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The Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia as Handbooks to Eternity

In Books of Jeu, Brill, Erin EVANS, Gnosticism, Nag Hammadi, Paul Linjamaa, Pistis Sophia on October 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

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2015.10.18 | Erin Evans. The Books of Jeu and the Pistis Sophia as Handbooks to Eternity: Exploring the Gnostic Mysteries to the Ineffable. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 89. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Review by Paul Linjamaa, Lund University.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

This is a much needed book. After the Nag Hammadi-texts became available for the broader scholarly public – after many years of preservation work, editing and legal quarrels – much effort has been devoted to tracing the different Christian stances found in the large corpus. However, there have been surprisingly few studies on the very interesting Coptic “Gnostic” texts found before the Nag Hammadi discoveries. Considering the amount of attention the different Nag Hammadi-texts have received and considering the many similarities to the texts in the Bruce and Askew codex (found long before the Nag Hammadi), this is indeed surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition

In Ancient Near East, Brill, Kurtis Peters, Semitics, Ugaritic on July 17, 2015 at 5:04 am

Olmo

2015.07.17 | Gregorio del Olmo Lete and Joaquín Sanmartín. A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. Third Revised Edition. 2 vols. Translated and Edited by Wilfred G.E. Watson. (Leiden, Brill: 2015. $330. pp xliv + 989. ISBN: 978-90-04-28864-5).

Review by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

The value of Ugaritic studies for the understanding of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament needs hardly to be underscored. Countless comparisons, accurate or otherwise, between the Ba’al cycle and the Canaanite/Israelite worship of said deity have already been made. One cannot question the wealth of information that Ugaritic texts have provided us about religion in the Levant in the Late Bronze Age. They have also illuminated a good deal of the geopolitical situation during that time period. But one would be remiss to neglect the impact of Ugaritic studies on the study of Semitic philology and linguistics. Read the rest of this entry »

A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew

In Ancient Israel, Avi Hurvitz, Brill, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Language, Kurtis Peters, Lexicon on April 21, 2015 at 11:06 pm

2015.04.10 | Hurvitz, Avi. A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Innovations in the Writings of the Second Temple Period. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 160. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Pp. X+270. ISBN: 9789004266117. $128.

Reviewed by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

Avi Hurvitz’s latest contribution to scholarship is a Hebrew lexicon of a very different sort than scholarship is used to seeing. He has extracted a diachronic layer of Biblical Hebrew – Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) – and collated all linguistic markers of that period, namely anything that marks LBH as distinct from what precedes it (Hurvitz’s Classical Biblical Hebrew or CBH). While it is not new to create a lexicon for a certain diachronic layer of Hebrew (see Clines Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, as distinct from corpus-based lexica such as most other lexica of Biblical Hebrew), it is rather innovative to create one that is dedicated only to what is new or in the stages of development during a specific historical stratum that is also corpus restricted (Late Biblical Hebrew, rather than early Second Temple Hebrew). Read the rest of this entry »

El-Amarna Correspondence

In Ancient Near East, Anson F. Rainey, Brill, Egypt, HB/OT, Kurtis Peters, William Schniedewind, Zipora Cochavi-Rainey on March 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

2015.03.08 | Rainey, Anson F. Z”L. The El-Amarna Correspondence: A New Edition of the Cuneiform Letters from the Site of El-Amarna based on Collations of all Extant Tablets, edited by William Schniedewind and Zipora Cochavi-Rainey. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Reviewed by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

Many students, and perhaps even some scholars, of the Bible are unaware of the corpus of material that comes to us from el-Amarna in Egypt. Of course, this material is not written in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, nor does it tell of any events that can easily correlate with the biblical corpus. Why, then, ought those who study the Bible to know these texts? Or more to the point, what does Rainey’s extensive work on them offer to biblical studies?

These texts from el-Amarna (an artificial name derived from a misunderstanding in the early 19th century – p.1), consist largely of letters written to and sometimes from Egypt during the reigns of the 18th dynasty Pharaohs Amenḥotep III and Amenḥotep IV (who later famously adopted the name Akhenaten). Read the rest of this entry »

Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Under Pitiless Skies

In Brill, Nicola Denzey LEWIS, Sarah Parkhouse, Uncategorized on October 16, 2014 at 10:00 am

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2014.10.16 | Nicola Denzey Lewis. Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity: Under Pitiless Skies. (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 81). Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013.

Reviewed by Sarah Parkhouse, Durham University.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

Nicola Denzey Lewis’ Cosmology and Fate in Gnosticism and Graeco-Roman Antiquity reveals that in Gnostic and Graeco-Roman texts, the skies are not pitiless. The aims of the book are three-fold: firstly, a survey of how second-century authors understood astrological fate (heimarmene) as controlled by cosmic beings; secondly, the suggestion that these authors (almost) consistently offered their readers an escape from heimarmene; and, thirdly, further deconstruction of the orthodoxy-heresy dichotomy. The book demonstrates Denzey Lewis’ impressive knowledge of all things second century, explicitly shown by her ability to discuss fate in New Testament, Middle Platonic, Stoic, Gnostic, Manichean, Hermetic, pagan and proto-orthodox texts, despite stating that ‘language of “enslavement to Fate” in antiquity was rare’ (p.28). Read the rest of this entry »

Arabic Manuscripts: A Vademecum for Readers

In Adam GACEK, Arabic Manuscripts, Brill, Manuscripts, Textual Criticism, Transmission history, W. Andrew Smith on December 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm

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2013.12.24 | Adam Gacek.  Arabic Manuscripts: A Vademecum for Readers.  Leiden: Brill, 2011. xviii + 350 pages (with 216 ill. and 3 charts). ISBN 9789004221444.

Review by W. Andrew Smith, Shepherds Theological Seminary.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

If the term vademecum is unfamiliar, it refers to a handbook that is carried around at all times for consultation (from the modern Latin “go with me”).  With that in mind, Adam Gacek’s Arabic Manuscripts: A Vademecum for Readers most certainly qualifies as a guide that should be kept readily at hand by scholars interested in various aspects of the study of manuscripts. Gacek, who is a retired lecturer in Islamic Manuscript Studies from McGill University, introduces the vademecum with the qualifier that it is not intended to be a comprehensive manual, but rather “an aid to students and researchers” (xi).

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Radical Frame Semantics and Biblical Hebrew: Exploring Lexical Semantics

In Brill, Cognitive Semantics, HB/OT, Kurtis Peters, Linguistics, Stephen SHEAD on June 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

2013.06.12 | Stephen Shead. Radical Frame Semantics and Biblical Hebrew: Exploring Lexical Semantics. Biblical Interpretation Series 108. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2011. Pp. xxvii + 378. ISBN: 978-90-04-18839-6.

Review by Kurtis Peters, University of Edinburgh.

Many thanks to Brill for kindly providing us with a review copy.

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In recent years, there has been a slow but steady movement toward adapting modern linguistic theory to the study of biblical languages, particularly within lexical semantics – the study of word meaning. Shead’s Radical Frame Semantics represents yet another step forward in this general trend, and a strong one at that.

In this volume, Shead has clearly grasped the task at hand – to articulate a responsible method for handling the meaning of words in an ancient language – and has demonstrated convincingly that there is much to be gained from applying such a method.

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Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses

In Angelomorphic, Bogdan Gabriel BUCUR, Brill, Clement of Alexandria, Dan Batovici, Early Christianity, Hermas, Patristics, Pneumatology on December 17, 2012 at 8:18 am

Angelomorph

2012.12.18 | Bogdan Gabriel Bucur. Angelomorphic Pneumatology: Clement of Alexandria and Other Early Christian Witnesses. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 95. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2009. xxix + 232 pp. ISBN: 9789004174146.

Reviewed by Dan Batovici, University of St Andrews.

Many thanks to Brill for kindly providing us with a review copy.

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This volume is the revised and amplified version of a PhD thesis written under Alexander Golitzin and defended in 2007 at Marquette University. From the outset, Bucur’s research on angelomorphic pneumatology (“that is, the use of angelic imagery in early Christian discourse about the Holy Spirit”, xxi) is proposed “as a complement to Charles Gieschen’s work on angelomorphic Christology and to John Levinson’s work on the angelic spirit in early Judaism” (xi).  Read the rest of this entry »

Early Christian Manuscripts: Examples of Applied Method and Approach

In Amulets, Brill, Dan Batovici, Early Christianity, Egypt, New Testament, Oxyrhynchus, Papyrology, Patristics, Reception history, Scripture, Textual Criticism, Thomas KRAUS, Tobias NICKLAS on June 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

2012.06.13 | Thomas J. Kraus and Tobias Nicklas, eds. Early Christian Manuscripts: Examples of Applied Method and Approach. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study 5. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2010. xx + 243 pp. ISBN: 9789004182653.

Reviewed by Dan Batovici, University of St Andrews.

Many thanks to Brill for kindly providing us with a review copy.

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This volume is intended as a papyrological follow-up of a previous volume, New Testament Manuscripts: Their Texts and Their World, published in the same series (TENT 2) in 2006. It features nine articles forming nine chapters varying in size between 15 and 45 pages. Read the rest of this entry »

The Legacy of John: Second Century Reception of the Fourth Gospel

In Brill, Charles E. HILL, Dan Batovici, John, New Testament, NT reception history, Second century, Tuomas RASIMUS on January 17, 2011 at 8:37 am

2011.01.02 | Tuomas Rasimus, ed. The Legacy of John: Second Century Reception of the Fourth Gospel. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 132. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2010. Pp. xi + 406. ISBN: 9789004176331. Hardback

Reviewed by Dan Batovici, University of St Andrews.

The book is a fine collection of twelve essays on several second-century texts and their relation to the Fourth Gospel. The editor mentions in the very dense introduction the need to ‘abandon the old division between “orthodox” and “heterodox” forms of Christianity as misleading and anachronistic.’

It is commendable, indeed, to seek for the early reception of John beyond such a distinction, and this fresh view stands well in a context in which the two most recent major contributions on the early reception of John tend to focus on either the “orthodox” or the “heterodox” reception. Read the rest of this entry »