Reviews of

Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology

In A. R. George, Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, Kurtis Peters, Mohr Siebeck, Mythology, T. M. Oshima, W. G. Lambert on September 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

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2017.09.20 | W. G. Lambert, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology: Selected Essays, ed. A. R. George and T. M. Oshima, Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 15 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016). ISBN: 9783161536748.

Review by Kurtis Peters

Many thanks to Mohr Siebeck for providing a review copy

W. G. Lambert’s contributions to Assyriology are unquestionably many. His work in Babylonian wisdom literature and the publishing of the Atra-Ḫasīs epic are alone testament to the enduring value of his work. In the present volume one finds a range of Lambert’s essays on the pantheon, myth, and religion found in ancient Mesopotamia. The editors, A. R. George and T. M. Oshima, divided the volume into five sections. First is “Introductory Considerations”, within which one finds two essays, “Morals in Mesopotamia” and “Ancient Mesopotamian Gods: Superstition, Philosophy, Theology”. Though the material here overlaps with much of what comes in later essays, these set some necessary groundwork and do so in a more generalist way. That the latter was published in Revue de l’histoire des religions confirms its broad scope. The second through the fourth sections are differentiable only in nuance: “The Gods of Ancient Mesopotamia”, “The Mythology of Ancient Mesopotamia”, and “The Religion of Ancient Mesopotamia”. The fifth and final section would be the most relevant to the readers of RBECS – “Ancient Mesopotamia and Israel”.

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Hebrews in Contexts

In Brill, Bryan Dyer, Gabriella GELARDINI, Graeco-Roman Backgrounds, Harold W. ATTRIDGE, Hebrews, Jewish Backgrounds, New Testament, Spatial Theory on September 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm

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2017.09.19 | Gabriella Gelardini and Harold W. Attridge, eds. Hebrews in Contexts. Leiden: Brill, 2016. ISBN: 9789004311688.

Reviewed by Bryan Dyer, Baker Academic.

This collection of essays, edited by Gabriella Gelardini and Harold Attridge, brings together many of the fine papers that have been presented in the Hebrews section at the SBL annual meetings from 2005 to 2013. In their introduction, the editors place the volume within the increased attention that the epistle has received during those years. More specifically, this volume (and the Hebrews section over the years) attempts to place Hebrews within a variety of “contexts”—a term referring to historical context (Jewish, Greco-Roman) as well as hermeneutical approaches (spatial theory, canonical reading, history of interpretation). One key feature is that the editors (also the SBL co-chairs) sought out non-Hebrews scholars who are experts in fields with baring on Hebrews to bring their specialty to the text. As a result, the volume presents some fresh readings and approaches to the text that will be new to even seasoned Hebrews scholars.

The Text of Marcion’s Gospel

In Brill, Dieter T. ROTH, Early Christianity, Jordan Almanzar, Marcion, New Testament, Textual Criticism on September 3, 2017 at 10:40 am

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2017.09.18 | Dieter T. Roth. The Text of Marcion’s Gospel. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents 49. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015. ISBN: 9789004245204.

Reviewed by Jordan Almanzar, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen.

Dieter T. Roth has taken up the ambitious task of reconstructing the Gospel portion of Marcion’s “bible”. His objective is not a new one, as the first attempts to reassemble Marcion’s text are generally traced to the 18th century (Roth, 8). [Roth credits J.S. Semler as the first scholar to attempt a resemblance of Marcion’s text, however, he also mentions Richard Simon’s work from nearly a century earlier.] Even so, scholars have long awaited a book such as the one Dieter T. Roth has produced.Its value lies chiefly in the intentionally convenient layout, which is the result of Roth’s patient classification and arrangement of material. Therefore, the book can be immediately used and appreciated by anyone interested in Marcion’s Gospel. Most of the work is an explanation of the difficulties of the task along with details on the methods employed to do so; however, readers can begin using it as a reference tool at the outset.