This article argues that, though it cannot be doubted that there is a subversive quality to Paul’s letters, attempts to identify subversive subtexts have failed due to their preoccupation with what is deemed inherently subversive vocabulary. A better approach to grounding Paul’s anti-imperial theology is to recognize that he affirmed the subversive late Second temple Jewish-apocalyptic, and particularly Danielic, narrative that viewed Rome as final earthly kingdom that will be destroyed by the coming of God’s kingdom.
Luke’s account about Paul’s stay in Ephesos (Acts 19) is well known for its strong local colour, two elements of which are studied in this contribution: the asiarchs (19,31) and the title newko/roj (temple-warden) for Ephesos (19,35). The appearance of asiarchs in Acts questions the view that the asiarchs were the highpriests of the provincial imperial cult. Acts 19,35 contributes to the discussion about city-titles in the 1st-3rd centuries CE. In both instances, Acts is a source not so much for the narrated time of Paul, but rather for Luke’s own time, and as such of interest for both exegetes and historians.
In contrast to other texts dated to the post-exilic period, Ezra – Nehemiah is well known for its separatist policy towards gentiles. Two exceptions in EN are the possible participation of foreigners in the Passover ceremony (Ezra 6,19-21) and the community pledge to follow the Torah (Neh 10,29). An examination of antecedent Passover celebrations reveals that participation in the Passover marks out those who are members of ‘true’ Israel. This article argues that these cases indeed exhibit an anomalous inclusiveness, and discusses how it can be understood within the wider ethno-theological thrust of EN.
The definition of the Hebrew word hmmd (found in Biblical as well as in Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew) has been debated for many years. Recent dictionaries and studies of the word have proposed defining it as “sighing” or “whisper” and deriving it from the root d-m-m II associated with mourning and/or moaning. This study considers how the word is used in the Bible, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as how similar words are used in other post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic texts; it concludes that the word hmmd is more likely to mean “silence, quiet” or the absence of loud sound and motion in both the Hebrew of the Bible and that of the Dead Sea Scrolls and should be derived from the root d-m-m I (“to be silent”).
Most modern translations render b+yh in Jonah 4,4 as a predicate. However, traditional grammars take its function as an adverb that modifies the meaning of the verb, suggesting its translation as a degree adverb. Linguistic considerations support the latter option. This line of understanding opens up a possibility to interpret Yahweh’s question in Jonah 4,4 not as a confrontation but as an expression of consolation and compassion toward his prophet.
Most translations of Job 13,4 have Job calling his companions something like “smearers of a lie” and “worthless physicians”. Instead, in light of philological and comparative data, he seems to be comparing his friends to the Rephaim, and false gods. In this way, he complains that they have spoken falsely as sources of wisdom and would mislead their hearers — just as the spirits of the dead were so often said to have done. The verse might thus be translated in this way: “You, however, are blatherers of lies, and false oracles, all of you.
The textual variant of 1 Corinthians 13,3 continues to attract debate. Recent surveys argue that there is a modicum of interest in preferring “boast” over the traditional “burn”. This short note demonstrates that support for “boast” is far more widespread than may be realised. Yet, at the same time, a number of recent philological studies demonstrate that “burn” may not be as grammatically inadmissible as is sometimes claimed. The note suggests that the debate is far from won for either option.