Welcome to the April issue of Ancient News. What a change a month can bring! Shortly after sending last month’s Ancient News, we suspended our warehouse operations for the safety of our employees and in compliance with Governor Wolf’s shut-down order for all non-life-sustaining businesses. Needless to say, that makes getting books to you a bit difficult.
However, some of our books are still available for direct shipment to you from our printer (via print on demand) at a 40% discount using coupon code NR18. You can view the titles here. I’ve featured a few of them below.
We also have some e-books available from various vendors. I’ve featured a few of them below, as well. Don’t see the e-book you need? Talk to your institution’s librarian; we are offering special expanded access via EBSCO (see below).
For Librarians: We are partnering with EBSCO to ensure unlimited access to Eisenbrauns/PSU Press e-books on their platform. EBSCO is upgrading existing holdings to Unlimited-User access until June 30 and discounting Unlimited-User access at One-User pricing for new e-book acquisitions.
For more information and links, go here.
Even though the 230th meeting of the American Oriental Society was canceled, the Society of Biblical Literature went ahead with plans to present Jim Eisenbraun with a surprise Festschrift celebrating more than 44 years of publishing. In keeping with the restrictions on travel, the event took place over video. You can read the announcement here and download the book here.
Even in the midst all the other things happening, there were several good reviews of Eisenbrauns books this month. I’ve included an excerpt of two of them below. Unfortunately, both of them are #stuckinthewarehouse. If you happen across a review of an Eisenbrauns book, please let me know about it via email!
Rounding out this month’s Ancient News is a pair of PSU Press books that you might find interesting.
Please, take care of yourselves, and read a good book—in between scrambling to get that next class online!
Sooner or later, whether in a religion class or a seminary course, students bump up against the fact that God—the biblical God—was one among other, comparable gods. The ancient world was full of gods, including great gods of conquering empires, dynastic gods of petty kingdoms, goddesses of fertility, and personal spirit guardians. And in various ways, these gods look like the biblical God. Like the God of the Bible, they, too, controlled the fates of nations, chose kings, bestowed fecundity and blessing, and cared for their individual. . . (more)
The book of Judges is full of characters of ambivalent moral integrity and acts of dubious propriety, such as Jael’s murder of Sisera and the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter. And yet the terse narrative and the reticent narrator frequently leave the ethical character of these actions in doubt. In order to avoid reading contemporary worldviews and ethics into this ancient text, Mary L. Conway applies a blend of narrative and functional linguistic theories to her analysis of the stories of the six major judges in an effort to more accurately identify the. . . (more)
In this book, James A. Greenberg examines animal sacrifice in Priestly Torah texts found in Leviticus 1–16, Exodus, and Numbers. Through his analysis, Greenberg identifies a new valence of kipper as a process that produces a positive result between two objects and argues that the Israelite sanctuary exists to facilitate a connection between YHWH, sancta, and the Israelites through the medium of. . . (more)
Combining art history, theology, and archeology, this multidisciplinary study demystifies the identity of St. George in his various incarnations, laying bare the processes by which these identifications merged and diverged. Miller traces the origins of this figure in Arabic and Latin texts and explores the possibility that Middle Eastern shrines to St. George lie on top of ancient shrines of the Canaanite storm god Baal. Miller examines these holy places, particularly. . . (more)
View all the titles here
This book initiates the reader into the study of Akkadian literature from ancient Babylonia and Assyria. With this one relatively short volume, the novice reader will develop the literary competence necessary to read and interpret Akkadian texts in translation and will gain a broad familiarity with the major genres and compositions in the language. The first part of the book presents introductory discussions of major critical issues, organized under four key rubrics: tablets, scribes, compositions, and audiences. Here, the reader will find descriptions of the tablets used as. . . (more)
Bird’s study reviews all the texts from classical antiquity cited as sources for an institution of “sacred prostitution,” alongside a comprehensive analysis of the cuneiform texts from Mesopotamia containing the cognate qadištu and Ugaritic texts containing the masculine cognate qdš. Through these texts, Bird presents a portrait of women dedicated to a deity, engaged in a variety of activities from cultic ritual to wet-nursing, and sharing a common generic name with the qedešah of ancient Israel. In the final chapter she returns to biblical texts, reexamining them in light of the. . . (more)
Through close readings of relevant texts from multiple ancient corpora, including the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Greco-Roman texts and inscriptions, early Christian and Islamic texts, and apocalyptic literature, the chapters in this volume engage a range of issues including messianism, deification, eschatological figures, Jesus, interreligious polemics, and the Roman and Jewish backgrounds of early Christianity and the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The essays in this collection demonstrate that. . . (more)
In this book, Matthew McAffee takes a lexical approach to the study of life and death in the Ugaritic textual corpus. He identifies and analyzes the Ugaritic terms most commonly used to talk about life and mortality in order to construct a more representative framework of the ancient perspective on these topics, and he concludes by synthesizing the results of this lexical study into a broader literary discussion that considers, among other things, the implications for our understanding of the first-millennium Katumuwa. . . (more)
“Considerato quanto emerge dalla sintesi fin qui riportata, possiamo certamente ritenere che il lavoro di Imes abbia raggiunto l’obiettivo di ulteriormente ampliare il raggio di interpretazione – già ben nutrito, come abbiamo visto – del CN, e lo abbia fatto in modo accattivante e a tratti persino convincente.. . . In conclusione, l’interpretazione del CN che emerge dallo studio di Imes può certamente essere molto utile a chi persegue una lettura sincronica del CN, nella misura in cui offre non solo una ricca interpretazione teologica relativa all’elezione del popolo e la sua missione di rappresentare YHWH, ma anche importanti conseguenze etiche da tenere in alta considerazione. Per le quali ragioni non resta che congratularsi sinceramente con l’autrice di questa stimolante monografia.”—Francesco Cocco, Pontificia Università Urbanianaz, in Biblica 100 (2019): 614–17
“This is a good lexical review intended for both experts and the general public. It can be used for lexicographic and literary comparison with other ancient Near Eastern texts and biblical literature. It shows that ideas of life and death cannot be depicted as opposites, as black and white, but rather as a long continuum of different shades of gray. Both concepts define each other, so one cannot be taught without the other. McAffee presents his views clearly and provides numerous examples to support his points. . .
[T]he main virtue of this book is its lexical analysis. McAffee provides a deep look into the philological discussion of the semantic field of words that directly or indirectly refer to life or death. The book may also be used as a textbook for students wishing to find a concise work that deals with these issues.”—Jonathan Yogev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Review of Biblical Literature, March 2020
The topics explored include the role of Jews and Jewish ethics in the civil rights movement, race and the construction of American Jewish identity, rituals of commemoration celebrating Jewish and black American resilience . . . Each essay is linked to a classic Jewish source and accompanied by guiding questions that help the reader identify salient themes connecting ancient and contemporary concerns. . . (more)
Central to rhetorical theory, the enthymeme is most often defined as a truncated syllogism. Suppressing a premise that the audience already knows, this rhetorical device relies on the audience to fill in the missing information, thereby making the argument more persuasive. James Fredal argues that this view of the enthymeme is wrong. Presenting a new exegesis of Aristotle and classic texts of Attic oratory. . . (more)
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