient societies in parched lands had conventions about providing water to strangers. Sharia, he tells us means ‘the way to water’ and the ‘Right of Thirst’ allowed strangers to ask for water and to expect to receive it. Every living thing depends on water to sustain life. Sirach draws attention to the inseparable link between water and wisdom. ‘She will feed him with the bread of learning, and give him the water of wisdom to drink’ (Sir 15:3).


"Entreat me not to leave you": Attachment and Interaction in the Book of Ruth
Program Unit: Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts
Cecilie Skupinska-Løvset, Jevnaker Municipality Psychiatric Clinic

The story of Ruth tells us of a great bond between Ruth as the protagonist and the people she meets along her way. It shows us a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space. This is the basis of attachment theory. Attachment is often characterized by specific behaviors, such as seeking proximity with the attachment figure when upset or threatened. It does not have to be reciprocal and one person may have an attachment with an individual which is not shared. In this paper I wish to look at the relationships depicted in the book of Ruth through the lens of attachment theory.


The Synoptic Sabbath Controversies: Composition History and Lukan Redaction
Program Unit: Synoptic Gospels
David A. Smith, Duke University

Studies of the synoptic Sabbath controversies have frequently focused on the important question of the orientation of the historical Jesus to traditional Sabbath halakah as part of the broader question of Jesus’ general attitude to Torah and Jewish tradition. Often overlooked in this historical quest is the light that the peculiar constellation of Sabbath controversies scattered across the Synoptic Gospels sheds on the Synoptic Problem and on the varying redactional interest of the evangelists in the matter of Sabbath observance. This paper therefore explores the Sabbath controversies through the lens of the Synoptic Problem, devoting particular attention to the minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark, especially as a number of these have been overlooked in recent studies. As well as elucidating several important minor agreements, this analysis raises afresh the question of the relation between the first and third gospels in light of the difficulty of assigning their unique overlap to Q. After probing the composition history of the synoptic Sabbath controversies, this study explores how the tradition of Sabbath controversy is especially amplified in the gospel of Luke. The elucidation of a peculiarly Lukan concern for the proper interpretation of the Sabbath suggests that Luke’s re-interpretation of this Israelite tradition is integrally related to his larger christological and ecclesiological vision.


Israel's Stumbling and Salvation: Reception of a Pauline Motif in Syriac Christianity
Program Unit: Bible in Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions
David A. Smith, Duke University

This paper attends to the reception of the apostle Paul’s thought on the fate of the Jewish people in early Syriac Christianity. After an overview of the interpretive issues that attend Paul's hope for Israel expressed in Romans 9-11, this study turns to the dogmatic interpretation of these chapters and of their central concerns in several early Syriac writers. Close attention is given to Aphrahat, whose complex articulation of the relationship between Christ, the church, and the Jewish people is probed in detail. By giving careful consideration to the contingent circumstances of Paul’s letter to the Romans and Aphrahat’s Demonstrations, particularly as these works have in view the relationships among Jewish, Christian, and Jewish-Christian communities, this paper situates the theological formulations of these authors in their context of their social histories. This relationship between dogmatic formulation and social location is explored in connection to the common aim of each author to interpret the Old Testament Scriptures. In this latter connection, this study argues that Aphrahat preserves, in modulated form, an important Pauline conceptualization of the fate of Isarel, a conceptualization which was often eclipsed by the systematizing thought of later Western theologians.


Can Religion Play a Role in Protecting Society's Sacrificeable Victims?
Program Unit: Ritual in the Biblical World
LeAnn Snow Flesher, Graduate Theological Union

Rene’ Girard has theorized that “it is more difficult to quell an impulse toward violence than to rouse it;” that when deprived of their natural enemies, humans will turn their aggression toward a substitute; and that this hypothesis for substitution is the basis for the practice of sacrifice (Girard, Violence & Sacred, p. 2-3). This paper will seek to verify this hypothesis by means of an analysis of select texts in the Old and New Testaments (e.g., Lev. 16; John 19) and to apply the principles derived to contemporary acts of violence against African Americans and Latin American immigrants in the US. The paper will conclude with recommendations for ritual acts of metaphorical substitutionary sacrifice in contemporary worship settings as means and method for quelling violence against minorities in the US.


The Textual Character of GA 0278: A Complete Assessment of the Greek Text
Program Unit: Working with Biblical Manuscripts (Textual Criticism)
Matthew Solomon, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Discovered at St. Catherine’s Monastery in 1975 (among many others), Gregory-Aland manuscript (MS) 0278 has earned a spot in the apparatus of NA28 but not UBS5. The textual character of 0278 is largely unknown, though. Based on preliminary research, the readings in MS 0278 tend to group most closely with MSS 04, 025, and 81. The question is, then, how exactly should the readings of 0278 be evaluated in a critical apparatus? Also, should 0278 be represented in the apparatus of the UBS Greek New Testament? In this paper, I argue that 0278 belongs in the Alands’ Category II and should thus be included in the apparatus of UBS. The overall textual character of 0278 will be evaluated through a full collation and comparison to other major witnesses of Paul’s letters in order to determine how much weight the witness should be given in determining the initial text. Textual groupings will be identified through percentages of agreement. Also, scribal habits will be outlined, and unique readings will be discussed.


The Absent Lord: Oikos and Authority in the Gospel of Mark
Program Unit: Gospel of Mark
Mariano Agustín Spléndido, Universidad Nacional de La Plata

The Gospel of Mark (Mk) is a product of the aftermath of the Jewish War. Moreover, it arose in the midst of tensions with the local synagogue, from which syrian-palestinian christians has not yet separated. The messianic secret is a motive which pervades the entire narration to suggest a frightened and fragile community. In this context, we propose to analyse the role that the author of Mk gives to the oikos and how its power relations function in the community. The markan narration offers us an ambivalent position concerning family: Jesus refuses it but he does wonders and legitimates moral precepts intended to maintain domestic harmony. The ideal believer for Mk is not called to impose faith in the oikos or to christianize family relations, but to follow an individual ethic that will make interaction with those of his environment easier. Personal action is what defines the Christian in this Gospel. Two passages provide the frame for thinking about this problematic: Mk 13.33-37 and 16.1-8. In the first, the parable of Jesus has an open ending, since the master is on a trip and has left the tasks distributed in his home, delaying his return indefinitely; in the second, the women find the empty tomb but the risen Christ does not appear, closing the narration in a frustrated expectation. As the master of the parable is an absentist and demanding kyrios who is testing the faith of his followers, the oikos is a temporary enclave surrounded with tensions and tests in which the proposal of the markan Jesus is to act with moderation and discretion.


Public and Domestic Violence in Chrysostom’s Community
Program Unit: Families and Children in the Ancient World
Hennie Stander, University of Pretoria

There are several references to violence in the New Testament. Jesus told his disciples that should anyone slap them on the right cheek, they should let the person slap their left cheek too (Mt. 5:39). We also read in Acts 23:1 that the High Priest (of all people) ordered those who were standing close to Paul, to strike him on the mouth. We can interpret some of the New Testament verses metaphorically, but the reality is that violence was quite common in the ancient world. Peter Brown describes late antiquity as “a world characterized by a chilling absence of legal restraints on violence in the exercise of power.” Many studies on structural and institutional violence in the ancient world have been published. In this paper, however, I will focus only on one-on-one violence in public and private space in Chrysostom’s community. I will look at spousal violence, and other forms of violence within the family. In one specific case the neighbours were running to the house because of the cries and wailing of a wife who was beaten by her husband (Hom. 1 Cor 26.7). But acts of violence were also committed in public space. Chrysostom advises his congregation, for example, that should they hear “any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God, they should go up to him, rebuke him, and should it be necessary to inflict blows, they should not spare not to do so” (De stat 1.32). Pauline Allen, Wendy Mayer and others have shown that Chrysostom’s writings can serve as a window to provide us a glimpse into fourth- and fifth-century social life. One has to be aware, of course, of the fact that Chrysostom also made some very radical comments merely for rhetorical effect.


Children in the Hebrew Bible and the Case of Samuel: From Personal Experience to Analysis
Program Unit: Contextual Interpretation of the Bible (Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament)
Naomi Steinberg, DePaul University

This paper builds on the insights of contemporary social studies of childhood to expose the culture-bound nature of childhood in ancient Israel as seen through the example of 1 Samuel 1. It will draw on my personal cross-cultural experiences of children's lives in Guatemala and in the foster-care system of Chicago to show that the meanings of childhood are not generic and cannot be carried over from one society to another. The paper will demonstrate that childhood in ancient Israel was radically different from present-day childhood.


Song of Moses Ha’azinu: A Musical Exegesis for Contrabass and Orchestra: Lecture-DVD Presentation
Program Unit: Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
Max Stern, Ariel University Center of Samaria

Deuteronomy, the last of the Five Books of Moses consists in the final addresses, teachings, and testimonies of Moses to the children of Israel. Shortly before his death, the Lawgiver crystallizes his message in a visionary epilogue, Ha’azinu or Song of Moses, a poetic addition to earlier prose orations, reviewing the people’s history and destiny, and giving lyricism full reign, Give Ear O Ye Heavens, and I will speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth (Deut. 32:1). Conceived as a cantata for contrabass and orchestra, Ha'azinu by Max Stern is an instrumental characterization of Moses’ farewell song to the children of Israel. It foretells the history and prophetic mission of the Jewish people, and contrasts God’s promise of loving-kindness and faithfulness with Israel's ingratitude and faithlessness. Slow of speech and heavy of tongue, the contrabass, as Moses is purported to be in the Bible, takes on the part of the Lawgiver: exhorting, reproving, and justifying the ways of God to man.


The Bible as a Legitimation of Early Modern Iberian Imperialism? Converso and ex-Converso Jewish Approaches
Program Unit: Bible and Its Influence: History and Impact
Claude B. Stuczynski, Bar-Ilan University

The polemics of possession of the New World included the Bible as a major reference regarding the legitimacy of the Iberian imperial enterprises. Broadly speaking, it seems that while the Old Testament served those who justified conquest and subjection of the "Indians": -often compared to the seven peoples of the Land of Canaan during Joshua's time-, critical voices emphasized the New Testament as a voice of love and peaceful evangelization as the correct Christian alternative to the rigid and carnal Jewish Law. My lecture will focus on Jewish reactions to such uses of the Bible, by Iberian Conversos and the Sephardic ex-Converso Jews. I will argue that in their condition of being "agents and victims" of Iberian Empires, some of them were engaged in a very radical and creative way in such discussions, throwing new light on the role of the Bible as a major source of reflexion in Early Modern discourses of expansion and dominance.


Ritual Objects between the House of Study and the Synagogue
Program Unit: Judaica
Michael D. Swartz, Ohio State University

One question that has occupied historians of Judaism in late antiquity in recent decades has been the relationship between the “House of Study” (bet midrash) and the synagogue (bet kenesset). Historians such as Dan Urman, Steven Fine, Seth Schwartz, and others have debated the extent to which the goals of both institutions coincided, overlapped, or diverged. This paper will be a comparison of the role of ritual objects in rabbinic literature and the iconography of the ancient synagogue, using traditions from the Tosefta and Palestinian Talmud, especially tractates Yoma and Sota, in comparison with Palestinian synagogue mosaic floors. It will be argued that in these rabbinic sources, the legendary historiography of the Second Temple emphasizes the social dimension of the ritual implements, especially the role of the individuals and families who made and used them, both to stratify and de-stratify the hierarchies of priests, sages, and ritual specialists. In contrast, the iconography, of necessity, presents ritual objects as separate entities in relation to symbols of the ancient Temple, and yet relates them directly to the synagogue community. At the same time, it will be argued that both sources highlight the efficacy of those objects in attaining sacrificial goals.


The Jacob Narratives: An E-Stratum Text?
Program Unit: Pentateuch (Torah)
Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology

This paper reexamines the Jacob narratives in Genesis 25-35 in relation to recent critical reappraisal of Pentateuchal Source criticism. It accounts for recent problems in pentateuchal source theory, e.g., Wellhausen’s own confusion concerning the differentiation between J and E sources, the reconceptualization of the sources as strata that entail both authorial and redactional composition, and the recent recognition that J cannot date to the ninth or tenth century as Wellhausen and von Rad respectively noted, but must instead date to the late-monarchic or even the exilic period as recent scholars have proposed. Analysis of the Jacob narrative demonstrates that the core of the narrative in Genesis 25-35 presupposes a northern Israelite and Aramean setting throughout and that the narrative addresses issues pertinent to the northern Israelite kingdom in the late-tenth through the eighth centuries B.C.E., e.g., tensions within the tribal structure of the northern kingdom of Israel, including Judah, which was a vassal during the reigns of the Omride and Jehu monarchs; its conflicted relations with the Arameans and the Edomites, the status of the sanctuary at Beth El; and the status of key cities, such as Sukkot, Mahanaim, and Penuel. The analysis will also note the Judean redactional framework in which the narrative appears, i.e., the Rebekah rendition of the endangered matriarch motif in Genesis 26; the polemical portrayal of the rape of Dinah in Genesis 34; and the burial of Isaac in Genesis 35:27-39. The paper concludes that the Jacob narrative is an early E or Ephraimite narrative that was taken south following the destruction of northern Israel and edited for placement in a later J or Judean stratum of the early pentateuchal text.


Jewish-Greek Medieval Biblical Translations
Program Unit: Septuagint Studies
Shifra Celia Sznol, Independent Scholar

One of the main objectives of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts of the National Library of Israel is to compile a complete collection of all extant manuscripts written in Hebrew characters. The present paper focuses on the collection of Jewish-Greek biblical translations found in manuscripts scattered through the world and examined at the Institute. These medieval and modern Greek translations were written throughout the period spanning the Middle Ages up until the 20th century; originating in many different countries and communities. The vocabulary is mainly that of medieval and modern Greek, and includes Hebrew and Turkish loan words. This collection includes books or book fragments as well as glossaries arranged according to the 'parashot' divisions. The most important publication of these translations is the Constantinople Pentateuch 1547 printed in three columns: Hebrew, Ladino and Jewish-Greek, followed by the Aramaic (Onqelos) translation and the Rashi commentary. The last two items support evidence of the rabbinical origin of these translations. At the Ljubljana meeting of the Congress of Septuagint and Cognate Studies (2007), Nicholas de Lange and his team presented the important project of the Byzantine Greek Bible corpus in a digital format. This project (GBBJ) is devoted to the witnesses of these translations mainly from the Cairo Genizah collection and their links with the Septuagint and other Greek versions, chiefly Aquila. The aim of my presentation is to present these translations as found in manuscripts in the National Library of Israel and other libraries and important collections around the world. The second goal of this paper is to show the influence of ancient and medieval rabbinic commentaries on these translations. The presence of these commentaries will serve to provide a proper chronological context and to illustrate the social background in which they were created.


The Bible in Modern Aramaic: Oral and Literary Translation Efforts
Program Unit: Bible and Syriac Studies in Context
Shabo Talay, Freie Universität Berlin

In their liturgies, Syriac Christians have traditionally read the Bible in Syriac, in the Peshitta version. Since the majority of the faithful do not understand the classical language, the priests have to translate the text simultaneously into a modern language