Jewish Studies

Revelation, Literature, and Community in Late Antiquity

Ed. by Philippa Townsend and Moulie Vidas

[Offenbarung, Literatur und Gemeinde in der Spätantike.]

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ISBN 978-3-16-150644-4
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Published in English.
Leading scholars in the study of ancient religions explore the role of claims to divine revelation in the construction of religious identities, communities, and texts.
This volume stems from a conference held at Princeton University, which brought together leading scholars in the study of ancient religions. Claims to divine revelation are not simply a common trope in ancient religious texts: they often determine the structure of these texts and of the communities that produce them. The authors of the studies collected here examine the literary and social functions of revelation in late antiquity from early Christianity and rabbinic Judaism to early Islam, contributing both to our understanding of the phenomenon of revelation as well as to the study of the great transformations, interactions, and tensions typical of this important period.

Table of contents:

Philippa Townsend and Moulie Vidas:
Introduction: Revelation, Literature, Community, and Late Antiquity

Annette Yoshiko Reed:
Pseudepigraphy and/as Prophecy: Continuity and Transformation in the Formation and Reception of Early Enochic Writings

Christine Trevett: Prophets, Economics, and the Rites of Man

Pavlos Avlamis: Isis and the People in the Life of Aesop

John D. Turner:
Revelation as the Path to Ignorance: The Sethian Platonizing Apocalypse Allogenes

Gregory Shaw: T
he Soul's Innate Gnosis of the Gods: Revelation in Iamblichean Theurgy

Daniel L. Schwartz:
Keeping Secrets and Making Christians: Catechesis and the Revelation of the Christian Mysteries

Eduard Iricinschi:
Tam pretiosi codices vestri: Hebrew Scriptures and Persian Books in Augustine's Anti-Manichaean Writings

Azzan Yadin-Israel:
Rabbi Aqiva: Midrash and the Site of Revelation

Martha Himmelfarb:
Revelation and Rabbinization in Sefer Zerubbabeland Sefer Eliyyahu

Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina:
Miscegenation, 'Mixture,' and 'Mixed Iron': The Hermeneutics, Historiography, and Cultural Poesis of the 'Four Ages' in Zoroastrianism

Michael E. Pregill:
Ahab, Bar Kokhba, Muhammad, and the Lying Spirit: Prophetic Discourse before and after the Rise of Islam

Patricia Crone:
Angels versus Humans as Messengers of God: The View of the Qurʾānic Pagans


Philippa Townsend Born 1975; degrees in Classics from Cambridge University and University College London, in Religion from Harvard University and Princeton University; PhD from Princeton in the Religions of Late Antiquity; currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Ursinus College, Pennsylvania.

Moulie Vidas Born 1983; Associate Professor of Religion at Princeton University.


The following reviews are known:

In: Salesianum — 74 (2012), S. 736–737 (Rafael Vicent)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 141 (2016), S. 603–605 (Franz Tóth)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 56 (2012), S. 455