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Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library (9 vols.)
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Gathering Interest

Overview

The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library is a project of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine.

The series is committed to producing volumes in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the Anchor Bible, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated non-specialist. It is committed to work of sound philological and historical scholarship, supplemented by insight from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism.

In the Logos edition, these volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Analyzes various methods of biblical interpretation
  • Contains insights from various Old and New Testament scholars
  • Examines the biblical text from a wide variety of methodological perspectives

Product Details

Individual Titles

A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period

  • Author: William M. Schniedewind
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 280

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

More than simply a method of communication shared by a common people, the Hebrew language was always an integral part of the Jewish cultural system and, as such, tightly interwoven into the lives of the prophets, poets, scribes, and priests who used it. In this unique social history, William Schniedewind examines classical Hebrew from its origins in the second millennium BCE until the Rabbinic period, when the principles of Judaism as we know it today were formulated, to view the story of the Israelites through the lens of their language.

Considering classical Hebrew from the standpoint of a writing system as opposed to vernacular speech, Schniedewind demonstrates how the Israelites’ long history of migration, war, exile, and other momentous events is reflected in Hebrew’s linguistic evolution. An excellent addition to the fields of biblical and Middle Eastern studies, this fascinating work brings linguistics and social history together for the first time to explore an ancient culture.

William M. Schniedewind is Kershaw Chair of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies, Professor of Biblical Studies and Northwest Semitic Languages, and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA.

Friendship in the Hebrew Bible

  • Author: Saul M. Olyan
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Pages: 208

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Friendship, though a topic of considerable humanistic and cross disciplinary interest in contemporary scholarship, has been largely ignored by scholars of the Hebrew Bible, possibly because of its complexity and elusiveness. Filling a significant gap in our knowledge and understanding of biblical texts, Saul M. Olyan provides this original, accessible analysis of a key form of social relationship. In this thorough and compelling assessment, Olyan analyzes a wide range of texts, including prose narratives, prophetic materials, psalms, pre-Hellenistic wisdom collections, and the Hellenistic-era wisdom book Ben Sira. This in-depth, contextually sensitive, and theoretically engaged study explores how the expectations of friends and family members overlap and differ, examining, among other things, characteristics that make the friend a distinct social actor; failed friendship; and friendships in narratives such as those of Ruth and Naomi, and Jonathan and David. Olyan presents a comprehensive look at what constitutes friendship in the Hebrew Bible.

Saul M. Olyan is the Samuel Ungerleider Jr. Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University, where he has taught since 1992. His books include Social Inequality in the World of the Text: The Significance of Ritual and Social Distinctions in the Hebrew Bible, Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences, and Biblical Mourning: Ritual and Social Dimensions.

Language and Literacy in Roman Judaea: A Study of the Bar Kokhba Documents

  • Author: Michael Owen Wise
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 544

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This comprehensive exploration of language and literacy in the multi-lingual environment of Roman Palestine (c. 63 B.C.E. to 136 C.E.) is based on Michael Wise’s extensive study of 145 Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean contracts and letters preserved among the Bar Kokhba texts, a valuable cache of ancient Middle Eastern artifacts. His investigation of Judean documentary and epistolary culture derives for the first time numerical data concerning literacy rates, language choices, and writing fluency during the two-century span between Pompey’s conquest and Hadrian’s rule. He explores questions of who could read in these ancient times of Jesus and Hillel, what they read, and how language worked in this complex multi-tongued milieu. Included also is an analysis of the ways these documents were written and the interplay among authors, secretaries, and scribes. Additional analysis provides readers with a detailed picture of the people, families, and lives behind the texts.

Michael Owen Wise is Scholar-in-Residence and Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Languages at the University of Northwestern–St. Paul. He lives in St. Paul, MN.

Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition

  • Author: Benjamin D. Sommer
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 440

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

At once a study of biblical theology and modern Jewish thought, this volume describes a “participatory theory of revelation” as it addresses the ways biblical authors and contemporary theologians alike understand the process of revelation and hence the authority of the law. Benjamin Sommer maintains that the Pentateuch’s authors intend not only to convey God’s will but to express Israel’s interpretation of and response to that divine will. Thus Sommer’s close readings of biblical texts bolster liberal theologies of modern Judaism, especially those of Abraham Joshua Heschel and Franz Rosenzweig. This bold view of revelation puts a premium on human agency and attests to the grandeur of a God who accomplishes a providential task through the free will of the human subjects under divine authority. Yet, even though the Pentateuch’s authors hold diverse views of revelation, all of them regard the binding authority of the law as sacrosanct. Sommer’s book demonstrates why a law-observant religious Jew can be open to discoveries about the Bible that seem nontraditional or even antireligious.

Benjamin D. Sommer is professor of Bible at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He lives in Teaneck, NJ.

The Birth of Christian History: Memory and Time from Mark to Luke-Acts

  • Author: Eve-Marie Becker
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Pages: 280

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

When the Gospel writings were first produced, Christian thinking was already cognizant of its relationship to ancient memorial cultures and history-writing traditions. Yet, little has been written about exactly what shaped the development of early Christian literary memory. In this eye-opening new study, Eve-Marie Becker explores the diverse ways in which history was written according to the Hellenistic literary tradition, focusing specifically on the time during which the New Testament writings came into being: from the mid-first century until the early second century CE.

While acknowledging cases of historical awareness in other New Testament writings, Becker traces the origins of this historiographical approach to the Gospel of Mark and Luke-Acts. Offering a bold new framework, Becker shows how the earliest Christian writings shaped “Christian” thinking and writing about history.

Eve-Marie Becker is chair of New Testament studies at the University of Muenster in Germany. From 2006-18 she was professor of New Testament exegesis at Aarhus University in Denmark. From 2016-17 she was Distinguished Visiting Professor of New Testament at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and from 2017-18 Research Fellow at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem.

The House of the Mother: The Social Roles of Maternal Kin in Biblical Hebrew and Narrative Poetry

  • Author: Cynthia R. Chapman
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Pages: 360

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Upending traditional scholarship on patrilineal genealogy, Cynthia Chapman draws on twenty years of research to uncover an under-appreciated yet socially significant kinship unit in the Bible: “the house of the mother.” In households where a man had two or more wives, siblings born to the same mother worked to promote and protect one another’s interests. Revealing the hierarchies of the maternal houses and political divisions within the national house of Israel, this book provides us with a nuanced understanding of domestic and political life in ancient Israel.

Cynthia R. Chapman is the Adelia A.G. Johnston and Harry Thomas Frank Professor of Biblical Studies at Oberlin College. She is the author of The Gendered Language of Warfare in the Israelite-Assyrian Encounter.

The Responsive Self: Personal Religion in Biblical Literature of the Neo-Babylonian and Persion Periods

  • Author: Susan Niditch
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 200

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Works created in the period from the Babylonian conquest of Judea through the takeover and rule of Judea and Samaria by imperial Persia reveal a profound interest in the religious responses of individuals and an intimate engagement with the nature of personal experience. Using the rich and varied body of literature preserved in the Hebrew Bible, Susan Niditch examines ways in which followers of Yahweh, participating in long-standing traditions, are shown to privatize and personalize religion. Their experiences remain relevant to many of the questions we still ask today: Why do bad things happen to good people? Does God hear me when I call out in trouble? How do I define myself? Do I have a personal relationship with a divine being? How do I cope with chaos and make sense of my experience? What roles do material objects and private practices play within my religious life? These questions deeply engaged the ancient writers of the Bible, and they continue to intrigue contemporary people who try to find meaning in life and to make sense of the world.

The Responsive Self studies a variety of phenomena, including the use of first-person speech, seemingly autobiographic forms and orientations, the emphasis on individual responsibility for sin, interest in the emotional dimensions of biblical characters, and descriptions of self-imposed ritual. This set of interests lends itself to exciting approaches in the contemporary study of religion, including the concept of “lived religion,” and involves understanding and describing what people actually do and believe in cultures of religion.

Susan Niditch is Samuel Green Professor of Religion at Amherst College. She lives in Amherst, MA.

Where the Gods Are: Spatial Dimensions of Anthropomorphism in the Biblical World

  • Author: Mark S. Smith
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Pages: 248

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The issue of how to represent God is a concern both ancient and contemporary. In this wide-ranging and authoritative study, renowned biblical scholar Mark Smith investigates the symbols, meanings, and narratives in the Hebrew Bible, Ugaritic texts, and ancient iconography, which attempt to describe deities in relation to humans. Smith uses a novel approach to show how the Bible depicts God in human and animal forms—and sometimes both together. Mediating between the ancients’ theories and the work of modern thinkers, Smith’s boldly original work uncovers the foundational understandings of deities and space.

Mark S. Smith is Skirball Professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. He is the author of fifteen books, including The Early History of GodThe Pilgrimage Pattern in Exodus (with contributions by the archaeologist Elizabeth Bloch-Smith); The Origins of Biblical MonotheismGod in TranslationPoetic Heroes; and How Human Is God? Seven Questions about God and Humanity in the Bible.

Women's Divination in Biblical Literature: Prophecy, Necromancy, and Other Arts of Knowledge

  • Author: Esther J. Hamori
  • Publisher: Yale
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Pages: 288

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Divination, the use of special talents and techniques to gain divine knowledge, was practiced in many different forms in ancient Israel and throughout the ancient world. The Hebrew Bible reveals a variety of traditions of women associated with divination. This sensitive and incisive book by respected scholar Esther J. Hamori examines the wide scope of women’s divinatory activities as portrayed in the Hebrew texts, offering readers a new appreciation of the surprising breadth of women’s “arts of knowledge” in biblical times. Unlike earlier approaches to the subject that have viewed prophecy separately from other forms of divination, Hamori’s study encompasses the full range of divinatory practices and the personages who performed them, from the female prophets and the medium of Endor to the matriarch who interprets a birth omen and the “wise women” of Tekoa and Abel and more. In doing so, the author brings into clearer focus the complex, rich, and diverse world of ancient Israelite divination.

Esther J. Hamori is associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary. Her publications include a book on divine anthropomorphism, “When Gods Were Men”: The Embodied God in Biblical and Near Eastern Literature. She lives in New York, NY.