Pain in Biblical Texts and Other Materials of the Ancient Mediterranean

Edited by Michaela Bauks and Saul M. Olyan

[Schmerz in biblischen Texten und anderen antiken Texten des Mittelmeerraums.]

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Published in English.
The representation of pain has received little attention from scholars. This collection of essays will stimulate interest in this challenging and intriguing phenomenon. It includes studies of the representation of both physical and psychological pain, pain's origins and its social and religious functions.
This volume includes a wide range of studies on pain and its representation in texts and non-literary remains of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, suggesting both the richness and complexity of the topic and the need for scholars to address it from a variety of perspectives. The essays engage the subject of pain and its representation in a multitude of ways, including consideration of the representation of physical pain, of psychological anguish, and the often complex relationship between the two. Several essays focus on the representation of pain in a particular genre of ancient literature such as Greek medical texts, narratives, prophetic texts, poetry, or legal texts. The volume also explores descriptions of concrete pain and the metaphorical use of pain imagery and idioms, as well as pain's relationship to shame, illness and torture. Finally, both communal and individual dimensions of pain are of interest to the contributors, as is the role pain might have had in ritual action and the part rites might play in the imposition of pain.
Survey of contents
Michaela Bauks: The Study of Pain in Historical Anthropology − Saul M. Olyan: Approaches to the Study of Pain in Ancient Texts − Michaela Bauks/Saul M. Olyan: Introduction to the Volume

I. The Hebrew Bible, Cuneiform Texts, and Material Remains of the Iron Age
Andreas Wagner: Schmerz im Alten Testament − Michaela Bauks: Pain in Childbirth – Gen 3:16 in Inner-Biblical Exegesis − Saul M. Olyan: Pain Imposed: The Psychological Torture of Enemies through Ritual Acts in Biblical and Cuneiform Sources − Christian Frevel: »Seht meinen Schmerz!« Rhetorik der Schmerzen in Klgl 1 − Judith Gärtner: »Und mein Schmerz steht mir immer vor Augen« (Ps 38,18) – Schmerz als Ausdrucksform in den Psalmen am Beispiel von Ps 38 − Rüdiger Schmitt: Mourning and Grief in Iron Age Coroplastic Arts from Palestine/Israel − Bernd Janowski: Der Schmerz Gottes. Zu einem wichtigen Zug im biblischen Gottesbild

II. The Greek Bible, Greek Traditions, Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Texts, and Early Christian Materials
Martin F. Meyer: Schmerz. Bedeutung und Konzepte in der griechischen Literatur der Antike − Annette Weissenrieder: The Unpleasant Sight: Sickness, Pain, and Bodily Fragmentation in LXX Job − Beate Ego: »Gott wird dich gewiss bald heilen« (Tob 5,14) – Schmerz und Heilung in der Tobiterzählung − Christina Risch: Pain in the Apocryphon of John

III. Rabbinic Texts
Lennart Lehmhaus: Where Does it Hurt (Most)? Semantics and Perceptions of Pain in Ancient Rabbinic Traditions − Jonathan Schofer: Pain and Punishment in Mishnaic Law: Mishnah Makkot 3:1

Michaela Bauks Born 1962; PhD University of Heidelberg; HDR University of Strasbourg; 1995−2005 professor of Old Testament at the Faculté de Théologie Protestante, Montpellier; since 2005 professor of Old Testament and Religious History at the University of Koblenz.

Saul M. Olyan Born 1959; PhD Harvard University; 1985−87 assistant professor of Religious Studies, University of Winnipeg; 1987−92 assistant professor of Religious Studies, Yale University; since 1992 professor of Religious Studies and Judaic Studies, Brown University.


The following reviews are known:

In: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament — 47 (2023), p. 95 (Lindi Wells Martsolf)
In: Review of Biblical Literature — (3/2023) (Laura M. Zucconi)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 147 (2022), pp. 424–426 (Eckart Otto)
In: Theologische Revue — (Judith König)
In: Old Testament Abstracts — 46 (2023), p. 924 (Juliane Eckstein)