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The Great Drama of Jeremiah: A Performance Reading

Published: May 2021
£65.00
In this original work, joining the growing corpus of performance criticism of Hebrew Bible texts, Billingham offers a performance reading of some eleven scenes in the book of Jeremiah, analysing their scripts, actors/speakers, audiences, settings and improvisation of scripts. While kings, priests, prophets and people act in various ways in these performances, Jeremiah himself plays an important role both in reporting their actions and in delivering speeches proclaiming Yhwh's oracles. Earth and members of the Earth community also raise their voices in distress at the absence of the exiled people. The people of the exile themselves can be assumed as the audience if no other is designated in a scene; it will be their role to process the experiences of the drama. Various socio-political and geographical contexts provide safe settings in which they may view the traumatic events that unfold. In a synchronic reading, Billingham argues that Jeremiah improvises several old Israelite traditions, applying them to the new context of exile, challenging the prevailing royal-priestly ideology, and prompting the audience to rethink its beliefs, attitudes and actions. Among the performances analysed in this book are the divine ultrasound of the pre-natal prophet, Jeremiah's vision of the reversal of creation, the people's search for a single righteous person in Jerusalem, the siege of the city and (horror!) the destruction of the temple. In a ludicrous contest with the idols, the best god wins. And Jeremiah smashes a pot as a sign-act for Judah's destruction. This heuristic reading of Jeremiah invites readers to interact with Jeremiah's messages as dramatic performances that may be brought to life in their own experiences of crisis, challenge and triumph.
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The Great Drama of Jeremiah: A Performance Reading

£65.00
In this original work, joining the growing corpus of performance criticism of Hebrew Bible texts, Billingham offers a performance reading of some eleven scenes in the book of Jeremiah, analysing their scripts, actors/speakers, audiences, settings and improvisation of scripts. While kings, priests, prophets and people act in various ways in these performances, Jeremiah himself plays an important role both in reporting their actions and in delivering speeches proclaiming Yhwh's oracles. Earth and members of the Earth community also raise their voices in distress at the absence of the exiled people. The people of the exile themselves can be assumed as the audience if no other is designated in a scene; it will be their role to process the experiences of the drama. Various socio-political and geographical contexts provide safe settings in which they may view the traumatic events that unfold. In a synchronic reading, Billingham argues that Jeremiah improvises several old Israelite traditions, applying them to the new context of exile, challenging the prevailing royal-priestly ideology, and prompting the audience to rethink its beliefs, attitudes and actions. Among the performances analysed in this book are the divine ultrasound of the pre-natal prophet, Jeremiah's vision of the reversal of creation, the people's search for a single righteous person in Jerusalem, the siege of the city and (horror!) the destruction of the temple. In a ludicrous contest with the idols, the best god wins. And Jeremiah smashes a pot as a sign-act for Judah's destruction. This heuristic reading of Jeremiah invites readers to interact with Jeremiah's messages as dramatic performances that may be brought to life in their own experiences of crisis, challenge and triumph.
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Text, Time, and Temple: Literary, Historical and Ritual Studies in Leviticus

Published: Mar 2015
£60.00
In their different ways the essays in this collection ask, Why was Leviticus written? What is the relation of text to practice, and to the development of the idea of an Israelite society centred in its Temple through all vicissitudes of its history? The thirteen contributors are engaged in exploring the intersection of literary, historical and ritual approaches to Leviticus, as the central book of the Torah and as a utopian vision of an ideal society. Leading scholars of Leviticus and the Pentateuch, like James Watts, Israel Knohl and Christophe Nihan, combine with others whose primary interest is magic, reception, cultural memory and gender. The collection begins with a chapter by Michael Hundley on the ancient Near Eastern background of the priestly code and the issue of divine fluidity. Several scholars consider the social function of the book, particularly in the Second Temple period. James Watts, for instance, thinks that it combats scepticism about the efficacy of ritual; Reinhard MÌ_ller argues that the 'I am Yhwh' formula locates the texts in a liturgical setting. Christophe Nihan discusses the manipulation of blood in sacrifice as having an indexical function, as part of the 'templization' of Israel. Other chapters engage in analyses of particular texts. Leigh Trevaskis advocates a symbolic interpretation of the prohibition of intercourse with a menstruant. Deborah Rooke analyses the gender and ethnic implications of the story of the blasphemer in Leviticus 24. Similarly, Francis Landy compares the chapters on the Nazirite and the woman suspected of adultery as challenges to the sacerdotal order. Jonathan Burnside argues that the prohibition of necromancy is integral to Leviticus 20. The book concludes with a moving reflection by Jeremy Milgrom on his father's views on the ethical implications of his work, and particularly its relevance to Israeli —Palestinian relations.
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Text, Time, and Temple: Literary, Historical and Ritual Studies in Leviticus

£60.00
In their different ways the essays in this collection ask, Why was Leviticus written? What is the relation of text to practice, and to the development of the idea of an Israelite society centred in its Temple through all vicissitudes of its history? The thirteen contributors are engaged in exploring the intersection of literary, historical and ritual approaches to Leviticus, as the central book of the Torah and as a utopian vision of an ideal society. Leading scholars of Leviticus and the Pentateuch, like James Watts, Israel Knohl and Christophe Nihan, combine with others whose primary interest is magic, reception, cultural memory and gender. The collection begins with a chapter by Michael Hundley on the ancient Near Eastern background of the priestly code and the issue of divine fluidity. Several scholars consider the social function of the book, particularly in the Second Temple period. James Watts, for instance, thinks that it combats scepticism about the efficacy of ritual; Reinhard MÌ_ller argues that the 'I am Yhwh' formula locates the texts in a liturgical setting. Christophe Nihan discusses the manipulation of blood in sacrifice as having an indexical function, as part of the 'templization' of Israel. Other chapters engage in analyses of particular texts. Leigh Trevaskis advocates a symbolic interpretation of the prohibition of intercourse with a menstruant. Deborah Rooke analyses the gender and ethnic implications of the story of the blasphemer in Leviticus 24. Similarly, Francis Landy compares the chapters on the Nazirite and the woman suspected of adultery as challenges to the sacerdotal order. Jonathan Burnside argues that the prohibition of necromancy is integral to Leviticus 20. The book concludes with a moving reflection by Jeremy Milgrom on his father's views on the ethical implications of his work, and particularly its relevance to Israeli —Palestinian relations.
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The Thematic Unity of the Book of the Twelve

Published: Jun 2012
£75.00
ÛÏReturn to me۝, declares Yhwh of Hosts,€Ïand I will return to you۝, declares Yhwh of Hosts.' The sentence stands at the head of the prophecy of Zechariah (1.3). But what does it mean to 'return to Yhwh?' And what does it mean that Yhwh 'will return to you'? LeCureux argues that it is this call to repentance, and Yhwh's responses to it, that form the unifying and organizing theme of return for the Book of the Twelve. While studies on the development and composition of the Twelve have proved fruitful in recent years, this book attempts to expand on those works by looking closely at the final form of the Twelve, particularly of its opening and closing books (Hosea —Joel, Zechariah —Malachi), and the role that canonical position and theme play within the Book. This project begins by defining the function of theme in biblical books, and then compares the role theme plays in Isaiah with its role in the Twelve, before engaging in the primary task of exegesis. LeCureux examines the use of 'return' in the Twelve, showing that it is the call to return that controls the events of the Day of Yhwh. Going further, the exegesis uncovers the links between the return imperatives of Hosea 14, Joel 2, Zechariah's own calls to return and Malachi's concluding question, 'How are we to return?'(3.7). What is ultimately revealed is the multifaceted nature of God's relationship with his people, one that involves the people's struggle to turn from covenantal disobedience toward Yhwh in repentance, as well as Yhwh's own turning from judgment toward his people in blessing.
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The Thematic Unity of the Book of the Twelve

£75.00
ÛÏReturn to me۝, declares Yhwh of Hosts,€Ïand I will return to you۝, declares Yhwh of Hosts.' The sentence stands at the head of the prophecy of Zechariah (1.3). But what does it mean to 'return to Yhwh?' And what does it mean that Yhwh 'will return to you'? LeCureux argues that it is this call to repentance, and Yhwh's responses to it, that form the unifying and organizing theme of return for the Book of the Twelve. While studies on the development and composition of the Twelve have proved fruitful in recent years, this book attempts to expand on those works by looking closely at the final form of the Twelve, particularly of its opening and closing books (Hosea —Joel, Zechariah —Malachi), and the role that canonical position and theme play within the Book. This project begins by defining the function of theme in biblical books, and then compares the role theme plays in Isaiah with its role in the Twelve, before engaging in the primary task of exegesis. LeCureux examines the use of 'return' in the Twelve, showing that it is the call to return that controls the events of the Day of Yhwh. Going further, the exegesis uncovers the links between the return imperatives of Hosea 14, Joel 2, Zechariah's own calls to return and Malachi's concluding question, 'How are we to return?'(3.7). What is ultimately revealed is the multifaceted nature of God's relationship with his people, one that involves the people's struggle to turn from covenantal disobedience toward Yhwh in repentance, as well as Yhwh's own turning from judgment toward his people in blessing.
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Through the ‘I’-Window: The Inner Life of Characters in the Hebrew Bible

Published: Mar 2011
£60.00
It is often said that the inner life of characters in the Hebrew Bible is inaccessible to us, and that we can know little or nothing about how they felt and thought. In this study, original in both its scope and its method, Barbara Leung Lai shows how wrong that assumption is. She directs our attention to the many places where her chosen characters, Daniel, Isaiah, and Yahweh, speak of themselves, using the first-person 'I' voice, and finds those to be a unique point of entry, or window, into the interiority of the characters. To construct an interior profile of these characters, Leung Lai develops an integrated methodology of psychological exegesis, drawing upon psychological perspectives of personality, Bakhtinian views of polyphony and dialogism, current studies of emotion, self and selfhood, and the empirics of reading under the rubric of reader-response literary criticism. From these perspectives, Leung Lai can identify in Daniel two primary realms in his inner identity-seeing and emotive experiencing -- and can characterize Daniel's interior world as a world of paradoxes, of seeing without comprehending, hearing without the capacity to respond. Isaiah, on the other hand, exhibits a broad spectrum of emotions, from love, intimacy, joy and empathy to a sense of being under divine constraint, and to mourning, lament, doubt, distress, helplessness and despair. The prophet exhibits a profound sense of selfhood and subtle inner depths. The character of Yahweh is found to be most striking for its inner conflicts, with its frustrations, disappointments, pain and suffering. This groundbreaking book will stimulate many readers to a new appreciation of characterization in the Hebrew Bible.
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Through the ‘I’-Window: The Inner Life of Characters in the Hebrew Bible

£60.00
It is often said that the inner life of characters in the Hebrew Bible is inaccessible to us, and that we can know little or nothing about how they felt and thought. In this study, original in both its scope and its method, Barbara Leung Lai shows how wrong that assumption is. She directs our attention to the many places where her chosen characters, Daniel, Isaiah, and Yahweh, speak of themselves, using the first-person 'I' voice, and finds those to be a unique point of entry, or window, into the interiority of the characters. To construct an interior profile of these characters, Leung Lai develops an integrated methodology of psychological exegesis, drawing upon psychological perspectives of personality, Bakhtinian views of polyphony and dialogism, current studies of emotion, self and selfhood, and the empirics of reading under the rubric of reader-response literary criticism. From these perspectives, Leung Lai can identify in Daniel two primary realms in his inner identity-seeing and emotive experiencing -- and can characterize Daniel's interior world as a world of paradoxes, of seeing without comprehending, hearing without the capacity to respond. Isaiah, on the other hand, exhibits a broad spectrum of emotions, from love, intimacy, joy and empathy to a sense of being under divine constraint, and to mourning, lament, doubt, distress, helplessness and despair. The prophet exhibits a profound sense of selfhood and subtle inner depths. The character of Yahweh is found to be most striking for its inner conflicts, with its frustrations, disappointments, pain and suffering. This groundbreaking book will stimulate many readers to a new appreciation of characterization in the Hebrew Bible.
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The Struggle of Yahweh and El for Hosea’s Israel

Published: Mar 2008
£50.00
In this provocative new proposal, Chalmers presents the prophet Hosea as engaged in a polemic against the Canaanite deity El. Especially in chs. 11 —13 Hosea is exposing the Northern Kingdom's fatal error of mistaking El for Yahweh (just as, in chs. 1 —2, it was Baal who was wrongly identified with Yahweh). Here Hosea is asking, 'Who is the god of Jacob?', 'Who is the god of the exodus?' His answer is: not El —as in many Israelite traditions —, but Yahweh. This recognition leads Chalmers to reconstruct the 'back story' of the god El, from the sanctuary narrative in Genesis 28, the Balaam oracles in Numbers 22 —24, and the account of Jeroboam's cult in 1 Kings 12. Against the standard view that there is no polemic against El in the Hebrew Bible, Chalmers argues that the recurring polemic against the sanctuary at Bethel may have less to do with 'golden calves' or anti-northern rhetoric than with a much older debate about the identity of the god worshipped at Bethel. The second half of this book goes beyond the sanctuary at Bethel to the existence of a deity named Bethel. Just as the cults of Yahweh and El were closely related in Hosea's eighth-century Israel, in the fifth-century Jewish settlement at Elephantine Yahweh and Bethel seem to be almost interchangeable. Since the religious beliefs on display in Elephantine show some striking similarities to that of Hosea's Northern Kingdom, the earlier Yahweh —El dynamic and the later Yahweh —Bethel dynamic may effectively interpret one another.
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The Struggle of Yahweh and El for Hosea’s Israel

£50.00
In this provocative new proposal, Chalmers presents the prophet Hosea as engaged in a polemic against the Canaanite deity El. Especially in chs. 11 —13 Hosea is exposing the Northern Kingdom's fatal error of mistaking El for Yahweh (just as, in chs. 1 —2, it was Baal who was wrongly identified with Yahweh). Here Hosea is asking, 'Who is the god of Jacob?', 'Who is the god of the exodus?' His answer is: not El —as in many Israelite traditions —, but Yahweh. This recognition leads Chalmers to reconstruct the 'back story' of the god El, from the sanctuary narrative in Genesis 28, the Balaam oracles in Numbers 22 —24, and the account of Jeroboam's cult in 1 Kings 12. Against the standard view that there is no polemic against El in the Hebrew Bible, Chalmers argues that the recurring polemic against the sanctuary at Bethel may have less to do with 'golden calves' or anti-northern rhetoric than with a much older debate about the identity of the god worshipped at Bethel. The second half of this book goes beyond the sanctuary at Bethel to the existence of a deity named Bethel. Just as the cults of Yahweh and El were closely related in Hosea's eighth-century Israel, in the fifth-century Jewish settlement at Elephantine Yahweh and Bethel seem to be almost interchangeable. Since the religious beliefs on display in Elephantine show some striking similarities to that of Hosea's Northern Kingdom, the earlier Yahweh —El dynamic and the later Yahweh —Bethel dynamic may effectively interpret one another.
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