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Patristic Exegesis in Context
Exploring the Genres of Early Christian Biblical Interpretation
Miriam De Cock
Catholic University of America Press, 2023
The essays of Patristic Exegesis in Context examine the biblical exegesis of early Christians beyond the formal genre of biblical commentary. The past couple of decades have seen a broadening of perspective on the study of patristic exegesis; the phenomenon is increasingly situated within its various literary contexts and genres, and the definition of what counts as patristic exegesis is therefore widened. This volume thus situates itself within this emerging scholarly tradition, which aims not to give an account of exegetical strategies and methodologies as found primarily in exegetical commentaries and homilies, but to demonstrate the highly sophisticated nature of biblical exegesis in other genres, and the manifold uses to which this exegesis was put. Ancient Christian authors lived and breathed scripture; it served as their primary source of theological and liturgical vocabulary, their way of processing the world, their social ethic, and their mode of constructing self and communal identity. Scripture therefore permeates all ancient Christian literature, regardless of genre, and the various contexts in which interpretation of scripture took place resulted in a wide variety of uses of the church’s authoritative texts. The essays in this volume demonstrate the interpretive skill, creativity, and sophistication of early Christian authors in a myriad of other early Christian genres, such as poetry, paraphrase, hymns, martyr accounts, homilies, prophetic vision accounts, monastic writings, argumentative treatises, encomia, apocalypses, and catenae. Accordingly, the volume aims to help the modern person, who is used to hearing the Bible explained in explicitly expository situations (for example, in academic commentaries or religious sermons) to become more habituated to ancient ways of interacting with and expounding the biblical text. These essays attempt to contextualize various types of patristic exegesis, in order for us to glimpse the complex and diverse uses of the Bible in this period.

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Paul and the Resurrected Body
Social Identity and Ethical Practice
Matt O'Reilly
SBL Press, 2020

A new reading of Pauline theology, ethics, and eschatology grounded in social-identity theory and sociorhetorical criticism

Readers often think of Paul’s attitude toward the resurrection of the body in individual terms: a single body raised as the climax of an individual’s salvation. In Paul and the Resurrected Body: Social Identity and Ethical Practice, Matt O’Reilly makes the case that, for Paul, the social dimension of future bodily resurrection is just as important, if not more so. Through a close reading of key texts in the letters to the Corinthians, Romans, and Philippians, O’Reilly argues that resurrection is integral to Paul’s understanding of Christian social identity. In Paul’s theological reasoning, a believer’s hope for the future depends on being identified as part of the people of God who will be resurrected.


  • A clarification of the eschatological basis for Paul’s ethical expectations
  • Exploration of the social significance of Paul’s theological reasoning
  • An integration of ancient rhetorical theory with contemporary social-identity theory

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Paul as Infant and Nursing Mother
Metaphor, Rhetoric, and Identity in 1 Thessa
Jennifer Houston McNeel
SBL Press, 2014

Explore the significance of maternal metaphors in the writings of a first-century male missionary and theologian

Paul employed metaphors of childbirth or breastfeeding in four out of the seven undisputed epistles. In this book, McNeel uses cognitive metaphor theory and social identity analysis to examine the meaning and function of these maternal metaphors. She asserts that metaphors carry cognitive content and that they are central to how humans process information, construct reality, and shape group identity.


  • A focus on “identity” as the way in which people understand themselves in relation to one another, to society, and to those perceived as outsiders
  • Examination of metaphor as part of Paul’s rhetorical strategy
  • Integration of the work of philosopher Max Black with the work of cognitive linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson

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Paul Unbound
Other Perspectives on the Apostle
Mark D. Given
SBL Press, 2022

"As long as there are readers of Paul, there will be always be other perspectives."

The essays in this second edition of Paul Unbound: Other Perspectives on the Apostle provide introductions to Paul's relationship to and views on the Roman Empire, first-century economic stratification, his opponents, ethnicity, the law, Judaism, women, and Greco-Roman rhetoric. Contributors Warren Carter, Charles H. Cosgrove, A. Andrew Das, Steven J. Friesen, Mark D. Given, Deborah Krause, Mark D. Nanos, and Jerry L. Sumney have added addendums to their original essays and updated the bibliography to take into account scholarship produced in the decade since the publication of the first edition. The collection provides essential background and sets out new directions for study useful to students of the New Testament and Paul's letters.


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Pedagogy in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
Karina Martin Hogan
SBL Press, 2017

Engage fourteen essays from an international group of experts

There is little direct evidence for formal education in the Bible and in the texts of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. At the same time, pedagogy and character formation are important themes in many of these texts. This book explores the pedagogical purpose of wisdom literature, in which the concept of discipline (Hebrew musar) is closely tied to the acquisition of wisdom. It examines how and why the concept of musar came to be translated as paideia (education, enculturation) in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (Septuagint), and how the concept of paideia was deployed by ancient Jewish authors writing in Greek. The different understandings of paideia in wisdom and apocalyptic writings of Second Temple Judaism are this book's primary focus. It also examines how early Christians adapted the concept of paideia, influenced by both the Septuagint and Greco-Roman understandings of this concept.


  • A thorough lexical study of the term paideia in the Septuagint
  • Exploration of the relationship of wisdom and Torah in Second Temple Judaism
  • Examination of how Christians developed new forms of pedagogy in competition with Jewish and pagan systems of education
  • [more]

    front cover of The Philosophy, Theology, and Rhetoric of Marius Victorinus
    The Philosophy, Theology, and Rhetoric of Marius Victorinus
    Stephen A. Cooper
    SBL Press, 2022

    Pagan rhetor, (Neo-)Platonist philosopher, Christian theologian

    This collection of essays is devoted to the rhetoric, Neoplatonic philosophy, and Christian theology of Marius Victorinus, a mid-fourth-century professor of rhetoric and philosopher who converted to Christianity late in life. Scholars from eight different countries, some of whom have not previously published in English, reflect on debates about his writings and theological development. These topics include Victorinus's deployment of philosophical sources for trinitarian theology, possible connections in his work to Origen, Augustine, Plotinus, Porphyry, and Gnosticism, as well as his contributions to Latin rhetoric and dialectic. Contributors include Jan Dominik Bogataj, Michael Chase, Nello Cipriani, Stephen A. Cooper, Volker Henning Drecoll, Lenka Karfíková, Josef Lössl, Václav Němec, Thomas Riesenweber, Guadalupe Lopetegui Semperena, Miran Špelič, Chiara O. Tommasi, John D. Turner, and Florian Zacher. The chapters in this volume are of great interest to students of late antique philosophy, Christian theology, and Latin rhetoric.


    front cover of Plant Metaphors in the Old Greek of Isaiah
    Plant Metaphors in the Old Greek of Isaiah
    Benjamin M. Austin
    SBL Press, 2019

    A thorough analysis of metaphor translation techniques used in Isaiah

    In this study Benjamin M. Austin analyzes all the plant metaphors in Isaiah and classifies them according to the metaphor translation techniques used by the Septuagint translator. Austin illustrates how the translator took the context of each metaphor into account and demonstrates how the natural features of the plants under discussion at times influenced their translation. He argues that the translator tried to render metaphors vividly and with clarity, sometimes adjusting them to match the experience of his audience living in Egypt. Austin also examines metaphors in terms of their vehicles (the objects of comparison), so that the translation of similar metaphors can be compared.


    • A comparison of the Masoretic Text to the Septuagint and Targum
    • A classification of metaphor translation strategies
    • An introduction to the Hellenistic and the Jewish conception of metaphors

    front cover of Postclassical Greek and Septuagint Lexicography
    Postclassical Greek and Septuagint Lexicography
    William A. Ross
    SBL Press, 2022
    A long-standing tradition within biblical scholarship sets the Greek text of the Septuagint constantly in relationship with its supposed Hebrew or Aramaic Vorlage, examining the two together in terms of their grammatical alignment as a standard. Yet another tradition frames the discussion in different terms, preferring instead to address the Septuagint first of all in light of its contemporary Greek linguistic environment and only then attempting to describe its language and style as a text. It is this latter approach that William A. Ross employs in this textually based study of the Greek versions of Judges, a so-called double text in the textual history of the Septuagint. The results of his study offer a window into the Old Greek translation and its later revision, two distinct stages of Greek Judges with numerous instances of divergent vocabulary choices that reflect deliberateness in both the original selection and the subsequent change within the textual development of the book. Ross’s study illustrates the practicalities and payoff of a Greek-oriented lexicographical method that situates the language of the Septuagint squarely within its contemporary historical and linguistic context.


    front cover of Poverty, Law, and Divine Justice in Persian and Hellenistic Judah
    Poverty, Law, and Divine Justice in Persian and Hellenistic Judah
    Johannes Unsok Ro
    SBL Press, 2018

    A view of Persian and Hellenistic Judean communities through theological and socioeconomic lenses

    Johannes Unsok Ro employs philological, historical, and sociological approaches to investigate the close connections between socioeconomic structures, social inequality, and theological developments in the Judean communities in Persian- and Hellenistic-era Palestine. Ro contends that competing points of view from communities of lay returnees, priestly returnees, and communities of resident Judeans and Samaritans were juxtaposed within the Hebrew Bible, which took shape during the postexilic period. By exploring issues such as the relationship between the shaping of the canon and literacy in the Judean community, the term strangers in the biblical law codes, the socioeconomic structures of Judean communities reflected in the biblical law codes, the development of the theological concept of divine punitive justice, the piety of the poor in certain psalms, and the concept of poverty in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ro illustrates that the communities behind each text and its redactions can be ascertained through sociological and theological lenses.


    • Demonstration that a theology of the poor materialized orally among the poor but found written expression among Levites
    • Insight into the socioeconomic and theological concerns of the authorial groups behind various biblical law codes
    • A case that biblical “poverty” sometimes refers to humility and a theologically reflected consciousness of lowliness toward God

    front cover of Prayers and the Construction of Israelite Identity
    Prayers and the Construction of Israelite Identity
    Susanne Gillmayr-Bucher
    SBL Press, 2019

    Substantial insights into various identity discourses reflected in the biblical prayers

    This collection of essays from an international group of scholars focuses on how biblical prayers of the Persian and early Hellenistic periods shaped identity, evoked a sense of belonging to specific groups, and added emotional significance to this affiliation. Contributors draw examples from different biblical texts, including Genesis, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Psalms, Jonah, and Daniel.


    • Thorough study of prayers that play a key role for a biblical book’s (re)construction of the people’s history and identity
    • An examination of ways biblical figures are remodeled by their prayers by introducing other, sometimes even contradictory, discourses on identity
    • An exploration of different ways in which psalms from postexilic times shaped, reflected, and modified identity discourses

    front cover of Praying Legally
    Praying Legally
    Shalom E. Holtz
    SBL Press, 2019

    Explore the lengthy history of legal metaphors in ancient prayer

    In biblical and other ancient Near Eastern sources, prayer is an opportunity to make one’s case before divine judges. Prayers were formulated using courtroom or trial language, including demands for judgment, confessions, and accusations. The presence of these legal concepts reveals ancient Near Eastern thoughts about what takes place when one prays. Holtz highlights legal concepts that appear in prayers, including the motif of the speakers' oppression in Psalms the possibility of countersuit against God through prayer, and divine attention and inattention as legal responses. By reading ancient prayers together with legal texts, this book shows how speakers took advantage of prayer as an opportunity to have their day in the divine court and even sue against divine injustice.


    • Identification of legal vocabulary and concepts that appear in ancient prayers
    • Analysis of legal metaphors in prayer examples in Akkadian and postbiblical rabbinic texts
    • Interpretations of trial records and texts from Psalms and Lamentations

    front cover of Prophecy and Gender in the Hebrew Bible
    Prophecy and Gender in the Hebrew Bible
    L. Juliana Claassens
    SBL Press, 2021

    Multifaceted insights into female life in prophetic contexts

    Both prophets and prophetesses shared God’s divine will with the people of Israel, yet the voices of these women were often forgotten due to later prohibitions against women teaching in public. This latest volume of the Bible and Women series focuses on the intersection of gender and prophecy in the Former Prophets (Joshua to 2 Kings) as well as in the Latter Prophets of the Hebrew Bible. Essays examine how women appear in the iconography of the ancient world, the historical background of the phenomenon of prophecy, political and religious resistance by women in the biblical text, and gender symbolism and constructions in prophetic material as well as the metaphorical discourse of God. Contributors Michaela Bauks, Athalya Brenner-Idan, Ora Brison, L. Juliana Claassens, Marta García Fernández, Irmtraud Fischer, Maria Häusl, Rainer Kessler, Nancy C. Lee, Hanne Løland Levinson, Christl M. Maier, Ilse Müllner, Martti Nissinen, Ombretta Pettigiani, Ruth Poser, Benedetta Rossi, Silvia Schroer, and Omer Sergi draw insight into the texts from a range of innovative gender-oriented approaches.


    front cover of The Prophets Speak on Forced Migration
    The Prophets Speak on Forced Migration
    Mark J. Boda
    SBL Press, 2015

    A valuable resource with productive avenues for inquiry

    In this collection of essays dealing with the prophetic material in the Hebrew Bible, scholars explore the motifs, effects, and role of forced migration on prophetic literature. Contributors focus on the study of geographical displacement, social identity ethics, trauma studies, theological diversification, hermeneutical strategies in relation to the memory, and the effects of various exilic conditions in order to open new avenues of study into the history of Israelite religion and early Judaism.


    • An introductory essay that presents a history of scholarship and an overview of the collection
    • Ten essays examining the rhetoric of exile in the prophets
    • Current, thorough approaches to the issues and problems related to historical and cultural features of exile in biblical literature

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    The Psalms of Solomon
    Language, History, Theology
    Eberhard Bons
    SBL Press, 2015

    A fresh analysis of that sheds new light on the Psalms of Solomon

    Researchers whose work focuses on the Psalms of Solomon, experts on the Septuagint, and scholars of Jewish Hellenistic literature take a fresh look at debates surrounding the text. Authors engage linguistic, historical, and theological issues including the original language of the psalms, their historical setting, and their theological intentions with the goal of expanding our understanding of first-century BCE Jewish theology.


    • New methods applied to open questions of authorship and historical context
    • Focusd scholarly attention on a work of theological and literary importance
    • Revised essays originally presented at the First International Meeting on the Psalms of Solomon

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    The Psalms of Solomon
    Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts
    Patrick Pouchelle
    SBL Press, 2021

    Explore new approaches to the Psalms of Solomon

    The Psalms of Solomon: Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts explores a unique pseudepigraphal document that bears witness to the 63 BCE Roman conquest of Jerusalem. Essays address a variety of themes, notably their political, social, religious, and historical contexts, through the lens of anthropology of religion, cognitive science, socioeconomic theory, and more. Contributors include Kenneth Atkinson, Eberhard Bons, Johanna Erzberger, Angela Kim Harkins, G. Anthony Keddie, Patrick Pouchelle, Stefan Schreiber, Shani Tzoref, and Rodney A. Werline.


    front cover of Psychoanalytic Mediations between Marxist and Postcolonial Reading of the Bible
    Psychoanalytic Mediations between Marxist and Postcolonial Reading of the Bible
    Tat-siong Benny Liew
    SBL Press, 2016

    The first sustained conversation between Marxism, postcolonialism, and psychoanalysis in biblical studies

    This volume pursues critical readings of the Bible that put psychoanalysis into conversation with Marxist and postcolonial criticism. In these essays psychoanalysis provides a way to mediate between Marxism's materialist groundings and postcolonialism's resistance against empire. The essays in the volume illuminate the way empire has shaped the biblical text by looking at the biblical texts' silences, ruptures, oversights, over-emphases, and inexplicable elements. These details are read as symptoms of a set of oppressive material relations that shaped and continue to haunt the text in the ascendancy of the text in the name of the West.


    • Essays and responses from multiple perspectives and geographical locations, including Africa, Australia, Oceania, Latin America, and North America
    • Psychoanalysis that considers how the traumas of colonialism manifest both materially and psychically
    • Close readings of biblical texts

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