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The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is of especial interest to students of early Judaism and Christianity, though this importance is not always recognized. This collection preserves extra-biblical traditions about the sons of Jacob, it reflects a moral worldview of Jews and Christians around the turn of the era, and it casts light on its authors' eschatological imagination. Robert A. Kugler introduces the student to the Testaments' contents, their relationship to other texts of the era, textual witnesses and sources, and rehearses the debate regarding authorship, compositional history and purpose. He also examines the Testaments from the fresh perspective of rhetorical strategy, asking what sort of theological notions the Testaments would have conjured in the minds of early Jewish and Christian listeners or readers.
The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (T12P), one of the longest texts of the so-called “Old Testament Pseudepigrapha,” presents the fictitious farewell speeches that the twelve sons of Jacob held on their respective deathbeds. Tom de Bruin examines these twelve monologues as literary products in order to understand the function of the text for the setting in which it was composed. He approaches T12P from three directions: an analysis of the paraenetic parts, a discussion of the anthropology, and a comparative examination of other contemporaneous works documenting a world-view similar to T12P. These three approaches merge into a detailed discussion about the reasoning behind the admonition in T12P, and identifies the fundamental message of the text, namely that each person stands between the forces of good and evil and that this person is called to constantly decide which way to follow. Though T12P is still familiar with the apocalyptic origin and plays with the cosmological implications of this 'great controversy', the text clearly puts the emphasis on the battle inside each individual. It is thereby an important witness for reinterpreting and reapplying apocalyptic traditions through ethicizing them and focusing on the individual. Such an individualistic application of the 'great controversy' theme can be found in a number of other (mostly Christian) works, revealing a similar understanding of mankind’s existence and development as in T12P. The analysis of the ethical reappropriation of apocalyptic traditions in T12P provides important insights into the foundations of early Christian ethics, ancient anthropology, and the Jewish and Christian understanding of the struggle between good and evil.
This study examines the varieties and continuities of ethical exhortations and ideals in the Jewish and Christian traditions (c. 200 BCE-100 CE) that fall under the rubric of non-retaliation. One of the principal conclusions of this thought-provoking work is that a critical factor in determining the shape of non-retaliatory ethics is whether the exhortation is applied to relations within the local and/or elect community or to relations with oppressors of the elect community. It becomes apparent also that the non-retaliatory ethic of the NT stands solidly in the tradition of non-retaliatory ethics in Early Judaism.
The Old Testament offers a rich palette of ideas, images, and narratives that help us unpack some of the more compact and opaque theological ideas of the New Testament. In conversation with both Christian and Jewish interpreters, prominent scholar Gary Anderson explores the exegetical background of key Christian doctrines. Through a deeper reading of our two-Testament Bible, he illustrates that Christian doctrines have an organic connection to biblical texts and that doctrine can clarify meanings in the text that are foreign to modern, Western readers. Anderson traces the development of doctrine through the history of interpretation, discussing controversial topics such as the fall of man, creation out of nothing, the treasury of merit, and the veneration of Mary along the way. He demonstrates that church doctrines are more clearly grounded in Scripture than modern biblical scholarship has often supposed and that the Bible can define and elaborate the content of these doctrines.
Moloney's literary-historical commentary offers a close reading of the final section of the Gospel of John, taking the reader on a journey through Jesus' final night and his ministry's climax in passion, death, and resurrection. Concluding his unique trilogy, Moloney shows how the reader is led on a journey of faith by the Gospel writer, culminating in the belief in Jesus the Christ and having life in his name, despite his absence.