Even the earliest Christian theologians recognized that the cross was a simple intersection of horizontal and vertical lines, but also knew that these were indicated dimensions (height, depth, width) as well as compass points (North, South, East, and West).
What was the ordinary, nonelite experience of the Roman religious world? How far can we recover the everyday interactions of Romans and their deities in the republican and early imperial periods?
Katherine Shaner’s book is a careful and rigorous examination of the extent of enslaved leadership in antiquity as well as the prevalence of scholarly erasure of that leadership.
Jillian Stinchcomb reviews Karen Stern’s Writing on the Wall: “Stern’s work synthesizes archaeological and material histories across the Mediterranean, bringing together discussions of the lived realities of a Jews from socio-economic perspectives that are under-represented in rabbinic and other (elite) literary Jewish texts.”
These essays were part of a panel at the Society of Biblical Literature 2018 Annual Meeting titled, “Textual Objects and Material Philology,” inspired in part by the publication of Snapshots of Evolving Traditions (eds. Lied and Lundhaug).
Papers from the 2018 Society of Biblical Literature’s review panel on Maia Kotrosits’s Rethinking Early Christian Identity: Affect, Violence, and Belonging (Fortress, 2015).
In 2017, the Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity SBL section organized a review panel to discuss Todd Berzon's Classifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity. During the month of July, AJR will feature the panelists' responses.
This panel sparked further discussion among scholars and the broader public, such as in a Washington Post article. In collaboration with AJR, scholars from this panel will be sharing their work with the larger scholarly community and the public.
In the ancient Mediterranean, the divine was an active participant in the economy. In Divine Accounting: Theo-Economics in the Letter to the Philippians, I investigate how early Christ-followers used financial language to articulate and imagine their relationship to the divine.
My research contributes to a growing body of scholarship that takes as axiomatic the claim that understanding the media context of antiquity is an essential task for interpretation. It also opens further avenues for considering how narratives were composed and received in Second Temple Judaism, as well as the relationship between composition and reception.
Liane M. Feldman, “Story and Sacrifice: Ritual, Narrative, and the Priestly Source,” PhD Dissertation, University of Chicago, 2018.
A History of Judaism, while marketed as a ‘popular book,’ needs also to be considered for its ‘innovative conservatism,’ that is, its between-the-lines critique of current academic tendencies, and its active decision to step back towards a historiographical approach to the study of religion that has mostly lost its holding among current scholars.
Are there patterns among these descriptive detours, the rabbit-holes of the rabbinic imagination? Do they point to consistent interests? Retrace stock motifs and techniques? How can we map their interconnections, and how are they linked to normative projects–broadly defined–at the nerve-center of this rabbinic canon?
To call a gentile Christian a “Jew” was likewise to accuse him of being un-Christian, indeed of being anti-Christian. The heretical Christian “Jew” – whatever current Christian doctrinal enemy that might be – was thereby identified with the scriptural enemies of Paul, of Jesus, and of God.
The AJR review forum of Adi Ophir and Ishay Rosen-Zvi’s book, Goy: Israel’s Multiple Others and the Birth of the Gentile. With responses from Cynthia Baker, Yair Furstenberg, Christine Hayes, and Cavan Concannon.
An AJR forum featuring R.R. Neis, Janet Spittler, Beth Berkowitz, and C.M. Chin.
Nine contributors consider many facets of Ben’s scholarship on translation, authorial personae and voice, concepts of text and transmission, wisdom and the sage, and Jewish identity in the Hellenistic world.
Caroline Wazer, Lennart Lehmhaus, Chris De Wet, Julia Watts Belser, and Heid Marx examine aspects of ancient medicine from their own research.
The Ancient Jew Review interviewed Dr. John Ma of Columbia University about inscriptions and the accounts of the Maccabees.
The Ancient Jew Review interviews Dr. Sylvie Honigman.
Brian Davidson interviews Andrew Perrin about his book The Dynamics of Dream-Vision Revelation in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls (V&R, 2015).
The Ancient Jew Review sat down with Jordan Rosenblum editor of Ancient Judaism at Currents in Biblical Research. Learn about the scope of the journal as well as submission advice.
“One plus one plus one cannot equal one. Neither does the Old Testament equal the Tanakh. They are not one.”
“The Bible is, and will likely long continue to be, both building material and building. It’s a treasury of the ancient world, a storehouse in which lie a large percentage of the glittering gems which survived the ancient Levant in any form. And it’s a doorway through which the ancient Levant continues to shape the present, as well as the history of how this heritage has been repeatedly reshaped and by whom.”
Borders change, today and throughout history. Incorporating maps into the classroom encourages the students to view this for themselves and to begin to understand the myriad of ways that politics shapes geographical borders.
“Performing the banquet shifted their analysis from the realm of the academic into the realm of something that is socially functional, assisting with student thinking about the ancient texts as representative of real people and their actions and beliefs.”
Steven Weitzman reflects on the personal aspect of writing about the quest for the origin of the Jews: “I knew this book would have to be a meta-study more than a historical one, an exploration of how we think about origins more than attempt to solve the riddle of origin.”
In my book, Apocalyptic Ecology, I utilize venationes as part of the Roman world against which John of Patmos reacted in writing the New Testament book of Revelation.
Scholars of animal studies unanimously reject anthropological exceptionalism. Much of the conversation in the field has turned on how to reject it and why we ought to do so. In the wake of this literature, I find myself all the more intrigued by the textual ecology of late antique Christianity, since these texts play an outsized role in shaping the shared topography of humanness and animality that we find ourselves inhabiting.
Dr. Catherine Hezser introduces her book Bild und Kontext: Jüdische und christliche Ikonographie der Spätantike: “I examine exemplary biblical, mythological, and symbolic images in the context of Jewish, Christian, and Graeco-Roman literary sources to determine their possible uses and meanings within the multi-cultural realms of late antique society. I argue that the images were carefully chosen to engage in an ongoing visual discourse within the public sphere.”
For my part, I am satisfied that I have said what I can, and want, to say about this Gospel. Aside from my growing discomfort with John’s anti-Jewish language, I have gained much from my longstanding relationship with this Gospel, including a community of scholars whom I value and respect.
Dr. Martha Himmelfarb with a retrospective piece on her work with the Book of the Watchers and ancient apocalypses: "Thus I no longer see the ascent apocalypses as an unbroken tradition emanating from the Book of the Watchers as I did in Ascent to Heaven."
"Most of my contributions to Mandaean studies engage topics in Mandaean texts for these topics’ own sake. That means trying to take the literature on its own terms, in accordance with its own religious logic, and avoiding flights into the hallowed sanctuaries of comparisons."
"To pronounce the future of a field is a weighty task. To conjure the future is beyond me. What I can do is gesture towards a future, a future in which I think I could have fun studying Paul again. The future that I conjure is not a neutral one. I am a partisan in the battles over Pauline studies."
In a two-part series, Dr. Adam McCollum addresses the possibilities for the field of Judeo-Persian language and literature. Part Two includes a helpful bibliography and four text samples.
In a two-part series, Dr. Adam McCollum addresses the possibilities for the field of Judeo-Persian language and literature. Part One addresses the state of the field.
There is good news and bad news for the state of Josephan studies.
The intellectual climate had changed, and I saw that I needed to situate my work as an historian in contemporary animal theorizing in order to be responsive to the interpretive richness of this new cultural moment in scholarship and to develop a vocabulary that might enable a reading “otherwise” of ancient Christian texts that feature animals.
Dr. Michael Swartz and Dr. Michael Satlow share a book that was an "unexpected influence" upon their academic work.
Beth Berkowitz and Ishay Rosen-Zvi share a book that was an "unexpected influence" upon their academic work.
Dr. Elizabeth Clark and Dr. Tal Ilan share a book that was an "unexpected influence" upon their academic work.
David Hendin from the American Nusimatic Society describes the coins minted during the Jewish War.
Dr. John Ma discusses the Maccabean revolt and the question of religious persecution.
Dr. John Ma of Columbia University discusses inscriptions from the Seleucid kingdom that shed light on the Maccabees.
Dr. Sylvie Honigman discusses her book Tales of High Priests and Taxes.