John and Judaism
The Old Testament in Archaeology and History

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Sweet Dreams? Interpreting Food in the Dreams of Pharaoh’s Cupbearer and Baker

By Diana Lipton

When you look at a familiar text through an unfamiliar lens, you see new things. Here’s an example. I did my PhD at Cambridge University on dreams in the book of Genesis (Lipton:1999). My focus was dreams in the patriarchal narratives (Abraham’s, Abimelech’s, Jacob’s, and Laban’s). Since they had already been subjected to the close reading I planned to conduct, I chose not to write about the dreams in the Joseph story. I read a lot about them, though, and thought I knew pretty much what there was to say. So I was surprised when, rereading the account of the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker (Genesis 40) through the lens of food, I saw dimensions of the story that were completely new to me. See complete essay


Resurrection in Early Judaism

By C.D. Elledge

From a later historical perspective, one of the most important concepts among Western Religions to have taken shape among early Jewish theologies was a confident hope in a literal resurrection from the dead. In Judaism, the hope accentuates the Second Benediction (Gevurot) of the Amidah, which glorifies the God of mighty deeds, whose unrivalled power can even revive the dead, keeping faith beyond death with all who sleep in the dust. Authors of the New Testament confided heavily in a future resurrection, one that was already assured by Christ’s own exaltation as the first of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 26:23; Rom 6:5; 1 Cor 15:12-28; 2 Tim 2:11). See complete essay


Reading the Hebrew Bible through Marginal/ized Female Characters

By Wil Gafney

The study of women and other female characters, i.e., goddesses, in the Hebrew Scriptures expanded significantly with the advent of feminism and womanism and the ensuing increased number of women pursuing academic studies in Hebrew Biblical studies and theological education. Carol Meyers famously observed that of the 1,426 personal names that appear in the Hebrew text, 1,315 are or are presumed to be male (Meyers, 1992). Even with the explosion of feminist and womanist biblical scholarship, a significant number of under-explored female characters remain. See complete essay


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In My View - Opinion

The Ancient Israelites through Archaeology, History and Text

By Paul V. M. Flesher

Why is it important to study the ancient Israelites, a people whose history was recorded in books more than 2000 years ago? The answer is as simple as it is powerful: they created monotheism, the worship of one god.

Israelite writings recorded the many interactions they had with their god over the first millennium BCE. Collected into the Jewish Hebrew Bible and then the Christian Old Testament, they became the foundation for three of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Nearly half of the world’s population, at least its religious population, look to ancient Israel for their religious roots. See complete essay


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