The Bible for the Curious - A Brief Encounter - Philip R. Davies†

The Bible for the Curious - A Brief Encounter - Philip R. Davies†

6. Ancient Judaisms

The Bible for the Curious - A Brief Encounter - Philip R. Davies†

Philip R. Davies† [+-]
University of Sheffield, (Emeritus)
Philip R. Davies, who died in 2018, was Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield. Educated at Oxford and St Andrews, Scotland, he edited, authored or co-authored 37 books on the Dead Sea Scrolls and various aspects of interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, including In Search of Ancient Israel (1992), Whose Bible Is It Anyway? (1995), Scribes and Schools: The Canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures (1998), The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls (2002) and Memories of Ancient Israel: An Introduction to Biblical History (2008). He was co-founder of Sheffield Academic Press and former President of the British Society for Old Testament Study and European Association of Biblical Studies.


We have seen how ‘Israel’ is an identity with several claimants, each with its own story. In the case of the New Testament, we have a multiplicity of ‘Jesuses’. There is more than one memory of a historical figure and more than one understanding of what followers of Jesus Christ, as he becomes, should believe and do. The New Testament exposes these identities, ending in a highly vivid climax: Jesus Christ returns to defeat his enemies, gather the righteous to himself and bring creation and history to an end. The stories begin in Palestine with a Jewish teacher and healer understood by his followers as the culmination of all that the scriptures mean. They move beyond Palestine and beyond Judaism, and what begins as a confrontation with Jewish authorities ends as a confrontation with the Roman Empire. But they give only hints of the eventful history of their time and little explanation of the culture of first century ce Palestinian Judaism. The original readers, of course, did not need telling, but two thousand years later, some explanation is necessary.

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Davies, Philip. 6. Ancient Judaisms. The Bible for the Curious - A Brief Encounter. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 69-82 Nov 2018. ISBN 9781781797440. Date accessed: 27 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35687. Nov 2018

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