Saturday, November 24, 2012

Brooke et al., The Significance of Sinai

The Significance of Sinai
Traditions about Sinai and Divine Revelation in Judaism and Christianity

Edited by: George J. Brooke, Hindy Najman, Loren T. Stuckenbruck. Editorial Assistance: Eva Mroczek, Brauna Doidge and Nathalie Lacoste

This volume of essays is concerned with ancient and modern Jewish and Christian views of the revelation at Sinai. The theme is highlighted in studies on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Paul, Josephus, rabbinic literature, art and philosophy. The contributions demonstrate that Sinai, as the location of the revelation, soon became less significant than the narratives that developed about what happened there. Those narratives were themselves transformed, not least to explain problems regarding the text's plain sense. Miraculous theophany, anthropomorphisms, the role of Moses, and the response of Israel were all handled with exegetical skills mustered by each new generation of readers. Furthermore, the content of the revelation, especially the covenant, was rethought in philosophical, political, and theological ways. This collection of studies is especially useful in showing something of the complexity of how scriptural traditions remain authoritative and lively for those who appeal to them from very different contexts.
This is not a new book (2008), but the Brill Facebook page highlighted it recently and I haven't mentioned it before, so here it is.