AJCO and Nyack College at SBL (Nov 23-26th), Baltimore Maryland

AJCO and Nyack College faculty will present three papers at this year’s annual meeting. See below for the information…

See you in Baltimore!!!!

Historical Jesus
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Harborview 2 – Sheraton Inner Harbor

R. Steven Notley, Nyack College
The Sin against the Spirit (30 min)

The Matthean account of “The Sin Against the Spirit” (Matt 12:31-32) and its synoptic parallels (Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10) preserve a dominical saying that is best to be understood against the background of developments in Jewish thought during Roman antiquity. The notion of a gradation of sin can also be witnessed in literature beginning with the Book of the Watchers and continues into the second century C.E. tannaitic chronographic work Seder Olam Rabbah. We will briefly trace these developments and consider also the Semitic idioms unique to Matthew’s logion to find that our saying accords well with the religious expression of emerging Judaism during the final days of the Second Temple.


Sabbath in Text and Tradition
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Holiday 6 – Hilton Baltimore

R. Steven Notley, Nyack College
Jesus and the Sabbath (25 min)

Jesus’ defense of his disciples on the Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-8 (= Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5) is the product of a new sensitivity within Judaism during the final decades of the Second Temple. Although there are textual variants that challenge whether the accusation concerned the plucking or husking of grains (cf. b. Shab. 128a), the scope of this study is more narrowly focused on Jesus’ four-part rejoinder and his creative exegesis of the Hebrew Scriptures. After all, what relevance has the story of David and his men at Nob (1 Sam 21:1-6) to Sabbath observance? The answer lies in Jesus’ nuanced expansion upon the biblical narrative in light of its later Jewish reading (e.g. Yal. Shim. on 1 Sam 21:5; b. Menah. 95b). Jesus’ mention of the priests at Nob also opens the way for his argument qal ve-homer (a minori ad maius) concerning the priests and the Temple. His conclusion is one of the most sublime expressions of Jewish humanism recorded from the time of the Second Temple—and it serves as the nexus for his defense of the disciples. He strengthens his contention with an elliptical citation from Hosea 6:6 – a passage which became closely identified with emerging Jewish humanistic trends (see m. Avot 1:2; ARN 4). The final remark regarding the Sabbath and humanity belongs to an ancient Jewish homily more fully preserved in the Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael (on Exod 31:4). Can it be a coincidence that in both the excursus by Jesus and the Jewish commentary we hear collocated reasoning by means of qal ve-homer concerning the Sabbath and the Temple together with a saying about the relationship of humanity and the Sabbath? In summary, Jesus has taken advantage of the occasion of his opponents’ criticism to give voice to fresh Jewish ideas about the value of the human individual and the purpose of the Sabbath.


4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: 349 – Convention Center
Theme: Orality, Textuality, and Intertextuality in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Jeffrey Paul Garcia, Nyack College
“Vessels of Dust”: The Use and Disuse of Genesis’ Creation Accounts to Depict Humanity in the Hodayot (25 min)

Since the discovery in Cave 1 of the collection known as the Hodayot (Thanksgiving Hymns) significant scholarly attention has been given to these psalmic compositions (cf., Schuller and DiTommaso, DSD 4/1(1996): 55-101). Much of it has been focused on reconstruction, authorship, poetic style, placement on the landscape of Qumranic thought, and the liturgical utilization of these scrolls within the community (e.g., Licht, Stegemann, Chazon, Schuller, Kim, etc.). Interestingly, one of the major themes that have come to the fore is the depiction of humanity’s baseness and utter sinfulness (e.g., Licht, etc.). These differing portrayals are partially built on deft biblical allusions, which are employed as a poetic device in the Hodayot (cf. J. Hughes, Scriptural Allusions in the Hodayot [STJD 59; Brill, 2006]). Little attention, however, has been given to the manner in which the language of Thanksgiving Hymns is intended to allude to Genesis’ creation narrative(s), as well as the general anthropology of the Hebrew Bible. Moreover, while modern scholars have shown that Genesis preserves what were originally two Creation narratives, whether such a distinction was known in the ancient world is not readily evident. Yet, when read carefully not only do the hymns appear to preserve previously unnoticed allusions to Genesis but also appear to be intended to point the reader back to a specific creation narrative. Therefore the purpose of this study is to examine the linguistic nuances of the Hodayot that seem intended to allude to a specific Genesis narrative and the manner which they help to shed light on the author’s thought regarding humanity. Additionally, the examination of these hymns will help to provide some insight into how the ancients read and interpreted the creation narratives, and more specifically, shed light on the sectarian view of humanity.


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