James Tucker reviews Michael Stone’s Secret Groups in Ancient Judaism: “An analysis of the insider and outsider sources can illuminate how secrecy and esotericism were realized apropos the social practices of initiation, graded revelation, and hierarchical structure.”
Watts ends the volume with a chapter on such modern representations of Hypatia, which move already suggests his aim: to bracket the legend long enough to catch sight of the life that inspired it.
This volume, replete with color images and detailed charts, is both a resource and an invitation for further research. The range of expertise offered by the volume’s contributors testifies to the interdisciplinarity that animates Byzantine Studies.
Cavan Concannon’s Assembling Early Christianity: Trade, Networks, and the Letters of Dionysios of Corinth examines the traces of an understudied bishop to draw larger conclusions about how early Christianities effloresced and dissolved over time.
“Like a Roman idol marking a crossroads in a way that makes visible the danger and domination that was always there, focusing on travel allows writers ancient and modern a vantage point on interplays between materiality and ideology that otherwise might slip by us.”
In fact, Bond argues, it is in part because of the indispensability of these professions that they were so stigmatized. The lowbrow, servile nature of these labors disqualified members of the elite from practicing them, but the dependency of civic institutions and day-to-day well-being upon them brought great wealth and power to those within the trade.
“As Elledge’s book capably demonstrates, it is the diversity, complexity and adaptability of resurrection belief—the very attributes that make it so difficult for scholars to pin down—that characterized and facilitated its growth in early Jewish thought.”
A Spiritual Economy is a helpful addition to recent studies in gifts in the letters of Paul, and its multidisciplinary engagement contributes to the study of religion in antiquity and to broader conversations in history, sociology, and anthropology about gift exchange.
Whereas most archaeologists of Roman Syria focus on discrete regions, de Jong is the first to undertake a systematic study of burials from across the province.
But decoding slanderous language is not just a complicated task for modern scholars; the Gospel of John’s earliest interpreters also chewed over the anti-Jewish language in the text. In Exegeting the Jews, Michael Azar examines the earliest reception of John’s anti-Jewish language.
“Whether they received these forms from Cicero or came to them independently, the fact that the rabbis are not alone in producing these forms makes clear that the strategy is effective, and Hidary’s rhetorical analyses ably show what that strategy is. A literary work need not be efficient or conclusive to be persuasive.”
Sarah Bond reviews Donna Zuckerberg’s Not All Dead White Men: “A new generation of classicists, archaeologists, and premodern historians have begun to realize that an insulated approach to scholarship is itself a form of privileged monasticism that we can no longer retreat to. In Not All Dead White Men, Zuckerberg looks into the crevices of the internet and into academia with a jussive command: “Fiat lux” (Let there be light). It is up to us to keep the lights on.”
Framing his book with the two great miracles of Constantine and Theodosius, Drake attempts to tease out exactly how this discourse functioned in late antiquity, especially for Christians.
In considering the monastic mind(s) of late antiquity, Paul Dilley rejects models entrenched in a Cartesian dualism—opting instead to explore modes of embodied cognition. He proposes that the cognitive training practiced by early Christian monks led to the “gradual acquisition of a new and particularly monastic theory of mind.”
“Beautifully written and clearly organized, the strength of Belser’s method for reading rabbinic tales is in not fitting the Bavli into any one theoretical framework, but rather in allowing her hermeneutic lenses to shift along with the text.”
“To briefly sketch some of Rosenblum's findings, we see that Greek and Roman sources are often perplexed by or antagonistic to these laws, Hellenistic Jews justify the laws via allegory, reason, and revelation, Rabbinic sources only begin to provide justifications beyond revelation with the Amoraim, and later Christian sources return to allegory, while denying the literal adherence to these prohibitions.”
Lavee argues for reading the conflicting attitudes of renewal and rejection as reflecting a Babylonian attitude of ‘genealogical anxiety,’ marking the convert as reborn so as to disassociate them from their natal families while in so doing marking them as the ‘eternal other.’
As a whole, the volume provides compelling evidence that various, interrelated “techniques of self-authorisation” were employed across (what the modern reader might categorize as) different scientific and technical genres, as a means not only for professionals to establish their credentials, but also for non-professionals to situate themselves in the social and political networks of the late Republic and the Roman Empire.
Drawing on this scholarly paradigm shift, Williams argues that understanding Christianity in the Milan of Ambrose’s time requires manoeuvring around an object, “heresy,” successfully conjured into existence by Ambrose’s rhetoric.
Wendt brings together, in accessible prose, a series of fascinating characters that have been neglected by many classical scholars, and who are largely absent in early Christian studies, under the etic category of “freelance religious expert.”
Melania, then, is a testament both to the impact the Melanias had on the nascent Christianity of the fourth century as well as the impact that Elizabeth Clark has had in shaping the study of that very world.
This book represents a step forward in Prudentian scholarship by situating the Peristephanon in its social and historical context.
Attention to the ways that the apparently natural is harnessed to specific cultural ideologies through our most basic metaphors of food is the first step in redefining what it means to “eat well.”
Hezser treats body language exclusively and comprehensively, studying the phenomenon from head to toes and demonstrating its wide scope in classical rabbinic literature.
Kingship and Memory in Ancient Judah is useful in reframing historiographic methods in biblical studies. Wilson aptly moves beyond the use of memory studies to merely determine the historicity of events of Israel’s past.