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Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library (29 vols.)

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The 29-volume Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library is designed to be a third major component of the Anchor Yale Bible group, which also includes the Anchor Yale Bible and the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. While the dictionary and the commentaries are structurally defined by their subject matter, the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library serves as a supplement on the cutting edge of the most recent scholarship. The scope and reach are nothing less than the biblical world in its totality, and its methods and techniques the most up-to-date available or devisable. Separate volumes deal with topics relating to the Bible from a variety of sub-disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, ecology, economy, geography, history, languages and literatures, philosophy, religion, and theology.

As with the Anchor Yale Bible and the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, the philosophy underlying the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library finds expression in the following: the approach is scholarly, the perspective is balanced and fair-minded, the methods are scientific, and the goal is to inform and enlighten. Contributors are chosen on the basis of their scholarly skills and achievements, and they come from a variety of religious backgrounds and communities. The books in the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library are intended for the broadest possible readership, ranging from world-class scholars, whose qualifications match those of the authors, to general readers who may not have special training in studying the specific disciplines but are as enthusiastic as any dedicated professional in expanding their knowledge of the Bible and its world.

This series is committed to producing volumes in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the Anchor Yale Bible, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated non-specialist. It is committed to the work of sound philological and historical scholarship, supplemented by insight from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism. Contributors include Joseph Blenkinsopp, Raymond E. Brown, James H. Charlesworth, John P. Meier, Susan Ackerman, Luke Timothy Johnson, and more.

With the Logos Bible Software edition, you can reap the maximum benefit from the 29-volume Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library by getting easier access to the contents of the series—helping you use these volumes more effectively for scholarly pursuits, sermon preparation, or personal study. Every word from every book is indexed and catalogued to help you search the entire series for a particular verse or topic. For example, you can search the volumes written by Raymond Brown for a particular verse in the Gospel of John, or search for every instance of the word “water.”

What’s more, with Logos Bible Software, every word is essentially a link. Scripture references are linked directly to the original language texts and English Bible translations in your library. For every word—in English, Greek, Hebrew, or any language—you can double-click on that word, and your digital library will automatically search your lexicons for a match. That gives you instant access to a wealth of technical linguistic and etymological data, along with tools for accurate exegesis and interpretation.

Want more from this series? Check out the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library Upgrade (4 vols.).

  • Detailed bibliographies
  • Authoritative and groundbreaking works of scholarship
  • Designed for use by world-class scholars, pastors, and educated non-specialists
  • Committed to the work of sound scholarship, supplemented by insight from modern methods
  • Title: Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Volumes: 29
  • Pages: 18,246
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The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible

  • Author: Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 288

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The Pentateuch (its Greek name, but also known as the Torah by the Hebrews) consists of the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. From Adam and Eve in the Garden, to Noah's Ark, to Moses' parting of the Red Sea, to its conclusion with the death of Moses, the Pentateuch contains some of the most important and memorable stories in Western civilization. In this richly detailed work, which has become a standard in the field, renowned biblical scholar Joseph Blenkinsopp unravels (as Harold Bloom did in The Book of J) the radical scholarly opinions on just where these ancient and powerful stories come from, how they were formed, and what significance they have today. In the classroom, when professors cover these books of Moses, they turn to Dr. Blenkinsopp's classic for reliable, accessible discussions of all the important details.

All mature students of the Bible—scholarly and lay, Jewish, Christian, and secular alike—can profit richly from his learned and elegant discussion.

—Jon D. Levenson, Harvard University School of Divinity

Joseph Blenkinsopp is the John A. O'Brien Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Educated at the University of London and Oxford, Blenkinsopp is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association. He has received the National Religious Book Award for his highly acclaimed Prophecy and Canon. He is the author of the 3-volume commentary on Isaiah in the Anchor Yale Bible.

The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke

  • Author: Raymond E. Brown
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 752

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In some ways the narratives of Jesus’ birth and infancy are the last frontiers to be crossed in the critical approach to the Gospels. For some, the stories of Jesus’ birth are given dubious historical value. For others, the popular character of these narratives—the exotic magi, birth star, angelic messengers, and so on—renders them as legends unworthy to be a vehicle of the pure Gospel message. Still others deem them simple Christian folklore devoid of any real theology—only written for romantics or the naïve. Yet each Christmas, Christian clergy and the people to whom they minister must continue to face them.

According to Raymond Brown, introductory materials on the New Testament in general and the Gospels in particular gives the infancy narratives short shrift, disproportionate to their role in Christian theology, art, and poetic imagination. Perhaps the most visible sign of this neglect is the absence of a major modern commentary which treats the two infancy narratives together.

It was from this felt need that efforts for a new commentary were undertaken. In The Birth of the Messiah, Raymond Brown is interested in the role the infancy narratives played in the early Christian understanding of Jesus. By treating the two narratives together in the same volume, Brown points out their common tendencies and emphases. By giving them two distinct treatments, however, he also shows how each fits within the theological framework of its respective Gospel, and thus offers us reasons for the differences between the infancy narratives.

In The Birth of the Messiah, Brown contends that the infancy narratives are, indeed, worthy vehicles of the Gospel messages. In fact, they contain the Gospel message in miniature. On a deeper level, this commentary reflects the instinct recognizing the infancy narratives as the essence of the Good News—namely, that God has made himself present to us in the life of the Messiah who walked the earth.

Brown manages to rescue the Christmas story from both the contempt of experts and the sentimentality of naive laymen . . . Ordinary Christians can thank this priestly scholar for helping them to put the adult Christ back into Christmas.


A masterly work. Every conclusion is argued with the utmost thoroughness.

Catholic Bible Quarterly

Raymond E. Brown taught for many years at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and was Professor of Biblical Studies at the Union Theological Seminary for two decades. He was the author of three books in the Anchor Yale Bible series on the Gospels and Epistles of John. He died in 1998.

The Death of the Messiah, from Gethsemane to the Grave, vol. 1

  • Author: Raymond E. Brown
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 912

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The Passion Narrative proceeds from arrest through trial to condemnation, execution, and burial. In each Gospel, it records the longest consecutive action of Jesus. It has captured the attention and imagination of dramatists and artists, and it has inspired the poetry and music of the church for two thousand years. Alongside “born of the Virgin Mary,” the other phrase that made its way into the creed, “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” has become a marker anchoring Christian belief about the Son of God to a Jesus who was a human figure of actual history.

Historically, Jesus’ death was the most public event of his life. Theologically, Christians have interpreted the death of Jesus on the cross as a key element of God’s plan for the justification, redemption, and salvation of all. Spiritually, the Jesus of the Passion has been the focus of Christian meditation for countless would-be disciples who take seriously the command of the Master to take up the cross and follow him. Pastorally, the Passion is the centerpiece of Lent and Holy Week, and the most sacred time in the liturgical calendar. From every point of view, the Passion is the central narrative in the Christian story.

The massive amount of material written on the Passion Narrative creates a need for a work that brings together the scattered views, proposals, and interpretations. In this 2-volume work, Raymond Brown sifts through the material to offer a full-scale commentary on the Passion Narratives of the Gospels.

The Death of the Messiah serves a variety of audiences: scholars, pastors, students of the religion and theology of the Bible, interested Christians, and those of any persuasion who seek knowledge about the Passion and death of Jesus. Brown treats subjects in a readable way, even when it requires greater length or exposition.

Volume 1 covers the scenes of Jesus in Gethsemane, Jesus before the Jewish authorities, and Jesus before Pilate. This volume contains translation, commentary, and analysis of each passage.

Once again Raymond Brown has written a magnum opus. A stunning array of fresh insights into how the Passion stories came into being and what—scene by scene—the four Evangelists really say about the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.


The Death of the Messiah is first of all a scholarly work, but it is also enjoyably readable and accessible to the interested layman.


Breathtaking! Raymond E. Brown's The Death of the Messiah crowns two millennia of Christian scholarship pondering the 'scandal of the crucifixion.' Brown has once again demonstrated his position as Father, Rabbi, and Teacher to us all.

—Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

The benchmark by which any future study of the Passion Narratives will be measured.

—John P. Meier, University of Notre Dame

The Death of the Messiah, from Gethsemane to the Grave, vol. 2

  • Author: Raymond E. Brown
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 752

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Volume 2 continues Raymond Brown’s project of commentary and analysis of the Passion Narrative, covering the scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. This volume also contains nine appendices on non-canonical Passion narratives, historicity, views of Judas Iscariot, Old Testament background, and Jesus’ predictions of his death. Volume 2 concludes with a detailed bibliography and a 25-page subject index.

An Introduction to the Gospel of John

  • Author: Raymond E. Brown
  • Editor: Francis J. Maloney
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 384

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When Raymond E. Brown died in 1998, less than a year after the publication of his masterpiece, An Introduction to the New Testament, he left behind a nearly completed revision of his acclaimed two-volume commentary on the Gospel of John in the Anchor Yale Bible. The manuscript, skillfully edited by Francis J. Moloney, displays the rare combination of meticulous scholarship and clear, engaging writing that made Father Brown’s books consistently outsell other works of biblical scholarship.

An Introduction to the Gospel of John represents the culmination of Brown’s long and intense examination of part of the New Testament. One of the most important aspects of this new book, particularly to the scholarly community, is how it differs from the original commentary in several important ways. It presents, for example, a new perspective on the historical development of the Gospels, and shows how Brown decided to open his work to literary readings of the text, rather than relying primarily on the historical, which informed the original volumes. In addition, there is an entire section devoted to Christology, absent in the original, as well as a magisterial new section on the representation of Jews in the Gospel of John.

A bittersweet read! Intended as the introduction to a major revision of the landmark Anchor Yale Bible commentary on John, but sadly cut off by his death in 1998, this work stands alone as a magnificent survey of major issues in the study of the Fourth Gospel. With his accustomed thoroughness and respect for the work of others, even in disagreement, Brown updates and often moves beyond positions first articulated over three decades ago. Scholars will be long in debt to Francis Moloney for his own insightful introduction and conclusion as well as for signposts along the way which point to shifts in Brown's work along with developments subsequent to his death, and current bibliography. This eminently readable work will extend the influence of Brown well into the present century.

—John Donahue, Raymond E. Brown Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies, St. Mary’s Seminary and University

Francis J. Maloney is Katherine Drexel Chair for Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Among his many distinguished books are The Gospel of John, A Hard Saying: The Gospel and Culture, and The Gospel of Mark.

An Introduction to the New Testament

  • Author: Raymond E. Brown
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 928

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From the experience of a lifetime of scholarship, preaching, teaching, and writing, Raymond E. Brown covers the entire scope of the New Testament with ease and clarity. He walks readers book-by-book through the basic content and issues of the New Testament. While a wealth of information is contained in these pages, the work’s most impressive features are the basic summaries of each book, a historical overview of the ancient Greco-Roman world, discussions of key theological issues, and the rich supplementary materials, such as illustrative tables, maps, bibliographies, and appendixes. Using this basic data, Brown answers questions raised by today’s readers, relates the New Testament to our modern world, and responds to controversial issues, such as those raised by the Jesus Seminar.

Every generation needs a comprehensive, reliable Introduction to the New Testament that opens the biblical text to the novice. Raymond E. Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament is the most trustworthy and authoritative guidebook for a generation seeking to understand the Christian Bible.

Universally acknowledged as the dean of New Testament scholarship, Father Brown is a master of his discipline at the pinnacle of his career. Who else could cover the entire scope of the New Testament with such ease and clarity? This gifted communicator conveys the heartfelt concern of a beloved teacher for his students, as he walks the reader through the basic content and issues of the New Testament. Those opening to the New Testament for the first time and those seeking deeper insights could not ask for more in a primer to the Christian Bible.

This is the best Introduction to the New Testament available. I know no better synthesis of New Testament scholarship today.

—Daniel J. Harrington, Professor of New Testament, Weston Jesuit School of Theology

At last, a topnotch introductory book for study of the New Testament! It is highly recommended for all Bible study groups, college students, seminarians, and pastors.

—Joseph A. Fitzmyer, author of commentaries on Luke, Acts, Romans, First Corinthians, and Philemon in the Anchor Yale Bible.

Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls

  • Author: James H. Charlesworth
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1992
  • Pages: 410

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In Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, leading experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls explain why they are among the most important archaeological finds in history, and explore how they have revolutionized our understanding of Jesus. The contents of this volume include:

  • The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Historical Jesus, James H. Charlesworth
  • Jesus and the Temple Scroll, Otto Betz
  • Membership in the Covenant People at Qumran and in the Teaching of Jesus, Howard C. Kee
  • Recovering Jesus' Formative Background, Paolo Sacchi
  • Jesus as "Son" and the Righteous Teacher as "Gardener," James H. Charlesworth
  • The Parable of the Unjust Steward: Jesus' Criticism of the Essenes
  • David Flusser
  • Jesus, the Primitive Community, and the Essene Quarter of Jerusalem, Rainer Riesner
  • Opposition to the Temple: Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Craig A. Evans
  • Jesus, Table-Fellowship, and Qumran, James D.G. Dunn
  • Crucifixion: Archaeology, Jesus, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Joe Zias and James H. Charlesworth
  • Two Ascended to Heaven, Morton Smith
  • The Risen Christ and the Angelic Mediator Figures in the Light of Qumran, Alan F. Segal
In opposition to the popularistic simplifications of the many would-be scholarly books now on the market, this volume is a brilliant example of the best of international scholarship on Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

—H. Lichtenberger, Director, Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum

Charlesworth's demonstration of a basic consensus is sound and salutary exactly because he presents a highly diverse group of major scholars who have reflected on how the Dead Sea Scrolls affect the understanding of Jesus and early Christianity.

—Krister Stendahl, Brandeis University

The teachings of the Dead Sea sect (identified by most scholars with the Essenes) hardly left a trace in Judaism but bequeathed a significant legacy to Christianity. No history of Western civilization can ignore the relationship of Christianity to Essenism. This book is an important contribution to the elucidation of this relationship.

—Magen Broshi, Curator of the Shrine of the Book, the Israel Museum

This volume reassures those disturbed by reports in the press, reassures them that scrolls research is virile, free, and immensely enriching for the understanding of first-century Judaism and Christian origins.

—W.D. Davies, Duke University

James H. Charlesworth is George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, and a world-renowned translator, particularly of pseudepigraphical material. His 2-volume The Old Testament Pseudepigraph is available as part of this collection.

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1

  • Author: James H. Charlesworth
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1983
  • Pages: 1,056

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Western culture has been shaped largely by the Bible. In attempting to understand the Scriptures, scholars of the last three hundred years have intensively studied both these sacred texts and other related ancient writings. A cursory examination reveals that their authors depended on other sources, some of which are lost and some of which have recently come to light. Part of these extant sources are the pseudepigrapha. Though the meaning of the word can be disputed by scholars, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha is a collection of those writings which are, for the most part, Jewish or Christian and are often attributed to ideal figures in Israel's past.

Volume 1 of this work contains two sections. The first is Apocalyptic Literature and Related Works An apocalypse, from the Greek meaning revelation or disclosure, is a certain type of literature which was a special feature of religions in late antiquity. In the past, the definition was derived from the study of only some of the extant apocalypses, especially the Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation. This has changed, and the present edition of the pseudepigrapha includes nineteen documents that are apocalypses or related literature. It will now be easier to perceive the richness of apocalyptic literature and the extent of early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic ideas and apocalyptic religion.

These new translations present these important documents, many for the first time in modern English, for all "People of the Book" to study, contemplate, and understand.

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2

  • Author: James H. Charlesworth
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1985
  • Pages: 1,056

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The publication of Volume 2 of Charlesworth's Pseudepigrapha completes his landmark work. Together with Volume 1, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, these new translations present important documents, many for the first time in English.

The second volume contains expansions of the "Old Testament" and legends, wisdom and philosophical literature, prayers, psalms and odes, and fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works. The section on the Old Testament contains clarifications, enrichments, expansions, and retellings of biblical narratives. The primary focus is upon God's story in history, the ongoing drama in which the author claims to participate. Charlesworth's discussion of Wisdom literature contains various collections of wise sayings and philosophical maxims of the Israelites. In his discussion of Psalms, prayers, and odes, Charlesworth presents collection of hymns, expressions of praise, songs of joy and sorrow, and prayers of petition that were important in the period 100 B.C. to A.D. 200. The section of fragments of lost Judeo-Hellenistic works reflect ideas associated with the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, often filtered through the cultures of Syria and Egypt. These fragments are examples of how this mix of cultures influenced Jewish writings.

Together, both volumes of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha present literature that shows the ongoing development of Judaism and the roots from which the Christian religion took its beliefs. Using the very latest techniques in biblical scholarship, this international team of recognized scholars has put together a monumental work that will enhance the study of Western religious heritage for years to come.

The Good and Evil Serpent: How a Universal Symbol Became Christianized

  • Author: James H. Charlesworth
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 736

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In a perplexing passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus is likened to the most reviled creature in Christian symbology: the snake. Attempting to understand how the Fourth Evangelist could have made such a surprising analogy, James H. Charlesworth has spent nearly a decade combing through the vast array of references to serpents in the ancient world—from the Bible and other religious texts to ancient statuary and jewelry. Charlesworth has arrived at a surprising conclusion: not only was the serpent a widespread symbol throughout the world, but its meanings were both subtle and varied. In fact, the serpent of ancient times was more often associated with positive attributes like healing and eternal life than it was with negative meanings.

This groundbreaking book explores in plentiful detail the symbol of the serpent from 40,000 BCE to the present, and from diverse regions in the world. In doing so it emphasizes the creativity of the biblical authors’ use of symbols and argues that we must today reexamine our own archetypal conceptions with comparable creativity.

In this masterpiece, the snake emerges from the Garden of Eden in Genesis and carries on an unending hostility to humankind in the closing chapters of the book of Revelation. This book is packed with data about this mysterious creature and backed by compelling evidence and argumentation. I recommend it unreservedly to any and all with an interest in this fascinating subject.

—David Noel Freedman, general editor, Anchor Yale Bible

Charlesworth has done us all an immense service in pulling together evidence from around the world and through the ages of the crucial role snakes have played in the human story.

—James A. Sanders, Claremont School of Theology

Making use of his vast knowledge in archaeology and ancient literature, Professor Charlesworth has written an outstanding research on serpent symbolism, which is certain to become the standard book of reference to this topic in years to come.

—Adolfo Roitman, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Education in Ancient Israel: Across the Deadening Silence

  • Author: James L. Crenshaw
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 320

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In this groundbreaking new book, distinguished biblical scholar James L. Crenshaw investigates both the pragmatic hows and the philosophical whys of education in ancient Israel and its surroundings. Asking questions as basic as "Who were the teachers and students and from what segment of Israelite society did they come?" and "How did instructors interest young people in the things they had to say?" Crenshaw explores the institutions and practices of education in ancient Israel. The results are often surprising and more complicated than one would expect.

Education, for the people who lived in the biblical world, was more than a simple matter of memorizing information and taking tests. It was a search for the hidden plan and presence of God. Knowledge was gained, according to biblical texts such as Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, not only by means of patient observation and listening, but through communication with Wisdom, the feminine incarnation of the Divine. Drawing upon a broad range of ancient sources, Crenshaw examines this religious dimension of education in ancient Israel, demonstrating how the practice of teaching and learning was transformed into the supreme act of worship.

James Crenshaw has established himself as our primary authority on the wisdom traditions of the Hebrew Bible. It is clear, given his great learning, that he has spent his entire life getting ready to write this volume. There is no doubt that this book will be a benchmark and point of reference for all subsequent study. Crenshaw sees that education in ancient Israel was determinedly moral education. Among other things, the book teems with hints and implications concerning the issue of moral education in our own time. In our crisis we are relearning about character formation; Crenshaw has much to teach us.

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

James L. Crenshaw is the Robert L. Flowers Professor of Old Testament at Duke University and has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards for his scholarship. Among his many crucial contributions to the field of Old Testament studies are Old Testament Wisdom, commentaries on Ecclesiastes and Sirach, and a commentary on Joel.

The Gnostic Scriptures: A New Translation with Annotations and Introductions

  • Author: Bently Layton
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 576

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The works in this collection are heretical—a heretical counterpart of the holy Scriptures of Christianity and Judaism (which Gnostics also read). But despite their highly unorthodox character, these works shed great light on the theology, atmosphere, and literary traditions of ancient Christianity and Hellenistic Judaism. The Gnostic movement did not simply share in the culture to which early Christianity belonged. Gnostics in fact made up one of the earliest and most long-lived branches of the ancient Christian religion; it was only after centuries of struggle that they could be eradicated by the established church.

Orthodox Christian doctrine of the ancient world—and thus of the modern church—was partly conceived of as being what Gnostic scripture was not. For this reason, a knowledge of Gnostic scripture is indispensable for anyone who hopes to understand the historical roots of Christian theology and belief. Moreover, the Gnostic myth grew up in an intimate dialogue—though often a hostile one—with Jewish learning of the Greek-speaking synagogue. Thus the Gnostic scriptures cannot fail to increase, however obliquely, our knowledge of the foundations of classical Judaism.

Bently Layton's The Gnostic Scriptures is the one indispensable book for the understanding of Gnosis and Gnosticism. No other translations are within light-years of Layton's in eloquence, pathos, and accuracy, while no other commentaries match his as an introduction to this perpetually relevant religious stance. Layton is particularly brilliant in his appreciation of Valentinus, the central Gnostic visionary, whose Gospel of Truth is marvelously served in this translation.

—Harold Bloom, author of The Book of J and The Western Canon

Bently Layton is Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Near Eastern Languages at Yale University.

Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, vol. 1: 10,000–586 B.C.E.

  • Author: Amihai Mazar
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1992
  • Pages: 608

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Step-by-step, era-by-era, author Amihai Mazar shows just what each major archaeological discovery has to say about the mysterious stories of the Bible. It's all here, from the mundane clay jars of the ancient households of Palestine to the beautiful sculpture and jewelry that passed through these lands on the primitive trade routes. From the first settlements in the land of the Bible to the tumultuous period of the divided monarchy of Israel and Judah and the destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, Mazar's overview of the biblical life and the archaeological evidence to support it is without parallel.

Archaeology of the Land of the Bible has quickly established itself as the standard text in biblical archaeology.

This is a scientific and methodical presentation of a vast bulk of material which relates to more than nine thousand years of history.

—Irish Theological Quarterly

The work’s main strength is its balanced approach to every topic covered. Wherever possible the author cites all theories bearing upon a particular body of data, and states his preference. Within each period the author treats the historical background, questions of chronology and terminology, settlement pattern, town planning and architecture . . . pottery, writing . . . and foreign relations. . . . The author has succeeded well in providing an introductory text to the archaeology of the earliest periods in Israel. Its up-to-date treatment of dozens of important issues insures that it will be the standard introductory text for years to come.

—Jeffrey R. Zorn, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Amihai Mazar is a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He has studied under the giants in the field of archaeology, including Trude Dothan and Yigael Yadin.

Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, vol. 2: The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Periods (732–332 B.C.E.)

  • Author: Ephraim Stern
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 720

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Every year thousands of enthusiasts, both amateur and professional, spend the summer months digging in the sands of Israel hoping to find items that relate in some way to the places or events depicted in the Bible. Thousands more view artifacts in museums and long to know the full stories behind them. Volume 2 of Archaeology of the Land of the Bible is the essential book for all of them.

In Ephraim Stern's sequel to the first volume by Amihai Mazar, this world-renowned archaeologist who has directed excavations in the Holy Land for many years offers a dramatic look at how archaeological research contributes to our understanding of the connections between history and the stories recounted in the Bible. Stern writes about various artifacts unearthed in recent years and relates them to the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian periods in the Bible. This volume also contains photographs and illustrations of rare ancient relics ranging from household pottery to beautifully crafted jewelry and sculpture.

Ephraim Stern is one of the leading archaeologists in Israel, and is professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Over the past forty-five years he has been working in some of the most important excavations in Israel, such as Hazor, Masada, En Gedi, and Beer-Sheba, and served as director of many others, including the major twenty seasons dig at Tel Dor.

A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 1: The Roots of the Problem and the Person

  • Author: John P. Meier
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1991
  • Pages: 496

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This book grapples with the greatest puzzle of modern religious scholarship: Who was Jesus? To answer the question, author John P. Meier imagines the following scenario: "Suppose that a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, and an agnostic—all honest historians cognizant of first-century religious movements—were locked up in the bowels of the Harvard Divinity School library, and not allowed to emerge until they had hammered out a consensus on who Jesus of Nazareth was and what he intended. . ." A Marginal Jew is what Meier thinks that document would reveal.

Marginal Jew represents the first time an American Catholic biblical scholar has attempted a full-scale, rigorously scientific treatment of the "historical Jesus." By the "historical Jesus," Meier means the Jesus whom we can recover and reconstruct by using the tools of modern historical research. Granted the fragmentary state of the sources and the indirect nature of the arguments, the resulting portrait is incomplete and at times speculative. Still, Meier argues, something precious is gained. The "consensus statement" that emerges is open to probing and debate by all interested parties—Catholics, Protestants, Jews, believers, and agnostics alike. It can serve as common ground for ecumenical dialogue and further research. Among the difficult questions Meier confronts: Was Jesus virginally conceived? Did he have brothers and sisters? Was he married or single? Was he illiterate? Did he know Hebrew and Greek as well as Aramaic?

Meier's sober, well-reasoned account of the life of Jesus is nothing less than startling, as though almost 2,000 years late we were seeing Jesus for the first time as his contemporaries would have seen him—"a marginal Jew"—with all the implications and questions raised by this deliberately provocative title. Indeed, the author has here sketched out for us the portrait of Jesus for our times.

Future scholars are certain to judge John Meier's book as one of the foremost studies ever written on the historical Jesus. . . . A brilliant accomplishment!

—Jack Dean Kingsbury, editor, Interpretation, Union Theological Seminary, Virginia

This book is about the Jesus of history, a 'marginal Jew,' but it is no marginal book. . . . Meier asks all the right questions, discusses all the pertinent aspects of them, and invariably comes out with the right answers. It will be a boon to the educated general reader who seeks to know what we can find out about the founder of Christianity.

—Joseph A. Fitzmyer, author of commentaries on Luke, Acts, Romans, First Corinthians, and Philemon in the Anchor Yale Bible

By his painstaking research, his balanced presentation, and his sane conclusions, Meier has set a new standard against which all future studies of this kind will have to be measured.

—Paul J. Achtemeier, author of the commentary on 1 Peter in Hermeneia

John P. Meier is a Catholic priest and professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame. He has been both president of the Catholic Biblical Association and the general editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.

A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 2: Mentor, Message, and Miracles

  • Author: John P. Meier
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages: 1,134

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Here is the celebrated second volume in John P. Meier's series on the life of Jesus, in which he continues his quest for the answer to the greatest puzzle of modern scholarship: Who was Jesus? Volume 1 concluded with Jesus approaching adulthood. In this second volume, the author grapples with the words and deeds of Jesus during his public ministry. A vivid portrait of Jesus emerges through Meier's careful examination of Jesus' mentor, his message, and his miracles.

Volume 2 definitely resolves the long-standing debate about the relationship between Jesus and his mentor, John the Baptist. Meier concludes that John was the person who had the greatest single influence on Jesus; "in a sense, Jesus never was without John." John's prophetic ministry, message of repentance, warning of a coming judgment, and ritual of baptism flowed into the ministry of Jesus. The Baptist's fiery announcement of the end of time strongly shaped Jesus' conviction that God was coming to save his people. Meier's insightful analysis of the Gospels reveals that Jesus' proclamation of the "kingdom of God" moved beyond the threat of judgment to the promise that God's saving, healing kingdom was at hand. Consciously imitating the prophet Elijah, Jesus showed the crowds the present reality of God's kingly power by performing many might deeds—miracles.

The author confounds modern skeptics by arguing convincingly that measured by historical criteria, the miracle tradition was not invented by the early church. Instead, the stories about Jesus performing miracles go back to the historical Jesus himself. "If the miracle tradition from Jesus' public ministry were to be rejected in toto as unhistorical, so should every other Gospel tradition about him." Contradicting scholars like the controversial J. D. Crossan, the book demonstrates that Jesus was a miracle worker, not a "magician," because he did not try to coerce God by secret spells. Meier shows that Jesus' miracles aimed "at bringing people to faith, repentance, and discipleship." As we proceed step-by-step through Jesus' practices of exorcism, healing, and other miracles, we grasp the relationship between his message and his miracles. "Thus, in both word and deed," Meier claims, "Jesus made God's future kingdom a present reality."

In this volume, Jesus of Nazareth comes to life as he seldom has on the printed page—as charismatic prophet, herald of God's kingdom, miracle worker.

A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 3: Companions and Competitors

  • Author: John P. Meier
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 720

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Companions and Competitors is the third volume of John Meier's monumental series, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. A detailed and critical treatment of all the main questions surrounding the historical Jesus, A Marginal Jew serves as a healthy antidote to the many superficial and trendy treatments of Jesus that have flooded the market.

Volume 1 laid out the method to be used in pursuing a critical quest for the historical Jesus and sketched his cultural, political, and familial background. Volume 2 focused on John the Baptist; Jesus' message of the kingdom of God; and his startling deeds, believed by himself and his followers to be miracles. Volume 3 widens the spotlight from Jesus himself to the various groups around him, including his followers (the crowds, disciples, the circle of the Twelve) and his competitors (the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and Qumranites, the Samaritans, the scribes, the Herodians, and the Zealots).

In the process, important insights into how Jesus contoured his ministry emerge. Contrary to the popular idea that he was some egalitarian Cynic philosopher with no concern for structures, Jesus clearly provided his movement with shape and structure. His followers roughly comprised three concentric circles. In the outer circle were the curious crowds who came and went. In the middle circle were disciples whom Jesus himself chose to share his journeys. The innermost circle was made up of the Twelve, i.e. twelve disciples whom Jesus selected to symbolize and begin the great regathering of the twelve tribes of Israel in the end time. Jesus made sure that the disciples in his movement were marked off by distinctive behavior and prayer. His movement was anything but an amorphous egalitarian mob. One reason why Jesus was so intent on creating structures and identity badges was that he was consciously competing against rival religious and political movements, all vying for influence. Jesus presented one vision of what it meant to be Israel. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, etc., all offered sharply contrasting visions for Israel to preserve its identity and fulfill its destiny.

Perhaps the greatest mistake of some recent portraits of the historical Jesus, notably that of the Jesus Seminar, has been to downplay the Jewish nature of Jesus in favor of a vaguer and sometimes dubious setting in Greco-Roman culture. In the face of such distortions this volume hammers home the oft-mentioned but rarely fathomed slogan "Jesus the Jew."

A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 4: Law and Love

  • Author: John P. Meier
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 752

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John Meier’s previous volumes in the acclaimed series, A Marginal Jew are founded upon the notion that while solid historical information about Jesus is quite limited, people of different faiths can nevertheless arrive at a consensus on fundamental historical facts of his life. In this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the series, Meier approaches a fresh topic—the teachings of the historical Jesus concerning Mosaic Law and morality—with the same rigor, thoroughness, accuracy, and insightfulness on display in his earlier works.

After correcting misconceptions about Mosaic Law in Jesus’ time, this volume addresses the teachings of Jesus on major legal topics like divorce, oaths, the Sabbath, purity rules, and the various love commandments in the Gospels. What emerges from Meier’s research is a profile of a complicated first-century Palestinian Jew who, far from seeking to abolish the Law, was deeply engaged in debates about its observance. Only by embracing this portrait of the historical Jesus grappling with questions of the Torah do we avoid the common mistake of constructing Christian moral theology under the guise of studying “Jesus and the Law,” the author concludes.

The Empty Men: The Heroic Tradition of Ancient Israel

  • Author: Gregory Mobley
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 320

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In a groundbreaking work of literary archaeology, a bold young scholar adds a new page to the quintessential book of adventure stories, that of the heroic traditions of the Old Testament.

Gregory Mobley brings a highly original eye to the familiar stories found in Judges, which depict Israel’s frontier era, and in First and Second Samuel, which portray the ragged and violent emergence of kingship in Judah and Israel. From Ehud’s mission into an inaccessible Moabite palace to the triumph of Gideon and his elite squadron against a Midianite swarm, from the gangland epic of the warlord Abimelech’s rise and fall to the narrative of Samson, Israel’s great outlaw-hero, Mobley rescues these stories from their theologically minded biblical editors and traditional interpreters. Mobley draws upon Semitic and European heroic traditions about warriors and wild men, and upon Celtic, Anglo-American, and African-American balladry about borderers and outlaws, to dig out the heroic themes submerged in biblical adventure stories.

The Empty Men describes the process by which adventure stories—replete with foolish love, warfare, assassinations, ritual slaughter, and grim masculine codes—were transformed into sermons and history lessons. Mobley also offers reflections on the Iron Age theology of these narratives, with their emphasis on poetic justice, and on the mythic dimensions of landscape in these stories. Mobley is sure to attract much attention in the scholarly community for his raw portrayals of biblical heroes, for his unblinking attention to the martial codes and the warrior subculture of ancient Israel, and for his bittersweet reflections on the theological and ethical significance of this corpus of adventure stories that are under the surface—but close to the bedrock—of the many mansions that Judaism and Christianity have built in subsequent centuries on these foundational texts.

Gregory Mobley has written a lively book full of adventure and challenge. It offers the skill and artistry of a seasoned storyteller, the tenacity of a mature scholar, and the honesty and play of an astute interpreter. My counsel to the reader is to enjoy the author's many gifts while pondering the violence of an ancient world that is eerily contemporary.

—Phyllis Trible, Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature, Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary

Biblical texts that go down and dirty in narrative imagination are often squeezed out among us between high theology and humorless historical criticism. Greg Mobley knows how to do theology and is erudite about critical matters. In this book, however, he stays focused on the odd social misfits featured in the Book of Judges in its tales of daring and adventure. These narratives, as carriers of faith, offer a faith that is earthy, concrete, and from some perspectives, scandalous. Mobley has done his homework well, to our great advantage.

—Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

In The Empty Men, Greg Mobley offers us close and nuanced readings of some of the most neglected—and sometimes some of the most maligned—stories of the Hebrew Bible, the stories of the great heroes of the days of the Judges, especially Ehud, Gideon, and Samson. Through his careful attention to each story's use of language, wordplay, and syntax and through his acute sensitivity to each story's narrative structure, Mobley reveals not only important details about these tales' spatial, ritual, and mythic underpinnings but also an overwhelmingly compelling picture of their profound literary artistry. A must-read for both students of Judges and of the heroic traditions of the ancient world, as well as for those who just appreciate a good adventure story!

—Susan Ackerman, Professor of Religion and Women's and Gender Studies, Dartmouth College

Gregory Mobley is associate professor of Old Testament studies at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts.

Introduction to Rabbinic Literature

  • Author: Jacob Neusner
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 752

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The rabbis are as important today as they were two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the literature that came to be named after them. The Mishnah, the Tosefta, the Talmud, the collections of Midrash, and other writings ascribed to the ancient rabbis—the oral Torah—were gradually produced between the first and the seventh centuries of the Common Era. What began as the rabbis' comments and decisions on practical matters were eventually written down and preserved. Over time the literature constantly grew and changed, eventually evolving into a widely diverse collection of material. Regardless of what form it took, rabbinic literature guided and shaped Jewish life.

Opening the vast pages of rabbinic literature is like entering a conversation already in progress. To understand and appreciate what is going on, one needs to know some basic things about the content, purpose, and context of the speakers.

In Introduction to Rabbinic Literature, legendary author and teacher Jacob Neusner distills a lifetime of scholarship into the essence of what has been received from the rabbis. This book gives readers everything they need to know to understand rabbinic literature. It explores the formative age and the forces that gave rise to rabbinic literature, and tells in a simple, straightforward way what these documents are, where to find them, how to read them, and why their content matters. Best of all, Neusner masterfully covers all this in one relatively compact volume that both novice and expert can appreciate.

Jacob Neusner is one of the world's preeminent authorities on Judaism in the first centuries C.E., and holds the position of Distinguished Research Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he resides. He was ordained a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and has published more than five hundred books on Judaism.

Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: The History of Judaism, the Background of Christianity, the Lost Library of Qumran

  • Author: Lawrence H. Schiffman
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 560

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Ever since their discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have fascinated people from all walks of life. Because these scrolls include the earliest known manuscripts of the Bible, as well as non-biblical literature, they contain a gold mine of information about the history of Judaism and the background of Christianity. Many studies of the scrolls have appeared in recent years rehearsing tired theories about their origins and significance. Some books sensationalize the controversy between scholars concerning control and publication of the scrolls. At last, in Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, we get an invigorating new perspective as we return to the study of the scrolls themselves.

A pioneering work of scholarship by a man who has made the scrolls his life's work. . . . There is little doubt that the book will reverberate for a long time to come.

—Chaim Potok

The most thorough an authoritative of the flood of new books occasioned by the full release of the Dead Sea Scrolls. . . . Schiffman . . . clearly presents what scholars know and, equally important, what they don't know about the documents many would agree constitute the greatest archaeological find of the century.

Kirkus Reviews

Amidst the proliferation of books on Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, this volume emerges as one of the most complete and well-rounded. This is the introduction you've been waiting for.

—Emanuel Tov, editor-in-chief, Dead Sea Scrolls publication project

Lawrence H. Schiffman is Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University in New York City. An authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls, he edits an authoritative text-edition of the scrolls and an encyclopedia covering the subject. With M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Brandeis University, he has been a featured authority in television documentaries on the scrolls, including the PBS Nova series documentary Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Warrior, Dancer, Seductress, Queen

  • Author: Susan Ackerman
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 368

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Some of the Bible's most memorable characters are the women in the book of Judges. From Deborah and Jael to Delilah and Samson's mother, these women led the Israelites in battle, used their wits to defeat the enemy, their wiles to seduce mighty men, and their wisdom to prevail on God.

In Warrior, Dancer, Seductress, Queen author Susan Ackerman offers a keen analysis of the main types of women found in Judges and examines other biblical books and ancient Near Eastern literature to demonstrate how these types recur elsewhere. Thorough yet entertaining, her study leaves readers with an understanding of what roles these women played in Israelite society and religion. The first female author to be published in the Anchor Bible Reference Library, Ackerman and her cutting-edge biblical scholarship will be a valuable addition to this venerable series.

Susan Ackerman finds in the book of Judges ancient Israel's memory of itself in the era before the monarchy. She brings together the results of a variety of both newer studies in biblical narrative and traditional comparative studies, and she extends them in order to discover how Israel understood its past and the role in it of women, foreign and domestic, low-born and high-born, famous and nameless, married, unmarried, and widowed. Ackerman's work is informed by an enormous body of recent scholarship that reflects feminist concerns and questions. She moves regularly from her starting point in Judges into the later books of the Hebrew Bible and beyond, into the Apocrypha and the New Testament.

—M. O'Connor, Catholic University of America

Even more remarkable than the number and variety of female figures in the book of Judges is the way they can be related to images of women in the ancient Near East and Greco-Roman world. With great literary sensitivity, Ackerman analyzes the biblical presentations of six different types of women in Judges and links them to gender themes in the religious literature of the Canaanites, Egyptians, Greeks, and early Christians as well as in other biblical books. Using a history-of-religions approach, she ingeniously illuminates the complexities of women's multiple roles in the literature and life of Ancient Israel.

—Carol Meyers, Duke University

For those who thought the world of the Bible was simply an androcentric theater, Ackerman effectively challenges the received wisdom by showing that early Israel's women were more than stagehands. With Ackerman as our very capable guide to the times, the reader moves inside the complex thought world behind the women of the Bible. Warring and bumbling males may command the arena at times, but Ackerman deftly rescues from historical and literary oblivion a remarkable range of fascinating female 'types.' The diverse women she gives us are not only struggling mothers demanding new life; in other words, women of mythic power and sexual autonomy. This book is a must read for those who want to go beyond the stereotypes about women in the Bible and the ancient world.

—J. David Pleins, Santa Clara University

Susan Ackerman is Associate Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The author of Under Every Green Tree: Popular Religion in Sixth-Century Judah, she lives in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

A History of the Synoptic Problem: The Canon, the Text, the Composition, and the Interpretation of the Gospels

  • Author: David Laird Dungan
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 544

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A History of the Synoptic Problem is an accessible, academic study of a question that has needled readers of the New Testament since before the Bible was canonized: How does one reconcile the different accounts of Jesus' life given by the four Gospels?

Today the most highly publicized answer to this question is the one offered by John Dominic Crossan and the Jesus Seminary, who seek to reconcile the differences among the Gospels by designating some events and statements in the Gospels historically true and others false. There are lots of other ways to explore the synoptic problem, however, and Dungan provides a clear and lively history of the strategies employed by Origen, Augustine, Erasmus, Spinoza, Locke, and others. Dungan's method is to break the synoptic problem down into its corollary questions: Which gospels should be considered in the debate? Which text of each gospel should be considered? And how should one read the Bible in general and the gospels in particular?

Dungan's interest in these questions is not merely literary; he also delves into the political and economic agendas that have influenced biblical interpretation. In this regard, the most interesting and original connection he makes is to explain the relationship between the rise of the modern historical-critical method of reading Scripture (asking who wrote the books of the Bible, when, how, and for whom) and the creation and maintenance of political democracy—and furthermore, the ways in which fundamentalist "literal" readings of Scripture serve the same goal. Dungan's own investment in debates on the synoptic problem is shot through with an appealing humility about the stakes of the debate.

This is a visceral narrative about the wrestling of European culture with the Bible over two millennia. A spellbinding story based on years of sharp-edged research. I could not put the book down!

—Sean McEvenue, Concordia University

David Dungan's History of the Synoptic Problem for the first time sets the study of the Synoptic Problem within a larger framework of theological, ecclesiastical, ideological, and technological history, showing how the seemingly provincial issue of the interrelationship among the Gospels reflects and was influenced by much larger issues in cultural and intellectual history. Of particular value is Dungan's careful attention to the role that printed-page technology in the form of Gospel synopses—Osiander, Griesbach, Tischendorf, Huck, Rushbrooke, and others—has played in discussions of the Synoptic Problem.

John S. Kloppenborg, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto

David L. Dungan has brought our understanding of the history of the Synoptic Problem to a new level. This gold mine of information will be of interest to specialist and nonspecialist alike. The story is engaging, well-written, reader-friendly, and thoroughly documented.

—David Barrett Peabody, Nebraska Wesleyan University

David Dungan is Professor of Religion at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and author, with David R. Cartlidge, of Documents of the Study of the Gospels.

Peoples of an Almighty God: Competing Religions in the Ancient World

  • Author: Jonathan Goldstein
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 590

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Some ancient civilizations, notably the Babylonians and the Israelites, held fast to the belief that their particular god (or gods) were stronger than all other heavenly powers and gods combined, supremely able to protect their well-being and success as a nation. This belief (which resounds in the modern-day rallying cry "God is on our side") led to some foolhardy and rash decisions, particularly when it came to war. For a nation defeated or conquered by a foreign power inevitably faced the profound, perplexing question: "Why did our God, who has sworn to protect us, allow this to happen?"

Jonathan A. Goldstein turns to the religious literature of these ancient peoples to discover how they reconciled their beliefs with the realities of history. In a magnificent blend of several academic disciples (literary criticism, political theory, biblical and classical history), he compares and contrasts the responses of different eras and nations – from the Israelites, Babylonians, and Egyptians to the Zoroastrians, Iranians, and Persians under Alexander the Great. Goldstein’s close readings of literature written following such devastating events as the fall of the Israelites to the Assyrians and the Babylonians demonstrate that theology, far from being a static and unchanging set of beliefs, evolves with the course of history. Revealing how each defeat helped to shape and define the religious beliefs of the conquered, Peoples of an Almighty God clearly demonstrates that no belief can remain unchanged or untouched by the beliefs of other people.

An extraordinary work of scholarship, lucid, readable, profoundly insightful.

—Chaim Potok

Never less than stimulating and at times brilliant.

—The Society for Old Testament Study Booklist

For scholars of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, this work by Goldstein, author of I Maccabees and II Maccabees in the Anchor Yale Bible commentaries series, offers a chronological textbook survey on history, culture, and the power of belief to craft a national identity. The organizing principle is that ancient Israel and Babylon each defined themselves as 'peoples of an almighty god,' where prophetic announcements (and subsequent failures) colored their historical and literary production. The rest of the book follows Near Eastern history and politics from roughly 733 B.C.E. (the reign of Ahaz) to the Maccabean revolts in 142 B.C.E. Here, Goldstein concludes that the Babylonians gave up hope owing to the god Marduk's long silence; the Jews, by contrast, see in this moment the fulfillment of Isaiah 10.27 and the end of the Age of Punishment. Replete with prophecy and apocalyptic politics, culture, and conquest, this latest entry in the Anchor Bible Reference Library series clearly excels at presenting broad, sweeping historical concepts. One must necessarily accept the designation of 'peoples of an almighty god' to follow the arguments, but in so doing, one finds a lengthy, detailed discussion that is worth joining.

—Sandra Collins, Library Journal

Jonathan A. Goldstein studied at Jewish Theological Seminary and received a doctorate at Columbia University, where he was an instructor in history for two years. He was a professor of ancient history and classics at the University of Iowa from 1962 until his retirement in 1997. In addition to many scholarly articles, Goldstein is the author of the definitive commentary on the First and Second Books of Macabbees for the Anchor Yale Bible.

History and Prophecy: The Development of Late Judean Literary Traditions

  • Author: Brian Peckham
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 1993
  • Pages: 832

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The controversial premise of History and Prophecy is that the Bible was created from the very outset as a work of literature and not simply handed down in the form of oral stories from one generation to another.

In this explosive survey of the whole Hebrew Bible, author Brian Peckham cuts against the grain of scholarly opinion by taking seriously the fact that the Bible is a work of literature—modeled on such ancient authors as Homer and Hesiod—and was undoubtedly the product of a literate society: the creation of people who knew how to read and write for an audience that read, listened, and understood. Peckham provides the evidence that the biblical text at first was written; that from the beginning it was read and provoked written response; that it was quoted and alluded to in later writings; that what seemed right or evident to one writer was disputed, corrected, and reinterpreted by another; that nothing of significance in the process was erased or omitted but was preserved and inscribed with the rest for all time.

In this provocative book, the biblical text is read as literature—from start to finish, as continuous, meaningful, and complete, with distinctive literary forms and genres. It was written to be read and performed. Its authors were poets, singers, orators, lawyers, priests, and scholars whose audiences were those gathered in the squares and gates of Jerusalem, or who met at wells and springs scattered throughout Israel. It comprised occasional drama, tragedy, comedy, ballads, speeches, debates, disputations, traditional stories: in short, the stuff of books and libraries and literary appreciation.

History and Prophecy reconstructs the history of ancient Israel as it was understood and interpreted by the writers of the Bible. It traces the development of images and ideas about Israel's origin, makeup, and role in world affairs from their earliest literary expression through the most exciting and difficult centuries in the nation's history.

For Peckham, the Hebrew Bible is late Judean history and prophecy, a worthy sister to Greek classical literature. Through half a millennium, from the original epic to the last commentator, his narrative traces the sic et non of the equally inspired, an intense debate between a limited number of players, more credible than the cloud of redactors and glossators of mainline biblical criticism. Spurred by Peckham's often stunning formulation and the power of his synthesis, readers will feel irresistibly challenged into joining this symposium.

—Paul E. Dion, University of Toronto

Brian Peckham is a Jesuit priest and Professor of Biblical and Near Eastern Studies at Regis College, University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

No Ordinary Angel

  • Author: Susan R. Garrett
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 352

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In this provocative, intelligent, and highly original addition to the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library, Susan R. Garrett argues that angel talk has never been merely about angels. Rather, from ancient times until the present, talk about angels has served as a vehicle for reflection on other fundamental life questions, including the nature of God's presence and intervention in the world, the existence and meaning of evil, and the fate of humans after death. In No Ordinary Angel, Garrett examines how biblical and other ancient authors addressed such questions through their portrayals of angels. She compares the ancient angel talk to popular depictions of angels today and considers how the ancient and modern portraits of angels relate to Christian claims about Jesus.

No Ordinary Angels offers important insights into the development of angelology, the origins of Christology, and popular Western spirituality ranging from fundamentalist to New Age. In doing so, it provokes stimulating theological reflection on key existential questions.

At once magisterial and accessible, Garrett's book moves with grace between ancient and modern depictions of angels—never dismissive of popular beliefs, yet showing their indebtedness to modern ideologies.

—Dale B. Martin, author of Pedagogy of the Bible

Susan Garrett has written no ordinary book about angels. A supposedly esoteric or other-worldly topic turns out to be a life and death matter when Garrett illumines it with the light of her learning.

—Patrick D. Miller, Princeton Theological Seminary

This marvelously readable and informative book is an authoritative contribution to the scholarly literature on angelology. Those who minister to folks who have been—or desperately want to be—"touched by an angel" will benefit greatly from Garrett's insights. I am immediately grateful to my own guardian angel for leading me to this book!

—Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary

Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises

  • Author: Scott Hahn
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 608

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While the canonical scriptures were produced over many centuries and represent a diverse library of texts, they are unified by stories of divine covenants and their implications for God’s people. In this deeply researched and thoughtful book, Scott Hahn shows how covenant, as an overarching theme, makes possible a coherent reading of the diverse traditions found within the canonical scriptures.

Biblical covenants, though varied in form and content, all serve the purpose of extending sacred bonds of kinship, Hahn explains. Specifically, divine covenants form and shape a father-son bond between God and the chosen people. Biblical narratives turn on that fact, and biblical theology depends upon it. With meticulous attention to detail, the author demonstrates how divine sonship represents a covenant relationship with God that has been consistent throughout salvation history. A canonical reading of this divine plan reveals an illuminating pattern of promise and fulfillment in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s saving mercies are based upon his sworn commitments, which he keeps even when his people break the covenant.

Both well-written and exhaustive, this impressive work will fascinate readers with New Testament truths about God's unyielding covenant with his chosen, fallible people.

—David Noel Freedman, editor of the Anchor Yale Bible

This book is the fruit of an immense amount of research in the contemporary study of the Biblical covenant. No one who takes up the challenge to study it, whether scholar or not, will come away from reading it without being more astute in matters human and divine. The thesis of the book is masterly in its basic insight: life lived under Biblical covenant cannot be separated from life lived in relationships dictated by familial terms and ties. It is the family which is central to the Bible’s view of life for the simple reason that the family is central to life itself.

—James Swetnam, S. J., Pontifical Biblical Institute

Scott Hahn opens new vistas, chases down old haunts, and leads us to a fuller, deeper, and more penetrating understanding of covenant. Until we get 'covenant' right, we simply don't understand the Bible. When I think of the word 'covenant,' I think of Kinship by Covenant. When I have any questions about 'covenant,' this is the first book I will turn to for ever and a day.

—Scot McKnight, editor of The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research

At last Scott Hahn’s Kinship by Covenant is published! Maintaining a masterful command of the data on biblical and ancient near eastern covenants, the work exposes how, for over a century, biblical scholarship lost sight of the covenant as a kinship-forging ritual. Richly documented, theologically profound, the book will prove an invaluable resource in Old and New Testament study.

—Gregory Yuri Glazov, Seton Hall University, Immaculate Conception Seminary

Scott Hahn is Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology, St. Vincent Seminary, and professor of scripture and theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Among his many best-selling books is The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth.

Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity

  • Author: Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 480

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The question of Christianity’s relation to the other religions of the world is more pertinent and difficult today than ever before. While Christianity’s historical failure to appreciate or actively engage Judaism is notorious, Christianity’s even more shoddy record with respect to “pagan” religions is less understood. Christians have inherited a virtually unanimous theological tradition that thinks of paganism in terms of demonic possession, and of Christian missions as a rescue operation that saves pagans from inherently evil practices.

In undertaking this fresh inquiry into early Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism, Luke Timothy Johnson begins with a broad definition of religion as a way of life organized around convictions and experiences concerning ultimate power. In the tradition of William James’s Variety of Religious Experience, he identifies four distinct ways of being religious: religion as participation in benefits, as moral transformation, as transcending the world, and as stabilizing the world. Using these criteria as the basis for his exploration of Christianity and paganism, Johnson finds multiple points of similarity in religious sensibility.

Christianity’s failure to adequately come to grips with its first pagan neighbors, Johnson asserts, inhibits any effort to engage positively with adherents of various world religions. This thoughtful and passionate study should help break down the walls between Christianity and other religious traditions.

Luke Johnson, a contrarian of the most constructive kind, defying all the usual categories, looks at the age-old story of Christianity’s ‘triumph’ over ‘paganism’ and turns it topsy turvy. A provocative and deeply humane book, to be savored and argued with.

—Wayne A. Meeks, author of First Urban Christians

Seeking to overturn an attitude towards Greco-Roman religion epitomized in Tertullian's famous rejection of Athens, Johnson demonstrates four ways of being religious that were common to Greeks, Romans, Jews, and early Christians. The work is important not only for the study of ancient religion, but for inter-faith dialogue today.

—Gregory E. Sterling, University of Notre Dame

A remarkable synthesis that challenges reigning assumptions about early Christianity’s relationship to the Graeco-Roman world, this book proposes new analytical categories to advance and enliven the ongoing ‘Christ and culture’ debate.

—Carl R. Holladay, Emory University

In this important, well-documented, and challenging book, Johnson shows forcefully how demonizing and deprecating other religions has not served early Christianity well in the past, obscured its development, and has left a pernicious legacy.

—Frederick E. Brenk, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome

Luke Timothy Johnson is the R. W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University.

The Nine Commandments

  • Author: David Noel Freedman
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 240

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

In a book certain to be as controversial as Harold Bloom’s The Book of J and Elaine Pagels’s The Gnostic Gospels, David Noel Freedman delves into the Old Testament and reveals a pattern of defiance of the Covenant with God that inexorably led to the downfall of the nation of Israel, the destruction of the Temple, and the banishment of survivors from the Promised Land. Book by book, from Exodus to Kings, Freedman charts the violation of the first nine Commandments one by one—from the sin of apostasy (the worship of the golden calf, Exodus 32) to murder (the death of a concubine, Judges 19) to false testimony (Jezebel’s charge against her neighbor, Naboth, 1 Kings 21). Because covetousness, Freedman shows, lies behind all the crimes committed, each act implicitly breaks the Tenth Commandment as well.

In a powerful and persuasive argument, Freedman asserts that this hidden trail of sins betrays the hand of a master editor, who skillfully wove into Israel’s history a message to a community in their Babylonian exile that their fate is not the result of God’s abandoning them, but a consequence of their abandonment of God. With wit and insight, The Nine Commandments boldly challenges previous scholarship and conventional beliefs.

David Noel Freedman is one of the most insightful, provocative, and original biblical scholars of his generation. Where so many other scholars delight in taking the Bible apart, in this book, as in others, Freedman focuses on putting it together—what lay behind the master editor who compiled the Primary History of Israel, from Genesis through Kings? What secrets did he bury, book by book, that tied the whole together and underlined its theme of disobedience to God’s commands, leading ultimately to exile? Whether this great unifying scheme was intentional may be debatable, but no one can deny that the pattern Freedman found is there. And only a profound scholar like Freedman could have found it, lying undiscovered for two thousand years.

—Hershel Shanks, editor, Biblical Archaeological Society

This book, written by a great biblical scholar and editor, is yet pitched for a popular audience. It is simply and eloquently written, but as with all of David Noel Freedman’s work, it is charming and imaginative, full of detailed insights. His thesis is bold and may not convince all; but it is a delight to follow his brilliant pursuit and defense of his hypothesis.

—Frank Moore Cross, professor emeritus, Harvard University

When you get tired of wild claims on one hand, and unexciting introductory comments that every scholar knows on the other, then you’re ready for this book. It is real scholarship: the case is argued, the evidence is presented for us to see for ourselves, and it shows us something new. This is something that has been there for over two millennia, but no one saw it until now. While many books about the Bible show us the trees, this book shows us the forest. It shows how remarkably connected a huge group of the Bible’s books are. What’s more, it shows that the Commandments are not just stated in the Bible. They make a difference in the lives of people in the Bible’s stories—and, by obvious implication, in our lives as well.

—Richard Elliot Friedman, author, Who Wrote the Bible?

David Noel Freedman has been General Editor and a contributing coauthor of the Anchor Yale Bible since its inception in 1956. He was a long-time professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of California, San Diego. He died in 2008.


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    loved the commentary
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