Insights into Editing in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East
The symposium focuses on the editorial processes of the Hebrew Bible, which have received increased attention in recent scholarly discussion. The reason for the attention is the renewed interest in the methodological basis of how the Hebrew Bible should be investigated. Some of the research is proceeding unabated with the traditional methodology of literary and redaction criticism, while many scholars have abandoned all attempts to understand and reconstruct the literary, source and redaction histories of the texts. The latter scholars have concluded that since the traditional methodologies have rarely resulted in consensus, a more productive way to approach the texts would be to investigate their final forms only.
Instead of this bipolar division of the scholarly scene, more attention should be paid to the so-called empirical evidence, which provides unequivocal indications for the editorial processes and how the texts were changed. Although some of the documented evidence has been known to scholars since the beginning of the era of critical research, it has played only a small role in establishing models for understanding the editorial processes. This may now be starting to change, as more documented evidence is coming to the core of the discussion. The evidence from Qumran is now fully available, the parallels in the Septuagint are increasingly seen as eminently relevant to the discussion, and the non-biblical evidence (such as the Gilgamesh Epic) is also playing a larger role, as the Hebrew Bible is increasingly seen as part of the wider ancient Near East. However, one problem has been that the documented evidence is often discussed within the specific fields and there has been very little shared discussion between the fields. Moreover, the documented evidence has not played a large role for scholars who use the traditional methods of reconstructing the literary growth of the texts.
The symposium seeks to remedy, in part, this lack of discussion between specialists of different fields. Scholars who have a more traditional methodological approach will be brought together in a shared conversation with scholars who are specifically dealing with the documented evidence from the ancient Near East, the textual history of the Hebrew Bible, and the late Second Temple religious literature. The symposium is planned, by design, to open a discussion between the proponents of the classical source and redaction critical methods, on the one hand, and those who are investigating empirical evidence that gives insight into editorial processes that in fact took place in the ancient Near Eastern and early Jewish literature, on the other. Major questions of this discussion will be: Is it possible to reconstruct editorial processes within this literature at all, and if so, to which extent? How reliable would such reconstructions be, regarding the different kinds of evidence? With this shared conversation, the symposium seeks to bridge the gaps between different but closely related fields of research in processes of literary growth; the symposium will thus open new perspectives for further methodological research and contribute to a refinement of the existing methodologies.
Uwe Becker, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
George Brooke, University of Manchester
Hans Debel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Kristin De Troyer, University of St Andrews
Cynthia Edenburg, The Open University of Israel
Friedhelm Hartenstein, University of Munich
Jan Joosten, Université de Strasbourg
Reinhard Gregor Kratz, Georg-August-University Göttingen
Christoph Levin, University of Munich
Anne Löhnert, Harvard University
Sarianna Metso, University of Toronto
Sara J. Milstein, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Bernd U. Schipper, Humboldt-University Berlin
Pablo A. Torijano Morales, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Julio Trebolle Barrera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Eugene Ulrich, University of Notre Dame
Sidnie White Crawford, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The symposium is part of a long-standing research project of Reinhard Müller, Juha Pakkala, and Bas ter Haar Romeny. It is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.