Dissertation Spotlight: Michael Motia, “The Mimetic Life: Imitation and Infinity in Gregory of Nyssa,” Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 2017
Motia: “How does one imitate the infinite? Or, perhaps more importantly: If Gregory describes the aim or perfection of the Christian life as “never to stop growing towards what is better and never placing any limit on perfection,” how does mīmēsis (Greek: imitation, representation) function within that endless pursuit? And given that mimesis assumes a mode of desire, specifically eros—for love leads to likeness, and imitation incites, intensifies, reorients, and reinforces desire—how does a Christian love what she does not know? If the Christian life is mimetic, what is the presumed relationship between representation of the divine and reality? How do images of God remake humans in the image of God? What do Christians imitate when they imitate an inimitable God? What kinds of guidelines or practices govern this life? Gregory of Nyssa’s approach to these questions lie at the heart of my dissertation.”
Book Note: Thomas Arentzen, The Virgin in Song: Mary and the Poetry of Romanos the Melodist. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017
Walsh: “In The Virgin in Song, Thomas Arentzen demonstrates the centrality of Mary within the “civic imaginary” of sixth-century Constantinople through an examination of Romanos’s characterization of the Virgin Mother in his kontakia. Following the rhythms of the liturgical calendar, Romanos composed works that spanned the arc of Mary’s life from her initial exchange with the archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation to her suffering at the death of her beloved son on Good Friday. Focusing on the Marian-themed compositions among Romanos’s larger corpus, Arentzen contends that the poet’s artistic choices consistently place Mary at the center of these verse re-narrations. As a result, Romanos simultaneously fashions a dynamic portrait of her maternal virginity while also cultivating his audience’s relationship with her as an empathetic and authoritative mediator of divine mercy.”
Dissertation Spotlight: Hilla Alouf-Aboody, “Halokh ve-daber: Elijah the Prophet as a Bearer of Wisdom in Rabbinic Literature,” Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University, 2017
Alouf-Aboody: “My dissertation entitled Halokh ve-daber: Elijah the Prophet as a Bearer of Wisdom in Rabbinic Literature explores the different roles that Elijah embodies in rabbinic literature and their connection to the wisdom tradition. One of the most striking things about the Elijah texts are their variegated nature, including the different traditions and legends that surround his character. Elijah appears in traditions regarding the Messianic era, in halakhic discussions, and in rabbinic legends. At first glance these traditions seem so strikingly different from one another that it is difficult to find any common link besides for the presence of Elijah. However, through analyzing a significant number of the Elijah traditions, I demonstrate how a common thread seems to permeate through many of them, mainly their connection to the wisdom tradition.”
Articles and News
Preliminary contents list for Tony Burke and Brent Landau’s second volume of More New Testament Apocrypha.
Website of Marc Brettler stuffed full of resources for teaching and studying the Hebrew Bible.
Free access to the stunning collection of the Parker Library.
Sarah Bond examines graphic novel-like elements in ancient graphic narratives.
Papyrus puzzles and Hebrew poetry in an unidentified Oxyrhynchus fragment.
Yuval Harari introduces ancient Jewish magic and its material technologies.
Exploring the religion of the ancient Near East with a website on Israel’s Iron Age neighbors.
A terrific list of podcasts relating to the classical world or classical studies.
Manar al-Athar’s monument this week is the early Islamic bathhouse of Qusayr Amra, Jordan. Positioning some of the scenes in the west aisle of the main hall (RH side) provides a sense of its structured decorative programme. 1/7 @WorldMonuments @Bill_Finlayson @19Averil @BIA_CBRL pic.twitter.com/VDkksRbzYy— Manar al-Athar (@ManarAlAthar) 8 January 2018
I’m convinced that writing an Intro to the Bible /NT syllabus is always, somehow, a negotiation of your relationship to your advisor.— Maia Kotrosits (@maiakotro) 9 January 2018
This week it's Shemot, & the beginning of the Exodus story. We love this micrographic beastie hovering over the beginning of the parsha (& book) in 14th century Add MS 19776 #HebrewProject #parshapictures pic.twitter.com/qQTUXgbu7l— BL Hebrew Project (@BL_HebrewMSS) 5 January 2018