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David, King

Bathsheba the Kingmaker

Bathsheba first appears as the object of David’s lust, then as the mother of Solomon, who pleads with the king to make her son his heir. And yet, a close look at her actions shows her to be someone with agency, able to manipulate her husband and even her son to ensure Solomon’s safety and rule.

Prof.

Carl S. Ehrlich

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The Binding of Isaac, a Sacred Legend for the Jerusalem Temple

The Akedah (binding of Isaac) takes place on a mountain in the obscure land of Moriah. When a Judahite scribe later revised the story to have the angel of YHWH stop Abraham from killing his son, he connected Moriah with the Jerusalem Temple, thereby giving it a new hieros logos—a sacred founding legend, to compete with the northern worship site Beth-El.

Prof.

Rami Arav

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Moses and the Fugitive Hero Pattern

The story of Moses follows a pattern that is typical of ancient Near Eastern fugitive hero narratives. However, when Moses goes to Mount Horeb, the plot deviates from the usual “divine encounter” feature. What does this tell us about the composition of the story of Moses and the Burning Bush?

Prof.

Edward L. Greenstein

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Literary Parallels in Bereishit 34-38 and 1 Samuel

Rabbi

Shmuel Klitsner

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Lot and His Daughters' Motives for Their Incestuous Union

Genesis Rabbah surprisingly portrays Lot’s daughters and their choices in a decidedly positive light, while exacerbating Lot’s culpability.

Dr.

Shayna Sheinfeld

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King David and Oedipus Rex

Reading the Succession Narrative as Anti-Monarchic Greek Tragedy

Dr.

Richard Lederman

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Honoring the Death of Soldiers

The concept of heroic death is conspicuously absent in Bible. This sharply contrasts with ancient Near Eastern and Greek tropes, as well as with the book of Maccabees and modern day commemorations such as Israel’s Yom Hazikaron and America’s Memorial Day. How should we understand this difference?[1]

Dr.

Jacob L. Wright

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The Israelite Conquest of Jerusalem in the Bible: When and Who?

Jerusalem in the 14th century B.C.E. was a Canaanite city; by the 10th/9th century B.C.E. it was Israelite. The Bible records several different accounts of how it was conquered. What are we to make of these different traditions?

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Recasting David’s Foreign Origins

The book of Ruth tells the story of David’s great grandmother Ruth, a Moabite woman who attaches herself to a Judahite family. Could this have been designed as a positive spin for a persistent, problematic tradition about David’s foreignness—a tradition so controversial that it was excised from the rest of the Bible?

Dr.

Yael Avrahami

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Edom's Copper Mines in Timna: Their Significance in the 10th Century

Copper has been mined in the Timna Valley since the 5th millennium B.C.E. Recent excavations reveal that the height of activity in the region dates to the 10th century B.C.E. and thus domination of this remote region during this period would have meant control of the lucrative copper industry. Could this be the unwritten backdrop to the Bible’s account of David’s conquest of Edom and Solomon’s great wealth?

Prof.

Erez Ben-Yosef

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Dr.

Aaron Greener

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Ancient Israelite Divination: Urim ve-Tummim, Ephod, and Prophecy

In the Prophets, Israelite leaders such as Joshua, Saul, David, and Ahab use divination to help them make decisions, just as their ancient Near Eastern counterparts did. The Torah sidesteps the divinatory character of these objects and practices, and instead, emphasizes their ritual and religious character.

Dr.

Jonathan Stökl

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Is There a Consensus That a Census Causes a Plague?

Census is a necessary and standard procedure for governing. Indeed, the Bible contains numerous stories of censuses that are mundane and unproblematic. Only two texts suggest otherwise: Exodus 30, and 2 Samuel 24 (=1 Chronicles 21), a census by King David.[1]

Dr.

Shira Golani

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Critiquing the Moral Failings in the Bible

A Time-Honored Tradition

Dr. Rabbi

Eugene Korn

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The Story of the Concubine at Gibeah: A Satire on King Saul

Why is the Benjaminite city of Gibeah portrayed as another Sodom—and who is the anonymous Levite from Ephraim who arrives there with his concubine?

Dr.

Sara Milstein

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A King Who Reads Torah: What Was Kingship Like in the ANE?

Deuteronomy envisions a king constantly reading torah and limiting his wealth and resources. Is this how kings are described in the rest of the Bible?

Dr.

Cynthia Edenburg

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