Friday, December 27, 2013

Zosimus/Rechabites project at Leuven

OLD TESTAMENT PSEUDEPIGRAPHA WATCH: Zosime (Réchabites) is a project on The Story of Zosimus/The History of the Rechabites at the Catholic University of Leuven headed by Prof. Jean-Claude Haelewyck. It includes French translations of the Greek text and two Syriac versions.

I have a couple of relevant conference papers from 2003 online: The Rechabites in Patristic and Parabiblical Literature and Is the Story of Zosimus Really a Jewish Composition?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

J. Wright on the birth of Moses

DR. JACOB L. WRIGHT: The Birth of Moses: Between Bible and Midrash: A Supplementary Approach (
What we witness in this brief study is the extent to which rabbinic tradition stands in direct continuity to the formation of the biblical text. The earliest biblical account of Moses’s birth responds to questions about his origins. A later preface responds to the problems posed by the older account, and both texts in turn provoked new attempts by the rabbis to solve the remaining problems in the text. In this way we can trace how the multilayered pearls of our tradition evolved from the agitating sands of time.

SBL 2014


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


MERRY CHRISTMAS to all those celebrating!

Posts of Christmases past are collected here and links.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Oliver, Torah Praxis after 70 CE

Isaac W. Oliver

Torah Praxis after 70 CE
Reading Matthew and Luke-Acts as Jewish Texts

Many consider the gospel of Matthew to be one of the most "Jewish" texts of the New Testament. Luke-Acts, on the other hand, has traditionally been viewed as a very "Greek" and Gentile-Christian text. Isaac W. Oliver challenges this dichotomy, reading Matthew and Luke-Acts not only against their Jewish "background" but as early Jewish literature. He explores the question of Torah praxis, especially its ritual aspects, in each writing. By assessing their attitude toward three central markers of Jewish identity - Sabbath, kashrut, and circumcision - Oliver argues that both Matthew and Luke affirm the perpetuation of Torah observance within the Jesus movement, albeit by differentiating which Mosaic commandments are incumbent upon Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus. Luke proves to be just as "Jewish" as his cousin Matthew in so far as his affirmation of the Mosaic Torah is concerned. The evidence in both Matthew and Luke-Acts suggests that Jewish practices such as the Sabbath and even circumcision continued to enjoy a prominent status in the Jesus movement even after 70 CE, and that Jewish followers of Jesus played an important and integral role in the formation of the ekklesia well throughout the latter third of the first century CE.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Reviews of Olson on the Animal Apocalypse and Martone on the Bar Kokhba letters

1. Andrew Perrin reviews Daniel Olson, A New Reading of the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch: ‘All Nations Shall be Blessed.’

2. Juan C. Ossandón reviews Corrado Martone, Lettere di Bar Kokhba.
The two books have also been noted here and here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

El-Badawi, The Qur'an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions

The Qur'an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions
By Emran El-Badawi

This book is a study of related passages found in the Arabic Qur’an and the Aramaic Gospels, i.e. the Gospels preserved in the Syriac and Christian Palestinian Aramaic dialects. It builds upon the work of traditional Muslim scholars, including al-Biqa‘i (d. ca. 808/1460) and al-Suyu?i (d. 911/1505), who wrote books examining connections between the Qur’an on the one hand, and Biblical passages and Aramaic terminology on the other, as well as modern western scholars, including Sidney Griffith who argue that pre-Islamic Arabs accessed the Bible in Aramaic.

The Qur’an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions examines the history of religious movements in the Middle East from 180-632 CE, explaining Islam as a response to the disunity of the Aramaic speaking churches. It then compares the Arabic text of the Qur’an and the Aramaic text of the Gospels under four main themes: the prophets; the clergy; the divine; and the apocalypse. Among the findings of this book are that the articulator as well as audience of the Qur’an were monotheistic in origin, probably bilingual, culturally sophisticated and accustomed to the theological debates that raged between the Aramaic speaking churches.

Arguing that the Qur’an’s teachings and ethics echo Jewish-Christian conservatism, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Religion, History, and Literature.