July 15, 2015 Newsletter
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SBL Newsletter

Bible Odyssey
Below are some representative Ask a Scholar questions received via www.bibleodyssey.org.

Any graduate students willing to help us answer these and others? If yes, contact:

1. Do scholars still interpret "Son of Man" as an apocalyptic figure? Did Jesus see himself as the "Son of Man"? What does the term mean in Daniel?

2. In Luke 4 Jesus is said to visit the synagogue in Nazareth. Is there any consensus among NT historians and archaeologists regarding the existence of a synagogue in Nazareth in Jesus' day?

3. What might be the reason why Paul said women should remain silent in church??

4. In the Old Testament, where did the concept of Sheol come from? How did Israel adapt a concept of an afterlife?

5. What are the arguments in support of the view that Paul was not a Roman citizen?

6. In Matthew Jesus says Be like God he causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on the just as well as the unjust "love your enemies" etc. Yet in the book of Revelation God is depicted as burning his enemies in a lake of fire. How do Christians reconcile these conflicting characterizations of God?

7. Does any scholar think there might be anything to the claim that the Hebrew word "Amen" comes from the name of the Egyptian god Amun?

8. My question is was the idea of a "god within us" foreign and alien to the thought of Greco-Roman philosophy, Why or why not?

9. With the Jewish new year 5776 starting in the 7th month September 2015, if there were still a Babylonian calendar in operation where would 5776 new year start on it, March 2015 or March 2016?

10. Why did Claudius prohibit Romans Jews from meeting in synagogues in 41 CE?

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Tweet Treat
Thanks to the many SBL members who started a conversation on Twitter yesterday about the positive, inclusive, and diverse communities that make-up our guild. Thanks in particular to Carrie Schroeder (@ctschroeder), University of the Pacific, for planting the seed. Join the #mySBL conversation, and let us know what you value about the Society and what you aspire us to be. There is much more work ahead.

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Follow SBL on twitter: @bibleodyssey and @SBLsite.

The former promotes content related to Bible Odyssey and biblical studies in general. The latter is a combined channel for communication to SBL members from the SBL Press, Professions, Congresses, and Membership departments.

Educational Tools

SBL highlights useful tools on the internet that foster biblical scholarship. You can find treasure trove of resources, many of which are produced by our members, on the SBL home page under “Educational Resources.” The most recent addition to this list is a site produced by Marc Brettler, Tools for Studying the Hebrew Bible, and you can access it on the SBL website from the main links page as well as the Ancient Languages and Hebrew Bible links pages here.

SBL Calendar

Events for Biblical and Religious Studies

National Humanities Alliance

The National Humanities Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of their new NHA website! The new website makes it simpler for humanities advocates to make their voices heard, offers multiple ways to explore and promote the rich humanities work happening throughout the country, and provides opportunities to support our advocacy efforts.

David Jorgensen (Colby College) Announced as the Winner of the 2015 SBL– De Gruyter Prize for Biblical Studies and Reception History

In partnership with the Society of Biblical Literature, De Gruyter is delighted to announce Dr. David Jorgensen as the winner of this year’s SBL–De Gruyter Prize for Biblical Studies and Reception History. Dr. Jorgensen’s manuscript, “Treasure Hidden in a Field: Early Christian Exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew,” was selected as the 2015 winner by the prize committee. The prize includes publication of the manuscript and $1,500. The prize will be officially presented at the De Gruyter Reception at the upcoming SBL-AAR Annual Meetings in Atlanta.

SBL Press New Titles

Contextualizing Israel’s Sacred Writings: Ancient Literacy, Orality, and Literary Production
Brian B. Schmidt, editor
Situated historically between the invention of the alphabet, on the one hand, and the creation of ancient Israel’s sacred writings, on the other, is the emergence of literary production in the ancient Levant. In this timely collection of essays by an international cadre of scholars, the dialectic between the oral and the written, the intersection of orality with literacy, and the advent of literary compositions are each explored as a prelude to the emergence of what would become the biblical writings of ancient Israel and Judah. Contributors also examine a range of relevant topics, including scripturalization, the compositional dimensions of orality and textuality as they engage biblical poetry, prophecy, and narrative along with their antecedents, and the ultimate autonomy of the written in early Israel.

Paper $46.95, ISBN 9781628371185
Hardcover $61.95, ISBN 9781628371208
Kindle, ASIN B011AB8EQ4
Google Play Coming Soon, ISBN 9781628371192
384 pages • Ancient Israel and Its Literature 22

The Didache: A Missing Piece of the Puzzle in Early Christianity
Jonathan A. Draper and Clayton N. Jefford, editors
The Didache remains an intriguing dilemma for those who study ancient Christian contexts and literature. This edited volume includes essays and responses from specialists in the Didache and in early church history in general. The four sections seek to incorporate those studies that apply generally to the overall content and background of the Didache, to provide several strategies by which to understand liturgical constructions and ritual worship that are reflected in the central portion of the text, to explore the relationship between the Didache and scripture—particularly with respect to the Gospel of Matthew—and to examine the issue of how the Didache relates to subsidiary first-century literature.

Paper $75.95, ISBN 9781628370485
Hardcover $95.95, ISBN 9781628370508
Kindle, ASIN B00YB4ZF4M
Google Play, ISBN 9781628370492
650 pages • Early Christianity and Its Literature 14

The Ancient Martyrdom Accounts of Peter and Paul
David L. Eastman
Peter and Paul are the two most famous and arguably most important of all Christian martyrs. No contemporary accounts of their deaths survive, so historians depend on later narratives for reconstructing the ends of the apostles’ lives. Traditionally, the Acts of Peter and Acts of Paul have been the basis for such reconstructions, but these are not the only ancient martyrdom stories that survive. This book for the first time collects the various ancient Greek, Latin, and Syriac accounts along with more than forty references to the martyrdoms from early Christian literature. At last a more complete picture of the traditions about the deaths of Peter and Paul is able to emerge.

Paper $59.95, ISBN 9781628370904
Hardcover $79.95, ISBN 9781628370911
Google Play, ISBN 9781628370928
498 pages • Writings from the Greco-Roman World 39

The “Nocturnal Side of Science” in David Friedrich Strauss’s Life of Jesus Critically Examined
Thomas Fabisiak
David Friedrich Strauss’s Life of Jesus Critically Examined is known as a monumental contribution to the critical, scientific study of religion and Christian origins. It was widely read and influenced literary and historical research on the Bible as well as critical philosophy between Hegel and Nietzsche. Less well known are Strauss’s writings from the same period on “the nocturnal side of nature,” paranormal phenomena such as demon possession, animal magnetism, and the ghost-seeing of Frederike Hauffe, the famous “Seeress of Prevorst.” Fabisiak examines how Strauss’s radical, modern approach to the New Testament gospels and religion was informed by his engagement with popular and scholarly controversies in this area.

Paper $29.95, ISBN 9781628371086
Hardcover $44.95, ISBN 9781628371093
Google Play, ISBN 9781628371109
230 pages • Emory Studies in Early Christianity 17


Don’t forget SBL Press books are available on Kindle. Search for SBL Press to find our newest releases and the Society of Biblical Literature for additional titles. Be sure to purchase an electronic copy of The SBL Handbook of Style  today!


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